Sunday, February 7, 2010

In This Week's Raytown Report . . .

School Board Candidate Pays Off Delinquent Tax Bill An Opportunity for City Hall Thank You, Sue Frank High School Sports / Youth News Poll Results
Community Billboard Announcement
The Raytown Girls Softball League will hold signups for their 9 a.m. to 12 noon at Raytown Middle School located at 4900 Pittman Road. Individuals and teams (T-Ball through Adult) are welcome.
Please use this link for more information
School Board Candidate Pays Delinquent Tax Bill Last week we reported that two of three candidates for the Raytown School Board were delinquent in their payment of property taxes to Jackson County, Missouri. State statutes require that all candidates for public office must be current in their payment of tax obligations before they are allowed on a ballot for election. The pertinent section of the state statute reads (in part): Missouri Revised Statutes Chapter 115 Election Authorities and Conduct of Elections The department shall notify the candidate of the outstanding tax owed and give the candidate thirty days to remit any such outstanding taxes owed which are not the subject of dispute between the department and the candidate. If the candidate fails to remit such amounts in full within thirty days, the candidate shall be disqualified from participating in the current election and barred from refiling for an entire election cycle even if the individual pays all of the outstanding taxes that were the subject of the complaint. Jackson County property taxes records show that of last week, one of the two candidates has since paid her delinquent property taxes.Two days after the Raytown Report broke the story, incumbent Raytown School Board member Bobbie J. Saulsberry paid $735.96 (of which $68.36 was a late fee penalty) to Jackson County, Missouri for payment of delinquent property taxes. The other candidate filed, but still delinquent in payment of property taxes, is Nancy Eyerly. According to Jackson County records, $353.19 is delinquent in property tax. There has been no official word from the School District offices regarding whether or not either candidate will be placed on the ballot. Or, if both candidates have been contacted regarding the delinquent taxes and their option to make late payments to remain on the ballot. Jackson County Election Board officials have contacted the School District to remind them of their (the School District’s) responsibility in enforcement of state statutes in the qualification of candidates for election. An Opportunity for City Hall As noted in last week’s Raytown Report, City Attorney Nancy Thompson has put in her notice that she will be moving on to another job in Riverside, Missouri.The vacancy presents an opportunity for our elected officials. A common complaint about the upper management of Raytown City Hall is that all but one of the appointed department heads do NOT live in Raytown. It has not always been so. Up until 1997, when then Mayor Jack Nesbitt pushed through a change allowing the residency rule to be set aside, ALL of Raytown’s Department heads lived within the city limits. The problem is that when a new hire is not required to establish roots within the community that often times their resume’ is out within a relatively short time of the hiring. This creates a revolving door in the upper levels of management. A situation that is not conducive to stable management practices. A quick check of the metropolitan area shows that most communities on both sides of the state line require upper management to take up residence in the city they serve. The simple fact is that Raytown is the exception – not the rule. The turnover at Raytown City Hall emphasizes the need to re-think this policy. It would also help to keep some of our tax dollars at home. Upper management positions at Raytown City Hall start at $70,000 upwards to over $100,000 annually. Undoubtedly, City Administrator Mahesh Sharma will do a thorough search of candidates for the position of City Attorney. As he should. But it is also an opportunity for the Board of Aldermen to step up and grasp the opportunity to re-instate the residency requirement of appointed city officials. The most painless way to do so is to make one of the parameters of the City Administrator's for a new city attorney to include a residency requirement. Thank You, Sue Frank Last week we mentioned the need to take down Christmas decorations. One of our readers contacted us to let us know that former Mayor Frank has taken down the banner wishing all a Merry Christmas on behalf of the Downtown Main Street Association. The Main Street Association sponsored the highly successful scavenger hunt this past holiday season in which local merchants gave away over $3,000 in prizes. We hope to see the banner back up next year. High School Sports / Youth News Girls Basketball: O’Hara 58 / St. Teresa’s Academy 39 by Brother Richard Geimer On the first day of February, the Lady Celtics won a 58-39 game with the Stars from Saint Teresa's Academy on the O'Hara home court. Building up an immediate 14-4 score for a ten point edge, O'Hara maintained the margin by the end of the first quarter 22-12.Except for three 3-pointers in the second quarter, the Celtics held their opponents to six points. However only Hailey Houser and Breanna Ransburg scored any points for the home team and O'Hara's lead was narrowed to four points at halftime 31-27.The Stars scored the first two tallies of the third quarter to make it a two-point game. Then the Celtics went on a 21-1 run throughout the third quarter and well into the fourth quarter to bring the score to 52-30!Along the way, Victoria Hurtt surprised the crowd with a sky hook to close out the third quarter. Six Celtics pumped in the winners' points: Alex Smith with 14, Hailey Houser with 12, Cameron Randle with 9, Ashley Clark & Victoria Hurtt with 8 apiece, and Breanna Ransburg with 7. Raytown South Cardinals 64 / Belton 31 At first it seemed that the game plan for Raytown South was simple: pass the ball to Joe Cooper.Cooper scored seven first quarter points on Tuesday against Belton as he easily put up shots over the height-challenged Pirates. The Cardinals cruised to an 8-0 lead but Belton put a stop to Ray-South's game plan and caught up for a 14-14 tie to end the first quarter. "That's always the plan," Coach Brad Oestreich said about feeding the ball to six-foot-11-inch Cooper. "We were doing a good job at first but there was a loss of focus." For the rest of this story and other Raytown South Sports News use this link Raytown South High School Last Week’s Poll Question Should candidates delinquent in property tax payments be removed from the ballot? Yes . . . . . . 91% No . . . . . . . 7% Unsure . . . . 1%


