Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Future of the Raytown Report

The extremely high number of page loads, visitors and posters on this page has shown there is a real need for this blog in Raytown. With that in mind I am pleased to announce that I am taking in some partners to help cover the goings on at Raytown City Hall. Since I am no longer a member of that body my photograph will no longer be shown on the front page. Instead, the blog will continue as a group effort of three individuals who have chosen not to announce their identities at this time. Kansas City Star Ranks Raytown Second Highest in Sales Tax When voters in Raytown approved the half cent sales tax hike last Tuesday they raised Raytown’s status to a new level in the metropolitan area. According to the lead editorial in the Star, Raytown’s sales tax (effective, October 1) will be 8.1%. The rate is second only to Belton which posted a sales tax of 8.225%. In special taxing districts Raytown places first with the new Walmart under development on 350 Highway (for a sample of that tax rate. That tax rate will top out at 9.6% when the store opens. According to City Finance Director Jeremy Wilmoth, the tax could grow another one percent if the city approves a special Transportation Tax District to pay for improvements on 350 Highway and construction of an intermodal bus station for the Area Transportation Authority. If Mr. Wilmoth is correct, that could raise the rate well over the 10% benchmark. Which leaves the question, will people shop at a store knowing that every dollar they spend will cost an additional 10 cents? The downside is that since this is a special tax district, most of the sales tax collected does not go to the city’s coffers but to pay off the debt created to pay for the new store, parking lot, etc., etc. The payment of that debt is set to expire in 23 years. Changes . . . Former candidate for Ward 2 Alderman, Justin Tomac, made an interesting observation. He told of going door to door and repeatedly hearing how people wanted “change” in city government. Justin, who is real straight forward type of guy, asked the next sensible question. “What do you want change?” As a rule, his question was met with bewilderment and a loss of words. Before filing for Alderman this year I wondered the same thing myself. The country had just come off an historic election in which the central theme was “change”. The voters had pretty much bought the campaign sloganeering hook, line and sinker. I wondered how much of this would carry over to the municipal election. A new segment of the population, the younger voter, had been empowered. Anyone tapping their angst and frustration would find fertile ground for votes. I also knew that I could expect a dirty campaign from my opponents. This was nothing new. The opposition, if they mounted a serious campaign, always went below the belt. Another concern, the electorate had changed. I knew that after 27 years of service many of those who helped elect me in when I was 25 years old had either moved on or passed on. My political base was shrinking. Those that knew I was responsible for the sidewalks serving Blue Ridge Elementary, the sidewalks that stretch from the northern city limits to 350 Highway, literally hundreds of streetlights that make Ward 1 the best lit area in town, the countless storm sewer project that turned open storm drainage ditches into covered storm sewers, were all for a generation that was past. The new generation wanted change. Last Tuesday they showed up in superior numbers to enact that change. The victory is theirs. I am curious as to precinct results. I stood part of each day at three different polls. That section north of 63rd Street seemed to going my way -- as did the area south of 350 Highway. However, I was concerned for the middle section of the Ward. The turnout was definitely higher, and the impression I received was favorable at times but more often not so good. Precinct results are supposed to be released this coming Thursday from the Election Board. One of Par-Due’s campaigners, (he actually acted more like a “handler” – but that is another story) was outwardly bragging that the younger voters were going to turn out in large numbers to win the election. As it turned out, he was correct. So, as with all elections, the one with the most votes wins. I have had more than my share of victories (for those keeping count, 12 wins, 5 losses), so I have no complaint about losing. It happens. So all I can say is thank you to those who supported my campaign. Congratulations to my opponent. And hope for the best for Raytown. Some have asked if I have any plans for the future. I will not rule out running for public office again. But for the time being, the role of private citizen sounds very appealing to me and my family. After all, 27 years is a long time for anyone in public service.


Anonymous said...

Greg Raytown owes you a Big Thanks for all that you have done for the city. You were faithful in your service and I feel tried to watch out for the taxpayers money. If the other alderpeople would have co operated things would be much different in this town today. I have my fingers crossed Mr. Par Due will do well but personally I think he can be bought just as easly like Joe Creamer has been in the past.

Andy Whiteman said...

Greg, Thank you for your service. Even though we disasgreed on one issue, we agreed on most of the other issues.
As for sales taxes, I think the trend is towards sales tax rather than income or property taxes. If you listen to Peter Newman on KMBZ 980AM Saturdays 10AM-12N, is advocating getting rid of the income tax and using a consumption tax. I haven't checked their site yet but this has been talked about for over 15 years that I have listened to Peter.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

I personally don't like any kind of tax and am tired of being taxed to death. Therefore I voted no on the safety tax and will vote no on any kind of tax increase. Until they can show me a VERY valid reason for it and also there needs to be a state audit done. I wonder just what city hall is afarid of.

Anonymous said...

