Sunday, March 22, 2009

An Editorial Reply

Ben Felder, Editor and Publisher of The Raytown Post, had an interesting column in that paper last week. Entitled “Candidates Should be Prepared to put Money Where Their Mouth Is”, the editorial was a challenge to candidates for the Board of Aldermen to answer how to best spur economic growth in Raytown. In a backhanded way, Mr. Felder painted a rather gloomy picture of Raytown’s economic future. And he did so with a very broad brush. But a closer look at some realities in Raytown show that the gloom and doom crowd may be off target with their comments. It is time to expose some of the urban legend logic at work. Consider the following: COMMERCIAL PROPERTY VALUES: Most everyone knows that Raytown was reported in the Kansas City Star as leading Jackson County in lowered property values. What most do not know is that those numbers were largely influenced by residential property values. Commercial property values in Raytown have not dropped. In fact, they have remained level. Given the record amount of property tax abatements handed out by the Board of Aldermen in the last two years (Walmart, HyVee, Downtown properties) that is quite a statement. BUSINESS OCCUPANCY: Have you driven down 350 Highway lately? Look to your left and right as you do so. There is close to 100% occupancy of available business locations all along the route. Six years ago that was not the case. The simple fact, Raytown businesses are growing along 350 Highway. I believe that growth will spread to other areas of the city -- particularly the Downtown Raytown area. The only exception to this spurt of business growth is on the property the city has set aside for economic development. TAX ABATEMENTS: It is interesting to note that with the exception of HyVee and Walmart, none of those businesses along 350 Highway have received a TIF or Property Tax Abatement. The owners saw the opportunity and took advantage of it. Most of them are small businesses, which any economic expert will tell you is the backbone of a healthy economy. RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY VALUES: As a whole, residential values have dropped by nearly 10%. But it is important to note that not all residential assessments have dropped. Generally speaking, it is in those neighborhoods where city code enforcement is most needed that the property values have gone into decline. It is a strong argument for vigorous enforcement of our property maintenance codes that should not be ignored by the city. THE WISE USE OF TAX BREAKS: Mr. Felder is right about one thing. Tax breaks are a tool used, and sometimes used successfully, to spur development in communities. But you have to be smart about how you do it. The course of action taken by the city in some instances makes you scratch your head in wonder. For instance, three tax breaks in the form of lowered property taxes were given in Downtown Raytown. Two of them were for retail businesses that charge sales tax on their goods. Theoretically, the increased number of sales at those businesses will bring in more sales tax dollars than the tax abatement. Makes sense, doesn’t it? At the same time another property that is NOT a retail business, but a real estate company, was given a similar tax break that will NOT be repaid in increased tax revenues. That part does not make sense. CLAW BACKS: The current administration has refused to use Clawbacks in property tax abatement agreements. Claw backs would allow the city to turn off any tax abatement a property owner receives if a viable business is not in operation. In other words, if the property “goes dark” (out of business) the city would stop the abatement and tax the property at its regular rate. It would be an insurance policy for taxpayers in Raytown that business owners who receive tax abatements are keeping their part of the agreement. Economic development is a complicated business. A lot of what happens is influenced by economic pressures of which there is no local control. The current recession is a good example. When looking at economic development one must also consider how the current tax revenue is being spent. A look at this year’s city budget speaks volumes about how the taxpayers dollars are being prioritized at city hall. $270,000 was set aside for economic development in this year’s budget. It was controversial in that it does not have any line items as to how to spend the money. In fact, two of us on the Board of Aldermen voted against the budget for that very reason. One also has to wonder the wisdom of spending large amounts of funds to try to attract large box store developments in a time when corporate America is closing down such operations in unprecedented numbers. The budget also contained a 5.5% across the board pay increase for all non-elected city employees. A questionable move in light of the fact that many taxpayers will not receive any pay raises this year. Others have seen their jobs downsized or eliminated. Some folks are in fear of losing their homes. Many have said that now is not the time for tax increases. But the truth is that the tax bite out of home incomes continues to climb whether or not the half cent sales tax increase passes on April 7th. Each time your utility bill goes up, so does the amount you pay in franchise tax and sales tax. The same is true for local taxes on our groceries and nearly every other commodity we purchase. When the new Walmart opens on 350 Highway the tax rate will be 8.475%. If the half cent sales tax increase passes the tax will be 8.975%. For a real eye-opener go up to Westlake Hardware (which is in the same taxing district as Walmart) and compare its current sales tax charges to other area Westlake stores. Westlake Hardware sales tax: Westlake – Raytown . . . . . . . . 8.475% Westlake – Lee’s Summit . . . . . 7.735% Westlake – Blue Springs . . . . . . 7.350% Westlake – Kansas City . . . . . . 7.250% These are hard economic times for everyone. People are tightening their belts to get by until the economy rights itself. City Hall should do the same. Chief of Police, Municipal Judge Receive Pay Increases At last Tuesday night's meeting the Board of Aldermen gave the Municipal Judge a 5% pay increase and the the Chief of Police a 9% pay increase, effective with the next term of office. The term of office is for four years for each postion. Municipal Judge Traci Fann and Police Chief Jim Lynch are unopposed in their elections this year. Alderman Greg Walters made a motion to set the Chief of Police salary increase at 5%. The motion was seconded by Alderman Charlotte Melson. The Board voted the amendment down by a vote of 8 - 1 - 1. (Alderman Marilyn Fleming was absent. The Board did amend the raises to make them a one time increase in pay. Previous ordinances had set the pay increases on a continuing basis. Recycling of Electronic Equipment Open to Raytowners Raytown residents are invited to participate in two Recycling Events being hosted by the City of Independence and the City of Lee's Summit. A small fee will be charged for any equipment turned in for recycling. The Independence event will held from 9:00 a.m to 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 18th at the South parking lot of Independence Square. The Lee's Summit event will be held from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Lee's Summit High School Parking Lot (400 SE Blue Parkway). For more information contact: City of Independence Greg McDanel 325-7593 gmcdanel@indepmo.org City of Lee's Summit Kara Taylor 969-1804 kara.taylor@lees-summit.mo.us

113 comments:

Anonymous said...

My mother had a police officer come to her door on Sunday March 22 to encourage her to vote for the 1/2 cent sales tax for the police and EMS. He explained that a "yes" vote would put more EMS personnel on board and asked her if she ever use the EMS services. She told him "yes" and he asked her how they did and she said fine. If I was there I would have told him other wise. I was dissapointed on how they handled the call. She was having a heart attack and having a hard time breathing (she doesn't remember much of what went on), then they asked her if she could walk to the gurney (get up from the couch, walk across the living room, outside to the porch and lie down on the gurney, this happened on 2 occasions. Why they couldn't bring the gurney into the living room is beyond me. (I had pushed furniture out of they way before they got there for a clear area).

Also the officer said if the sales tax doesn't go through, that it could cause the real estate taxes to go up again and my mother told him that is why so many elderly people are selling their houses and moving out of Raytown cause they can't afford the taxes.

It is obvious that the City of Raytown and the Raytown School District "are in bed" together" when it comes to taxes. If one "bed partner" can't get the tax passed the "other bed partner will".

Anonymous said...

I have had an experience with the Raytown EMS last year and one of the EMS tech came up to me and she looked like she had come out of a "barbed wire factory". She had piercings all over her face! Looked pretty ugly to me. I would thing that the city of Raytown would screen their employees better when hiring them, after all they meet the public and that is not in good taste. I found out this year that she was let go. Thank God!

Andy Whiteman said...

I have received excellant, professional service from Raytown EMS. The response time was prompt. Fortunately I haven't had to call them for about 8 years. I previously had a MAST paramedic who was unprofessional. I called the supervisor, told him that I was an EMT and what his employee did wrong. I felt that employee needed a talking to before he scarred the daylights out of a patient and worsened their condition.

I will say that both the Raytown Police and EMS have provided top notch service EVERY TIME I called them. I have worked in both fields and know quality work when I see it.

Anon 8:30PM should have called and complained to a supervisor after the incidents. The only way this can be corrected is if there is the knowledge of a problem so that

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Here you go again... picking on EMS and Police... Knock it off, both are run well and we should be proud of them... I have needed them both and could not be more pleased with their response and professionalism... You should look at yourselves for integrity insults... glass houses and stones.... ring a bell... Give me a break...

Anonymous said...

