Friday, August 28, 2009

Board of Aldermen Increase Property Tax by $140,000

by Greg Walters In a rare early Friday evening meeting the Raytown Board of Aldermen increased the city’s property tax by $140,000. The increased tax will be paid by all property (homes, businesses) within the city limits, as well as all personal property (automobiles, recreational vehicles). The move by the Board was in response to recent devaluation of real property by the Jackson County Property Assessment Department. According to City Finance Director Jeremy Wilmoth the tax per $100 per valuation would increase as follows if the Board approved the bill before them. CITY PROPERTY TAX RATE Old Tax Rate = .3189 New Rate approved by Board of Aldermen = .3668 PARK PROPERTY TAX RATE Old Tax Rate = .1539 New Rate approved by Board of Aldermen = .1832 The increase was approved by a vote of 7 Yes, 2 no and 1 absent: VOTING IN FAVOR OF THE TAX INCREASE: Joe Creamer, Shane Pardue, Pat Ertz, Jim Aziere, Christine White, Charlotte Melson, Jim Hamilton VOTING AGAINST THE TAX INCREASE: Bill Van Buskirk, Michael Lightfoot (Steve Mock was absent) However, the decision was not without controversy. Four private citizens spoke against the tax increase. They pointed to statistics that show that the average homeowner in Raytown, particularly those on fixed incomes, is being squeezed hard by the current recession. The four that took the podium to speak did not hold back. Shirley Whitman questioned why the Board would call a meeting at 6:00 p.m. on a Friday evening to discuss the matter. Her husband, Clem Whitman, spoke personally of retirees who have seen their pensions cut and their medical coverage slashed. He told the Board that Raytowners are hurting financially and could ill afford a property tax increase. Mike Carpino told Board members they should be happy the County did not include foreclosed and abandoned properties in their estimation of property values. He asked the Board to vote no on any proposed tax increase. Former Ward 1 Alderman Greg Walters pointed out that the city has already increased the sewer tax this year, and that electric and natural gas prices are expected to see double digit increases this year. He pointed out that with each increase the city reaps a windfall from the franchise taxes. He told Board members that many Raytowners had lost their jobs or seen their salaries frozen, reduced or hours or work cut -- that many were living “on the bubble” and were in danger of losing their homes. He asked the Board to vote against any tax increase in any form. Ward 4 Alderman Bill VanBuskirk spoke against the increase. He pointed out that the city already has hidden tax increases each time a utility increased its cost. He also suggested that the city should tighten its built and live within its means. THE VIEW FROM HERE . . . This year the Board of Aldermen handed out five percent pay increases across the board to all city employees while most Raytowners were seeing their take home reduced. The Board has made some very questionable decisions that have cost the city. The most recent being the revelation of a $800,000 bailout to bondholders of the Walmart TIF on 350 Highway. Former City Finance Director Dan Estes probably said it best years ago when the city was rolling in cash when he coined the phrase “hogs at the trough” to describe what was happening to city finances. The taxpayers in Raytown did not create the Walmart debacle. They did not create the recession that has shrunk their nest eggs and devalued their property. They do not deserve this tax increase. The majority of the Board of Aldermen was very wrong in what they did last Friday evening. Voters should remember their lack of compassion and arrogance when they go to the polls in two years. What's Next . . . ? Don't forget the Raytown School Board Tax Rate hearing that will be held on Monday, August 31st. They are asking for over $2.00 in property tax increases. The meeting will be held in the School District Headquarters located at 6608 Raytown Road. The meeting begins at 6:00 p.m. This is a public hearing. All in attendance will be given an opportunity to speak.


Anonymous said...

Good article, guys.

I am so tired of our local elected officials selling us out. They act like we can just keep paying these increases for ever.

I will remember each an everyone of them next election.

I also want to thank Aldermen VanBuskirk, Lightfoot and Mock for standing up for us taxpayers by not supporting the tax increase.

Anonymous said...

I too would like to thank Aldermen VanBuskirk, Lightfoot, and Mock for standing up for REAL Raytown people. These 7 aldermen and the mayor are a disgrace to elected officials everywhere. In this tight economy many people are hurting and they just thumbed their noses and said to us they they don't care. I would hope that we would tell each and every one of them that we WILL NOT be supporting them in their re-election efforts.

Andy Whiteman said...

The meeting was deberately held at a time so the public could not attend.

Election time is 2 years away and by that time, this will be forgotten. In 2 years the concern will be raccoons or something equally ridiculous. The voters in Raytown suffer from apathy and I suspect the outcome will be determined by a minority of the registered voters.

Greg said that the taxes went up. At a previous meeting Jeremy Wilmoth said the mill levy would go up but taxes would remain the same. Does he think the citizens are that dumb?

The City Tax is peanuts compared to the Dysfunctional School District. The DSD is really ripping off the taxpayers.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

A special thanks to Mayor Bower for doing an outstanding leadership job and driving the direction of the board to put people first. What a great time to introduce a second tax increase during these economic times. No respect to the low income people. The post keeps printing things from Dawn Weeks, the mayor’s minister, that we need to help those in need. I guess the mayor needs to spend a little more time listening when he is attending Sunday services. Like he will even listen his minister as he will not listen to those that talk to him about the direction of the city. We have all watched the board meetings and seen the deaf ear he gives to those like Andy that address the board. Once a sinner always a sinner.

Justin Tomac said...

