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Budget Cuts Proposed For KCMO Cultural Organizations

courtesy: flickr user Kelly Garbato

Cultural organizations in Kansas City, Mo., such as the American Jazz Museum and the Kansas City Zoo, could be facing budget cuts.

The city’s proposed budget for the next fiscal year calls for the following reductions: 

  • The American Jazz Museum by $125,000
  • The Kansas City Museum by $96,592
  • Liberty Memorial by $31,324.
  • The Kansas City Zoo is the hardest hit organization, with a cut in funding of $250,000.

All of these organizations, except the American Jazz Museum, receive allocations in the Parks and Recreation department's budget. 
According to Greg Carroll, CEO of the American Jazz Museum, if the budget is approved, his annual operating budget will be down by 25 percent.

“This will have a devastating impact on the momentum and programming,” Carroll wrote in an email to KCUR. “It’s next to impossible to maintain the high level of programming … on a mere $367,000 per year. That’s what we would end up with.”

Mayor Sly James and City Manager Troy Schulte presented the proposed budget to the City Council on February 12. In a letter to council members, they wrote that the budget reflected "structural changes that set the City on a path toward greater financial stability pursuant to the Citywide Business Plan." This includes a 0ne-year salary freeze for all city employees, including the police department. 

This month the city hosted two neighborhood hearings, as well as a Twitter chat, for community input. The budget is also searchable with an interactive tool called Open Budget KC

The final community hearing takes place on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Southeast Community Center, 4201 E. 63rd Street, Kansas City, Mo. Feedback can also be provided online at KCMOmomentum.org

The City Council is slated to adopt a budget at the end of March, after an additional public hearing on March 4 at City Hall and discussions in committee. 

Correction: This post originally claimed that Saturday's hearing was the last public budget hearing. The post has been updated to include another public hearing on March 4. 

Kansas City is known for its style of jazz, influenced by the blues, as the home of Walt Disney’s first animation studio and the headquarters of Hallmark Cards. As one of KCUR’s arts reporters, I want people here to know a wide range of arts and culture stories from across the metropolitan area. I take listeners behind the scenes and introduce them to emerging artists and organizations, as well as keep up with established institutions. Send me an email at lauras@kcur.org or follow me on Twitter @lauraspencer.
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