Friday, May 26, 2017

RAYTOWN'S LEADING NEWS SOURCE

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BY GREG WALTERS
59th Street Blues
This last week has seen a lot of traffic on the Raytown Report Blog about the repair and deterioration of 59th Street between Raytown Road and Blue Ridge Cutoff.

A quick review for those not familiar with what has happened.

About a month ago the Raytown Water Company experienced a major water line break at 59th and Elm Street. Repair crews came out and dug up quite a bit of the west bound lane of 59th Street to repair the water line.

East of where the work was completed, the road service became wavy. It is clear to anyone who regularly drives on the road there is definitely something going on under the street.

The picture at the left shows what was allowed to stay in place when the street was repaired for the broken water main.
Do you think a little foresight might have helped here?

Why not pay the contractor a few hundred dollars more to move the street cut over a couple of feet to eradicate the potholes and broken seams of a failing street? Do you think the water undermining the integrity of the street might be coming from this perforated pothole mess?

BY PAUL LIVIUS
Not So Fast, Bob
I was reading Raytown’s last remaining wood pulp news source, the Raytown Times, when I came across Bob Phillips “Off the Top” column. Never understood what “off the top” means in that context, but at least we are all on the same page.

Bob was bemoaning the city not taking advantage of a grant that would have paid 80% of the cost of “improvements on Blue Ridge Boulevard”. He then went on and wrote, “There is no reason to look for blame”.

An interesting thought, because in the next sentence he blames the revolving door of the city administrators, department heads, and, ultimately, the Board of Aldermen.

So much for not placing blame. Wouldn’t you agree Bob?

 
He continues about other things “falling through the cracks”, like the reports on the 350 Live TIF project.

To paraphrase a comedian of my generation, “ . . . for a guy living in the Ozarks, you sure do place a lot of blame on people living in Raytown!”

Let’s take a closer look at what Bob wrote:

“For unknown reasons the city dropped the ball and only recently the boulevard improvement was brought up again”.

Come on Bob, you can do better than that! How about, the city was broke and did not have the funds to pay the 20% needed to receive the 80% grant from the Missouri Department of Transportation.

Where did the money go? Let me help you out. The money went to pay for the construction of Walmart, buying the property from the school district on which to build the Walmart Store on 350 Highway, and, the highway entrances and signals off of the east and west bound entrances to Walmart. Don’t forget the street, aptly named “Walmart Way”.

Somebody’s got to pay those bills.

You see, Bob, Raytown’s Board during the golden age of former Mayor David Bower, thought it was a good idea to create a 20+ year mortgage through a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) scheme to jump start the local Raytown economy. The debt from those bills have to be paid. And , the shoppers in Raytown are paying it with a sales tax of close to 10% on every dollar spent at Walmart.

The sad reality is there is a finite amount of money paid by shoppers in Raytown on an annual basis. Walmart is such a large retail engine that it easily creates 20% of the sales tax revenue in Raytown.

That means roughly 20% of the sales tax collected in Raytown does not pay our police or repair our streets. It pays for the interest and debt created to build the Walmart facility.
Which brings us to your comment . . . "there is no reason to look for blame"

Actually, there is a reason to place blame. Because if we do not recognize why the city is in such financial straits then we are doomed to repeat the same mistakes again.

The blame rests on the shoulders of former Mayor David Bower and his City Administrator Mahesh Sharma. They engineered and convinced the Board of Aldermen to go down the slippery slope of creating debt to get rich.

Incidentally, it was also under Bower/Sharma watch that the city failed to report 350 Live TIF reports to the state.

It is a sad testament to the reality of the situation that even today, with all of these facts, you still refuse to accept the failures of the past that has created Raytown’s dilemma today.

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Sunday, May 21, 2017

RAYTOWN'S LEADING NEWS SOURCE

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BY GREG WALTERS
59th Street Attracts
City’s Attention
Any regular reader of the blog portion of the Raytown Report can tell you this past week has seen a lot of attention and comments from the public.

Here is what has transpired.
See Paul's Rant for comments on this photo.
A little over a month ago there was a water main break at 59th and Elm Street. To repair the broken line, the water company had to tear out a large portion of the street. The picture at left shows the street after repairs were made.