I am curious, will $140,000 really have an impact on Raytown? What can the City buy or sustainable service can they provide with $140k? In reality, not much.

Now that it is passed I would like to see some clarity as to where it will be directed...maybe the BoA who voted for this could be more transparent in what this amount will be spent on?

BTW, I am against any new taxes.

Justin Tomac

Anonymous said...

I watched the meeting on television Friday night. It struck me as odd. Two of the councilmembers, Creamer and Aziere, made statements that no one had told them they wanted services cut.

What an odd thing to say.

I wonder if anyone told them they wanted their taxes raised!

Both are up in the next election. I plan to donate to each of their opponents campaigns.

Anonymous said...

The assessed valuation on my home went down 12% this year. The City levy increased less than that. When I do the math I will still pay less City taxes in December than I paid last year.

I heard the meeting on Chanal 7. The city didnt get more money from me when the value of my home increased several years ago and they are nt going to get less from me when the vaule goes down. Something about Hancock protects us in good times and bad.

Insinuating it was a last miniute deal to get more money just isn't true. More people spoke on Friday night than at the regular tuesday night meetign.

Andy Whiteman said...

Thats right. No respect for the Low income people! Raytown is for the rich due to high taxes. I think they would really prefer that low income people don't live here.

Justin, $140K can pay for about 1/9th of a Walmart interest payment on bonds or maybe extra salt and labor to apply the salt after storms. The reality is that Jeremy Wilmoth said at the BOA meeting that if we lower the dollar amount of taxes, it will be frozen at the lower level (except for inflation increases allowed by state law) and cannot be recovered except by a vote of the people. That is why taxes weren't cut. Sounds like he is smart enough to know that the people MIGHT vote NO on another tax increase.

I expected taxes to go down with the lower assessment. City taxes don't bother me that much but there is a moral obligation to spend taxpayer's money wisely and to reduce taxes as assessments go down. What really bothers me is the taxes of the Dysfunctional School District which are so outrageous that people must be rich to live in Raytown.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Guess its time to ask the $800,000 question. How many bone-headed decisions like the plan to underwrite Walmart can this city stand.

We argue about $140,000 when our city council makes deals that cost us $800,000 to bail out Walmart because the store did not open on time.

Other cities have elected officials who actually protect their taxpayers from such stupidity.

We now have the second highest sales tax in the metropolitan area. When the school board throws in like the city does, we will have one of the highest property taxes in the area as well.

What makes it worse is that we are not receiving any upgrade in service for our money. Our streets are the roughest ride. Our code enforcement is spotty at best.

If this is progress we are in deep, deep trouble.

Problem is that appears that at least two-thirds of the city council actually believe they are doing a great job!

I am not sure what the answer to all of this is. But I do know this. The ones running the show now are doing a miserable job.

Andy Whiteman said...

The mill levy could have stayed the same with no cut in services. As Justin said, what diference will $140K make? Hmmmm...Maybe if we got rid of a tie wearing chairmer or two we could save that much money.

Hopefully Justin will run in the next election. I think he would make a good Mayor or Alderman..whichever he wants to run for. Hopefull I won't still own property here 2 years from now. It could be when people see the taxes, they won't buy property in Raytown.

Andy Whiteman

Greg Walters said...

The double-speak in the last post would have made George Orwell proud.

Make no mistake about it. The action the Board of Aldermen took last Friday night increases what the property tax you pay on your home, car, and any recreational vehicles you may own.

In fact, the Board voted down a motion by Ward 4 Alderman Van Buskirk (seconded by Alderman Lightfoot) that would have rejected the increased rate proposed by the Bower administration.

Anyone who tells you that the action by the Board on Friday night "lowered" your tax is telling you a bold-face lie.

Don't forget the school board meeting on Monday at 6:00 p.m.

The increase they are asking for is significant. It will cost those who live in the district over $4 million dollars in tax increases.

The meeting starts at 6:00 p.m. It will be held at the School District's headquarters located at 6608 Raytown Road.

It is a public forum. All who attend will be allowed to address the members of the School Board in an open session.

Daniel Thode said...

There were several things that bothered me as I drove home from the meeting night.

First, I went to the meeting with the intent on speaking against the levy increase. Board members who already had made their decision coupled with such a terrible showing by the public left me unenthused. With the general attitude towards the levy increase and the overwhelming response the subject received on this website, I expected to have trouble even finding a seat when I arrived. Greg or Andy, please check me on this, but I counted 9 people in attendance. I hear the complaints about deliberately holding the hearing at 6 pm on a Friday night to drive down attendance, and that may be true. That aside, I seriously doubt there were only 9 people in a city of 30,000+ that could squeeze an hour into their evening.

Moving on, the previous posters are correct. $140,000 dollars is not going to make or break the city's bank. To me, this was an opportunity to thwart the growing criticism of the city government. If the city truly needs the money, it should not be difficut to convince the voting public that the money is a necessity and put the matter up for a public vote. In these difficult times where 1 in 8 homes is either in delinquency or foreclosure, it is tactfully and, in my opinion, morarally wrong to enact new taxes on people without their consent to do so. Giving the people the choice in a public vote would have, if only temporily, cast a positive light on the Board as one that cares of people. If the people voted down the levy increase, then so be it. It would not have been the end of the world.

