Transit Action Network (TAN)

Advocates for Improved and Expanded Transit in the Kansas City Region.

Last Chance – Speak up for KCATA Budget at KCMO Finance Committee Meeting Mar 20

Posted by Transit Action Network on March 19, 2013

METRO ogoThe city council is almost finished working on the FY 2013/2014 budget. Tomorrow may be your last chance to comment in front of the council on the Public Mass Transportation Fund (1/2-cent Transposition Sales Tax) budget.kcmo_big_logo

Finance, Governance & Ethics Committee
March 20, 2013 at 8:30 am
10th Floor Committee Room
City Hall
414 E. 12th Street
Kansas City, MO 64106
 

In your testimony about the budget for the 1/2 cent Transportation Sales Tax and Ordinance 130173:

  1. Encourage the committee to table the new ordinance, 130173, which is an attempt to deal with the transit issues we’ve have all been concerned about. The council hasn’t had sufficient time to thoroughly discuss the ordinance and determined how to get the best result. It is possible to complete this budget with the current ordinance.
  2. Even if the committee tables the new ordinance, which we hope it will, please ask them to comply with the existing ordinance relative to non-transit uses and restore funding to KCATA.
  3. Ask that $5 million, currently allocated to non-transit uses, be moved to KCATA:
    •  to comply with current ordinance 100951 to restore funding to KCATA.
    •  to eliminate KCATA’s need to use its emergency reserve account to maintain current transit service levels.
  4. Ask that the streetcar only uses this funding source for one year, while an alternative funding source is identified.

Currently the FY 2013/2014 budget for the  city’s use of the 1/2 sales tax money includes $6 million dollars allocated to non-transit projects, $2 million to the streetcar, and $600 thousand to administrative fees.

Based on Ordinance 100951, city non-transit uses were supposed to start shrinking in 2011 so the KCATA budget could rise to 95% of the available funds from the ½ cent Transportation Sales tax by 2014. KCATA would only be allocated 71% of the available funds in the new budget.

The 2003 and 2008 elections for a 3/8 cent sales tax were based on the assumption that the ½ sales tax would continue to go to the KCATA but here is what actually happened.

1_2_cent_comparison_2003_2014

Up until now the city has ignored its own ordinance and continued to spend money on other priorities.

Contrary to what most people think, KCATA has not been receiving 7/8 cents in sales taxes (sum of ½ cent and 3/8 cent sales taxes). In the proposed budget KCATA is budgeted LESS money from the ½ cent transportation sales tax than it received in 2003 although receipts have increased considerably.

In 2003/2004 the city was only using $1.3 million for non-transit uses from the ½ cent transportation sales tax.

Here’s what we propose:

  1. Table the new ordinance: it is not needed.
  2. Move $5 million from Public Works Capital Improvements to KCATA. That would move the budget closer to complying with the current ordinance and eliminate the need for KCATA to use up its emergency money. Based on the ordinance, KCATA should be receiving close to 88% of the 1/2 cent Transportation Sales Tax for the proposed budget.
  3. Due to the short time-frame, use $2 million from the Public Mass Transportation Fund  for the streetcar for this one-year only.
  4. Once the budgeting process is completed, begin working on alternative funding sources for the $2 million, preferably out of the TDD.  The city sold the idea of the streetcar being funded out of the TDD. Do this and provide long-term financial stability for the streetcar using those new funds.
  5. Convene the Transit Working Group that Councilwoman Circo proposed at the March 6 meeting of this committee, and let that group take some time to explore all of the transit-related issues involved.  There are a lot of issues, and decisions related to transit should not be made in a vacuum.
  6. Include Transit Action Network in that Transit Working Group, as we asked two weeks ago.

The council can work this out, but the time is running out. The budget has to be voted on next week.

Contact Kansas City Mayor and City Council

Mayor’s office 816-513-3500 email Mayor@kcmo.org

Council office 816-513-1368

Go to http://kcmo.org/CKCMO/CityOfficials/CityCouncilOffice/index.htm for phone numbers and emails for specific council members

TAN has been writing about this issue since January when the city manager released his proposed budget for FY 2013/2014.

See previous articles for more information.  KCATA and the KCMO Budget-Video of the March 6 hearing of the Finance, Governance and Ethics Committee

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