Sunday, October 7, 2007

Fun With Numbers

The ever volatile issue of streetlights came up at the last meeting of the Raytown Board of Aldermen. At issue was the inclusion of $10,000 earmarked for new streetlights in the 2008 budget. It did not take long for the fireworks to start. Ward 3 Alderman Christine White and Ward 5 Alderman Marilyn Fleming argued long and hard to pull the item from the budget. On the other side of the discussion were Greg Walters, Jim Aziere and Joe Creamer, arguing for inclusion of the lights in the budget. City Finance Director Dan Estes brought some confusion to the debate by reporting that the $10,000 would fund 18 lights. It did not take long for Christine White to jump on the “18 lights” to change it to “only 18 lights” – implying waste in city spending. This is where “Fun With Numbers” begins. Alderman Greg Walters asked Estes how much it cost the city per light in Raytown to keep the streets lit. Estes replied around $153.00. Walters pulled out his trusty Texas Instruments TI-5027 and went to work by doing the math. If only 18 lights were installed that the number actually reached $555.00 per light. He asked for an explanation on the discrepancy. Estes explained that he based his numbers on the cost of installation of a pole, burial of power lines and new fixture. So, if all the new lights go onto brand new structures, Estes is correct. However, if the lights were to go onto existing poles – the good people of Raytown could see up to 65 NEW STREETLIGHTS in place by this time next year. It is no secret that the administration at City Hall is fearful of the recurring cost of streetlights in each year’s budget. And it is true that 65 lights will cost more to maintain than 18 lights in future years – but to my way of thinking, street lighting is far more important than spending $20,000 on a newsletter that contains little useful news, or, for that matter, a survey that the city fathers only see fit to use when it backs up their arguments. For example, if you check out the survey the city spent nearly $20,000 on earlier this year you will find that the number one concern voiced by taxpayers is the need for more streetlights. Despite that outcry, city hall has done very little to address the concern. Aldermen White and Fleming want a five-year plan. What they do not tell you is that the five-year plan includes a tax or fee increase for a basic service that should already be paid for by the city’s general fund. This great leap forward (with apologies to Kindly Chairman Mao) is not the best way to address the problem. City officials need to reset their priorities as to what is most important to Raytowners. If we can bring Walmart to Raytown by creating 23 years of debt (with an agreement to pay off the debt BEFORE paying the bills for streetlights) then we can find a way to put in more streetlights without raising taxes. OTHER NEWS: After visiting with a local business owner this weekend it is clear that a new organization of local merchants is close to becoming a reality. Made up of the backbone of the American economy -- small businesses -- local entrepeneurs are looking at viable promotions to raise awareness and increase traffic in their businesses. THE REAL DEAL: Speaking of local entrepeneur, I had an opportunity to stop by City Grounds Coffee Shop (located at 63rd Street and Raytown Road) and found out they have increased their support of local artists. The paintings, sketches and drawings neatly framed on the wall are all for sale, as are the many crafts neatly displayed near the cash register. We can’t go on without mentioning the excellent selections of coffee and tea that are second to none in Raytown. If you have not yet discovered this secret jewel in Raytown – go check it out. WELCOME NEW POST EDITOR/PUBLISHER: I have yet to have the pleasure of meeting the new editor/publisher of the Raytown Post, Dennis Rich. But I can already see changes taking place. The last issue had more space dedicated to hard news about Raytown and less "fluff journalism" than in the past. It is a step in the right direction. Though I wonder why Mr. Rich would expect city code officials in K.C. to treat the Raytown School District differently than any other business when it comes to enforcing codes. After all, local business is the engine that makes the train run. If the process is slow and needs fixing then it should be done so for all -- not just those in the public sector.

48 comments:

sparky said...

The city could realize even more of a savings if they were to change the existing lighting fixtures that are mercury vapor to a lower wattage high pressure sodium or metal halide fixture that over time cost less to operate yet yield the same amount of light, although the initial purchase costs of these fixtures are somewhat higher, they might be able to obtain them at a quantity discount cost. Figured that I might add this info just in case someone wanted to play with more numbers.

Andy Whiteman said...

