- Associated Press - Friday, February 12, 2016

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Kansas City has created a plan in the city budget to tear down about 800 vacant houses and buildings in struggling neighborhoods in the next two years.

The Kansas City Star (https://bit.ly/1Kg15hz ) reports that Mayor Sly James and City Manager Troy Schulte unveiled the plan Thursday to issue $10 million in bonds for the project, which would be paid off over a decade for about $1.3 million a year.

The city is finally able to allocate resources to help the problem because revenue growth is more robust than it’s been in years. Kansas City’s general fund for basic services is projected to grow nearly 2 percent in the fiscal year to $542 million. The total budget expects $1.53 billion in spending, up 3.5 percent from this fiscal year ending April 30.

“This is the strongest revenue position we’ve been in in a decade,” James said. “When you have money, you can do things.”

In the past, Kansas City has chipped away at the dangerous-buildings problem, spending about $800,000 to tear down 100 homes a year. The city never got ahead of the problem because new homes kept being added to the roster.

The 800 properties that will be torn down in the plan are located all over the city. Neighborhood leader Marlon Hammons said he would prefer that the homes be renovated.

“A vacant lot is better than a house sitting neglected,” Hammons said.

The city council will vote on their city budget recommendation in late March. It would take effect May 1.


Information from: The Kansas City Star, https://www.kcstar.com

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