But the problem does not end with the water main break. East of where the water main break was repaired the road surface has begun to buckle. The result, as one blogger put it, “. . . is like riding a roller coaster” when you drive down the street.

Apparently the city has recognized the problem. This past week city crews placed signs along the east bound portion of 59th Street warning drivers to reduce their speed along the deteriorating section of 59th Street.

Our View . . .

One of the comments on this week’s blog caught our attention. A message signed by someone named Jim Williams wrote:
Jim Williams said…

I see a lot of people on this blog moaning and groaning and whining about 59th street. I watch each and every BOA meeting broadcast on the web. I haven't seen anyone at the meetings complaining about the street. Instead of sitting on your rear and griping on this blog, why don't you get up and DO SOMETHING?

May 19, 2017 at 9:17 AM

We can understand Mr. Williams angst regarding people showing up at meetings to complain about the street. From our point of view, they have done just as well complaining about the street on the Raytown Report. Apparently someone at City Hall became aware of the problem. The two pictures showing the water company repair work and the signs warning drivers to slow down pretty much tells the story. City Hall has clearly received the message.

The taxpayers did their part when they pay the taxes that end up in the city’s coffers. Now it is time for the machinery of the local government to go to work to make certain repairs are made to acceptable standards expected in a major metropolitan area.

Memorial Day Celebration
The Raytown Arts Council and Council on Aging will hold its Annual Memorial Day Celebration on May 29th at Coleman Park located at 59th and Lane Streets from 10 to 11 a.m. at the main Shelter House.

Mayor Michael McDonough will be on hand to address the gathering. Live patriotic music will be performed by the Polished Brass, a band made up Raytown musicians.

The public is invited to attend this free event.

 
Paul’s Rant 
UNACCEPTABLE! 
The picture below is of recent repair work done on 59th Street.Greg’s cover story covers the details of impending problems on 59th Street. There is no point in going over them again. However, it is important to point out the work performed on the street was done by a utility. Not by the city. At the same time, it is important to understand that such work is supposed to be overseen by city hall Codes and Public Works Department personnel. At the end of the day, they have the final say of whether a job is a acceptable by Raytown standards.


What concerns me is the poor quality of the repair job. City ordinances require the city monitor and “sign off” on roadwork before traffic is allowed on the surface. City code also requires certain standards are met in the quality of workmanship of utility cuts on public roadways.

Take  a close look at the picture. Would it have been too much trouble to extend the northern edge of the concrete work to remove the potholes and large cracks in where two sections of asphalt meet?

The photo does not do justice to the uneven surface of the new concrete surface. However I can assure anyone driving on the repaired portion of the street will feel it. If you drive in the east bound lane, be forewarned, slow down!

As Greg told me when we talked about this story . . . "If this was the quality of concrete work done on my driveway, I would be less than pleased."

I suggest my readers take a drive along 59th Street and make the determination for themselves. From my point of view it is very clear we need to raise the bar as to what is acceptable and not acceptable when utility companies make street cuts.



The Paul Livius Report 
Raytown Board of Aldermen Meeting – May 16, 2017

The Colors were presented and the Pledge was led by the Raytown Police Department Color Guard.

Mayor McDonough proclaimed May 14-20 as National Police Week.
Mayor McDonough proclaimed May 21-27 as EMS Week.
Mayor McDonough proclaimed May 21-27 as Public Works Week.
Mayor McDonough proclaimed May, 2017 as Older American Month.
Mayor McDonough proclaimed Mary Bell to be the Support Staff of the Year at Fleetwood Elementary School.

Mayor McDonough congratulated Park Board member, Nancy Nail, who has been selected to be a guest soloist on June 4 at the Lincoln Center in New York Center.

The Board passed a resolution approving the purchase of software and training from CI Technologies In an amount not to exceed $16,500.  The Police Department manages internal investigations to closely monitor situations of vehicle pursuits, force situations, and citizen complaints.  The related reports and files have historically been kept in paper form in file boxes.  This is an antiquated and cumbersome method to store and research this information.  The implementation of “IA Pro” software has permitted much more modern and effective record keeping practices.  The second phase of this project is the implementation of the field reporting solution known as “Blue Team”.  This module permits employees to report incident data directly into the internal affairs software.  This solution provides more accurate and timely reporting of these sensitive incidents and enables the Police Department to more closely monitor these high-risk situations.  This type of analysis has been highly emphasized by the Department of Justice and set as a goal for many Police Departments.  Funds for this acquisition were approved per the fiscal year 2016-2017 budget process.  This item has been reviewed by the Special Sales Tax Oversight Committee and found to meet the voters’ intent of that fund.