I appreciate the fact that Greg Walters looks into details and asking pointed questions. But I think we are comparing apples and oranges here. Greg asked how much it cost to keep the lights running? My assumption is that referred to yearly maintenance and power costs. Installing street lights is an entirely different issue and obviously you are not going buy and install a street light for $153. I am lucky if I get a yard light that cheap!

As for building codes and schools, I question why City Development told me schools were exempt from codes. Now, I am wondering are the schools exempt only from some codes and not others?

Obviously the city is also exempt from codes. I. E. The Olde Baptist Church.

I agree with Sparky on streetlights. Many cities now require this new type of lighting on business parking lots, car dealers, etc. because the light from the old lights block the view of the stars. I am surprised that Raytown doesn't have such an ordinance in place from new business such as Walmart. Boy that is going to be a brigh area unless restrictions are placed on lighting. I know Walmart is leaning towards selling energy efficent lighting but I don't know about their own parking lots.

Andy Whiteman

Dennis Rich said...

Greg,
Happy to see the initial changes at the Post have been noticed and hopefully well-received.
This, as they say, is not my first rodeo, and I take my responsibilities as a journalist very seriously. I cut my teeth as co-owner and managing editor of the late Warrensburg Free Press and most recently as a reporter for the Sedalia Democrat and I have never yet blinked in the face of a solid hard news story.
I, like you and your readers, don't have much use for "fluff journalism" and I have no doubt that you and other concerned members of the community will help watch the watchdog to make sure we are being fair, truthful, and accurate in our reporting.
As to the issue of city permits,
I would agree that the system overall is problematic to say the least, but given the situation as it is it seems to me, as I said in my column, that public works projects should receive fast-track approval out of respect and consideration to taxpayers. Why treat schools any different than any other business, you ask?
My response would be simply that they are not a business, they are public institutions and, I think, deserve special consideration accordingly.
Please take no slight in our not having met yet, it has been a whirlwind couple of weeks and the task ahead of us at the Post is large. I look forward to meeting you and will continue to enjoy the depth and liveliness of the discussions here on your blog.
We also gladly accept letters to the editor and guest columns from people of all affiliations and backgrounds, and I hope you and your readers will make use of the space on the Post's editorial page to help make sure all concerned voices in Raytown have a forum to air their views.
Many thanks,
Dennis Rich
Editor/Publisher
The Raytown Post

Anonymous said...

For the record, the City does not own or operate street lights. They are owned and operated by the 2 electric companies, so changing bulbs etc... is up to the companies that own them. The City just pays a monthly fee FOREVER for them. So anything cut out of ones years budget is cut out of every future budget as well. I agree no planning neccisary for that sort of thing, just give them to the people that complain the most, and the issue goes away.

Anonymous said...

I was under the assumption that the power companies installed the street light at no charge to the city. Where they make their money is once this light is installed the city will pay the power bill on it forever.

True Blue said...

I welcome Mr. Rich to the Raytown Post. He has to be an improvement over what we have seen over the past few years. The Post has quite a history under past leadership of John and Janet Colt and Lee Gray. Maybe we will see some real unbiased journalism coming from the Post again.

Anonymous said...

Hey Greg, Why do we have a recycling commission and yet Raytown does not subscribe to the MARC Hazmat center recycling program. It would seem that the people of Raytown would need a place to dispose of paint, and tires just like, the residents of the 37 metro cities that do.

sparky said...

In regards to permits and codes:

I understand how with construction projects that things can be fast paced, however, should public safety be sacrificed just because either the contractors want to hurry things along to get a bonus for finishing a project on time and ahead of schedule or because the customer wants to take occupancy by a certain date?

Obtaining a permit usually should not create a delay in the projects. However, code violations usually result in delays. Building codes are in place to ensure that a safe minimum standard has been maintained during all phases of the construction process and if it has not been met, then possibly lives could be at stake from shoddy workmanship, catostrophic structural failures, and the like. Basically, what may sound like a good deal, a cheap bid, or a really fast construction timeline may not be the best quality work and may not neccessarily meet the minimum construction codes requirements. You get what you pay for. Bottom line is: Fast tracking projects are not all that they are cracked up to be.