Unfortunately, the votes have been cast and the levy has been increased. I do have to give Alderman Creamer and Aziere some credit. They at least gave reasoning, whether I agree or not, as to why they voted the way they did. The remaining supporters did not speak. They did not ask questions. Honestly, and I will not name names, it appeared that some were occasionally checking the clock as if they had more important plans to attend after the hearing. That is simply unacceptable. These elected officials SOLD the public on the idea that they were going to ask the tough questions and convey the ideas of the voters to the board. In order to be heard, you must first stand up and speak.

Greg Walters said...


You are correct. There were nine people in attendance (Andy was not at the meeting).

Given the main focus being on the school board meeting which is scheduled for Monday evening, I am not surprised.

Keep in mind that the School Board also changed their original meeting date last week and rescheduled for next Monday.

Given the muscial chairs they have been playing with the meeting time, don't look for a large crowd there either.

Times have changed. People are hustling very hard just to keep up anymore.

Generally speaking, people are disappointed and distrustful of those that represent them. And who can blame them?

On the federal level, they see a double standard between what is offered as a health care plan that comes no where near what there elected representatives in Washington, DC already enjoy.

On the local level, they see school district spend $1.8 for artificial turf on a sports fields (when most of the athletic world is returning to natural turf) and then hear them sing the blues because they are out of money!

At Raytown City Hall we find out that the city will bail out Walmart to the tune of $800,000. That sucking sound taxpayers will hear this December is tax money that should be used to repair their streets being paid to bond holders because Walmart did not open on time.

And their elected officials at City Hall voted for that agreement with their eyes wide open!

It is not the taxpayers fault.

They should not have to pay one penny more to prop up the nonsense coming out city hall or the school district.

Andy Whiteman said...

Daniel, I wasn't there because being disabled I am on a schedule. 6PM is dinner time. I barely can make it to a 7PM meeting. I already made my statement and asked pointed questions at the previous meeting. Frankly I didn't see the need to repeat myself. It was my father's 100th birthday and I went out to celebrate even thouch he passed 30 years ago. I also felt that the issue had been decided so the meeting was really a sham to meet the legal requirement of a second reading.

Probably the reason people were looking at the clock was because it was a football night. I am not a football fan, but V's Italiano was running a dinner for 2 special because business slacks off on football nights. Somehow I think watching the clock makes time go slower, not faster.

Yes, a turnout of 9 people is pathetic but the time was set to keep people away. Clearly the leaders that be didn't want a big crowd. Public statements could have gone on for over an hour if the meeting was at a decent time.

I am truely surprised that people on this blog will state a strong opinion anonymously but won't state it to the board. There was so much protest here about a tattoo palor and the smoking ban that I really expected a large turn out. There was only one other man to speak on smoking and on on the tattoo palor. Since these were "important issues" to people, I expected to see a turn out. I have asked before why people didn't come to the BOA and was told they have better things to do. Well, so do I but I am usually there. One young lady told me she saw me on TV. I asked her why she didn't come to a meeting. She said that she wasn't smart enough and didn't have time. I told her I could believe not having time but I couldn't believe she wasn't smart enough.

This city is so full of apathy that it is pathetic.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Andy. I would have gone to the meeting too. But I cannot drive at night.

I am retired. So my ability to earn more to keep up with inflation is really hampered. This year I've seen an increase in my sewer bill, my sales tax, and now on my property tax. I've also received a notice from the Missouri Public Service commission that the kcpl wants another increase.

I am not broke, but the value of my property has decreased dramatically. Especially my non-earned income.

A lot of my friends are not as fortunate as I am. Some are afraid of losing their home. I expected better from my newly elected alderman. Believe me when I tell you he will not fool me again.

Pat Casady said...

There you have it!
The main reason this town is going away.
We have two maybe three board members that really
think before they vote. They think what will this do to the
people of Raytown?
We have seven board members that clearly don't listen to
the people and don't see the deterioration going on in Raytown.
They, along with the school board still think the economy is good
and go on with the spending of taxpayers dollars as they see fit.
A good example is the "Gateway" projects. Yes, the streets need
to be repaired but, do we really need to spend tens of thousands on
monuments at each corner? I'm surprised these monuments don't
have an engraving on them with the names of these bad decision
For sure there are to many "Hogs at the trough" seven too many.
This is truly "taxation without representation." we all ought to save
our tea bags and dump them on the City Hall lawn. But, we can't
forget how the school board will contribute to Raytown's demise.
We should give them a tea party too.

Anonymous said...

You need to understand two of the newly elected officals(Van Buskirk and Lightfoot) voted aganist this levy rollout better known as a TAX INCREASE the remainder voted for it. Mock was not there. These seven rats are the ones we need to get rid of.

Daniel Thode said...


Just to clarify. I was not attacking you for not being at the meeting. I took your above comments to mean that you were present. I was about 10 minutes late; so, for all I knew, you had come to say your piece and left. You regularly attend the meetings and appear to be a stand-up member of this community. My apologies for the confusion.

As for the School Board, I see their claim for a levy increase in a different light than I did the City's claim. I am completely in agreement with you Greg that the new turf was a terrible investment. Logical thinking would lead you that given a string of poor investments (a new elementary school that has not opened) there is no way the District is so strapped for cash given , they would drastically increase the tax levy. However, if the Board has made so many poor financial choices that not raising the level would further weaken the educational system, then the levy needs to be raised. You can not and should not hold poor decisions of an administration against the students, the strong majority of which are not old enough to vote for those who represent them. If that is the case, and I am not well-versed in the financial statements of the District so I do not know one way or another, then the levy should be raised. BUT, it should be raised by public vote, not my administrative decree. The public always is willing to support the kids. If there is a legitimate need for a levy increase, then it should not be difficult to campaign for it. Prove you have tightened your belts. Prove the value of the education provided will be adversely affected without the money. Do those two things and the votes will be there.