Robbie Tubbs said...

In your editorial about Department Heads in Raytown, you wrote, “The simple fact is that Raytown is the exception – not the rule”. This statement is true about many things in Raytown: code enforcement, recycling, smoking in public buildings, and snow removal. City Hall is a mess!

Andy Whiteman said...

I am sorry to see Mrs. Thompson leave. She was well qualified.

I have been at several BOA meetings where the city attorney was required to decide if the Board was actually voting on the ordinance or an amendment to the ordinance. It shocks me that 11 adult people don't know what they are talking about and require an attorney to make a decision.

I hope that on filling her vacancy the BOA has the foresight to lower executive pay for new hires as well as requiring Department heads to reside in the city that pays them. I mean really live in Raytown, not rent an apartment which might be occupied for lunch as was done in another city in this State.

Since I have lived here there have been numerous resignations of department heads. I assumed some may have been asked to resign for poor performance. Possibility there was misconduct that was never made public or ever known. Now I am beginning to wonder if department heads know of wrong doing in the city and are leaving like rats leaving a sinking ship.

One big problem with management of this city is the staff is not stable. Due to the fact that there is such a large turn over of department heads, they should have a 4 year or 6 year contract unless departure is for good and valid reason by either party. Unsatisfactory performance is valid cause and there should be no termination pay. Finding another job is not valid cause but medical issues would be even if the medical issues required finding another job. My intent is that those seeking jobs in Raytown should intend to make the job a career and stay until retirement age.

Moving is time consuming and quite costly. Moving here required me to take 6 months leave of absence and since my remodeling was not complete I took another 3 weeks of vacation, personal days, and floating holidays. The cost of the move was more than the job was worth. Hopefully if a department head is willing to put the time and expense into moving here, they would stay in the job for an extended time.

My father required Christmas decorations to be down by New Year's Eve. He said, "In with the new and out with the old." To this day I follow that rule. I think that for many it is easier to leave them up all year. When I lived in KCMO it seemed like there was more Halloween lighting than Christmas lighting. When Halloween was over, the bulbs were changed to Christmas colors.

Andy Whiteman

Andy Whiteman said...

