What are Questions
1 & 2?
Question 1 asks Kansas City voters for permission for the City to issue sewer revenue bonds that will fund rehabilitating, expanding, and improving the City’s sanitary sewer system. This vote is not to issue specific wastewater revenue bonds — it allows KC Water’s Sewer utility to ask the City Council for approval to issue specific wastewater bonds for specific projects totaling up to $750 million. Revenue bond financing is the lowest-cost method of financing projects that benefit both current and future ratepayers.
Question 2 is a referendum to renew Kansas City’s health levy, which funds ambulance services, non-profit health centers, and health care services for nearly 90,000 Kansas Citians who need it most each year, while keeping health care costs lower for the rest of us. It supports Kansas City’s economy by investing in thousands of health care jobs and is vital to our efforts to provide access to equitable health care.
Voting “YES” on Questions 1 and 2 will help keep health care costs and water bills under control while serving our most vulnerable neighbors and repairing our old infrastructure. Voting “YES” won’t raise our taxes, but if they fail, we could see cuts in ambulance services, higher water bills, or worse.
Will voting ‘yes’
raise my taxes?
No. Question 1 authorizes the city to issue sewer revenue bonds, which are not taxes. Revenue bond financing is the lowest-cost method of financing projects that benefit both current and future ratepayers. Question 2 renews the existing health levy at its current level.
What benefits does voting yes have for me?
Question 1: will help keep utility bills under control and fund critical repairs and upgrades to our wastewater infrastructure. Failing to make those repairs could lead to dramatically higher utility bills or serious problems with wastewater treatment and sewage pipes.
Question 2: Kansas City’s health levy helps offset the costs of uninsured or underinsured patients at hospitals and nonprofit neighborhood health centers across Kansas City, funds ambulance services, and keeps health care costs lower for the rest of us. It supports Kansas City’s economy by investing in thousands of health care jobs. As our city and our health care system continue to deal with the pandemic, it allows the providers to invest in positive health outcomes, better quality of life, and increased life expectancy for all Kansas Citians.
Why are these questions being put up for a vote?
Question 1: KC Water operates three utilities: Water, Wastewater, and Stormwater. Each utility’s money is managed separately. The Wastewater utility has used up the remaining amount of its last sewer revenue bond authorization. To continue to finance repairs and improvements to our wastewater infrastructure at the best possible borrowing rate, the utility needs approval from the voters to issue new sewer revenue bonds.
Question 2: Kansas City voters have repeatedly voted in favor of the health levy. We most recently renewed it for an additional nine years in 2013. We are in year eight of that period, requiring renewal in 2022.
happen if Questions 1 and 2 don’t pass?
If Question 1 fails, we could face dramatically higher utility bills. Even then, we could also face delayed or canceled repairs to our wastewater infrastructure, leading to system backups, leaking pipes, and environmental damage. Finally, the damage to the wastewater utility’s bond rating could mean even higher sewer bills for Kansas Citians.
If Question 2 fails, we would face increased health care costs and lower quality of life for all Kansas Citians, and nearly 90,000 Kansas Citians could lose access to health care services provided by local hospitals and non-profit neighborhood health care centers. We could also face cuts to ambulance services, which are funded by the health levy. Finally, the greater stress on our health care system could result in the loss of health care jobs.
Community support across Kansas City is vitally important in this local election, where every vote counts. You can become an endorser at this link, and volunteer to take many actions to support the renewal of the health levy and supporting the issuance of sewer bonds, including writing or signing letters to the editor, contacting your friends, and amplifying our message on social media.