Construction codes inspectors have a thankless job. Contractors try to sneak things in on a daily basis. Not all contractors are that way. Most will do you a good quality job.

All buildings, public, private, and municipal are subject to building codes. Whether they are subject to maintenance codes is another story alltogether.

It is usually the property maintenance codes that are dreaded the most by businesses and homeowners as they usually can be misued or abused.

Part of my comments here come from an article I read in one of the Raytown papers about how the school district officials were disapointed to hear that the new elementary school might not be ready by opening day of the next school year and they were hoping to speed up the process, assuming overtime, to get the job finished before opening day. Is it really that important to get that building finished by that date or is it more important to get it done safely and done correctly?

They also apparently forgot about other factors like inclement weather, material shortages, delays in the permitting processes, etc can play a big part in the construction process as well and should have been taken into consideration from the beginning.

Reminds me of when the district got rid of the planned snow days years ago because they didnt need them anymore, then it snowed.

Andy Whiteman said...

I like the new look of the Raytown Post and have been a paid subscriber since they got their 2nd Class mailing permit. Raytown needs a quality local newspaper, as does any city. The Red Star doesn't cover local area news well at all.

As for Building Codes for schools, I feel they should be more strick than business or residential codes. My reason for this is that school buildings contain hundreds if not thousands of children. Should something be defective and the building collapses, catches fire, or whatever and a child or several children are injured or killed; there will be a huge outcry and lawsuits!

There can be no shortcuts when the safety of children are concerned! So what if the building is late opening. Isn't it worth it if we know the building has been properly constructed, inspected, and is safe for out children! Those are my feelings even though I don't have a child.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Good luck, Mr. Rich, with the Post.
Your mention of your previous ownership at the "LATE Warrensburg Free Press" tells me you couldn't compete with the Warrensburg Journal owned by the Green Family (think former MoPub boys/YMCA center here and Aunt Avis Tucker).
I would like to see you write a story talking about your role/ownership of the Post and your independence as such. John Ivy is still the owner, isn't he?
Glad to see Mr. Walters is holding Mr. Estes' feet to the fire. And the silliness of White and Fleming.
I haven't seen anything from Lee Gray here lately. Has he moved to the islands yet? Hope not as he has some interesting observations as he always did while running the Tribune.

Greg Walters said...

A few questions were directed my way so I thought I would pickup my keyboard and answer.

First -- it has always been my understanding that streetlight installation is paid for by the utility companies. I know another long time alderman, Jim Aziere, also shares that opinion.

The reason we believed the utility companies picked up the tab on the poles is because past Public Works Directors have told us so. It may be there has been a change in policy at the utility companies.

I have asked our Public Works Director, Mahesh Sharma, to investigate exactly what is paid for by the utility companies -- I am still waiting for his answer.

Keep in mind that Raytown served by to electric companies. It is very possible that there are two conflicting policies.

None the less, just like in Vegas, someone has to pay for all those lights.

That is why we have property taxes and, in the case of electricity, a franchise tax of 8% we ALL pay each month on our electric utility bills . . . that tax is a pass through the utility company collects for the city from rate users. And don't forget the sales taxes that are paid on top of the franchise tax.

Believe it or not, the sales tax is also charged against the franchise tax revenue. So, in reality, you are actually paying a tax on a tax!

The point is, we already pay plenty to both the power companies and city for what we receive in basic services.

Street lighting is a basic service, like maintenance of our streets and sidewalks, the taxpayers have already paid for the service. They should not be double-taxed for it.

Another writer asked about the Hazardous Waste Material program offered through the Mid-America Regional Council.

It is an item that the Recycling Committee will take up.

I do know that the Board of Aldermen considered participating in the past but found the cost to be prohibitive. There was also a question as whether or not it would be used much by Raytowners as the dump sites are quite a drive from Raytown.

Still, the issue deserves to be looked at again -- and it shall be.

Andy Whiteman said...

Greg,

It is a good question who is responsible for installing street lights? I know KCMO underwent a big street light installation (really many were unnecessary) and it was my impression that the taxpayers paid. If a city could require the electric company to install street lights, it seems to me they would make a case for a rate increase in that city due to the expense.

