Mayor Lucas, Councilmembers Bough, Bunch Introduce Resolution to Enhance Coordination Between City, Utility Companies


Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas, Sixth District At-Large Councilwoman Andrea Bough and Fourth District Councilman Eric Bunch today introduced a resolution directing the Kansas City Manager to, within 45 days, produce a set of recommendations that would work to enhance communication among City Departments, and with utility companies, to limit the number of necessary excavations on our roads throughout the City.

This resolution was crafted after several discussions between Mayor Lucas, Councilwoman Bough, Councilman Bunch, Acting City Manager Earnest Rouse, the Kansas City Public Works Department, the City Planning Department, Spire Energy, and KC Water regarding ways to improve intra-agency coordination on utility and resurfacing projects.

“Too often, the City spends time, resources, and manpower on resurfacing a street in our city, only to have that same street torn up days later for pre-scheduled utility work,” said Mayor Lucas. “It’s frustrating. It’s wasteful. It’s expensive. Today’s action will create a path to ensuring our Departments can better communicate with each other and with utility companies throughout our city to avoid future costly and embarrassing scenarios, such as on 39th Street just this week. While the City has roughly $5 billion in deferred road maintenance, being smart as we replace crumbling infrastructure, complete patchwork on lines early before failure, and invest in preventative maintenance can reverse our road problem. I am optimistic this step will help complete our road projects in a time- and cost-effective manner.”

“It is imperative that we efficiently deliver services to our constituents, and that includes eliminating unnecessary construction on our streets that lead to added inconvenience and cost,” said Councilwoman Bough. “Improving our City’s infrastructure processes has been a high priority for my office from the day I was sworn in to serve the City’s residents. I look forward to receiving the City Manager’s recommendations and working with my colleagues to implement necessary change.”

“It's time we put forth a concerted effort from City Hall to hold local utility companies accountable and recoup the cost they put on taxpayers,” said Councilman Bunch. “We at the City will also do our part to better coordinate our interdepartmental infrastructure improvements with utilities to alleviate the burden this type of work imposes on our small business community and neighborhoods.”

“Coordinating with utility companies working within our right-of-way is key to Public Works’ ability to care for our roadway system,” said Public Works Acting Director Ralph Davis. “Although we have coordination efforts already in place with our Street Preservation Program, we support this resolution, the additional guidance it provides, and look forward to continuing to work with our utility partners to make progress on this effort.”

“KC Water supports and is involved in utility coordination to minimize the impact that important and necessary infrastructure work may have on Kansas City residents,” said KC Water Director Terry Leeds.

Specifically, the City Manager will be tasked with: Reviewing current City codes, laws, regulations, standards, and policies pertaining to excavations and use of City right-of-way for the location, relocation, repair, maintenance and operation of facilities within City right-of-way, which will include right-of-way construction and restoration standards; recoupment of right-of-way management costs; and permit requirements and permit enforcement for right-of-way permits; Reviewing current procedures and devise new procedures, if necessary, for the coordination of projects among City departments and between the City and right-of-way users to limit the number of necessary excavations and lessen impacts to the right-of-way; and Providing recommendations to effectively manage the City’s right-of-way and report back to Council with recommendations within 45 days of the date of adoption of this Resolution.

The resolution, 200916, will be referred to the Transportation, Infrastructure, and Operations Committee.