I heard from someone in the know that policitics got really dirty this year in Raytown. Anyone know anything about this? Could name some names but I won't.

Salamander said...

I do hope the handful of readers who take the Kansas City Star took time to study the "pie" of sales taxes in Sunday's edition.

What an eye-opener! Raytown is right on the way to be in a position to scream "We're Number One!" That right folks.

Right now we trail only one community in the metro area when it comes to paying the most sales tax on purchases we make in the town where we live.

Five years ago, were near the lower ranks of the list. If taxing yourself silly is the standard by which we decide whether or not we are No. 1, then we are almost there.

In fact, we will be there in a very short while when Walmart opens. Hope all of those who voted for the safety tax (whatever that means) will remember this when they pay another extra one percent more sales tax at that shopping center.

Is that all, you might ask. Not by any means, if the tranportation terminal some dreamers at city hall have been talking about becomes reality add up to another 1% to the grand total.

I know, I know. It's only 10 or 11 cents per dollar when all those tiny percentage points are added together. But, please, do not despair.

Just hold on for a couple more months until the school board begins its annual run for a budget busting property tax increase.

Not to worry, as Hennie Youngman used to say. It will be approved. It has to get approved. After all, there are a couple of pastures owned by the school district and they want to put artificial turf on them.

Artificial turf. The only place you ever see it is where the taxpayer is footing the bill. No private enterprise would support such idiocy.

Anonymous said...

if you want services, you have to pay for them. the property taxes paid to the CITY are the lowest in the meto area. the city property tax is .32 while the fire district has a property tax of .97. I would much rather have a sales tax increase than a property tax increaseWith a sales tax increase people who live outside the city help pay for the services and you still have a choice to go elsewhere to shop if you want to.

Anonymous said...

Get Real!!!

Parsing out the different tax rates and ignoring the whole total is simpleton reasoning.

Why not include Raytown's sewer billing? It is one of the highest in the area too. Add on the outrageous property tax levy by the school district and you cannot deny Raytown is a high taxed town.

Sad thing is, it doesn't look like a high tax town. It's streets have been allowed to go to ruin. It's code department has a bad reputation for ignoring real eyesores and picking on senior citizens.

It seems we just pay Overland Park tax rates. We sure don't get the service.

Maybe the KC Star should do a survey on how much area cities doled out in raises this year.

I bet Raytown's 5.5% across the board increase led the pack.

Anonymous said...

Somebody needs to do something about the truck park that has developed behind Block Buster Video on 350 Highway.

Truck drivers are leaving their rigs in the lot. Sometimes running all night. The stink from the diesel and the noise is annoying.

Is this what we want 350 Highway to look like?

Raytown is becoming the dumping ground for these big rigs because other cities won't allow them in their town.

It's just like our town becoming a haven for smokers and pit bull owners.

Pretty glamorous image for out town.

Guess that's what they want up at city hall. Because that's what they are allowing.

Pat Casady said...

To Anonymous 4:05,
Politics did get dirty in this election but, not as bad as in the past.
I have to hand it to the Raytown Post. They didn't print the lies and rumors
as the past owners of the post. The only dirty dealing I heard about was in the
Par-Due camp. That was the lies Mr. Joe Creamer sent to voters about
Greg Walters. Joe Creamer deserves no respect from the people of Raytown.
He showed his true colors when he lied, nothing he has to say should be believed
by the good people of Raytown. He has shown he will lie to get what he wants.

As far as any more tax increases, I hope that the people will wait to approve
any new taxes until they can finally see some kind of results for all they have
already passed. It's time the taxpayers got something in return for their money.
But, you know as well as I do, if a new tax comes up next election, and you know
It will, it will be passed. This town seems to like to give away money to big corporations
and the school district never seems to have enough money either.
As we saw in the past election, the one and only elected official that was for the
people and watched out for their best interest and how their tax dollars
were spent was voted out. They said he was a "roadblock to progress," when in really
he was a roadblock for taxation and spending.
So hold on to your billfold this could be a tuff two years.

Anonymous said...

Raytown is rapidly becoming an expensive and undesirable place to live with no city services to show for it. Examples, our sewer and water bills are already more expensive than Lee's Summit. Our sales tax will soon be the highest in the area and our home values have dropped by over 10%. We've allowed the low life that want to bring pit bulls, pot bellied pigs, and allow all kinds of unsightly vehicles to be parked in our city. We have expanded our liquor licenses to accommodate more bars. Have you looked at downtown lately? We have allowed a corporate giant that has a reputation of hurting small business to dictate to our city government and ruin our nice community. Raytown should seriously consider allowing one of our neighbors to annex us. As we have no more taxing authority we will soon be a city that provides nothing but a few high paying jobs for the cops. No streets, storm sewers, sanitary sewers, but lots of cops. We are becoming the new inner city or as others have put it, Sugar Creek. It's a sad state of affairs and we have no one to blame except Sue Frank, David Bower and their cronies at city hall. GOOD BYE RAYTOWN

Anonymous said...

