Sunday, November 16, 2014

RAYTOWN'S LEADING NEWS SOURCE

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BY GREG WALTERS
Wanted:  
A Few Good Men and Women
The days are getting shorter, the nights are longer and cold. An odd numbered year is rushing towards us on the calendar . . . in the world of Raytown politics that can mean only one thing. There is a city election on the horizon set for next Spring.

It has been awhile since we published the list of qualifications for the different offices up for election. Next April the positions of Mayor and City Collector are up for election. So is one-half of the City Council.

So, for those who have a passing interest in running for public office, here is a short review of requirements:

REQUIREMENTS: You must be a registered voter, a resident of the Ward or City in which you live and have all of your taxes paid in full to run for office in Raytown. The elections are non-partisan, so political parties really do not play into the campaigns in Raytown.

Here are the salaries and other benefits for elected officials in Raytown:

MAYOR:

Salary: $1,000.00 per month

Car Allowance: $250 per month

Health Insurance: Eligible to participate in city health insurance plan

BOARD OF ALDERMEN:

Salary:  $200.00 per month

Car Allowance: $50.00 per month

Health Insurance: Eligible to participate in city health insurance plan

CITY COLLECTOR:

Salary: $100.00 per month

Eligible to participate in city health insurance

Filing for office in Raytown opens in early January and closes in early February. For more information contact the City Clerk Teresa Henry at Raytown City Hall. Her telephone number is 737-6000 Extension 9.

The Paul Livius Report
Raytown Board of Aldermen Meeting
November 11, 2014

The Board passed a resolution authorizing the continuation of an existing agreement with Cochran Head Vick & Co. for the professional audit services for Fiscal year 2014-2015 in an amount not to exceed $43,000.00. They will audit the Financial Statements as required by the Government Accounting Standards Board.

The Board passed a resolution the purchase of salt for roads and bridges in inclement weather from Holliday Sand & Gravel and Independent Salt Company in an amount not to exceed $42,000.00. Jim Melvin, Interim Public Works director said the Public Works Department received 2 bids.  Holliday Sand & Gravel Company provided a bid of $85.00/ton, with no guarantee of any quantity. Independent Salt initially declined to bid, but did quote $65.17/ton, with no guarantee of any quantity. In addition, we have a contract with Kansas City, MO to purchase 1000 tons of salt as needed. The price from Kansas City, MO, with loading and hauling costs included, is $58.77. Staff recommends that the contract be awarded to Holliday Sand & Gravel Company for $85.00/ton and to Independent Salt for $65.17/ton, for up to 400 tons, and that we purchase 1000 tons of salt later in the season from Kansas City, MO, when it is needed. Public Works is concerned that our current supply of salt may not be enough for the entire winter season. Therefore we are requesting authorization to purchase up to 400 tons utilizing current fiscal year funds.

The Board passed a resolution approving the purchase of fuel from Maher Oil Company.  Jim Melvin told the Board the City of Raytown is presently purchasing fuel from Maher Oil Company utilizing a cooperative purchasing contract administered by Kansas City, MO. This contract provides the City of Raytown favorable pricing associated with the combined purchasing power of the City of Kansas City, City of Independence, City of Lee’s Summit, Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Little Blue Valley Sewer District. The current contract has been extended several times, with the most recent extension being from November 1, 2014 to January 31, 2015. A new cooperative contract is planned for Kansas City, MO purchasing group beginning February 1, 2015. Total expenditures with Maher Oil Company in the previous fiscal year were $285,017.00 and staff anticipates a similar expense this year. Fiscal Year 2014 - 2015 budgeted amounts for all City Departments and the Fire Department totals $301,719.00. The Fire Department is budgeted for an expense of $28,000.00 which the Fire Department reimburses the City for the expense; therefore, the actual City budgeted expenses are $273,719.00.

The Board passed a resolution approving final payment to Vance Brothers, Inc. for the 2014 light weight aggregate seal project, accepting all work performed under the contract and authorizing final payment in the Amount of $155,426.35.  Jim Melvin said the work was complete.

The Board passed a resolution approving Change Order no. 2 to the agreement with A & A Concrete Company for the 2014 concrete repair project, and authorizing final payment in the amount of $182,220.00. Jim Melvin said the work was complete.

The Board passed a resolution approving the expenditure of funds with MDL Technology for Information Technology-related services for $122,880.00. Jim Lynch said this is a three-year agreement guaranteeing service pricing with MDL Technology to manage the IT services of the Police Department. The agreed upon service plan is a monthly fee of $80.00 per workstation and $400.00 per server. The amount budgeted for Fiscal Year 2014-2015 is $122,880.00.

