Sunday, May 16, 2010

In This Week's Raytown Report

Raytown Sales Tax Ranked Highest of K.C. Missouri Suburbs by Greg Walters
Raytown Sales Tax Question on August 3rd Ballot
There Can Only Be 1!
by Greg Walters
Smooth Smoothies by Jenn Walters
Raytown Parks Programs
Raytown Democatic Association to Endorse Candidates
Riehle to Appeal Removal from Ballot

Last Week's Poll Results


Every Picture Tells a story . . .

The picture on the right was taken five miles from the crater of Mount St. Helens. The vehicle was tossed around by the earthquake at the time of the eruption "like a toy car". The area, once heavily wooded with fir trees supported only weeds and small shrubs 30 years later. The owners of the car, who were staying in some nearby cabins,  refused to leave the area when warned of the impending eruption. 


Raytown Sales Tax Ranked Highest of K.C. Missouri Suburbs
Raytown’s position as the community with the highest sales tax on the Missouri side of the metropolitan area was highlighted this week when the State of Kansas increased its sales tax rate. A quick review by the Kansas City Star of some suburban cities on the Missouri side of the state line showed the following results:

Raytown . . . . . . . . 8.1%
Lee’s Summit. . . . 7.6%
Blue Springs. . . . . 6.85%

Typically, such a high rate on the sales tax would be reflected in services back to the taxpayers. But in Raytown’s case there is the additional burden of debt retirement required for payment of TIF bonds used to create the Walmart shopping complex on 350 Highway. It is estimated that the loss of sales tax dollars to city coffers may run as deep as 18%.

RAYTOWN SALES TAX QUESTION ON AUGUST 3RD BALLOT
Raytown’s ranking of the sales tax burden is important because the August 3rd ballot has a question establishing a new sales tax for the city’s parks. Passage of the tax would continue Raytown’s ranking as the high water mark for sales tax rates. If the tax does not pass, the rate would drop below the 8% level.

There Can Only Be One!
By Greg Walters
The Crystal Williams saga continues. Raytown Report readers will remember that Crystal Williams, candidate for the First District at Large seat on the Jackson County Legislature was surprised when another person named Crystal “D.” Williams had also filed for the same position. Both had one thing in common. Their opponent for the First District seat is incumbent Henry Rizzo.

The situation became more clear this past week when Crystal “D.” Williams pulled out of the race.

The resignation will clear up a lot of confusion amongst voters because now there is only one Crystal Williams filed for the Second District at Large seat.

Political observers in Jackson County seem to be in agreement that the ballot change will give Williams a boost in her campaign to unseat Rizzo since she will now be able to concentrate on the business of campaigning.

The countdown to the August 3rd Primary is ticking away. As with all such events, time will tell.

TO YOUR HEALTH
by Jenn Walters

Smooth Smoothies
I’ve never been a big smoothie girl. I figure that if I’m going to consume 250 to 300 calories for breakfast, I’m going to eat it, not drink it. I was pretty adamant about this until a few months ago when Vega was introduced into my life. Yes, the name may remind you of some character off of Star Trek, but trust me that there’s nothing Trekkie about it. In fact, I think even Spock would approve.

You see, Vega’s Whole Food Smoothie Infusion kind of changed my life, or at least my mornings. To review the product for FBG, I began making the Vega smoothies every day at 6 a.m. In a slumber, I’d mix OJ, a banana, some frozen fruit (peaches, cherries or strawberries, usually), ice, and two scoops of the Smoothie Infusion as I was usually making a smoothie for myself and my hubby. (He loved this FBG “project” by the way—homemade breakfast every day!) I would also throw in Greek yogurt and silken tofu from time to time, just ‘cause.
For the rest of this story, use this link fit bottomed girls

Raytown Parks Programs
In a time of high taxation and continuous cuts in services by local government it is refreshing to find a jewel in the system. Two such events sponsored by Raytown Parks and Recreation are coming up in May and June. If you want to take advantage of a particular event be sure to mark your calendar for:

MOVIE IN THE PARK - Friday, May 21, 2010
“Bolt” (rated PG) will be shown at Colman Park, 5912 Lane starting at dusk. Bring your lawn chairs, blankets, etc. Concessions will be sold. Alcohol is not allowed.

34TH ANNUAL FISHING DERBY – Saturday, June 5, 2010
The Raytown Parks Department will host its 34th Annual Fishing Derby on Saturday, June 5, 2010 at Kenagy Lake from 9:00 a.m.- 11:00 a.m. The derby is free and open to Raytown residents of all ages. The derby will begin at 9:00 a.m. and end at 11:00 a.m. Registration for the derby will begin at 8:00 a.m.