9:12 You are saying new bars? Please could you tell where and what the names are? I haven't seen any new bars , there's really been the same ones for years. But then again I don't drink.

I do see a lot of payday loans and title loan places, that's a sure sign of a city going down hill, who allowed that? I just adore the big yellow and red building at 350 and Raytown Rd.

As far as the pig and the pit bulls, you DO remember that mess, don't you or were you not there? The mess the board went through with that. You have also got to remember that meeting on the pit bulls where the chambers where full and all but 3 were against the ban I don't know how many voted for it, all in all I lost count. The residents voted that in, it's what they wanted or they would not have taken the time to come to the meeting. So who's fault is that? Not city hall or the council members....can you say residents?

I think the reason Raytown is going down the drain is because of rental properties. This past week-end another family of trailer trash has moved in,(same house) along with the Confederate flags in the front and side windows, the burning of the stump in the back yard, the drinking of beer in the front yard and the best part. The men (I should say dogs) peeing in the front of the house...great to have your teenage daughter see. Yep that's what I want to see after living in the same house for 27 years. This house has had nothing but low lives for several years living in it. On many occasions the police had to be called On my street alone there are 6 rental houses out of about 30 houses would be my guess.

I will agree water and sewer bills are raping us, but what can you do? You don't have any choice.

And to blame anyone at city hall, well who's fault is that? The residents, if you don't know whats going on with your city your getting rectally what you want. Yes, I mean rectally. Remember the squeaky wheel gets the most oil. So instead of bad mouthing Raytown, or complaining, why don't you attend some of these meetings and see what's going, voice your opinion. From your post it looks like you do read the paper, but government works different then what the media reports.

The only finger that can be pointed at is the residents, they're the ones who can change things, not city hall. All in all I think we have had over the years many council members and mayors who cared about what happened in this city. They take the words "Public Servant" literally. Now it's time for all of us as residents to make sure we get what our tax dollars pay for. (Don't get me started on taxes that another can of worms.

I love Raytown, I don't love the element that has gotten in the past few years, but I know I can do something about....because my voice does count.

Andy Whiteman said...

There is a new bar on Raytown Road where Midwest BBQ used to be. What is wrong with that? It is a business generating revenue and sales tax.

As for sewer bills, I remember a bond election to repair our sewers. Someone has to pay for that obligation. As for sewer rates, why not limit toilet flushing to once per day (unless you really have to flush), no more than one shower or bath per week, no laundry or dishes until you have a full load, etc. I cut my winter water usage to 600 gallons per month except November when I was dumb enough to water some new seeds I used 2300 gallons.
Water is so expensive that I can't affort it anyway.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

The only way the people can change things is to vote.
In a town of thirty thousand people only a little over three
thousand showed up to vote. That's the way it is every election year.
That's why nothing will ever change in Raytown. Almost everybody
you talk to on the street are not happy with the way this town is run.
They are not happy with the taxes, they are not happy with their neighborhoods
have gone downhill, and they are not happy with the shape the streets are in.
So where does the blame go. It goes to the people that don't like the way things
are going and sit on their rumps when it's time to vote.
Nothing but, nothing will ever change as long as the same ten percent show up
to vote.

Anonymous said...

I would like to take this time and express that Mr. Par Due should not be held accountable for the wild and unwarranted acts of Mr. Creamer. Everyone knows that Mr. Creamer has been out to get Mr. Walters anyway he can. I think the best man won this election and it was not in anyway do to that nut Mr. Creamer. Par Due is a younger new mind that will bring a new voice to the BOA. If he does it right he may even get some of the younger generatons out and expressing there own views. After all they are the future.
Now about the tax issue. I can only say that we are definitly going to get something out of our police department. All the prigrams that were cut that helpped the community, like the crime free multi-housing, Elderly assistance program, and others. Our police department is at the top when it comes to professionalism and assistance. I have lived in Lee's Summit and Kansas City, as well as Raytown. I have seen what bad police are, and how helpful they cannot be; But since living here the police are always quick to respond and get the job done right. Unlike Kansas City who will take forever even if you are shot. I think that everyone needs to stop complaining about what has passed and focus on what is to come.

Also one more thing tell all of your nieghbors, freinds, and family in Raytown to get more interested in thier Kids' education. The teachers can only meet the student half way. It is the decline in family values and home structure that are ruining the young person's ability to learn. Smart parents are Parents who care. Smart children have caring parents. See how that works.

Anonymous said...

To the residents of Ward 4,

I would like to thank the 330 voters that voted for me last week. Your confidence and support in me is greatly appreciated. I am truly sorry that it did not turn out the way we had hoped but don't feel to disappionted we almost made it. We only lost by 13votes. We gave him a run for his money. So thank you for all you did tried to do.