Greg, I am glad to see that this blog encouraged someone to pay her taxes. I was getting ready to email the AG.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Here's the thing.
If somebody is supposed to be "intelligent" enough,
(and I use that term loosely) to help run the school district
And push the rest of us to pay higher taxes. They shouldn't
have to be forced into paying their taxes so they can run for
that position. If they have not paid their taxes at the time they
file but say they have, they should be out of the running.
Honesty, trust and integrity that's what the people want and
expect. I forgot, oops or being found out, isn't a good excuse for
someone running for office. No matter how big or small, for them
not follow the rules the rest of us have to.

Anonymous said...

In the final story of the news section of last week’s Raytown Report, just before the sports section, the blog author acknowledged an error that had slipped through in a recent post. Another such acknowledgement will likely be made soon, believing in the integrity of the blog author as I do.

The error of the anticipated acknowledgement has to do with the law referenced in the lead stories of last week’s and this week’s Raytown Report that states, in so many words, that candidates for election to public office shall be disqualified from participation in the election if the candidate is delinquent in the payment of certain of their taxes. A link to the law was given last week, and the law is even quoted in part in this week’s blog.

The error? The referenced statute, RSMo 115.342, does not apply to school board candidates. This is made quite clear in a December 7, 2006 memo sent to Local Election Authorities from the Elections Division, Office of the Secretary of State.

The memo, with a subject line of “Clarification of candidate filing requirements,” states:

“We have recently received questions for clarification regarding the following statutory provisions: 115.342…RSMo.”

“Section 115.342 RSMo”

“Last session the General Assembly passed HB1900, which contained a new provision (Section 115.342) adding a requirement for candidate filing.”

After quoting the substance of Section 115.342.1 RSMo, the memo goes on:

“Section 115.342, RSMO, does not apply to the following:

· candidates for special district offices* (i.e. school districts, etc.);
· candidates for township offices in township organization counties*;
· candidates for city, town and village offices*;
· candidates for federal offices; or
· county committee persons”

“*As set forth in section 115.305, RSMo.”

The two school board candidates have been unjustifiably vilified and subjected to public humiliation and embarrassment. That’s a shame.

I cannot help but wonder about the source of the “anonymous e-mail” that started all this and the motivation of the person sending it. I hope that person is proud.

Anonymous said...

Robbie you are right about city hall being a mess. Just go to city hall and try to speak to a "real person" of authority and you get the run around. They either aren't in, or they are at lunch (I think this is a standard excuse when the person doesn't want to be bothered). Why are we paying these high taxes and not getting any service? BOWER NEED TO BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE!!!

Anonymous said...

I am not sure that the unsigned statement posted at 1:28 is accurate as to its interpretation of state law. What he/she writes as law sounds a lot more like a legal opinion.

There is a world of difference between the two.

The suggestion that the candidates who were delinquent in paying their property taxes have been villified is hogwash.

It is a matter of public record that the property taxes were delinquent. Each individual voter/reader can make up their mind if that is an important issue.

Just four months ago one of the two candidates (Bobbie J. Saulsberry) voted to raise property taxes in the Raytown School District by increasing the mil levy to a record high level in the Raytown School District.

The fact that she did not fulfill her tax obligation speaks volumes to the importance of the issue.

But why carry on so? Let the record speak for itself. Visit the Jackson County website at:

Key in Property Tax Code 073284859 for Mrs. Saulsberry.

Key in Property Tax Code 101286361
for Mrs. Eyerly.

Anonymous said...

Let this comment be prefaced by saying that I agree the two candidates were not "villified." I believe that all candidates should be updated on their taxes before filing as a candidate for public office.

Than said, 1:28's understanding of the statute is correct based on the statutory language. RSMO 115.305 creates an exemption for members various public seats in townships from adhering to the remainder of the subchapter which includes the controversial section 115.342. (My understanding of the statute is that a municipal ordinance can also be created to mandate all candidates be current on taxes which Raytown does not have... very interesting since the moderator of this blog leaked this story with a misrepresentation of the law is a former alderman who could have helped create such a mandate)

Though it may not be against the law for these individuals to run for office, it does not make it right. In a town without a newspaper, it makes information such as this much more difficult to come by. The people should have such knowledge before walking into the voting booths to cast their votes. Afterall, one would think it makes it a lot easier to vote for increased taxes when such an increase does not affect the board member.