The Board passed an ordinance establishing the compensation for the office of mayor for the term beginning April 2015.  The Elected Officials Compensation Committee was established by the Board of Aldermen to review the compensation for elected officials and make recommendations for adjustment. An elected official’s compensation must be set prior to a person taking office and compensation cannot change during the term of office, unless additional duties are added. Accordingly, any adjustment the Board of Aldermen deems appropriate must be made prior to the April 7, 2015 election. The recommendation of the Commission relative to the Mayor was to keep the monthly compensation at the current rate of $1,000.00 per month and increase the monthly car allowance from $200 per month to $250.00 per month.

The Board passed an ordinance establishing the compensation for the office of city collector for the term beginning April, 2015. The Elected Officials Compensation Committee was established by the Board of Aldermen to review the Compensation for elected officials and make recommendations for adjustment. An elected official’s compensation must be set prior to a person taking office and compensation cannot change during the term of office, unless additional duties are added.  Accordingly, any adjustment the Board of Aldermen deems appropriate must be made prior to the April 7, 2015 election. The recommendation of the Commission relative to the City Collector was to keep the monthly compensation at the current rate of $100.00 per month.

The Board passed an ordinance establishing the compensation for the office of board of aldermen for the term beginning April 2015.  The Elected Officials Compensation Committee was established by the Board of Aldermen to review the compensation for elected officials and make recommendations for adjustment. An elected official’s compensation must be set prior to a person taking office and compensation cannot change during the term of office, unless additional duties are added. Accordingly, any adjustment the Board of Aldermen deems appropriate must be made prior to the April 7, 2015 election. The recommendation of the Commission relative to the Board of Aldermen was to keep the monthly compensation at the current rate of $400.00 per month and to keep the monthly car allowance at the current rate of $50.00 per month.

The Board heard the first reading of an ordinance approving the first Amendment to the redevelopment contract between the Raytown Community Betterment Redevelopment Corporation and the City of Raytown for The Partners Stark assisted living redevelopment project as adopted by Ordinance no. 4193-96. John Benson told the Board the City of Raytown entered into a contract with the Raytown Community Betterment Redevelopment Corporation on May 9, 1997 for the development of Partners Stark Assisted Living Redevelopment Project, which is more commonly known as Elliott Place. The Contract, provides for tax abatement of the redevelopment of the property which the Contract identified was to occur in three phases.  Phase 1 provides for construction of 96 assisted living apartment units; a service building to house kitchen, laundry and cleaning services; and landscape improvements. In addition, Phase 1 provides for the construction of Maple Avenue as a private street through the development. 

Extension of utilities to the property; payment of up to $100,000.00 for acquisition of and construction of right-of-way to extend Maple Avenue to the redevelopment area; and payment of $118,000.00 to the City of Raytown for improvements to the existing Maple Avenue located south of Highway 350 that the City undertook to accommodate the traffic generated by the development.  Phase 2 provides for construction of 48 assisted living apartment units to be located directly west of the Phase 1 assisted living apartment units. Phase 3 provides for construction of 24 assisted living apartment units to be located west of Phase 2 near the northwest corner of the property. A bed and breakfast large enough to accommodate five or fewer families as well as a storage area for the use of residents were also approved as part of Phase 3.  Phase 1 and the corresponding improvements to Maple Avenue were constructed in accordance with the Redevelopment Contract. As a result Phase 1 is currently receiving 25 years of tax abatement that will extend through 2022. Phase 2 and Phase 3, however, have not yet been constructed. The Redevelopment Contract stipulates that Phase 2 was to be constructed within 30 months of May 9, 1997 (i.e. November 9, 1999) and Phase 3 was to have been completed within 42 months from May 9, 1997 (i.e. November 9, 2000). Construction on Phase 2 and Phase 3 have yet to begin. Though construction on Phase 2 and Phase 3 has yet to begin, the City has not declared the Redevelopment Contract to be in default. As such, Phase 2 and Phase 3 are still eligible to receive tax abatement for the remaining years of the tax abatement. 


Paul’s Rant BY PAUL LIVIUS
LIP READER NEEDED . . . EXPERIENCE PREFERRED
Regular readers of my Paul Livius Report column may have noticed there are not any quotations from the Mayor, Board of Aldermen or public in this week’s report. There is a reason. Last week’s broadcast of the BOA meeting was supposed to be the return of the city broadcast of our city government in action.

The meeting before was not broadcast because “upgrades” were be put in place. Well, at least that is what the message on Raytown’s Government Channel 7.  So, I waited anxiously to view the upgrades.


What a surprise! The picture did seem to be crisper. But there was a problem . . . no sound!