To all of you who helped with my campaign,from your help with the brochures to the financing, walking, talking, standing the polls and anything else that goes along with running a campaign for office, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU. I could not have done it without all of you. Please know how much I appreciate all of your work.

Sandy Hartwell

Anonymous said...

Sandy as a resident of ward 4 I think we're in trouble. I really feel you should have taken it.

You at least have the experience and the pose. I hope you continue to be involved in city politics.

Anonymous said...

The new Walmart is bringing in money to the city. I saw two motorcycle cops writing ticket after ticket where the left lane was closed by the entrance for the westbound lanes of 350 hwy. That is money for the city so walmart is making money.

I dont think anything happened at the smoke shop, the motorcycle cops like towrite tickets for people turning left from cedar onto 63rd. I see them sit there from time to time.

The truck drivers that live in raytown need a place to park when the come home to visit. They are only allowed to park for 2 hours in a residential street. A working truck driver deserves to see his family once in a while. There is no place else for them to park.

Anonymous said...

Of all the posts I have read this I think we can agree that the election is over and that it is time to move on.

I see that the layout has changed on the home page.

So am assuming that the changes Greg posted on Monday morning are happening.

I hope the blog continues. It is a good source of information about our town. I also like the different points of view that are expressed here.

It is part of what makes Raytown such a great place to live.

Anonymous said...

Someone at city hall should put a muzzle on that city administrator. All he does it continue to talk bigger government and more spending. Typical bureaucrat. I can't believe that in a city as small as ours we even need this position. That's why we have no money for streets, we're paying it all out in salaries. I hope the new aldermen take a look at this, salaries vs. infrastructure improvements, and start cutting salaries and spending more on REAL city services.

Pat Casady said...

I have a couple simple questions for any elected official that may read these
posts. How do you know what the people want and need if you don't
take the time to talk to them?
How do you know if you are doing a good job for them?

Anonymous said...

I agree that the campaigns are over and we should move forward.

I voted for VanBuskirk in Ward 4 and think he was the best choice.

Nothing personal against Sandy. Just thought it was time for a change. Bill struck me as a smart man who really cares for Raytown.

Andy Whiteman said...

6:46PM, I thought something happened at the Smoke Shop because there were at least 2 squad cars there and Blue Ridge Bl. was blocked off. A lot of atcivity if it was a traffic stop!

April 14, 2009 12:01 PM, I agree more people should have voted. I said this previously. With a city of 30,000, I assume maybe 10,000 are old enought to vote. Ward 4 was decided by 13 votes. If more had voted, things may have been different. I voted because I had strong feeling about 2 candidates and the sales tax issue. People should get to the polls and express their feelings. I think everyone who posts a complaint here should state if they voted. (Only if the voted, not how.) From what I read here, I expected a larger turnout but realizing people don't vote in local election, I wasn't surprised.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Approximately 18,000 people are registered to vote in Raytown. Our population is slightly under 30,000, so approximately 1500 people imposed a LIFETIME SALES TAX on the remainder. Just goes to show you that NOBODY really cares about Raytown anymore or they would vote. All most are interested in is getting their home sold and heading on down the road. There are much GREENER PASTURES outside of Raytown and most of us can't wait to get there.

Anonymous said...

That area is well known for traffic accidents, I don't know what had happened but I don't have that many fingers and toes to count the number of accidents I've seen there in the past 5 years or less. So I'm just taking a shot here.

jackie said...

i talked to a group of fireman at hyvee they were getting food to cook for dinner, they said that a police officer was involved in a wreck with his police motorcycle and that customers and employees of the smoke shop called 911 and attempted to provide some aid.

They were nice clean and polite, i did not notice any over weight guys or piercings as claimed in earlier posts.

They took the time to show my daughter the fire truck and she got pictures taken on the truck.

I thought they deserved a kind word.


Andy Whiteman said...

Jackie, Thanks for the info. I guess I passed by before the ambulance arrived.

I don't know what provoked the previous comment about piercings. I know people with piercings and am able to look beyond piercings. What counts is if the person can do the job in a professional manner.

1:37 PM, I have news for those with no interest in voting who hope to sell and move. The may have a difficult time selling with the condition this city is in. As I said at the BOA, if the city looked like this in 2000, I wouldn't have bought a home here. This city is delapidated.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

A very informative editorial in the this morning's KC Star by Yael Abouhalkah. Anyone wanting to see the damage that the use of unabated tax increment financing (TIF) can do to a city's budget should read it.

Pat Casady said...

It seems like we on this post like to complain and I know
I do a lot of it too but, I have always felt that our city's police, fire,
maintenance and city services are manned by the best people in the
area. Everyone a professional and always treat people with respect.
It has always been wrong to complain about these fine workers and
our protectors and teachers, because of higher taxing and upper management
getting big pay increases, along with the buildings they are provided.
I know a lot of these people, and believe me they don't do this kind of work
to get rich. They do it because they like it and they like people.
So Jackie, thank you for the positive words about our protectors.

