Kansas Citians will head to the polls today to decide multiple ballot issues.
Voters will decide whether to approve the largest series of general obligation bond authorizations in city history. The majority of the $800 million in bonds would be put toward dozens of road, sidewalk and bridge projects scattered across all six City Council districts. The remainder — about $200 million — would address improving flood control and public buildings in the city and replacing its dilapidated animal shelter.
Also on April’s ballot is a 1/8 -cent sales tax proposal that would benefit economic development in the central part of the city, proponents say. There is also a proposal to reduce the punishment for marijuana possession. If passed, it would eliminate the possibility of serving jail time for those convicted of simple possession and would reduce the maximum fine from $500 to $25.
Read all of The Star’s coverage of the issues Kansas Citians will vote on next month, including analysis and a look at other regional and national elections.
For a sample ballot, visit the Kansas City Board of Election Commissioners website.
Question 1: Streets, sidewalks and bridges
Driving nightmares spur Kansas City plea for taxpayers' help undoing backlog of road repairs
"We have only two options," Mayor Sly James said, "we can fix it or watch it crumble."
Bond issue gives Kansas Citians chance to fix a hard problem: Miles of broken sidewalks
For residents harboring a bad sidewalk, the coming April 4 election offers hope for a reprieve.
KC council members aim to answer bonds question on sidewalks: Whose gets fixed first?
How would the city determine whose sidewalks get fixed first?
The $150 million in planned sidewalk repairs on the April 4 election ballot would take homeowners off the hook for the cost of repairs, but the city will have to convince Kansas City voters the work is critical and can be done fairly across the city.Joe Robertson The Kansas City Star
Question 2: Flood control
Brookside resident Lea Murphy talks about dealing with serious flooding in her basement from torrential rains in recent years. The city is proposing an $800 million general obligation bond package on the April 4 ballot that includes $150 million for flood control in Brookside and throughout the city.Allison Long and Lynn Horsley The Kansas City Star
Question 3: Public buildings and structures
Teresa Johnson, CEO of KC Pet Project, recently gave a tour of the Kansas City Animal Shelter on Raytown Road. City officials have proposed replacing the outdated animal shelter as part of the upcoming $800 million infrastructure bond package.Allison Long and Lynn Horsley The Kansas City Star
Question 4: 1/8 -cent sales tax
Here's basic information about the sales tax question on Kansas City's April 4 ballot
The question asks voters to approve a 1/8-cent sales tax to benefit economic development in the central part of the city.
Sales tax advocates say it’s time for all of KC to support inner-city redevelopment
Supporters say that a failure to correct Prospect Avenue’s ills has led to the pathologies of poverty, high crime rates, joblessness and feeble property values.
Data show just how little investment has been made in key part of Kansas City’s core
For the next 10 years, the tax could provide about $8.6 million a year for development incentives.
Advocates for a citywide one-eighth-cent sales tax on Kansas City’s April 4 ballot want to spur economic development along Prospect Avenue, a central city stretch that has been deteriorating for decades.Diane Stafford and Leah Becerra The Kansas City Star
Question 5: Marijuana punishment
On April 4, Kansas City voters could reduce penalties for marijuana possession to a $25 fine. What are the pros and cons?Ian Cummings The Kansas City Star
Analysis of the issues
What you need to know about Kansas City’s largest GO bond election ever
Here are frequently asked questions and answers to the measures on the ballot.
$800 million bond package is a big political gamble on Kansas City’s April ballot
The proposal would require a tax increase at a time when anti-tax sentiment runs high and trust in government nationally is low.
KC’s ‘complete streets’ plan for bond projects would benefit drivers, walkers, cyclists
If voters approve the bond request, streets and sidewalks would be repaired with walkers and bicyclists in mind.
Campaign flier on KC’s infrastructure proposal understates tax increase
The average homeowner would pay about $100 more per year should the bond package pass.
Survey indicates KC’s infrastructure bond measures passing
Survey showed 62 percent of likely voters support $800 million in general obligation bonds.