Sunday, May 22, 2016


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Sharma’s Pay in Iowa
to be $172,000 Annually
According to the Raytown Times, City Administrator Mahesh Sharma will be earning $172,000 annually when he takes on a new position with Scott County, Iowa. Scott County is made up of the area commonly known as Quad Cities in Iowa. Bob Phillips of the Raytown Times reported the Quad Cities has a population of more than 380,000 souls.

A quick check shows Sharma is costing the City of Raytown in the neighborhood of $170,000 annually in base salary, payroll taxes, insurance benefits, car allowance and pension.

Which begs the question. Was Raytown, a city of 30,000 people, paying more than the position merits?

Animal Control Hours Inadequate
Speaking of working hours – someone should take a hard look at the hours of operation of Animal Control. As it stand now, those in charge of Animal Control work Monday through Friday, eight hours a day.

The problem is, animal control issues are not a “nine to five” problem.

It would be interesting to see if the city tracks complaints on Animal Control issues. We would bet dollars to donuts that most of the problems with animals occur in the later afternoon and evening during the week, probably with an increase in violations on the weekend.

Should the city look into more flexible hours?

Probably not a bad idea . . . it certainly deserves some consideration.

An interesting footnote to the working hour of animal control is that a fee schedule for animal licenses was established when the current Animal Control Ordinance was adopted about ten years ago. The dog and cat license was earmarked to fund weekend and late summer time hours for staffing animal control.

The city eliminated the extended hours a couple years after for “budgetary reasons”.

Changes in Upper Ranks
Presents an Opportunity
Talk among some members of the Board of Aldermen is the fact they may be on their way to a unique situation. The recent turnover of three department heads gives them a chance to re-build day to day management procedures at City Hall.

Can improvements be made in the day to day operation at City Hall? No one will know unless the Mayor and Board step up and meet the challenge. It is an opportunity that should not be wasted.

The ball is in the City Council’s court.  Let’s see what they do with it.

There has been some pretty contentious talk coming from certain corners of the media in Raytown as of late. Former Ward 1 Alderman Joe Creamer has apparently earned himself a permanent position as an official letter writer for the Raytown Times.

Perhaps a collection of his recent epistles could be gathered up and published in book form. The “Collected Thoughts of the Creamer” would no doubt be a slim volume. If it ever made into the library it would would be found under the Fiction section!

But his writings do illustrate the thoughts of a small group of public figures aptly named “The Three Amigos”. You can bet your bottom dollar the continuing noise from Battagler, Aziere, Creamer and their followers will continue.

Greg told me of another time of political upheaval in Raytown.

The issue was a proposed Park Sales Tax. The campaigns for and against the tax had become personal and brutal.

The late owner of the Raytown Post, Lee Gray, who – uncharacteristically – had stayed out of the fight on the issue, gave a speech at a meeting of the Board of Aldermen.

Some individuals on the pro tax side of the argument had tried to claim the “high road” of the campaign by smearing the anti-tax group in a very unflattering light.

Lee Gray responded to their tactics by pointing out a few of the dirty tricks the pro tax faction had pulled.

He went on to remind everyone the following Tuesday was election day. He added, “at the end of that day, one side will win, one side will lose – and the next day the sun will still rise.”

His point was well taken. It is time those chronic complainers, and this is not limited to The Three Amigos, remember it is time to look forward, not backward.

The Paul Livius Report
Raytown Board of Aldermen Meeting – May 17, 2016

Movies in the Park will begin at Kenagy Park on Friday, May 20 with “Big Hero.”  The Raytown Art and Music Festival with “The Liverpool” will be at Kenagy Park on August 27.

Phillip Candeisher told the Board the house next door to him has in in ground pool that the bank covered with a wooden cover.  The cover is gone and the mosquitos are terrible.  He said he called the Codes Department and they said they know about the problem but nothing ever gets done. 

There are also several junk cars in the driveway without plates.  Mayor McDonough took information on the address of the problem property.

The Board heard the first and second reading of an ordinance granting a change in zoning from Highway Corridor Commercial District to Low Density Residential.  The property owner, Vicki Dunham, said she had proposed the property be rezoned is located at 6812 and 6816 Hunter Avenue and contains two separate houses.

The rezoning is being sought as the property owner is trying to sell the single family dwellings on the property. Potential purchasers, however, cannot get the necessary financing to do so until they are zoned to match their use and each dwelling is located on its own parcel.  Alderman Meyers made a motion for the Board to hear the second reading Tuesday.  The ordinance passed.