Anonymous said...

The reason that the public did not attened is more than likely because they did not know about this meeting. Not everybody especially the elderly has cable because it is an expense they do not need. The reason is probably because they put it in the Raytown Post and no one gets it any more and if on the outside chance you do it comes out so late that you already committed for that time and day. I know I will not spend my time and money to go out and buy one of those papers anymore. They are a joke for the most part.

Andy Whiteman said...

I listened to Mary Jane VanBuskirk at the School Board meeting and think she would make an excellant mayor. I asked her about running and she denied it. My opinion is on one will really know who is running until the deadline for filing. If I am still a property owner then, I will vote for her.

Pat, Unfortunately one of the Aldermen who did THINK before voting was not elected this time. Things could be different with a vote of 4 to 6. If Mock wasn't absent and Greg was there if could have been 5 to 5 forcing the Mayor to make a decision.

Dan, No offense taken. I had no knowledge of how many were there and I wanted it on the record as to why I wasn't there. I think it was an untimely hour for many people. Actually I felt the decision had already been made, the meeting was a sham, and there was no sense wasting my time and the time of others speaking since I had already spoken.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

As a school district employee, the "chair warmers" will never change their spending habits! I have watched over the years towards the end of the school year, teachers being told to spend the rest of the "handed" out money to them or they won't get as much money the next fiscal year if they have money left in there coffers. I have watched them throw books and supplies in the dumpster (that are good and not outdated) and turn around and re- order the same supplies. It is sickening!!

The kids have everything they need and more. A large part of the taxes go to the big salaries at the admin. building. We notice after a new levey tax increase, the "big shots" drive new cars! Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!!

Andy Whiteman said...

8:44PM, I believe you. That means the board was really lying tonight. They claimed how supplies were cut back and the students couldn't use the printer. The claim was made that the chairwarmer vacant positions were NOT filled and the duties picked up by others. They claim it is "for the children" but it really is for the chairwarmers. I didn't believe most of what that board said.

My father and I both worked in government and you are correct that if you don't spend it this year it won't be there next year.

It is a shame (and should be illegal) to throw out books and supplies. There are areas of the world and even this country where people would appreciate textbooks and supplies! This stuff should be sent where they can be used.

The board sure didn't comment on buying Astroturf and an unsafe building but they claim they are saving on copy paper. A State Audit is needed!

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Uh, Daniel, the new elementary school opened for students on August 17 just like all of the other elementary schools.

Anonymous said...

So what transpired at the school board meeting? Let me guess, they raised our taxes after we got a tax reduction? Thanks! Just what we wanted. Leave the stadiums open so that I can play on my new astroturf too, as I am a taxpayer and have that right now!

Anonymous said...

"Uh, Daniel,"

So typical. The writer knows that even though they got their way and raised property taxes to a new high in Raytown, he or she, thinks that by nit-picking anothers statement will keep people from noticing.

Not this time.

Elections may be two years away. But I don't think the voters will forget what has been done to them this past week.

When they reached out, you turned your back.

Last night Mack and Thode were the only two on the school board who would listen. The rest of them voted to raise our property taxes through the roof.

The rest are no better than that gang of seven at city hall.

Daniel Thode said...

I apologize for my misstatement of fact. I was under the impression earlier in the summer that the school would not open and assumed that occurred. I suppose that is what you get for assuming though, right?

That aside, the meeting went as predicted by the poster above. Mrs. Mack and Mr. Thode dissented, Rick Moore was absent, and the remaining four voted in favor of the tax levy.

In her comments, Mrs. Mack made an appeal to the emotional side. She cited financial struggles in her own home and eloquently stated that you simply cannot take money from people during these times. Additionally, she eluded to cutbacks that are attempting to be made currently in the schools. She also acknowledged the hard work that Mr. Markley is doing on the board

Mr. Thode appealed to the political/business side with a "Dont tell, ask" presentation. He produced the transcript from the Lee's Summit Tax levy hearing which showed that Lee's Summit cut over 9 million dollars in their budget, raised their levy only 1.5 million dollars and are now operating with a million dollar surplus. He said that we need to cut dollars from our budget and the levy still needs to be raised, then the Board of 7 should "ask" the public for the funds through a public vote where 30,000 people could decide. He concluded by stating that there may come a time where the Board does need to ask for an even greater amount of money for capital improvements and the people, who always have been supportive, will answer with a resounding "No."

Those in approval of the measure spoke with a similar tone. They expressed that without the funding, the hinderance of properly educating the children is inevitable.

Dr. Markley spoke in favor of the levy increase, but did say that it is the goal of the administration to have a balanced budget in two years
Notable speakers in favor of the levy increase were former super-intendant, Dr. Mike Watkins.

Notable speakers opposing the levy increase were Mr. Andy Whiteman, Mrs. Mary Jane VanBuskirk Mr. Al Walters, and Mr. Richard Tush

The levy passed with a vote of 4-2

Pat Casady said...

