Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Tax Increases / Street Lights / Five Lessons

TAX INCREASES ON THE HORIZON? A recent comment to the Raytown Report suggested Raytown School District is planning a very large property tax increase next April. If it is true, and word on the street is in the works, it may not be the only property tax increase Raytowners will be deciding next April. (see comment posted "Raytown Home Property Values Threatened" July 4, 2007 5:37 PM) At a recent meeting of the Raytown Municipal Committee City Administrator Michael Miller presented the five-member board with various plans to increase the number of streetlights in Raytown. At the end of the meeting the majority of the Committee sent a proposal for a property tax increase to the Board of Aldermen for consideration. Any increase in the city’s property tax or the school district’s property tax would require approval of the voters. MONEY FLOWS FOR TRIPS – NOT FOR LIGHTS At Tuesday night’s meeting the Board of Aldermen approved $4,700.00 in trips for three city officials. City Administrator Michael Miller will be off to Pittsburgh, PA for a conference. The price of the five-day trip comes to $2,300. Two other employees who work with the city’s ambulance service will be off to Orlando, Florida for a conference. The tab for that trip is budgeted at $2,400.00. All three of the trips were set in the 2006-2007 budget last October. Continuing education and networking is important for any organization. I only bring this up to point out that in that same budget there was no money set aside for much needed street lights. To my way of thinking the streetlights and the safety and security they bring to a community are as important as the continuing education. The Finance Committee will soon begin its deliberations on the 2007 – 2008 budget. They should not leave the citizenry in the dark (figuratively speaking, of course!) this year. The need for more street lighting is urgent in Raytown. The Board of Aldermen should recognize this and budget funds to take care of the highest need areas now. Not wait to raise taxes sometime next year. FIVE LESSONS . . . Here are five very touching short stories with a message from a regular contributor to the Raytown Report. I hope you enjoy them. First Important Lesson - Cleaning Lady. During my second month of college, our professor gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions until I read the last one: "What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?" Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times. She was tall, dark-haired and in her 50s, but how would I know her name? I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Just before class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our quiz grade. "Absolutely," said the professor. "In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say "hello."I've never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy. Second Important Lesson - Pickup in the Rain One night, at 11:30 p.m., an older African American woman was standing on the side of an Alabama highway trying to endure a lashing rain storm. Her car had broken down and she desperately needed a ride.Soaking wet, she decided to flag down the next car. A young white man stopped to help her, generally unheard of in those conflict-filled 1960's. The man took her to safety, helped her get assistance andput her into a taxicab.She seemed to be in a big hurry, but wrote down his address and thanked him. Seven days went by and a knock came on the man's door. To his surprise, a giant console color TV was delivered to his home. Aspecial note was attached.It read:"Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway the other night. The rain drenched not only my clothes, but also my spirits. Then you came along. Because of you, I was able to make it to my dying husband's bedside just before he passed away... God bless you for helping me and unselfishly serving others."Sincerely,Mrs. Nat King Cole. Third Important Lesson - Always Remember Those Who Serve. In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less, a 10-year-old boy entered a hotel coffee shop and sat at a table. A waitress put a glass of water in front of him."How much is an ice cream sundae?" he asked."Fifty cents," replied the waitress.The little boy pulled is hand out of his pocket and studied the coins in it."Well, how much is a plain dish of ice cream?" he inquired.By now more people were waiting for a table and the waitress was growing impatient."Thirty-five cents," she brusquely replied.The little boy again counted his coins."I'll have the plain ice cream," he said.The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill on the table and walked away The boy finished the ice cream, paid the cashier and left. When the waitress came back, she began to cry as she wiped down thetable. There, placed neatly beside the empty dish, were two nickels and five pennies..You see, he couldn't have the sundae, because he had to have enough left to leave her a tip. Fourth Important Lesson. - The Obstacle in Our Path. In ancient times, a King had a boulder placed on a roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the king's wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it. Many loudly blamed the King for not keeping! the roads clear, but none did anything about getting the stone out of the way.Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. Upon approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded. After the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder hadbeen. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the King indicating that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway. The peasant learned what many of us never understand!Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve our condition. Fifth Important Lesson - Giving When it Counts. Many years ago, when I worked as a volunteer at a hospital, I got to know a little girl named Liz who was suffering from a rare & serious disease. Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a bloodtransfusion from her 5-year old brother, who had miraculously survived the same disease and had developed the antibodies needed to combat the illness. The doctor explained the situation to her little brother, and asked the little boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister. I saw him hesitate for only a moment before taking a deep breath and saying, "Yes I'll do it if it will save her." As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed next to his sister and smiled, as we all did, seeing the color returning to her cheek. Then his face grew pale and his smile faded.He looked up at the doctor and asked with a trembling voice, "Will I start to die right away"? Being young, the little boy had misunderstood the doctor; he thought he was going to have to give his sister all of his blood in order to save her.


