City Council votes to refinance P&L district debt

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The Kansas City Council voted unanimously Thursday afternoon to refinance the Power and Light District debt after the Finance Committee endorsed the plan Wednesday.

In 2006, a multimillion dollar bond was purchased to pay for the venue.

City Spokesperson Chris Hernandez said the city’s plans to refinance would help pay for the city’s four pension plans in 2014-15, which is expected to cost $15 million. Paying the pensions in full would be the first time in years.

"Another option would be to drastically cut basic services and we don't want to do that," Hernandez said. “We are getting good response from credit rating agencies and I think people will see that this is putting the city on a strong financial footing for the future."

The restructuring would open up approximately $7 million the city would fund directly to pensions.

The move would also add seven years to the debt repayment plan from 2033 to 2040, increasing the payment by $36 million, according to the city.

John Murphy, a spokesperson for the group Citizens for Responsible Government, does not agree with the decision.

“This is a warning sign that things are not going financially well for our city and we don't want to see us turn into Detroit," Murphy said. 

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