Sunday, December 21, 2014

RAYOWN'S LEADING NEWS SOURCE

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BITS AND PIECES . . . 
Discontent Voiced 
by Ward 4 Alderman
Last week’s Charter Commission meeting was not without its fireworks. During public comments Ward 4 Alderman Bill Van Buskirk* went on a rant of sorts when he addressed Commissioners. He said he was upset over the minutes not truly representing what he had said at a previous meeting.

He then took on the issue of Voter Recall – which has been endorsed by all but two of the Charter Commission.

He said the there will be “one hell of a mess in this city” if voters are allowed the power of Initiative Petition / Recall. VanBuskirk told the Commission that petition gatherers “can go out and find uninformed, uneducated people to sign petitions any day”.

Charter Commissioners amended the minutes of the meeting to reflect VanBuskirk’s complaint. However, there was no change made on the issue of Voter Recall by the Commission.
*Bill Van Buskirk is a member of the Raytown Board of Aldermen. His wife, Mary Jane Van Buskirk is a member of the Raytown Charter Commission. Bill made his comments as a guest testifying before the Commission.

Commission Attorney 
Challenged on Opinion
Charter Commissioner Greg Walters and the Commission attorney Allen Garner, exchanged strong words at the last Charter Commission meeting over the language limiting the use of Initiative Petition in the Charter.

Walters said the wording used was so prohibitive that it made a “farce of the initiative process”.

In retort, Allen made an off-hand remark that the language pretty much limited the petition process to issues concerning “dogs and cats”.  As written, the restrictive language forbids any petitions concerning zoning, taxation, or tax abatements.

Garner continued that he could provide lists of issues that could be used through the initiative process. Walters challenged him to provide the list to the Commission.

Garner demurred, saying that he would only bring the list if a majority of the Commission requested it.

Vice Chairman Jason Greene* indicated he felt there was consensus from the Commission to learn more on the subject and asked that the list be provided.
*Chairman Steve Guenther was not in attendance.
 
First Day of Filing 
Attracts Nine Candidates
Tuesday morning was damp and cold, but the weather did not deter nine Raytowners from throwing their hat into the ring for seven offices on the first day if filing for next April’s City Election.

Candidates are listed below, as is the order of their appearance on the ballot. Filing for public office in Raytown is open until January 20, 2015.

Mayor
Pat Ertz
Michael McDonough
Alderman Ward I 
Joe Creamer 
Alsderman Ward 2
Jim Aziere
Chris Rathbone 
Alderman Ward 3
Lisa Emerson 
Alderman Ward 4
Mary Jane VanBuskirk 
Alderman Ward 5
Barry Park
Eric Teeman
City Collector
No current filings


The Paul Livius Report
RAYTOWN BOARD OF ALDERMEN, DECEMBER 2, 2014

The Invocation was given by Alderman Bill Van Buskirk.

Boy Scout Troop 469 provided the Honor Guard and led the Pledge of Allegiance.

The Board passed a resolution approving the purchase of ammunition from Gulf States Distributors.  The Board was told the Police Department orders a variety of ammunition types from Gulf States Distributors.  The ammunition for training and duty use, for all weapons systems, is mostly purchased through this vendor.  Vendor pricing is from the cooperative purchasing bid for Missouri law enforcement agencies.

The Board passed a resolution approving an annual maintenance agreement with the city of Harris Computer-Global Software.  The Board was told Harris Computer-Global Software is the Records Management System and Computer-Aided Dispatch System vendor.  These systems were installed in 2005 and at the time of implementation included 5 years of support.  That plan expired in 2010.  The support plan is now an annual expense.  This support plan is critical to the Department’s function as these systems directly affect how the department responds to calls and investigate crimes.The Board passed a resolution approving the repair services of Wastewater and storm water infrastructure from Wiedenmann, Inc.  Jim Melvin said the Public Works Department received a complaint from a resident regarding slow flow on their sewer.  The complaint was received about the 15th of September, 2014.  Upon televising the sewer line, staff found that the sewer has several cracked and displaced pipes between the manholes near 7909 Hedges and 7919 Hedges.  The repairs are beyond the scope that can be handled by staff, and must be addressed in the near future to prevent collapse of some of the pipe.  The tentative price from Wiedenmann, Inc. for pipe bursting of the 275 linear feet of sewer line is $61,608.00, with the actual price to be determined by actual cost of the repair.  The price is based on using unit prices from the cooperative contract from the City of Lee’s Summit.  The unit prices are firm, but the actual quantities may differ from the estimate.  The final price is expected to be less than the estimate.


