Sunday, April 23, 2017

RAYTOWN'S LEADING NEWS SOURCE

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Photo by Mecee Walters





Spring is Here! The picture on the left was taken of a Robin's nest in a bush just to the right of front door of our home. As you can see, four eggs are ready to hatch. I had wondered why every time I entered my house I would here a flutter of wings and the speeding image of a Robin which would typically watch from about thirty feet away once it had landed. . . . Now I know! . . . GW



Rock Island Flyover Use the following link to view a Rock Island Trail flyover of the proposed trail route. The video begins in Lee’s Summit and goes west past the Harry S Truman Sports Complex and ends near I-70 and I-435. The video has a run time of about 20 minutes. Thank you to Kelly McClanahan for providing the link to the Raytown Report.

Use this link . . . ROCK ISLAND FLYOVER

BY GREG WALTERS
Coming Soon
to Raytown
The Rock Island Trail Authority has announced that construction will begin in 2017 and is expected to be completed in 2018 on the first leg of a bicycle walking trail. Construction will begin at the Harry S Truman Sports Complex, home of the Kansas City Royals and Kansas City Chiefs.

The 17.7-mile corridor stretches from Arrowhead and Kauffman Stadiums south through Raytown and into Lee's Summit. Transforming a portion of the Rock Island Corridor into a shared use path for bicyclists and pedestrians will commence immediately.

The trail will follow the old Rock Island railroad line through Raytown. From the north it will follow Raytown Trafficway through Downtown Raytown and south to Lee’s Summit, Missouri.

Eventually, the trail will also serve as the base for a light rail commuter service along the same route.


Photo by Kelly McClanahan
My View . . .
The photo on the left is of the Rock Island Trail east of Pleasant Hill, Missouri. The Raytown portion of the  trail will use the old rail bed as a base. Therefore most of the trail will pass through wooded areas as shown in the picture.

This past week the Kansas City Chiefs announced the cost of parking for Chief’s football games will increase up to $60 per game. I wonder how many Chiefs fans will drive to Raytown, park their cars and ride their bicycles to the game? For that matter, park closer to the stadium and walk to the games. No doubt, some will use the $60 they saved to relax with friends in one of Downtown Raytown’s restaurants or taverns.

By chance, I ran into Calvin Williford, the Executive Director of the Rock Island Trail Authority, this past week at the Jackson County Courthouse. When asked if bicyclists would be charged a parking fee at the Truman Sports Complex he said, “Bicyclists will not be charged to parking their bikes at the sports complex when attending Royals or Chiefs games.

BY PAUL LIVIUS
The Paul Livius Report
Raytown Board of Aldermen Meeting – April 18, 2017

Mayor McDonough gave a Proclamation of Appreciation to Aldermen Janet Emerson for her service as Acting President of the Board of Aldermen during 2016-2017.  Alderman Emerson thanked the residents in Ward 3 for the honor of serving them.  She said we have a City Administrator, Tom Cole, who is second to none.  The Board of Aldermen, less one, has worked diligently to make wise decisions that benefit the residents of Raytown.  She said it was unfortunate we had a handful of citizens and the newspaper – the Raytown Times – who published misinformation and sometimes downright lies.

The Board was given the report of certified election results for candidates from the April 4, 2017 election.  They passed a resolution to accept the certified election results as read by the city clerk.

Teresa Henry administrated the oath of office to the elected officials:

Alderman ward I Frank Hunt
Alderman ward II Jason Greene
Alderman ward III Ryan Myers
Aldermen ward IV Bill Van Buskirk
Alderman ward V Bonnaye Mims
City marshal Jim Lynch
Municipal judge Traci Fann

The Mayor announced adjournment of the legislative body sine die (sine die (si-nee [or sin-ay] di-ee) is a Latin term for "without a day." it is a term to describe the finish of the Legislative session.)

The Board took a short recess to congratulate the newly sworn aldermen.

During public comments, Todd McGuire told the Board he has to back out of his driveway onto Blue Ridge.  Currently, he can back into the center, left-turn lane.  In his opinion, bike lanes are nice, just not on Blue Ridge.

