Kansas City to receive desperately needed relief under American Rescue Plan

Vaccine Story

A mass vaccination site at Memorial Stadium in Columbia, Mo.// Photo courtesy of MU Health Care

Under the American Rescue Plan—the next COVID-19 relief-related stimulus package that President Biden signed into law Thursday afternoon—Kansas City, Missouri stands to receive $195 million in aid

The plan offers $195.3 billion in aid to states, which governors must redistribute to local governments, and $130.2 billion directly to local governments. Missouri will receive about $5.3 billion and Kansas will receive over $2.5 billion. The funds are meant to respond to the COVID-19 emergency and its economic fallout, provide government services affected by revenue reduction from the pandemic, and provide premium pay to essential employees, among other things. 

For Kansas City, which is over $70 million in debt, this stimulus is a long-awaited opportunity to get back on track. Kansas City’s deficit cause Lucas to make a number of budget cuts, including cutting over $11 million from police funding

“This allows us to not only replenish our cash reserves, but also to continue to try to enhance our public services,” Lucas said on KCUR’s Up To Date. “There are significant amounts coming, [but cities] are not planning to spend this on new Taj Mahals or anything like that. We will start with being responsible before we start a list of things that are more like desires or wants.”

Lucas said he will likely use the money to replenish the city’s cash reserve fund, improve public services like street resurfacing and snow removal, and expand social services. Among those possible social services could be increased mental healthcare and a housing trust fund. Though any extra spending would require approval from the City Council. 

Kansas City metro counties are also awaiting their portion of economic relief. Jackson County will receive over $136 million, Clay County will receive $48 million, Platte County will receive over $25 million, and Cass County will receive over $20 million. On the Kansas side, Johnson County will receive over $116 million, Wyandotte County will receive over $32 million, Douglas County will receive about $23 million, and Leavenworth County will receive over $15 million. 

A number of metro cities on both sides of the state line will also be receiving direct funding from the federal government. In Missouri, Independence will receive about $20 million, Blue Springs about $6 million, and Lee’s Summit will receive over $9 million. In Kansas, both Olathe and Overland Park are estimated to receive about $20 million. 

Categories: Politics