Monday, August 18, 2008

Construction Update . . .

Readers have probably noticed the work the city has begun in preparing the drainage area for the planned Walmart Store on 350 Highway. Remember, those are your tax dollars at work. The drainage system is part of the city's agreement to bring the new Walmart to 350 Highway. Construction is also coming to an end at Blue Ridge Elementary. A new early childhood development / day care center is nearly completed along Hunter Street and Blue Ridge Boulevard. The building and grounds are impressive and blend very well with Blue Ridge Elementary. Kudos to Raytown City Hall for completing the sidewalk along Hunter Street between Blue Ridge Boulevard and Blue Ridge Cutoff. When I became aware that the School District would only build sidewalks directly in front of the building I asked then Public Works Director Mahesh Sharma if the city could complete the work. Through his intervention we now have sidewalks the entire length of Hunter Street. A large of pile of new aluminum street light poles indicates that the area is going to be well lit at a night. Do not look for much street overlay this year. Public Works is looking at plans to use street improvement money for striping of streets, repairing failed streets at the sub-structure level and possibly some white-topping of intersections where the asphalt has been pushed into unsightly and unsafe conditions due to the braking actions of cars on the hot surface.

50 comments:

Andy Whiteman said...

The first part of Greg's article sounds very progressive and I appreciate that.

Why is it that a property owner is required to maintain their property but the city has numerous code violations of unmaintained streets? This is discriminatory and the city itself is in violation of codes!

Every elected official and reponsible department head should be given a notice of violation and cited into district court if they fail to correct all violations.

Andy Whiteman

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

I wish we had Greg for our alderman instead we have Ertz and Schlapia who have done NOTHING and probably NEVER WILL. Woodson road at 78th up to 78th Terr is dark and we have numerous street walkers so we the residents have to leave our porch lights on to feel like we have some kind of protection. Sad state of affairs when elected officials doing NOTHING for the people they are to suppose to repersent. But by all means lets make fireworks legal,and write an animal bill that has no teeth in it and hire people to enforce codes who doesn't know the meaning of work!!! Come on Mr. Mayor get your head out from under the rock and work for the people who put you in office believeing you would do something for the city!!! At this point if you did ANYTHING it would be better than NOTHING which is what you have done so far.

Pat Casady said...

Maybe in the future the voters of Raytown should ask the city to
put what a tax increase will go toward in the form of a contract. That way after a tax increase is voted in, it can only be used for that reason.
Same with the school district. We have been reading about how tax
payers are upset about where their hard earned money has been
spent by our so called leaders.
City Hall needs to tell taxpayers precisely where the money will be spent
before the voting starts, and put it writing.
You don't go the bank and ask for a loan and tell them you might buy a house.
It's the same thing. The city went to the people and told them give us your
money and we will fix your streets. What they didn't say was....maybe!
Maybe we will watch over your money so it won't be wasted on other things.
Maybe we will watch where every dollar of you money is at all times...........
oops, here's another 2.2 million taxpayer dollars
we lost for a while. Let's pay for another study or hire some outside company to tell us where to place new house's on building lots, or both.
I don't know. Maybe they have good reasons for what they do but you have to
admit, it sure makes it look like City Hall doesn't have a clue and our elected
officials look pretty inept.

One other thing I just have to ask. How many of you people that read these
posts would have approved the Wal-Mart deal? How many of you knew
the Wal-Mart deal was gong to cost the taxpayers money by way of developing
the land that the store was going to use? How many of you know that your tax
dollars are actually paying for the architect on the project?
Also it has been said that if the Wal-Mart doesn't collect enough sales tax,
the city of Raytown has to pay the difference. How many of you would have fallen for that deal?

Anonymous said...

Kudos my pototee! What Greg doesn't say while patting himself on the back is that the school district was exempt from providing those connecting sidewalks so we city taxpayers had to. All this so-called city/chamber/schools cooperation really seems to be paying off. NOT!

Anonymous said...

The taxpayers continue to get "taken to the cleaners" by our fire district, school district and our city government. They all take our money and then spend it on lavish buildings and other frivolous nonsense. Look at these fire stations, what a waste. Same with the school district. I'm surprised that aldermen don't want a new city hall so they can keep up with the firemen and the school board.

Andy Whiteman said...

Are the taxpayers taken to the cleaners or is it the IDIOTS who vote "yes" on issues like the school tax increase?

