Sunday, June 17, 2018

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BY GREG WALTERS
Lively Debate Raises
Questions About
Fireworks Ordinance
Over 40 comments have been posted on the blog portion of the Raytown Report since last week’s article on a proposed ordinance up for consideration by the Raytown Board of Aldermen. An exact count has not been made, but a quick review of the comments show that most of those writing in are opposed to expanding the shooting of fireworks from one day (July 4th) to four days.
An interesting side debate on the question revolved around the enforcement of when fireworks can be legally used in Raytown. Apologists for non-enforcement of the city code as written based their argument(s) on whether or not the police can effectively enforce the current ordinance.

IN RESPONSE, ONE BLOGGER WROTE . . .

“So there's an argument in favor of more days of fireworks that goes like this:

People already do it anyway. So what is the big deal?

To me that's like saying some people think it's okay to have a few drinks and then drive so why not just make it legal? Yes, I know that's an unfair comparison but the point is... don't change a law just because some choose to ignore it.


Could not have said it better myself.

The simple truth is that most people in Raytown are law abiding citizens. Most of them wait until July 4th to shoot off their fireworks. True, there will always be those who will shoot them off early, but by and large, it would be fair to say that 90% of the fireworks exploded in Raytown are done so at night on July 4th.

What is puzzling is why the big push to expand the days?

If the comments on this blog are any indication of what the public wants, expanding the number of days to legally shoot off fireworks is not high on the list of things to do.

It is unknown where the Board of Aldermen stands on this issue. The public record only shows three aldermen who have publicly announced their position – those members being Karen Black, Bill VanBuskirk and Derek Ward.

One blogger sent the telephone numbers of our elected officials so Raytowners can contact Board members to urge a NO vote to the proposed ordinance. Another sent the email addresses.

Open communication with elected officials is always a good idea. They are paid to represent your desires on issues that come before them. This would be an appropriate issue to share your thoughts with your elected officials.
Here is contact information for those who may wish to let their Aldermen know their position BEFORE the vote is taken next Tuesday.

Mayor McDonough                 737-6005         Mayor_Mike_McDonough@raytown.mo.us
Alderman Karen Black            356-3716         Alderman_Karen_Black@raytown.mo.us
Alderman Frank Hunt              301-2829         alderman_frank_hunt@raytown.mo.us
Alderman Jason Greene         255-8407         Alderman_jason_greene@raytown.mo.us
Alderman Jim Aziere               521-9596         Alderman_jim_aziere@raytown.mo.us
Alderman Mark Moore            590-3819         Alderman_Mark_Moore@raytown.mo.us
Alderman Ryan Myers            215-8847         alderman_ryan_myers@raytown.mo.us
Alderman Bill Van Buskirk      737-2799         Alderman_bill_van_buskirk@raytown.mo.us
Alderman Steve Meyers         739-9568         Alderman_Steve_Meyers@raytown.mo.us
Alderman Bonnaye Mims       965-0141         alderman_bonnaye_mims@raytown.mo.us
Alderman Derek Ward            245-4022         alderman_derek_ward@raytown.mo.us

Or, better yet attend the Board meeting at which time the ordinance will be discussed and voted on. The Board of Aldermen has set aside time at the beginning of the meeting call “PUBLIC COMMENTS” in which Raytown residents may attend the meeting and speak to the Board in a public setting regarding this issue.

Following is an abbreviated agenda of Tuesday night's Board meeting

BOARD OF ALDERMEN MEETING
Tuesday, June 19, 2018     7:00 p.m.
Raytown City Hall 10000 East 59th Street

PUBLICS COMMENTS . . . The Board of Aldermen has set aside time at the beginning of the meeting call “PUBLIC COMMENTS” in which Raytown residents may attend the meeting and speak to the Board in a public setting regarding this issue.

ITEM 1: Second Reading Section XIX: AN ORDINANCE AMENDING CHAPTER 20, ARTICLE II, RELATING TO FIRE PREVENTION AND PROTECTION TO PROVIDE FOR THE SALE AND USE OF CERTAIN CONSUMER FIREWORKS WITHIN THE CITY.

ALLOWS SHOOTING OF FIREWORKS FOUR DAYS . . . . Sec. 20-48. Limited use. The discharge of consumer fireworks within the city limits shall be allowed only and at the following dates and times: on July 4 or each year between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. unless July 4 falls on a Sunday in which case permitted consumer fireworks may not be discharged before noon.

