Ken Hager, CFO of DST and Chair of the KCMO Business Leadership Council
The Chamber is always engaged in Kansas City, Missouri issues and is committed to representing the 1,155 member companies in Kansas City, Missouri.
With the release of this week’s Analysis of Kansas City’s Deferred Maintenance and Capital Improvements needs, The Chamber highlights the growing problem of deferring infrastructure improvements in Kansas City, Missouri. To be fair, this is not just a Kansas City problem; older municipalities throughout the nation are struggling to maintain their existing infrastructure. However, maintaining our infrastructure is critically important for Kansas City Missouri to be able to attract business and residents.
We formed the Kansas City Missouri Business Leadership Council in 2007 for the express purpose of having one group made up of Chamber Board members and other senior business leaders who have a commitment to Kansas City, Missouri, and who meet monthly to discuss pressing issues. We delve into the City’s finances, read and submit input on the City’s annual budget, listen and comment on new City initiatives, and meet with City elected and appointed leaders.
The City’s finances have long been an important issue. The Deferred Maintenance Report includes a number of recommendations, including revenue options the cash-strapped City should consider:
- The City must do a better job of collections on all its taxes.
- The City’s employee pension programs must be addressed. We believe that the current approach cannot be maintained. Steps similar to what the Missouri assembly took recently are needed to stem the growth in employee pensions, which continues to take a disproportional share of funding, ultimately limiting the number of employees the City will be able to maintain.
- The City should explore utilizing Neighborhood Improvement District (NIDs) or Community Improvement Districts (CIDs) to allow neighborhoods to fund local capital projects.
- All current and upcoming tax renewals should be evaluated before embarking on any new tax initiatives.
The Chamber’s Jamie Green, who is Director of Government of Relations and Policy Development, drafted the initial report, followed by months of discussion and work by the Committee. This is the fourth report on deferred maintenance authored by the Chamber since 1993.
The KCMO Business Leadership Council will continue to be engaged in Kansas City Missouri issues, looking out for the interests of our Chamber members and the region.