Water Bond Shell Game

Northeast News
April 2, 2014

If you have a mailbox, you’ve no doubt been treated recently to numerous glossy mailers touting the passage of Question One. This fiscally minded newsdog took a look at the small print and thinks there’s some funny business with this measure and thinks you, as a newspaper reading voter, should do the same. Keep in mind that last week, the Kansas City Council passed a budget that included a 10 percent increase in water rates for pretty much every water using address in the city.

The increase, according to City Manager Troy Schulte, is to pay for infrastructure improvements and upgrades in the city’s aging water system. But wait – the campaign mailer says the water bonds are supposed to do that without raising taxes (that’s called city hall psychobabble for the record)!

As we scratch our collective craniums and wonder how this could be, the devil, like everything, is in the details. What that fancy schmancy campaign mailer won’t tell you is that passage of Question One will allow the city to appropriate (loot, steal or rob would be accurate synonyms) roughly $23 million from the water bond revenue and transfer it to the toy train streetcar project for, get this, utility relocation.

While technically, the work will allegedly be done to move or re-align water and sewer lines for the streetcar, it’s a shady way to do business nonetheless. Additionally, the verbiage in the Question One literature says the passage of the bond issue is needed to insure no additional tax increase will occur, which flies directly in the face of the water rate increase passed last week by the city council.

Contrary to what the glossy campaign piece says about “ensuring affordable, clean and safe drinking water for all”, Question One is really a cash grab for the toy train streetcar. Period.

Anyone remember the trip to the coast of Spain earlier this year? Hello! If you’re like me, it’s fuzzy math, and the numbers just don’t add up. Do yourself a favor on April 8, 2014. When it’s just you and your golf pencil in the voting booth, send this money-grab of a ballot initiative down in flames. Not because it’s a bad idea – and it is – but because Mayor James and the city council are playing a phony baloney, shell game with your money.

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