Sunday, February 13, 2011

Every Picture
Tells a Story . . . The North Rim of the Grand Canyon is 3,000 feet higher in elevation than the South Rim. This gives the area in summer comfortable temperatures in the 70 to 80 degree range.
The area receive a tremendous amount of snowfall during winter. When we visited in August there were still large patches of snowcover left from the previous winter.
The North Rim is heavily wooded. At night, the high winds that blow through the canyon are reminiscent of the sound of surf breaking on a beach.
The North Rim is isolated and requires a four hour drive to reach from the nearest population center. Generally undeveloped, accomodations are few. The National Park Service does have (very) small cabins avaliable near its main information center. The other alternative is to camp out at a number of designated camp areas in the park.
How to Mend Our City by Greg Walters The economic ills that afflict Raytown are not out of the realm of being cured. Some serious re-thinking of the path the City Council has taken in attracting businesses to Raytown is long overdue. Raytowners understand that the way municipalities compete for business has changed. They also realize that City Hall has made some pretty lame deals in its efforts. The agreement that brought Walmart to Raytown appears to many as a trade-off of public services for new retail businesses. A trade-off that has cost local residents with reduced levels of street maintenance and public services. The Walmart deal in particular, which has saddled Raytown shoppers with a 9.10% sales tax, must not be repeated. Some small businesses were given 100% tax abatements to encourage them to locate in Downtown Raytown. One of those businesses has since closed its doors. The abatement continues even though the building is vacant. City Hall needs to recognize the errors it has made in the past. The use of “claw-backs” in development purchases that end lucrative tax abatements would be a step in the right direction. A deal to bring Sutherland Lumber to Raytown at the old Walmart location at 67th and Blue Ridge Cutoff has been working its way through the Board of Zoning Adjustment these past few months. There is a first reading on the City Council’s agenda for next Tuesday night (February 15, 7:00 p.m. at City Hall) regarding the Sutherland Lumber development. 10a. FIRST Reading: Bill No. 6250-11, Section XXXVII. AN ORDINANCE APPROVING A PETITION FOR THE CREATION OF THE RAYTOWN CROSSING COMMUNITY IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT, CREATING THE RAYTOWN CROSSING COMMUNITY IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT AND AUTHORIZING THE CITY TO ENTER INTO A COOPERATIVE AGREEMENT BY AND BETWEEN THE CITY OF RAYTOWN, MISSOURI AND THE DISTRICT. Point of Contact: Jeremy Willmoth, Finance Director and Tom Cole, Economic Development Administrator. TO VIEW THE ENTIRE TEXT OF THIS ITEM USE THIS LINK web packet There is no doubt that Sutherland’s would be a welcome addition to a now vacant retail complex. It would probably spur another business to occupy the old HyVee Grocery Store next door. It will be interesting to see how the City Council handles the business before them. Raytown to Receive Three Grants The City of Raytown has been awarded $433,100 in federal stimulus funding to construct curing and as separate 10’ wide bicycle and pedestrian trail along the south side of Highway 350. According to Beth Linn, Director of Community Development for the City of Raytown, the City was also successful in receiving two other grants awarded by the Mid America Regional Council during this application round. The other two are Congestion Mitigation/Air Quality and Surface Transportation Program. I have included information about those two projects as well. Details of the grants are outlined below: Transportation Enhancement (TE) Grant: In January 2011 the City was awarded $433,100 in federal funding to construct curbing and a separated 10 foot wide bicycle and pedestrian trail along the south side of Highway 350 from Blue Ridge Boulevard to Maple Avenue as identified in the Highway 350 Corridor Plan. The City will be hiring an engineering consultant in 2011 to complete the final design of these improvements and will also be working with the Missouri Department of Transportation to determine the exact timing for construction of these improvements. Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) Grant: In January 2011 the City was awarded $175,000 to supplement the City’s asphalt overlay program by laying new asphalt and installing bicycle lanes on Blue Ridge Boulevard from 59th Street to the north city limit line at 51st Street. Surface Transportation Program (STP) Grant: In January 2011 the City was awarded $637,500 in federal funding to help fund construction of highway improvements at Highway 350 and Raytown Road that will be designed with the funding received through the Federal Highway Transportation Bill. The City is currently working with the Missouri Department of Transportation to select an engineering consultant and determine the timing for these improvements. Droplets from Jackson County Public Water Board #2 by Richard Tush The Water Board had their first meeting of the year January 12th. Although most of the meeting was spent on normal house keeping activities, manager, Pat Ertz, brought to the board’s attention that the district had many overlaying service areas with Raytown Water. This has led to confusion over the years for new residence and others as to which provider services any specific home or business. It also means both utilities have pipes on the same streets to service their customers, which at the end of the day is an added expense for everyone. With the approval of the board Mr. Ertz is looking into cost saving opportunities with Raytown Water that would allow the two utilities to at least review options that could eliminate some of the duplicate service areas. Pipe replacement on 79th St between Arlington and Elm is just about complete. This section had several pipe failures and the replacement will provide improved service to the area. The water district is still in negotiations with the City of Independence , who provides 60% of the water to the district, that will bring both districts to an agreement for a reasonable rate increase for the water purchased from them. Hopefully within the next few months this issue can finally be put to rest. In either case, the board along with Mr. Ertz needs to be thanked for not just accepting the requested increase from Independence, but working through the process to save the rate payers additional cost. The water board meets at 5:00 PM on the second Wednesday of the month unless otherwise advised. The next meet is scheduled for February 9th. Meetings are held at the water district office 6945 Blue Ridge Boulevard. Richard Tush is a candidate for the Jackson County Public Water District No. 2. He is unopposed in his election.

