KC City Council votes down KCI agreement with Edgemoor

Posted at 1:21 PM, Dec 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-15 00:03:05-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Kansas City Council voted down the memorandum of understanding, or MOU, with Edgemoor for a new single-terminal KCI. 

The vote was 9-4. The only council members to vote yes were Mayor Sly James and Jermaine Reed, Jolie Justus, and Katheryn Shields. 


What now?

City leaders now have to decide how to move forward.

Councilwoman Julie Justus wants to sit down with Edgemoor and attempt to renegotiate the MOU.

"In my belief, we have been negotiating in good faith all along with Edgemoor," Justus said. "Every single ordinance or direction we have made with this council, Edgemoor has said 'yes' to."

The council could also just move on to the next bidder, which is AECOM. Councilman Lucas Barnes came out in support of this, saying that Edgemoor didn't do enough to meet their suggestions for community benefits.

The city could also decide to start from scratch and begin the procurement process all over again but it seems many council members are against this.

"We had some very good bidders, I'm proud of the folks we were able to solicit with the project," said councilman Quinton Lucas. "I think the first conversation will be with Edgemoor to see if we can come up with some type of solution that gives us the good airport facility but one that isn't just actually high on cost, high on these reimbursement agreements for expenses that don't relate to the airport project itself"

Lucas was also optimistic that voting down the MOU won't slow the project down. 

"I think we can continue to move at the same timetable as we were before but we're just going to say we are working out a good deal," said Lucas. "For some reason, that didn't happen over the last two and a half months. We are going to make sure that happens now."

Why it was shot down

Doubts about the passage crept in Thursday afternoon during a business session, several council members raised concerns about the Edgemoor agreement.

Although the agreement was non-binding, one controversial clause would have required the city to pay up if they decided to cancel it.

"If we terminate, we are on the hook for everything from Sept. 26, 2017 until whatever date that is, and right now it is roughly $30 million that they say they've spent," Councilwoman Heather Hall explained.

Councilman Quinton Lucas raised concerns about that clause too, as well as the community benefits agreement in the MOU. 

Just as the business session started, the Black Chamber of Commerce released its own statement opposing the MOU. The agreement included a goal of 35 percent minority and women-owned business involvement for construction and professional services. The chamber argued the goal didn't go far enough to include minority businesses, and leaders pushed for a 33 percent goal for minorities alone.

An Edgemoor design workshop that was scheduled for Thursday night was canceled. A company representative said there was a development and they would not be involved in the single-terminal airport. The rep apologized and thanked the attendants for coming.