My lip reading skills are not what they used to be so I called Greg to find out what could be done. He called the Raytown Police Department (their offices are in the basement of City Hall) to send word up to Council Chambers so the problem could be corrected.
For whatever reason, the problem was not corrected.

If you want more participation in your local government you should make it easier for people see and understand what is going on. That would entail expanding the number of ways people can view City Council meetings. Comcast is the only provider that allows Raytown to broadcast its meetings.

The city should be looking at ways to expand that capability to the other two providers in Raytown (ATT and Google).

The last two weeks is not good news. The city seems to be retreating from the free and open flow of information at Raytown City Hall.

Last time I checked, it was the 21st Century. The technology is inexpensive and available to broadcast meetings of the Board of Aldermen and the other events at City Hall. It is high time our leaders at City Hall corrected this unacceptable situation at City Hall.
 


BY JENN
FIT B0TTOMED EATS
Cheers to This 
Merlot Chili Recipe
Yesterday we shared that delicious grilled salmon recipe with you and today, as promised, we have another tasty recipe from Woodbridge by Robert …Read More



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Sunday, November 9, 2014

RAYTOWN'S LEADING NEWS SOURCE



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Short Stories BY GREG WALTERS 
“Texting”, the furtive comments and notes sent via our cell phones can be a convenience of the modern age we live in. It can also be viewed as a curse, particularly when it takes valuable time and attention away from what is important.

Some Aldermen have complained of receiving unsolicited text messages from their seatmates during City Council meetings.

The dais the Council sits at has a short six inch wall at the top which hides Councilman’s hands. When a Councilman’s eyes appear more focused on his or her lap and their shoulders slightly “tense up” they are probably sending a text message on their cell phone.

Not only is the practice rude, it may very well be illegal. If the recipient of the text message has a seat on the dais of that same meeting then someone could be in trouble plenty.

City Council meetings are supposed to be “public” meetings. Secret messages, flying back and forth between members of the governing body can be construed as a violation of Missouri’s Sunshine Law.

Who is guilty? Ward 1 Alderman Joe Creamer is known to have sent text messages to other members of the Board of Aldermen during public hearings on a proposed Walmart Grocery Store in Downtown Raytown last year. Apparently the texting has continued.

According to sources at Raytown City Hall, the text messages are frequently unsolicited and in some cases, unwanted. Which causes one to wonder – why send a message to someone who does not wish to receive it in the first place?

Could it be the messages are not truly unsolicited? From our point of view, a conversation is a conversation whether spoken or typed. Those comments should be shared with all the members of the City Council and with the public.

Here is some good advice . . . put your electronic gadgets away during public meetings. They have no place at the table when the public’s business is being discussed.

Slow Down Janet! 
Charter Commissioner Janet Emerson has decided to head up a Marketing Subcommittee committee to publicize the Raytown Charter effort. She has not been slow to take the helm and start steaming forward. She has already held one meeting and scheduled another to lay out plans to promote the Charter. In her first meeting she spoke of the need to print the Charter document and create yard signs for the Charter.

Commissioner Mary Jane VanBuskirk wondered about the yard signs. She checked with the Missouri Municipal League and found out that yard signs promoting the Charter cannot be funded by public money. Missouri State Statutes require the municipality in which the Charter is being voted on to fund “educational material” to explain the Charter to the Public. Apparently, yard signs are considered to be “promoting” a charter.

Some Charter Commissioners have complained about Emerson’s early meeting times. Late afternoon meetings are not a practical alternative for the public or Commission members who are employed in 9:00 to 5:00 jobs . . . particularly if potential participants are away from the Raytown area during daytime hours.

The “sandwiching” of committee meetings before regular meetings of governing bodies is not uncommon in Raytown. The short half hour “meeting before the meeting” is a counterproductive effort which often leaves confusion in its wake. The shortened meeting times result in rushed decisions and often lead to mistakes in judgment.

Mistakes like purchasing yard signs as an “educational” tool to promote the Charter.

The enthusiasm of Mrs. Emerson and her crew is noteworthy. But they need to focus on providing information to help the voters make an informed decision. Parts of the Marketing Subcommittee minutes read more like a campaign committee than an attempt to inform the public.

Commissioners need to take care not to cross the line between “educating” and “campaigning”. The Charter Commission should not be used as a platform to organize a “yes” or “no” vote on the Charter.

Speaking of Short Meetings

The Marketing Subcommittee minutes are an interesting read.
According to the minutes of the agenda there were 21 items discussed in the meeting. However, the meeting, which was sandwiched in prior to the regular Charter Commission meeting, lasted only 36 minutes.
Do the math.
The result is that each item was discussed for only 1.8 minutes. There were six members on the Committee. If only half of the members joined in the discussion, it means that each member had only 36 seconds to participate in discussion per item!