Eletcric rates are so high, I can't afford to cool to a comfortable level. Parts of my house are so hot that I feel like I am living in HELL. My complaint is the city worsens this with over 8%+ in taxes. I thought a tax on a tax was illegal. My most recent gas bill had over 11% in taxes! The weather here is so miserable that the city is actually taxing us for living in misery! Something needs to be done. 11% added to an already outrageous bill should not be allowed! Maybe the city should be required to justify the franchise and sales taxes to the PUC.

Maybe the franchise tax would be more fair if was a user tax of say $10 per meter. That would be more reasonable.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Lee Gray here
Appreciate "anonymous" asking about me. I'm still here. Just don't have much to add to the discussion. By the way I wasn't at the Tribune but the Post.
I do enjoy reading your thoughts, however.
Andy Whitman: I've seen you report before that you couldn't move from here, but if I was as miserable as you report being, I'd find a way. This is the Midwest. Hot in the summer and cold in the winter.

Andy Whiteman said...

Lee Gray,

I assumed the reason you didn't post was because you didn't have anything to say.

Yes, I know this is the midwest and how miserable it is here but I was forced to move here for a worthless job. It wasn't my choice. I was forced to move here in 1994, moved away in 1997 and forced to move back in 2000.

I have been looking for a house for over 5 years and unable to find a suitable one in my price range. I have to buy a house before I move. I have very specific requirements as to size of house, size of lot, location, noise from neighbors, etc. Now please tell me, how do I find a suitable house when none appear to exist? I am limited to the internet and contact with realtors. A trip to look at houses costs over $2000 so it is useless to make a trip until a house is identified to inspect.

I have been through several Realtors but they are used to people who will buy anything and don't like picky customers. Since I am disabled, I can afford only one move so whatever house I buy I will have to live in the rest of my life.

Now please tell me how do I find a way? If I had more money it might be easier, but that is not an option.

By the way you misspelled my name which is a common mistake. Many people also make the mistake of pronouncing it the way you spelled it so I understand. No big deal, but you were in the news business otherwise I wouldn't have bothered to mention it. If you had addressed me as "Helmet Head" I never would have noticed.

Andy Whiteman
Trapped in the State of Misery

Greg Walters said...

. . . . STREETLIGHT UPDATE . . . .

I received a call from the Director of Raytown Public Works yesterday. He told me that Aquilla, the company that serves about two-thirds of Raytown's electric utility needs, had contacted him regarding the cost of installing new streetlights.

The representative from Aquilla told him that they do not charge municipalities for installing hardware (poles, electrical lines, etc.) for new streetlights.

Just a monthly electrical fee.

Kansas City Power and Light, which serves the remaining third of Raytown has yet to respond to inquiries from the City Hall.

Greg Walters said...

An earlier writer asked why the City of Raytown did not participate in what they called the MARC Hazmat Center.

I checked into it and found the price tag has been prohibitive -- $25,000 annually!

The person I spoke with in Public Works regarding such inquiries told me he was aware of only one request for use of such a facility in the past year.

He did offer that Lee's Summit does have such a facility at their landfill that charges a fee for taking hazardous material.

Andy Whiteman said...

I am glad that Raytown has a person like Greg Walters who is willing to take his time to follow up on an issue.

If Aquila's only charge is for the monthly electricity and not installation of street lights, what is the problem? It seems to me that the issue may be if the funds are in the budget to pay for the monthly electric charge.

I am surprised that whoever is responsible for paying the monthly bills is unaware of what they are paying for!

Aquila is about to sell out. Sounds like a no brainer to me. Let's get the street lights installed in the Aquila part of Raytown before they sell out and the new company has a different policy! I wonder is it is company policy of policy set by the PUC?

As for hazardous waste disposal, I believe if it is auto parts, you can take them to a parts dealer and they will take it for a fee. I know when I buy a battery, I pay a core charge and get a refund of the charge when I return the old battery because they are recycled. I believe that when I was forced to live here from 1994-97 that auto shops that sold tires would take old tires for a fee.

For other items like computers, printers, monitor, TVs, etc., I suggest calling a store that sells the items and ask if they will accept the old units.