There is a cover up at election time. The tax increase is stated as realted to the "average" $80,000 house. Who has an $80,000 house? If the average house is $80,000, all of Raytown is a blighted area! Voters are idiots to listen to this crap and not stop and think what it will really cost them.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Mr. Whiteman you're so full of it! I live in a neighborhood of $80,000 houses ($60,000-$120,000) and we're anything but blighted. It's not the price of the home but the upkeep by good people and neighbors. If you live in a more expensive house maybe you can afford those taxes you complain about.

Anonymous said...

Andy,

All information provided by the school district and the committee that promoted the issue showed the tax increase based on an average taxpayer owning a $100,000 house, not $80K. They also listed the impact on a per $1,000 basis allowing simple math to be used by any taxpayer to see the impact. The district's website even had a table that showed the effect of the levy increase on a range of prices from $85K to $300K.

Anonymous said...

Good luck getting 80K and up for those houses now in this market!

If the city cannot keep up with basic services, and the infrastucture gets run down like it is now, who in their right mind is going to pay that kind of money for a house in Raytown? The question is not whether one can afford to keep up their own house, it is whether the city can keep up with basic services and infrastructure repair/replacement.

I know that a lot of folks are on a fixed income and dont want any more going to anything that might take away from that. It is obvious.
Talk about taxes and they react first negatively about that.

So just who is going to pay taxes so that things can be kept up in this city?

The city and its elected officials need to be held accountable for their ineptness. I for one am very tired of my tax money being mis managed, spent unwisely, and just frettered away on stupid things like weekend getaway meetings and infill housing studies. Get off your rearends and get to work up there on our problems now!

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

Anon 1:37PM, You are correct, the average person should be able to figure out what the tax increase will cost them, but does the average person stop and think that these "few" dollars will be added to what they are already paying? I think the average person doesn't know what they are already paying because the county REFUSES to mail an itemized tax bill. You have to get it online and I doubt the average person does that. I do know my school taxes are outrageous!

The literature sent at taxpayers' expense by the Poor Quality School District state how much the tax would increase on the average ($100K) home as you stated, but the sure neglected to state what the total taxes would be.

12:34PM, I haven't seen homes in Raytown in the price range you mentioned. I did see one that is very small and has a 1 car garage. Also another that is not fit for human habitation. The latter I wouldn't consider to be a typical home due to the previous owner.

You are correct that it is not the price but the upkeep. The price sure makes a difference as far as the taxes are concerned. The city doesn't even maintain the streets, so actually a good percentage of the city is blighted because of City Hall.

By the way, our City Fianance Director stated last week that the average house in Raytown is valued at $80,000 and used that value to state how much taxes would increase.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

To Kudos my pototee!

It is true that the school district does not have to abide by city standards. The quansant hut buildings on 350 highway stand as an ugly monument to that.

At least Walters was able to get some improvements in his district by convincing the city to build the sidewalk. The new street lights are not a bad thing either.

So,what is your real complaint?

Anonymous said...

If you couldn't understand my complaint the first time, I doubt that further explanation will help.

Pat Casady said...

I'm not positive about this but maybe this will help some of you
understand the real estate tax.
County real estate appraisals are for tax purposes not true selling
prices. Your house may very well be worth $150 to $200 thousand
dollars when you sell it but to the county it's appraised at $80, thousand.
I don't pretend to understand it I just think or believe this is the way it works.
Let's not fight each other over this, there are a lot more issues that effect
true home value, that can be controlled by voting in people that think more of
the neighborhoods and people, they are supposed to represent, and less
for big business that will kill this town.
If you know anybody with a business background and is a good, honest,
caring person that might want to run for office in Raytown please talk to them

Anonymous said...

To Kudos my pototee!

Sounds like you have an axe to grind.

Does that hit the nail on the head?

Anonymous said...

Keep fishing, clueless!

Pat Casady said...

To Anonymous 2:41,
If you are talking to me about an axe to grind you would be mistaken.
But I do think Raytown needs new faces on the City Council.
The past ten years have been a disaster as far as how people and local
businesses have been treated. Everybody is moving out or closing
their business because of how things are done here.
I still think the world of Raytown but it's sad the direction it is heading.
It is only my opinion but I don't think there is but one or two elected
people that know what they are supposed to do or what the people
of Raytown expect them to do and they certainly, can't think.........
I better stop there, This is something I could write a book about.
I have been told to leave town, told to shut-up, been ostracized
and my business boycotted but I'm not going anywhere. I care deeply
for Raytown and I'll try to stay until things are better. I've been here for
twenty nine years this February. Longer than a lot of them on the Council.