The Board heard the first reading of an ordinance granting a conditional use permit subject to certain conditions to allow a tow lot at 6218 Arlington Avenue.  DeAndre Briscoe, serving as the agent on behalf of the property owner, Commercial Shops and Garages, LLC, is seeking approval of a Conditional Use Permit application to allow a vehicle tow lot to operate at 6218 Arlington Ave.

There is an existing auto repair business on the subject address known as Hemi Auto that would continue to operate at this location as well. The subject property is zoned Neighborhood Commercial.  The Planning & Zoning Commission, by a vote of 5 in favor and 0 against, is recommending approval of the application subject to the following conditions:

1. The applicant shall submit a site plan to staff indicating the location on the property where towed vehicles will be parked or stored.

2. A six foot high pvc/vinyl privacy fence with a white or earth tone color shall be constructed along the side and rear property lines so as to screen towed vehicles on the property from view from adjoining properties to the south, west and north.

3. Any inoperable, dismantled, or damaged vehicle shall be stored or placed behind the required solid pvc/vinyl fence and shall not be located closer than 110 feet from the edge of the street pavement.

The Board heard the first reading of an ordinance granting a conditional use permit subject to certain conditions to allow a fueling station at 6709 Raytown Road.  James Sullivan with Sullivan Palmer Architects on behalf of the property owner, Aim Investments, LLC, is seeking approval of a conditional use permit application that proposes to allow a vehicle fueling station at 6709 Raytown Road, which is on the northeast corner of Raytown Road and 67th Street.

The property is zoned Neighborhood Commercial (NC). The applicant is seeking the conditional use permit as they want to tear down the existing building at 6709 Raytown Road and install gas pumps and construct a canopy on the property.

The applicant also owns the adjoining property to the east of the subject property. The existing building on the abutting property to the east would be remodeled into the convenience store building. The Planning and Zoning Commission, by a vote of 5 in favor and 0 against, is recommending approval of the application subject to the following conditions:

1. The trash enclosure shall be rotated so that the gates and opening face the parking lot and not the street in order to enable a trash truck more direct access to the trash container.

2. The exterior appearance of the trash enclosure shall match the exterior appearance of the building addition.

3. Landscaping consisting of shrubs need to be planted along the south and east sides of the trash enclosure to help screen it. As a result, the curb line of the parking lot adjacent to the trash enclosure is to be changed so that the curb line on the east side of the parking lot aligns with the opening of the trash enclosure, rather than with the back of the trash enclosure.

4. The type and size of the shrubs at the time of planting need to be submitted for review and approval by staff to ensure compliance with the City’s adopted landscape standards.

5. The parking space located near the monument sign shall be removed.

6. Building elevation drawings for the existing building, the proposed building addition and proposed canopy shall be submitted for staff review and approval.

7. The exterior material of the building addition shall be indicated and shall match the exterior material and color of the remainder of the building.

 8. A sidewalk conforming with adopted city standards shall be constructed / provided along both Raytown Road and 67th Street.

Carol Hinsley told the Board she was representing Mid-American Laminating.  They received a letter saying there will be rezoning at 67th and Raytown Road.She was opposed to this rezoning.  Raytown doesn’t need any more convenience stores in this area.  She said Raytown has valuable real estate and asked why the city is giving it away.  There are Dollar Stores up the wazoo.Smoke shops, tattoo parlors, and gas stations are all over the place.  When Cerner gets here, there will be somewhere around 34,000 employees.The Board needs to look to what they will need.  They won’t need more gas stations.  They need grocery store and restaurants.  She asked the Board to look ahead. 

The Board heard the first reading of an ordinance approving the final plat of Vishnani subdivision, a subdivision in the city of Raytown,. Sameer Vishnani with Aim Investments, LLC and owner of Cloud 9 Convenience and Liquor, is seeking approval of the Final Plat of Vishnani Subdivision.

The final plat proposed to combine three properties located at the northeast corner of E 67th St. and Raytown Road into one lot. The lots contain two existing commercial building, both of which are owned by the applicant. The final plat is proposed as the applicant is seeking to consolidate the properties so that they may demolish the western-most commercial building and install a fueling station with pumps and a canopy.

The use of the fueling station and canopy will require a Conditional Use Permit, which is also on the agenda for the May 17, 2016 Board of Aldermen meeting agenda. The existing building on the existing east lot will be renovated and converted into the convenience store building.

The Board passed an agreement with Allen, Gibbs and Houlik for accounting services in an amount not to exceed $50,000. Over the past several years the annual audit has identified areas for improvement in the Finance Department. The staff has made significant improvements in these areas through the utilization of outside services. The City has utilized AGH for the past three years for other accounting services when short staffed and most recently to help complete a procedural manual for all accounting processes.