The Board passed an ordinance to grant a conditional use permit to operate an auto repair business on property located 8910 East Highway 350.  Jason Barton on behalf of H & H 350, LLC is seeking approval of a Conditional Use Permit application that proposes to allow tire and wheel installation and service (i.e. auto repair) in conjunction with a tire and wheel retail business.  The subject property is located at 8910 Highway 350 which is on the northwest corner of the intersection of Highway 350 and Lane Avenue.  The applicant is proposing to make improvements to the existing building and property, which include:

Renovations to the existing building;

Construction of an addition onto the front of the existing building;

Repaving the parking lot;

Removal of one entrance on Highway 350 and construction of new entrances;

Removal of a portion of the shoulder on Highway 350 and construction curb and gutter;

Construction of a sidewalk along Highway 350;

Design of sidewalk, curb and gutter improvements along Lane Avenue and placement of construction funds in an escrow account with the City for cost share of storm drainage improvements that City will be making in the future with which the applicant’s improvements will connect;

Installation of landscaping.

The Board passed a resolution approving a development agreement with H & H 350, LLC.  for improvements within the right-of-way of Lane Avenue.  John Benson said Jason Barton on behalf of H & H 350, LLC is seeking approval of a Conditional Use Permit application that proposes to allow tire and wheel installation and service in conjunction with a tire and wheel retail business.  The property is located at 8910 Highway 350 which is on the northwest corner of the intersection of Highway 350 and Lane Avenue.  The applicant is proposing to construct various improvements as part of opening the business on the property.  These improvements include construction of storm sewer lines and inlets, curb and gutter, and a sidewalk along Lane Avenue.  The storm lines and inlets necessitate the City to construct storm sewer improvements further downstream to convey the storm water runoff.  The City has not yet designed or budgeted funds for the construction of these improvements.  As a result, the improvements along Lane Avenue to be constructed by H & H 350, LLC need to be delayed until the City’s improvements can also be constructed.  The Development Agreement requires H & H 350, LLC to place the funds they would have paid to construct the improvements along Lane Avenue in an escrow account.  The City will have five years to have the City’s downstream storm water improvements designed and constructed.  When the downstream storm water improvements are constructed the City will also construct the improvements along Lane Avenue for which H & H 350, LLC is responsible, using the funds in escrow.

The Board heard the first and second reading of an ordinance approving an agreement with the Jackson County Board of Election commissioners to utilize city hall as a polling place for precincts BR 14 and BR 15 during the 2015 calendar year.  (The rules were suspended for this ordinance.)


Last Week’s Poll Results
Last week’s poll asked “Should the Charter Commission use Pull Out Questions”....

...TO DECIDE IF THE CHIEF OF POLICE IS ELECTED OR APPOINTED?
YES . . . . 80%
NO  . . . . 20%
...TO REQUIRE CITY ADMINISTRATOR TO LIVE WITHIN CITY LIMITS 
YES . . . . 70%
NO  . . . . 30%
 
This Week’s Poll . . .
During deliberations Charter Commissioners have the power to bring forth items to be included in the document. Two such items that will soon be decided by the Commission have to do with taxation and tax abatements.

Commissioner Greg Walters has proposed the City be prohibited from creating and Earnings Tax. This week's poll ask whether or not you support the prohibition.



BY JENN
FIT BOTTOMED EATS
Baked Eggs with
Peppers and Sausage
They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and we’ll agree — plus, it’s just freakin’ delicious. And this Baked Eggs With Peppers and Breakfast Sausage recipe from Birds Eye? Well, it’s the perfect way to get more veggies in your life. Super quick and easy, make a double or triple batch and save ‘em as high-protein eats all week long!  READ MORE

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Saturday, December 13, 2014

RAYTOWN'S LEADING NEWS SOURCE

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Pull Out Issues
An on-going and very serious debate has been taking place at meetings of the Raytown Charter Commission these last couple of months.

The Commission has completed the original draft of the Charter. The arduous task of correcting grammar and consistency (of language) in the document is only pages away from being complete.

What is left is a number of issues that have been hotly debated over the past eight months. Few of them have been resolved. Two of the most hotly debated issues have to do with residency requirements of the City Administrator and the issues of Elected vs. Appointive Chief of Police.

Here is a short run-down on the two debates:

ELECTED vs. APPOINTIVE CHIEF OF POLICE:  

There has been considerable debate over making the Chief of Police an appointive position. Raytown has always elected its Chief of Police. The charter document, as currently written, continues the practice of electing the Police Chief. However, there has been considerable pressure brought to bear on Commissioners to reconsider that position. Some members, who originally supported electing the Chief of Police have since changed their position and are speaking privately of making it appointive.

CITY RESIDENCY OF CITY ADMINISTRATOR:

Raytown is the only city in the Metropolitan area that does not require its City Administrator to live within city limits. The majority of the Charter Commission has been consistent in its insistence that the City Administrator be required to live within city limits. City ordinances support their position. However, the City Council has waived the requirement for the current City Administrator. For the record, when he was hired as City Administrator, Mahesh Sharma told the Board of Aldermen he would move to the city within three years of his hiring date.

A simple solution to these two sticking points on the Charter would be to allow the public to make the decision.

