KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -- Mayor Quinton Lucas will present his proposed city budget on Thursday night.
Lucas says the budget will fulfill a few of his campaign promises. One of them being the zero-fare transit program for free rides on Kansas City busses.
Mayor Quinton Lucas says his first State of the City Address scheduled for Wednesday will be a meat and potatoes speech, though some programs are already expecting to see funding cuts.
Lucas wants to put nearly $5 million of the city's budget toward the project. It’s expected to cost $8 million in total. A private company would pick up the rest. The program will start this summer if there is enough funding.
The mayor told KCTV5 News that the changes would be possible by eliminating redundancy in the budget and increasing efficiency.
“We could come up with still an equitable budget, one that’s responsible that also is able to increase our funding amount at KCATA from $58 million to $63 million. I think that’s outstanding, and I think it’s a sign of the city’s commitment to zero fare transit," Lucas said.
KCTV5 is also following reports of a $500,000 cut in public funds to Children’s Mercy Hospital. The organization receives about $650,000 annually to offset costs of uncompensated procedures. Mayor Lucas would not confirm or deny the funding change, but said the city can’t ignore other health care organizations’ needs.
“There are scarce resources, but I think if you’re actually looking at what it is we are trying to address and fund to suggest that only one institution can deliver a set of services to that are vital to the people of Kansas City means that you’re ignoring a lot of others every day,” Lucas said. “We’re trying to make sure, first of all that we’re taking care of the people of Kansas City, but that we’re also being as responsible as possible. And to the extent organizations have other opportunities to help supplement their funding, then we’d like to ask them to make sure they’re doing that.”
The city council will hold three public input meetings in the next few weeks. Click here for more information.