Either way, I believe I will just be voting for one school board member this time around. Can anybody recommend me a write-in candidate I can vote for in addition to the candidate who did pay his taxes?

Andy Whiteman said...

When Bobbie J. Saulsberry voted to raise school taxes, a conflict of interest existed since she was delinquent in her taxes and her vote should have been disqualified. If she was a person of integrity she should have abstained. That is my legal opinion.

1:54PM, People at city hall have ALWAYS been available to me either by phone or email. As an FYI: Department heads are required to attend BOA meetings especially if they have something on the agent. You will almost always find Mahesh Sharma, Nancy Thompson, Andy Noll, Beth Lynn, and Jeremy Willmoth there. Chief Lynch is usually there and Matt Cushman is frequently there. You have a captive audience and may contact them before or after meetings.

By the way I forget to mention there are 10 Alderpeople, City Clerk Teresa Henry, and Mayor Bower in attendance.

Andy Whiteman

Greg Walters said...

There is an excellent editorial in this morning's Kansas City Star named "A Cautionary Tale". It is a brief outline of how the financial dealings at the Kanass City University of Medicines and Biosciences experienced sprialing administrative costs in its operation.

The editorial tells of how the Board that governs the school eventually only met twice a year. And that while they did receive copies of the budget, they apparently never paid much attention to them.

Though far remove from Raytown, it reminded me of how this past summer the Mayor or City Staff (no one ever took credit for it) called off one of the two regularly scheduled monthly meetings the Board is supposed to hold each month. A rule that is mandated by city ordinance.

Another memory is recalled of when then Mayor Jack Nesbitt toyed with the idea of having the Board of Aldermen meet only once a month.

As the Star wrote, "An investigation by Star reporter Alan Bayley revealed that the board had ceded too much control" in running the school.

Late last summer the Raytown City Council and Raytown School Board both incrased property taxes without voter approval. The excuse that the taxes were raised due to shortfalls of income hide the fact that schemes, such as Walmart at City Hall and synthetic athletic fields at the high school are a financial drain on the operation of each governmental body.

At the end of the day it is the taxpayers who pay for the mismanagement.

Pat Casady said...

It should not come as a surprise that somebody
would come to the defense of an elected official
or a want to be elected official for NOT doing as
the rest of us do. That is pay our taxes.
After all in this town if you point out bad decisions
made by City Hall, the school district or any elected
official, you are labeled negative or told you don't know
what you are talking about.
There are people that classify City Hall and the school district
Untouchables. A kind of elected official groupie club.
That is why this town is in the shape it is today.
Our town leaders can make the worst decisions in the history
of this town and if you point it out, all of a sudden you are the bad guy.

Anonymous said...

The city administrator and department heads should be available to the public to solve the problems that arise daily. These people are drawing HUGE SALARIES and they need to earn their money. When will you people wake up and get rid of some of these "DO NOTHING" chair warmers at city hall. Things seemed to run much smoother before we had a city administrator.

Andy Whiteman said...

There was a story on CH4 last night about cutting the budget at Raytown Schools. They showed parents upset about cutting programs such as arts. Also there is a cut of Special Ed with those from outside the district not being admitted next school year. I wonder why they are accepting non-residents anyway?

It was said that athletics can't be cut because they produce revenue. It really amazes me that after spending millions on astro turf that there is any revenue at all.

As I have previously stated, electives should be cut and only classes required for a HS dipolma should be offered unless the elective is at the expense of the student. Special needs programs should NOT be cut for Raytown residents. No way should non-residents be allowed to participate.

Also there was brief mention of Olathe at the end of the Raytown story. I wish we had a newspaper to publish the story.

