Saturday, February 21, 2015

RAYTOWN'S LEADING NEWS SOURCE


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RAYTOWN CHARTER FORUM
TUESDAY,   FEBRUARY 24th    7:00 PM
There will be a Public Forum of the Raytown Charter Commission Tuesday, February 24th at Raytown City Hall. The meeting will begin at 7:00 p.m. Raytown Charter Commissioners will be on hand to discuss the proposed Charter to be voted on at the April 7th Election.

The meeting is a Public Hearing. Members of the audience will be invited to ask questions and give their opinion of the proposed Charter.

One Year Ago . . .
BY GREG WALTERS
I was looking through some old newspaper stories from last Spring’s editions of the Raytown Times and the Raytown Report. My favorite part is reading the old editorials. 

The reason is simple . . . it is in those editorials that you learn the true intentions of the writer. In many cases, the stories told are based purely on opinion and often times, full of hyperbole, exaggeration and overstatement.

It was at about this time one year ago when the Charter Campaign was in its very earliest stages of formation. The Raytown Times came out hitting pretty hard. The editor of the Times waxed rhetorically about the Charter.

He wrote, “I think this is the sixth time we have attempted charter”.

He was wrong. It was, and for that matter, still is the fifth attempt.

He predicted the formation of the Charter Commission and the anticipated year of work on creating the document would probably cost $150,000.

Wrong again.

We checked with the Treasurer of the Charter Commission, Mark Moore, and found the anticipated final figure will probably come in around $16,000.The bulk of which will be spent on legal fees and publication/distribution of the final Charter document.

What does it all mean?

Last year's tactics by the nay-sayers in Raytown did not make much of an impact with the voters. I am inclined to believe it is because the voters made informed decisions despite some of the rumors making the rounds last Spring.

On Tuesday there will be a public hearing on the Charter. It is a good opportunity for Raytowners to come and voice their opinions, ask their questions and come to their own conclusions on the Charter. 

Copies of the Charter will be on hand for all who attend the meeting.

City Rehires Finance Director
It has been a rocky ride for the position of City Finance Director at Raytown City Hall this past year.

On May 21, 2014 the City Finance Director at the time, Mark Loughry resigned his position. In a memo to the Board of Aldermen City Administrator Mahesh Sharma wrote that Mr. Loughry had decided to go into business in the private sector.

In late August the position was filled when the city hired Martha Munt. When she was hired City Administrator Mahesh Sharma wrote Ms. Munt, “brings a wealth of experience to the position.”

Ms. Munt’s time as City Finance Director was short. In less than a month she announced she would be leaving her job at City Hall.

At last Tuesday’s meeting the Board of Aldermen voted to rehire Mr. Loughry as City Finance Director. Mr. Loughry will be paid the same amount he was paid under his previous contract ($90,409.28 annually).



BY PAUL LIVIUS
The Paul Livius Report
Raytown Board of Aldermen Meeting – February 17, 2015
The Board passed a resolution authorizing an employment agreement with Mark Loughry as Finance Director for the city.  The City shall pay the Employee an initial salary of $90,409.28 annually.

The Board passed a resolution to fund related to Charter Commission expenses in the amount not to exceed $16,000.00.  This is needed to cover the cost of attorney’s fees and other expenses of the Commission.

The Board passed a resolution approving participation in the Missouri Department of Transportation Highway Safety Crash Reduction/Hazardous Moving Enforcement Grant application.  The grant allows for approximately 200 hours of enforcement overtime and to send one person to the annual LETSAC conference. There is no match required by the City for this grant.

The Board passed a resolution approving an agreement for professional consulting services with Pros Consulting, Inc. for a park master plan in an amount not to exceed $50,000.00.  The Park Master Plan is a planning document to guide future park development for the next 10-15 years. The process includes a comprehensive audit of the City’s park facilities, identifying system weaknesses, evaluating recreation programs and exploring new opportunities to generate additional revenue. The plan has the potential to produce positive economic development and become an integral part of the City’s comprehensive plan. Further, a master plan provides direction and public input using statically valid community surveys, assesses citizens’ needs and guides park acquisition and development. The final report will identify future funding sources and guide direction of the City’s resources. Special consideration will be given to the future of Super Splash. The City’s Park Master Plan was last updated in 2001.

