A five-member board in Kansas City that is tasked with overseeing a sales tax initiative for the city's East Side area is drawing criticism from the public. The source of public displeasure is a decision by the board to not allow either citizens or members of the media to attend a recent meeting on the matter.
Residents of the city have expressed a deep concern for the secret actions of the committee and feel that the board's intent is to rubber stamp proposals without knowledge or input from the public.
The Central City Economic Development Tax is a one-eighth percent sales tax that was implemented to produce an additional $100 million of tax revenue over the next ten years. The increase was approved by voters last year in April with the purpose of providing financial help for impoverished neighborhoods in the city.
Many voters in the city now express feelings of betrayal and say they expected money generated from the additional sales tax to be spent with full transparency and public involvement.
The board did engage the public in discussions regarding the general themes to be applied to the economic recovery of the east side. However, now that specific proposals are being discussed, the board has decided to alone consider which of these proposals will be passed along to the City Council.
The City Council, who will have the final say on all proposals suggested by the board, is scheduled to convene on the matter in September. Many voters lament the fact that the public does not have any information regarding the proposals being discussed or how the proposals are being generated.City officials have promised that all actions taken by the Council when making the final decision on these proposals will take place publicly. This promise has not done much for residents of Kansas City who feel that the trust they placed in East Side leadership has not been reciprocated.