The Kansas City Council passed a resolution Thursday allocating revenue from dockless scooters to affordable housing initiatives.
The 9-4 vote followed nearly an hour of debate over what is, in the context of the city's housing needs, a small amount of money.
Under an interim agreement with the city, scooter companies Bird and Lime currently pay the city $1 per scooter per day. That adds up about $300,000 a year — a drop in the bucket when it comes to addressing the city’s housing issues.
Councilwoman Alissia Canady said she understood the resolution was not a permanent solution.
“The fact still remains if we don’t support this, there’s still no money allocated from our general fund to provide for affordable housing,” Canady said.
Councilman Jermaine Reed said it sounded like a “money grab” and wouldn’t solve the larger problem. The proposal’s sponsor, Katheryn Shields, said it was at least a start.
“I will tell you, I think speaking for the poor people in this city who live in underprivileged, crappy housing, somebody needs to do a money grab for them,” Shields said.
Reed eventually voted to support the measure.
Councilwoman Jolie Justus, who voted against it, argued that any money generated from transportation should go to programs with a transportation element.
Mayor Pro Tem Scott Wagner said scooter revenue should go through the normal budget process rather than being earmarked for a specific purpose. He said the resolution set a bad precedent.
“It’s just not a good practice,” Wagner said.
City Manager Troy Shulte now will have to identify a specific purpose or program for the money.
Lisa Rodriguez is a reporter and the afternoon newscaster for KCUR 89.3. Follow her on Twitter @larodrig.