Yes, I must agree, there are a lot of other political issues to debate than our officers, Jim Lynch, EMTs and Mr. Cushmann. They are some of the finest and deserve our praise and support. If you don't support the tax, that is fine, but don't tear them down in the process... I am for the tax, but understand how some may have reservations about the tax in these hard post bush economics we live in...

Greg Walters said...

This past weekend I took some time to visit with regular bloggers of this site and asked their opinion on the touchy subject of removing posts that personally attack other bloggers.

Typically, an anonymous blogger will pose questions that are really statements. Often, the target is a blogger who signed his or her name.

In an interesting twist -- the person who has what it takes to put their name on their statements is villified by the coward who is afraid to sign theirs!

It was the overwhelming consensus of those I spoke with that such acts of cowardice not be rewarded but be removed from the blog.

So, here is how it will work. If you disagree with someone -- disagree with what they say. But refrain from calling the person that said it an idiot, a moron, a dunce or whatever other colorful phrase pops into your head.

This past week has seen a lot of this nonsense of personal attacks going on this page.

It stops today.

Anonymous said...

I must have missed something. Did someone accuse the Raytown Police or Paramedics of not doing a good job?

I don't think so.

I agree politics should be left out of police work. And it saddens me when I hear of just the opposite happening.

But I still have not read where anyone said they are not doing their jobs or doing them well.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like our police are trying to scare our elderly into voting for this new tax. This is typical as the election date get closer. I expect a mail-out or a door to door piece placing fear into our citizens to convince them to support this unnecessary tax. I for one am not falling for this tactic again. One only has to look over at the fire department to see how this scare tactic was used and then wasted on those unnecessarily large buildings.

Anonymous said...

Greg thanks for keeping us informed and I will certainly vote no for the tax.

Anonymous said...

Part of the problem with miscommunication has nothing to do with the city, but with people like the last poster spreading a rumor that is not true.
If you are going to complain about how the city functions at least be accurate. You are peddling what you have heard from someone else without checking the facts.

Andy Whiteman said...

Anon 6:41 AM, There are at least two negative posts about EMS on this chain and more on other chains. These provoked my last post as a retort.

I don't like tax increases but KCMO has a high crime rate and is cutting the Police Force. This doesn't make sense to me, but I think the criminals they don't catch will filter into Raytown. We just had a quadruple homicide and a few years ago we hd a double homicide. True a tax increase will not stop crime but resources are required for investigation and apprehension of the perpetrator(s). Also a police presence will deter crime even if it is to ticket speeders. By the wsy, a traffic stop may open the door to getting a bad guy off the street. Please think carefully about how you cast your vote for the Public Safety Sales Tax.

Greg, I like your policy on personal attacks but it looks like you will have a full time job enforcing it.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Greg,

Please keep the censorship to what you have outlined. The individual that commented about our police chief is correct that Jim needs to be out patrolling in a marked patrol car. I often visit friends in other 4th class city’s within Missouri and their chief can be seen out patrolling. The last chief we had that I actually ever seen patrol was Chris.

I don’t disagree that part of the comments within the posting were questionable. However, we must all use a little common sense that the flyers supporting the tax increase does plan for a surplus, which I believe is 15%. How long before this surplus is greater then what is collected every year as well if we are planing on a 15% surplus should have the tax percentage requested been less. The point it does paint the picture that we planing for some type of questionable expenses in the near future, which to the poster point could be nice cars. I for one would be in agreement with nicer cars if by definition nicer meant to the environment by being more fuel-efficient.

Also do you know for a fact that what was posted was not fact. Remember, you are not retired or work in Raytown so I am sure both of us miss a lot of things our city employees do that are questionable.

It is sad that we the tax payers are being requested to reach deeper in our pockets when we actually have commissioned individuals who could be out on the street, but are not.

I for one am very scared that we have EMT and police officers out pushing the tax increase. Give a very bad impression that those who actually provide the services will remember anyone who tells them no to the increase that their specific service request will be impacted. Let this fight remain with the politicians and not the employee’s I sure don’t recall the last time I had active military personal at my home asking for me to call my senator and congressmen to get them to vote for additional military funding.

They also need to be honest that hiring one EMT will not mean an additional Ambulance nor according to Mr. Cushman’s statement within BOA meeting minutes is their a plan at this time to purchase an additional unit.

The police also need to be honest and indicate how many times within the last year we have been in a black out status. The odd thing is that regardless of the number of officers we hire we face a black out at some point. So the point those in favor of this tax are trying to make is miss leading as well as playing on the scare tactic that you might not get service when you need it. I thought we also had a mutual aid agreement with the sounding agencies so wouldn’t that also come into play before a true black out status.

Again my position is to get others to see the full picture before jumping to how great or bad our city services are. We need to look at the over all picture. Just like we need to make sure we don't have other means to fund additonal officers or get more on patrol before paying more taxes.

Pat Casady said...

I have a problem with any new taxes. Please note I didn't
say I'm against any new taxes. I feel the same way about
any tax give aways too. Please note too that I have nothing
against the police dept or EMT's either. They deserve anything
that will help them serve the public better.
However, to this day don't understand how our elected officials
can justify giving away up to twenty five percent of this town's income
to huge corporations that don't need the money. Wal-Mart gave
out to some of their employees nation wide enough in bonuses to
build a fifty new stores and yet Raytown had to give away millions to
them? Probably the two biggest retail stores in Raytown won't be
paying their fair share of taxes for many years.
I'm glad to see that 350hwy is doing well with new businesses. It's
good to here some good news for a change.
As most of you know I have been writing either in the Post or on this
Blog for sometime now and I get feedback from a lot of people.
Some come by my shop and some know my email address. Most say
they are tired of seeing their taxes raised every election time and at the
same time hearing about taxes being given away either by TIF's or Abatements
and pay increases when times are so hard. Most see it as getting harder
to justify any new taxes. The cost of living in Raytown is going up and
so far the only beneficiaries seem to be the big corporations, not the
taxpayers. It's shocking to see that tax comparison Greg did.

Anonymous said...

You all seem to forget, we are still a 4th class city and we shouldn't be operating as if we are a charter. Marshals, and that's what Lynch is, usually are out on patrol to save the taxpayers money. Our marshal seems to think he should have a desk job.

Anonymous said...

I am not against new taxes as long as the old ones are spent wisely, and I for one do not fault the fire department for the size of their buildings. They asked for an amount and spent that amount kudos to them for what they got. Aleast I can see my money there, when I look to this proposal I will never see any of it, When I look to what they propose a couple officers, a couple people in the jail, a traffic unit we already have, one EMT, a training class.. It all adds up to a load of nothing... tell me how voting no and none of these things come to be impacts my life? I mean really, if you want more use the money you get wisely. Final question is if it is a cost saving to put MAST with the fire department why does Raytown not do the same thing with their EMS?

Anonymous said...

I agree, the city should have taken over the fire district years ago. Look at all this duplication.

Andy Whiteman said...

What is wrong with the Police and EMT's campaigning for the tax? They are entitled to their opinions the same a you or me. Of course, they should be OFF duty and not in uniform.

Apparently it is OK for a teacher to stand a the entrance to the polls and solicit votes, but it is not OK for the Police and EMT's.

I don't understand what the difference is. It seems to me the problem is that the people who are complaining are against the tax. Anyone has a right to campaign for what he/she feels is right, but should do so on their own time and not in uniform. The teacher was obviously on her own time. My issue is she was withing 50 feet of the entrance. I notified the poll workers and also called the election board.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

I wish tax rates were as simple as "one-rate" for the whole city. Refer to this link and you'll see that Lee's Summit (for instance) is covered in TIF's which brings their tax rate in their shopping districts to 8.6%.

http://www.lees-summit.mo.us/content/Finance6.cfm


I just think that needs to be pointed out. I for one, think that the tax is a good idea. Raytown isn't getting any safer.

Anonymous said...

Oh wow.... I'm not sure that I understand a previous post. You feel that buying the fire dept nice cushy new stations benefits you more than 6 additional police officers, another paramedic, another dispatcher.... and MORE would? I'm just not sure if you meant for your posting to sound the way that it did, because it doesn't make sense to me.

I am familiar with some of the campaigning being done in regards to the public safety sales tax, and if someone has been misled I just feel certain it was a miscommunication or misunderstanding! Of course if anyone truely has tried to use "scare tactics" on a potential voter, I think that's terrible and hope that they were reported. Knowing many of Raytown's police officers and EMT/Paramedics, I can't in a million years imagine that these people dedicated to serve and even at times putting their lives in danger to save YOU - complete strangers! - would be noting names and address of people to "punish". That's an absurd allegation.