Larry Hesslow said he is a proponent of bike lanes.  A bike lane on Blue Ridge will enable families to safely ride to the new Rock Island Trail.

Melody Parten said she is not opposed to bike lanes, but she is opposed to taking out the center lane on Blue Ridge.

Janet Emerson said bicyclists have sent her three letters saying they won’t ride on Blue Ridge because of the glass and other debris.

The Board passed an ordinance approving the continuation of an existing agreement with Midwest Animal Resq for animal adoption services.  The City of Raytown provides animal services which includes impounding animals.  When animals are impounded, the City strives to return them to their owners.  There are times, however, when the owners are not able to be found.  While the veterinary services provider has provided animals for adoption, they have limited kennel space and therefore has limited the time an animal is available for adoption.  Animals that are not returned to their owner will be released to MARQ rather than the City’s veterinary services provider.  MARQ is operating a pet adoption center at 10312 E. 63rd Street, which provides an increased number of kennels and enable animals to be available for adoption for longer periods of time.  Since we established our partnership with MARQ and based upon the number of animals impounded in 2016, the adoption rate was increased to 228 animals.  In comparison, over the same time period in the previous years, an average of 79 animals were adopted.  The City’s euthanasia rate was also reduced by 88%; therefore, it is anticipated that the continuation of the agreement will result in continued significant increase in the City’s live release rate of impounded animals.  MARQ will charge an annual fee of $7,500.00 for the animal adoption services, which will be paid by the City on a monthly basis.  The total fee amount is based upon a cost of $26.78 per animal with an estimate of 280 animals being released to MARQ per year.  The annual amount charged for animal adoption services may be adjusted annually if mutually agreed upon by City and Contractor.  In determining any annual adjustment to the fee amount consideration shall include but not be limited to the following: A. The number of animals released by City in the previous year B.  The projected number of animals to be released in the coming year.  C. Annual funding appropriated by City.  Alderman Eric Teeman said since Midwest Resq opened business, the euthanasia rate in Raytown has dropped 88%.

The Board passed an ordinance approving a Municipal Agreement with the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission for funding for the 83rd Street Bridge.  Before the Public Works department can put this 83th Street Bridge Project out to bid, an Ordinance must be executed by the City of Raytown to agree to enter into this grant agreement with MoDOT.  Also, part of accepting the grant is to pay MARC a 0.5% or $3,000.00 project fee.  Alderman Bill Van Buskirk made a motion to suspend the rules and have the second reading and vote that night.

The Board passed an ordinance to appoint Special Counsel for legal services related to the refunding of 2007 Tax Increment and Sales Tax revenue bonds and the financing of upcoming Transportation. City staff requests approval of an engagement letter with Kutak Rock LLP to provide Bond Counsel representation, in relation to the refunding of the 2007 Tax Increment & Sales Tax Revenue Bonds, and the financing of upcoming transportation projects. The bond counsel is an essential member of the bond financing team.  They render opinion on the validity of the bond offering, the security for the offering, and whether and to what extent interest on the bonds is exempt from income and other taxation.  Bond counsel opinion provides assurance both to the City as issuers and to the investors who purchase the bonds that all legal and tax requirements relevant to the matters covered by the opinion are met.  In conjunction with our Financial Advisors, Columbia Capital, the City issued a request for Quotations for Bond Counsel on April 3, 2017.  Alderman Bill Van Buskirk made a motion to suspend the rules and have the second reading and vote that night.

Alderman Mark Moore nominated Alderman Jason Greene to the Position of Acting President for a term of one year or until a successor is appointed.