Raytown Democratic Association to Endorse Candidates
The Raytown Democratic Association (RDA) will make endorsements of candidates for the August 3rd Primary this Thursday, May 20th at 7:00 p.m. The meeting will be held at Las Chilis located at 6210 Raytown Trafficway.

The public is invited to attend. Only club members paid in full dues of their membership as of the April, 2010 meeting will be allowed to vote on endorsements.

Riehle to Appeal Removal from Ballot
According to sources close to the campaign former Raytown Alderman Pat Riehle will appeal his removal from the August 3rd Ballot this week. Riehle had been removed from the August Primary Ballot by the Missouri Secretary of State's office for failure to make a timely report of his personal financial report.

The ruling is expected to be handed down this week.

Last Week's Poll Results
How do you rate property maintenance code enforcement by the City of Raytown?

Excellent . . . . . 12%
Good . . . . . . . .0%
Fair . . . . . . . . .22%
Poor . . . . . . . . 66%

46 comments:

Anonymous said...

The park sales tax on the August ballot is not a new tax. It is a renewal. This tax was passed the first time about six years ago. There is a story in this weeks local paper about the tax. It says the park department has cut their maintenance staff through retirement. At least they are trying.

Anonymous said...

I went back an re-read the story on the sales tax. Then I went back and re-read the previous stories in the Raytown Report about the park sales tax in previous issues. (I found three of them)

Not one of them calls the tax a "new" tax.

Why not simply agree that it is a tax? If it passes you will pay more than if you do not pass it.

Whether or not it is a new tax is really not at issue.

Anonymous said...

Sure it is an issue, people would be more likely to renew a tax rather than vote for a new tax.

Andy Whiteman said...

There is a falsification by those who state that if the Park's tax passes that it will NOT be a tax increase. They neglect to mention that if it fails, sales taxes will go down. People don't seem to know this.

Parks are an important asset that adds value to the community but I have 2 issues:

1) Why people using Raytown facilities who don't live in Raytown don't pay an out of city fee for services? Raytown taxpayers should not be supporting users from other areas.
2) What is the exact function of the Parks Department? I assumed it was to maintain the parks. I must have been in error because there is a sign at City Hall, "This area maintained by the Raytown Parks Department your sales tax dollars." Apparently these same sign appear on various city right of ways. Why isn't the city maintaining these areas from the general fund since they are NOT parks. If the parks department didn't maintain these areas, would the sales tax be necessary? Why does Public Works present the bid for mowing of parks and not the Parks Department? What is the purpose of Parks Department? There is a conflict of interest here.

My vote will be NO if I vote.

As for the poll, I am sure some people will wonder how anyone can state, "Don't know." Truthfully I don't know because I don't know if I will be here or not. If I am here, I will vote, but if I move by then, I won't be able to vote in either location.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

People will vote to renew a tax but not vote for a new tax. Sounds like a lesser of two evil argument. Which is less than a fact and more like a reason to vote for a tax.

The Park Department is fat dumb and happy and has been for years. Check out their website and learn where most of the money goes.

Pulled this from their website.

The Raytown Parks & Recreation Department offers an excellent benefit package:
Health insurance - two different plans (one plan is paid 100% by the department including eligible dependents), vision insurance included.
Life Insurance - paid 100% by department.
Dental insurance - paid 100% by employee.
Pension Plan - City of Raytown is a participating member of the Local Government Employees Retirement System (LAGERS). The department fully funds your participation in this supplemental pension.
457 Retirement Savings Plan - optional, self-funded, self-directed, pretax federally approved retirement savings plan.
401a Retirement Savings Plan - optional and self-directed retirement savings plan. Employer funded if you participate in the 457 plan above.
Paid Vacation - after 6 months employment you receive 8 hours of vacation per month and grows from there.
Paid Sick Leave - receive 8 hours of paid sick leave per month starting the first month. No maximum accumulation.
Paid Holidays - 9 paid holidays per year
Personal Days - 2 paid days off per year for personal reasons.

Andy Whiteman said...

7:33AM, You neglected to mention low pay except for top officials who aren't required to live in Raytown.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

I didn't knwo the parks program had movies during the summer. Thanks for letting us know. The story about Mr. Riehle was very interesting too.

Keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

Mr. Pedasso, why would we want another hotel/motel in Raytown? We already have the Relax Inn down the street from the old Walmart. There's also the Frontier Motel on 350 Highway.

Considering all the tourist attractions in Raytown, isn't two motels enough?

Anonymous said...

I haven't visited this site for a while but have to say I am impressed. the new look through the use of color has been a good move.