Anonymous said...

Some people saw that the discussion about working on vehicles, breeding, fences and tethering was to be on the agenda Tuesday once again so several of us very concerned citizens got together to watch the meeting. The general concensus was that this board of Alderman has lost touch with the majority of the citizens of this city. Sure there are a FEW people who may want these type of things allowed but they are very few.

For this board to even think of allowing someone to work on their vehicles for an extended period of time in their yards is unbelieveable. We have talked to everyone we know and not one person wants that kind of thing happening next to them.

This ordinance and the breeding ordinance will only bring down our property values even more. If these ordinances are passed we might as well throw up our hands and call that company that gives you about half of what your property is worth before it's worth nothing.

Regarding the breeding ordinance We certainly hope that every alderman who votes yes for this will have to live next to it. How are they going to control it? It will be impossible. Has anybody bothered to ask the people who will have to enforce it if this is going to work? But the board probably doesn't care because the they are not the ones who have to do the job.

As for Fences in the front yard we don't have a problem with decorative or split rail fences. As for chainlink fences, never, they look like the inter city where residents have to try to keep people out for their families safety. If they could live where that was not necessary do you really think they would choose to live that way?

Tethering, they passed an ordinance last year covering that. Why are they changing it again, because of one loud mouth person? Who did she pay off?

This Board is going to "hell in a hand basket", next thing you know they will be repealing the ordinances relating to noise, weeds and grass, and all other ordinances that make this city a better place to live. We have determined that they just want the city to turn into a Red Neck Hick Town, like most of the metro area thinks we are anyway.

What has happened to our new Mayor? Living in a big expensive house, would he want these things next to him? Why is it he has no opinion about these things? Isn't it his job to lead this Board? Have we all made another mistake in working so hard to get him elected? Do we have another do nothing Mayor who is not going to voice his opinion when what is happening is not in the best interest of this city?

You know, maybe it is time for those of us who care about our city and the neighborhoods we live in to call the ugly house people and move somewhere where the city council has some GUTS and will vote NO on ordinances that will eventually destroy the city.

This board needs to be more concerned about how they vote now, if they want to get re-elected, because at this rate they sure as Hell won't. What they don't understand is there's more of us that want a beautiful, well kept city to live in and we WILL remember you when the time comes in "08". If you think the last election was bad just wait for the next one because WE ARE WATCHING YOU.

Andy Whiteman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

What a discrace, spending all this city money on trips for city employees. We were told for years by he former mayor that we couldn't afford street lights, but they always seemed to find the money for trips for her and the aldermen. Again if we place trips for city employees before providing basic city services we've come to a pretty sad state. Mayor Bower, it's time for you to step up and stop some of this folishness. The people voted for change when they elected you, so don't disappoint them.

Anonymous said...

Trips for employees should be stated more like "all expense paid vacation compliments of the citizens of Raytown." With today's online training, sending employees out of town is a big foolish waste of taxpayers money. No money for this and no money for that, but hold on, we have money to send department heads out of town for whatever they wish.
Thanks EMS Director and City Adminstrator for wasting tax payers dollars.
City Hall management is a joke!

Anonymous said...

Where are our codes people? Seems whenever you have a complaint they come up with some excuse why they can't resolve the problem. Is anyone else getting the same results? If so let's hear about it.

Anonymous said...

The codes enforcers are too busy harrasing citizens who have imagined viloations to respond to anything important! Did you notice in the legal announcement in the Raytown Post what they are paid. Certainally not a living wage! Are we supposed to bribe them in order to be left alone?

True Blue said...