(a) July 2nd, between Noon and 10:00 p.m.
(b) July 3rd, between 10:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.
(c) July 4th, between 10:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m.
(d) July 5th, between Noon and 10:00 p.m.
(e) December 31st, for 1 hour beginning at 11:00 p.m.

ALLOWS USE OF ROMAN CANDLES . . . . (c.) Small hot air balloons made of paper, plastic or other lightweight fibrous material, with an opening at the bottom and from which a candle is suspended, such items being commonly known as “sky lanterns”, “fire balloons”, “lava blimps” or, any other such device utilizing an open flame to provide loft; and Roman candles with or without spikes, identified by the word “Candle” on the label with the following wording on the caution label: “WARNING: SHOOTS FLAMING BALLS” or WARNING: SHOOTS FLAMING BALLS AND REPORTS”, and not including California Candles or Illumination Torch with the following wording on the caution label: “CAUTION: EMITS SHOWERS OF SPARKS”;

SUPERVISION OF MINORS DELETED . . . (f.) Except for those dates upon which the discharge of fireworks is permitted by Section 20-48, it shall be unlawful for any person under the age of 16 years, unless under the direct visual supervision of a parent, guardian or other adult over the age of 25.


  
Paul’s Rant! BY PAUL LIVIUS
There has been much written this past week about when to shoot off fireworks.

Another discussion should be held. That discussion should be WHERE TO SHOOT OFF FIREWORKS.

To simplify the discussion, how about we change the topic to Where NOT to Shoot Off Fireworks.

Public Parks are specifically listed as a place in Raytown where it is forbidden to shoot off fireworks. Talk to someone you know who lives near a park and you will find out that the law is not enforced.

Education of the public is not really at fault. The Park Department has signed that tell the public specifically that fireworks are not be used in our Public Parks.

The problem is lack of enforcement.

One blogger wrote they had contacted the Park Department requesting that police be stationed at Public Parks to ensure enforcement.

CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE
Before you can say, “we don’t have the manpower” to enforce this plan, think again.

We recently received a copy of the agreement Jackson County and the Raytown Police Department to provide police services at the Truman Sports Complex. Evidently the city has or is considering the use of Raytown Police Officers at the Truman Sports Complex.

Ward 5 Alderman Derek Ward sent the following post addressing this very issue last week. Mr. Ward wrote . . . 

On a side note, one resident commented to me that there is a problem with people shooting fireworks in our city parks. I contacted our parks department and asked them if they'd considered hiring police or security to monitor the parks on the 4th of July. They are looking into the issue.

One of the Raytown Park Board’s responsibilities is to maintain a safe environment at our city parks. Let’s hope they do more than look into the issue and take care of this long standing problem on the Fourth of July.

RAYTOWN DEMOCRATIC ASSOCIATION
MEETING NOTICE

Thursday, June 21st, 2018 at 7:00 PM
Las Chili’s, 6210 Raytown Trafficway, Raytown
Come early at 6:00 PM to dine and make new friends!

Our speakers will be
Jerome Barnes
State Representative 28th District

Sandra Jiles
Candidate for Jackson County Legislator 2nd District

Mathew Merryman
Candidate for Jackson County Executive

Contact
President Richard Tush (816) 356-0003
Vice President Fred Hartwell (816) 353-4431

July speakers
Jalen Anderson, Candidate for Jackson County Legislator 1st District at Large
Arumeta DuPree, Candidate for Jackson County Legislator 2nd District
Daryl Forte, Jackson County Sheriff

Frank White Jr., Jackson County Executive


To leave a comment use this link

Sunday, June 10, 2018


BY GREG WALTERS
Aldermen to Vote
on Extending Days for Shooting Fireworks
FOUR DAY PERIOD FOR SHOOTING OF FIREWORKS PROPOSED

Ward 5 Alderman Derek Ward has not wasted any time in bringing his first piece of legislation before the Raytown Board of Aldermen for consideration. His proposal would extend the number of days fireworks can be legally discharged within the City of Raytown from one day to four days.

The enabling language of his proposals reads . . .

Sec. 20-48. Limited use. The discharge of consumer fireworks within the city limits shall be allowed only and at the following dates and times: on July 4 or each year between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. unless July 4 falls on a Sunday in which case permitted consumer fireworks may not be discharged before noon.

(a) July 2nd, between Noon and 10:00 p.m.
(b) July 3rd, between 10:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.
(c) July 4th, between 10:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m.
(d) July 5th, between Noon and 10:00 p.m.
(e) December 31st, for 1 hour beginning at 11:00 p.m.