This has allowed AGH’s staff to become familiar with city processes and the City software. Staff would like to ask for approval of additional budget authority in the amount of $35,000.00 and permission to continue utilizing the professional services of AGH to work on the items identified in the audit as well as general accounting assistance.

Staff has been very happy with the services provided by AGH as well as the expertise and resources they offer in addition to the onsite staff person. Staff originally budgeted for up to $15,000.00 for this service but as we are progressing realize that we will benefit from additional services. This is an hour by hour arrangement which requires no formal contract as the City can decide to extend or terminate services at any time.

The Board  approved an agreement with Independent Salt Company for the purchase of salt for the purpose of treating roads and bridges in inclement weather. The City of Raytown staff advertised salt supply bids for the 2016-2017 winter season. Salt bids must be put out in the spring due to supply allocation procedures practiced throughout the industry.

The bid was advertised in the newspaper, on our web page, and via e-mail and phone correspondence with known salt companies in the mid-west area. Bid information was sent to six companies, and four submitted responses including two no-bids. Bids were opened on May 6, 2016, and the low bid was from Independent Salt Company in the amount of $50,232.00 at a unit price of $62.79 per ton. Purchases will not occur until the 2016-17 fiscal year.

The Board  approved an agreement with Wiedenmann, Inc. for an emergency repair project to the sanitary sewer main located at the intersection of 82nd Street and Harvard Avenue in an amount not to exceed $14,285.00. During routine inspection of the sanitary sewer line, Public Works staff identified an offset in the sanitary line between manhole WOS-124 and WOS-127 which is at the intersection of 82nd Street and Harvard Avenue. The offset bears a significant risk for backups in the line. The recommended repair is to remove and replace approximately 40 feet of pipe to correct the offset alignment.

The Board approved an agreement with Wiedenmann, Inc. for an emergency repair project to the sanitary sewer main located near 11605 62nd Terrace in an amount not to exceed $13,702.  While responding to a back-up call, Public Works staff identified a partial blockage between the manholes of WDC-112 and WDC-111 near the address of 11605 E. 62nd Terrace. Upon video inspection of the blockage, it was found that there was a loss of pipe at the private line connection. The recommended repair is a point repair at the location of the pipe loss.

The Board approved an agreement with Wiedenmann, Inc. for an emergency repair project to the sanitary sewer main located near 8310 Sterling Avenue in an amount not to exceed $12,945.  During routine inspection, Public Works staff identified a significant cracking and loss of pipe between the manholes of 87S-442 and 87S-440 near the address of 8310 Sterling. The recommended repair is to remove and replace the cracked pipe in accordance with Raytown Standards.

The Board passed a resolution authorizing the expenditure of funds with National Streetscape Inc. for the Downtown Streetscape project for $1,157,679.57 and authorizing change order no. 1 in the amount of $50,000.00 for a total project amount not to exceed $1,207,679.57. On October 20, 2015, construction for the Downtown Streetscape project was approved by the Board of Aldermen. Staff requested approval for the exact bid amount of $1,107,869.57; the board also approved the construction of the three add alternates in the amount of $49,810.00 for a total project cost of $1,157,679.57.

Construction began on March 28, 2016. During the construction, change orders needs have been identified. As a means to expedite the approval process, staff is requesting additional purchasing authority as to minimize delay in the project progress and impact on businesses.

Change orders are often anticipated to be approximately 10% of the total project budget. The five pending change orders are 1.37% of the project bid and the total requested amount is 4.26% of the bid. The current change orders totaling $16,894 are:

$2,800 Demo pipe to 24” below grade / $2,355 Additional surveying /$5,600 Arrow Board for traffic control / $ 730 Ten (10) additional stop signs / $5,409 15" RCP at 10004 E. 63rd Street.

The Board passed an ordinance providing for submission of a proposal to discontinue application and collection of the local sales tax on the titling of motor vehicles, trailers, boats, and outboard motors that were purchased from a source other than a licensed Missouri dealer to the qualified voters of the city for their approval at the primary election called and to be held in the city on August 2, 2016. Municipalities have until November of 2016 to receive voter approval to continue to impose the local use tax on vehicles purchased by their residents from out-of-state vendors. Political subdivisions that had a use tax in place prior to July 6, 2013, need not get voter approval to continue to receive this revenue stream. All other municipalities must seek voter approval to continue to impose the local use tax on purchases of vehicles, trailers, and out-board motors from out-of-state or person-to-person sales.

Mark Loughry, Finance Director, presented the Board with information of the sales tax implemented by Peculiar, Mo to raise money for street maintenance. It was a multi-year process that required numerous attempts before final passage. The first month’s collections came in just under $13,000.00 which is more than they were estimating. Alderman Meyers pointed out the State requires the tax money be used only for street maintenance. 

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