Who is this Joe Cramer that wants to turn everyone's driveway into a car repair shop? This is the very thing that is wrong with Raytown. Junk, trash, debris and pit bulls in our neighborhoods. If this guy is so far out of touch, maybe he should resign and let someone represent Ward 1 that knows it's people.

Anonymous said...

Don't read the Post. Worst paper in the history of Raytown.

Anonymous said...

Here it comes.. Just read in the July 5th Raytown Tribune about the Raytown School District comming up 10 million short on their budget. A 90 million dollar budget and only getting 80 million dollars to waste. Guess who is going to make up the shortage??? You, the suckers called the citizens of Raytown with a tax increase.

The kids have everything they can possibly need and then some to do good in school.

If you want to see how the administration is spending (wasting) your tax dollars, just go look at the new administration building at 6608 Raytown Road. Marble this and fancy flat screen t.v.'s and fancy woodwork. It looks like the "Trump Plaza" inside. How does this help our kids learn better?? Hmmmmmmm

True Blue said...

Looks like the school district is trying to waste as much money as city hall. Maybe they are in a race to see who can be the most wasteful. No raises for teachers so the school board can coerce them into supporting some stupid tax increase next April. But let's keep those new buildings coming.

Anonymous said...

Your exactly right, True Blue!

The Raytown School Board are buying up buildings in Raytown right and left with the bond money from last year.

But how are they going to equip and staff these buildings with no money?????? Hold on to your wallets, do I hear a tax increase?

The citizens of Raytown should demand to see the financial books from the school board to see where the money is going. But remember one thing, "figures lie but liar's figure".

Anonymous said...

The school system is not financed by city taxes, people. But what the heck, why let facts get in the way of a good rant.

If some of you used your talents to come up with solutions instead of whining incessantly we may make some progress.

Has anyone noticed that Raytown is completely surrounded by three of the top seven largest cities in Missouri? Not bad enough that we are an island inside of KC, but on two sides we have two other large cities looming near as well. If you don't think that has been, and will be, an obstacle you are ignoring the facts that really matter.

If you haven't thought at all about what Raytown will look like in twenty years, you are missing more facts. We can't stop the changes, folks. But we can have the vision to move with them and adapt positively.

These are the kinds of big issue things blogs like this can deal with. This nitpicky, politics based, personal attack driven nonsense isn't going to help a bit.

If people recognize that everyone here, resident or business owner, wants to see Raytown succeed, perhaps the tone will change.

Long live Raytown!

Itellitlikeitis said...

Dear "Anonymous";
The school system IS financed by taxes, as the levy goes up so does your property taxes. But those that live in the school district who are not property owners get a free pass. But what the heck, why let facts get in the way of a good rant. Also, as your property taxes go up every two years the school district gets automatic increases.

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Anonymous said...


Property taxes are from Jackson County (not the City of Raytown), right? My understanding is that they are then distributed to the appropriate school disctrict, community college district, etc. depending on your address.

But, as far as I know, no one in Raytown government can change the property tax rate. Am I wrong?

As for non-property owners, those paying rent have a property tax assumption build in. The owner does not eat the property taxes, trust me. So renters are just as effected by rising rates, just not as directly as property owners.

Anonymous said...

To anonymous, on taxes

If you check your Jackson County tax bill, you will notice that it is a combination of county and city tax. The county bills for the city and then it is distributed back to city, school district, fire, library etc. It is my understanding that the city can raise your real estate tax only a small percentage without a vote of the people.

Anonymous said...

Again, it appears that no one is minding the store at city hall. Why were some of the recycling bins full before closing time this last Sunday? So sad the city can't even handle this simple project. This is some of that professional city staff that Mayor Bower refers to often. Mayor, it's time for you to step up and make some changes. We're waiting.

Anonymous said...

The letter that was ended with "long live Raytown" makes a good point. That is that we must work to make Raytown succeed. We can have the vision to do so -- but sometimes our leaders let us down. \

A good example are the proposals to allow dogs chained in front yards, dog breeding in neighborhoods and (worst of all) allowing people to work on junk cars in their driveways.

I urge everyone to call your elected official and tell them that is not the vision for Raytown's future that we want.

Anonymous said...

