Resident Profile: Teresa Johnson

Kansas City, MO

“Citizens were so in favor of getting a true modern shelter built that people who, frankly, hadn’t even gone to the polls before actually registered and came out to vote.”

When Kansas City residents voted to approve an $800 million infrastructure repair plan, Teresa Johnson, head of the organization that manages the City’s animal shelter, was elated by the new $14 million shelter within the package, which will be repaid through property tax increases over 20 years. Winning voters’ approval was built on the City’s tradition of community engagement, data-driven thinking, and using a quarterly resident satisfaction survey to set priorities and allocate funds. Kansas City expanded that use of data and performance management in setting priorities through its collaboration with What Works Cities.

Says City Manager Troy Schulte: “[Residents have] been telling us for years to invest more in infrastructure. We delivered the package, and they responded.” Johnson, owner of two dogs and a cat, says: “Citizens were so in favor of getting a true modern shelter built that people who, frankly, hadn’t even gone to the polls before actually registered and came out to vote.” The City released plans in May 2017 to begin work repairing sidewalks and other infrastructure projects, and plans to break ground in the fall of 2017 for the new shelter, next to the Kansas City Zoo.


The above profile is an excerpt from “What Works Cities: How Local Governments Are Changing Lives,” a new report showcasing accomplishments from cities participating in the What Works Cities initiative over the past two years. Read more profiles and city success stories here.