Sunday, December 30, 2007

Observations

Years ago the City of Raytown had a hiring practice at City Hall that required that all city department heads be residents of the city in which they work. The practice ended during the single term of Mayor Jack Nesbitt. Since that time, three of the management team positions (Finance Director, Public Works Director, HR/City Clerk) have been turned into absentee resident positions. Raytown is one of the few communities in the area that does not require department heads to life within the community that pays its salary. When I tell elected officials from other cities of our policy it is generally met with surprise and wonder why we tolerate such a practice. The recent spate of turn-over (five changes in the last three years) has been a missed opportunity to correct the situation. Raytown City Hall should take a serious look at residential requirements for management team (department heads). It would foster pride in the community, bring greater awareness to the needs of the community by city department heads and, from a practical point of view, keep a sizable amount of our tax dollars in town. Hope for Recycling . . . Mayor David Bower is reported to have plans to attend the next meeting of the Recycling Committee. At least that is what Ward 4 Alderman Pat Ertz told me earlier this week. Ertz also said that the Mayor intends to bring City Attorney Nancy Thompson along with him. Though I have not heard from either the Mayor or the City Attorney I am glad to hear of the change in tune from their respective offices. Invitations had been extended to both the Mayor and City Attorney two weeks ago. At that time, both said they were unavailable to attend. Hopefully, they will leave the meeting with a better understanding of the need to move forward on recycling in Raytown.

105 comments:

Andy Whiteman said...

I agree with Greg that City Management should be required to live in Raytown. I have stated this numerous times at the BOA meetings. Apparently no one except Greg listens.

I and glad to hear that two top officials have taken an interest in recycling. Hopefully this project will move forward.

Re: December 30, 2007 8:13 AM mentioned the school bond election.

One problem I see is that the county keeps the tax bills secret so that voters have no knowledge of how much they are paying the school district. I called the county requesting a copy of my tax bill and was refused. I finally got it off the website. Not everyone has access to the internet. Since we are paying taxes, everyone is entitled to a copy of their tax bill. Are tax bills kept secret so that people won't know how much they are paying.

Before everyone votes in any election that will raise taxes, I suggest the voter get a copy of his/her tax bill to see how much they are already paying.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

County Personal Property Tax Bills and County Real Property Tax Bills are NOT kept secret from taxpayers. You obviously have to get one to pay your taxes before the end of the year. If you do not get one, it is obviously up to you and to your advantage to contact the county and get one before they add a penalty to the taxes owed.

If your house is paid in full(NO MORTGAGE) you should get a Real Property Tax bill in the mail. If you owe money to your mortgage company, generally your money for real property taxes are held in escrow, and the county bills your lender (or mortgage company). Generally once a year your mortgage company will send you an escrow analysis statement which reflects your payments recieved, and when and how much was paid and to whom. It may not break it down as to how much goes to the school district, but if for some reason one absolutely cannot get a paper copy of their Real Property tax bill or a receipt for taxes paid, the rate is probably around 4.831% or 5% (This percentage may not be correct anymore)

Anyway, the bottom line is that usually most people need to know how much taxes are paid so at income tax time one can deduct it when itemizing on form 1040.

Pat Casady said...

I also think that city department heads should live in the town they are hired to serve.
It just makes good sense. Without living in the city why would they really care about making it better? They have no investment in it's future it's just a job. As of late a great paying job too I might add, with no requirement
of success needed.

By the way the person I usually talk about trying to get rid of businesses and making it hard for new business to come to town, I don't believe has this "golden parachute" pay guarantee.
Even if he does, if another person hired to replace him would bring in any new business it would be worth paying this guy off just to get rid of him.

In some cases it's a shame the city couldn't remove some elected officials too.
In fact I'd like to see some kind of citizen filled out report card for elected officials somewhere around mid-term.
While I'm dreaming, I might as well include department heads too.

Unfortunately we have to wait until election comes around and we all know that's when the BS starts and they tell us just what we want to here and and it was always the other guys that messed up the city.

Politics! A game played well in Raytown where people can be bought
with a bag of popcorn and an empty promise.

Anonymous said...

On the great smoking debate. There was a good article in today's K.C. Star about what it all means and how other cities are handling it. I feel Raytown will be forced to take some position at some time and I believe it would be better to be a leader than a follower. But with the smokers, like Schlapia, White, and Melson on the board they will probably continue to put their own selfish interest above those of the citizens that they were elected to represent.

Andy Whiteman said...

Anonymous 4:54AM is correct that the mortgage company gets the tax bill and pays it then the homeowner received a yearly statement (for tax purposes) from the lender.

MY issue is this is only a TOTAL amount. Each voter should know how much each taxing authority is receiving before going to the polls. In past years 66%-67% of my tax money went to the school district. The percentage is slightly lower this year but IT IS STILL OUTRAGEOUS! Could it be that since property taxes are so high that people as well as new businesses are not moving into Raytown? It seems there must be a long term tax abatement or a business won't move here.

I called the county and requested an itemized copy of my tax bill. I was refused. Is this a diabolical plan to withhold information from taxpayers so they will vote for a school bond with no knowledge of what they are paying? The average person who has a mortage NEVER sees an itemized tax bill! This seems like a violation of the FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT TO ME!

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Maybe all business owners can be required to live in Raytown too. Or all Alderman have their business and/or work in Raytown. While we're at it, let's just put up big huge walls and keep everyone in and/or out of Raytown and turn 350 HWY into a toll road for all of the people that live to the east and travel downtown through Raytown.

Anonymous said...

Response to 2:03.

Check it out. Most of the other cities around require department heads to live in the city.

It was that way in Raytown until the enlightened reign of Jack Nesbitt.

That bad judgment was continued under eight years of Sue Frank.

Once again, Raytown is out of step with the rest of the area.

Guess we'll show them the best way to run a city!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 2:03, you just don't get it!! These people are drawing HUGH SALARIES from the taxpayers and aren't even a part of the community, let alone spend any of their paychecks at a Raytown business. They might buy a sandwich for lunch once in awhile or maybe even a tank of gas. Once the "don't have to live here" policy was adopted it's been like a revolving door at city hall. There's no commitment to the city, it's just a job.

Anonymous said...

Duh, Bower told Ertz that they are coming to the mtg? I thought Walters was Chair, not Ertz. Is Bower dissing Walters? Not a fan of Walters, I have to admit that he is doing a better job than most of them but Schlapia is truly the Devil Incarnate. Her first reaction to the Recycling Committee's simple request was absolutely evil, to start a fight rather than deal with the issue like an adult. But what do you expect from Schlapia? Then White's self aggrandizing diatribe about the importance of 350 development shadowing recycling efforts put the icing on the cake. It was all obviously rehearsed and White apparently realized she showed her butt given the blah-blah-blah Trib article, a waste of ink that could have been summarized in two sentences. Where's an Editor when you need one? If this Walmart deal doesn't pan out, I for one will personally hound and ridicule every last one of those Alderman who voted for it until they are all run out of town!

Anonymous said...

You have some of the dumbest aldermen that I have ever seen serve the city of Raytown. You are right about Schlapia and White. What a pair of losers.

Anonymous said...

Happy New Year to all and hopefully the next yr will bring sanity thereby leading us to peace and maybe even joy.

Mark Siettmann said...

While I disagree with their votes (and the logic behind them) on the notification letter, I strongly support aldermen Sclapia, Melson and White in general.

The personal attacks on them on this blog are uncalled for and add nothing to the debate.

Rather than call people names, why not do what good citizens should do and approach your elected leaders to lobby for the change you want? I have. If you are not effective in your argument, perhaps your argument is flawed or you have yet to prove that yours is the majority voice. Work harder or smarter. I am.

That is the beauty of democracy, it depends on an active citizenry. But, please don't confuse mouthing off on a blog as being active.

Anonymous said...

I agree with part of what you have to say. The name calling part is not neccessarily very productive.