Of the nine firms who submitted proposals, PROS Consulting was selected as the finalist following evaluation through a qualification-based weighted scoring process. The fiscal year 2014-2015 budget is $50,000.00. The PROS Consulting contract is $78,275.00 with a 15% contingency for a total project cost of $90,000.00 Since the project exceeds budgeted amounts the total cost will be spread over two fiscal years and will be broken into Phase I and Phase II. Phase I will be completed during fiscal year 2014-2015 and Phase II will be brought back to the Board of Aldermen for funding during fiscal year 2015-2016.

The Board passed a resolution approving the expenditure of funds with Splashtacular for waterslide maintenance and repair in an amount not to exceed $88,700.00.  Super Splash water slide maintenance is required to ensure rider safety and extend the equipment’s useful life. Fiberglass water slides are durable but weather conditions, heavy use and aging can cause exposed laminate, leaks and water loss at flume joints. Two of the three slides were installed in 1993 and have developed cracks, gel coat chips, oxidation and rusted hardware. In 2014, the Jackson Hole slide was partially closed due to structural issues.

This work will repair the damage. The scope of work involves a visual inspection report, slide joint leak repair, gel coat repair, removal and replacement of damaged or rusted hardware, buffing and cleaning of slide riding surfaces, and recoating the slide’s interior and exterior. Aldermen Jason Greene and Janet Emerson voted against the repair work. They stated they prefered to wait until recommendations were made by PROS Consulting (the city has hired the consulting firm for $90,000) before spending more money on SuperSplash.

RDA Meeting Attracts
Large Crowd of Candidates
The Raytown Democratic Association (RDA) drew a large crowd of candidates to its monthly meeting last Thursday night. Candidates for Mayor, City Council, Fire District and the Raytown School Board were in attendance at the monthly meeting held at Las Chiles Restaurant in the Center 63 Shopping Center.

Mayoral candidate Mike McDonough was the guest speaker at the February meeting. The other candidate for Mayor, Pat Ertz, had been the guest speaker at the January meeting of the organization.

The Raytown Democratic Association is one of the few organizations in Raytown that consistently holds meetings in which candidates can meet the public in an informal setting.
The next meeting of the Raytown Democratic Association is scheduled for Thursday, March 19th at 7:00 p.m. at Las Chiles Restaurant.

Other candidates in attendance at last Thursday meeting included:
ALDERMAN:  Greg Walters (Ward 1), Steve Meyers (Ward 4), Mary Jane VanBuskirk (Ward 4), Eric Teeman (Ward 5), Ryan Myers (Ward 3)
SCHOOL BOARD:  Thomas Granger Estlund
FIRE BOARD:  Richard Tush

The following guest article is by Mary Jane VanBuskirk, candidate for Alderman in Ward 4. All Raytown candidates are invited to send an article to the Raytown Report for publication. Candidate reports will be posted in the order of which they are received.
 
Ward 4 Alderman Race
BY MARY JANE VanBUSKIRK  (737-2799)

I am Mary Jane Van Buskirk and I am running for Alderman in Ward 4. I'm a 42 year resident of Raytown. We have a great city and we need to market it as such.

We do have problems but working together we can fix these problems and make Raytown better than its ever been. I am not saying I can fix all the problems but I promise I will give it 100%. In order to fix our problems we must find ways to expand our economic base by attracting new business, because all of this comes with a cost.

I do have concerns and here is a list of them:

1. I feel very strongly that we need more police patrol in our neighborhoods, crime in the neighborhoods is on the increase.  We have 56 full time police officers and a budget of $7,839,664.00 (47% of our city's budget).  We had 7,221 outstanding warrants in the month of December. I believe we should look at the possibility of restructuring our police department so as to better utilize the personnel and the tax dollars that fund it. As a strong supporter of our police department it is not my intent to bash the police department but to make it more efficient. 

2. Code enforcement needs to be done on a daily basis not just when citizens or elected officials complain, it should be proactive. The codes department employees are on the streets daily and if they are doing their job properly they see violations and that is when they need to be handled. Enforced codes benefit all home owners and businesses in our city.

3. Street in many areas of our city are not well lit and this Invites crime. The taxpayers deserve to have their neighborhoods well lighted to allow them to feel safe and secure in their homes.

4. Street maintenance is also an area I feel needs to be reviewed. Good streets, like codes, are essential to make Raytown more attractive to potential home buyers and prospective businesses.

I would appreciate your support on April 7th to give me an opportunity to serve you for the next four years. My promise is that I will take the job seriously and work hard for those I represent.