Greg, do you have anyone covering the School Board meetings? These meetings are more secret than BOA meetings and at obnoxiously early hours.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

I, too, would love to read coverage of the school board meetings. It is times like these that we really need a local paper. I also STRONGLY feel that school board candidates and members should be current on all taxes (local, state and federal). Does anyone know the percentage of personal and real estate taxes that go unpaid in Raytown?

Pat Casady said...

I don't know the percentage of unpaid taxes but,
I do know that no Raytown homeowner, taxpayer
or property owner makes over two hundred billion dollars
a year profit, and unlike Wal-Mart we still have to pay our taxes.
Our elected officials have given us nothing for our money except higher
taxes to make up for their bad decisions. With not much proof of
it going to help us.
However our tax dollars when to aid the big store.
Aren't we nice people.

Anonymous said...

What is really sad is that city hall and those who run it believe their own press releases.

You should read Nancy Thompson's goodbye letter to the Board of Aldermen.

My goodness! Read this sentence.

"Raytown is making great strides in providing inclusive, accountable City government the citizens want and expect."

Who is she talking about? The codes department that will not enforce property maintenance codes? The aldermen who will not return phone calls? The Mayor who only appoints the same tired people that Sue Frank appointed to positions the previous eight years.

Maybe if Nancy actually lived here during her tour of duty as a foreigner in our land she would understand how hollow and untrue her words truly are.

Anonymous said...

What dream world is Ms.Thompson living in? You are right if she only lived here she could see the real problems we have and how they are going unresolved. Raytown will continue to get "less than qualified" candidates for these high paid positions until the city decides to "clean up it's act", then people might really want to live here again.

Anonymous said...

Could not agree more. People pay more attention when they have a real interest in where they live. It is just human nature.

Outsiders, carpetbaggers, call them what you want, will always look at a city they travel to work in as another place they just work in.

Thats why we need our city department heads to live in Raytown. Not just come to work here.

Andy Whiteman said...

A legal notice appereared today about redevelopement of Brywood Plaza. Since this is borderline to Raytown it may impact nearby properties and the city as whole.

Andy Whiteman

Pat Casady said...

I have to give credit where credit is due.
I called the city to report several deep potholes
in front of my shop and the United Missouri Bank
on Raytown Road.
They had a crew out fixing the potholes within an
hour. I don't know if that is the norm but, I can tell you
I was impressed with how fast and well they did the
So, if anyone at City Hall reads this....Thanks.
I know this sounds like I'm talking out of both sides of my mouth but, I truly was imperssed.

Anonymous said...

I would like to know how, in our economy that we are in now, Raytown can afford another used car dealership in town?? Seems the only thing missing on the vehicles is the prices. You know the dealership I'm talking about dont you?? The one on 67th St and Blue Ridge---the one behind the gas station. That must have been a steal to get once Wal-Mart left. How much taxes are we getting from them??

Andy Whiteman said...

I have said this before and I agree with those who just said it. Raytown would be much better off if Department Heads are REQUIRED to live here in the same conditions as the rest of us serfs. They would WANT and DEMAND improvement.

Pat, I think that since Raytown Rd has a high traffic flow is what really got quick attention before the pot holes caused accidents and/or damage. The pending storm may have had an impact also. Normally depending on size and traffic flow I would think 3 to 5 days as reasonable. Why not email your comments to Andy Noll and also Mayor Bower?

3:19PM, Never noticed the used car dealership. I don't stop in that area since Hy-Vee left. Used car dealerships should do good in this economy if they have quality cars at fair prices. People can't afford new cars. When my car was totaled by an uninsured drunk driver in 04, I bought an used car. The price of new cars is outrageous.

From Economics 101 I am more concerned with the trickle down effect rather than how much taxes are extorted from the business. This business could be bringing customers to Dennys, Dollar General, and the motel in walking distance.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

I recently asked my friend's little girl what she wanted to be when she grows up.

She said she wanted to be President some day.

