KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The legal action continues as city and police officials battle over Kansas City police funding.

The latest dispute comes after four members of the Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners filed a cross claim last week, alleging the city is misrepresenting city revenue.

The claim is in response to a lawsuit Urban League President Gwen Grant filed last year, arguing state mandates on the police budget are “taxation without representation.”

The police board’s cross claim was filed against Mayor Quinton Lucas, the fifth member of the police board, and finance director Tammy Queen.

In effect, the police board argues Kansas City is violating state law by underfunding the police department.

After Missourians passed Amendment 4 earlier this month, Kansas City is now required to fund its police at 25% of its general revenue. Kansas City is the only Missouri city impacted by the amendment.

State law says certain spending categories don’t have to be included when calculating the general fund. But the police board argues sources like development incentives aren’t being included.

It’s an allegation the mayor disputes. 

“This appears to just be a money grab that would be tens of millions of dollars more even beyond the budget request that has been made by the Board of Police Commissioners,” Lucas said.

The mayor said the board as no right to these funds. In fact, he argues it would hurt the city to pull money from such programs and developments.

“If the Board of Police Commissioners claim is proven correct, then they’ll ultimately undo every incentive tool we’ve used in this city to build development,” Lucas said. “They’re going after every economic project in a way to try and steal money from that.”

In a statement, the police board said:

“Any suggestion that the claims stand in the way of development incentives is disingenuous. The police board has an obligation to understand the city’s budget, so this claim is about bringing clarity and visibility to the city’s accounting practices and how the general revenue is calculated.”

Police budget talks for the next fiscal year have already begun, and the board is eyeing its biggest police budget yet. Officials are weighing a proposed $294 million budget, which is about $30 million more than the current fiscal year’s budget.

It’s also about 27% of the city’s general revenue, as it’s currently calculated, which is higher than the new police funding requirement.

“I encourage the board, which is all unelected except for me, to actually listen to the voices of the people rather than just try to assume all the power over the people of Kansas City,” Lucas said.

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