Can You Credit/Blame Your Mom for Your Body? by Jenn Walters 3 Comments It’s a funny part of (mostly female) human behavior (mostly female): Pear-shaped ladies wish they had better legs, and apple-shaped lassies wish they had the abs of a pear. Oh, how the grass is always greener on the other side. But if you ever thought that your genes were to blame for your body shape and there was no way that you wouldn’t end up looking like your dear mother later in life, think again. New research shows that personal choices and environment can still have a significant effect on your body. Sure, 80 percent of your size comes down to genetics, but that extra 20 percent is a lot for you to tweak to make you your best you. Love the body you’re in (and your mom’s)!

Skinny Fat by Erin Whitehead 2 Comments We all know that just because someone is thin, it doesn’t necessarily mean he or she is healthy, just as someone carrying a few extra pounds can be given a clean bill of health. But can you be a normal weight and fat at the same time? Signs point to yes, says the Magic 8-Ball. A recent Mayo Clinic study suggests that even in people with a normal body size (body mass index), those with a high percentage of body fat were at a greater risk of future heart problems than those with low body-fat percentages. The study shows that as many as 30 million Americans may fall into this “normal weight obesity” category and may be unaware of their heart-health risks because the scale looks fine and their BMIs are in a normal range. One more thing to watch in the battle of the bulge. Jenn Walters and Erin Whitehead jointly publish Fit Bottomed Girls. To read more of their thoughts on lifestyle choices and fitness go to Fit Bottomed Girls


To catch up on O'Hara Sports use this link O'Hara High School To catch up on Raytown South Sports use this link Raytown South High School To catch up on Raytown High Sports use this link Raytown High School To catch up on the Raytown Police Blog go to Raytown Police Blog To view Raytown Crime Statistics go to Raids on Line

Last Week’s Poll Results Did the Raytown School Board make the right move in protesting the Sav-A-Lot Tax Abatement approved by the Raytown City Council?
38% . . . . EXCELLENT 38% . . . . GOOD 21% . . . . FAIR 3% . . . . . POOR To post a comment click on the word comments below:


Andy Whiteman said...

Long ago I suggested the old Baptist Church would be perfect for business space since the goal is to redevelop downtown. However there was a Federal Grant designating this area as green space. It is NOT a park. I don't understand the difference. Since it may not be called a park, is it legal to transform it into a business area. A business certainly is not green space.