However, the work smarter not harder thing, you can drag a horse to water but you cannot force it to drink. With some of these elected representitives you can point out the pros and cons about the different plans or agendas and it will not change their mindset, generally because they are all for their own agendas, and not truly representing the constituients of their respective wards. They will not go to the people and ask for their viewpoints. When government stops listening it slowly becomes a dictatorship/tyrrany.

The arguments are not flawed, it apparently is in the one mind that is interpreting it.

A lot of people use this blog to vent their frustration with government, some like to compare ideas, and some probably wont be happy with any decision made period. But it(the blog) is useful to most anyone, and it is dependent upon one's interpretation of what the reader thinks that the writer meant at that time.

As for whether one is active or not does not make one a better person. You do not have to attend each and every meeting to be a good citizen. You don't have to call, mail, or email your representitive on every single issue to be a good citizen either. One call or letter is just as good. It is not a race or a competition. That is at least better than not taking the time to contact them or not voting at all. If it really makes you feel better than or superior to others, then by all means knock yourself out, but don't belittle anyone from that standpoint.

Anonymous said...

It just seems like that so many of our current elected city officials are "in it for themselves" and to hell with the people that elected them. Many of them, especially the women on the board, have this tremendous ego that they are feeding. They must not have much of a life when they are not at city hall. Not giving "women in politics" a very good name. Just my observation.

Andy Whiteman said...

I agree with Mark Siettmann's comment, "But, please don't confuse mouthing off on a blog as being active." I have seen much blogging about the 353 issue and Hy-Vee, but how many people appear at the BOA to voice their opinion? I know people have other things to do. Well so do I, but I am there. Maybe people are contacting Aldermen from their ward, but shouldn't the whole board hear your opinion in the public hearing? Maybe you will cause another alderman to change his/her vote!

Actually, I have noticed a small turn out on these important issues, but the room is packed when the issue is Pit Bulls. Maybe Pit Bulls are more important. Quite honestly dogs are more important to me, but there are other important issues.

When election time comes up, my vote will be determined by how my aldermen are voting. Unless the votes change on the recycle issue, one alderman will receive my vote and the other won't. I hope others are remembering votes at election time.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Ask yourself a question, wouldn't you want to do a better job if you lived in the town where you worked in if your job made a difference in what your town looked like, how it's was run, if it related to your taxes or anything else that made where you live the best it can be?

Why is it that it's okay for other cities to make Dept. Heads live in the city where they work a requirement but not Raytown? Why was it okay before Nessbit? He was the absolutely the worst mayor Raytown has had in a very long time. One of the reason I've heard is that we don't have the proper housing for Dept. Heads. Give me a break, we require the Police Chief and the City Manager and Alderman to live hear of course The Police Chief and Alderman are elected. So why is it that our housing is okay for the rest of us, the CA, the Police Chief and Alderman but not for the Dept. Heads? It could be that if they lived here they may make better choices? Maybe those choices would be what they find to bring into Raytown in the way of businesses, developement, and require up grades in housing. When these people are hired they know what they are getting in the way if housing because if they don't they should tour the city before taking the job.

I'm tired of people putting down Raytown. I think it's even worse when it our Mayors, Dept. Heads. and the city council who go along with this knid of thinking. Those people need to be fired on the spot if that kind of talk comes out of there mouth.

It was a great town when my family moved in here and it could be agsin. If we had people in city who stop thinking negative and start thinking what do we need to change to make it happen. That probably might happen if they were all required to live here. It doesn't mean that we fire people who are currently working but on all new Hires of Dept. Heads if they can't live here then move on. We have the perfect time to start because so many of our Dept. Heads are leaving.

Anonymous said...

I am interested in being a department head, can you show me where I can purchase a 4 bedroom, 3 1/2 bath home with 3 stall garage that is less than 2 years old? That is what I have now, and would expect to find something comparable if I were to move to Raytown. Can anyone tell me exactly what cities REQUIRE residency? KC, it is in 5 counties. LS, it is almost 70 sq miles with 25K to 2.5Mil dollar homes, pretty easy to find one. Any others? I am fairly sure most of the smaller (sorry Raytown is smaller) communities don't require it as that would lesson the quantity of qualified applicants. Also, lots of places that require residency, help with relocation costs, are you whinners going to do that?

And one last thing, it is HUGE salaries, not HUGH, get a dictionary for gosh sakes. And, they're not that huge at all or you wouldn't be losing so many good people.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 2:45 makes one good point. Why are so many of our citizens moving out of Raytown? It's the lack of adequate housing. You can probably count on one hand the 4 bedroom houses with 3 car garages. That's why we will NEVER be able to compete with some of our neighboring cities. That's why we had to settle for a Walmart instead of a good retailer. Property values will continue to decline as our neighborhoods become slums. I'm sorry to say it but Lee's Summit is looking better all the time.

Andy Whiteman said...

I am responding to 2 recent comments:

"One of the reason I've heard is that we don't have the proper housing for Dept. Heads."

Really? In whose opinion? Is a department head BETTER than anyone else? What is a lovely home for one person may be totally unsuitable for another.

Every home is unsuitable to me until it is remodeled to meet my needs. Maybe those who find the housing unsuitable need to remodel. Not every house is move in ready--at least not for me.

It was mentioned that Raytown had no homes less than 2 years old with 4 bedrooms and a 3 car garage. This statement says nothing because the square feet of the 4 BDRM home is not mentioned. A 4 BDRM home can range from a miniature 1600(or less) sf clear up to 3000 sf or more. I wouldn't want a new home anyway. Construction is poor with non-flush toilets and non-flow sinks, tubs, and showers. I have seen only one home with a 3 car garage EVER and it was in Raytown!

There is one builder in Raytown who has/had new but miniature homes on the market. They were overpriced and very slow to sell but Raytown has new homes at times.

If someone wants a new home, there are plenty of vacant lots in Raytown where one can be built.

"Why are so many of our citizens moving out of Raytown?"

For me the answer is I was forced to move to this miserable climate and this is the State of Misery.

The writer states a lack of adequate housing. This is an older community with nice older homes which I prefer to new homes. Again, there are many vacant lots where suitable housing may be built if one so desires.

It was stated that Raytown gets a Walmart instead "of a good retailer." I take issue with this because Raytown has many good retailers. I actually wonder if Walmart will force them out?

Look at the demographics. Raytown had no highly traveled through streets except 350 HWY. A retailer requires traffic flow and/or a destination point. The only trafficed street in Raytown is 350 HWY which rules out most of the city.

My Realtor suggested Lees Summit when I moved here. Lees Summit is over priced (for me). Obviously people in LS, OP, and such areas have money to waste and retailers want to be where people will spend money! Looking at the demographics of Raytown it is obvious that people here have little money to spend.

Fortunately Hy-Vee saw 350 HWY as an opportunity because of traffic past that site as well as the fact the Raytown people have to buy groceries somewhere. Obviously they are hoping to attract Raytown customers as well as those passing on 350 HWY.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

HEY ANON 2:45pm ! Are you a WINNER OR A WHINER ??? Gee, get a dictionary, whinner!

Anonymous said...

I've never seen or heard of Melson smoking.
And, if Chris White "showed her butt," I'm sorry I missed that! Imagine it was pretty cute!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 6:10 Apparently you don't know you aldermen very well and it's sounds like you might need glasses! Cute, I don't think so..

Anonymous said...

Gay? Eh?

Anonymous said...

All future department head candidates must know how to speal korractlee... give me a brake!

Pat Casady said...

If a department head needs a huge house for what ever reason
Raytown has a lot of nice large houses. True they may not be only
a couple of years old but nice just the same.
There are several big new homes at 59th. and Raytown traffic way.
I here there are many vacant too.
But do Raytowners really need another pompous ass telling us how
to live, do business and even spell? I think not.

My wish list for the new year would be as follows:
Alderman would have to have at least a inkling of how
business works. This way maybe they wouldn't be bamboozled
by fast talking developers and lawyers and give away a huge portion of the cities income for twenty three years.

Raytown would hire a person that actually wants Raytown to grow
with new businesses. Someone that if they hear about a business
thinking about leaving would earn his salary by talking to them along with that businesses ward representatives and try to help them stay. I believe other cities call this person the "Economic Director."