Remmeber if you have a TV, computer, or whatever that is still working, but you just don't want it; the item can be donated to a group that will sell or use it. Ask for a receipt and deduct from your taxes.

Andy Whiteman

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

I was reading over the different comments and wondered about something that happened tome this summer.

I called up to city hall to find out about a city spirit meeting I had read about in the paper.

A lady named Teresa answered the phone and told me she was too busy to answer my question.

She didn't even take my phone number down to call me back.

Has this happened to anyone else?

Pat Casady said...

Last night Tuesday Oct. 9, we finally had our downtown business and property owners meeting. I was a little disappointed with the low turn out but was very impressed with the concerned people that came.
I learned that there are no less than three startup groups of concerned people.
Our group was started with no city officials. This was by design. There is another
group that involved the city from the start.
I have absolutely no problem with any group that wants Raytown to be a better place.
I choose not to invite any city people at this time, because I and others felt that in the last six or so years, the city, in our opinion, had done more to hurt the downtown than to help. Unfortunately some of those city officials are still here.

We wanted fresh ideas not the same old thing we have been hearing for all these years.

Even if we didn't come up with much on our first meeting we now know each other
and that was more than we knew that morning. I hope in the future we can meet with more business and property owners to see and hear what they think and want.

I think all of the groups of concerned people should get together in a single group
and just talk about what everybody expects and wants Raytown to become.
If nothing else they will meet each other and after last night's small meeting,
that is a huge plus. I learned that we all have more in common than we thought.

I want to thank those that came and tell those that didn't they missed meeting some very good people.

Anonymous said...

No, nothing like that has ever happened here that I can recall.

Pat Casady said...

To anonymous 7:18,

This attitude at City Hall is exactly why there are three groups of people trying to make this town better.
This is how the B.O.A. treat people and businesses.
The codes people treat people and businesses, especially new businesses.
With that in mind who can people turn to other than each other?

Andy Whiteman said...

The voters elect the BOA and our tax dollars pay the staff. Don't we deserve courteous, prompt responses?

I can count on 2 fingers the number of alderpeople who I feel are doing a good job and asking appropriate questions at BOA meetings. They represent the people.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous 7:18, It happens all the time. You got a hold of Teresa Newton, the city clerk. She is the RUDEST employee at city hall. You should report your experience to Michael Miller and your aldermen. There is no excuse for a city employee to treat anyone this way. TERESA NEWTON IS AN EMBARASSMENT TO OUR CITY!!

SWells said...

I attended the meeting Pat mentioned and am very glad that I did. I feel that the people there want what's best as a whole for downtown Raytown not just for what can benefit their individual businesses.

Pat - I thought the turn out was good for an informally announced meeting. It will grow as people hear about it. I'll do my part to spread the word.

Greg - thank you for the nice words about my business.

Andy Whiteman said...

Anonymous 7:18 AM
Anonymous 11:46AM

My comment does NOT apply to Teresa, but there are others who are RUDE. I was answered with no name stated. I asked who I was speaking with. The reply was, "City of Raytown." I thought maybe I was rude, so said, "This is Andy Whiteman, whith whom and I speaking please?" The response, "Just a moment," and then I was dumped to voice mail. My next call was to Mr. Miller.
*********
I am pleased to hear of the success of Pat's meeting. I think an organized group minus city administration can work out issues. What I wonder is will the city listen with an open mind when the solutions are proposed?"

Andy Whiteman

Pat Casady said...

I just wanted to say something about another local business.
To be honest I have never been in a coffee shop before.
I stopped by the City Grounds Coffee Shop this morning as I
promised to do at our Tuesday evening meeting.
Folk's this was the best coffee I have ever had the pleasure to
have tasted.
Not only does this lady have a great coffee shop but she has some
great ideas for promoting the downtown area.

All in all there were several promotional ideas laid out for us to think about at that meeting.
None of which would cost much if any money. We talked about discounts and promotional items given out and watching each others back.
What I mean by that last one is if we see something that doesn't look
right around each others business we call or if help was needed we would be there for each other.

I would like to see any group of business and property owners become large enough to be able to help any business or property owner that is being unjustly picked on or abused by the system.