These city employees work an unimaginable amount of hours to bring you the best service possible. The addition of a few more employees would relieve some very overworked (and underpaid) employees so that you got the service that this city deserves! Raytown has top notch Police and EMT/Paramedics, if there is a specific complaint I hope that you are calling Cheif Lynch and Mr. Cushman so that they can better run their departments by dealing with these issues appropriately.

Pat Casady said...

I really don't think anybody has a problem with the Police, Fire Dept.
the EMT's or city workers. We all know we need them and will need more
in the near future. I think the problem is all the coverage of pay increases
for upper management positions. I think if we all felt safer, or could see
our downtown show some kind of new life. People wouldn't have a problem with them getting a raise.
But people put the raises in the same deal as the tax increase.
The last several tax increases have not shown us much except that they
have been spent on other than what they were represented as. Taxpayers
feel duped, and rightfully so. However we can't blame the police and EMT's
for the sins of our elected officials. Remember they are the people that OK
the pay raises even in these hard times. I would like to see before any pay
increases for upper management, some kind of tangible results that earn
them this kind of pay increase. Please realize this is not a personal attack
on these people. I would like to see speeding brought under control. People
running red lights ticketed and so on. As far as the City Administrator and
upper management for the city, I would like to see the downtown have some
kind of positive movement, new businesses, the Plaza working again.
Codes being enforce fairly for all.
In other words the people that get paid from our collected taxes need to generate
income, in other words pay increases by merit.

Anonymous said...

I too believe that we should quit talking about the EMS and Police department and focus on the real question at city hall. ARE THEY ( Mayor and BOA) MANAGING OUR TAXPAYER DOLLARS CORRECTLY? I say no, because if they were we might not be asking for another tax increase. Between Frank and Bower administrations they have burdened us with more taxes and higher user fees than the rest of our former mayors put together. Special sales taxes for everything from parks to streets to higher sewer bills and now they want to burden us with a public safety tax. Also, they refuse to call for a state audit to verify that this tax is really needed. If you really look at this with an open mind I can't see how anyone can vote for a new tax in these hard economic times.

Anonymous said...

For anybody who is interested, there is a school board candidate forum tonight at the adminisatration building. It is my understanding that citizens will have an opportunity to raise questions.

The BOA forum last night presented a good format but I was unimpressed with the body of candidates as a whole. Only a couple stood out and they were both incumbents. Hope to see some of you in attendence this evening.

Anonymous said...

Yes, there is a school board candidate forum at the district admin building tonight from 7-8:30. The public will be able to ask questions by submiting them on cards that will be available at the forum. Questions should be submitted early as the large number of candidates and the 90 minute time for the forum will limit the number of questions that will get asked of the candidates.

Andy Whiteman said...

I noticed in the Lees Summit sales tax link above that there is a SCHOOL sales tax there. It seems to me logical that the Dysfunctional School District should have a sales tax to take the burden off propery owners, This would not only tax Raytown, but portions of KCMO and Independence. This would be a fairer tax collection. The users of this service would be taxed everytime they buy a candy bar or a can of pop.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

My point on the fire stations was simply like it or not a large amount of the population approved them to spend a lot of money... They then build huge fire stations. I have not been in them so I cannot comment how lavish they are, but I do know the major case squad used them as a base of operations for the quadruple homicide last week. If the fire department had build small stations they would still have the same amount of money, and you would gripe that we got duped out of our money. Instead you gripe because we got too large a building for our money I do not get it? As for this tax proposal look at what they are promising.

Six new police officers ok what are they patrolmen, detectives, officers we don't know. How will they be placed in service, lets assume they are all in patrol that's roughly .7% of a patrolman at any one time. Officers never like to operate alone so unless you add another new officer in the mix we will not see any real change in the number of blacked out times.

Three detention officers am I wrong or do we not recoup our detention cost from court costs? Why not raise the fines and fees associated with breaking the law, to cover the cost of housing those who do the breaking.

One dispatcher come on again they operate in pairs, so what good or what difference will one actually make. I come from St Louis and you know how many dispatch canters they have...6 that’s right 6 for the whole area. Not us we have to be special, how much would it cost to out source the whole mess and be done with it? Look into alternatives please.

One additional paramedic what for? The last time I checked it takes two to operate an ambulance, one to drive and one to make the sick people better. If you are going to hirer in the second person why not hirer in two while your doing it and save that position. Unless this new person is going to work 24/7 with no days off you cannot tell me you will have three on at all times, unless you have already hired two others. If this is the case then which day is it bad to get sick on so I know not to call.

One crime analyst.. to tell me what where crime is going to happen? To coordinate with other cities to prevent crime, come on the only proven prevention from crime is to make criminals afraid they will get caught and go somewhere else. Ask anyone in the business world what they think of a analyst. Nuff said

Special Training for EMS, the problem with training is that once you provide it you are done, and how do you continue to get a return on your investment. Tell me you are going to become instructors in the specialized training, or tell me it will be a job requirement from here on out. Oh and by the way what is this specialized training the city has never said. For all we know it is on body piercing, as a previous blogger stated it seems to be contagious over there.

Traffic Enforcement- We already have this, if I vote no, and I am, what would I be missing out on... If this passes what am I gaining?
A public safety reserve fund they are going to put 150,000.00 in savings the first year. I got news for you if these 12 needless positions come to be we will be out of that money in 3.7 years if they just get benefits and cost of living raises.

I know we like to say our police/fire/ems are great people and it is easy for them to use the hero card to refute the questioning of their business practices. But, answer me this are we all not heroes from time to time, without a trash man look and what our property values would be, with out snowploughs would we not be in a greater danger while driving in the snow, without the vehicle maintenance department would the police, fire and ems even be able to respond? We deserve better, and we should hold Bauer, Lynch and Cushman feet to the fire.

Anonymous said...

First, dispatchers do not work in pairs..often there is only one dispatcher working in Raytown. Second, there is no way St. Louis only has 6. Kansas City uses over 20...stop using made up stats and facts to express your frustration.

Anonymous said...

One thing you left out is street overlay. We have the WORST streets of any city in the whole Kansas City area and we have a TRANSPORTATION SALES TAX that is supposed to be funding them. Where is this money going? More Salaries???

Anonymous said...

Why not contract out Raytown's dispatching? If you've ever dealt with these people they are very rude.

Anonymous said...

Andy - the education portion of the Lee's Summit sales tax you saw is not a tax specific to the Lee's Summit school district. That is a 1% sales tax collected by the state specifically for a public education fund that goes out to all districts. It was approved in the 1980's and is part of the 4.225% state rate. I am not sure if school districts are even allowed to collect sales tax revenue in Missouri - haven't found the answer yet but I also have not seen that any districts in Missouri collect a sales tax.

Anonymous said...

Actually, St. Louis does only have six dispatch centers for the whole area. Heck all of Johnson County Kansas is covered by only one. As for Raytown dispatchers they do work in pairs, other wise they would have to take the 911 phone and a radio with them to the bath room. The statistics given are sound.

Andy Whiteman said...

Anon 1:19 PM, Thanks for explaining the School Sales tax
but I fail to understand why is is listed as a Lees Summit tax rather than a state tax.

I have never encountered a rude Raytown dispatcher. The person who said he/she reached may have perceived rudeness. He/she should have asked for a supervisor or a Sgt. Also a written complaint could be filed. The calls are recorded and this "rudeness" could be verified by recording.

Training for EMTs and Paramedics is never ending. Protocols are changing. These people need to stay current and up to day. Training is also a good refresher so hopefully previous training is not forgotten. Do you think that when a doctor graduates, there is no more training? Doctors are constantly going to school to keep up on changes in medicine. EMTs and Paramedics are required to be recertify their certicicate. When I recertified my certificate, it was actually classroom training. After all, we want highly qualified providers, don't we?

To the poster who suggested outsourcing dispatch, how would you like to reach a person at call center in the Phillippines or India who barely speaks or understands English and has no clue where Raytown is? I could just imagine such a person would have no clue where Fox's Drug, Westlake, or Bank of America is! Maybe your job should be outsourced. Mine was. America's good jobs have gone overseas.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Here's an idea....

If you have questions about what they will do with the officers, why not just call or email them. There is some contact info on the flyer I saw.

As long as you don't think its an all out conspiracy, I'm sure they could answer these questions. If not, that would be good to know too.

Anonymous said...