I am unaware at this point if Sutherland's is requesting a TIF. Obviously a vacant building is considered blighted and blight qualifies for a TIF. Businesses should be responsible for their own financing. My house will soon be vacant which qualifies as blighted. I want a TIF so I may sell my house. Raytown taxes are outrageous with 75% going to the Dysfunctional School District making it difficult to sell a home or any property. When I was moving to KCMO, a Realtor tried to sell me a townhome with no property taxes for a period of time. Townhomes are like apartments so it wasn't suitable for me. Homes in Raytown would be easier to sell if accompanied by a period of no property taxes.

How do homesellers get a TIF?

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Interesting articles. Keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...


I have heard from the word of the architect on the project that the city is working with a resident who is the owner of an extremely successful bridal shop in Overland Park on her idea to bring an all-inclusive bridal facility to that greenspace. It will be somewhere between 40 and 60,000 sq. ft. and have a gown shop, tuxedo rental place, floral shop, chapel, and banquet facility. Sounds like a great use of the space to me and I, a definite bower opper, would have to give him credit if he can get this done.

Andy Whiteman said...

Greg's research and opinions are good reason he should be elected Alderman to Ward 1! I would vote for him if I could.

Andy Whiteman

Andy Whiteman said...

Anon 7:37PM, I was at the BOA when the business owner presented her request. Sounds great to me!

This type of business would generate sales tax $$$ as well as bring people to Raytown to attend weddings, banquets, and purchase wedding gowns. This lady designs and makes her own gowns having a customer base who will come from out of state to buy their gowns.

I would like to see it happen. A good use for the "Green Space." BTW: Who cares who gets credit? What is important is that Raytown has a thriving business that will attract customers and people from Raytown as well as from out of Raytown! Those who come to Raytown are likely to shop other businesses (gas, lunch, dinner, coffee shops, grocery, pharmacy, laundry, etc.)

Before the last Mayoral election someone commented on building a 5 star hotel in Raytown. With a wedding chapel, a 5 star hotel may want to build here to provide a place for guests to stay near the chapel.

Andy Whiteman

Pat Casady said...

I wonder what the Federal Government will do to
Raytown when they take the overlay grant and do
something eles for their house of worship Wal-Mart?
Isn't it nice that bicyle riders get the asphalt and the
streets in Raytown that were supposed to get the asphalt
from higher taxes, get gravel and tar.
It also looks like Wal-Mart will get a $637,500.00
dress-up project.
I've got to hand it city hall. When they suck-up
they suck-up!

Anonymous said...

Do not know of any bridal shop opening up Downtown. It city hgall makes such a fuss about a discount grocery store like savalot wouldn't you think they would let people know abou a 60,000sq.ft. bridal shop?

five star hotel? Be realistic. The room is not there.

Anonymous said...

This bridal shop thing sounds like another David Bower re-election trick. Who and why would you want to put something so specialized in an area that really needs high volume retail to generate sales tax and jobs? Again it's time to vote out all the incumbents. New leadership from the top on down is what Raytown needs!!!

Anonymous said...

Check the BOA minutes. This is a legitimate proposal. And Andy is right, this deal could be great for revenues in Raytown

Andy Whiteman said...

A site plan for the bridal chapel was presented at the BOA. It is a plan being considered.

The 5 star hotel is my idea. It could go anywhere else. Maybe Raytown Tfwy or 350 HWY. A 5 star hotel could also serve those attending or playing at the stadium(s).

Happy Valentines Day!

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Reminds me of Sue Frank and her promises of development on 350 Highway. What was it six years?

Anonymous said...


Call city hall about the neighborhood development tax break.

I think it is what you are asking about.

Hope this help.

Anonymous said...

You can forget the Bridal shop coming to Downtown Raytown. I'm told the owner has agreed to purchase an existing building and remain in Johnson County Kansas. Just waiting on bank aproval at this point.

Andy Whiteman said...

11AM, I already asked about it and was told that I live in the wrong neighborhood. The target neighborhood is in the north end of town.

