Councilmember Questions Use of Public Money for Private Group
October 21, 2017
By Stephanie Edwards
A member of City Council questioned a public service agreement between the City and the Downtown Lee's Summit Community Improvement District for public area maintenance, including, but not limited to, litter control, weed abatement, and sidewalk cleaning.
The PSA was passed with a 6-1 vote. Councilmember Dave Mosby voted against the agreement. The City would share the cost of the salary for the maintenance worker with the Downtown Lee's Summit CID. He questioned whether the same service has been provided for Walmart, Summit Woods and other local businesses.
Assistant City Manager Christal Weber told Councilmember Mosby that the City had not provided the same benefit for another business, and pointed out that the agreement involved the care and maintenance of public land, and not privately owned property in the case of Walmart or another private entity.
Councilmember Mosby said that he believed the Downtown CID "does good work," but said that he has a philosophical difference. He explained that he was asking the questions because the City "is at a time of needing every penny we have to get salaries up to where they should be."
Councilmember Mosby has been outspoken in recent meetings over the need for the City to address the "serious salary deficit" it is facing for City employees.
Every week, Councilmember Mosby said, the Council is approached to fund "wants" by groups or organizations that can afford it. He called the requests "welfare."
Mayor Pro-tem Rob Binney said that he appreciated Councilmember Mosby's questions, though he had an opposite point of view. He said he appreciated the fact that an organization was willing to pay half of the salary of a City employee. He further said that the general taxpayer would not be funding the public service agreement, but shoppers who spend their money in the downtown area.