Also, ( I just posted above) a friend referred me to this blog for some off the beaten path info about Raytown, but I have to say I'm discourage by how negative these posts are.

Some of the posts here are nothing short of accusatory. Is that the intent of this blog? Seems to be a lot of short sighted nonsense, instead of actual discussion.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:45 PM,
I have read many of blog, on many different subjects, etc..

Sorry to burst your bubble, but have yet to find an Utopian Blog of where actual discussion takes place with no biases.

Anonymous said...

Agree.
Freg should delete all the comments.

Andy Whiteman said...

I agree it is a good idea to contact the person of the flyer for more information.

As I remember the presentation at the BOA, 1 new officer per shift (total 2) to overlap shift changes so there is continuous coverage.

True only 2 EMTs are required on a vehicle but from my experience it is ideal to have 3. The new EMT would be used to reduce the use of overtime.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

No bubble to be burst here, I am just surprised at the level at which the issues are discussed. It's unfortunate that's all.

I don't expect everyone to agree on the issues (what fun would that be), but the condescending tone is what I was referring to. I'm sure the "anonymous" status plays a large part of that. Ironically, I choose the anonymous tag because I'm not sure I want to be a part of this community based on what I've read here.

It's obviously bad enough that the blog administrator has had to delete several of them. I've listened to Mr. Walters speak and he is an intelligent man, with solid beliefs. I can't imagine that he wants this blog to be a haven for anonymous web-based attacks and insults.

It would be great to be able to discuss the issues and have some quality debate. Obviously that is not the intent of everyone here.

I am quite active in the on-line community and think that the mandatory use of profiles (to post) would eliminate a lot of the rudeness. Antagonistic users can be dealt with without degrading the quality of the board.

I realize I'm new here, and my intent isn't to start trouble. If my suggestions are way off base, please just delete my comments and I'll be on my way.

However, I'd like to participate, albeit in a non-hostile fashion.

Anonymous said...

According to the power point on the city's website, there will be 4 new patrol officers and 2 detectives.

If you have a scanner and listen to police departments from around the area, Raytown answers a lot of calls that other cities do not because they are not police related. They have gone on calls where someones basement is flooded and they want the police to come out. People also want them to handle every little squabble they have with their kids or their family or neighbors; such as they cut a branch of my tree or some other silly disagreement. Be an adult and talk to people. Don't try to get them in trouble. Let the police handle real police work.

Some of Greg's signs are closer than 11 feet from the road. On 63rd St at Elm the signs are only a couple of feet from the sidewalk. It is right around 7 feet from the road to the far side of the sidewalk so that puts them at about 9 feet. Same at 59th st and Laurel. But personnally all the sign garbage is a waste of time too. Make the cnadidates responsible. Public works has enough to do without having to pick up miss placed signs.

Anonymous said...

The Raytown Police Department also does not take phone in reports like a lot of the local pd's for things such as stolen autos, missing persons, basic thefts from your car. They send an actual officer out to take the report. The only places where the chief goes out on patrol is small police departmets with 5 or fewer officers. The only time Kris did was when he wanted to get out of the office. Lynch does it from time to time as well. From officers I have talked to, Lynch is the best chief this department has had. He treats his employees like human beings unlike previous regimes.

Anonymous said...

Anyone ever heard of freedom of speech? How about one's right to anonymity? With people being so critical, and hypocritical about anything that is ever done, whether it is a local government, a community organization, a volunteer group, church group, a paid worker, or a citizen themselves, they are too quick to point a finger and complain about how things are being done or operated. I challenge anyone to find anything positive on the internet. It is also clearly obvious that some people believe that you should not have an opinion, or to question authority. If you do not 'conform' to the standards, you will be censored. That is the government that fears the people. Power to the people!

Anonymous said...

I called in a report to the police and asked for a traffic officer to come out as the kids were using our street as a raceway with one car running a stop sign and going around a stopped school bus letting kids off. I was told get a descrition of the car and driver so I could tell them and press charges. My answer was that is your job if I could have gotten the plate numbers I certainly would have. Just what are they getting paid for?

Pat Casady said...

To Anonymous's.
While it is true most that is written on this blog seem to be
negative, it is brought on by frustration and mistrust.
Most of our elected officials should not be in a position to
watch over the public's welfare or tax dollars. I'm not trying
to put them down, it's just a fact. Most are in over their heads
when it comes to running a town. They have made decisions
that have given away tax dollars to big corporations and left the
citizens with nothing to show for their hard earned tax dollars.
All with promises of better streets, safer neighborhoods and
so on. Our leaders have bought property that in the end has cost
taxpayers millions to make right. More waste made with promises
of making the downtown a better place.
Who wouldn't like to say, all right! The Raytown Plaza is all filled
up with thriving businesses. Center 63 is too. The streets are in
the best shape they have been in years. Instead our elected officials
focused on the big box store that gets a free tax ride for twenty three years.
Then when they realize they don't have any money, which seems to be
every election year, they are like children asking for more after they have
blown their allowance. There in lies the frustration. Taxpayers see no
return for their hard earned dollars.
Now, you want to read negative? Wait until you read how some take what I just wrote.

Anonymous said...

I checked out those signs for Greg Walters on 63rd Street. Are those the ones next to the Pardue signs that are next to the sidewalk?

Hypocrisy comes in all shapes and forms. But when it comes to signs on the right or way ol' Shane is definitely the champion.

Andy Whiteman said...

Apparently those resorting to personal atacks and name calling don't like what was said, but have no valid facts to counter with.

As for the 11' sign rule, I think it is a rule of thumb. The ordinance is the signs mey not be placed on the city easement. As I have previously said, the easement varies by type of street. Apparently no one really knows where the easement is. It takes a survey. The easement on one street by my house is more like 7' from the curb. As I have said the ordinance is unenforceable.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Andy,

Please explain how the sign ordenance is unenforceable?

The catch as you point out the sign as to be on the right a way (easement), which does very for street to street. However, this is actually city property so they can set the rules for what is allowed to be place.

Now courts have already decided citites can not set limitation on the number of signs nor the lenght of time the home owner displays them as long as they are within the true property lines of the property in which they are displayed.

The Wise Old Owl

Daniel Thode said...

Anonymous,
I applaud your comment. There is a fine line between constructive criticism/ productive debate and petty, negative bickering. This blog has blurred that dividing line.

Raytown has plenty of room for improvement. There is no denying that fact. However, instead of providing potential solutions to the various issues the city is facing, it has become the trend to beat the dead horse with more examples of that given problem. For example, the issue has been made about sign placement violations. People have continued to give examples of such violations but no long-term solutions to the lack of regulation has been identified. (I believe the creation of a bi-montly or monthly forum at which people can voice particular code violations that need be addressed. At the next session, the person who made note of the violation can inform the populus if the problem has been resolved. This way there is some sort of public check on the enforcement of codes. I know people can speak at the BOA, but that is probably not the proper format to address such issues, for it is not the BOAs job to directly oversee code enforcement.

On the note of code enforcement, I would like to hear peoples thoughts on how to guide Raytown's next wave of economic development. I read it was the biggest issue at the BOA candidate forum and thought it might be worth addressing on this blog. Updating city ordinances to coincide with modern business practices while simultaneously enforcing the good ordinances we do possess is a step in the right direction. It provides businesses considering a Raytown location the mindset that we are good by our word and there will be no surprises.
Furthermore, I, personally, would not mind a diversification in our economic deveopment prospectus. All of the talk is about how we are going to bring in more retail stores to the city. I would like to see us branch out and attempt to target office businesses as well. While our high sales taxes may be a deterrent to such retail stores, our relatively low property costs and lack of a city payroll tax like Kansas City proper coupled with the convenience of a short commuting time to most suburbs might be an attraction to businesses of this variety.

Lastly, I wanted to address the sales tax issue. I am for the police department, but against the idea of new taxes at this time. I've said before that I would like to see if we can consolidate administrative duties/cut duplicated services before we raise taxes. In the event that new taxes are necessary to fund the police properly, why don't we pursue the idea of a "fat tax." Increase the taxes on fast food restaurants/gas station food items by a full percent or even 1.5 percent. This way, we discourage fast food consumption (which America needs to do) while not discouraging people needing a new dishwasher from purchasing one at clark's appliances instead of a lee's summit store.

Just some food for thought. Sorry a head of time if there are grammatical or spelling errors, but I do not have time today to recheck my post

Anonymous said...

The silly increases in taxes have to stop, I am a union employee and I was forced to take a three year wage freeze in order to keep our plant open. Guess what City of Raytown, you should too, three year freeze on tax increases.