Both of her parents, liberal Democrats, were standing there, so I asked her,

'If you were President what would be the first thing you would do?'

She replied, 'I'd give food and houses to all the homeless people.'

Her parents beamed.

'Wow...what a worthy goal.' I told her, 'But you don't have to wait until you're President to do that. You can come over to my house and mow the lawn, pull weeds, and sweep my yard, and I'll pay you $50. Then I'll take you over to the grocery store where the homeless guy hangs out, and you can give him the $50 to use toward food and a new house.'

She thought that over for a few seconds, then she looked me straight in the eye and asked, 'Why doesn't the homeless guy come over and do the work, and you can just pay him the $50?'

I said, 'Welcome to the Republican Party.'

Her parents still aren't speaking to me.

Anonymous said...

To the person who questioned the accuracy of my entry (posted at 1:28 p.m. on February 8), please re-read the entry. You’ll please notice that all substantive information is enclosed in quotation marks. The information was taken directly from a Secretary of State memo, just as I stated in my entry. In no place did I write that the information was law, I referred to the information clearly as being from a memo generated by the Office of the SOS. The information is an opinion, but the opinion of the SOS is clearly based in the Secretary’s study and knowledge of the law. It’s common for Executive Agencies of state and federal governments to give opinions such as this. Do such opinions have the strength of law? No. However, any entity tasked with enforcement of the law on which the opinion is given will certainly look to the opinion and use the opinion as at least a factor and probably a guide in deciding whether to go forward with any enforcement action. If the person questioning my entry believes the information in the SOS memo is wrong, I would suggest he/she complete the complaint form (DOR Form 5121) that is provided in RSMo 115.342 and send it to the General Counsel of the Department of Revenue as indicated on the form. The GC will investigate and if there is an action he/she will go forward with it.

As to your reference to my contention that the two candidates have been vilified as “hogwash,” I seek to disagree. In like manner I disagree that I’m coming to the defense of a public official who refuses to do what the rest of us do, “that is pay our taxes.” I’m not defending anyone for nonpayment of taxes. All of us should pay our taxes, and those who don’t should pay penalties as provided by law. The original article by the blog author did not vilify the candidates. Indeed, I thought it was a legitimate article with legitimate questions, although I did not believe the law cited by the author applied to school board candidates. The vilification was in the comments. Please, read through the comments on this topic, keeping in mind that the issue had to do with being delinquent in paying personal property taxes. There are comments questioning the ethics and honesty of the candidates, calling one of them an embarrassment, and one blogger stating that one candidate “doesn’t pay ANY of her taxes,” and there are more, lots more. I’m sorry, but to me such comments are defamatory, and thus, vilifying. These are people. They’re your neighbors. They’ve not committed a crime, they are, or were, delinquent in paying their taxes. It’s not necessary to discredit or defame them.

One final point, this to the individual who questioned why the school district allowed special needs students from other districts to attend Northwood School. Please understand, sending school districts pay Raytown School District for each student they send. The same is done at VoTech, where sending school districts pay Raytown for each student who comes there. These are cooperative efforts. No students from other school districts are attending here free of charge.

Andy Whiteman said...

I sure wonder why the School District is not allowing Special Ed and VoTech students from outside of Raytown if the sending district(s) are paying Raytown for each student? It seems to my that the pay per student is income that could be used to keep these programs running.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Anon. 6:13,

Might I ask how you came about the SOS' memo? That information does not seem as such that as it is common to the general public. Rather, it sounds like it might have come up in an internal discussion within the school administration or possibly the board... care to clarify?

Anonymous said...

Does it really matter where the conversation took place? It is very clear to me that the writer is trying to blunt the simple message of contempt that Ms. Saulsberry has for the system she claims to serve.

She creates tax increases for everyone but does not pay them herself.

That is the message she has sent. She deserves to be vilified. She has taken the public's trust and destroyed it.

Apologize for her, make excuses for her, it does not matter. She does not deserve to sit on Raytown School Board.

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