City codes and inspectors would work with businesses and neighborhoods instead of against them. That would mean that they would have to get rid of the TTRD, way of doing business.

But most of all the double standards would be no more.
Everybody would be treated the same. No favoritism.
Raytown school district and the city would use Raytown based businesses first. After all they pay taxes to these two, the least they could do is help these businesses stay in business. Trust me there aren't
that many of us left.

The short version...................RAYTOWN FIRST!
All the petty stuff should be set aside.

I doubt this will happen. But I can dream can't I?

Anonymous said...

What if a new hired city department head did not want a three car garage?

There are plenty of homes in Raytown with three and even four car garages of high dollar value in Raytown.

Sounds like someone has lived here a long time and does not know the city very well.

Wouldn't you rather have someone who runs your city also be proud enough to say they live in your city too?

Many Raytowners are proud of their neighborhoods, neighbors and homes.

Sorry you don't feel that way.

Anonymous said...

It's hard to be proud of your neighborhood, when you're the only one on the block that cares. You have to look out of your windows and see the continuing decline of the once nice homes becoming a slum. WE ARE THE NEW INNER CITY.

Pat Casady said...

The cold cruel facts are,
Raytown has had department heads and City Administrators,
living in town and to be honest I haven't been that impressed.
Have any of you?
Yes, ideally it would be nice for them to live here but what this
town really needs is a person that will not use Raytown as a stepping
stone to another job. Raytown has wasted enough money on developers, department heads and administrators for too long now.
The last two City Administrators, in my opinion haven't really done much for Raytown. The first worse that the last by far, but still not much to show for the investment.
I think residency, should not be the biggest priority for the job.
If they are coming here from another state they should at the very least
consider Raytown for a home.

Anonymous said...

Simple soultion if the department heads don't want to live in Raytown then resign or better yet by did you even take the job.

Diane Krizek said...

I am not certain this is what Andy Whiteman is looking for but here are Raytown's property tax levy rates:

District Rate
BOARD OF DISABLED SVCS: 0.074800
CITY - RAYTOWN: 0.472900
FIRE DISTRICT-RAYTOWN: 0.985100
JACKSON COUNTY: 0.535500
MENTAL HEALTH: 0.120800
METRO JUNIOR COLLEGE: 0.213200
MID-CONTINENT LIBRARY: 0.321200
RAYTOWN SCHOOL C-II: 4.642400
STATE BLIND PENSION: 0.030000

Salamander said...

From The Salamander...

My daddy used to warn me about people who speak only in adjetives.

Dad came to mind while I read Alderman Christine White's adjetive riddled letter to the Raytown Tribune.

Christine was explaining why the city council by a 9-1 vote firmly delared its opposition to implementation of any sort of recycling of trash program.

The vote, according to Ms White, was based (to quote the lady) "on the simple belief that our staff memberes at city hall have major issues on their plates...and need to keep focused....."

On and on she droned. We were told there are only so many hours in a day. We were told city employees are humans.
we were told city employees would do everything possible to bring our city to Nirvana--the complete
state of perfection.

Your correspondent was so overcome
with emotion he had to wipe tears
from his eyes. How blessed can a
community be; to have employees who are giving their all.

She told us that if those who want a recycling program would just be patient a few more months and wait in the corner until the loose ends of the Walmart Giveway were complete (on the city's end, that is) the council would get around to a cohesive recycling and trash pickup program.

This apologist for corporate welfare neglected to mention that in 2005 Raytown voters approved a recycling program for the city.

Two years is long enough to wait.

As for the "Loose ends" on the Walmart fiasco perhaps someone can tell us what is stile "Loose End."
How can we be buying buildings, giving away city propeerty, running business out of business by forcing them to move and still have loose ends being tied up at city hall? Who is running the Walmart giveway, the Three Stooges or maybe the Marx Brothers?

One more item. What on earth is Christine White talking about when she speaks of "Coordinating Phase 2 of the 350 Live Project." They are one and the same.

Perhaps Christine left out an adjetive or two when she referred to this pie in the sky day-dream.

Diane Krizek said...

Your ongoing discussion about city department head residency challenged me to research towns in the KC metro area on the MO side: Belton, Blue Springs, Grandview, Gladstone, Independence, Lee's Summit, Liberty and even Sugar Creek. They all have specific ordinances stating one of the qualifications of their City Administrator is to be a resident of their city. Interestingly, Gladstone structured their residency ordinance for all officers including "city council members, city manager, city clerk, city collector, city counselor, city treasurer, city engineer, director of public works, municipal judges and director of public safety." For the record . . .

Anonymous said...

Interesting, then Raytown should put the requirement back into play. What is good for other cities is good enough here as well. If the housing here is not satisfactory for a potential candidate, then they can go elsewhere for a job.

Oh, phase 2 of the project if I remember from the newspapers was after the new Herndon center is finished, and the districts IT stuff is relocated (Which is phase 1) Then they can tear down the old Herndon West campus so that Wally world can take over Raytown(Phase 2) and they can also build a bunch of junk on the south side of 350 east of the YMCA.

And we still need a home for the recycling center even though Christine can't multi task (do more than one thing at a time) since they are all soooo overworked. If she would have paid attention, all they would have had to do was to vote yes and it would have given all interested parties basically 2 years heads up that curbside recycling was a possibility. UGGH! Why is everything so darned complex? Nothing was said that it was going to be limited to one trash service or company. We all still pay for our own trash service anyway. You gotta love it!

Anonymous said...

See Mr. Whiteman is in front of the council (1/2/08) to question the 353's for Knabe and Paige. And at 8:59 the screen goes to black and screech.
Conspiracy? ha ha
It's now 10 minutes later and still blank.
Where other's comments about residency and simplicity are concerned, I'm reminded of a former girlfriend, who said: "You just don't get it!"
Meaning that I didn't understand that what she wanted is what should happen.
Good luck out there Pilgrims! You might as well face south and spit in the wind. But don't come back and ask why your chin is wet.

Anonymous said...

Raytown is like a former girlfriend? Then we are all getting screwed!

Anonymous said...

Christine White- Kinman is a perfect example of what's wrong with Raytown. Elected officials that don't have a clue. How many business decisions has she ever had to make in her life? Has she ever had to make a payroll or set a budget for a business in the private sector? She's never really taken on much responsibility and it shows. But apparently Raytown voters are willing to settle for this kind of representation. So we shouldn't expect much more than a Walmart with this kind of leadership at city hall.

Anonymous said...

I don't think any department head puts his pants on any differant than any of us do. So what makes them so special. If they don't want to live in the town they work for then quit the job and move on . We certainly don't have any respect for you and don't need you not matter how smart YOU think YOU are.

Pat Casady said...

Diane Krizek had some good points in her letter however, I urge
caution in thinking about comparing Raytown to other towns.
That is how we ended up paying Curt Wenson almost a hundred grand
a year. Not on merit, not for what he had done for this town but simply because he sold the board that other towns in the area paid more.
Never mind Raytown is smaller than any of the towns mentioned.
Never mind the first year he was here he talked the board into buying the old church. Another item I'm sure he didn't list on his resume for Liberty.
As it turned out he was unable to do the job he was hired
to do and he left town leaving Raytown in financial trouble.
I don't know how much other towns pay their administrators or if their department heads are told to live in the town that hires them
(I do agree that the City Administrator should live in the town they work in) but comparing
Raytown with other towns has bought us a lot of trouble in the past.

Maybe the problem isn't who Raytown hires, but who hires or gives the OK to hire. Maybe hiring them just because they want the job or the fact they are breathing isn't the right way to hire people for such an important position.

Anonymous said...

Pat is right about comparing Raytown to other cities. I have heard this argument from the BOA for years. Never really any good reasons for doing something than "that's what the other cities are doing", especially when it comes to paying those big salaries to "do nothing" department heads. Sue Frank and Curt Wenson were masters at using this argument. And now we find out that all it has done is lead us into financial ruin.



'

Andy Whiteman said...

