KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Quinton Lucas will explain how he plans to balance the budget in fiscal year 2022 during his State of the City Address Wednesday evening.
He will deliver the speech at 6 p.m. from Winnetonka High School.
First, he will share his proposal with the city’s Finance, Governance and Public Safety Committee at 10:30 a.m. at City Hall.
The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a roughly $50 million deficit in the budget. The mayor said in January he will not raise taxes to cover the deficit, but did say every department will have to make cuts.
“If there were a magic answer there, we would’ve already done it. But there is not,” Lucas said. “That means we’re going to take the responsible steps we have looking at all the options out there, looking at what other local governments around our country have done and seeing where, perhaps, we can see some revenue recovery coming in over the years ahead.”
To minimize the effects of the pandemic on the budget, the city placed some employees on furlough, instituted a hiring freeze and made cuts to department budgets.
Over the past several years, the city has added more money to its savings account, better known as its reserve fund. In January, the city’s finance director said it is the largest “rainy day” fund in the city’s history and could be used to help fill the current deficit.
“We consistently added to that to where we knew going into a recession, we had money in the bank. The beauty of this is, yes, we’re facing a challenge, but we do have that $100 million in fund balance we can draw from and that’s what it’s there for,” Tammy Queen said.
The city employs more than 7,000 people. The budget covers those salaries and services like police and fire protection, infrastructure, social services and more.