Saturday, September 1, 2007
Water Bill Blues and Other Thoughts
Have you ever wondered where you water comes from? By this I mean who is supplying the water utility companies in Raytown for the product they mark up and re-sell to you. If you do not know, please read on. Raytown is served by two water utilities. The Raytown Water Company serves the northern section of the city. It buys its water from Kansas City. It is not part of this story. The southern section of the city is supplied by Public Water Supply Disrtrict No. 2. That utility buys its water from Independence and Kansas City. Sources from Independence, Missouri tell me that a recent audit has shown that the D-2 District has been overcharged for the water it purchases from the Independence utility. No doubt they will try to re-coup the money from the over-payments. If they are successful the money should be passed back to the Raytown ratepayers who carried the financial burden of paying the rates. Whether or not that will come to pass is yet to be seen. If ever there was a chance for City Hall to stand up for its citizenry, this is it. As the elected representatives governing Raytown they have a responsibility to assure that their constituents are treated fairly by the utilities that serve them. The easiest way to accomplish that goal would be a simple rollback of rates to those who were over-charged. When the amount of money paid out is recouped, bills could then be adjusted to meet real expenses. Such action is not without precedence. Years ago the Raytown City Council enacted laws governing how electric utility companies were to maintain the easements under their power lines. At the time, the utility companies had announced they would use defoliants to kill off the growth under the power lines. Two young aldermen from Raytown checked out what they planned to use to kill the growth and found that the defoliants contained dioxin. (FYI: Those two aldermen were myself and Garth Bare – but that is ancient history) The homeowners, particularly their pets and children would have been at great risk by coming in contact with the carcinogens used in the defoliants. The City Council responded by passing legislation banning the use of poisons by the utilities under power lines. It will be interesting to see what action, or inaction, is taken by the City Council as they tackle this issue. OTHER THOUGHTS: Burnt Brain Bob was at it again this past week. This time his foggy memory cells misfired when he related an exchange between Greg Walters and him on the suggestion that a contest be held to design a new logo for the city. Since I was there – here was what was said: Phillips approached me and said the idea of a contest was a good one – but should have been made a year ago. I replied, “If it was a good idea then, it is a good idea now.” Then he walked away. Alderman Pat Riehle complained that the process was being politicized. To which I replied (words to the effect): “We all travel in different circles . . . there are many in this town who view Raytown Reaching for Tomorrow as a political club . . . that club has morphed into a group called “Continue Raytown’s Progress. That group has actively campaigned to elect most of the members on the City Council. It is improper for the slogan to be incorporated into the city’s logo. Just as it would be improper for the City of Lee’s Summit to write “a Republican stronghold in Eastern Jackson County”. FINAL WORD ON THE NEW LOGO: Most folks do not know that the committee that created the new logo was chaired by none other than Al Maddox. Alderman John Hamilton made a point of dropping this bit of information at the last meeting. Mr. Hamilton claims that Foul Mouth Al made every effort to make the group designing the logo as inclusive as possible. I am curious, if there is anyone who was invited to take part in this process who was not a member of Raytown Reaching for Tomorrow, I would be interested in meeting them. Contact me via this blog. As for the logo itself – I think a fitting place for it would be the Sue Frank Memorial (the old First Baptist Church). It could welcome visitors to Downtown Raytown to view the result of eight years of progress under her watch as Mayor. And a personal note to Lee Gray – I am sorry about your loss. I know that you and your father were very close. I hope the pad you gave him brings him good luck in his card games in heaven.