Anonymous said...

I hate to disappointe the voters in Ward 4 but I feel the best person did win. But lets not forget the BOA needs to work together for the good of the city

Andy Whiteman said...

There have been posts on this blog about not shopping in Raytown because of the sales tax increase. These posts didn't make sense to me so I asked our Finance Director, Jeremy Wilmouth. He calculated assuming a $2000 appliance as follows:

"If you were to purchase a $2,000 refrigerator from Clarks Appliances today, you would pay $152 (or 7.6%) in all sales taxes. If you were to purchase that same refrigerator from Best Buy in Lee's Summit you would pay $172 (or 8.6%) in all sales taxes because of the CID at the shopping Center in LS. If you were to wait until the Public Safety Sales Tax began in October you would pay $162 (or 8.1%) in Raytown but still pay $172 in Lee's Summit."

I can't believe people shop Lees Summit for lower taxes. If they want to say they like the stores better, I could believe that.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

NOTE: Substitute 'Raytown' for 'Kansas City' and you will see what we will have in store for us in the future.

Shift toward TIF leaves less for basic services
For years economic development gurus have pumped up tax-increment financing as the savior of Kansas City’s budget.

The mantra went this way: TIF projects will bring in new jobs, stores and tax revenue so the city will be able to spend more money on basic services such as public safety and capital improvements.

However, new information from the city shows this contention isn’t coming true. In fact, a good case can be made that tax-increment financing is killing Kansas City’s budget.

Let’s take a look at one key example.

In the 2009-10 budget starting May 1, the city’s 1-cent sales tax that finances infrastructure repairs is expected to bring in $68 million.

But the city can’t spend that much. First, it has to deduct $15.8 million that will be diverted to more than four dozen retail and business TIF developments.

That leaves $52.2 million for fixing infrastructure.

In other words, a whopping 23 percent of every sales-tax dollar has to be forked over to pay for roads, sewers, office buildings, retail shops and other parts of TIF developments.

That’s bad enough news, but it’s only half the story. The city actually had more money to spend from this tax just three years ago.

In the 2006-07 fiscal year, the city took in $66.5 million from the 1-cent sales tax, with TIF projects soaking up $7.2 million. That left $59.3 million for public infrastructure repairs.

So even as more TIF development occurred in the last three years, the amount of public funds available for capital improvements actually fell by $7 million.

Here’s another quick example:

More and more of the city’s restaurant sales tax is being diverted to TIF developments, leaving less to pay off millions in Bartle Hall debt. Right now, 30 percent of every restaurant sales-tax dollar goes to TIF projects, up from only 5 percent three years ago.

As the city dips into its general fund to make Bartle’s debt payments, less money is left for basic services.

So why is this happening?

Page 62 of this year’s budget overview has a good answer. Frankly, I was surprised but pleased to see such an honest assessment of TIF’s problems in a city document.

It points out that taxes diverted to TIF projects will rise by millions of dollars in the 2009-10 budget.

“These redirected taxes are increasing more rapidly than total taxes because of the negative effect of ‘displacement’ or ‘substitution.’ Displacement occurs when customers’ destinations for shopping and/or dining shift from a non-TIF area to a TIF district, a result of the interest generated by the new attractions.”

Here’s a real-world example.

A lot of people are eating at restaurants in the publicly subsidized Power & Light District, which uses 100 percent of its sales, earnings and utility taxes to pay for the project. But fewer people are eating at restaurants that still pay 100 percent of their taxes to the city.

Plus, some of those older, 100 percent tax-paying restaurants are going out of business trying to compete with the newer, subsidized restaurants.

The city’s budget book continued: “Displacement also results from existing businesses expanding or relocating to a TIF development area and discontinuing business in a non-TIF location.”

For instance, two years ago Wal-Mart closed a large store in the Benjamin Plaza shopping area in south Kansas City and opened a smaller store on the old Blue Ridge Mall site. The old store paid full taxes to the city. The new one pays only 50 percent of its taxes to the city, with the rest being plowed back into the project.

Kansas City’s excessive use of tax-increment financing in the past will have negative effects on budgets — and on services received by residents — for many years to come.

Pat Casady said...

To Anonymous 3:45,
It would appear that Kansas City doesn't have any business minded
people on it's City Council either.
All it would have taken there, as well as here, was a few questions.
What will this do to the city's economy? And what will it cost the city in
the long run? Can this city keep up the cities services for the people if it gives away so much in tax income?
Simple questions that are seldom asked. Elected officials are so involved with "progress" that they loose sight of who really pays for it. We the people
pay for it with bad streets and services. Once they realize their mistake they throw another tax increase at us to pay for their bad decisions in the
name of "progress."
I'm afraid Raytown hasn't seen the last of the full tax paying businesses leaving
our town. The 350 hwy. deal will cripple this town but, if a Lowe's or Home Depot
goes in at 6700 blue Ridge that will just about do it for Raytown and the rest of
Raytown's full tax paying small businesses.