VOTE NO..VOTE OFTEN

Anonymous said...

Unions are part of the problem in this country. They served their purpose at one time but have gotten too big and too powerful. Union employees are overpaid to begin with plus all the benenfits. When an auto worker makes more than teachers, police officers and a lot of other very needed jobs it is wrong. When a striking auto worker makes 95% of their wages that is wrong. All the paid holidays and breaks are wrong. The UAW is the reason american car dealers can't stay in business.

Taxes are how a city provides services. Maybe if the democrats weren't spending money like it is going out of style, taxes would not have to be raised to provide basic services.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Thode and Pat Casady!! Now those are good posts.

I'm glad that I'm not the only one that sees there is potential in this forum. It's posts like those that overshadow the less constructive ones.

I hope someone will make the appropriate contacts to flesh out some of the details that have been brought up about the sales tax items.

Andy Whiteman said...

I am AKA Mr. Short Term Memory loss so hopefully I can remember all that I wanted to respond to:

Wise Old Owl, Did I hear you yesterday afternoon? I haven't heard an owl since I lived on 74th near Holmes over 10 years ago! The sign code is unenforceable because the question arises where is the actual easement? Any citation or removal order could be costly to the city involving a survey. 11' from the street is not correct. Code enforcement would have to come around with a survey map. Code non-enforcement may be showing favortism that they agree with the sign. That was my feeling during the school tax election. Also enforcement may be arbitrary and capricious. Is a code officer going to tell a candidate to move his/her sign? They may not have a job (or a lot of trouble) if that person is elected.

Daniel, The reason I point out code issues to the BOA is to make the points that codes are not enforced or enforced in a discriminatory mannor and many are obsolete. A forum would be an idea but only if the codes manager and City Adiministrator are REQUIRED to be there and explain why a code is or is not enforced. The public is entitled to answers. If they are not there, it is wasted time for those who attend.

I agree with your suggestion of office development. I took it to a city official and was told that it would not work because people want to live near their work. I couldn't understand the response because many people commute to work encluding some of Raytown's upper City Officials. I think am office park would encourage people to move to Raytown. I moved to Raytown when I was transferred to Lees Summit by downsizing. Lees Summit was high priced and did not pass my quality of life requirements. Mayor Bower designs stadiums. Is there enough vacant land to put a stadium in Raytown?

I don't agree with a higher tax on fast food. Some places do that. It is really discrimination against those businesses and Fascism requiring people to eat healthy. Not all fast food is bad. I have heard of some diets involving certain fast food. Actually too expensive for me. Such a tax may cause Arbys, Sonic Burger, Wendys, Burger King, Taco Bell, KFC, and others to leave Raytown. Who defines fast food? If I have an Arbys with no fat, no grease; is the tax lower than Wendys, Burger King, or KFC. Along those lines, maybe big box stores should charge an extra 2% sales tax. Now does taxing fast food sound fair?

Union people, I am union also (CWA, APWU, NALC, & NAPS). The workers on the stadium are making $35/hour and may strike because they want a $2 increase. Maybe they don't realize we are having a recession. Under normal times they can ask for a raise, but in bad times, I think they are way out of line. They are lucky that that job exists! If I was hiring that remodeling, I think I would wait until times were better.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Andy,

You really must get out more.

The way the enforcement of the codes on the right-way has work in this city in the past and many others in the Greater Kansas City Area is public works polls them.

Yes, this has happend before in Raytown that last major policing of signs was in the Aug Primary at which point the removal of some of the signs from their location is very questionable.

I have checked with former Alderman and found this used to be the practice with all elections and the signs where taken to the public works property where the canidates could come down and pick them up.

Who do you think cleans up all of the garage sale signs or the single and need a date signs.

Don't think I am right - call your good frineds a city hall

Anonymous said...

Andy,

I didn't mean to come off has harsh towards you, but the signs are out of control and I am not talking just the political ones.

I agree each steet does not have the same right-way. However lets all use a little commense. The older areas of our city like with the open ditches. The right-way is back beyond the ditch plan and simple. Also in alot of those areas the driveways are either asphalt or rock compared to the rest of the driveway. Why the builders didn't go beyond the property lines.

My take as a whole we need to start making sure we clean up our city and attract new businesses.

Andy Whiteman said...

9:20 & 9:32, I agree with both of you. I have questioned for a long time why the codes people don't get off their behinds and enforce this?

During the last school election Mr. Sharma stated that each sign mush receive a complaint, a codes person must go out, and a call must be made to the candidate to move the sign because they can't pick up the signs since they belong to someone. To me this is a lame excuse. Plainly the ordinance is NOT enforced. I recently called the city about 2 "WILL BUY JUNK CARS" signs. I told the lady they make the city look junky!

The strange thing is I use to read in the CA (Miller's) report complete with photos of signs reomoved from business property. Why can business signs be enforced but not small "trashy signs?" Apparently we have selective enforcement.

As I have said, this election, I have not seen any political signs in violation, but I am not looking for them and don't get around as much as in the past (mainly because of no street repair.)

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

It is discouraging for new businesses to come to down with all the hoops community development makes them jump through.

If i remember correctly the city easement or right of way is 11 feet if it is a curbed street and 15 if not curbed.

Daniel Thode said...

Andy,

Though I understand your concerns over business discrimination, I personally don't see a "Fat Tax" as any different than any other "Sin Tax". Other sumptuary taxes, such as those on tobacco and alcohol, are not seen as discriminatory. Likewise, venues that specialize in these products have continued to thrive. Quite ironically, they are more successful during slower economic times. It is my belief, and there is no statistical basis from which I am drawing this assumption, that people are no less likely to pay $1.10 for a cheeseburger than they are at $1.08.

Additionally, both alcohol and tobacco are legal items that are unhealthy which is why they received the moniker "Sin tax". Heart disease is the number one killer worldwide. Thus, I would consider it under the same umbrella.

As for the "City Manager Forum", I personally do not see why an elected official would be unable to offer the general public an open opportunity a couple of times a month to voice concerns. Addressing your concerns at BOA meetings is your only present opportunity to present your issues. I encourage you to keep making your findings heard.

Finally, I, too, do not understand the logic behind the concept of office parks failing due to people 's desires to live closer to their homes. The majority of individuals working downtown do not live in Kansas City Proper. Furthermore, the city of St. Louis has had great economic success with suburban office parks. St. Louis Proper is not what drives that community. Take a look at the Clayton/Ladue area for an example of a well-constructed office park in a suburban area. With office parks comes the need for more restaurants for the lunch hour and after work. Raytown restaurants, for the most part, have struggled to succeed. Only a small number have been mainstays. Lastly, an office park in Raytown would put the city ahead of the curve assuming light rail plans eventually come to fruition.
I know it would not be a feat to be accomplished over night, but I feel it is at least worth exploring.

Does anybody else have any thoughts on any of these issues? If possible, I would be interested especially in what the Alderman have to say on these issues. I truly do appreciate Mr. Walters', Mr. Tomac's, and Mr. Van Buskirk's
willingness to reach out through this blog.

Anonymous said...

Now lets get an explaination about how the forign auto makers with plants here in the US whose workers are represented by the UAW who are creating the economys demise by undercutting prices of comparable American products thus helping to put the American auto makers out of business, with the American public's help. What is wrong with a fair, living wage so that you, and your family can have good health care, retirement benefits, be able to save money for things instead of borrowing to buy everything that you need, instead of living like a hermit in a sheltered life. It sounds to me like some unions need to negotiate better wages and benefits for the workers that they represent instead of caving in to the 'global economy' and 'new world order' that some of the non union world would really love to see, or in other words, the organized labor movement's demise. Republicans would just love that!

Anonymous said...

I got sone junk mail yesterday wanting me to vote for Chief Lynch along with some facts on the back. True or not is questionable) He leads you to believe sone programs had to be cut because of budget shortfall. I have never heard of these programs so it leads me to believe how important are they. I am sure they do have some value but just how much. Again I will vote no on the tax because I don't want to scared into voting for something. Which is exactly what they are doing.

Anonymous said...

Get ready folks. Here come the scare tactics. Dire warnings and lectures of what services will be taken away if we do not pay the tax.

Kind of reminds one of the promises to use the transportation tax on street overlay.

But look at the bright side. If you want to visit the asphalt that should have gone on your street you can always go up to the new Walmart and walk around on it.