The Board passed a resolution authorizing the City Administrator to enter into an agreement with S & A Contracting for the 59th Street Sidewalk project in an amount not to exceed $352,000.  Fiscal year budget. The Public Works Department received 9 sealed bids that were opened on Tuesday, December 13, 2016 at 2:00 p.m. S & A Contracting, LLC is the lowest, responsive, responsible bidder with a base bid of $319,907.92 and is being recommended for approval.  These sidewalk improvements have been needed for a long time.  Quite a lot of children are required by the school district to walk along this narrow stretch of 59th Street to attend Central Middle School.  The narrow roadway and roadside ditches make this a difficult trek.  MoDOT has completed their review of the bids and concurred on the award to S & A Contracting LLC.  The base bid was in the amount of $319,907.92. Staff is requesting purchasing authority up to $352,000.00 to accommodate for potential change orders. This is approximately 10% of the base bid total cost. This amount is within projected amounts and leaves adequate room for construction services within the project cost projections.

Alderman Jim Aziere said this is an unbudgeted item, so a vote for this is a vote for money the city doesn’t have.  He said the city started this five years ago and was a passion of Alderman Charlotte Melson.  Now, we’re just spending money we don’t have. 

Alderman Eric Teeman said these projects have been in the works a long time.  The city is also going to do a debt refinance that will save us almost $500,000 a year.  We are not some indebted city barely scrapping by.  These are dire infra-structure problems that need to be addressed.  To sit there and act as if we’re being fiscally irresponsible is asinine.  We discussed in numerous work sessions and board meetings that taking on the debt now while interest rates are low will save us money in increased construction costs in the future.  To sit there and pontificate about misappropriation of funds is ludicrous.

Alderman Steve Meyers said these projects were laid out with financing options by Mahesh Sharma.  He asked where Alderman Aziere’s passion was when these projects were discussed back then.  These things have been discussed in work sessions and board meetings, some of which Alderman Aziere didn’t attend.

The Board tabled a resolution authorizing the City Administrator to enter into an agreement with Gunter Construction for the Blue Ridge bike lanes project in an amount not to exceed $775,000.  The Public Works Department received six sealed bids that were opened on Tuesday, December 20, 2016 at 2:00 p.m. Gunter Construction Co. is the lowest, responsive, responsible bidder with a base bid of $725,563 and is being recommended for approval.  MoDOT has completed their review of the bids and concurred on the award to Gunter Construction Co.

This segment of Blue Ridge Boulevard has experienced significant and accelerating degradation in recent years.  This overlay project is expected to extend the life of the roadway for approximately 20 years.  The ADA improvements, which are required when any overlay project is performed, will bring the sidewalks and driveway aprons on each side of the road into ADA compliance along this highly utilized pedestrian route.  Finally, the project will include the addition of bike lanes in each direction of the roadway, providing a level of protection for the bikes that can often be seen travelling on Blue Ridge Boulevard.  In addition to the necessary safety improvements for motorized and non-motorized users, this project directly coincides with the National Parks Historic Route Retracement Coordination Project, which is a region-wide initiative to trace the Historic Santa Fe, California, and Oregon Trails which directly follow Blue Ridge Boulevard through the City of Raytown.

This project, if approved, will be the first project to break ground in this regional project that is expected to promote non-motorized retracement of the three historic routes and increase bike and pedestrian traffic.  The base bid was in the amount of $725,563.20.  Staff is requesting purchasing authority up to $775,000.00 to accommodate for potential change orders.  This is approximately 7% of the base bid total cost.  This amount is within projected amounts and leaves adequate room for construction services within the project cost projections.

Alderman Mark Moore said he has talked with people or seen comments on social media who don’t want bike lanes.  He also said if the cost is $775,000 and the grant only $130,000, that’s $645,000 the city has to fund and that’s a lot of money.  It’s one thing to spruce up the street, but that’s too much money for a bike lane.  He said he didn’t think he could vote for the project.  Tom Cole said he knew it was last minute, but he and Jason Hanson sat down earlier in the day and looked over the project.  The $775,000 would pay for the overlay of Blue Ridge Blvd, new signals at the intersections, pedestrian signals, new striping, concrete curb replacement, ADA ramps, and sidewalk leveling.  If the city does the work ourselves, not replace the signal lights, crosswalks, or pedestrian buttons, they can reduce the cost of the project to approximately $550,000. 

Alderman Bill Van Buskirk moved the resolution be tabled until May 16 in order to give the staff time to make a better presentation of the proposed changes.

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