Anonymous said...

Andy, Don't believe this SPIN that our finance director is trying to put on our HIGEST SALE TAX debate. Didn't you read the KC Star? Sure you can find a higher sales tax in one of these TAX GIVEAWAY DISTRICTS but there are many places in Lee's Summit, Kansas City, and Independence that are much less than Raytown's. Also if you buy it in Kansas you're looking at probably even cheaper. I buy my appliances from a small store in south Kansas City and they are much cheaper than others. All I'm saying is now that we have such a high sales tax that SMART SHOPPERS are going to take this into account when you make an expensive purchase. You'd be crazy if you didn't. I'd sure hate to be Clarks, Raytown Lawnmower or any other small business that sells big ticket items. The city of Raytown has placed them at a big disadvantage for future sales.

Anonymous said...

Why are we still editting this blog? I have made several comments that I wanted posted to get imput. I am very disappointed that this is how it is going to be. Is the issue the personal attacks that I have made towards others?

I ask as if I learn to keep to my questions and not attacks will my comments start being posted.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know why there always seems to be a Public Water Distinct #2 truck at city hall? Should they instead be up at their own building on Blue Ridge or working some water related issue within their district.

I have checked and city hall is on Raytown Water Company not Public Water District #2.

Anonymous said...

I am concerned that during the past election an elected official was using a vehicle owned by one public entity to campaign for a second public entity.

The underlining issue for me is they work for the one and have been elected by the other and I understand the group for me to contact is the Missouri Ethics Commission.

Does anyone know if this is correct and if so how I would contact them?

Anonymous said...

Don't Raytown cops have some murder cases to solve? I just have to wonder how much effort that they are putting into these cases. Why, you ask? They're all out playing traffic cop, running radar. This makes me wonder if we are using our police resources to the best of our ability?

Anonymous said...

Mr. Anon Apr.16, 2009 10:07pm this is Raytown and not Kansas City. Would you please explain why we should compare the two, as I don’t see the connection? We are two totally different types of cities.

Anonymous said...

To Anon 12:14. IF you knew anything about police procedure you would know that the traffic unit is for traffic and the detective unit is for detecting. You need to remember that the police department as a whole has to enforce all laws, that includes traffic.

Anonymous said...

Maybe we need fewer cops in the traffic unit and more in the detective unit, so we can get these serious crimes solved. Again it looks like we're not utilizing our people the best. No wonder they want to hire more cops. This murder thing is a big negative that seems to be hanging over Raytown's head. Looks like Congressman Cleaver and Brooks think so too.

Anonymous said...

The Missouri Ethics Commission is on line or can be reached under government offices in the phone book. I believe you have a point about the Water District #2 truck that is seen at city hall a lot.

Andy Whiteman said...

Some companies as well as governments allow employees to take home vehicles. For example:

I used to dispatch AT&T employees who took their truck home so they could respond from home without going to the garage.

There is a Jackson County Water truck parked at a residence.

Albuquerque, NM Police took their vehicles home so that they could respond to a call from home.

Restrictions on use must be set my the owners of the vehicle.

Possibably Water District #2 has a vehicle take home policy. In my opinion, if the company allows personal use of the vehicle, it is not an ethics violation, but the question should be asked of the ethics people.

As another poster pointed out, traffic officers are not trained as detectives. Traffic is an important part of police wark. I used to dispatch and due to traffic stops, many wanted individuals and stolen vehicles were apprehended who would not have been apprehended if it wasn't for the traffic stop.

The metro squad worked the murder case and were clueless. As I remember it, the last double homicide took some time to solve. This case could be a cold case or may be resolved in the future from evidence not made public as was the last murder. I hope for a resolution, the sooner, the better.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

The traffic unit in Raytown is one third the size of the detective unit but a much higher number of people are killed in traffic crashes than homicides. There are right around 40000 people killed in crashes every year and homicides are around 20000. But people don't want traffic cops because they give tickets to people so they are unpopular. By the traffic officers being out there they are reducing the severity of the crashes and the overall number of crashes.

If police departments did it right there would be more traffic cops. Crashes cost this country BILLIONS of dollars every year in paying for damage to vehicle, paying for injuries and paying for deaths. A lot of these deaths could be prevented if people would use common sense but that is apparently not possible.

Raytown needs more traffic officers. There are 3 plus a supervisor. There are 9 detectives with 2 supervisors.

Real life crime labs take longer than 30 seconds to get a DNA sample. This is part of the problem with society as well. They watch too much CSI on tv and think that any and every crime can be solved and in 1 hour.