The ordinance also allows for the shooting of Roman Candles (which had been previously prohibited).

The proposed ordinance also removes the provision that the shooting of fireworks by children be supervised by an adult.

(f.) Except for those dates upon which the discharge of fireworks is permitted by Section 20-48, it shall be unlawful for any person under the age of 16 years, unless under the direct visual supervision of a parent, guardian or other adult over the age of 25.


(c.) Small hot air balloons made of paper, plastic or other lightweight fibrous material, with an opening at the bottom and from which a candle is suspended, such items being commonly known as “sky lanterns”, “fire balloons”, “lava blimps” or, any other such device utilizing an open flame to provide loft; and Roman candles with or without spikes, identified by the word “Candle” on the label with the following wording on the caution label: “WARNING: SHOOTS FLAMING BALLS” or WARNING: SHOOTS FLAMING BALLS AND REPORTS”, and not including California Candles or Illumination Torch with the following wording on the caution label: “CAUTION: EMITS SHOWERS OF SPARKS”;

The ordinance was sent to the Municipal Committee which received the endorsements of Ward 4 Alderman Bill VanBuskirk and Ward 1 Alderman Karen Black.

The entire Board of Aldermen will meet on Tuesday, June 19th for final consideration of the ordinance.

ANALYSIS: Shooting fireworks off on the Fourth of July is American as apple pie. But we wonder if allowing them to be legally shot off for four straight days is a good idea.

Supporters say the police cannot possibly respond to the calls they receive over the illegal shooting of fireworks. We completely understand that position.

However, does extending the law to allow for four straight days create a situation of the police not having to respond at all?

For instance, will the police respond to the shooting off of illegal fireworks such as bottle rockets and finned rockets and sky lanterns?

This debate has slowly wound its way through the legislative process. An honest discussion on how and if the police will respond to the use of banned fireworks has not taken place.

Another area yet to be discussed is the illegal use of fireworks in public parks. This subject has yet to be broached by the Mayor or Board of Aldermen.

There is one section of the proposed ordinance that needs to be deleted. 
Paragraph “f” allows for unsupervised shooting of fireworks by children. When you give children explosives to play with that are powerful enough to maim or blind, adult supervision MUST be required.

The proposed ordinance, as written, does away with the requirement of adult supervision of children handling fireworks. Some serious re-thinking on that topic should be the first order of business. 



Paul’s Rant BY PAUL LIVIUS
TRANSPARENCY
Greg has already covered the proposed changes to the shooting of fireworks. So I will not bore you with my thoughts other than to say I agree with all he wrote.

Especially the elimination of adult supervision of children shooting off fireworks . . . this should be a no-brainer. As adults, we have a responsibility to watch out for our children. That responsibility means we must protect them from themselves.

This Rant is about something else.

I know that Ward 5 Alderman Derek Ward brought this item before the Board of Aldermen because we have been monitoring its progress.

I also know that Aldermen VanBuskirk and Black have endorsed it.

However, I only know these bits of information because I know how to drill down through the volumes of minutes available on the city’s website.

But truthfully, in an era when transparency should be a watch word of all forms of government, this information should be shown on the ordinance. Most forms of government, be it County, City or State, routinely post who is sponsoring a particular bill.

The “why” this should be done is simple.

The sponsor of the bill becomes the point person to approach if private citizens have a question.

It is really that simple. I would add, it is also simple to rectify. So please, in the future a little transparency would be appreciated.


The Paul Livius Report
Raytown Board of Aldermen Meeting – June 5, 2018

Mayor Mike McDonough gave a proclamation to Katie and Homer Radford, who generously donated an easement in Southwood Park for a hiking and biking trail.  This plan will link Southwood Park, Smith Minor Park, and Kenegy Park with hiking and biking trails.

Fire Chief Matt Mace told the Board the Fire Protection District had the ISO Insurance Audit.  In 2012, the RFPD received a Class 4.  This year, they received a Class 1.  They are only one of three Districts in the State of Missouri to receive this Classification.

Missy Wilson gave the Board the six-month Financial report.  For more information, click on

The Board approved a resolution approving the reappointment of Michael Hanna to the Raytown Park Board.

The Board approved a resolution approving the reappointment of Chris Rathbone to the Raytown Park Board.

The Board heard the first reading of an ordinance to amend city codes as they relate to fire prevention and protectionfor the sale and use of certain consumer fireworks within the city.  The changes will update the definition of dangerous fireworks and change the dates fireworks can be discharged.  The dates will be updated to July 2nd, between Noon and 10:00 p.m.; July 3rd, between 10:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m.; July 4th, between 10:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m.; July 5th, between Noon and 10:00 p.m.; and December 31st, for 1 hour beginning at 11:00 p.m.