Heard on the Street BY PAUL LIVIUS
Some call it the rumor mill. We call them news tips from very reliable sources. Sources, we might add, that have proven to be very accurate in the past. So far this year, they are batting 1000!

So, here is what our local tipsters tell us is going on in Raytown!

DOWNTOWN WALMART: There has never been an official announcement on whether or not Walmart is planning on opening a large building at 63rd and Raytown Road. Just rumors, sparked mainly by local business owners saying they had been told their leases would not be renewed. Now some of those same business owners say they have been told their leases will be renewed!

Does that mean the unannounced development is off?

Our ten elected Aldermen and even the Mayor (who, many will recall, took a trip to Bentonville to try to parlay with Walmart exec’s during the debacle over a Walmart in Downtown Raytown’s Greenspace) all claim ignorance of anything going on.

You would think out of 11 elected officials you would have at least one who would try to find out.

PAT ERTZ FOR  (    fill in the blank    )  On the campaign front the “on again . . . off again” campaign of Pat Ertz for Mayor has been scrapped. Apparently he has decided to run for re-election to fourth term as Alderman from Ward 4. For those keeping count his fourth term would equal 20 years.

RICHARD TUSH FOR FIRE BOARD? Raytown Water District No. 2 Commissioner Richard Tush has decided to make a run for the Raytown Fire Board seat currently held by Willard Ross. No official word on whether or not Ross will run for re-election.

MORE MAYORAL CANDIDATES? Raytown Charter Commissioner Steve Guenther has been said to be considering a run for Mayor. Ward 3 Alderman Charlotte Melson is also said to be considering a run for the big chair as well. Add those two names to Alderman Bill VanBuskirk,  Mike McDonough and David Bower and you could have a very crowded contest. The Charter Commission discussed possible primary elections but the majority of Commissioners turned the idea down. Given the current situation, they may want to follow the lead of surrounding communities that have runoffs when more than two candidates file for office.

CREAMER RESIDENCY QUESTION STILL UNRESOLVED? Ward 1 Alderman Joe Creamer’s status as a candidate for re-election is still up in the air. A source living close to Creamer’s old residence say the house is dark all the time. Which leaves one to believe the senior Alderman from Ward 1 is still not living in the district he represents. Potential opponents may want to check out Missouri State Statutes, Chapter 79, Fourth Class Cities, Section 79.070.*

*Aldermen, qualifications. 79.070. No person shall be an alderman unless he or she is at least twenty-one years of age, a citizen of the United States, and an inhabitant and resident of the city for one year next preceding his or her election,and a resident, at the time he or she files and during the time he or she serves, of the ward from which he or she is elected.

Aldermen, qualifications. 79.070. No person shall be an alderman unless he or she is at leasttwenty-one years of age, a citizen of the United States, and an inhabitantand resident of the city for one year next preceding his or her election,and a resident, at the time he or she files and during the time he or sheserves, of the ward from which he or she is elected.
- See more at: http://statutes.laws.com/missouri/t07/c079/79_070#sthash.uSedZoCz.dpuf
Aldermen, qualifications. 79.070. No person shall be an alderman unless he or she is at leasttwenty-one years of age, a citizen of the United States, and an inhabitantand resident of the city for one year next preceding his or her election,and a resident, at the time he or she files and during the time he or sheserves, of the ward from which he or she is elected.
- See more at: http://statutes.laws.com/missouri/t07/c079/79_070#sthash.uSedZoCz.dpuf
Aldermen, qualifications. 79.070. No person shall be an alderman unless he or she is at leasttwenty-one years of age, a citizen of the United States, and an inhabitantand resident of the city for one year next preceding his or her election,and a resident, at the time he or she files and during the time he or sheserves, of the ward from which he or she is elected.
- See more at: http://statutes.laws.com/missouri/t07/c079/79_070#sthash.uSedZoCz.dpuf


FIT BOTTOMED EATS 
Cashew Cheesecake 
with Almond Crust 
How's this for a new twist on an old classic? Cashew Cheesecake with Almond Crust. We're talking a creamy, tasty cheesecake that's easy to make, raw, … Read More

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Aldermen, qualifications. 79.070. No person shall be an alderman unless he or she is at leasttwenty-one years of age, a citizen of the United States, and an inhabitantand resident of the city for one year next preceding his or her election,and a resident, at the time he or she files and during the time he or sheserves, of the ward from which he or she is elected.
- See more at: http://statutes.laws.com/missouri/t07/c079/79_070#sthash.uSedZoCz.dpuf