Not one single thing will ever change until the spenders
and wasters are voted OUT!
I absolutely don't understand how the school board could
possibility say they can justify a tax increase after spending a million taxpayer dollars on artificial turf. I mean how can they look the public
in the eye and ask for more money?
City Hall voted to raise property taxes, after giving away millions in income.
You can't blame the economy for bad decisions and turf! This sets right at the steps of the School Board and City Hall. It's not the fault of the taxpayers.
It is every elected official that votes to milk the taxpayers to pay for their shortsightedness and inability to handle taxpayer money along with their bad decisions.
You should all know by now, all decisions are made before the so called public meetings. The meeting to here what the public thinks is just a show to make the people think they are contributing. Our elected officials
don't give a damn what you or I think. The only way the people can be heard is to vote out the old spenders and vote in new people that will do what the people want.
Ask yourself this, would you spend other peoples money like these people have?
We vote for and expect our leaders to work for the people. Instead we have leaders that put turf ahead of education. Leaders that put big corporations ahead of the people and services.

Anonymous said...

There are savings in the artifical turf in the long run. No mowing, watering and upkeep costs. Plus painting of the lines several times a season. They will be able to play soccer and football on these fields without the fields being torn up at all. So instead of having to mow, water and reseed a soccer and football field for each school, there are 2 fields that need very little upkeep. Yes it was a big initial expense bit makes sense in the long run. And more and more high schools are going to this newer type of synthetic turf. Its not like the old carpet and thin pad on asphalt. This is much different and much better.

Andy Whiteman said...

I feel the School Board meeting was a sham! Aug 31 is clearly too late to meet the Sept. 1 deadline to get the paperwork to the county should the measure not pass. Clearly it was predicided.

I didn't time the speakers but it seemed like those speaking for the increase received more than the allowed 3 minutes. It took Mr. Watkins almost that long to just state his qualifications.

There are 2 problems here:
1) The voters have a very short memory, Two years form now this will be forgotten. Even if the election was this year, it would still be forgotten!
2) Very few people in Raytown vote; therefore, a minority will decide for all.

This applies for the BOA as well.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

People, this is and has been slowly becoming our worst nightmare. These people on the Board of Education have been entrusted with overseeing not only the daily operation of the school district, but also overseeing the educators and teachers that are supposed to be teaching the children of this school district. There has been a real lack of common sense exhibited here on the last several issues, the last two are the most absurd, asinine things that a elected body could have ever done. Let’s get realistic people, this school district has functioned for over 100 years without Astroturf. This was the biggest waste of money yet! And when the taxpayers are down on their luck, property values go down, what do you do, kick them when they are down, raise taxes up so that you can continue with spending like business as usual. And you all are in charge of teaching the children? What? How to go into debt, and spend other peoples money foolishly? Guess what, I will remember at the polls to vote every last one of you BUMBS OUT, including all of the Board of Education, Board of Aldermen, and especially the Mayor! What a sorry excuse!!!!!! More of a reason every day to get out of town, and away from this type of mindset!

Anonymous said...

I was not in support of the levy increase. Not being able to attend last night, I voiced my opinion to several board members in person in the weeks leading up to the meeting. While I applaud some of the belt-tightening moves they have made, I think they have more they can do. I also found it offensive that the district went to court to have valuation decreases reversed when they never had any problems in the past when valuations rose. They really should have found a way to bring this to the voters. They didn't and now those who voted to approve the increase can have a chance to explain it to the voters next year.

Anonymous said...

As I understand our school district spent $7,000 as their part on the lawsuit against the county. I further understand the decision or at least recommendation came from the superintendent. We should all be reminded who earns over $100,000 a year. My recommendation as a taxpayer is to deduct this from his salary to send the message action and / or recommendations like this will no longer is acceptable. Why should we the taxpayers pay for this type of thinking?

Anonymous said...

Besides Mr. Watkins, who as Andy indicated spent more time talking about himself then his position, Mr. Larry Edwards spoke in favor of an increase in the mil. The justification Mr. Edwards presented was that we are already pay the amount so increasing the mil would just keep the expense to us property owners the same as it is. He reminded us it really is not a tax increase. I am very confused because an increase in the mil does have a direct impact on the taxes I pay. If not then the increase in the mil would be providing several additional millions of dollars for the school district.

Anonymous said...

Make no mistake about it. The mil levy increase is a tax increase.

Had the city councl and school district not made the change your tax would be significantly lower.

Cathy Mack made an interesting point last night. She point out tht one in ten homes in Raytown is in foreclosure. (Mack voted AGAINST the tax increase)

How many more people will lose their homes because of the greed of our elected officials?

Larry Edwards. I have a bridge you might be interested in buying. It sounds like the type of investment you would be interested in!

Anonymous said...

Actually 12:45,

It was Rick Thode who pointed out the foreclosure and delinquency rate in the city. It was 1 in 10 homes. Mr. Thode said that it is now 1 in 8 homes. He, too, voted against the levy increase

Anonymous said...

Mr. Edwards talked about young people getting an education they would not end up in prison. Mr. Edwards education has nothing to do with prison. It is a personal choice these people make about the kind of lives they lead. You need to get educated yourself about what the BOE and city are really doing to families in our city..

Anonymous said...

Question? By this levy increase, does this mean the tax payers get to vote on this or does the tax just "kick in" and when?

1.5 mill for astro turf is the dumbest thing I have ever seen! The cost and the up keep of real grass is cheaper. You can buy a lot of paint, seed and water before you reach 1.5 mil! Also, it helps with air quality, releasing oxygen, fake turf does not!! I seen the school district isn't thinking green! What a waste of MY money!!!!!!

Andy Whiteman said...

