Kansas City promises 20k jobs, but confusion over what kind

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - On August 7, Kansas City, Mo., voters will decide the fate of Questions 1 & 2 on their ballot.

City leaders say if people vote "yes" to both, it will mean 20,000 new jobs. The promise is highlighted on campaign materials.

But there's apparently some confusion about what kind of jobs will actually be created.

We asked if these are direct construction jobs or construction plus ripple effect jobs.

The two spokesmen the campaign provided contradicted each other.

Ed DeSoignie, the executive director of the Heavy Constructors Association of Greater Kansas City said, "Those would be construction jobs. Right. We are not talking about an economic multiplier in this case."

When asked the same question, KCMO Water Department Financial Officer Sean Hennessy responded, "That would include all the indirect jobs as well."

Hennessy says most of the jobs -- 15,000 over five to seven years -- are tied to the sewer system overhaul that is part of Question 2.

He came up with the number using a federal formula.

"We got these numbers, they came from the bureau of economic analysis," Hennessy said. "They do a specific analysis for the Kansas City region."

41 Action News asked for clarification on the types of jobs that will be created.

On Thursday night, a campaign worker could only say they are confident that 20,000 jobs will be created.

The campaign pushes an earlier answer -- that a "yes" vote means a lot of money for local construction.

"You talk to us about anything that will generate jobs, we're for it. We're for putting people back to work," DeSoignie said.

Kansas City is under federal mandate to modernize so raw sewage doesn't mix with rainwater or back up into basements.

A "yes" vote on Question 2 gives the city authority to issue bonds now, while interest rates are low.

City officials say they will have to do the sewer overhaul one way or another, so the question is how to pay for it.

Leaders say a "yes" vote on Question 2 means the water bill will go up 13 to 15 percent, each year for the next six or seven years.

A "no" vote means a 24 percent increase next year, followed by an 89 percent increase the year after that.

City leaders say Question 1 would create jobs repairing streets.

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