Maybe we should demand the 2 detectives from the new sales tax be traffic officers not detectives and stop some of these needless crashes that are costing lots of money.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the Raytown PD needs to release a bit more information regarding this murder investigation. Maybe someone knows something they don't realize they know, and a bit of information could possibly trigger that memory. I realize that some things can't and shouldn't be released. Not being critical, just a suggestion. Rebecca Perkins

Anonymous said...

These numbers on traffic accidents sound terrific, but how many of these actually occur in Raytown? I still say all Raytown cops want to do is work the school zones or the "speed traps" as I call them. We should have school zones like Kansas City does and the cops would have to work a little harder to catch speeders. My question is why aren't these cops catching the real speeders, the ones that pass you going down Raytown Road about 60 or so? Also there are many neighborhoods that would welcome radar on their streets, but no we don't check these streets. I still think it's all about ticket quotas, they can get their quota a lot faster in a school zone than on a residential street.

Anonymous said...

Our police love to set up "speed traps" in school zones during the time of day when there isn't a kid in sight anywhere near the street. It's like shooting fish in a barrel with a 25 mile per hour school zone. At least with some K.C. school zones the speed goes back to normal at times of the day when the kids aren't actually near the street.

This is lazy police work on the part of our policemen; their time could be better spent in many other areas of the city. It does draw in some revenue, but that really isn't supposed to be the reason for traffic enforcement.

Also, have you ever wondered why the Catholic school (on Gregory) appears to get special attention from our traffic cops? The school is in our city and I have no problem with some traffic enforcement there, but not constantly!

Andy Whiteman said...

Rebecca, releasing information about the homocide investigation could compromise the case. There are details that only the killer(s) know. The police solved the double homocide a few years back without releasing info. I did pick up some info from people at the crime scene.

Anon 11:57 PM, You make many good points. I wonder if Raytown has a traffic detective? Denver does. When my wife was run down, a traffic detective investigated the case.

The problem with drivers is NO COMMON SENSE AND COURTESY. I took a Post Office safe driving class that taught to ASSUME THE OTHER DRIVER IS A COMPLETE IDIOT!

People think that CSI cases on TV only take one hour to solve. They don't stop and think there are 2 or more cases per show. The time per case is actually days or weeks until resolution. The shows don't display time frames but obviously the resolution does not happen in one day. Criminal Minds is obviously more drawn out than one hour when you stop and think that they tarvel to the location and return. Anyone who is really paying attention realizes there is a transition in time from day to evening to night to day to evening to night, etc. Could this all be taking place the same day? Obviously it is over a period of several days. I recall one CSI that covered several nights. Obviously this is case was not resolved in one hour. Cold Case covers many years in one show.

Precious Doe's murder was NOT solved in a day, week, or month. It took years!

Anonymous said...

With the passing of the safety sales taxes and now being able to hire a crime analyist we should be able to slove crimes in just a matter of days. Ha Ha Actually we shouldn't have any crime at all, after all we will be hiring more police to patrol the streets.!!!!

Anonymous said...

I don't care much for the minor league politics of the City of Raytown. Raytown began declining in the late 60s and early 70s. We have never had the best public servants working for us. It is very minor league and generally, we hire those that can't get jobs any where else. So there should be no surprise at poor public policy and municipal programs emanating from Raytown City Hall.

The real problem Raytown will have in the next few years is maintenance and repair of existing infrastructure in this city. Raytown is a financially poor municipality led by those who lack the proper education, but well intended local people. The city government of Raytown is tapped out. There are no additional sales taxes available for use by Raytown. Only potential increases in the property tax levy remain and Raytown City government will run into strong resistance in any additional property taxes to bail them out of decades of financial mismanagement.

The only benefit that we have is that the individuals representing us are not receiving regular media intense coverage. Our city government is being misled and it will show in the next few years. When Raytown becomes bankrupt, we should somehow hold these public officials accountable for this financial mismanagement and they should not be able to walk away after years of this behavior. It cannot be avoided. They have trapped themselves and it will happen. The only thing that will save Raytown is the intelligence of the common citizen.

Under present law, we are not allowed initiative and petition to reconcile the gross mistakes of our city leadership. So unfortunately, all home owners are trapped as well unless they sell and leave the community.

G. Riley

Anonymous said...

G. Riley has" hit the nail on the head" by identifying the problem. These people that are running city hall probably haven't thought this far ahead about future taxing authority, THEY'RE DONE, the only place they have to go is property taxes. I dare them to put that one on the ballot. Who'd be crazy enough to ask for a property tax increase when the value of you home, in Raytown, is dropping daily. Only Mayor Bower and his uneducated, ill informed, city council. I'm going to sell as soon as I can and get away from this sad form of government.

Andy Whiteman said...

Anon 9:12 AM, Will more officers stop crime? If there was an officer standing on every corner, there would still be crime. How about building a wall around the city and requiring ID to enter or leave? Sounds ridicolous, but the Police would know who is in the Fief at any given time and should there be a crime, the gates can be locked down.

