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Cost-Benefit

Green Funding: Kansas City Region

The region’s 125 municipalities and nine counties support the MetroGreen Vision, but, while several counties and municipalities have local funding sources, local financial commitments vary widely. Local property, parks, and stormwater taxes…resulted in the first 200 miles of greenway creation.

 

Funding the Vision

MetroGreen began as a plan to preserve recreational areas for the Mid-America Regional Council’s (MARC) 1.8 million residents. By incorporating environmental specialists into the planning process, MetroGreen evolved into an all inclusive regional green infrastructure and natural asset conservation project. While MARC serves the purpose of regional coordination well, the organization has little funding to provide monetary support to local governments. Implementation and funding options for the MetroGreen initiative are devised independently by each local government. Utilizing are a wide array of financing options, localities refer to this as the “funding quilt” when multiple funding sources finance the MetroGreen effort. State and federal funding is usually recognized to provide green infrastructure development incentives, but at the same time can restrict the formation of local policies meant to emulate MetroGreen’s mission.

 

Local Government Efforts

a.      Conservation

  • The long term goal to leave intact large swathes of land unaffected by intense urban development
  • Attractive for social recreation and especially for the protection of natural functions, like water filtration and floodwater absorption.

b.      Connection

  • Planning for easy accessibility between multiple green spaces, and urban communities to green space corridors.

c.       Restoration

  • Efforts to rebuild former native ecosystems, plants, and animals in corridors where they once existed.

MetroGreen Goals

 

Conservation

Connection

Restoration

Local MetroGreen funding options

Taxes
Sales

X

X

X

Compensation Use

X

X

X

Property

X

X

X

User Fee
Stormwater Utility Fees and Sewer Bill

X

X

Development Fees

Fee in lieu of construction

X

Real estate transfer

X

X

X

Tax increment financing

X

X

Impact fee

X

X

Excise tax

X

X

Source: Mid-American Regional Council, MetroGreen: Preserving the Possibilities, 2007.

Funding Tools

a.      Taxes

Many taxes are justified to fund trail and/or recreation projects, and the policy is included in municipal vision plans providing legitmacy. For example, Platte County has had a one-half cent sales tax to fund parks, trails, and stormwater projects since 2000. The following year in 2001the Northland Trails Vision Plan with Clay County included the sales-tax and its purpose. Stormwater projects are also a significant reason to legitimize a sale-tax. Since 1991, Johnson County’s one-tenth cent sales tax and property tax has been utilized multiple recreation purposes but especially address flooding problems by paying for stormwater projects within the county and its cities. In 2001, Johnson County’s one-tenth sales tax and property tax proceeds provided $7 million for about twenty new stormwater projects.

 b.      User fees

Parks charge a fee to users of their parks, trails and greenways. The fees are incorporated in to a greater investment stream for proactive natural stormwater management projects. The stormwater utility fees are helping the city of Lenexa, Kansas implement its “Rain to Recreation” program which aims to reduce flooding, protect water quality and natural habitat, and provide educational and recreational opportunities for the citizens of Lenexa by developing detention basins connected by trails in their local parks. This funding source could become a model for other MARC communities.

c.       Development Fees

Impact fees are a common funding stream for trails and greenways. Developers have the option to dedicate open space for trail development or donate a certain amount of money per new home. Cities and counties adopting local trail plans require fees when urban development along trail corridors is under consideration. The City of Kearney, Missouri is incorporated impact fees into the building development process and sidewalk trails into its road-widening projects which will connect to the main trail networks and neighborhood schools.

 

 

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