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October 25, 2019

Recently, CBIZ hosted its fourth quarter Executive Advantage Series (EAS), Unlocking the Unseen Potential in Kansas City. The event took place at the CBIZ offices on the Kansas City Plaza.

Dennis Strait, AIA, ASLA is a landscape architect and the Managing Principal of the Kansas City Studio of Gould Evans. Strait brought his 37 years of industry experience to CBIZ to discuss development in Kansas City, Missouri – how we have developed historically, what we can anticipate for the future, and what steps we can take to curb the affordable housing crisis that is now beleaguering the East and West coasts.

Strait first placed Kansas City’s development into the context of broad national trends, beginning with the 1700s and ending with present day. Along the way, he described the rising popularity of home ownership, particularly with the advent of the 30-year mortgage in the 1930s, and the trend of plotting larger and larger parcels of real estate as the proliferation of cars and the development of the Interstate Highway System increased private citizens’ mobility.

Single family homes boast larger yards than ever before and Strait attributes this fact to the invention of the car and homeowners’ willingness to stretch their daily commute further and further. He shared some surprising figures with the EAS audience: In 1950 Kansas City, Missouri occupied 81 square miles hosted approximately 457,000 residents. In 2019 the city has grown to 319 square miles and 492,000 residents. The city has quadrupled in size and shown only marginal population growth. “To put it another way,” Strait said, “each of us has four times as much city to maintain.”

Why is this a problem?

In Kansas City we have enough streets that with the same amount of road you could start in New York City, pave a lane all the way to San Francisco and back and then pave a new lane up to Canada and back to New York City. If we rebuilt our city today, it would take $4.9 billion just to re-make the roads. Assuming roads are meant to last approximately 50 years with regular maintenance, this means Kansas City should be allocating $100 million tax dollars to road maintenance every year. The 2019 street budget is $16 million.

How does this all come together?

An average suburban home is responsible for 135 linear feet of street or, using the same road maintenance estimates referenced above, $657 per year for street preservation. A similarly sized plot of urban real estate is associated with 3.7 linear feet of street - $17.91 per year for street preservation. In the context of street maintenance alone, Kansas City will turn a profit on the apartment building and take a heavy loss on the suburban home – and yet Kansas City continues to grant tax incentives to developers who continue to exacerbate the tax deficit.

Strait concludes that urban development – small parcels of real estate generating tax revenue rather than large single-family homes – is the only way to get ahead of the affordable housing crisis and increase property tax revenues. If Kansas City changes the way it evaluates and incentivizes development opportunities by looking at the long term financial opportunities, we can ensure a bright and affordable future for all Kansas Citians.

Thank you to all our 2019 EAS attendees! We look forward to our 2020 EAS events and will release details soon. Ideas for future EAS events? Email kcevents@cbiz.com  

October 16, 2019

On Thursday, October 10th, Ivanka Trump, Advisor to the President, joined HHS Secretary, Alex Azar, in a senior leadership roundtable on supporting working families in Kansas City. The panel was sponsored by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Governor Michael Parson and Senator Roy Blunt, both of Missouri, also participated in the listening tour to gather information from parents, child care providers, employers and state officials. The goal of the panel was to “gather information on innovative solutions to improve working families’ access to affordable, high-quality child care, as well as investigating how access to child care affects America’s workforce, present and future.”

Carolyn Watley, CBIZ Employee Benefits Vice President of Community Engagement, was invited to join the panel of Kansas City leaders.  Carolyn spoke about how employers can support working parents and offer benefit programs that help attract and retain talent in the workforce. Additionally, Carolyn highlighted our CBIZ offerings and work with our employee benefit clients in supporting working families. Carolyn was also representing the Greater KC Chamber as Vice Chair and emphasized the need to support our caregivers so that parents can be productive members of our workforce. Ensuring this level of support would help fill the many open positions that supports our economy and fuels regional growth.

October 1, 2019

This year’s Country Club Plaza Art Fair was full of life and color this past week! Our neighbors, the Country Club Plaza hosts their annual Art Fair the third weekend after Labor Day and every year guests come and enjoy local musicians, craft food and drinks, and contemporary art for everyone young and old!



CBIZ & MHM alongside EFL Associates were thrilled to host our annual Art Fair Social at our offices on the Plaza before the Art Fair began. We welcomed over 150 guests who enjoyed tasty treats provided by Plaza staple, Capital Grille and enjoyed the musical talents of Calvin Arsenia —a well-known local musician .



To round out the night we were pleased to offer guests a chance to win an exclusive 2019 Plaza Art Fair Banner (designed by local artists) and a record of Calvin Arsenia’s newest album.



As always, we thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity of welcoming each of our guests to our annual art fair social and thank each of you who were able to make it and hope to see everyone again next year at our Plaza Art Fair Social!



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