It is interetsing to watch how this Raytown Report has evolved over the years.

I especially like the Thursday pictures you are posting. Can anyone send a picture to be posted?

Just wondering.

Andy Whiteman said...

1:21 PM, I am not Mr. Pedasso but you mentioned lack of tourist attractions. It seems to me Raytown is very close to the Royals and Chiefs. Out of towners go to these games. I am sure they would prefer a motel in Raytown which is much closer. Also tourists aren't required for a motel. People do have visitors who need a motel. If anyone wants to visit, I offer to suggest a nearby motel since because of my weird slepping pattern, I am unable to handle guests.

Sometimes guests prefer a motel so they won't be an imposition.

BTW: There is a new Holiday Inn Express on the KCMO side of 350 Hwy south of 64th St. I don't like the quality I have encountered in newly constructed Holiday Inns so they would never have my business. My assumption is that any new motel would be well constructed and not the cheap Holiday Inn type.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Maybe someone from Park and Rec will explain to us why they don't charge more for out of town groups to use our parks.

If they really need more money it seems like a reasonable thing to do.

We are already footing our share of the bill through our taxes.

Anonymous said...

May 17, 7:33AM sounds as if they are jealous, possibly they do not have a benefits package or a very bad one. Why ruin it for everyone just because you are unhappy? That is it, bring everyone else down to your level instead of striving for better conditions. That is what is wrong with a lot of people today, especially when they examine their own situation(s). Be a part of the solution, don't help to deteriorate what took possibly years to help create the good benefits that are offered today.

BTW, I do not work for local government but am active in labor, and support fair and ethical treatment for all workers.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the old church site, green area, is considered a
park? If so does the parks and recreations depart take care if it?
If so why do they hire a lawn service to mow the grass. If not why does the city hire a lawn service to mow?

Anonymous said...

I was at the liquor store the other day and saw a copy of the Raytown Times. Same old, same old.

Reminds me of the yellow jourunalism days of the Raytown Post. My favorite in this weeks edition was the claim that the average election costs the city $25,000 to $30,000.

I used to work for the election board. The August election will not cost the city anything near that amount.

The statement is downright misleading and just short of a blatant lie. But when I saw who owned the Raytown Times I was not surprised.

Same old, same old!

Anonymous said...

So, do we believe the city on election costs when they have paper work to prove what the state lists election costs at? Or, do we believe the anonymous poster who claims to be "in the know." Your call.

Andy Whiteman said...

7:15AM, I have previously been corrected by the Mayor when I referred to the old church area as a park. It is officially a "green space." I don't understand the difference.

As far as I can understand, the Public Works Department presents a bid from a lawn service company to the BOA each year for the mowing of PARKS. I questioned in a previous post why this is and what is the function of the Parks Department?

This brings up the question to me of why do we pay a Parks Department Head who doesn't live in Raytown? Is the Parks Department needed at all? Maybe money could be saved by having Public Works assume this responsibility.

The only 2 options on the ballot fo tax proposals are "YES" and "NO" but I sure want to vote "HELL NO."

To the person asking about submitting photographs, please scroll down to the first photo that Greg posted and he has an address for submission

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Anon May 17th 1:21 PM:

It seems you have been miss lead. I have spoken with several at city hall and those locations are not within city limits. So we earn no taxes off of them, but again that is like most business in Raytown now isn't it.

Anonymous said...

Anon May 17th 1:21 PM:

It seems you have been miss lead. I have spoken with several at city hall and those locations are not within city limits. So we earn no taxes off of them, but again that is like most business in Raytown now isn't it.

Anonymous said...

I wish I could get all of my insurance paid. Sorry, my Medicare doesn’t cover it and the benefits go down while the cost goes up.

I have heard that parks department is not the only government body in Raytown paying the full insurance for the employees

This sure explains why my taxes are so high.

Thanks for taking my retirement so that I am forced to freeze in the winter and bake in the summer.

Mary
Retired Waitress

Anonymous said...

Waht paperwork to back up their statemetns? The only thing I remember is when Alderman Creamer made up some outrageous fabrications as to election costs.

Want the real cost? Call the Election Board. They send out the bills. It is public record.

Anonymous said...

You are right, election costs for local elections are accessed by the Jackson County Board of Election Commissioners. Call them and get the real costs instead of listening to these idiots at city hall.

Anonymous said...

Twelve days a year sick leave? And you are allowed to have it accumulate?

If the vacation package starts at 8 days after only six months of work how much is it after five years?

Nine paid holidays a year plus two personal days. That's more than the banks give!

Two pension plans! 100% insurance paid by the taxpayers with 100% coverage for dependants including vision and dental.

