Kansas City conducts first public tweet-along involving city budget

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Kansas City has come up with a unique new way to answer questions and communicate with its residents; a city hall tweet-along all about the hashtag, #kcmobudget.

It is not new technology. Kansas City, Mo. officials have been tweeting for a while, but this is the first time they have opened up a public discussion about the budget.

City officials got together to answer questions about the 2014-2015 budget which has been submitted to city council for approval. A question comes in about a specific topic and the director of that department gives an immediate answer. With all of those department heads in one room, it allowed for discussion and the ability of citizens to ask a wide variety of budget related questions.

When Mayor Sly James was asked if he was impressed by any of the questions so far, he said the responses were pretty mixed.

“Some yes, some no, some I think are facetious, and that’s fine because we always need some levity,” said the Kansas City Mayor. “And some I think, I just wonder ‘where did that come from?’ But then there are others that were serious and I think very relevant and pertinent.”

When asked what the most interesting tweet was, Mayor James said one regarding the city street cars really struck him.

'I thought the street car was an astute question about city finding for the street car at this stage, what we were putting into it, so we were basically able to say to that individual that the only money for the city is for planning purposes,” said the Mayor. “We’re in the process of forming the TDD. Once the TDD is established we will get reimbursed for that, so they wrote back that they thought that was a great answer and they were happy with it. So I thought that was successful.”

The TDD Mayor James was referring to is the 'Transit Development District'. It is the geographic area downtown in which money will be generated by sales and property tax to fund the street cars downtown.

The online chat is over, but there are other opportunities for public input on the budget. The public may also attend a series of public budget hearings. The schedule is:

Saturday, Feb. 15, 10 a.m. to noon
KCPD Shoal Creek Police Academy (auditorium)
6885 N.E. Pleasant Valley Road, Kansas City, MO 64119

Saturday, Feb. 22, 10 a.m. to noon
Robert J. Mohart Multi-Purpose Center (auditorium)
3200 Wayne Ave., Kansas City, MO 64109

Saturday, March 1, 10 a.m. to noon
KCPD South Patrol Division (use main entrance)
9701 Marion Park Drive, Kansas City, MO 64137

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