I agree that we need to call our elected officials about those silly proposals that are currently before the board of aldermen. It's a shame that we have to go to this exteme, you would think that the board of aldermen would use a little "commom sence" and not even consider these issues. Again it really shows how out of touch these folks are with Raytown citizens. They just keep bringing up the same old issues. Let's move on. Where's the Mayor on these issues?

Pat Casady said...

OK guys, nobody is going to take what you say seriously if you don't start signing what you write.
I know most of you are good people because you don't take cheap shots at other writers, you have no reason not to sign.

Lets all of us try to come up with ways to make Raytown a better place, it's easy to criticize, the hard part is to come up with positive helpful ways we can help change all of this.

Please don't think I am putting any of you down, I've just talked to a lot of people and they all said they won't and don't take anonymous letters seriously and most don't even take the time to read them.


Benjamin Gecko said...

I've been watching this one from the sidelines. But Pat Casady's remark about the need to sign a message makes little sense.

Pat . . . What difference does it make if a message is signed? Whoever signs it is not the issue, it is the message itself.

Andy Whiteman said...

I agree with Pat and Benjamin about signing. The newspapers don't publish unsigned letters. Some may fear harrassment by the city. I feel that I am being harrassed but that doesn't stop me from signing or speaking at the board meetings (even thought it falls onto deaf ears).

Most people don't receive tax bills, but I know how to get mine and do the math. My school taxes are 67% and I own no children.

My mother always resented apartment dwellers on school bond elections. Property owners vote "NO"; but renters vote "YES" because they don't pay a tax bill directly.

I feel each child should be taxed to divide the tax fairly. The users should pay. I know I support the Police and Fire Department but I use these services or at least know they are available.

The school district sent out a mailing before the last election supporting the bond issue. How much did this cost taxpayers? What a waste of money. It should be illegal.

Lets start taxing the users and not property owners who own no children. It is ridiculous for retired person with little income to pay over $900/year in school taxes! I know others pay more than me.

Andy Whiteman

Pat Casady said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

If I post my name and the discussion then becomes about me, and not my ideas, how is that beneficial?

Pat, you of all people should understand that. Your name alone generates personal replies, and your ideas, some good, get ignored. This is true of other as well, I would guess.

Feel free to ignore anonymous posts. But, you may be missing interesting or enlightening ideas.

Pat Casady said...

Again it's not me. I read all of the posts on this blog.
And yes there is a lot of good conversation and ideas written here.
I just thought I'd pass on what I've heard other people say.
As far as I can remember the only writers that have ever said anything bad to, or about me was "The Kid" and trust me he, she or it doesn't bother me, and a lady once told me if I didn't like Raytown I should leave. That was when a developer was trying to steal our property and I wrote about it.

As far as what people think of me..........let's just say I'm too old to care.
I have always written the truth and for the most part I researched any facts I've written.
That's why I sign my letters. You can't control what people think of you, if you sign a letter or not. The people that really matter your family and friends will always be there for you.
So who the heck cares what anybody else thinks?

Maybe the anonymous writers should sign with an anonymous #1, anonymous #2 and so forth. At the very least us readers would know there might be more than one of you out there.

Benjamin Gecko said...


All I meant by my comment was that the message should be more important than the messenger. There is an element in Raytown that has ruled by guilt through association, bigotry, and dismissing what is said because of who said it for over eight years now.

That group has our city by the throat. They have single-handidly destroyed the Downtown and indebted the city to 23 years of enormous debt to Walmart on 350 Highway.

Hell, you can't even get your letters published in the local paper because you have the wrong name in this town.

This format, allowing anonymity, is the best way to learn what people really think.

Pat Casady said...

TO: Benjamin Gecko,
I understand.

True Blue said...

Gecko and Pat,
You guys have hit the nail on the head. Many of us don't want to put up with the petty redicule of former mayor Frank's cronies, like Witty, and the others that have only lived here a short while. So, that is why we prefer to use a blogger name. You are right about this group destroying the downtown redvelopement and selling out to Walmart. It's a discrace to what has happened to the old Baptist Church. The city has become one of the worst codes violators in town, so how do we expect anyone to take codes enforcement seriously. Michael Miller is a joke when it comes to wanting strong code enforcement. By the time the rest of our citizens figure him out it will be to late.

