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Breaking down the new KCI terminal’s $1.5 billion budget

The opening date for Kansas City’s new airport terminal is Feb. 28, and the public will get the chance to see the city’s costliest infrastructure project at an open house on Feb. 18. Serious conversation about a new terminal began a little less than a decade ago, and the road to the terminal’s opening has…

DIY Democracy: How to read a government budget and why you might want to

Do you wonder whether your local government is prioritizing the things that are important to you, like policing, affordable housing, walkability or public health? Official budget documents offer a peek into what elected officials are prioritizing. The budget outlines how much money the city or county plans to spend in every department, and it’s reported…

Why is Kansas City’s transit agency involved in housing?

Over the past year, the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA) has considered tax exemptions for a string of mixed-use housing developments across the city. Among them are an apartment building in Waldo, a downtown high-rise building and two developments coming to midtown — one along the streetcar extension and another at 39th Street and State…

Follow the money: Police budget raises a $5.6 million question

Thanks to a statewide vote in November 2022, Kansas City will be required to increase its minimum funding for the Kansas City Police Department from 20% to 25% of the city’s revenues.  How will KCPD spend the money? That might not be easy for the public to find out, based on the department’s recent responses…

Decoding the language of Kansas City’s tax incentives: Key terms to know

Kansas City is known far and wide for its use of tax incentives.  Researchers have studied the use of incentives to move development projects back and forth across the state line as part of the “border war” between Kansas and Missouri.  Many local landmarks, including the Power and Light District, Hotel Phillips and the midtown…

State control of Kansas City’s police has roots in the Civil War

Kansas City is the only major city that lacks control over its own police department. The oft-stated rationale for state control is to prevent local partisan politics from interfering with the workings of the department. Champions of the unusual setup often cite the political corruption under the Pendergast political machine in the 1930s as a…

The informal workings of Kansas City’s state-appointed police board

Kansas City’s Board of Police Commissioners on Thursday carried out one of its highest-profile responsibilities when members announced they had chosen police Maj. Stacey Graves as the new chief of police. The hiring of Graves, the first woman to lead the department on a non-interim basis, concluded a process that began when former Chief Rick…

Landlord ignoring your complaint? Here’s how to get your apartment fixed.

As temperatures dip in the winter months, safe homes become all the more critical. Broken furnaces, moldy ceilings and crossed wires all endanger residents who are spending more time indoors. For tenants, problems in their units can be a source of anxiety, especially if their landlord is reluctant to fix them. To protect tenants, Kansas…

Behind the tax incentives ordinance stuck in Kansas City Council limbo

Backers of Ordinance 220701 say it will bring consistency to the way Kansas City government and affiliated agencies can grant a tax break to developers. But it has been on a rocky road. In the four months since the proposed legislation was filed in Kansas City Council’s Neighborhood Planning and Development Committee, it has been…

Data map: How did your neighbors vote in Kansas City, Missouri?

After a long and contentious midterm election, the election boards representing Kansas City voters have released their official election results for 2022. The results among Kansas City precincts offer a detailed look at the political landscape within the city, with clear political divisions visible on election maps within and across county lines. With another election…

The Unified Government is run by an 11-member board. Here’s what they do.

Among the counties in the Kansas City metropolitan area, Wyandotte County is unique for its Unified Government, which merges the city of Kansas City, Kansas, with the county government. Nearly half of the elected representatives of the county government will be up for reelection next November, including four commissioners representing districts in the southeastern portion…

KCATA tackled its driver shortage. Now, bus drivers want to see more change

Will Howard knows exactly why bus drivers in Kansas City are stepping away from the steering wheel.  “We just had an 18-year veteran say they can’t do it anymore,” said Howard, president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1287, the operator union representing bus drivers in Kansas City. “She’s working at the water department now.” Since…

Missouri votes to increase KC’s police budget despite local voters’ wishes

The Kansas City Police Department will see a budget increase in spite of Kansas City voters’ wishes, following a statewide vote on Constitutional Amendment 4 on Nov. 8. Within the Kansas City Election Board’s jurisdiction — the part of Kansas City located in Jackson County — 61% of voters opposed the amendment, with all precincts…

This year’s election will introduce four new Clay County positions

After voters in Clay County approved a new county constitution in 2020, this year’s election will look a little different to voters. On Nov. 8, they will select at-large county commissioners for the first time in the county’s history, as well as an additional Clay County commissioner from each of two districts. Before the constitutional…

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