Diane Krizek 4:29PM Jan 2, What I am getting at is to much ##$$$@@ is going to the school district. I am not asking for tax rates. My complaint is the amount of $$$$ going to schools, not the rate. The rate means nothing unless you know how many dollars it equals.

I look at my tax bill and I see $$$$$ not mill levy. I could care less about mill levy. I am suggesting that everyone look at how much money is going to schools. Way over $900 of my tax money went to schools which is an outrageous amount and in the past was 66%!

Maybe you need to go to school to learn to cypher how many dollars this is costing you rather than a vague mill levy. The average person has no idea what mills are! Lets deal with dollar figures and what it costs each person, not a vague mill levy.

Andy Whiteman

Diane Krizek said...

Where did I compare Raytown to other cities? I merely reported the facts on other city ordinances within the metro area. And Raytown is NOT smaller than any of the towns mentioned.

But I have to admit that I was curious about where Raytown stood in the pecking order. So, in my research, I reviewed the stats posted on www.city-data.com, pulling off estimated population, median household income and median house/condo values as of 2005 and surprised myself on these findings which appear to be credible:

Belton 24,124
Est household income: $51,100
Est house/condo value: $126,700
Blue Springs 53,885
Est household income: $61,200
Est house/condo value: $153,900
Gladstone 27,542
Est household income: $51,500
Est house/condo value: $137,800
Grandview 24,373
Est household income: $44,200
Est house/condo: $111,000
Independence 109,400
Est household income: $41,398
Est house/condo value: $100,300
Lee's Summit 81,913
Est household income: $70,900
Est house/condo value: $170,800
Liberty 29,581
Est household income: $58,700
Est house/condo value: $167,400
Raytown 28,577
Est household income: $46,300
Est house/condo value: $113,100
Sugar Creek 3,544
Est household income: $44,100
Est house/condo value: $92,200

With exception to Independence, Lee's Summit and Blue Springs, Raytown does not look a whole lot different from the rest.

Andy Whiteman said...

Anonymous Jan 2, 2008 9:12 PM, my comments on the 353 related only to the 353. I have addressed residency requirements but not at the 12/18 meeting.

If you send me your email address, I will gladly send you a copy of what I said. Yes, I save them because I have to type them on my computer and I want a record of what was said.

Andy Whiteman

Pat Casady said...

To Diane Krizek,
I didn't mean to imply that you were comparing Raytown to
those other towns. I was merely making a statement, a caution
if you will, about anyone making a comparison because of the
past.
Sorry, I understood what you meant.

Anonymous said...

Andy,
You continually refer to the school taxes as OUTRAGEOUS because they make up 66% of your property tax bill. Just because they make up a large % of your tax bill doesn't make them outrageous, it just means they are the largest part of your tax bill. The % that the school district represents is also influenced by the rates of the other taxing authorities. For example, if every other taxing authority (library, fire, city, etc.) doubled its tax rate and the school district kept the same rate, the school district amount (dollars and rate) would then represent approximately 50% of the total property tax bill. Same dollar amount, but would it be less outrageous because it was only 50%?

I suggest that you need to do other analysis to determine how outrageous the school taxes are. The KC Star just put out information on the local districts on Dec. 26 (and easily verified on the Internet). If you compare the tax rate to the other 11 districts in Jackson County, there are only two (Lone Jack and Oak Grove) with lower rates - less than 5% lower. Lee's Summit and Center have rates 25% higher than Raytown and none of the others are within 5% of Raytown. The largest 4 districts in Cass County all have higher tax rates.

You can also look at how much each district spends per student (based on budget divided by enrollment). Raytown sits right in the middle in Jackson County with 5 districts spending less per student and 6 districts spending more per student.

In the end, you really have to look at how the money is being spent, where other sources of revenue are coming from, and the results that are produced with the students. Then you can determine how outrageous your taxes are. Don't just base it on a % of the tax bill.

- School District Parent

Diane Krizek said...

Andy, my property tax bill includes both levy rate and distribution amount which can also be found on the County's website, www.jacksongov.org.

A cursory glance at the levy rates I posted clearly indicate the lion's share of our property taxes is going to our school district i.e. 4.642400% - not that I'm complaining as education is very important.

Here is the formula of calculation:
$MarketValue x Classification (19%Residential) = $AssessedValue x $Levy = $Taxes

So, $100,000 house x .19 = Assessed Value of $19,000.

$19,000 x .04642400 = $882.06 going to the school district

Andy Whiteman said...

Diane,
You looked up your tax bill online, as did I. My point is the county REFUSES to provide a paper copy if you have a mortgage. Many people do not have internet access, so in effect, this material is withheld from them. When a school bond (or any tax increase comes up) the taxpayers have no clue as to how much they are paying.

School District Parent, True the other taxing districts could go up and lower the 66% (as a percentage) that the schools receive, but the dollar amount would remain the same or higher.

When there is a school bond issue or mill levy vote, do you look at your tax bill to find out what you are paying before you vote? I really wonder if everyone looks at what it is costing them?

What gripes me is that I receive NO service from the school district while you get baby sitting service to keep your kids out of the house. I can receive service from the fire district, library, and city. I know it has always been that way, buy this is an unfair tax to those without children. I have friends who home school their children and others using private schools. People who home school their children, use private schools, or have no children shouldn't be taxed. It is not right that others have to pay because you decided to have children. If parents were accessed per child, I think the vote on school bonds would turn out different because you and not everyone else would be paying.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Andy, there are some things that you say that I agree with, and some things that are said that I disagree with you on.

I know that you were a kid once. And I am sure that someone that did not have any kids had to pay some sort of tax that benefited you in some manner, and I am certain that they probably felt as you do when it comes to the school district tax topic. Problem is, it is a tax that we all have to pay if we live here. Most parts of the country you end up having to pay for education, unless you move to the hill country and become a hermit, that is until the city catches up with you. It is a moot point. When they ask for a rate increase, vote against it if you wish. Most people will vote for it simply to help keep up with other districts in the area. If one lets the schools go to pot, then who really wants to move to an area where the schools are crap? Look at the KCMSD. Prime example. Lost their accredidation, and now people are leaving the district so their children can get a better education. Who wants to buy a house and move there?

I guess the bottom line is that a lot of people have to pay the taxes just like you and I. Petroleum is driving the cost of everything up through the roof, and is partly to blame.

I hear the same arguments about social security, social security disability, medicare, medicaid, and numberous welfare programs out there. Why do I have to pay all this money for someone who hasn't worked at all in their life? It may not be fair, but we pay for it.

Pat Casady said...

Andy,
I understand what you mean as far as you paying school taxes without
children in the home.
But you have to chalk it up to being a U.S. citizen. It's what we all pay for. Education is not free but think what this country would be like without the proper funding for our schools. It's the same with
the police, we as taxpayers don't need them every day but I'm
glad they are there for us when we do need them.
It's the things you don't see that we need as being part of a city
or town and we all have to help pay for them.

The real problem is "what" the school district does with the tax
money. In Raytown we have to question why with only ten square
miles, do we need so many school owned buildings?
I don't get it either. Especially when so many people are moving
out of Raytown. It's like the guy with the most toys when he dies
wins. But what??????? Classrooms with only ten students in each
one?

I guess what I am saying is I don't have a problem paying taxes.
I have a problem if my hard earned money is wasted.

Anonymous said...

Andy,
I am sure that you can figure out how quickly your line of logic falls apart. Should I not have to pay tax to the fire district if I have never had a fire or needed any other service? Should I not have to pay a tax to the library if I choose not to check out or utilize any materials? I don't go to the junior college, so I shouldn't pay that tax, either. What about taxes to the city for maintenance on roads that you drive and I don't? And what about the tax payments for Mental Health and Blind Pension? For these items, a system where you only pay for what you use would be grossly inefficient.

I pay these taxes because I understand that the entities that receive these payments are a necessary part of a functioning community. I would even argue that you can receive the benefit of the school district. It is clear that school districts can cause people to move to or away from an area, which in turns brings business or drives it away. The end effect is that you can receive a benefit even if you do not have children. On a smaller scale, there are many outreach programs that are either sponsored by the district or use district facilities - programs that are available to anyone if they choose.

