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This month marks one full year on the job for the "new" City Manager, Brian Platt. When Platt arrived in Kansas City for his first official day of the job on Dec. 7, 2020, his first task may have been the toughest – navigating a pandemic-induced budget shortfall of $70 million. Working with the Mayor and City Council, Platt delivered a budget that avoided layoffs or furloughs, maintained essential city services, and even invested additional resources in key areas including housing, homelessness, snow removal and street repairs. And it has been an award-winning year, as Kansas City was named an All-America City for our work to improve equity and the Human Rights Campaign awarded KCMO a perfect 100 rating on its annual Municipal Equality Index.
The focus of Platt's first year has been to improve service delivery, create a more proactive and responsive government, and provide more support to Kansas City's most vulnerable residents. The management team has also been exploring innovative solutions and finding ways to better leverage technology across the organization.
"We've seen a lot of improvements to internal operations and service delivery thanks to our incredibly passionate and dedicated team," Platt said. "We certainly have more work to do but we are proud to take this moment to celebrate our successes."
Mayor Quinton Lucas saluted Platt's success by saying, "Over one year ago, I recommended Brian Platt to be our City Manager. Immediately upon his appointment, he started with a sizable to-do list and a tight City budget in the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, Brian has helped fulfill our mission to prioritize equitable service delivery, and has led improvements to many outdated processes, including creating a new, aggressive snow plan; filling 80 percent more potholes this summer than the year before; finding significant cost-savings opportunities, cutting millions in wasteful or duplicative spending; and promoting economic and workforce development opportunities in all parts of our community. I thank Brian and his wife, Margo, for their contributions to our City. I look forward to continuing our work."
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Over the last year the team has successfully implemented dozens of initiatives and strategies to run the city more efficiently and equitably. Highlights in three major categories include:
Improved delivery of City services
- Created an aggressive approach to residential snow plowing that adds 50 new plows and 100 additional drivers to clear neighborhood streets 24/7
- Restructured several departments, including: an abatement-focused, proactive Neighborhoods Services Department a standalone Housing and Community Development Department with the first staff ever dedicated to tenant advocacy, homelessness prevention, and creation of affordable housing a more responsive and stronger Civil Rights and Equal Opportunity Department (formerly Human Relations)
- Created a new mobile app, myKCMO, making it easier for residents to report and track requests for city services on the go, with faster responses
- Activated technology to improve decision making, such as a video analysis tool to identify the streets with the worst pavement quality
- Announced the aggressive goal to create 10,000 affordable housing units in the next five years, which includes: development of 3,000 city owned vacant lots into single family affordable housing converting existing structures such as hotels into new housing more affordable housing units in multi-family developments
- Developed a comprehensive strategy to improve street repairs by doubling street resurfacing funding, with a record 300 miles of streets to be paved this fiscal year
- Launched pilot for broadband internet project, "Digital KC Now", on the City's East Side to increase tech job training and access to high-speed internet
- Adopted Vision Zero policy to make streets safer for all road users by improving intersections and creating a record 30 miles of bike lanes this fiscal year
- Closed a $70 million budget gap using strategic cuts, by negotiating lower healthcare costs, and by auditing and restructuring contracts and other agreements to reduce unnecessary spending
- Right-sized municipal fleet and sold hundreds of underutilized vehicles, generating $2.5 million
- Implemented a retirement incentive that will reduce citywide salary costs by $4 million to $6 million annually
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Platt's vision for Year Two and beyond includes delivering on his ambitious goal of creating 10,000 new affordable housing units across the city over the next five years, while also expanding resources to preserve existing housing stock and prevent homelessness.
Platt is also focused on bringing economic development to all neighborhoods across the city, prioritizing the historic 18th and Vine district, 63rd and Prospect, and other areas across the East Side as well as pushing forward with new high rise development projects downtown.
Additionally, residents can expect to see transformative sustainability initiatives that will reduce waste, energy use, and dependence on fossil fuels. This will include converting 90,000 streetlights to LED, developing the nation's largest city-owned solar farm on thousands of acres of land at KCI airport and requiring all new city vehicles to be electric.
And of course, the Manager has been experiencing all that Kansas City has to offer in terms of the arts, sports and entertainment. "I'm so happy and proud to call Kansas City home," added Platt. "The energy and excitement are powerful and captivating, and the city has so much to offer. I'm also very much looking forward to cheering on the Chiefs as they march to another Super Bowl!"
You can follow City Manager Brian Platt and the City's progress on social media: Twitter @ KCMO and @BrianDavidPlatt and Instagram @KansasCity and @BrianDavidPlatt
Reporters may contact Media Relations Manager Maggie Green at 816-513-2612 for interviews or more information.
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