Is the Brooklyn Bridge still for sale? I think the BOE would be dumb enough to buy it.

A mill levy increase is keeping the taxable dollars the same, but they tax is too d@%ñ high and should come down. It is at the point where only the rich can affort to live in Raytown.

Apparently, "Its for the children are magic words." We need to reword, "It is for the tie wearing chair warmers making $180K/yr and wasting $7000 by suing the county." The board has hired intellectual idiots.

Andy Whiteman

Pat Casady said...

"Taxation without representation" is not new to us Raytown
property owners. After all we have had a city government
with elected officials that haven't "represented" the people
for many years.
Before our leaders raised the property tax, how many of them
asked their constituency what they thought about the increase
before they voted for it? My guess would be none.
No representation! Hasn't been, won't be.......until these people are voted out and some clear thinking people that aren't afraid of doing right by and for the people.

Anonymous said...

To September 1, 2009 8:14 PM

Apparently you don't think the exhaust fumes from mowing the fields 2-3 times a week harms the environment. Wake up and realize you have no idea what you are talking about. These fields will pay for them self in a short amount of time and are 'greener' to the environment. You must be one of those people who thinks there is global warming. Well this summer has been pretty nice. The temperatures are going to flucuate. GW is just a liberal atteampt to further make this country a socialist state.

Andy Whiteman said...

Is the Brooklyn Bridge still for sale? I think the BOE would be dumb enough to buy it.

A mill levy increase is keeping the taxable dollars the same, but they tax is too darn high and should come down. It is at the point where only the rich can afford to live in Raytown.

Apparently, "Its for the children are magic words." We need to reword, "It is for the tie wearing chair warmers making $180K/yr and wasting $7000 by suing the county." The board has hired intellectual simpleton.

Andy Whiteman

Greg Walters said...

The Raytown Post announced yesterday that it was ceasing operation immediately.

The owners of the weekly news paper stated on their website that the weakened economy has forced the decision.

Anonymous said...

I heard the mayor made a great case of why the school board shouldn’t have raised our property taxes. Oh no, not Bower I understand he didn’t even show up to work with the school board as he has so many times in the past promised. The mayor I was referring to is our next mayor, Mary Jane Van Buskirk. Again from what I heard we all should be proud of how she actually represents the working and poor of Raytown not her own self interest.

Anonymous said...

Its obvious to me that Mayor Cower will not be re--elected. My sources tell me that there is a group persuading MaryJane Van Buskirk to run for that job and that Will Kraus actually is going to run even thgouh he publicly said no. And following the schoolboard meeting the other night, there is a group encouraging Rick Thode to run for a higher office where he may actually be able to do some good. Could we have a Bower, Van Buskirk, Kraus, Thode election? Greg, are you planning on running again too? Are their any other potential candidates?

Anonymous said...

How much longer, how much more money will it cost
before the people of Raytown have been punished enough
for electing these people on the school board and city council.

Anonymous said...

In a way I'm sad to see the Post close, but it really hasn't been much of a newspaper since Lee Gray left. Lee was always looking for the news behind the story. He was a no-nonsense type of reporter and editor and didn't care who's "toes he stepped on", he just reported the news as it was. He kept city hall and the school district honest. The paper has continued to fade away over the past few years. I know it hasn't been thrown in our neighborhood for about 2 years. Another piece of Raytown's history bites the dust.

Anonymous said...

From the Raytown Post

“Effective immediately The Raytown Post is ceasing publication and operations.

Since taking over as owners in late 2008 Jason Whitaker and Ben Felder have seen steady growth in circulation by The Post and have been able to achieve massive redesigns of both the printed edition and website ( However, in today’s slumping economy the challenge of declining advertising revenues have been too great and have resulted in the closing of The Post which has been in operation since 1975.

“I think we were able to produce one of the best papers this town has seen and the doubling of our readership over the past several months attested to that fact,” said Felder. “But this was also one of the worst economies this town has ever seen and it was growing more and more apparent that the local advertising dollars could no longer sustain a newspaper in Raytown.”

In the summer of 2008 The Raytown Tribune ceased publication. A few months later John Ivy, The Post’s former owner, announced he was closing The Post. Whitaker and Felder purchased The Post in November 2008 hoping to keep a weekly newspaper alive in Raytown which has had a newspaper in some form for nearly 75 years.

The Post will be wrapping up its operations over the next several weeks. Subscribers to The Post will be contacted regarding remaining balances and advertisers will also be contacted regarding outstanding advertising fees.”

Seems like good news to me! No longer will we have a paper that only wants to print the good things happening at city hall and not all of the disaster that the last two administrations have brought upon us the taxpayers.

They also had a habit of spending to much time blowing the “SO CALLED” good news for Alderman Shane Pardue and Representative Will Kraus. The issue I have with this is Shane has yet to do anything since being elected. Drive by his home he can not even maintain it, but complains at board meetings the issue with property maintenance is landlords. Will was often listed in the Post for all the good he was doing. I guess Ben should have actually visited Jefferson City and not taken Mr. Kraus at his word. Funny the bills and votes out of Jefferson City just don’t support what Will wants us to believe.

By the way can not say I didn’t see this one coming. I know Ben would like us to believe circulation was up, but it seems in the last year harder and harder to find the paper. We also should all take note that the advertisement in the paper had all by dried up under John Ivy and no one had the foresight to see without it the paper was doomed. In other words the economy was not the end of this paper, but the poor circulation and lack of advertisement. However, who is going to advertise in a paper that has very little circulation.