I am just challenging you to go deeper than using a % of your tax bill as the factor in deciding if your taxes are outrageous. I know how much I pay and I do enough research to have a good idea of what it goes for. That is why I have yet to be sold by the district that the upcoming levy increase is something I should vote for. I can see general reasons why it is needed but they have not been specific enough with the use for the additional revenue.

- School District Parent

Anonymous said...

Just a quick response on the number of buildings in the district with people moving out. Despite the number of people moving out, the district itself is getting younger. As a result, enrollment actually went up by almost 2% this year. I would challenge you to find a regular classroom in this district with 10 students. My fifth grade daughter is in one of three classrooms that has almost 30 students in each - no classroom in the school has less than 19. One of her fine arts teachers had to teach off a rolling cart last year because there were no rooms available as enrollment neared 500. Another daughter just finished middle school and had to attend several classes in trailers because of capacity issues.

I agree that the key issue is how the money is spent. While I agree with the new elementary school, the location is a joke and the associated costs are going to get ridiculous. The third middle school should have been a 6th grade center instead as there will be all kinds of costs with a full 6th-8th grade facility. And who knows how much was wasted in the new administrative building on Raytown Road.

I don't question the need for space, I question how well the space will get used.

- School District Parent

saywhat??? said...

The only revenue streams for schools (other than the state funding formula) is the property tax levy.

Schools do not get sales tax, or gasloine tax, or cigerrate(sp) tax, or any other taxes.

OF COURSE they are the largest portion of the mill levy, how else would they receive revenue??

What you should really look at is all the OTHER taxes you are paying to other localities and the STATE (all the above plus income taxes).

THAT is the outrage!!!

say what???? said...

"Raytown is one of the few communities in the area that does not require department heads to life within the community that pays its salary. " - Greg Walters

Say What???

Here are the Facts on Residency - I Checked with the HR Departments of Every City:

Belton - Commissioned police officers within the police department whether full-time or part-time shall reside within a twenty-five minute drive of the police station assuming travel within the legal speed limit in normal driving conditions.

Elected employees, those employees and department heads appointed by the Mayor and Board of Aldermen plus the Assistant City Administrator, Street Superintendent, Pollution Control Superintendent, and Water Superintendent, and Deputy Fire Chief shall be or become residents of the City.

Lee's Summit - Our department directors are the only employees that are required to live in the city limits.

Raymore - Employees must live within 35 miles of the City of Raymore

Independence - Most positions do not have a residency requirement

Blue Springs - Yes, the City Administrator & Assistant City Administrator must live in Blue Springs. The police officers have a 30 minute response time from their home to police headquarters.

Now, if none of these other "progressive" cities believe residency is a requirement, why should Raytown go backwards???

Residency is what causes quality employees to not apply when a vacancy appears. Who wants to move everytime they try to advance their career?

Also, why do you assume that a persons personal integrity and work ethic should be tied to where they reside? I disagree that a person could want to do a good job and be a quality employee but for the fact that they live in the community.

If you believe that, then you are either cynical or have a shoddy work ethic yourself.

Andy Whiteman said...

You all make good points. If my parents had to pay the cost of my school, they may have been smart enough not to have had me and we wouldn't be having this dialog.

If there was actually a class with only 10 students, I would say it was wasteful unless possibly it was a special ed class. When I went to school the goal was under 30 per class.

I do have the same gripe about other services that I don't use but I pick on the schools because they are the largest part of the tax bill.

Pat makes a point about what is done with school district money in only 10 square miles. Likewise I wonder what the city does with their money. We had NO street resurfacing this year. My section of street is so crumbled that it is unsafe for walking.

Actually when I was forced to move here, I was looking for a home in KCMO because the schools had caused property values to go down. My Realtor didn't do his home work on what I wanted and he showed me homes for 2 days. I accidently discovered my home when I came to inspect the Post Office.

Truthfully, I will probably have the same complaint in whatever area I move to.

I know everyone is taxed for schools in America, but it is one of the most unfair tax. There are people with no children, home schooled children, privately schooled children, as well as those with several children using public schools. Why does every one pay the same mill levy? Shouldn't someone who home schools or uses private schools be refunded for not using the public schools? Shouldn't someone with 5 children pay 5 times as much? In my opinion, the tax should be on each child in school to make it a fairly apportioned tax.

School District Parent, I think we may be in agreement on the upcoming mill levy but for different reasons. I am using a % of the tax bill to make apoint of how much is going to schools. I could quote how much I pay in dollars but this will not relate to other people who pay different amounts. My intention here is to suggest that each person checks the $ amount and maybe % on his/her tax bill before voting on any tax issue (not just schools). I think a vote would be more intelligent if the preson went to the polls thinking, "What will this cost me?" I will tell you one thing that really griped me was the last school tax election where the district sent a mailing promoting it at taxpayer's expense. This is wrong. If I private group sent it, I wouldn't complain.

I think we will agree on some issues and not on others. Those of you who disagree, it is your right. Likewise I may disagree with you on another matter and it is my right.

Andy Whiteman

Andy Whiteman said...

say what????, you make a very good point. I am for residency requirements at least for upper level officials, but I have considered the possibility that no one in Raytown may be qualified or even want the job. That means hiring someone from another area. One thing I know moving is costly and time consuming. I was forced to move here for a job and I have finally decided that a job is not worth moving for compared to the expense.

One the other hand, I feel a manager living outside of Raytown has a slight conflict of interest: Mainly no loyality to the city they are working for. If the Finance Director lives in Raytown, his work directly impacts him as it would any other property owner. The same with public works or any other department head.

I can see both sides of this issue. But I feel that if a manager is required to live here, he will be subject to the same standard of living as the rest of us so that should give some direction to his work if he wants things to change.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

I would agree with the comment regarding available housing. I moved from Raytown 6 years ago because I wanted a nice, newer home in a safer neighborhood, something that my current city offers but that Raytown just couldn't compete with.

Raytown, quite frankly, doesn't pay very well for any city positions (certainly not on a par with some of the competing municipalities in the area). I can attest to this as a former city employee. If the board is going to limit job candidates by paying subpar wages, why limit the pool further with a residency requirement?

I wasn't a big Nesbitt fan but at least this was one sensible change.

As an aside, I really enjoy the comments from some of the old-time, closed-minded "Raytowners" here. As a former resident I see nothing in Raytown has changed in the six years since I moved. Same old coots in bib overalls polishing up a t*rd and trying to sell it as a diamond. Same old ultra-conservative views from people who want the town to stay exactly as it was when they moved here in 1965.

As a native of the city and the school system, it pains me to say that for property value increase, safety, education and general progress it seems my old hometown has been left in the dust by more progressive cities whose leaders are willing to move forward instead of standing around in their ball caps with their hands in their pockets sucking on toothpicks.

Andy Whiteman said...

Anonymous 10:26 PM, I can agree that city employees are underpaid. I advocate a cut for management and a raise for the workers.

Raytown will stay where it has since 1965, 1940, or whenever; unless there is some direction.

Raytown wants to attract businesses. That is great, but how many developers has the city been through? At what cost? with no progress!

Raytown is not a fit for every type of business. What is really needed is a business/financial planner to do a study to determine what types of businesses are suited for Raytown and then set out to attract them. Until there is some direction, Raytown will wither.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Andy, well said.

The problem with Raytown stems from it's roots as a "bedroom" community. It never was destined for major business, but rather a smaller collection of service and retail businesses to serve the local residents. Unfortunately, this type of business just doesn't provide the tax base necessary for a community to grow and prosper long term.

Being landlocked doesn't help. Most of the neighboring suburbs with vibrant economies are fueling them with residential growth and development. New homes create jobs, and business follows development.

I think Raytown's best course of action is to position itself as a desirable enclave close in to the city. Raytown should capitalize on the 'new urbanism' idea and sell itself as an affordable, convenient, safe, close-in place to live. There has been some talk about that, but it doesn't appear that any real action has been taken.