As we all learned by some of the past organizations the city started, there is strength in numbers.

Andy Whiteman said...

Pat has a good idea about watching each other's back. I was at first thinking neighborhood watch. Red Dogg and I essentially do a neighborhood patrol whenever she is walked. She is very alert to anything that appears out of place. If we observe a suspicious vehicle, something that shouldn't be there (a large knife left near 2 businesses which could be a weapon), or a business door unlocked, the Police get a call.

But after reading some more, I think Pat was referring to bullying by the city with the code Nazis. I doubt the city will listen to a group of business people. They do what they want, whether it is reasonable or not, whether it is legal or not, whether is is discrimination or not. They just don't give a damn what about what the people think. The Board of Alderpeople sits there like Zombies when citizens speak. How does one get their attention?

Andy Whiteman

Pat Casady said...

I must admit and apologize to Mr. Walters, I have just now read the "Fun with numbers"
I scanned it earlier but didn't pay much attention to it until now.

I ask you, what good is a survey or for that matter a news letter if our own aldermen don't use it.
I know that it's just a dream and heaven forbid an elected official actually did something the majority of people deem necessary. Good example...Aldermen White and Fleming on street lights.

Here's an idea. If Raytown charges companies like Verizon a franchise tax, I'm assuming that because there are Verizon stores everywhere and use is high,
this is where the tax comes from.......I could be wrong but that is not the point I'm
trying to make. We all know what franchise's are. Every McDonalds, Burger King, Dairy Queen, etc. is a franchise. Do they pay a franchise tax?
Does Wal-Mart? They are everywhere.

My point is this. If big brother Wal-Mart can make news papers actually pay them to run their adds, then why don't cities and towns charge them for coming to town?
Is it that Wal-Mart has more power over a city or town than the elected officials?
It's no secret that when a Wal-Mart comes to a town most small businesses fold up. People lose there jobs, and in our case we will probably lose most if
not all of our grocery stores.

Why can't our elected officials see any further down the road than sales tax?
Why can't small town "any-town" charge them if they want to come in?
Wal-Mart nation wide is known as the small business and town killers.
They should pay for the destruction and the vacancies they will cause.
No, our elected officials give them T.I.F.'s and just about anything else they
wanted.
So how dare the people of Raytown ask for street lights, more police protection, safe parks and neighborhoods! Shame on us.

Anonymous said...

If the city officials ARE SMART they will replace someone who is a chair warmer and tie wearer with someone who will actuallly work and not have to be paid a HUGH slary to do so and someone who will not screw up the budget!!!! We don't haVe to compete with the big cities to get a qualified person to work here and live here. Let's keep an eye on city hall. AND BY THE WAY MR MAYOR NOW IS THE TIME FOR A STATE AUDIT. GET THE BALL ROLLING!!!!!

Anonymous said...

We don't need a five year plan to get street lights. Let's put one of Mrs. Flemings or Mrs. Whites projects on a five year plan and see how they like it. What's good for the citizens if good for the alderman also. Get off your asses and do something good for a change!!!!!

Anonymous said...

What we need is Mrs. Ertle, Whitman and Adkins up at city hall singing and whinning and then we would get lights.

Anonymous said...

Pat...a franchise is "not" a "franchise."
Business franchises for fast food, etc. are part of free enterprise. Just like Wal-Mart is. Wal-Mart may not let another Wal-Mart come into the same geographical area...but it can't stop Kmart/Target/etc.
Franchises that pay the city are utilities like Aquila, water companies, cable TV, etc. That's because those public service type businesses can't come in and compete and provide the service without an exclusive. Their "franchise fees" to the city end up in your bills from them. So the franchises just pass on the city's fee and you end up with another hidden tax.
In many towns, people also franchise trash pickup so one hauler can make enough to exist without having to go down every street for just one or two pickups. Here that's not the case as 7 to 9 trash companies have always competed here.
Everyone needs electric service. Not everyone buys
Mickie Dee's or Wal-Mart's crap.

Anonymous said...

PS. If I were Verizon, I would take the city to court contesting a franchise fee as other cell carriers/providers can exist here unless Verizon is allowed the only towers.