If this is belt tightening please let me know where I can sign up.

I had a well payhing job with good benefits too. But nothing near what they are giving out at the park department.

The simple truth is I need the tax money more than they do.

Anonymous said...

The city having paperwork to back up anything.

Ha, Ha very funny.

We don't even keep full minutes and the city doesn't want to share the minutes from executive sessions, which is required under the law.

Silly little me city hall is above the law.

Andy Whiteman said...

There will be a need for motels or hotels if the new business proposals presented to the BOA tonight become reality. One is for a very large bridal store with wedding chapel, banquet/meeting hall on the olde Baptists church site.

Another is 6500 sf currently being unused at Bordener's. They want a smaller size wedding chapel/event center that could be used or almost anything by invitation such as art shows, meetings, etc.

The bridge should be finished be the end of June. It seems there is a problem transporting the girders.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

I wondered why they were driving up and down Raytown Trafficway with those giant steel beams yesterday.

Did they ever get where they were going?

Pat Casady said...

The beams are in, the bridge is coming along but,
I don't see any way it will be able to be used by the time
Summerfest starts. It takes a long time for concrete to
set up and be strong enough for traffic. If they poured
today it wouldn't be ready in time.
This will cause problems for the few of us downtown
businesses that are left. Especially when they close off
Raytown Rd at 63rd St. Thankfully that won't be done until
noon Friday.
Does anybody know how much this event will cost the taxpayers?
I'm not against the event, I'm just wondering.

Anonymous said...

It is a shame that the chamber of commerce in order to make a few dollars has to shut down
the downtown area.
I heard that in the past, "Round Up Days" cost the city
over thirty thousand and the chamber didn't make that
much off the event.

Anonymous said...

Have you ever noticed that $30,000 seems to be the amount that those who shoot from their lip seem to use over adn over.

Round Up Days cost $30,000.

It costs $30,000 to hold an election in Raytown.

I am sure there are other examples.

Anonymous said...

Alderman Aziere needs to see a doctor for his foot in mouth disease. At the BOA meeting last night he was going on and on about how the schools didn't have a place to hold sport and band banquets and how they have had to go back to having pot luck instead of having them catered. Mr. Aziere did it ever cross your mind it has to be done this way because we have a school board of incompetent people running the schools----THERE IS NO MONEY to have the banquets elsewhere or to have them catered. I heard someone say not to long ago that you had said at one point in time that once your wife retired you would be moving to the lake. Well she has retired so isn't it time you make the move.

Andy Whiteman said...

May 18, 2010 9:14 PM, The banks and Post Office have too many holidays. These holidays bring the country to a stop and are useless.

Most holidays are on Monday rather than the proper day. Consequently no one knows what the holiday is supposed to commemorate. Now the only meaning of a holiday is a 3 day weekend. Holidays should be eliminated with the exception of Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years Day, and the 4th of July. These holidays are observed on their proper days.

Sorry, I forgot we shouldn't have Christmas because it is offensive to some. Well most of the useless holidays we observe are offensive to me.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

The banquets my family went to at the schools were paid for by the families who attended at a per person rate. The district did not pay for them. It was a very nice way to end the year for the students. I am very sorry they turned into a potluck event. The students have been very disappointed this year.

Andy Whiteman said...

9:45AM, I think that Alderman Aziere was making a point that Ida's is a good destination point for much more than weddings. It would be available to anyone for banquets, meetings, etc.

I was thinking all that time that, heck the schools have a gym and a cafeteria, but maybe he meant a formal banquet hall. It could even be a good local place for prom. There are many possibilities for a business of this type.

I thought his points were valid.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

The difference between you and the park department is that you had a well paying job with good benefits and they just have good benefits.

Andy, let me get this straight, on one hand you complain that City Hall can't get anything right, then you say let City Hall take over the park department. That is a recipe for disaster.

Anonymous said...

Don't know where you have been at, but the chamber killed of the Round Up Days tradition a couple of years ago, FYI. Now they have a BBQ mud pit event up on 350 Hiway all for a couple of bucks.

Downtown is shut down now due to a bridge replacement project, hence the traffic detours. Wake up!

Anonymous said...

What does Lee's Summit and Blue Springs have that
Raytown doesn't besides lower sales tax? Oh yes,
businesses. Not only did our city leaders give away
18% in total income they ran off over thirty other businesses
either directly or because of the big box deals on 350 hwy.
They can sit around and tell each other how great one another
are but, the proof is in the growth of this city and the appearance.
Our streets are a disaster. We have two shopping centers that
don't even have half the spaces rented out. Empty buildings
everywhere. Most of us wouldn't mind paying higher taxes if
we got some return on our money. For the last fifteen years the
only beneficiaries of service from city hall have been the big stores.
Might I suggest voting every incumbent out. Show them what you
think of the job they have been doing.