The Charter Commission, under Missouri State Law, is allowed to include what are commonly called “pull out questions” to be placed on the ballot along with the finished charter. The voters will then decide by voting on the two separate issues.

Whatever the result of the two questions becomes part of the finished charter.

There is some support on the Commission for allowing the public to decide.

There are also those who are adamant in their opposition to the idea of using “pull out questions” to make the final decision.

They argue that the public will become too confused to make the decision.

That argument is a spurious one.

As I reminded my fellow Commissioners at a recent meeting, “the voters were smart enough to elect us to write the Charter, I am sure they will not be too “confused” to make the decision on two pull out questions.”

What do you think? Should the Charter Commission leave it up to the voters to decide on whether or not to elect the Chief of Police? Should the City Administrator be required to live within the city limits?

Take a minute and let us know how you think in this week’s poll.


Paul's Rant BY PAUL LIVIUS
Greg told me he received a call last week from Ward 5 Alderman Steve Mock. Steve had read my report about the cost over-runs on city construction projects in the south part of the city. He appreciated the story. But he also said that truth be known there were other Aldermen who threw their two cents in on the topic of cost over-runs. 

I had reviewed the meeting before writing my Rant column last week. Steve is correct. Four other Alderman did join in supporting his position.

Steve, they may have added to what you said, but the truth is what they said was just an echo of your comments. Your leadership that night were exemplary. It is probably correct that they be noted for standing with  you. So allow me to take this space to recognize Aldermen Lightfoot, VanBuskirk and Ertz in joining you in your well stated comments.


Raytown Alderman 
Announces Mayoral Campaign

Ward 4 Alderman Pat Ertz is pleased to announce his candidacy for the office of Mayor of Raytown.

During his eight years on the Board of Alderman, Ertz has been a leader, as proven by his service as Mayor Pro-Tem and as chairman of the board's Finance Committee. In addition, he also has served as a liaison to the following: the following: the Raytown School District, the Sales Tax Oversight Committee, Parks Department, Police Pension Fund, and the Chamber of Commerce.

Ertz has been an active member of the following community boards: the Raytown arm of the Truman Heartland Foundation, the Summer Lunch Program at Raytown Christian Church, and Board of Directors of the Raytown Area Chamber of Commerce, where he also served as Chair of the Board in 2012. He also is a member of the Raytown School District’s Citizens' Advisory Committee, Suburban Water Coalition, the Chamber Government Relations Committee and is a member of the Raytown Rotary Club, where he heads the Community Service Committee.

Ertz is a 25-year citizen of Raytown and makes his home with his wife, Shari, and son, Kyle. Pat retired from Hy-Vee Food Store after having worked there for 34 years as a Meat Department manager. He is currently District Manager of Public Water Supply District #2 of Jackson County.

Ertz is adamant about keeping good city employees who have demonstrated, through their service, that they are dedicated to creating the best city possible. By continuing to insist on high standards and creating a stable city hall environment, Raytown will continue to attract high-quality individuals.

“We need to continue to find ways to recruit and retain the best employees," Ertz said. "Training employees to be hired away by other municipalities is not a sustainable solution."


Ertz also believes in the proactive approach when it comes to Raytown Police and EMS departments and has always supported their need for the best and most modern equipment. These include the city's purchase of new radios, police cars and ambulances. In addition, Ertz supported Raytown’s recent purchase of body cameras for all police officers. At the police department's request, the Raytown board members acted on the need for body cameras while many city entities are still debating the issue. “We need to take care of the personnel that take care of us night and day," he said.

While serving on Raytown Board of Alderman, Ertz and his fellow Aldermen, improved city finances by balancing the budget and reducing city debt. As mayor, he will continue to devote much attention to the city budget. Economic development has been another key issue that Ertz has stressed as alderman, which he will work to further improve as mayor; the board has attracted many businesses to Raytown, including Heartland Manufacturing, Google Fiber, Aldi's and IHOP.

During the past eight years that Ertz has served on the Board of Aldermen, the city has successfully recruited more than $8 million in grants for infrastructure improvements, including sidewalks and streets. As mayor, Ertz will continue to build upon such past successes by working to recruit even more businesses to establish a home in Raytown.

Ertz has served on the board with a growing sense of pride in his community. As mayor, he pledges to bring the same strong leadership while engaging and encouraging fellow citizens to help keep Raytown the vibrant, thriving community its residents know and love.

For further information, contact Pat Ertz at 816-356-8233 or kyertz@msn.com


FIT BOTTOMED EATS  BY JENN  
Key Lime Chia Cheesecake Is there anything you can’t add chia seeds to for extra nutritional oomph and awesomeness? It seems not. Because between last month’s Creamy Coconut Ginger-Carrot Soup (with chia!) and the below Key Lime Chia Cheese recipe (!), our chia love has reached a new foodie level. READ MORE  

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