The Board heard the first reading of an ordinance to amend city codes as they relate to addressing the board.  The changes will require those speaking to the Board to only give the city of residence instead of full address.  It will also reduce the amount of time to speak to the Board from five minutes to three minutes.  Alderman Steve Meyers stated he believes Raytown residents, Raytown groups, and those who have business with the Raytown Board should have first priority to speak to the Board.  All others should have their comments heard at the end of the meeting. 

The Board passed a resolution authorizing a service agreement with Cochran Head & Vick for accounting services in an amount not to exceed $60,000.During the City’s search for a Finance Director it is necessary to have a service agreement with Cochran Head & Vick who will be able to conduct consulting, supervisory, support and oversight services in the Finance Department.

The Board passed a resolution approving the purchase of computer equipment and supplies from Dell Marketing off the Midwestern Higher Education Commission agreement in an amount not to exceed $17,608.This will purchase 12 Dell Workstations and 2 Dell Laptops.  The City utilizes an IT hardware replacement schedule, where eligibility is based upon a 5- year replacement cycle. In some cases, if equipment is failing and/or replacement of the equipment is preferable to repair, equipment may be replaced in advance of the scheduled replacement. This computer replacement program allows the city to forecast, budget and coordinate for leveraging current and newer technology. 

The Board passed a resolution approving a service agreement with NRA Group for collection of delinquent accounts associated with emergency medical services.  In 2013, Raytown EMS began using Credit World Services for the collection of delinquent accounts. At that time, that firm accepted our accounts on the basis of an existing agreement with the City; no separate contract had been entered into. This year, we published an RFP for delinquent accounts collection. We received three proposals and concluded that NRA Group, LLC was the best, as well as the lowest bid at a rate of 17% of successful first-placement collections, compared with the 25% of the current firm. Upcharge to 30% + costs applies for cases referred for legal action; however, those referrals are at our discretion. We believe that as a larger, national firm, NRA Group, LLC will be better positioned to maximize collections in what is, at best, the very challenging market of delinquent EMS accounts.

The Board passed a resolution amending the budget related to Parks and BMX.  The BMX Board has been receiving donations to rebuild their track. The BMX Board has requested approval of a budget amendment to increase Other Income to $18,000.00 and increase Repair and Maintenance Services Expenses to $18,000.00 for additional expenses to support rebuilding the BMX track.

The Board passed a resolution amending budget related to the Parks Department.  On April 16, 2018 the Park Board approved a motion to hire a Temporary Secretary for 10 weeks and request approval of a budget amendment to transfer $5,000.00 Civilian Employees to Temporary Staffing.

The Board passed a resolution approving an amendment to resolution R-3066-18 and authorizing additional expenditure of funds with Stantec Consulting Services.The City of Raytown last received a comprehensive pavement analysis and condition report in 2002 and has never had a comprehensive rating of sidewalks and curbs. This proposed update will allow staff to establish a more comprehensive plan for street, curb and sidewalk maintenance. This project was originally approved by the Board of Aldermen on February 27, 2018 in an amount not to exceed $35,850.00. During negotiations for the project it was determined that there was the potential to fund some additional work at reduced rates if the project came in on budget. Staff received an additional quote for supplemental services in the amount of $8,840.00 to inventory the sidewalks, curbs, traffic signals, rate the curbs and sidewalks in conjunction with the pavement analysis. The amount of the original purchasing authority was $35,850.00 - $29,875.00 original contract = $5,975.00 unused. Additional work of $8,840.00 - $5,975.00 = $2,865.00 + 20% ($573.00) = $3,438.00. This will make the total approved contract amount $39,350.00.

