Sunday, February 22, 2009
City News at a Glance
Fireworks On Tuesday, March 3rd the Board of Aldermen will vote on an ordinance lifting the ban on the sale and shooting of fireworks in Raytown. The ordinance would allow: The sale of fireworks by Raytown non-profit organizations. The period for sale would run from June 27th through July 4th. The shooting of fireworks on July 4th until 11:00 p.m. in the evening. Bottle rockets, missiles with sticks and roman candles would be prohibited. The March 3rd meeting begins at 7:00 p.m. at Raytown City Hall located at 10000 East 59th Street. The public is allowed to voice their opinion on the ordinance during the “Public Comments” segment held at the beginning of the Board meeting. Raytown Democratic Association Alive and Kicking The Raytown Democratic Association (RDA) held its monthly meeting last Thursday. About 40 people were on hand to hear National Democractic Committeewoman Sandra Quearry give a report about events at the Presidential Inauguration in Washington, DC.. Since it is election time, a number of candidates also showed up. Ward 1 Alderman Greg Walters and candidates for Alderman in Ward 4, (Sandy Hartwell) and Ward 5 (Michael Lightfoot) spoke about city issues. Topics ranged from the need to spend more time and energy on fixing up Raytown’s infrastructure to the half cent sales tax increase election scheduled for April 7th. Also on hand was School Board candidate Richard Thode who led a lively discussion on ways to improve the Raytown School District. The RDA is Eastern Jackson County’s oldest continually active political club. It can trace its founding back to the early 1960’s in a reform movement to support candidates for the Raytown Board of Aldermen. What is Raytown's Financial Condition? In the heat of the arguments over the April 7th sales tax increase question on these pages and elsewhere in the city a common question is asked – what is the financial shape of Raytown. It sounds like a simple question but depends upon your point of view. For instance, in this year’s city budget $275,000.00 has been set aside for economic development. But no one has stepped forward to say how that money should be spent. Some say, the in view of the state of the economy, that spending it now would be akin to throwing good money after bad. The debate began as to what to do with the money back in October when the city budget was approved by the Board of Aldermen. But is important to note that the vote was not unanimous and not without controversy. Three aldermen voted to remove the line item from the budget and place the money in reserve. That vote failed by a vote of 3 YES to 7 NO (the three YES votes were Barb Schlapia, Marilyn Fleming and Greg Walters. For the record the final vote on this year’s budget package was 8 YES to 2 NO (the two no votes were Barb Schlapia and Greg Walters). So, is the city in dire straits over its budget? Not from this point of view – in fact, it could honestly be said that is has an “extra” reserve of $275,000. Another indicator of how tight money is at city hall is how much money is being spent on pay increases for city hall employees this year. Many area businessess and municipalities have eliminated pay increases or frozen higher paid city officials salaries in answer to the recession. According to City Finance Director Jeremy Wilmoth, 5.5% across the board pay increases will be given to city employees in fiscal 2008/2009.