12:07PM, Strange the owner spoke at the BOA was a Raytown resident and wanted her business to be in Raytown. Maybe the expense caused her to reconsider. There are variables that are unknown to the public.

Andy Whiteman

I believe said...

I do not believe in “Free”. I do not believe in “Give-Aways”. I, like most of my neighbors have worked very hard for everything I have- So should everyone else including individual businesses and especially corporations. I would definitely support well thought out investments into our community that would add sound foundation and strong support to our tax base. I am not crazy about tax incentives/abatements, but if they are fairly used and do not damage the local economy, then I am for their use as a negotiating tool with a definite sunset. I am aware that there are trade offs and would consider those that best benefit the community.

Pat Casady said...

As I understand it, T.I.F's are a real-estate tax break.
It lets the property owners fix up the property instead
of paying their real estate tax. The theory being the
property will worth more at the end of the T.I.F therefore
raising the property taxes. That way the T.I.F is repaid.
The really stupid tax break is like the one given on the
Wal-Mart deal. That not took away the property taxes
which hurt the school district's income but it also took
away the town's sales tax income. Both for twenty three years.
Plus the taxpayers of Raytown have to make up the payment
difference if W-M doesn't generate enough taxes to pay towards
the bonds. You the people have paid over one and a half million
dollars towards this bond payment and it's only the second year!
The W-M deal has cost the people of Raytown a lot. It has cost
lower property values, brought in more crime, and the loss of
over thirty small businesses.
So, as I understand it, T.I.F's aren't as bad. Giving away sales
tax income is asinine and backing bonds is just plain stupid.

Anonymous said...


I understand you need to push back and get the rest of the home owners on the street to agree they need funding or tax break to offset the funding for an improvement.

Greg Walters said...

TIF districts are not without criticism. Although tax increment financing is one mechanism for local governments that does not directly rely on federal funds, many question whether TIF districts actually serve their resident populations.

As investment in an area increases, it is not uncommon for real-estate values to rise and for gentrification to occur. An organization called Municipal Officials for Redevelopment Reform (MORR) holds regular conferences on redevelopment abuse.[4]

Further claims made by TIF opponents:

Although generally sold to legislatures as a tool to redevelop blighted areas, some districts are drawn up where development would happen anyway such as prime areas at the edges of cities. California has had to pass legislation designed to curb this abuse.[5][6]

The designation as blighted can allow governmental condemnation of property through eminent domain. The famous Kelo v. City of New London Supreme Court case, where homes were condemned for a private development was about actions within a TIF district.

Normal inflationary increases in property values are captured with districts, representing money that would have gone to the public coffers even without the financed improvements.

Districts are drawn too large, capturing value, again, that would have been increased anyway.
The process leads to favoritism for politically connected developers, lawyers, economic development directors and other implementers.

Funding often goes toward what have been traditionally private improvements from which developers profit. When the public "invests" in these improvements it is the developers that still receive the return.

Approval of districts can sometimes capture one entity's future taxes without its official input, i.e. a school districts taxes will be frozen on action of a city.

Capturing the full tax increment and directing it to repay the development bonds ignores the fact that the incremental increase in property value likely requires an increase in the provision of public services, which will now have to be funded from elsewhere (often from subsides from less economically thriving areas). For example, the use of tax increment financing to create a large residential development means that public services from schools to public safety will need to be expanded, yet if the full tax increment is captured to repay the development bonds, other money will have to be used.[7]

TIF can be seen as a kind of reverse value capture with private developers capturing what should be public tax dollars.

Greg Walters said...

Tax Increment Financing (TIF) works like this:

1. A TIF Tax District is formed. It is empowered to sell bonds to the public. In Missouri, these bonds are often tax exempt. (a good deal for investors!)

2. The bonds are paid back by sales tax revenues from the development.

3. Walmart in Raytown is a good example. The money borrowed to create the building, parking lot, highway entrances, etc. are financed by TIF bonds.