The Board passed a resolution authorizing the professional services of storm sewer infrastructure repair with Wiedenmann, Inc. The City of Raytown was informed of a sinkhole in the side yards of 6500 and 6504 Harvard Avenue in the fall of 2017. The Public Works Department (PWD) crews investigated the area and began work to determine the cause and severity. Staff determined that there are significant separations and invert failures requiring the replacement of the pipe from end to end. This project has some additional complications in that there is an existing shed at 6504 Harvard located over the pipe, the driveway at 6500 Harvard will need to have a substantial amount removed and replaced to access the pipe, all adding to the potential cost of the repairs. Staff negotiated permanent storm drainage easements for 6500 and 6504 Harvard Avenue. Public Works staff reached out to Jerry Wiedenmann of Wiedenmann, Inc. to make a site visit and begin the process of writing an estimate for the repairs. PWD received the attached construction estimate from Wiedenmann Inc. on May 10, 2018 for $68,365.00. 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 Board passed a resolution authorizing acceptance of a storm drainage easement from Christopher and SaraCosse in connection with the storm sewer infrastructure repair located at 6504 Harvard. Public Works staff met with the property owners of 6500 Harvard Ave several times to explain the storm sewer project that is needed. In looking through Jackson County records, staff realized that a storm drainage easement was not already in place. The staff drew up the easement and had it signed by the property owners. The property owner agreed to donate this easement to the City. City staff will record this with Jackson County after BOA approval.

The Board passed a resolution authorizing acceptance of a storm drainage easement from JamesR. Smith. Public Works staff met with the property owners of 6504 Harvard Ave several times to explain the storm sewer project that is needed. In looking through Jackson County records, staff realized that a storm drainage easement was not already in place. Staff drew up the attached easement and had it signed by the property owners. The property owner agreed to donate this easement to the City.  The City staff will record this with Jackson County after BOA approval.



Monday, June 4, 2018

An Interesting Conversation
BY GREG WALTERS
A friend of mine told me the other day she always reads the Raytown Report blog. We talked about some of the topics being kicked about by contributors. I mentioned that I thought she may have been the author of one recent post  . . .  because the topic was something she was really interested in.

I was surprised when she told me that she never posts on the blog because, even though she does have strong opinions, she is somewhat fearful of broadcasting them because of all the flack she would received from other readers.

I suggested she just post her comments anonymously. In that was she would be able to have her say, but no one would know it was her.

She hesitated, and said, she understands that . . . but would I know it was her that was posting.

This was the SURPRISE moment I experienced.

I explained to her that comments come to via Blogger (which is administered by Google). Blogger forwards the messages to us. But they do not forward information as to who made the post.

In other words, we arein the dark as much as every other reader as to who posted the message.

My friend’s comments surprised me because it made me think that she may not be the only one who thought we at the Raytown Report knew who authored certain blogs.

To set the record straight, we are as much in dark as every other reader as to who is the author of anonymous blogs.

We do have counters that show we have a reasonably high amount of interest in what is written on the Raytown Report. Our role after we receive the comments is to monitor what is written to make sure it reaches certain standards.

Paul Livius deserves the credit for 90% of the monitoring of incoming comments.

Our standards are simple. Profanity and no Personal attacks are not  allowed.

So you feel like having a Roseanne Barr or a Samantha Bee moment, you are wasting your time writing to the Raytown Report. That kind of trash talk would not even be allowed on a basketball court, it will not be allowed here.
So to close, I will borrow a phrase from the days when radio was king –“keep those notes and letters coming”. We believe the more discussion on topics in Raytown the better. Though we may not always agree, it is always a good idea to learn other points of view.

Paul’s Rant! BY PAUL LIVIUS
Voters to Decide Changes to County Charter

Most of the attention in Raytown has been on the three tax increase measures slated for voters to decide on August 7th.

Just as important are some changes to the proposed Jackson County Charter. The actual language of the proposed County Charter amendments are quite lengthy. So I did some cherry picking to focus what I see as the two most important measures voters will decide on August 7th as regards amendments to the County Charter.

TERM LIMITS: Section 6. The members of the County Legislature shall be elected for terms of four years commencing on January 1, following their election, except for the first members of the County Legislature elected in the year 1972, who shall serve two-year terms. No member may serve more than two consecutive full terms commencing on or after January 1, 2019.

All I have to say on the term limits section of the proposed charter is “it is about time”. Term limits have been long overdue for Jackson County.

The only problem I see with the proposal is that it does not account for those members of the current County Legislature that have already served over two terms. The way it is worded, incumbent members of the County Legislature could theoretically stay in office for another eight years.

LEGISLATIVE PAY: Section 15. Members of the County Legislature shall receive an annual salary [of $25.920] equal to one-third that of a circuit court judge of the State of Missouri.

This tying of Legislatures salary to one-third of Circuit Court Judge does not make sense. The one question I cannot help but ask is . . . Why?

The salary should be based on the duties and time spent by legislators in performing those duties. I am not a big fan of conspiracy theories, but I cannot help but think there is more to this suggestion for tying Legislators pay to Circuit Court pay than meets the eye.

That’s my view. What do you think?