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The City Haller - March 9, 2012

City Haller: Big 12 Tournament Edition

The buzz is all positive about the Big 12 tournament going on in KC—the men are playing at the Sprint Center and women at Municipal Auditorium. Check out this ESPN article touting the men’s tournament as the “best tourney ever.”

Downtown KC is bustling and hotels, restaurants, and other establishments are doing a good business. Experts at The Kansas City Convention and Visitors Association say MIAA (Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association), NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletes), and Big 12 Conference have an economic impact of $18 million and that 16,000 room nights will be used, all during the month of March.

Mayor Sly James and City Council are in the spirit as well. The mayor and council members Ed Ford, Melba Curls and Jermaine Reed are all Tiger fans. Councilwoman Jan Marcason seems to be a proud Jayhawker.

Allegiances aside, the council voted unanimously this week to allocate over $1 million from the downtown arena debt fund to pay for improvements at the Sprint Center. This funding will be used for increased signage in and out of the arena, increased security, and repair and replacement of glass panels. Read all the details here, and search for ordinance number 120200.

Moving forward on the budget

Budget resolutions were heard Wednesday at the Finance, Governance and Ethics Committee Meeting. Chair Jan Marcason noted budget related resolutions are being held so that public input could be received at next Wednesday’s committee meeting.

Opposition to Department Consolidation

Advocates including NAACP KC President Anita Russell and Heavy Constructors Association Deputy Director Bridgette Williams testified Wednesday against consolidating the Human Relations and Information Technology departments under the general services department. The consolidation plan is included in City Manager Troy Schulte’s budget proposal and is part of a bigger effort to restructure 18 departments into 14 larger departments. Proposed reasons for the department restructuring include cost savings and improved customer service. Councilmen John Sharp and Michael Brooks noted in a council committee meeting they do not support the consolidation of these two departments.

Oklahoma City mayor visits with city leaders

Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett visited KC Thursday evening as the special guest of Mayor Sly James and met with members of the newly reconstituted Mayor’s Corps of Progress.

At 600 square miles, Oklahoma City has a considerably larger land mass than KC’s approximately 300 square miles. In terms of population, Oklahoma City’s 600,000 is larger than KC’s 450,000.

Mayor Cornett said the 1980s were difficult times for his city’s economy, as was the aftermath of the 1993 bombing. But since then, the city has been on a roll - three sales tax increases for capital improvements resulting in a robust economy including numerous improvements such as a convention center, parkland improvements, transit, fair grounds, river front improvements, sidewalks and walking trails, and a performing arts center.

The Buzz
  • Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index poll says Missouri is the 8th most miserable state. Find out more here from the Kansas City Star.

  • The Missouri House provided its first of two necessary approval notes Wednesday afternoon for a bill prohibiting the use of economic incentives to attract jobs from Kansas to Missouri, if Kansas passes similar legislation. Representative T.J. Berry, a Republican from Kearney, sponsored the bill and it has received support among the KC delegation.

  • Mayor Sly James will host his State of the City address Monday, March 19 at 10:30 a.m. Your invite is here.

  • News that had the city’s economic development community buzzing this week. Former President and CEO of the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City Jeff Kaczmarek landed a new job as county economic development director of Prince William County, Va. Read the Washington Post article here. This raises the question: When will EDC hire a permanent replacement for the position?

  • The 51st annual Mayors’ Prayer Breakfast was held Thursday morning at the KC Convention Center. The keynote speaker was Boy Scouts of America executive Robert Mazzuca. Read more about the event here from Lynn Horsley at the Kansas City Star.

  • Governor Jay Nixon, Mayor Sly James, Chancellor Leo Morton, and uber civic leader Henry Bloch were all on hand for the groundbreaking of the Henry W. Bloch Executive Hall for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Read more here from the Kansas City Star.

  • Mark your calendar for Tuesday, March 27 for the next KCMO Committee luncheon. Planned is a discussion on how the city is preparing for the MLB All-Star Game. E-mail for details.

  • Yesterday, Missouri state lawmakers adjourned for spring break. They will return on Monday, March 19. Then the action heats up … Come to The Chamber’s Mid Session reception on Thursday, March 29 at 4:30 p.m. to discuss issues with House Budget Chair Ryan Silvey, Senator S. Kiki Curls, and House Rules Chair John Diehl. E-mail for details.

  • Please find this week’s current docket in the left margin of this page under Mayor and City Council.

The City Haller is a publication of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce

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