Pat Casady said...

I feel badly for the Raytown Post and Ben and Jason.
It's sad that they are closing up shop especially when it could have done
great work for the people of Raytown.
This is only my opinion but I feel they chose not to show their
readers the bad side of Raytown's government and it's spending
and waste. Some could say they took the highroad but, I felt they
let the people down in that direction.
I do feel they did a better job than the last guys that owned the Post.
However if they had printed the good along with the bad, the stupid
decisions along with the good decisions this cities government
made and pointed out the lack of leadership on the board, they would have
sold more papers than ever before.
They chose to go a different way. Still, I will miss the the Raytown Post.

Overworked Underpayed Taxpayer said...

I heard last Friday night that Raytown South didn’t win their home game. I guess that money spent on the new field really didn’t help anyone or did it. Seems very bad timing that the board approved spending that kind of money with the economy in the shape it is in. Heard some want and audit of the school district. I think we would also need an audit of each school board member and the administrators. I want to make sure the company we bought those nice fields from didn’t give anyone a kick back. Again in this economy what are any of us who work hard and don’t earn 100,000 plus a year to think!

Anonymous said...

Has anyone thought that maybe Will really is not running? He wouldn’t want to accept a lower paying job that is bellow him and his thinking.

As for me the only clear choice is Mary Jane Van Buskirk. She is not afraid to stand up for the citizen of Raytown, which is what we all need.

Mr. Thode please hang in there! I know you often find yourself as the only voice of reason, but there are those who will not forget who increased our taxes. Together we can find candidates who represent the people not their former employer like Mr. Landers and Ms. Tittle.

We also need to remind the board that the superintendent service at your leisure and pleasure not the other way around. This guy needs to be reminded of this as we the taxpayers need to remind Bobbie Saulsberry
this April that she serves at our leisure and pleasure and we were not please Monday night by the abuse she gave to our hard earned dollars. It should also be noted that Bobbie Saulsberry seems to have issues paying her own property taxes. Yes, this is public information and as an elected official she needs to be held accountable. I guess she doesn’t care if she voted to raise our taxes when she don’t have expectations of paying hers in any timely manor.

Anonymous said...

Once the mayor candidates officially announce will the city attorney and administrator meet with them as they did with at least one alderman candidate in the last city election. I guess you can not blame them for wanting to meet their future boss.

Anonymous said...

I would like to know if Mayor Bower and Superindent of Schools Markley spend sleepless night like I do wondering how much longer I can hold on. I mean my house, put food on the table,clothes on my childrens back, pay utilities(which keep going up) not to mention the stress of trying to keep my job. Now we have the added stress of the TAX INCREASE you have inposed on us. The BOA thinks a tatoo palor is just what the city needs. I have talked to a real estate agent and was told this would bring down the value of our property even more. When is all going to end!!! How much more do you think we can take before we snap? Are any of you capable of making some good sound decisions for the sake of the citizens and the city? Mike Carpino stated at the BOE meeting that food is now being taken to some senior citizens who don't have the finicinal means to furnish well balanced meals for themeslves. Bower and Markley those could be your parents some day or worse yet YOU!!!! We need some sound leadership in the city and school which is evident the two of you can not provide.

Anonymous said...

I am sorry to loose the cities only newspaper. I feel if they had done accurate reporting and shown both sides of an issue they may have survived. Here is a prine example that it just doesn't pay to be in the mayors hip pocket!!!

Anonymous said...

Why did Superindent Markley have his name plate at the Monday nights meeting turned sideways?? Afarid he would be sent out of town on a rail if we know who he was? The BOE has made one cut by not replacing one of the building principals and they want us to think they have made a
big cut! When my son started high school here and enrollment was higher then, they had one principal and one assistant and they got the job done. Actually more efficently then is being done now. It was because they had backbone!!!

Anonymous said...

Here is some sound advice for the city and school TIGHTEN YOUR BELT, STOP SPENDING MONEY!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 9:27A.M. This sure sounds illegal to me. Think we need to investigate this further. We may need to fire several of the city employees for illegal conduct.They sure didn't follow the code of ethics.

Anonymous said...

I believe a meeting with only select candidates at the request of the city attorney or city administrator would be illegal, which is what I hear on the street is what happened. I don’t believe any candidate meeting with them who has requested the meeting would be wrong as they should meet with any of us, residence of the city, upon request.

Anonymous said...

Why do elected officials like the president of the school board believe through their proven actions that they do not have to pay tax or pay them in a timely manor?

This has me wondering how many property owners within the Raytown School District are behind on paying their taxes and what is the overall negative impact that those of us that do pay are taxes are having to pickup.

Something needs to be done about these individuals and something needs to be done to remove Mrs. Bobbie Saulsberry from the board if she cannot pay her taxes. Her practice is unacceptable in society and she should be ashamed to show her face in public for sealing from the rest of us who pay our tax and pay them on time.

Andy Whiteman said...

I am sorry to see the Raytown Post go. One of the previous writers seems to think the Post should be free. A business can't work that way. I didn't read the Post until it became a paid publication and delivered properly. I really didn't appreciate the 2 rags littered in the driveways and cutters. I saw some homes where these "papers" lay in the gutter or driveway for months. They were never read except obviously by a previous poster!

I will miss a local paper! Now there will be none with no place for the Fascist Fief and Rip Off school district to place their legal notices except the Red Star and who can afford the Red Star?