Anonymous said...

I think that this kudos dude has a problem with the city using our tax money to rebuild new sidewalks on school district property when the school district should be paying for them out of our tax money.

So what exactly is your point here? Tax money or tax money? Whatever....

Anonymous said...

keep guessing...clueless anon

Anonymous said...

oh, by the way, the school district consists of Raytown and portions of Independence and Kansas City. Why should Raytowners pay for the sidewalks for the school district when the Indy and KC taxpayers should have chipped in? Also don't you find it interesting that Greg's giving kudos to himself and the city goobers for sidewalks when he says in the next paragraph that there will be no overlay done this year?
This is Greg's blog and he can say what he wants. But so can everyone else. Some of you obviously don't read too well or you'd have understood all this much earlier!
The Fisherman

Anonymous said...

Arrogant Fisherman.... you are the one that is clueless.

Anonymous said...

Arrogant and Angry Fisherman would probably be a better tag.

He must be one of those guys who hates sidewalks and streetlights. You know the type. On a bright sunny day he looks for gray clouds on the horizon.

Our taxes are supposed to be used to build sidewalks and streetlights. Does it really matter which pot of money it came from?

At least the new lights and sidewalks are now a reality. That is a good thing.

If Greg Walters helped work the deal to get part of it done, more power to him.

I'd rather see the money spent on sidewalks and lights than on a lot of what is coming out of city hall.

Pat Casady said...

I don't understand the argument here.
Your elected officals have given away the farm to Wal-Mart
and we argue over Raytown tax payers paying for streetlights and
sidewalks?
They have sold Raytown's soul to the Devil and given away
tax income for twenty three years that you, the taxpayers will have to make up in some fashion or another and you are arguing over paying for some street lights
and sidewalks?
In the Wal-Mart deal, you, are paying for an architect, the drainage system, the parking lot, probably the building and much more, along with the new school building but that's OK?
Wal-Mart a $285, billion in
profit a year company, should be paying Raytown to put in a store
and should have built the new school building at no cost to taxpayers.
But if you have to pay for some sidewalks and street lights it's not OK?
Please tell me what I'm missing here. I don't get it.

Anonymous said...

No, Pat, you do get it. It's the other hoosiers who don't. It's all about priorities and intelligence, something lacking at city hall.
The Angry Fisherman
"Give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he'll eat for a lifetime." However, it's hard to teach a hungry man anything.

Andy Whiteman said...

Can anyone translate this to English? "To Kudos my pototee!" I am clueless as to what language it is.

An Anonymous thinks everyone is clueless as to what he is trying to say. That is very obvious, I doubt few are undersing the comment. Would that person please state his position in plain English which is the language generally spoken in this country?

Nothing will be resolved if you are not understood.

I think many problems are really lack of communication.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

That looks like sanitary sewer pipe Greg, didn't we approve money to upgrade the sewers? An lookie there, the work is being done. The City should be ashamed for doing the work they said they were going to do.

Anonymous said...

And didn't we approve a transportation sales tax for overlay? And lookie, it's not being done!

Anonymous said...

Why is the city mishandling our tax dollars? We need someone to come in and launch an investigation. WHERE'S THE CASH ????

Anonymous said...

Yes, there is some fool out there that actually believes that no one has a clue about what is really happening here with our local government. I sure hope he doesnt vote. He or she really does not have a clue about anything.

Anonymous said...

And that reference is to who?

Anonymous said...

I just found out that our Mayor was made Chairman of Kansas City's Light Rail committee. I have to ask myself why? We in Raytown will not have an opportunity to vote on this only Kansas City Citizens can vote on this. Raytown wiil get NO benefit what so ever from light rail so why is our Mayor even involved? He needs to keep his attention focused on the problems of Raytown and we have plenty of them.

Andy Whiteman said...

Most of this string makes no sense. We all have better things to do than guess what someone is complaining about. But I heard a very real complaint at the BOA meeting.

We did vote for storm sewer improvement. We are getting that, but the workers messed up the ditch and left a gap under a fence in Wildwood HOA that a person could fall through. Things can go wrong on any job, but why does't the city fix this PDQ? If a citizen violated a code, the city would require a fix within I think 30 days, but since the city is in the wrong, they have to check the budget to see if the money is there.

What if someone falls through and is killed or seriously injured. Is the city willing to assume liability for this? How do you replace an human life or restore someone who is disabled?

I question why there was no contigency in the budget for something that may go wrong? OH! By the way isn't there a $2M contigency fund?

