Starting this week, you will hear a lot of discussion about a G.O., or general obligation, bond package that voters will be asked to approve in April.
Conversation is starting now because it’s a significant investment, but one that signals our commitment to a making Kansas City a world-class city for years to come.
When I took office in 2011, the city faced around six billion dollars in ‘deferred maintenance’. That’s billion, with a “B”. Simply put, our infrastructure needs as a city had been kicked down the road for too long.
These are dollars that fix or maintain roads, bridges and sidewalks, along with making curbs ADA compliant. This kind of investment updates city facilities to be more energy efficient, and makes neighborhoods better equipped to handle flooding. We use these funds to maintain the infrastructure our city relies on, and to make sure we’re planning wisely for future generations.
So as the conversation here at City Hall begins this week about what the GO bond package will entail, I want to lay out a few things every Kansas Citian should know about this debate:
- We must build accountability and transparency measures into the plan that give our residents confidence they will see a strong return on this $800 million investment and will know where their money is going.
- The GO bond package should be strategic. Facts and data should guide our thinking. Not politics or a old ways of thinking that carve up investment with little regard for future planning.
- We must take a comprehensive approach to our infrastructure needs. We need roads (that are designed for vehicles, bikes and feet!), bridges, sidewalks, capital improvements to city facilities, and flood control improvements. We cannot ask Kansas Citians to approve a plan that does not adequately address all of those basic infrastructure needs.
- Every part of our city has basic infrastructure needs. Kansas Citians have my word that I will not support a GO bond plan that does not improve every single corner of our community.
When I ask my community members for their support on something like this, I do not take it lightly. My days in the Marines taught me a lot about loyalty, hard work and a sense of duty. I’ll carry those lessons with me each day as I make my way across the city this winter and spring to talk with you about this important step we can take, together.
Let’s keep in mind the type of city we want to be in five years, ten years, twenty years and beyond.
Let’s keep our commitment to the next generation of Kansas Citians by maintaining the things that make our city a great place to live, work and raise your family.
Let’s do this, Kansas City.