You are right, maybe a new development team could make a difference. A city-wide Master Plan would help too.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 10:26 has hit the nail on the head!! This is exactly what I have been saying for years. Housing is why we will NEVER be able to keep the bright young families that could revitalize our deteriorating community. Even a lot of our seniors are moving away for the same reasons.

Pat Casady said...

OK folks, when I said ten students in a classroom I was making an attempt at sarcasm. My point was
why so many schools in such a small ten square mile area.

Just reading and watching the papers and what people write
on this site, one has to wonder if the school board is just spending
money because they have it. It's like they don't want taxpayers to think they have too much money so they build a new building or buy some property to use up the money just to say they don't any more.
Does a 2% increase in student enrollment deserve the spending
of millions and millions of taxpayer dollars?

I am not against the school district. Both of my children received a great education for the Raytown School District.
And yes I agree it's not only the way "school" taxes are spent.
Every tax dollar should be spent wisely.
The question is do we have wise people spending the tax dollars
and for the right reasons?

Anonymous said...

Speaking of the School Board. I believe that filing is open for three positions up for election in April. We need to see some new blood step up and file so we don't have to re-elect any of those "Free Spending" goof balls that are currently there. I believe that filing closes on Jan. 15th so you don't have much time. Sign Me: Hoping for a change in April.

Anonymous said...

I am not so sure that Jack Nesbitt's change to the use of carpet bagger department heads was a good change. There has been higher turnover since that change and not any noticable improvements in service.

One could even argue that the level of service has actually declined.

Cities like Liberty, Independence, Grandview, and Gladstone, Raymore, Lee's Summit, etc., all require department heads to live within their borders.

But those cities do not have the revolving door in the positions that is evident at Raytown City Hall.

It would appear that the practice of not requiring residency has proven itself as a step non-productive step backwards.

Andy Whiteman said...

Pat said, "...one has to wonder if the school board is just spending
money because they have it."

Most government tends to spend the money before the end of the physical year. Apparantly the budget cannot be increased if money is left over. Yes that is really illogical but it doesn't need to be.

I was secretary-treasurer of a Fire District. If we needed a new fire engine, we saved for it. We never thought of a bond issue because people didn't want their taxes raised. The money was still there at year end, but it was set aside in its seperate column as budged for a fire engine, so it technically was NOT there. Has the school district thought of acting on a cash basis?

I agree EVERY TAX DOLLAR no matter which taxing entity should be spent wisely.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

A City Hall Mystery??? Where have all the former mayor's pictures gone that used to hang in the lobby of city hall? Maybe Mayor Bower has given them away like he has some other city property recently. Do Mayor's have the authority to dispose of city property? The city used to sell surplus city property at public auction. Why wouldn't we continue to do this? A Concerned Taxpayer

Anonymous said...

A few points of clarification on the school district:

- The district covers much more than 10 square miles, at least 2-3 times more. It runs to Noland Road on the east, near I-70 on the north and I-435 on the west (actually west of I-435 in places). Several of the school buildings have Kansas City addresses. This is why they have as many buildings as they do. Go visit any of the schools and you will see how at or past capacity each is.

- The 2% enrollment growth was mentioned to counter the argument that people are leaving and the implication that the budget should be shrinking. There may be people leaving but younger families with children are moving in and other areas are being developed.

- The district cannot just construct buildings out of their operating budget surplus, if one exists. They have to get a capital bond issue approved by the voters. In other words, they don't build unless the taxpayers give a super majority approval.

- This is the first new school (for classroom purposes) in 40 years. Other building (in my 20 years in Raytown) have been to improve the quality of the schools with gyms (so they don't have to share with the cafeteria), air conditioning, safe playground equipment, etc.

- The district is about to make significant cuts to the budget (teachers, staff, programs, athletics) because of deficit spending. The deficit spending is in part due to some poor decisions, but also because the district has almost the lowest tax rate in the county.

- The mailing that was sent by the district last year regarding the bond issue was not promoting the issue. The district is allowed to send out an informational piece so that taxpayers know what they will be voting on. The piece did not promote any vote. Any promotional pieces came from the Growing With Pride Committee which was funded by private money.

I will not make up my mind on voting for or against the upcoming levy increase request, but I am going to make sure that I know everything factual about the district and how it spends its money.

- School District Parent

Anonymous said...

The school district is wasting so much money. All one needs to do is to go see the elaborate administrative offices that they have funded with your tax dollars and then you know why they couldn't afford to give the teachers a raise. NO NEW TAXES until the board gets their head on straight.

Pat Casady said...

I just read the Post. On the front page Mr. Bob Phillips had an article about "2007: a year in review." In it he mentions "Homeowners fail to
take advantage of the city's Storm water Mitigation Program that
reimburses those that take steps to end basement sewer backups."
He goes no to say "City paid out a bit more than $62,000 of one
million budgeted for 2006."
Where is the rest of the money?
Could that go towards tearing down the old church?

I'm not being critical, I'm just asking.

Mark Siettmann said...

Pat,

I am guessing that the money you mention is legislatively directed to the Storm Mitigation program. If so, diverting it elesewhere would be a major problem.

Is that all city money, or is it state/federally supplemented? Anyone know?

Anonymous said...

Please! Conventional wisdom could be replaced by going to the school district and city hall and asking for a salary list by name. You will be told that can't be done...but it can and you're entitled to it "by name, salary, years worked."
Then come back on here and tell me about all the underpaid city employees, school employees, et al.
You'll find a few $8 an hour city employees followed by $11 to $15 an hour ones and the vast majority way beyond that.
So, to Mr. I Left Six Years Ago cuz' I was underpaid...think again.
Also it is useless to try and convince Mr. Whiteman of social responsibility where funding education universally is concerned.
That effort has been made numerous times here. He, however, is a "non-user" so assumes he has no universal responsibility to the society that provides him (at other people's expense) what many others don't receive.
There's an old military axiom that goes: Piss and Moan.
That's what this blog and its superficial thinkers remind me off.
Sign me: Ex-Can Do

Andy Whiteman said...

Anon 12:59PM, I have no knowlege about what you are referring to but I have have heard the BOA dispose of city property by a simple vote. You might want to inquire at city hall specifically about the items you refer to.

School District Parent, Thank you for pointing out the size of the district. Apparently people think the school district and city boudarys are the same. I knew it was much larger than the City of Raytown because when elections come up, polling places are listed for non Raytown areas.

I did not notice anything that the mailing was "informational." I took it that they were stating why people should vote YES. If they put out another one, they should clearly mark it as INFORMATIONAL and not solicit votes. One thing I question is it necessary to spend taxpayers' money on this even if it is informational? Legal notice as well as news articles are published in the papers. This waste of money is totally unnecessary.

Anonymous said...

The Mayor has given away city property. Why wasn't it sold at public auction? Someone who knows

Greg Walters said...

Mark,

In answer to your question, the storm mitigation funding comes from sewer use charges. The city made the funds available as part of the package to voters in the last round of sanitary sewer fund tax increases the voters approved a few years back.

Originally, the funds were set aside to correct sanitary sewer problems caused when flooding from storm sewers caused backups into residential properties. The funding level was set at (up to 50%) of the cost of improvements paid for by the city.

However, the program was not taken advantage of by many homeowners. So it was changed to 100% of cost.

I am not sure if it has caused an increase in applications. Or, more likely, the problem was over-stated in the first place.

Since the money used is collected through the sanitary sewer fund it should remain in that account. Once the program is ended, it should be used to pay down the debt of the sanitary sewer bonds.

Anonymous said...

at: http://www.leadertelegram.com/story-news_local.asp?id=BFD7ATI29CC

Chippewa candidate homesick

Missouri city administrator seeks return to northern Wisconsin By Chris Vetter Chippewa Falls News Bureau CHIPPEWA FALLS - Although Michael Miller has been city administrator in Raytown, Mo., for only a year and a half, he said the opportunity to return to Wisconsin and work in Chippewa Falls is too good to pass up. "Communities like Chippewa Falls don't come up every day," Miller said. "I decided I really needed to look at this."

