KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Key political leaders in Wyandotte County threaten a push to deconsolidate the Unified Government if they don’t see changes.
Kansas City, Kansas Mayor Tyrone Garner gave a laundry list of complaints saying the UG could be on the path to bankruptcy by 2028.
The mayor of Edwardsville, Carolyn Caiharr, said starting in November they’re forming citizen focus groups to hear from resident on ideas including deconsolidation.
“If the Unified Government had been working as promised, I personally don’t believe we would have inherited a billion dollars’ worth of debt,” Caiharr said.
Garner shared a long list of complaints with the current form of government in Wyandotte County launched 25 years ago.
On April 1, 1997 residents voted overwhelmingly to unify. The change-over process took less than six months.
“Many have told me they struggle to see how forming the UG in 1997 by way of consolidation have measured up to the promises made for consolidation in the first place,” Garner said.
“Although the Unified Government’s website may say this was a unanimous vote, the residents of Edwardsville and Bonner Springs voted against this unification in fear that it would not serve the people well,” Caiharr said.
Caiharr, during the Wednesday morning news conferences, said consolidation muddied the accountability of tax dollars.
Garner claimed big tourism projects got priority over other infrastructure and poverty issues.
“Helpless taxpayers beholden to huge corporate giveaways, auditors reports indicating decades of potential mismanagement, a dangerously weak form of mayor-commission structure as part of this government,” Garner said.
“We will be looking at suggestions from charter recommendations to our commissioners all the way up to deconsolidation,” Caiharr said.
FOX4 reached out to the current UG Commission members on what they think about the characterization offered at the press conference.
In response, a spokesperson for the UG replied: “The Unified Government does not have any comment regarding the mayor’s earlier press conference and announcements.”