G. Riley, Who is electing the officials that we have no recall rights over? The problem starts with the voters. We need intelligent citizens who will vote for intelligent officials. The last election demostrated that most of our citizens are not smart enough to get off their butts and go vote. The leadership and sales tax of the city were decided by a few. In Ward 4 one person one by 13 votes. Pittiful!! Since the Public Safety Sales tax was so
contested, I really expected a larger turn out at the polls. Seems like people can blow off steam here, but don't take the time to vote or express their comments to the BOA.

As for the streets, I just read in the Red Star that one village in England is not repairing pot holes because because pothiles cut down on speeders. Is that the reason for no street repair in Raytown? Actually overlay will be useless on some streets because of areas that have FAILED.

Andy Whiteman

Pat Casady said...

There you go again banging on the police officers and city workers.
All points unfounded. Raytown's police don't just wake up some mornings
and say, I think I will do this or do that. They are given assignments.
The men in black, (or really dark blue) the officers you see on the street
are not detectives.
Everybody that works for the City of Raytown are told what to do by
upper management in City Hall. Those are the people you should complain
to if you are unhappy with the way things are being done.
If you want to complain about the quality of upper management hired you might have something there. Raytown's track record for hiring City Administrators,
Neighborhood Development Directors and developers in the past has cost taxpayers millions. All OK'd by elected officials.
To say our workers can only get jobs in Raytown is just wrong. Other cities and towns
hire our workers away yearly. Everything begins at the top. That top is City Hall.
But, even they have people above them and that's the voters.

Anonymous said...

The reason there are failed streets in Raytown is because there has not been any overlay maintenance in three years in Raytown.

The overlay gives the street surface a new top that protects the base of the street. When that it ignored, the base begins to fall apart.

It is as simple as that.

Election turnout at the polls has been declining in Raytown for many years. The turnout is still affected by the excitement created by the candidates.

The biggest turnout this year was in Ward 4. Coincidentally, that was also the closest race. It outdistanced all other poll totals.

The lowest turnout was in Ward 3 where both candidates ran very inactive campaigns.

Anonymous said...

I didn't intend to bang on the police officer on the street. I'm sure they are just doing what they are told . I believe that the problem is in the command staff about allocation of officers. Marshall Lynch and his captains are the ones responsible. I think they need to "hit the streets" a little more to see where the real problems are. But with an elected marshall he is ACCOUNTABLE TO NO ONE except the voters. So I doubt if things will change much over the next 4 years. Again it just goes to show you what a poor system of government Raytown really has.

Daniel Thode said...

Washington D.C. has cleaned up several of its troublesome areas by increasing police presence in the neighborhoods. At night, the patrol vehicles drive around with the blue lights on constantly so their presence is always felt. The blue lights make one with a guilty conscience think twice before committing a crime. The Police department should be used as a deterrent of future crimes in addition to serving as a reactionary unit. I would like to see that in Raytown. People are much more likely to commit a crime if they think there is no chance of getting caught.

Map out the areas where a disproportionate number of crimes are committed and increase the police presence accordingly. You will decrease crimes exponentially

Attracting new, productive people to the community and retaining the active members we already have requires two things: Low crime rates and a good school system.

Personally, I think the two go hand-in-hand. You can improve your school system by cutting down on the negative, criminal influences in the surrounding areas. MSIP reports show that students at Raytown South High School feel less safe than students at Paseo High School as well as other inner-city schools. That is not something to write home about. As I have asked previously, at what point does school safety become a public safety issue? Must we wait until there is a 75 person brawl at a track meet like Ruskin had a few weeks ago?

Andy Whiteman said...

4/19 10:44 AM, As I recall the voters approved a property tax increase for the Dysfunctiomal School District. If the city tries to do that, most people won't even vote! Call them Apathy.

The city doesn't pay its workers a living wage. That is why other cities are hiring our good workers. We lost a good public works person who had to work 2 other jobs to make ends meet. I have advocated lowering pay for management especially top management and increasing pay of those who do the actual work. This City certainally doesn't need a
$100,000+ tie wearing, chair warming, City Administrator. We need to pay the actual workers a living wage so they aren't hired away. For some strange reason, the BOA is concerned that upper management may be hired away and want to match other cities in regards to salary of these chair warmers. Ridiculous.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Andy and to everyone else: Hang on to your purses and wallets, our Raytown (money squandering) School District is going to ask for ANOTHER property tax increase, most likely next year on the April ballot and it will be a BIG ONE!!!

Andy Whiteman said...

Anon 7:37PM, Thanks for the warning. I hope Mr. Theode nips it in the bud. Anyone who votes for it or doesn't vote at all is a complete idiot.

Hopefully I won't be here by then but if I am, my vote is "NO"

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

They better nip it in the bud my taxes went up $200 last year, and my property down.

I will vote no on this.