Andy Whiteman said...

8:41 PM, Thanks for putting words into my mouth. I never said that City Hall never did anything right. I have pointed out specific wrong doings.

I question, what is the purpose of the Parts Department? There are signs posted at the city hall garden, "Maintenance provided by the Parks Depatment with your sales tax dollars," or words to that effect. It has been posted that similar signs are at the totally usless Gateways and other city right of ways. Why is our parks sales tax being used to maintain these areas? They aren't parks. The city created these areas of their own volition and should be responsible for maintenance but it is dumped onto the Parks Department.

I thought the Parks Department was responsible for mowing the parks. But every year the public works department presents the bid to the BOA for a private company to mow the parks. Why has public works taken over mowing the parks?

The Parks Director doesn't live in Raytown. I question the purpose of the parts department? It seems like Public Works is doing the job.

It seems that we have an unneeded level of beaurocracy. The Parks Director's job could be eliminated and combined with Public Works. The employees could be put under Public Works. This would elimanate a tie wearing chair warmer, a property tax, and a sales tax.

It appears to me that Parks is a seperate governmental body but really run by City Hall--totally unneeded unless someone can explain a purpose for this.

If I am here, I will vote no on the Parks Sales Tax. If the money went to parks, it would be a different matter, but not for maintaining areas that are NOT parks.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Amen to voting all of them out!!!!!

Andy Whiteman said...

I was thinking some more about the Parks Department. It is called the Parks Department but is apparently a different governmental body. They have their own sales tax levy but the Parks Board is appointed by the Mayor and the Parks Director is hired as a City tie wearing chairwarmer. Not only that but Public Works obtains the contract for mowing the parks, not the Parks Department which it should.

It seems to me the Parks Board and Parks Director should all be elected since they are spending tax dollars.If the Director was elected, he would be required to live in Raytown as department heads should! Don't WE THE PEOPLE have a say in this?

Why does the Parks Department exist at all since the city is really running it.

Parks are a necessary and a valuable asset to the community but I really wonder what is going on here?

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Hey Anonymous 6:50am,
"I don't know where you have been" but, the BBQ has
been in the downtown area for two years.
Not on 350hwy. If you knew the facts you would know
that mud pit is now a tax exempt big box.
They always closed off the streets around the downtown
businesses but this year it is going to twice as hard on
businesses in the downtown area because of the bridge
not being finished and closed off along with Raytown
Road at 63rd St. and 62nd St closed as well.
Facts are amazing try using them for a change.
This event costs the taxpayers and businesses a lot of
money just so the chamber can make a few thousand dollars.

by Greg Walters said...

This message is for Dennis.

I do not remember receiving your post. If you will send it again I will post it.

Sometimes things do fall through the cracks and sometimes there are technical difficulties with the good people from Google.

Anonymous said...

I believe that you are mistaken. It has not been in downtown for 2 years. Last year was the first year the BBQ was downtown because I remember how the new grass was almost destroyed. The rest of the time it was on 350 hiway. Wal Mart hasnt even been where it is at now for a year yet. Why dont you get your facts straight first before you post!

Andy Whiteman said...

Greg & Dennis,

Sometimes the crack is with the is with the sender. There have been times that I have forgotten to click "PUBLISH" hence my post went nowhere. Sometimes I rewrote it. Other times I didn't because the average post takes me 1/2 hour.

At times I have had browser issues that cause a second tab to open on the window I am posting when I click "PUBLISH". Assuming it has posted, I close the browser hence the post has gone nowhere.

I suggest that after clicking PUBLISH, every poster check the top of the window for the green message that the post will be reviewed by the administrator.

Andy Whiteman

Andy Whiteman said...

10:33AM, I think some people have memory loss. I remember the chain of events as you do. Boy did that other poster had me thinking my memory was really bad.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Thanks Andy, irregardless there always seems to be someone who thinks that they know everything all the time, especially when you know that you are correct. Oh well, maybe they will find something else to fight about!

Andy Whiteman said...

Some people will take the opposite side just to start an arguement. Joe Pyne, a talk show host about 50 years ago, would do that.

Andy Whiteman

Robbie Tubbs said...

Pat,

Thank you for your post last week. I now understand why it is so hard to attract new business to Raytown.

A lot of people who post to this blog are of the opinion that department heads should live in Raytown. I assume the department heads are under some sort of contract. How often are the contracts renewed? If Raytown elected a new mayor, could the contracts be modified to include a residency requirement? Or is that something that can only be done with a charter?