BY JENN
Nine Amazing Healthy
Comfort Food Recipes

Comfort food. We all love it. And for good reason. It’s warm, filling and just fills your belly with joy. Hence the name “comfort food.” But not all comfort food has to be bad for you. Nope, not at all. In fact, we’ve rounded up nine of our favorite healthy comfort food recipes so that you can get your happy nom-nom on, minus the food coma! READ MORE
 
 
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Sunday, February 15, 2015

RAYTOWN'S LEADING NEWS SOURCE

 
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BY GREG WALTERS
Campaigns Firing Up
An unusually high number of candidates for municipal public office and an open seat for Mayor has manifested itself in early activity by a number of candidates vying for five seats on the Raytown Board of Aldermen and the office of Mayor.

Both candidates for Mayor, Mike McDonough and Pat Ertz have recently held fundraiser’s in preparation of their campaigns. In the races for the five seats on the Board of Aldermen there has been activity as well. In political terms, Raytown Wards are very small, averaging only two square miles in size. This lends itself to a more personal type of campaigning of the door to door variety.
There has already been activity observed in the three man race for Alderman in Ward 1 and candidate activity in Ward 4. Enough talk has surfaced to show what issues will become hot topics this election year as well.

Property values and the public safety in our neighborhoods will be high on the list. Some candidates have already called for an increased presence of Police in neighborhoods. The need for better street lighting to combat crime has been noted as has comments about the quality of street repair in Raytown neighborhoods.

EXCLUSIVE RAYTOWN REPORT STORY
 Whiskey Barrel Bounces Back
The New Year was only two days old when its business was interrupted by a robbery attempt that went extremely bad. By the end of the evening, Connie Maxwell had been assaulted and her son, Mike was in the hospital being treated for a gunshot wound to his head.

The immediate result of the foiled robbery attempt (the thieves ran out of the store empty-handed after shooting Mike), was the closing of the store for a three week period.

Mike’s convalescence may take a while longer, but he has taken his injury in stride saying “he feels lucky to be alive”. When he was shot the bullet shattered the right side of his skull. The blunt force trauma was so extensive it took 100 staples to close the wound. His doctors hope he will make a good recovery but caution the wound was a serious one that will take time to heal completely.

Detectives from the Raytown Police Department local police departments are pretty tight-lipped about the investigation. They have shared with Connie and Mike that there are similarities between the robbery at the Whisky Barrel and other areas of crime in the Kansas City area.

On the advice of the police department they have increased the lighting around the property and taken other security measures to ensure there will not be a repeat of what happened on January 2nd.

Connie told the Raytown Report , “It has been tough having to make up three weeks of lost business”, but feels their business is on its way to recovery.  She wanted their customers to know that they are back and open for business, Monday thru Saturday from 2:00 in the afternoon until 8:00 in the evening.

She appreciates the impromptu “welcome back” party customers surprised her with when she re-opened the store and said we are definitely here to stay.


CHARTER POLL

Even though the Charter question will not be held until April 7th, there has already been plenty printed about it in the local media. The newspapers and web/news internet sites have had their say. Why not find out what the people have to say! This week’s poll asks if you support, oppose are undecided on the Raytown Charter question. The poll will be open for voting until Sunday, February 22nd.




BY PAUL LIVIUS
A Call for Papers!
You can tell it is election time in Raytown. The City Council agendas are becoming shorter and attention is slowly migrating to the candidates running for City Council and Mayor in 2015.

Raytowners have plenty of choices this year for its representatives on the City Council. Fifteen candidates have filed for 6 positions in city government -- that is 13 for City Council and two for Mayor. Even more amazing is that all of the candidates appear to be serious in their goal of serving the public.

For the first time in many years, there are contested races in every ward. Not to mention to viable candidates for Mayor.


With such a large field of candidates it is only proper that the press in Raytown take up the challenge of informing the public about the candidates. The best way to do that is to have the candidates tell their story.

With that in mind, we are inviting all candidates for the Raytown City Council to drop us a story about their campaign. So far this year, three candidates have already done so. They are Mayoral candidates Pat Ertz and Michael McDonough, as well as Aldermanic candidate, Greg Walters

There is no cost to the candidate to take part in this opportunity.

If you are a candidate, take a seat and start pecking away at that keyboard. You have a story to tell – tell it – we will print it for you!

Send your story to gregtwalters@sbcglobal.net

We will take it from there.



BY SUSAN
FIT BOTTOMED EATS
The Church of Pizza
Like most Americans, I’m a fan of pizza. At least once a week, some combination of crust, sauce and toppings are in my belly. Most of the time, my dinner comes from a store-bought dough, homemade sauce and heaps of fresh veggies; but in a pinch, I’ll chow down on the frozen stuff, too. 
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