Sunday, November 23, 2014

RAYTOWN'S LEADING NEWS SOURCE

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Charter Commission Update . . .
BY GREG WALTERS
Have you ever wondered how the Charter Commission brings its ideas into written form?

To be honest about it, most of the Commission’s work is boring. A lot of boiler plate is read publicly and reviewed. Most of it goes through with very little comment.

There are, however, other situations that are more interesting. This is when individual Charter Commissioners bring forward ideas for consideration.

Commissioners Lisa Emerson has brought forward some interesting ideas regarding eminent domain. Commissioner Susan Dolan has brought forward a section regarding intergovernmental agreements.

The following are f0ur examples of items I believe we should include in the Charter. My thought was to take mistakes made by other communities and find a way to keep them from being repeated in Raytown.

The following items are on the Charter Commission’s Monday night meeting. The meeting is held at Raytown City Hall (10000 East 59th Street) begins at 6:30 and is open to the public.

Neither the City nor any City-affiliated agency may:

a) determine or regulate the price of privately held and transacted goods or services.

Examples of a city regulating fees would be the controversial taxi service licensing in Kansas City, Missouri. Two startup companies, Uber and Lyft have run into legal roadblocks in expanding their transportation services in Kansas City. In fact, Lyft is the target of a lawsuit in federal court brought by the City to block their operation in Kansas City. Both Uber and Lyft have been highly successful in their service to the public in major cities on the west coast.

b) create, sponsor, or oversee any kind of Earnings Tax or Income Tax on the People of Raytown.

Kansas City, Missouri has an Earnings Tax which has been detrimental to the local economy. The flight of business to surrounding suburbs and most notably Johnson County, Kansas is well documented. The problem has become some acute that the City of Kansas City has abated the Earnings Tax to certain firms to entice them to locate within Kansas City, Missouri.

c) use dedicated sales tax revenue to fund any TIF, tax abatement scheme or program that would redirect such revenue from the purpose it was created.

”Dedicated sales taxes” are taxes created for a specific purpose. Examples would be Raytown’s Transportation Sales Tax and Public Safety Sales Tax. Approximately 25% of the tax dollars raised from those taxes are being used to pay down the TIF debt incurred for the Walmart on 350 Highway. Governments should keep their word to the people. This section guarantees the word will be kept.

d) contribute any public funds derived from City Taxes as a donation, payment or gift to intergovernmental research or promotion of political issues without consent of the People through direct vote of a ballot issue.

In 2012 the Board of Aldermen donated $10,085.00 to the Jackson County Regional Transit Plan Education Program. The purpose of the donation was to educate the public on the need for light rail in Jackson County, Missouri. This section would prohibit the donation of such funds without explicit approval of the voters through a ballot issue.


The Paul Livius Report BY PAUL LIVIUS
Raytown Board of Aldermen Meeting – November 18, 2014.  The Color Guard and Pledge of Allegiance was led by Boy Scout Troop 469.  Mahesh Sharma told the Board the  Raytown EMS will be hosting a Community Center Blood Drive at the EMS station on December 15th from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. You may sign up for an appointment at www.esavealifenow.org and use the sponsor code
raytown ems. He said we could call Kim at 737-6030 if we have questions.

The Board passed a resolution approving an agreement for Medical Director Services with David Gustafson, DO as the Department of Emergency Medical Services’ Physician Medical Director through December 19, 2015.  Doug Jonesi told the Board Dr. Gustafson is well respected in the EMS industry, as well as Emergency Medicine. He has an extensive history of working with EMS services, providing education while supporting the latest technology and procedures in the field. Dr. Gustafson comes highly recommended by other emergency medical agencies. The State of Missouri, the Drug Enforcement Agency and other governing bodies require EMS agencies to have Physician oversight. The Bureau of EMS requires agencies to have this oversight in order to provide care without a direct order by another doctor. Failure to have a Medical Director would harm the Department’s ability to buy important controlled substances and other life-saving medications. Failure to have a Medical Director would diminish the ability to provide advanced life support care as well as make EMS non-compliant with federal and state requirements. The amount budgeted for fiscal year 2014-2015 is $3,960.00.