Don't buy into the scare tactics and most certainly do not believe promises made only to see them broken.

Pat Casady said...

I think having office spaces is probably the only answer to
Raytown's downtown's revival. While the town won't receive
sales tax from most office businesses it will receive real estate taxes, if our city's elected officials don't give them away too.
However, with offices comes the demand for true restaurants.
Restaurants close to the offices to wine and dine customers
and be convenient for office employees too. It could work but,
that's what they tried in Lee's Summit and it hasn't worked.
They have a lot of new office buildings in the downtown and
they are empty. However if done right I think because of where
Raytown is located, being close to 435, 50, 40 and I-70 hwys.
we are in a better position for this kind of plan to work. One thing might be a problem though. Soon Raytown will be the highest sales taxed city in the area. This could keep prospective office renters and builders away.
A town can't have the highest taxes in the area and not see any
improvements, it doesn't make sense to the people of Raytown and
it certainly won't make sense to any developers.

Anonymous said...

To the 7:36 blogger. You should be able to give me some answers as you seem to have all of them. PLEASE tell me what the Safe Schools Programs, Health Emergency Assistance Registry (H.E.A.R.), Project Lifesaver, Safe Return Program, Crime Free Multi Housing, Crime Prevention Through Enviromenental Design (C.E.P.T.E.D.) This is not a joke I really want to know. Then I can make a wise decision and not be influenced by threats such as I received in the mail. So 7:36 give me an answer that is if you have one.

Anonymous said...

I too told you that the" sales tax increase people" would try to scare our seniors into voting for this unnecessary tax. I'm sure you'll see more of their garbage either in your mailbox or on your door before April 7th. Don't buy into it, VOTE NO and make them find the money elsewhere, like we as homeowners have had to do.

Anonymous said...

To Anon 7:56

The HEAR program was set up so that people who had medical equipment at home that requires electricity to register with the police department so that during some type of storm where the power went out, officers would had a list of people in their area they would check on and get them someplace safe if it was needed.

Safe Return and Project Lifesaver were for families with relatives living with them that have alzheimers or dementia could register and a GPS locator could be attached to the victim to assist in locating the person if the were missing.

CEPTED and crime free multi housing were to assist mainly apartment complexes keep bad elements out of the apartment complexes. It provides training for officers to work with the residents and managers at the complexes.

Anonymous said...

Wow! I just read in the Raytown Post that the Mayor said that he doesn't understand where people come up with comments about streets not being overlayed in the past couple of years!

Here is something that my help enlighten him. They say it because it is true.

Despite being promised that the last sales tax (that one was supposed to take care of our overlay problems forever) our streets have not been touched in two years.

Fool me once. Shame on you.

Fool me twice. Shame on me.

I will be voting no on April 7th.

Our problems at city hall are not a lack of money. It is a lack of common sense by those running the place.

Anonymous said...

This new so called “public safety” tax is not supposed to be used for funding of any current programs as is now being suggested. Someone is feeding us (the tax payers) a big bucket of bull. We need to reply with a big NO at the polls!
We should all be feed up with the deceptions, lies, and fear tactics that are used to push new taxes. They have done it to us over and over before, are we going to let them do it to us again?

Justin Tomac said...

Andy, Pat & Daniel,
Excellent idea on the Office Park...this is the type of idea generation and discussion we should be having at City Hall (or at least it should be transparent to those who cannot make the daily or weekly trek).

I am big on diversification...it appears when you put all of your eggs in one basket you make a lot of assumptions, hopes and dreams. We all know eggs have a tendency to break, especially when the basket is dropped. Diversification is what my parents taught me growing up...so we didn't raise just cattle, but wheat, oats, hay, pigs, chickens and a huge garden. Additional cash flows came in the form of working for the neighbors as a casual laborer, scrap metal and lumber, hunting and trapping, etc....

With that being said, what would the ideal breakout be (e.g. 30% retail, 40% office, 20% light industrial, 10% park) for a diversified downtown? One idea is to have a light industrial manufacturer and a call center or similar type business move in around city hall or close to the downtown area. Other ideas?

JWDT

Andy Whiteman said...

Daniel, You are correct, the average person doesn't notice a penny tax on a burger, (especially since the tax doesn't cut back booze and tobacco sales). But what about a new business that may move to Raytown? Will it make a difference? We have a QT on the city line with the building in Raytown and parking in KSMO. Had Raytown had a fast food tax, they may have turned it around and put the building in KSMO since much of their sales is sin food.

Office space sounds good to me especially due to the trickle down effect with the workers SPENDING in Raytown but a city official said that people don't like to commute. Sounds like a lame to reason me.

Someone suggested a 5 star motel 2 years ago. That would attract restaurants. Being close to the stadiums, it sounds like one would have a lot of guests. KC area hotels are at capacty during many conventions so they will draw from the whole metro.

I need to get after codes. The 2 Junk Cars wented signs are still there and I called last Friday! I think that is a reasonable time.

Andy Whiteman

Andy Whiteman said...

Justin,

You were posting at the same time as me. I agree about diversification. I can't understand why the focus seems to be on downtown? The plain truth is downtown is not on a well trafficed road such as 350 HWY. Downtown is not a destination point and people won't go out of their way. About the only business downtown can expect is from local people. Nothing wrong with local people but there is not the volume big stores need. I see areas with offices. My doctor just moved to KCMO off I435 and Wornall. There are auto dealers, gas stations, stripp malls on one side and residential on the other. Looks like good diversification to me. Why not Raytown?

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Crime is actually down in Raytown from what is a few years ago!

Pat Casady said...

Greg Walters doesn't need me to defend him but, since
some of you are voicing your opinion I will too.
Greg is one of about thirteen people that sit in the council chamber that actually cares about his constituency. He won my respect when I realized he
doesn't like to raise taxes just because others follow blindly and do what they are told to do. I believe he saw what the 350hwy deal would cost and how much Raytown would lose in income. The others went with the flow and without question went along with it.
Greg asks for details of where the tax money will be spent and as you see on channel 7 is shot down time and time again.
I don't know if Greg is "anti-police" or not, I don't really think so but, I do know
he cares where your tax dollars are spent. You should too. If you voted in the last election for street overlays you have to ask yourself how are the streets
of Raytown? This new 1/2 cent sales tax isn't going to break anyone. And I believe we need more police and EMT's. But why is it that every election year the
voters are asked for more and more taxes?
The sad fact is that our incumbent elected officials have made terrible mistakes
with tax payers money and what is done with it and they expect taxpayers to pay for their sins. It's too bad that the "Public Safety Sales Tax" may be
hurt because of past mistakes and broken promises.
Would we really need tax increases if the city had not bought the old church and then spent so much money on it? How about the thousands spent on developers
with no results? The codes people that have run off tax paying businesses or kept small businesses from opening with unrealistic, unwritten rules?
The hiring of City Administrators that took hundreds of thousands in pay and did nothing positive for this town?
And my last question, why don't any of you that clearly don't like Greg, have the same dislike for the elected officials that made the bad decisions that
have clearly hurt Raytown.
The 1/2 cent tax won't hurt anybody and we need more Police and EMT's.
I really don't think Greg is "Anti-Police" as much as he is "Anti-Taxing."

Anonymous said...

Greg, you're getting carried away with deletions!!!!

Pat Casady said...

To "Anonymous" 7:57
At least I back up what I with my name.
It's people like you that take cheap shots at people,
write the rhetoric and make unfounded statements.
There was not one line in my writing that was untrue.
If you believe in what you say or write show the rest of us
you believe in it enough to sigh your name.
or at least come at me with some facts.
Calling what I write stupid and me an outsider just doesn't cut that deep, but nice try.

Anonymous said...

Are you living in a cave somewhere under Raytown? No property tax increases, you have to be kidding me! Apparently you haven’t noticed that that your property taxes have sky rocked, partially because of school district increases, partially due to fire department increases, and partially because the value of your property goes up every two years when the county re-assesses it.

We already have one of the highest sales taxes in the area, probably the highest. We are going to loose all of our businesses because no one will want to buy anything here.

You need to wake up and smell the phony roses before it's too late!

Andy Whiteman said...

Looks like Lees Summit is about to get shopping center similiar to Raytown's Walmart deal with the city providing funding.

I would rather have a sales tax increase than a property tax increase. The board could have written it into the budget and hiked the mill levy. One thing about a sales tax increase is part of it is paid by non-Raytown residents. I don't think the average person checks sales tax rates except maybe on large ticket items. I don't know how it works here but I have lived in other metros and if you had a purchase delivered, it was taxed at the tax rate in the city where it was delivered.