The Board passed a resolution approving a service agreement with Digitech Computers for EMS billing services and supplies including integrated patient care reporting software and related hardware in an amount not to exceed $12,500.  Raytown EMS billing was contracted to MED3000 in 2008.  MED3000 was acquired by McKesson, Inc. during the term of the agreement, and through a subsequent merger, which became effective in April 2017.  McKesson’s EMS billing operation merged with Change Healthcare.  At the direction of the Board of Aldermen, staff opened EMS billing to bid in March 2017.  Several proposals were received and evaluated, with Digitech Computer, Inc. emerging as both the best and overall lowest (6.25%, including hardware) bid.  We believe that the proprietary technology which Digitech Computer, Inc. uses throughout the billing process will allow them to outperform their competitors who submitted proposals in this process.  Though they will be working with us on getting set up from the 1st of June, no fees will be incurred until Digitech Computer, Inc. starts processing accounts on the go-live date.  For the two months of the fiscal year 2017 this contract will be operative, we anticipate Digitech Computer, Inc.’s fees not to exceed $12,500.00.  The proposed agreement before the Board has been reviewed and approved by Digitech Computer, Inc., EMS, Finance, City Attorney, and City Administrator.

The Board passed a resolution authorizing a letter of agreement by and between the City and Raymond James in connection with the issuance of general obligation bonds.  On April 19th in conjunction with our Financial Advisor, Columbia Capital, the City issued an RFP for senior managing underwriter for two upcoming financings.  The Underwriter purchases the City’s transactions for resell in the market, serving as the intermediary between the City and the ultimate investors.  The underwriter does not have a fiduciary responsibility to the City.  On the City’s behalf, Columbia Capital extensively evaluated the six responses the City received by the May 2nd, 2017 deadline.  Attached to the RBA is a memo from Columbia Capital outlining their evaluation process and recommendation to the City that it selects Raymond James to serve as underwriter on these transactions.

The Board passed a resolution approving the additional expenditure of funds with Tyler Technologies for a total amount not to exceed $153,320.  The Staff is asking for an amendment to the R-2928-16 whereas the amount not to exceed was established at $80,320.  This would increase the authorization of expenditures by $73,000 for total not to exceed $153,320.  This increase would cover the cost of purchasing the account receivable module for our ERP software, Incode X and EnerGov Suite.  The City currently utilizes Incode Software, a division of Tyler Technologies, Inc. for all financial, purchasing, utility, payroll, human resources, courts, and customer service software.  Adding the accounts receivable module will allow for the standardization and tracking of invoicing and accurate amounts due to the city.  The EnerGov Suite would include modules for Permitting, Licensing, Inspections, and Code Enforcement, including applications that would be used directly at the worksite to enhance speed and efficiency of documentation.

The Board passed a resolution authorizing the professional services of storm water infrastructure repair from Wiedenmann, Inc.  Utilizing the City of Lee’s Summit cooperative purchase contract and approving project expenses for 7008 Evanston in an amount not to exceed $21,612.  This past year a sinkhole in the backyard of 7008 Evanston was reported to Public Works staff.  Upon investigation of the sinkhole, it was found that the subgrade around the storm water corrugated metal pipe had eroded due to pipe failure.  The Staff has been called out numerous times to temporarily fill in this sinkhole.  A permanent solution is to remove and replace about 70 feet of 24” corrugated metal pipe and replace it with 24” HDPE storm water pipe.  The Staff contacted Wiedenmann, Inc. to investigate the needed repairs.  Wiedenmann, Inc. developed the cost estimate of $19,647 to do this work.  This is not a proposal or a not to exceed amount, but is a construction estimate based on a time and materials cooperative agreement being utilized through the City of Lee’s Summit.  The Staff is recommending BOA approval to be 10% higher than this estimate, to cover unforeseen circumstances that may arise with this underground work.


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