Miller, 46, is one of four candidates for the vacant Chippewa Falls administrator position, which has been open since Dan Elsass left in July. Miller toured the city Thursday and met with department heads and the city's personnel committee. Two other finalists - Ron Singel and Steve Mokrohisky - were interviewed Wednesday. The other candidate, Randy Reeg of Thorp, will be interviewed next week.

Miller is retired from the Air Force. He served as administrator in the town of Delavan, near Lake Geneva, in 1995 and 1996. He was personnel director for Washburn County from 1997 to 2006, before leaving for Missouri. While Raytown is a larger city (the population is 29,000), Miller finds the Chippewa Falls position appealing. "I've stopped here several times before," Miller said. "I was always enamored with it." Miller said he's eager to return to Wisconsin and find a permanent place to stay. "I like Wisconsin," he said. "I'm a native Wisconsinite. When I was in Washburn County, I really enjoyed this part of the state. I want to go to a place where I want to stay for a long time."

Miller said he's impressed with recent improvements in the region, such as the upgrades to the highways around the city. "I loved the feeling of vibrancy in downtown," he said. "I was impressed with the developments in the residential and commercial. And I'm impressed with the diversity of the economy."

Miller said he liked the sense of pride and the spirit of philanthropy in Chippewa Falls, evident in donations to renovate Dorais Field and purchase the Northern Wisconsin State Fairground. "It's a community that's very vibrant, it's a community that has potential for growth, and it's a community where I want to be," Miller said.

Miller described his strengths as his work in personnel management and the ability to bring people together for a common goal. "I'm about carrying out the will of the elected body," Miller said. Miller has been married to his wife, Angelique, for 25 years. They have three grown children.

The personnel committee intends to offer one of the four finalists the position by the end of the month, with a goal of the person starting work by the beginning of April.

Vetter can be reached at 723-0303 or chris.vetter@ecpc.com.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the past mayors pictures were donated to the Raytown Historical Society's Museum? Before anyone gets too excited about the mysterious dissapearance, why not pick up a phone and inquire abouth them?

Common Sense

Anonymous said...

Why would you want the past mayors pictures removed from city hall? There is much more of an opportunity for the public to see them in the lobby of city hall. Maybe if the historical society wants to display them too, they should be given copies. What about the other city property? Someone who knows

Anonymous said...

I see that Bledsoe's Rental on Blue Ridge has moved to Lee's Summit. I know that it was a Kansas City business, but it served a lot of Raytown people over the years.

Anonymous said...

Rumor has it that Sue Frank has the pictures of the past Raytown mayors. Wonder if this is true?

Anonymous said...

By the looks of things, it appears that the past Mayor's pictures won't be the only face missing at City hall. Good luck to our short-timer Mr. Miller. Here's hoping you a long and prosperous couple of years back in Wisconsin and whichever job you hold after that.

What a slap in the face to the Mayor, BOA, staff and citizens of Raytown.

Now is the time to take action, before Mr. Miller leaves Raytown high and dry on his terms and not the City's

New City Administrator NOW!!!

Anonymous said...

Agree with you 2:45 pm

Mark Siettmann said...

Greg,

Thanks for the explanation. Based on the source (and the fact it was approved by citizen vote), I agree that the money must stay in the sanitary sewer fund. Perhaps a resolution is in order to start taking a percentage of the money, since it is not being used, to pay down debt load as you suggest. It looks like plenty would be left to manage the program if the need arose.

Anonymous said...

Yep, Bledsoes is history.... There is Allright Rental on 350 Highway at Sterling, and that is a Raytown business that needs support.

Let miller go, we don't need a city administrator anyway, the mayor can do that job.

Everyone is so worried about the past mayors pictures. Call city hall and ask where they went to. I am sure that they will tell you. Yes, I know the pictures are historical in nature, and it is important to keep track of historical items, but aren't there more pressing and important issues to worry about at city hall instead of the darned pictures anyway?

Mark Siettmann said...

Unless we change our charter, the mayor can not do the job of an administrator. For one, they are not paid anywhere near a full-time salary.

Even if we could make that change, I would argue against doing it. In a small city the Mayor should act as a visionary and a catalyst for action, not as a day to day administrator. SImply, it is easier for voters to vote for a good leader than a good manager.

I would agree that the current board relies too much on the administrator and staff for political (as opposed to public administration) direction. Changing that, however, does not require a chater change, it requires a change in attitude by board members.

Anonymous said...

To correct Greg's explanation, the Storm Mitigation was originally set up to pay 100% up to $4,000 for an owner with 4 or more sewer backups. 75% up to $3,000 for 3, 50% for 2 and 25% for 1. And it is to correct ground water connections to the sanitary sewer on private property, not overloaded storm sewers. For an explanation of the connection check out the Cities website at http://www.raytown.mo.us/City/pdf/Sump%20Drain%20Flyer.pdf . This program has been regionally recognized as a leader in removing inflow and infiltration from sewer systems, and also reducing sewer backups. If your not sure it's worth it, contact someone that has the work done.

Anonymous said...

FYI, We do not have a charter. The city administrators position was created by ordinance and can be eliminated by a vote of 6 members of the board of aldermen. That simple!! I too believe that the city administrator position needs to be ELIMINATED. Raytown is really too small for this expensive position. With good department heads and a mayor that is willing to put in the time it will work. We've only had a city administrator for about the last 10-12 years. Before that the mayors oversaw the department heads and it WORKED. Look at all the money the city could save.

Anonymous said...

I disagree.

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

If Mr. Miller leaves, I recommend the position not be filled!

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

I agree with anonymous 9:07pm and Andy on this one.... we can do without the city administrator. The mayor in the past was able to oversee the department heads and the day to day business and can do it again. There is no charter here(thank goodness) and with a population of only 28-29,000 the CA position is a unneccessary and wasteful expense. Now if they could get rid of Truesdale at the same time that would be a real win-win situation for the people of Raytown.

Anonymous said...

I agree. Let Miller leave and look at the organizational structure at City hall. The City Administrator position is a waste of the taxpayor's dollar.

As the CA, Miller proved to be ineffective and way over his head for running a City.

Anonymous said...

Wow, the comments about no need for an administrator are more of the same short-sighted over simplistic viewpoint that has made Raytown the hotbed of mediocrity that it is.

The city administrator position is VITAL to a resurgent and growing Raytown. Citizens should not entrust the execution of a multi-million dollar enterprise to a part time leader, who has absolutely no obligation to anyone once he is elected.

Think back to the days of Nesbitt. He tried very hard to micromanage the day-to-day activities of the city, even though an administrator was in place, and with disastrous results.

The CA position provides a focal point for execution of the policies and projects enacted by the board. By it's very nature, the CA position is to be non-political. Removing this buffer makes every city department and employee subject to the prevailing political winds, and means less professional and effective administration of your local government and hard earned tax dollars.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 8:58 A.M. You are totally wrong about city employees being subject to political winds without a city administrator. The city has a personnel code that protects them from these type of actions. The only people that the elected officials can remove are at department head level and they too have many built in safeguards. CA position is not working in Raytown and should be abolished.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:58am that is the typical buraucratic bullsh*t response that is expected from someone that has to justify the reason for their job position's existance so that one can continue to "sponge" off of the local government's payroll at the expense of us taxpayers.

Nesbitt had a full time job with the government, and the CA position came to being because he could not be in two places at the same time. If you run for political office, one should be prepared to put your career on hold so that one can perform the duties of the political office, as it is a paid position in itself. If you cannot fulfill said duties of the office, then don't run in the first place. If the political office compensation is insufficent to pay your bills in lieu of your career job's salary, then that settles it, stick with your regular career job(day job). Save us all the time, trouble, and wasted tax dollars. We do not need a City Administrator! That is what the Mayor's job is for!

Anonymous said...

I completely agree wity anonymous 8:58 AM and disagree with 10:13 AM

One thing everyone has to understand is that what happened in the past would no longer work now.

Yes, in the past, almost in every town the elected official (in particular the Mayor) used to run the show. Not anymore.