Some anonymous people think Pat shuld leave. Even though Pat doesn't live in Raytown, he pays taxes and is entiled to his opinion. I bet that Pat pays more in local taxes than the writer who wants him to move.

Greg, will there ever be an electronic items recycle in Raytown? The locations listed are too far for me to drive especially that early in the day. It doesn't seem productive to go that far and have to PAY to recycle an item. At least the handout at the BOA indicated there may be a charge.

Andy Whiteman

Greg Walters said...

To All:

I have had to remove a number of blogs from this page this morning because the attacks were personal in nature. Some were against candidates for public office, some against the Mayor and some against the blog.

Of course they were all signed anonymously. I also suspect from the same author.

I just wanted everyone else who participates on this page in an intelligent manner that what they say is appreciated and I hope informative for all those he read these pages.

I have no problem with people signing anonymously when they make comments. But keep your comments honest and non-personal in nature.

Greg Walters said...

Andy,

In answer to your question about recycling of electronic parts. There are no immediate plans to have a recycling event any closer than those mentioned in the article.

You might note that both are being held in large shopping mall (type) of areas to (I assume) attract the largest crowd possible.

Anonymous said...

I HAVE ONLY ONE THING TO SAY "NOT THIS TAX, NOT THIS TIME"

Anonymous said...

Yea for you 11:47. I will not vote fo it either neither will I vote for anyone on the BOA who is for it.

Anonymous said...

Again I don't feel this is an attack on Mayor Bower, only my opinion. Mayor Bower has done nothing to solve the real problems of the city. Our codes enforcement doesn't exist, our streets are the WORST in recent history, and we are loosing population and businesses at an alarming rate. His unwillingness to listen to the REAL people of Raytown is leading to it's demise.

Anonymous said...

Until there is a state audit of the city, I too will not support ANY new or renewal of a tax increase.

Anonymous said...

All of these programs the PD says they will not be able fund because of shortfall in budget sounds bad BUT how much are these services really used in a year? Anyone got answers?

Anonymous said...

What a small world it is.

Check this out!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0iBmw0GSW8

Salamander said...

Mayor Bower does, at times, get a bit testy.

Here’s what happened at his open forum.

Someone questioned why there had been no repaving of streets during the last few years. “I don’t know where that question is coming from,” said Bower. He went on to claim $5.7 million has been spent on street overlays in the last five years.

That $5.7 million is as fictitious as Bernie Madoff’s Billions. If $5.75 million was spent fixing streets the Salamander challenges his honor to produce a list of which streets and cost for each project. I hope he’s not including those monument things on 63rd Street and Raytown Road as overlay!
Where is the money for street street repair going?

Take a drive to the site of the TIF and tax financed Wal-Mart on Highway 350. You will see outlines of driveways, parking areas and streets. All to finance a venture which will produce not one penny of tax revenue for at least 23 years. So now you know where a big chunk of your money is going.
The “Safety” Sales tax increase.
From this vantage point those who like higher sales taxes must be in hog heaven. In a few months Wal-Mart will open and another one cent sales tax will be added to your costs of living. No, the money will not benefit Raytown. It will go straight to pay for Wal-Mart.

It may be possible to tax yourself into prosperity but it is not likely. If it occurs it will be the first time in the history of the world.

Remember to vote on April 7. It’s time to tighten up the belt, not go on another round of taxing and spending sprees.

Anonymous said...

Mayor Bower is so full of himself. I would challenge him to produce a list of all the streets that have been overlayed since he took office. How about it Mr. Mayor?

Justin Tomac said...

Andy,
The reason I would like to revitalize the downtown part of our city is the fact that 350 Hwy is busy. Yes, this should also have a partial focus and so should the downtown part of Raytown.
Since the 350 Corridor has received a lot of attention over the past few years (e.g. the 1/2 cent TIF's to Walmart & Hyvee), one would hope that other parts of Raytown would receive some attention.
Here is a thought, if 350 hwy is really more of a Retail "corridor" then maybe we turn the downtown into a Business or Light Industrial 'corridor'? Just a thought.
For those interested I have started a blog as well...
http://hopeforraytown.blogspot.com/

Thanks,
JWDT

Andy Whiteman said...

Pat, I haven't seen you here this late.

Salamander, I am glad that I didn't go to that meeting because street overlay would have been my question and there would have been some arguement. The last time I saw street overlay in my area was 3 years ago and I figured my street would be the next year. Maybe the overlay was in other areas. An overlay on my street won't work because the street has FAILED.

I believe Nancy Thomas stated at the BOA meeting that there were no funds for overlay because the sales tax increase was a "Tranportation Tax." Since it was a transpotation tax, it was legal to use it to pay debt on transportation bonds from the past because it was overlooked when the budget was written. My comment: Apparently the public assumed or was lead to believe that the money was for overlay.

Greg, I know the electronic recycle is at large shopping areas. I happen to be disabled and don't go that far that early in the day.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Some people are so transparent. They complain because the blog has personal attacks. Then they complain because the personal attacks are removed!

It bothers me that my street has been allowed to go to ruin. What bothers me more is that people claim their streets have been overlayed but then sign anonymously.

At least put down the city block so we can go se what new ovelay looks like.

I know it hasn't been done in any of the neighborhoods around my area for well over four years.

Oh, and by the way, my neighborhoodis Gregory Heights.

Where did you say your neighborhood with the recent overlay is -- I want to go see what it looks like.

Anonymous said...

There has not been any overlay going on for the past several years. The city wants the infrastructure to deteriorate in order to deem it as a 'blighted' area in order to get TIF funds and other financial assistance from the state and federal levels. Haven't you all figured that out yet?

Anonymous said...

What street did you say was overlayed?

Anonymous said...

I watched the debate the other night on Channel 7. One of the candidates, Bill VanBuskirk, made some interesting comments about the sales tax rate in Raytown.

He compared the tax rate at Westlake Hardware in Raytown to other West Lake Hardware stores in the Kansas City area.

Raytown's was the highest of all of them.

I know that the Raytown Westlake Hardware is part of the Walmart TIF deal, but I didn't know they had to pay the extra tax too.

If this new sales tax passes it could go up to nearly 10% at the new Walmart and at Westlake.

I live on a fixed income. How much do they think I can afford?

Anonymous said...

Have you heard about the national "Tea Party"? It will be a protest against run away spending and high taxes! Their motto is "WE ARE TEA'D" (Taxed Enough Already)
It is meant to reflect the mood of the people who held the Boston Tea Party.

We could defiantly apply that same logic to our current situation here in Raytown, with out of control or misdirected spending. They are requesting new taxes every time you turn around in order to fund the waste.

Unfortunately we only have one or sometimes two people on the board of aldermen who question the misuse of taxpayer’s money. We need more people on that board who will actually look out for our best interests.

Andy Whiteman said...

The Salamander said about Bower,"He went on to claim $5.7 million has been spent on street overlays in the last five years."

I was thinking of 2 possibilities after I went to bed: 1) The entire $5.7M was spent 4 and 5 years ago which seems unlikely--$5.7M in one year? 2)Where did this really money go? We need an audit! I have seen patching, but where is the overlay? In fact the overlay is so overdue that some streets have FAILED and the work will cost much more!

Justin, I just saw your comment since you were posting at the same time as me. (Each post takes me 30 minutes or more.) I have nothing against developing downtown. My issue is the focus for several years has been on downtown and overlooking other areas unless a big store pops up.

7:20 AM, I made the same point about the Hy-Vee sales tax at the public hearing.

As for the anonymous personal comments written without facts, I ignore them with the assumption that the writer is unable to state a logical opinion with facts and/or thoughts and can only result to personal attacks to defend his/her views. This seems to me to be childlike--at least the type of children I went to school with. I don't have time to read that garbage and move to the next post. Since Greg deletes them now, why do these posters waste their time?

Andy Whiteman

Andy Whiteman said...

Greg, What is wrong here? I spent over a half hour on a post, clicked publish and it disappeared.

Since I am running late, I don't have another 1/2 hour to type it again.

Andy Whiteman

Andy Whiteman said...

OK, I see now. I just noticed that it is not displayed until the blog owner approves it. That is what I do with the guest books on my websites to keep the junk out.

Sometimes I hit POST accidnetly instead of REVIEW and want to go pack, delete, and revise. I guess this is no longer possible without a time delay.

