City manager proposes more street work, raises for police - KCTV5

City manager proposes more street work, raises for police, fire departments

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Kansas City Manager Troy Schulte released his proposed $1.38 billion budget late Tuesday afternoon.

This is $67.3 million, or 5 percent, more than the current budget.

Mayor Sly James, who will officially respond to Schulte's budget next month, told KCTV5 Tuesday that he had spent the afternoon looking at Schulte's budget message. Based on his regular conversations with Schulte, James said it was a solid proposal that wouldn't fuel controversy.

"Nothing startling is in it," James said about Schulte's budget.

He added that the city is keeping its word to taxpayers to boost improvements to streets. The budget is aligned with the council's priorities.

Street resurfacing and preservation would jump from $5.2 million to $19.4 million. Street maintenance operations would increase from $9.4 million to $14.1 million.

Municipal court is currently protected by nine unarmed civilian bailiffs and a contingent of sworn police officers. Schulte recommends using private armed security officers, which he says would save $250,000.

The budget includes council-approved raises for the police and firefighters union. In addition, Schulte is supporting additional increases including a 3 percent raise for non-uniformed employees.

Schulte is recommending eliminating 116 vacant posts and requiring the police department to hold vacant enough civilian posts to generate $3.2 million in salary savings. Schulte said the police department could permanently eliminate jobs to cover the raise costs.

The fire department is being asked to eliminate nine vacant jobs and absorb a $3.5 million reduction in overtime costs.

Schulte also proposed eliminating other positions.

But some departments would get additional posts. Schulte said to shore up the city's communication efforts he wants to spend $130,000 to add a copywriter, a contract graphic designer and a web and social media analyst. Citizen surveys show residents are dissatisfied with the city's communications efforts. As a result, Schulte said he wants to spend $115,00 to send out the KCMore Magazine twice a year.

Three public hearings will be held on the budget. All three hearings will be from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and on a Saturday.

The first will be Feb. 2 at Robert J. Mohart Multi-Purpose Center, 3200 Wayne Ave. The second will be Feb. 9 at Northland Neighborhoods Inc., 4420 NE Chouteau Trafficway. The final meeting will be at the Kansas City Police Department's south patrol division, 9701 Marion Park Dr.

To see the budget yourself, click here.

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