The Board passed a resolution approving an agreement for inmate security housing with Johnson County, Missouri, Sheriff’s Office for fiscal year 2014-2015 in an amount not to exceed $175,000.00. The cost will be $34.50 per diem for each inmate.


The Board passed an ordinance approving the first amendment to the redevelopment contract with the Raytown Community Betterment Redevelopment Corporation for The Partners Stark Assisted Living Redevelopment project as adopted by ordinance.


The City of Raytown entered into a contract with the Raytown Community Betterment Redevelopment Corporation on May 9, 1997 for the development by Partners Stark Assisted Living Redevelopment Project of the Elliott Shooting Range located near Maple and 350 Highway. The Contract provides for tax abatement for the redevelopment of the property to occur in three phases.


Phase 1 of the Contract provides for construction of 96 assisted living apartment units. It also provides for 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 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.

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. The owner of Elliot Place has received a purchase offer from Titan Real Estate Investment Group, Inc. which has requested the following four amendments to the Redevelopment Contract.

1. To clarify and define the term “assisted living apartment units” to be defined to include independent living apartment units, assisted living apartment units, memory care apartment units, and skilled nursing care apartments units.

2. That Phase 3 will consist of the construction of 48 assisted living apartment units, which represents an increase of 24 additional assisted living apartment units from the number of assisted living apartment units stated in the Redevelopment Contract, dated May 9, 1997.

The increase in the number of assisted living apartment units also requires approval of an amendment to the development plan for Elliott Place, which requires review and action by the Planning & Zoning Commission as well as approval of an amended development plan by the Board of Aldermen.

3. The City does not find Phase 2 and Phase 3 to be in default of the Redevelopment Contract and, therefore, is still eligible to receive tax abatement upon construction of those two phases.

4. Extend the timeframe of construction for Phase 2 and Phase 3 to be completed in 5 years from the date of approval of the requested amendment.

5. Extension of the abatement period for Phase 2 and Phase 3 for an additional period of 5 years thereby extending the abatement period through tax year 2022 in accordance with the Settlement Agreement with Jackson County dated November 7, 2001.


Paul's Rant 
RETURN OF THE BOBBLE HEADS

Last week’s Board of Aldermen meeting was a strange one. The meeting was only 45 minutes long. The beginning of the meeting was like all city council meetings. Boring committee reports, self-aggrandizing comments by the Mayor and City Administrator and then finally on to business. Two items stood out from the others.

ATA BUS ROUTES: There are five ATA bus routes in Raytown. I did some digging and found a report that said about 5,000 rides are taken on the bus service each year by approximately 30,000Raytown residents.

I did the math. That comes to $11.34 per bus ride paid by the City. It does not include the fare paid by the user.

Just some food for thought . . . it may be cheaper to hire a taxi service to pick people up at their homes rather than fund a bus service at this cost.

PARTNERS STARK TAX ABATEMENT: Basically this is what took place. A tax abatement was granted to Partners Stark Assisted Living Redevelopment Project in 1998. The abatement was to help recover extraordinary environmental costs in developing the land. The property was once a skeet shooting range. As a result there was a tremendous amount of lead in the soil. The abatement was to help in paying those costs so the land could be developed.But that was 16 years ago.

For reasons left unexplained by city personnel, the city never enforced a default judgment on the owner’s of the property for not completing the project as outlined in the tax abatement agreement.

Now a new company wants to build additional housing units on the property.

Guess what!?! They want a tax abatement too.

Since the city never enforced a default judgement on the previous owner, City Planner John Benson recommended extending the tax abatement for another eight years. Never mind that the original agreement called for the entire project to be completed by the year 2000!

The 14 year lapse lays to rest any claims of a high degree of professionalism at City Hall.


Or is it a conspiracy of silence by City officials who do not want to go through the legal steps (and publicity) to create a new tax abatement?
 

Sneaky, sneaky!

There was not one word of discussion or questions from the Board of Aldermen uttered before they cast their unanimous vote to extend the tax abatement that had laid dormant for 14 years!

No doubt about it . . .  the bobble heads have returned to Raytown City Hall. 



Fit Bottomed Eats
Pumpkin Ice Cream Pie 
with Pecan Shortbread Crust
It’s hard to believe that not everyone’s a fan of traditional pumpkin pie, but most everybody loves ice cream. This recipe marries the best … Read More   

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.



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