What is the hold up here? I think the city should at least get their keesters in there and fence around the hole so no one can fall through. That would be a good start.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Why in the world would Bower be heading up a committee that has NOTHING to do with Raytown. This guy is clueless about what his real job is. And why would you want to be associated with that Funkhouser? This guy should be impeached for having his wife working in his office. What a couple of dummies these two mayors are. Next thing you know Bower will be putting his wife, Mary to work at Raytown city hall. This is what you get when you elect mayors that have never served on the city council.

Anonymous said...

Andy,

Apprently the rules for the kingdom are not meant for the king.

So David Bower has been named by his mentor, the Mayor of Kansas City, to head up Kansas City's Light Rail committee.

If he does as good a job as he has done in Raytown then light rail is doomed.

Anonymous said...

Mayor Bower needs to resign from the lightrail committee and take care of business in his own town. Of course he doesn't have clue how to do that so I guess he figures he will give this lightrail thing a try and see how it goes, I can already tel hinm it's going out the window,it won't get off the drawing board.

Anonymous said...

We need street lights on the 7800 block of Woodson Road. I guess the best way to get that done is march on city hall and contact Fox 4 problem solvers they are always wanting a good story.Ertz and Schalpia don't give a fat rats ass if we get them or not but I am sure problem solvers would love to hear our feeling about city hall.

Pat Casady said...

Andy, If there is anything I have learned in my twenty nine
years of being in Raytown, it's that the city will never admit
when they're wrong.

People will never get the reason why a building site was O.K.'d
that allowed the neighbor across the street to be flooded every time
it rains. Or who O.K.'d the way things were done on 350hwy. where
Laurel Lanes is flooded when it rains. They get it from across 350 hwy.
and from behind them too.
They have complained to the city for years and nothing has
ever been done about it.
The fact is the city let their surrounding neighbors install asphalt parking
lots that lets water run right through their front door. Water has even gotten
in under the bowling lanes.

This is why I keep sounding like a broken record. Raytown needs to
hire and elect people that know what they are doing. I don't mean any
disrespect to our elected officials but they are killing this town because
they don't understand how things work. They have let sharp talking developers
and hired administrators, dupe the taxpayers out of millions and millions
of dollars that could have been put to good use for the people.
They let the running off of businesses go on way to long, all the while knowing
what was going on. But rather than step up and say something, they chose
to just let it keep happening. I don't even want to get started on the codes thing.
I applaud them for winning their popularity contest but there is much more
at stake here. They need to do their job
for the people, neighborhoods and existing businesses.
If they can't, they need to step down and let someone in that will.

The 350hwy development may be a good thing for Raytown, I personally
don't think so, but they need to work on the problems the rest of the town has
and have had for years that was in fact caused by the city.

Anonymous said...

Mayor Bower can you tell me why you are serving on a committee that has nothing to do with
Raytown? It's a Kansas City issue and will not benefit Raytown. I say to you take care of the business here. Oh but I think you have already done that. You have sold us down the river.

Andy Whiteman said...

I have noticed that the BOA can only focus on one issue at a time. Because of the focus on Walmart we can't move ahead with curbside recycling because it takes too much staff time; we can't consider the smoking ban; and we can't allow fireworks. I am not saying that I approve of all 3 issues, I am saying certain people are so narrow minded that nothing else can move forward to a point of being considered. Our "leaders" need to look at the BIG PICTURE namely the city as a whole.

I have always agreed with Pat that we need leaders who can manage Raytown like a business as a whole city. Our "leaders" are unable to handle a safety hazard that the city created. When someone gets hurt or killed and this ends up in court, who will pay? If a major emergency struck this city, I think our leaders would be totally unable to react and expect FEMA and the National Guard to take charge. Are we another New Orleans?

Andy Whiteman

Tom Rigot Sr said...

This is just my opinion but I believe the light rail issue is very much a Raytown issue. The tracks that start in Lees Summit and end up in downtown Kansas City run through Raytown and pass within walking distance of the Truman stadium complex. I have heard discusion of a light rail hub in Raytown using this existing rail line with local parking for those comuters who work downtown or those that want to park & ride light rail to a sports event at the stadiums. These ideas will bring people to Raytown who may want to eat buy a cup of coffee or shop. Yes this vision is years down the road and most likely won't happen in my lifetime but planning and organizing has to start somewhere. I hope my children will be able to take advantage of light rail that passes thru their home town. I just came back from a family event in Cleveland Ohio where I was born & raised. I landed at the airport and took their light rail to my hotel and just about everywhere else I went. I know the starter line will be in Kansas City but eventually extensions will be added and I'm sure with Mayor Bower's input that Raytown will figure in somewhere. I know Raytown has many current problems but I believe the Mayors time spent on light rail is worthwhile. My thoughts anyway!