Andy Whiteman said...

I can understand the reason for being anonymous. I read the anonymous posts as well as long as the subject interest me.
I think Pat as a good idea of putting identity to those named anonymous, People could use a handle like True Blue or itellitlikeitis. I have no idea who these people are but I know it is the same person writing. I suggest people click on "SIGN UP HERE" and create an username and password. You can pick any user name that you can remember as long as it is not obscene.
When I write the Post of speak at the Board of Aldermen meeting I must give my name. I feel if I posted anonymously people would still know it is me.
Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

When will this Raytown School Board quit wasting our money on buildings? It's time for a audit of the school districts books. Also, let's recruit some new candidates for next years school board elections and vote these free spenders out!

Anonymous said...

I see the Raytown Post has a new owner -- hopefully we will get some responsible journalism out of that paper instead of the hack work we have become used to.

The Salamander said...

A note from the a local paper that Raytown’s most “Famous”
Non-Resident, Al Maddox is at it again. This time Maddox wrote to the Tribune, he bugged about his role in the tree planted by Comcast. As usual, Al danced around the facts while not saying directly, he did leave the implication that he was the impetus for the project. We weren’t fooled for a minute, Al. I think you should butt out and stay in Kansas City. If that town will tolerate you.

As Maddox’s efforts to solicit money for building a city park at 63rd and Raytown Road. He should have to report every cent received as well as expenditure on this little spit of land.

Anonymous said...

For readers who are impatient with progress in the downtown, I say, “Be patient.” In another 21 days it will be the end of the month, time to once again reach into your collective pockets to pay another $2,200.00 interest bonds which were purchased to finance Sue Frank’s Folly -- the old Baptist Church.

I still am looking for someone to tell me who authorized the vandalization of the inside of that building. Understand most of the destruction was caused by a city department. If true, they should have to pay for repairs. That building isn’t going anywhere, so it might be best to fix it up. It might help recover the $2,200.00 a month interest payment thru rent or for some other use.

Anonymous said...

I think most of Raytown is sick of Al Maddox and his butting in. Why doesn't this lonely old man just go home to Kansas City and help his buddy, Funkhouser. I suspect Kansas City is tired of him too.

Andy Pickard said...

Hey, anything to the comment on the sale of the Post? I know that Battagler was in court because he couldn't pay Lee Gray, but never heard the outcome of the case. If he sold, things probably went Lee's way. Hope so. Lee got screwed on that deal...

Anonymous said...

To the "other anonymous," I don't want to be mean but you're naive if you think the sale of the Raytown Post will improve it.

Obviously you didn't read the story in the Post carefully or you'd have figured out that who it was sold to was already involved in what was being done there.

Where the other comment is concerned from the guy named Andy, I casually know both sides of the issue and am neutral. But I've been keeping track of our local yokels legal issues and problems and I'd say that nothing has changed. I never was a big Lee Gray fan...but I think he was at least much as he could be...from seeing things the way he did.

Too liberal for me!

Too bad it's necessary for all of us to even be hear dicussing all the various issues. Too bad it won't do any good. The Kansas City area doesn't have a real newspaper anywhere, nor a real redio station, talk radio, or otherwise...which makes a damn bit of difference. People don't care. But who blames them? With Bush and ghe Congress people are lucky to pay their bills and almost make an existence. This country...this town and everthing else has pretty much gone to hell!

Do enjoy and appreciate that some of you still care...but you might as well pound sand down a rat hole!

Dr. Know---No!!! said...

About the Raytown School District buying buildings. Looks like the S.D. has aquired another building. The newer Aquila building for technology. I under stand it needs a lot of work to make it educational ready. Utilities alone are going to cost 150,000.00 + a year for THAT building alone. Where are they going to get that kind of money? You guessed it, hello "sucker" citizens of Raytown!!!

Pat Casady said...

Ok, I have a question.
Is there any government office, state or federal, or any organization that watches out for how taxpayer money is spent or do cities and school boards have carte blanche with the money?

It's obvious there are a lot of people that aren't happy with the way taxpayer dollars are being spent.

Anonymous said...

Pat, Citizens can demand a state audit by petition thru state auditor's office in Jefferson City. Believe it's about time for both school district and city hall have one.