KCMO budget seeks to boost basic services, while cultural organizations see cuts

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — There’s more money for streets in next year’s city budget, as the city hopes to fill a lot more potholes, but that may come at the expense of Kansas City’s cultural institutions.

Maintaining and improving city services is the goal behind Mayor Quinton Lucas’ budget proposal. Lucas wants $10 million more for road resurfacing and repavement.

The mayor claims Kansas City filled 10,000 potholes last year and will fill even more in the coming year.

Still, the city faces a drop in tax collections of more than $70 million.

The budget proposes cuts that would reduce that shortfall to $15 million, without any city layoffs.

The new budget reduces subsidies for the Kansas City Zoo, Starlight Theater, Arts KC, Visit KC, the Kansas City Film Office, Legal Aid of Western Missouri and the Black Archives of Mid-America.

“It hurts,” Carmaletta Williams, executive director of the Black Archives, said. “It hurts us severely. We are a nonprofit. We are a small nonprofit. We depend on donations and the largesse of our community to keep going. But we certainly understand. COVID has affected almost every single business around us, in the city in particular, so we understand that.”

Lucas said these cultural institutions should curtail consulting, marketing and other administrative costs.

Williams said during the last year, the Black Archives also lost revenue from room rentals and from programs offered by the museum.

The mayor said it’s important that no police officers will be laid off. Any officer or 911 call taker who leaves in the coming year, will be replaced.

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