When we compare the sizable community surrounding us, not only most of them have CA but also they have Assitant CA and the economic development person.

Tell me which community with the population of our size does not have CA.

The laws and regulations have changed. The past practices can not continue any longer.

There are reasons why we have seperation of powers. Each brach of government has different obligation.

In general, most of the employees at city hall doing more than one person's job. There are two things I know about the customer service, it requires people and it requires proper equiments.

I find City Hall employees underpaid yet polite,hardworking and dedicated. Yes, somtime we all have bad days.

Ask yourself a question: Do we really want our city run by a politician? Just be careful, because your wish may come true.

I am totally against having our city run by a politician.

Anonymous said...

It is easier to say that it cant be done today than it is to just try it. Sometimes the old way is the best way of doing things.

Sometimes new ideas are worth a try, but after the trial period, reevaluate and decide if that worked better or if the old way is better.

Just because other surrounding communities are doing something and they are as large population wise or larger is not a valid reason or excuse.

Anonymous said...

The CA knows who is bosses are and will do what is necessary to keep them happy. As the Mayor and BOA are political so too is the CA's position. It comes with the job, like it or not.

What seems necessary at this juncture in time is for the Mayor to be ready for the immediate replacement of Miller.

Miller should step down as CA, or the Mayor (if he has the stones) should reprimand and release Miller from his contract.

Anonymous said...

You are entitled to express your opinion anonymous 11:01 AM and I respectfully disagree.

Think about for a minute, if some of the politician that you hear criticism on this blog becomes the next mayor and run the city hall on a daily basis. Scary thought, isn't it.

Anonymous said...

Replacing the Miller would not resolve the fundamental issue. Mayor needs to come up with a holistic approach. With the Miller there should be others that should be looked upon. It appears that there are some similarities here with the situation in Kansas City Missouri City Hall. Our Mayor needs to be more diplomatic in his approach and I hope he has the support of the entire board.

Anonymous said...

It has been said that you get the type of government that you deserve. If the people are dumb enough to elect these inexperienced politicians, such as Funkhouser and Bower, so be it. How much damage can they really do in four years? Whops, maybe we really did make a mistake. They'll just put a spin on it called, THAT'S PROGRESS.

Anonymous said...

It is usually the dumb, misguided souls that get on the bandwagon of electing the candidate that sucks that are the screw ups.

All that I can say is that I didn't vote for the ones currently in power now, but I did vote. Unfortunately, the best, and most qualified candidates did not win the elections. We got stuck with the b.s. spin meisters on the local, state, and national levels.

I will sure be glad when Bush is out of office for good!

Anonymous said...

Miller is making a fool out of our mayor and aldermen. Raytown is paying this guy a good salary while he is running all over the country looking for another job. Bet you couldn't get away with this in the private sector. Your a-- would be gone so fast it wouldn't even be funny. Oh,the perks of working for the government.

Anonymous said...

WOW!! Raytown School District Discussions!!
Pat and Andy are right on about the school taxes!! Way to much waste of tax payers monies on buildings that were bought that the city is condeming because of a "clueless" school board!

I don't know where to begin on how badly managed the school district is, it would take me days to type it all out. If the general public would only know what goes on behind the "closed doors", they would vomit!!!!!!!

Don't forget that the April levy comming up just won't affect the home owners; the poor small business owner will get hit hard too and more will leave Raytown for another city.

Also the retiring superintendant will get a "HUGE RETIREMENT CHECK" when he leaves, commonly known as a "Golden Parachutte".

As far as the school district parent-she is beliving all the "crap" the district is feeding her.

IF ANY CITIZEN OF RAYTOWN VOTES FOR THIS LEVY COMMING UP IN APRIL OF 2008, THEY ARE JUST THROWING THER MONEY AWAY!!!!!

Stay tuned, more from Dr. Know as the time gets closer to the April election.........

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:21,
First of all, School District Parent is a he, not a she. Second, I am hardly swallowed any "crap" the district is feeding me. Everything I have stated has been based on information I have gotten either through personal observation (because I am an active parent in the schools my children attend) or form outside sources. I have not tried to support anything that the school district has said but have pointed out some facts (again, not from the district) to correct some inaccuracies and perceptions being communicated here. I have not made up my mind yet about the upcoming levy because I too am concerned about the way money has been spent. If it were held today, I would not support it becuase I have not had a good case made by the district to have the additional money. However, first-hand observation shows that the school buildings are at capacity, teachers are leaving for better-paying districts and the Raytown levy is one of the lowest around. If a business moves because of school taxes, they are going to be very limited on where they go.

- School District Parent

Anonymous said...

You do have a point there. How is a business going to pay any cheaper taxes to a school district other than here in Raytown, other than to move the business away from the metroplex and out to the sticks?

And how are the majority of residents going to elude paying taxes to the school district? Move to Lees Summit or some other town... Got news for you, their school district taxes are higher.

I am also a parent of children who attend school in this district. I also do not like or approve of some of the expenditures that the district has made here of late. Yet some expenditures are necessary to maintain the facilities.

I am not 100% for or 100% against the school district.
Someone stated earlier that Raytown was not large enough to have 10 elementary schools. Before 1981 there was 10 elementary schools in this district. Before 1981 there were 3 junior high schools in the district. 2 High Schools, a Regional Drivers Training Center, and The east/west votech campuses. And the Administration Building. All of these buildings were constructed between the years 1945 and 1969. The district scaled back some of their operation in the early eighties by closing one junior high school and closing one elementary school due to declining enrollment back then. BTW: the district covers a lot more land area than just the city of Raytown, hence the reason for all the schools listed above.

Yes the student population has increased again and is expected to increase even more, so more classroom space is required again. At least they still had the old junior high school to turn into Middle School #3. They kinda shot themselves in the foot by getting rid of Chapel Elementary. That is hindsight.

The new administration building is sort of a mixed blessing.... they needed more space especially for school board meetings, but all of the extra salaried positions or chair warmers that we sometimes call them I believe are really unnecessary, sorta like City Hall with all the chair warmers. Get rid of them and free up some funding for teachers salaries and books. My kids dont even get a textbook to take home for homework assignments because the district cannot afford to purchase any more than one set of books for a class!

I know a lot of people hollering about the districts tax levy are people on fixed incomes, people that do not have kids, or people that home school or send their kids to private schools, and some of us have kids that attend public schools. These were all choices that we made, and sometimes life is not fair to all of us, so I guess we will just have to live with it or become a bunch of hermits that live in the sticks.

Anonymous said...

The parents of the school district seem to believe everthing that the school board, school administration, and whom ever tells them. How sad that most of what is being told to you is a front.

The school district has spent more than it takes in in the past 3 years. They HAD to buy as many buildings as possible. WHY???? The district was in the black before the current superentindent and then he proceeded to put into the RED in 3 years?

My question is how are they going to buy equipment and staff all these schools they are building? I'll tell you MORE TAXES TO COME!!!

It is time to cut the majority of the "heads" at the administration building that is just holding a seat down. Huge salaries they are given for what, to make bad choices knowing that the tax payers of Raytown will bail them out time and time again?

You small business owners of Raytown, here's and idea: When you spend to much money for your business and you can't make ends meet, just go public and ask for the citizens of Raytown to vote for a tax to increase to get your business out of the RED. That is what the Raytown School District is doing to the Raytown people.

I for one WOULD NOT send my kids to a Raytown school for an education. They get a much better education at a privite school and I don't care how much money or how many tax increases the district gets.

Anonymous said...

Must have attended a private school. (privite)sic

Pat Casady said...

I can't believe I'm saying this but......Raytown needs a City Administrator.
However, Raytown doesn't need CA's like the last two.
The first was a spin doctor and the last started looking for another job almost before he came to work here.

The fact is, Mayor Bowers didn't have anything to do with the hiring of these two people. He was given the task of dealing with this.
He also inherited some other people he has to deal with that are
highly incompetent in key positions. Throw in a few elected officials that don't have a clue and you see what he's up against.
I guess time will tell but, I am optimistic about the right thing being done.