4. The sales tax revenues from the Walmart Store in Raytown go to pay off that debt.

5. The debt (which is in excess of over $30 million dollars) is expected to take 23 years to repay.

6. The City Council voted to commit regular sales tax revenues to pay off the debt as well as the "special TIF sales tax revenues".

7. This leaves the city without any sales tax revenue for public use, such as streets, street lights, salaries for police, etc., etc., etc.

8. In the case of Raytown the development (Walmart) creates approximately 15% of the sales tax revenue in the city.

9. That means that 15% of sales tax dollars cannot be used for streets, police, etc.

10. The whole mess belongs in the Guiness Book of Records for dumb business deals.

Greg Walters said...

Last night the City Council approved a 1% CID (Community Improvement District) sales tax for Sutherland Lumber Company.

Sutherland's representative said that the deal closing the purchase of the old Walmart property should be completed by the end of February.

Look for a more in depth report on the story this coming Sunday on the Raytown Report.

Anonymous said...


Please correct me, as I want to make sure I understand this correctly.

The city kept telling the citizens how we had to make this deal with Wal-Mart or we would loose 15% of our sales tax revenue.

However, the city is not putting a dime of that money back to city services because the city over obligated us tax payers with this deal.

Sounds like our elected officials are not very financially wise!

Just for curiosity I have a couple of questions

If Wal-Mart would close before the debt on the bonds is repaid how would the money be repaid and who is responsible to cover the repayment?

If once the bonds are repaid and Wal-Mart would close how would the city generate any money on this deal?

Who owns the Wal-Mart building and therefore the property rights should Wal-Mart close?

Andy Whiteman said...

I objected to suspending the rules and not having a 2nd reading on the Sutherland deal. The board does this too frequently. Sutherland claimed and urgency to complete the deal by 2/28. There should have been better planning.

2/15 7:45AM, I just want to sell my house which is nearly impossible in Raytown. I don't intend to make improvements. I will sell "as is where is." Legally it is considered blighted when vacant so it will qualify as blighted. Link to listing:

Andy Whiteman said...

Phillips 66 went up to $3.04! The others are still $2.92. I bought gas at $2.92. I suggest everyone do likewise.

Anonymous said...

Mayor Bower, the people will never have any trust in you or believe anything you say until codes is made to step up and do their job!! I don't know why you are protecting that department head. You don't seem to have any trouble opening our mouth to reprimand an adlerman, so what's the problem with your department heads? Are they holding a stick over your head? Do the job you are paid to do.

Andy Whiteman said...

7:49AM, It would be highly improper for the Mayor to reprimand a city employee in public. I am sure that if this is necessary, it is in private. You may notice that sometimes the BOA goes into closed session after the meeting. The closed session could very well be for this purpose.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...


If you would travel through the city you would too see the increase code violations.

The past four years these viloations have grown at an alarming rate.

However, nothing is being done to improve the image of our city.

Only one person is responsable and that is Mayor Bower. He was elected to makes sure our city services are working properly. This is far, far from the case.

If he was the man he wanted us to believe he was he would have addressed these code vilations along time ago.

I agree he needs to address these issues in private, but with that being the case he doesn't need to act like the play ground bully and publicly attack other elected officals or citizens in board meetings just because he doesn't like what they have to say.

Our nation has had enough problems in our public schools with the troubles the action of bullies bring.

We must all agree that elected officals should act like adults and not act like little kids.

Andy Whiteman said...

10:35AM, The whole world is acting like little kids: Egypt, other mid east countries, Mexico, Wisconsin, etc. It seems Dictator O'Bummer is inciting Egypt and Wisconsin, from the reports I am hearing.

I don't walk as much as I used to, but when I did a lot of walking, code violations were more noticeable. One has to walk to really see them. They are not noticeable when driving. I suggest every alderperson walk his/her entire ward over a period of time. Also codes people, management, and department head should be assigned a foot patrol so over a year the entire city is covered.

Codes seem to be an election issue. Have you addressed this issue with Mayor Bower and/or department heads? I know at least 3 Aldermen who will take the time to address code issues if they are brought to their attention, but in my opinion, one call to codes should be all that is needed.

Andy Whiteman