May 19, 2024

Keeping Media and Government Accountable.

Despite Promises Not To, KC May Dun Taxpayers for KCI

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In October 2017, when still helping sell the new single terminal at KCI, the Kansas City Star ran a story headlined, “Kansas City Council ordinance makes doubly sure no taxpayer money goes to KCI.”

This promise was instrumental in securing citizen approval of the new terminal a month after the Star celebrated the passage of the ordinance. “Will the City use general fund dollars to finance the new terminal?” asks the Kansas City Aviation Department on its FAQ page. The answer is one-word long and definitive. “No.”

Well, it looks cool

This promise calls to mind an exchange between the captain and his crew in a song from Gilbert and Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore:

CAPTAIN: I am never known to quail/ At the fury of a gale/ And I’m never, never sick at sea!

Chorus: What, never?

Captain: No, never!

Chorus: What, never?

Captain: Hardly ever!

Chorus: He’s hardly ever sick at sea!/ Then give three cheers, and one cheer more/ For the hardy Captain of the Pinafore!

With Mayor Sly James, the hardy captain of the good ship KCI, sailing off into the sunset, the Chairwoman of the City Council’s Aviation Committee, Jolie Justus, is left womanning the helm. To keep the ship on course, Justus needs money.

Lots of it–some $48.8 million to finance the initial stages of the project before bonds can be issued to cover the entire cost. Justus, the off again-on again mayoral candidate, is proposing to borrowed money from the city’s aviation department, which isn’t quite exactly like the general fund.

Northland Councilwoman Teresa Loar isn’t buying. “I think the problem is we were so adamant in this campaign for this airport that no general fund money, no taxpayer dollars would be used, and now we’re using them,” said Loar as reported in the Star“But I think we’re going to lose credibility. I think we’re going to lose trust of the public when we start moving monies around.”

Not to worry, councilwoman. For those paying attention to KCI, there is no credibility left to lose.



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