Basically this blog will be the only source of local news. I told a city official that and he/she said, "How do you know if someone is posting the truth?"

Ben, if you are reading this, I suggest you have a professional audit your books.
I think Rick Thode would be good on both the BOE and BOA if he has the time. I know the BOA is more time consuming than people think. It is not just a 2-4 hour meeting twice a month. I assume that the BOE is also time consuming if done properly.

The BOE should be required to pass a course in Economics 101. All but 2 acted like complete simpletons.

I haven't seen the properties of the Aldermen who say violations are by landlords, but maybe they should sell to someone and rent back. Then the landlord would be responsible for maintenance.

RIP Raytown Post

Anonymous said...

The Mayor, Superintendent Markley, Christine White, Jim Aziere, Jim Hamilton, Joe Creamer, Pat Ertz, Shane Par-Due and Charlotte Melson along with most of the School Board, don't care what we think.

They don't care how much it hurts the elderly, the poor or those of us on a fixed income.

They just don't care!

The only hope we have is that this is making some of their friends mad enough that even they won't vote for these people any more. These two boards are in a spending contest and the losers are the taxpayers.

Anonymous said...

I think Will may run for mayor as he needs some kind of job and even for qualified people they are hard to find right now. Guess he could enlist in the service. I don't think they want him at Jeff City anymore.

Anonymous said...

I guess the school district no longer holds the students accountable for lack of respect. I mean based on what I saw Monday night from the greater majority of the school board members and their lack of respect towards the hard working folks of Raytown.

It is no wonder when I drive past Raytown Plaza on a weekend night or any night past Kenagy Park at the 79th Street entrance there are large groups of teenagers up to no good. I guess Mr. Larry Edwards must not travel past these areas being he has an illusion that as long as we keep pumping money into the school system these teens won’t turn into criminals. Mr. Edwards needs to do a ride along with the Raytown police who I am sure can give him a swift kick to wake him up about the reality of the world we live in. It should be noted the teens at both areas love to leave trash all over the place as well as have a tendency to get into fights.

At Raytown Plaza one can see the results of parking lot golf with the damage to the windows of the old IGA. Parking lot golf as what I witnessed one night is played with a normal golf club nine iron appeared to be club of choice and a nice rock slightly larger then a golf ball. So if any parents take the time to check their teens cars and find so golf clubs that are slightly damaged you may assume correctly that you child has taken up this unique sport.

Kenagy appears to be the marijuana capital in Raytown. I know the police are aware of the issue, but catching those with it seems to be a challenge. My thought is a large raid as these teens need to remember this is city property so don’t bring your weed if you don’t want to deal with the man. I guess that is separate issues and will have to wait until we find a police chief with some backbone and am concerned about the city and not enjoying his paycheck.

For those visiting Kenagy park the teens in question are the ones who hang out towards the middle of the parking lot. When they see a cop or others pull in the weed goes out, but the distinct smell still lingers for a while. We don’t need this going on in the parks and by our teens. Mr. Larry Edwards told all that we wouldn’t create future criminals if we increase taxes, but I guess he was wrong.

Maybe Mr. Edwards can take the time to help catch these bad apples and make our city safer for all. It should be noted Mr. Edwards also supported the “Public Safety Tax”. I guess that tax is not helping keep either of these places safe or our kids form the negative influences in the world, which I am willing to bet are more likely in impact who grows up and goes to jail Vs. the money a community through at education.

Andy Whiteman said...

I thought Larry Edwards was equating the schools to jails because the kids are kept in school (which is a jail) all day and off the streets. They get into mischief after being let out of jail in the afternoon.

Is someone rewording these posts? I noticed one of my words was changed to a word I never would use. Maybe this blog is hacked?

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

This is what I heard on the street about the meeting with the adlerman candidate. It was the mayor, city administrator and city attorney that wanted to meet with the candidate. They are the ones who wanted the meeting. Sounds like all three of them had their hand in the cookie jar and got caught. It's time to clean up city hall.

Anonymous said...

I watched the Dr. Phil show and I believe it was last week, when he had a show on about how sex relieves stress. The citizens should be stress free as we have been screwed three times in the past two weeks. Twice by the city and once by the board of education. We should all be happy and be smiling.

Pat Casady said...

To Anonymous 9:07,
I'm not defending them but, what makes it so bad that
the Mayor, City administrator and city lawyer talked to the

Anonymous said...

I am not 9:07, but the word on the street is the mayor called the meeting with just those candidates he was supporting under the table. Had he and the others city officials included in the meeting meet with all candidates then there wouldn’t seem that something was inappropriate going on. However, from what I have seen from Bower I don’t think any of us should trust him seems to be a back stabber who says one thing and does another. Sorry I voted for him, as all we ended up getting was a male version of Sue Frank.

Anonymous said...

Bower is not to be trusted, he goes around with blinders on telling the public how great everything is. This guy hasn't got a clue about what it takes to be a great mayor. You should talk to some of the other city officials that know him. He's not very well thought of outside of Raytown. Sure wish we could get Willard Ross back, he got things done and didn't raise our taxes.

Anonymous said...

Not only did Willard get things done in a timely manner he also did it with a lot smaller staff and he returned calls quickly.

Anonymous said...

Lee Gray maybe it's time to come out of retirement, or Greg here is your chance to start a newspaper.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry that a lot of you voted for Bower. I am not sorry at all that I voted for Greg Walters. I just wish that you people could see that back at election time. Hindsight huh?

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