Sunday, August 3, 2008
A Raytowner asks an elected official why his street will not be overlayed with new asphalt this year. The only reply he receivies is a curt, “we don’t have the money”. Having learned a long time a go not to take such short answers on faith, I made a quick phone call to the Finance Department at Raytown City Hall see how the city is fairing financially. Readers will remember that it was revealed on this blog earlier this year that the city’s annual audit reported 2.2 million dollars in unspent funds returned from last year’s budget. The money is still there, though some of it is committed to certain projects. About $50,000 is set aside to pay debt incurred by the last administration (something I think is criminal, but that is another story). Another chunk of it is set aside to architect fees and fulfill final payment to the Lords of Walmart for expenses in conjunction with the 350 Highway project. Some of the money has been set aside for an un-needed infill study ordered up by the Board of Aldermen. The Mayor has mentioned that he would like to use some of the money to create some sort of Department of Economic Development by partnering with the School Board and Chamber of Commerce. But even with all of that spent there is still well over 1 million left. That money could be used to increase funding for street overlay. But for that to happen the Board of Aldermen has to stand up and say it should be done. When the audit report was delivered I brought a discussion item before the BOA asking for support to spend some of the windfall on street improvements. Not one member of the Board indicated any support for taking action. So you see, it is not a question of whether or not the city has the money. The money is there. It is a question of priorities of your elected officials. Why do they think that way – good question . . . Why not give them al call and find out why. Residency Requirements As many have noted on this page, Community Development Director Tim Truesdale has tendered his resignation at Raytown City Hall. When he leaves Raytown will have one Department Head who makes Raytown his home. That would be EMS Director Matt Cushman. The Board of Aldermen is responsible for setting residency requirements for city department heads. Up until 1998 the City required department heads to live within the city’s limits. Mayor Jack Nesbitt convinced a majority of the Board to relax the rules. In just ten years the city has gone from 100% of its management team living in Raytown to less than 10%. The Board should recognize this trend and reverse it by re-instating residency requirements for its department heads. Incidentally, a number of those former city department heads have moved on to other communities. They also moved where they lived. Why? Because the cities they went to work for require that they do so as part of their contract for employment. Where they live (appointed positions*): Park Board Director . . . . . . . . . . Harrisonville, Missouri City Administrator** . . . . . . . . . . Raymore, Missouri City Attorney . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Gladstone, Missouri City Clerk . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Peculiar, Missouri City Finance Director . . . . . . . . . Lee’s Summit, Missouri * The position of Municipal Judge is technically a Department Head. Raytown’s Municipal Judge, Traci Fann, is elected to her office and lives in Raytown. The Public Works Director position is currently vacant. As will be the Community Development Director position once Truesdale leaves. ** City ordinance requires the City Administrator to live within the city’s limits. The current administration has turned a blind eye to this requirement by deeming the current holder of this position, Mahesh Sharma, is an interim (temporary) appointment. Chamber of Commerce Makes the Right Move The Chamber of Commerce deserves credit for continuing with a Raytown Community Parade. Such events are a building block of identity and pride in a community. This year’s parade will be held on Saturday, October 4th. The parade begins at 10:00 a.m.