Andy Whiteman said...

Businesses like Walmart and also the franchised businesses are taxed by means of a construction permit, hassels with the Code Nazis, business license, property tax,personal property tax, etc. I think the Code Nazis alone are enough to keep most of them away.

I have watched Walmart's business practices for quite some time. They have a good scam going with the getting a TIF and making the paxpayers pay for the "privilege" of having a Walmart here. That is partly why Walmart makes so much money! The cost of a new store doesn't come from their pocket. The taxpayers pay for it.

I really question why there is not bond issue election for TIFs? I resent the taxpayers having no say in the matter.

As for TIF's, they create little islands of higher sales tax rates. I wonder how many people will stay away from Raytown Plaza Walmart, or other merchants in 350 HWY plan because the sales tax is higher? If someone is buying an expensive item, they may be better off going elsewhere! That is why I don't go to the Plaza except to see the Christmas lights: Free parking and no money spent except on dinner with my discount card.

Andy WhitEman

PS. When people write about Whitman, who are the refering to? There is a Witty WiTTman (no H and no E but 2 T's) who is president of the Wildwood Homeowner's Assn. My name is WhitEman but my name is commonly misspelled and missprouncounced. I am unclear who is being referred to because I know of no one named "Whitman" on this blog or whinning at City Hall. Maybe it would be less confusing if we were referred to by our nick names. No big deal, but this is confusing.

Pat Casady said...

Anonymous 6:44,
I think in the back of my mind I knew this.
But I was trying to nicely say this city has sold out the people and small businesses and in fact given away the farm, so to speak, for a damn Wal-Mart.
All the while diverting attention by fighting over trivial items like street lights.
They will fight tooth and nail over the little things but when it comes to something
that will affect every citizen and business in town they choose not to listen or ignore the people.
They are easily talked into spending taxpayer money as we have seen with the old church, the last developer and the T.I.F's they hand out in hopes of receiving sales tax revenue.
The street light issue should have gone through with no contest. Ten thousand dollars is nothing compared the money these people have wasted.
At least Mr. Walters, Mr. Aziere and Mr. Creamer are trying to do something the people actually wanted. I applaud them for that.

The other point I was trying to make was, if a huge store thinks they can add to their billions in profit by opening another store within seven miles of their other
store, IT SHOULD COST THE PEOPLE OF RAYTOWN NOTHING!
Nothing to move the school, no more in sales tax, and they should certainly be made to pay their fair share of real estate taxes too.
They should pay for the privilege of coming to Raytown and as a result closing down most of the other businesses.
I just don't understand why our city leaders can't remember what happened after the first Wal-Mart opened. We lost half of the businesses and we most certainly will lose most if not all the rest when this one opens.

I hope the two or three groups of concerned business and property owners can come up with something that will help the whole Raytown business and property owners community but I fear any group that has any city people
connected with it is just another diversion to keep our minds on something else. As I learned when Mr. Wenson was here. You can see what they are doing in front of you, it's what they do behind your back that worries me.

I know that some of what I say may be wrong. But I say what I feel and what I have experienced in the past. Until things change, I truly believe the majority of our elected officials don't care what happens to us as long as they can
bring in those tax dollars. So they can keep on paying people for not doing their jobs, waste money like they did on the old church and give raises to people
that are trying their best to run businesses out of town, or keep them for coming to town.

Anonymous said...

Pat, this isn't meant to be a critisism, but do you fight Kansas City, where you live, like you do Raytown? They have the highest taxes, they are the most wasteful and they give out way more TIFs than Raytown. Do you call, E-mail and complain there? I was just curious, because you say things like "our elected official" but they are not YOUR elected officials because you don't actually have a vote.

Pat Casady said...

To Anonymous 10:16
Absolutely, I E-mailed my Kansas City elected officials.
And as far as I'm concerned the Raytown elected officials are in fact my elected officials since I own property here. In some cases I even donate to certain people that are running for office in Raytown, not expecting anything in return
but I believe in them.