Anonymous said...

Tom, you're dead wrong. The committee Mayor Bower is heading up is ENTIRELY a Kansas City issue. Raytowners can't even vote on this issue. The one that you are talking about is a totally separate concept. I believe it is a tri-county issue and I've been told could be in operation in about 2 years and will probably come before voters sometime in 2009. Again our Mayor has his nose in a Funkhouser issue that will not help Raytown. Bower needs to get his priorities straight. Stay out of Kansas city's business.

Andy Whiteman said...

I agree with Tom. Light Rail and public transit is a METRO wide issue. I saw Mayors Bower and Fuckhauser on TV. At that time they were discussing the RR from Lees Summit through Raytown past the stadiums to downtown. Maybe there are 2 seperate issues and I am unaware of the KC issue.

I think public transit and light rail is a good thing as long as it SERVES ALL THE PEOPLE ALL OF THE TIME 24/7. If it is a daytime thing for people to go to work downtown, it is a waste of money. People go out nights and weekends--not just to and from work or the ball games.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

I hate to burst your bubble people but the old Rock Island line tracks start at Leed's Junction (past the old leeds plant around Manchester and I-70) and runs to Pleasant Hill, then from Pleasant Hill to Union, Missouri (just outside of Saint Louis). Just because someone lives in Lee's Summit does not mean that everything starts there as well.

Light rail would be beneficial to Raytown and other communities along the proposed route. The person that says that Raytown is not effected by this is wrong. It is not just a Kansas City issue, it is a Regional issue that effects all of us. It has the potential to reduce traffic from the suburbs to downtown, and also has the potential to bring more crime to the suburbs. Lets stop tip toeing around the issue. Oh, and that is not meant as a racial thing either.

However, I will say that one needs to make sure that everything (Ones responsibilities) back at home is taken care of first before one gets involved in extracurricular activities , Mr. Mayor.

Anonymous said...

One proble with blogs is that mis-information spreads just as easily, maybe more-so, than truth. If you want to believe something bad, you will.

Anonymous said...

Mayor Bower get out of Kansas City and get to work on your deteriorating community. Look at our streets, storm water runoff and a total lack of neighborhood code enforcement. You're not the mayor of the whole metropolitan area.

Andy Whiteman said...

I was told that codes were enforced by what the code's officer thinks was the intent of the code (not what the code says in writing.) I went through that argument with my fence.

How can codes be inforced only by what someone thinks is the intent of the code? That opens up room for discrimination and personal issues.

The codes officers are paid less than $15 per hour. Maybe it would help to offer to but them a cup of coffee, lunch, or whatever.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Jackson County is involved with the railroad industry to develop commuter rail throughout the metropolitan area. Jackson County Executive, Mike Sanders, has developed a plan with the railroad industry to develop a commuter rail loop. Part of this design is to connect to the proposed 14 mile light rail spine through Kansas City proper. The 3/8 cents sales tax for light rail will be on the November 4th ballot, only in Kansas City Missouri because only Kansas City Missouri citizens are being asked to pay the 3/8 cents sales tax. In either April or August of 2009, Jackson County voters and other metro counties will be asked to approve the planned commuter rail loop for the metropolitan Kansas City area.

It is my understanding that the light rail spine in Kansas City will be interconnected somewhere with the commuter rail loop. It is my further understanding that Union Station will serve as the hub for the commuter rail loop. The loop is designed for both sides of the state line. It needs the support of Kansas as well.

Raytown is on this planned commuter rail loop. Raytown is not on the planned light rail spine. I support both plans and Raytown and the rest of the metro area needed this transportation system 40 years ago.

It is late in coming, but will provide a great transportation system for the entire Kansas City metropolitan area. Yes it is true that Raytown has multiple problems that have been ignored and have not been taken care of, but it is also true that we don’t have access to mass transit. This is a step in the right direction.

We need to support Mayor Bower as he tries to lead Raytown out of the dark ages into the 21st Century.

Jim Barnes

Andy Whiteman said...

I agree with Jim that "We need to support Mayor Bower as he tries to lead Raytown out of the dark ages into the 21st Century."

Union station is the logical hup for light rail. It should be put back into use!

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Et tu, Jim? Andy you agree with everything.