Since this is not a live blog, we have will have delays to reading new posts. The actions of a few hurt all.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

I've been following the conversations about street overlay. It seems to me that a simple way to determine where streets have been overlayed in the last two years is to publish them here. Then anyone can go an look at them.

To be fair about the process we should set some simple rules.

The streets listed should be residential streets overlayed in the last two years. No "gateways" no collector street re-construction - no improvements made by utility companies, etc.

Just simple overlay of a residential street.

This should settle the matter once and for all.

Andy Whiteman said...

I believe in the KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) system . Wouldn't it be easier if Greg could request the city to display the map on its website for all to see?

Andy Whiteman

Chris Wilmes said...

Anon 2:39 am "I challenge anyone to find anything positive on the internet. "

Deal! Check this out...

http://www.jongordon.com/blog/2009/01/18/11-benefits-of-being-positive/

Happy now, or do you want to complain about something else???

Anonymous said...

Greg,

I'm glad to see you have taken steps to clean up the blog. It was becoming very clear that a small minority of people using it were determined to undermine its purpose of people being able to share ideas about politics in Raytown.

Anonymous said...

Just because this comment is being made does not imply that I am being negative, however, there sure seems to be a lot of people that believe that everything is wonderful all of the time, and it is a perfect world. Hate to give you a dose of reality, but there are bad things that go along with the good, and negativity will be a part of it. It is called life, so go ahead and stay in your 'perfect world' bubbles and point out things like, 'Oh, he or she is really negative, it is sinful, the nerve of him/her to think like that!' Get real, people! Ones opinion, negative or positive should be heard no matter what. Fear the government that fears us, censorship is yet another tool to help government to promote it's agendas. Freedom of speech is one that many have died for in this country so that we can exercise that right. I agree that if you cannot express an opinion without name calling or insults that it probably should be censored. Learn to control yourself and be civil with your discussions.

Chris Wilmes said...

"How Much?

The Municipal Judge currently draws a salary of $24,407.78 annually. The proposed ordinance sets the new salary $25,628.17. The Municipal Judge is a part time position.

According to a report from the city staff entitled “Compensation History of the Marshal (Chief of Police)”; the Chief of Police currently draws a salary of $86,821.88 annually. The proposed ordinance sets the new salary incrementally over a four-year period. The total salary at the end of four years will be $96,742.87. The Chief of Police is a full time job.

The breakdown of the pay increases for Municipal Judge and Chief of Police are as follows:

MUNICIPAL JUDGE:
Current Annual Salary................$24,407.78
Proposed Annual Salary..............$25,628.17
Percentage increase over four years.........5%

CHIEF OF POLICE:
Current Annual Salary.................$86,821.88
Proposed Annual Salary*..............$96,742.87
*Increased incrementally at 5% the first year, 2% years 2, 3, and 4.
Percentage increase over four years..........9%"

Sorry, I work for a living and cannot read this blog everyday.

I think a little math lesson is needed here.

First, if you have $10 dollars and I offer to give you 2% a day for 10 days, or 20% the first day, which is more?

If you said 2% a day for 10 days...YOU WOULD BE CORRECT!!!

This is that little math fact called compounding.

$10 * 20% = $12
$10 * 2% per day for 10 days $12.19 or 21.19%

In fact, the Chiefs raise at 5% the first year and 2% each year thereafter is 11.43%, not 9%

The same principal applies. $86,821.88 *9% = $94,635.85
But the Chief is actualy
$86,821.88 *5% = $91,162.97 * 2% = $92,986.23 *2% = $94,845.96 * 2% =$96,742.88

If you devide $96,742.88 from $86,821.88 you get 11.43% not 9%.

You are welcome for the math lesson. Come back anytime...

Greg Walters said...

Chris,

You are right. I took a short cut on the math and by rounding out the figures and simply looking at as the total amount for the four year term.

Seems the BOA had another one run by them.

Andy Whiteman said...

Greg, Did I hear wrong? At the BOA I remember much discussion and it was my understanding that the Chief of Police's increase was changed to 5% annually for each of 4 years with you voting NO? Is my hearing, memory or both that bad?

I think an Alderman should introduce an ordinance that the salary of elected officials be established before the deadline registering for election. It is quite possible that if the increase was announced others may have filed in the one person races.

Actually in one race voting for the one candidate is a wasted vote. Maybe voters should write in a name.

Andy Whiteman

Pat Casady said...

I was told as a very young boy, if you want to get ahead
of the crowd work for the government. You will never get your hands dirty and the pay is always guaranteed to be there, after all, we all have to pay taxes.
If you are fortunate enough to be elected into the Congress
or Senate the first thing you do is vote yourself a raise and
you will have benefits for the rest of your life.
I guess it's no different in city government. If you are in upper
management, no matter what kind of job you do, you know a pay
increase is just around the corner. In bad times or good, whether the money is coming in or not, if the elected officials give away income, don't worry, they will tax the people more to make up the loss.

Andy Whiteman said...

Pat, Why don't you apply when there is a vacancy? We need better people there.

Andy Whiteman

Pat Casady said...

I actually think I would rather see what is written before it
is taken off. That would also let the responses show up faster.
We are all adults even though some may not act it. But waiting
so long for writings I'm afraid will turn good minded writers away.

Anonymous said...

I have been studying the school board candidates. I would like to know who voted for this astro turf to be put in? We spent this HUGH sum of money for a very few kids. A few years ago (maybe not that long ago) there was not enough books to go around the class and the student could not bring the book home to study or do homework. Now which is more inportant enough books to learn or astro turf for just a few kids? Seems to be a no brainer.Can we trust Toade to make wise decisions or will he fold to the pressure and be a member of the good 'ole boys club. I hope he is differant and will have the guts to stand up to them. There are a lot of people depending on him.

Anonymous said...

The board that is there now will surround him like a "pack of dogs" if he goes against the board.

It doesn't make any difference what the district spends there money on books, astro turf (a waste of money) or what ever, they need to use up the money before July 1st or if the state of MO finds out they have money left, the state of MO will cut back on what is given to the district for the 2010 year. About the books, I have seen schools throw away supplies, books and what ever so they can order the same items the next year to use up the money.

From a school district employee!

Anonymous said...

The Mayor said $5.7 million in the last FIVE years - NOT $5.7 million in TWO years. The voters approved a bond issue six years to get more streets done faster so the work was front loaded in the first two years and the payments made out over the next five years. Any alderman who has been on the board when the improvements were approved by the voters should be able to explain it. The voters approved the bond issue and the Mayor has to live with it. I also heard him say the city received stimulus money this year for overlay, that base repair was performed last year in anticipation for overlay of streets this year and that the bond payments were paid off last year, leaving more money for street improvements this year.

Andy Whiteman said...

Pat, I agree with your 1:11 PM comment. Readers are smart enough to ignore personal attacks (if they want to) and comments that appear to be untrue. We can also ask for clarification and/or facts to back up a comment.

Personally, I ignore personal attacks (even about me) but if someone counters with a question or request for clarification, I will respond.

As for the person who wants to have a party when I move, that is you option. I will go out to a nice dinner to celebrate.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Good explaination

Chris Wilmes said...

"For a real eye-opener go up to Westlake Hardware (which is in the same taxing district as Walmart) and compare its current sales tax charges to other area Westlake stores.

Westlake Hardware sales tax:

Westlake – Raytown . . . . . . . . 8.475%
Westlake – Lee’s Summit . . . . . 7.735%
Westlake – Blue Springs . . . . . . 7.350%
Westlake – Kansas City . . . . . . 7.250%

These are hard economic times for everyone. People are tightening their belts to get by until the economy rights itself. City Hall should do the same."

Here is the information I found on each city's website:

Westlake – Raytown -http://www.raytown.mo.us/vertical/Sites/%7B418C71C3-E397-4C87-B464-C498EC8900F9%7D/uploads/%7B04E67A22-70C5-41EA-86A2-8786BEF47B1C%7D.PDF Actually it is only 7.6%+1/2 cent CID =8.1% (How sad you do not know your own tax rate...)
Westlake – Lee’s Summit - http://www.lees-summit.mo.us/content/Finance6.cfm Actually it is 7.6%
Westlake – Blue Springs - http://mo-bluesprings.civicplus.com/index.asp?nid=521 7.35% CORRECT!!!
Westlake – Kansas City -http://www.kcmo.org/finance.nsf/web/Treasury 7.25% Correct!!!!

Anonymous said...

i hope people are looking at these tax percentages and are voting for no more taxes.

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