Every time my wife and I decided to move the first place we looked was Raytown.
We just couldn't find what we were looking for at the time here.
Fact is, as of three months ago I no longer live in Kansas City either.
Because of health reasons and my age, I have to start thinking about retirement.
I didn't know about the health reasons until last Wednesday.
Anyway, my wife and I bought a farm in Pittsville Mo. We have been working on it for almost a year to make it liveable. It's about thirty miles east of here.

Andy Whiteman said...

Pat is right. The Board of Alderpeople is using distraction to keep the peoples' mind on the trivial and off the important issues.

If people could stay on focus, the city wouldn't get away with all of this crap.

Sure we need street lights but suddenly they become more important than issues like TIFs. Let's stay focused on the important.

By the way, when the Walmart took over Blue Ridge Mall, I read in the Red Star that it was in KC. I looked Rand McNally 2002 Edition last night and it is in RAYTOWN. Did Raytown give that area to KC in the last 5 years? Who is collecting taxes on the Walmart at Blue Ridge? Do we need 2 Walmarts in Raytown and have to pay for the 2nd (unneeded) one? That is assinine!

In my opinion, we should be happy that Pat is working to improve Raytown. He has a business here that he needs to protect!

Andy Whiteman

Andy Whiteman said...

PS. Every property owner should have the right to vote whether they live here or not. They are tax payers

Andy Whiteman

Pat Casady said...

Andy,
I don't think Anonymous 6:44 was saying anything against me or what I
try to do here. Anyone that knows me or understands me knows that I
only want Raytown to be a better place.
As far as voting I would like to see a rule or law that would let duel city
property owners choose which one and only one town they could vote in.

Anonymous said...

Anony 6:44 Pat is correct, there was nothing against him in what I wrote about franchises.

Mr. Whiteman, on the other hand, appears to read into comments whatever he wants to. He also must be a little short on American history as property ownership requirements for voting rights was done away with a long time ago or the only people voting today would be Bill Gates and his ilk. Trust me, the Rockefellers and others from the past would have become the only land barons and controlled all the votes.

sparky said...

Andy,
The city limits of Raytown is 51st street to the north basically. As for the Blue Ridge Mall, when it was in existance, if there ever was a disturbance up there both Kansas City PD and Independence PD would show up on the premises. The majority of that property is within KCMO, but some of it is Independence, Mo.

All the little side issues are things to keep us entertained and pre occupied so as to keep what really is happening in local government quiet. That is the way that they prefer to have it.

KCMO is a fine example of government gone wild with TIFS and Code Nazi's. They make Raytown look like childs play, although Raytown has definately gotten worse in the past 15+ years.

Anonymous said...

I see that Mayor Bower is going to have town hall meetings. The first one will be for concerns about downtown. I suspect City Hall has heard about various groups wanting to do something and they want to maintain control. Get rid of Tim Trusedale and maybe some of the local business owners will work with the City. Trusedale is only out for him and his friends benefit, not the city as a whole. As the head of Community Development he's full of BS cause we haven't seen any development carried out in the 10 years he's been here. He's got a "pray for Raytown" website - asking for prayers cause he don't know what to do.

Anonymous said...

Dear Sparky: Thank you for providing the geograpy lesson to Mr. Whiteman. I've given up.
Watching him and Charlotte Melson-Nunez at the city council meeting tonight I'm convinced that the two of them should be joined by Jim Aziere and the entire operation of the city should be turned over to them as a triumvirate. Compared to them I'm not even smart enough to vote, let alone tie my owns shoes.

Andy Whiteman said...

Sparky and Anonymous
October 16, 2007 10:56 PM,

Thanks for the geography lesson. All I can do is look at my map. I made the wrong assumption that Rand McNally may be correct.

The comment about Mr Aziere and Ms. Melson is way over my head. I think both were trying to clarify the issues. They need to understand all of the facts to vote intelligently on the issue.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous 6:11

When will these town hall meetings be held? I haven't seen anything about them, and I would love to attend! Even if they are in response to the other small groups that are starting up, they could be useful.
Thanks.

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

Published in the Raytown Post (Page 2):
Mayor Bower will hold TOWN HALL sessions at City Hall Tuesday Oct 30th. One session at 3PM and a 2nd session at 7PM.

Andy Whiteman