As your next mayor, I promise to CONNECT our city, PROTECT our tax dollars, SECURE our safety & BUILD our future.
Protecting Our Tax Dollars
A) Ensuring basic services like trash pickup, street maintenance and repair, water rates, snow removal and more are a priority; B) Completing our infrastructure projects – especially KCI – on time and on budget; C) Equitably and strategically investing in all four corners of our City; and D) Bringing increased transparency, accountability, and efficiency to City Hall. As former Chair of the Commission that leads MoDOT, Steve saved taxpayers over $600 million that was poured into our roads and bridges.
Securing Our Safety
Calling upon our entire community – and all of our resources – to address violent crime and to seek solutions for the long-term causes of the hopelessness that often spurs violence – the lack of opportunity. Steve has been an advocate on issues related to homelessness, housing, education, healthcare, job training and opportunities for minorities and women.
Building Our Future
Working together to create a comprehensive plan to align the priorities of all parts of our City into a shared vision. Steve has built his own business; directed not-for-profits providing services to our most vulnerable, and lead a state-wide comprehensive transportation plan.
Bold and Aggressive 3-Point Plan to Combat Crime
“It is the fundamental obligation of city government to protect its citizens. As mayor, I will make this my highest priority.”
– Steve Miller
City Wide Initiatives
The city-wide initiatives include convening key figures from schools, neighborhoods, police, prosecutors, health-care professionals and business leaders; aligning school and non-profit programs to address conflict resolution and anger management issues, creating after-school work opportunities; and advocating for state legislation giving companies incentivizes to hire at-risk youth. I will call for more resources to reduce response times, further development of community policing sensitive to the culture and characteristics of the individual neighborhood, crisis-intervention training and the use of technological advances while still being conscious of privacy concerns and civil rights. I will work to create a second-chance job-assistance program for non-violent offenders. I will also address neighborhood blight and either raze or rehab vacant homes.
The neighborhood initiatives include granular identification of specific problems within each neighborhood, the creation of block-captain teams to work directly with police and offering incentives for officers to live in the neighborhoods they patrol. Opportunities for youth would focus on improving recreational opportunities – especially those that develop relationships with law enforcement. As outlined below, I will also work to initiate an “Adopt a Neighborhood” program to provide additional resources to help neighborhoods help themselves.
Support for Law Enforcement
Development and support of law enforcement will include bolstering mental-health and physical check-up routines and offering resiliency training for law enforcement professionals, firemen and first responders. I will broaden efforts to diversify the department, increase numbers of community information officers, and provide continuing professional development, competitive compensation and secure and fiscally responsible benefits and pensions.
At the same time, we are addressing an immediate response to crime, I will work to further policies to address the long-term source of crime: Hopelessness. I will do this by working to improve opportunities for all Kansas Citians through Education, Career Development, Affordable Housing and other initiatives.
“There is no one solution. Affordable housing needs to be integrated into market-rate housing projects to create mixed-income environments.”
– Steve Miller
Public, Private & Philanthropic Partnerships
The solutions we see around the country in which cities are successfully addressing systemic housing problems are implemented through public, private and philanthropic partnerships: P4s. These three sectors represent the necessary components to an effective housing strategy: policy & subsidies, debt & equity, grants and social-impact investing.
As your next mayor I will bring the three sectors to the table and design a five to ten-year plan in which resources are leveraged and capacity is enhanced so that production can scale up.
Tenants & Landlords
As part of an overall housing plan, the causes for the loss of one’s home or the legal basis for eviction must be better understood. We also need to understand what “safety nets” are available through government and not-for-profit programs.
As mayor, I will initiate a comprehensive review of the eviction situation in Kansas City to better quantify the problem and identify root causes; I will work with all stakeholders to fashion an appropriate remedy whether that is a change to current law; changes to enforcement or better aligning supportive services.
Aging in Place
Long-term investments by the City in previously blighted areas have made parts of our City more attractive to individuals of greater financial means. As demand for housing increases so do real estate prices; and as real estate prices increase the City increases the assessed value of properties resulting in higher taxes. We can see this in parts of our Westside, Beacon Hill, the Troost corridor and others.
A tax abatement policy freezing the valuation of the property of long-term residents may provide an easy and relatively simple way to protect this vulnerable population.
I will work with all stakeholders to create a new City Plan – Focus 2020 to make certain the Kansas City we are creating is a 21st Century City – one which is prepared to attract business, develop and retain local and national talent and compete on a global stage. This includes creating as City that is sustainable, one which creates greater density at its core with vibrant integrated transportation options while still offering a variety of suburban opportunities.
I will create an Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion which views every city program through this lens understanding that the City of the future must be more diverse, equitable and inclusive. A City with a vibrant arts scene – both visual and performing arts – which is fueled by greater density and diversity. The City’s investment in projects will always be assessed on the propensity of the investment to attract well-paying jobs – and claw back provisions will be used to guarantee performance.
As a metropolitan area, we must stop fighting over the same piece of the pie. Too often we use regional tax dollars to merely steal businesses and jobs from a few miles away across the state line. This “Border War” has resulted in a loss of more than $300 million to local governments and a net change of only 1200 jobs. Instead, as mayor of Kansas City, I will work with our other mayors and regional leaders to get state governments to enact legislation to economic development weapons from being trained on neighbors. I will link arms with our business leaders to grow the pie for our entire region – because in doing so we increase KCMO’s piece of the pie.
Property Tax Abatement Caps
I oppose the ballot measure mandating a 50% cap because it would unnecessarily tie the hands of the City precluding it from undertaking projects that might be truly transformative. For instance, the Sunfresh grocery store at 31st and Prospect would not have been possible with such an ordinance in place. More frightening still, the City would never know the opportunities that might have been. Those opportunities would simply go elsewhere.
I will make certain that investment decisions are aligned with the new Focus 2020 Plan. The City’s economic development program, including incentives, will overlay the master City Plan.
There needs to be more consistency between the various agencies which operate under the umbrella of the Economic Development Corporation. For instance, if the City is investing in a Project, the prevailing wage should be required of all projects. The other taxing jurisdictions such as the school districts and library should have a seat at the table and an opportunity to be heard.
In many instances the City’s use of tax incentives has been appropriate – and responsible for the current momentum; in other instances, they have not represented the best use of the City’s limited resources. In the future, the City must not only ask the question: “but for” the City investment would the Project go forward; the City must do a better job of asking whether a project is the type of project the City should invest in. To answer this latter question, the new Focus 2020 must serve as the touchstone.
The City should work to attract projects that create opportunities – that is, well-paying jobs. This means providing leadership that will equip Kansas City to be competitive in the 21st Century.
As Mayor, I am going to accomplish this by ensuring that policies in City Hall align with important business initiatives and that business initiatives are both supported and influenced by sound policy from City Hall. Over the last 5 years, business leaders have put significant work into the Big Five Initiatives (Chamber of Commerce) and the KC Rising program (Civic Council). I understand this work and the potential it holds for the City. As Mayor, I will work to ensure that these efforts, as well as efforts by the KCADC, Visit KC, the Arts Council and others, are integrated into a common vision and plan for our City.