Saturday, April 9, 2011

Every Picture Tells a Story . . .
The picture on the right was taken last Sunday early in the evening. The sun was beginning to set. The shadows from my patio projected themselves onto the garage door.

Okay, I admit I used Photo Shop to enhance the shadows. Still, it was a relaxing show to watch the images come to life and then slowly fade away as the sun sank into the horizon.

Raytown to Pay Shortfall for Walmart by Greg Walters
The City of Raytown’s 2010 Audit Report was released on Friday. The report, which was prepared by the City’s Finance Department, raised alarms over budget shortfalls.

Most notable is a shortfall in anticipated property tax revenue by year end 2011 in what is commonly known as the Walmart TIF. The following (bold face type) was copied directly from the report. To view the Audit Report in its entirety visit the City’s website using this link

350 Highway Debt Payments (Walmart TIF)
A growing concern

• Projected deficit (-$72,913.00) would need to be paid from other city funds.

According to the report the sales tax revenue from the TIF on 350 Highway is “not available for general use”.

That is because all of the sales tax dollars collected at the Walmart Store on 350 Highway is dedicated to repayment of debt to TIF bond holders.

The City has paid out over 1.8 million dollars from reserve funds to make up shortfall of revenue from the Walmart TIF since its creation. Most of that payment was due to the fact that Walmart did not open on schedule. Payments to bond holders were due and had to be paid. The City of Raytown has guaranteed the bonds, so it fell upon the City to use taxpayer dollars to make payment on the Walmart TIF bonds.

The 2010 Audit Report is scheduled to be presented to the Raytown Board of Aldermen at Tueday night's meeting, April 12, 2011.

City Revenues Off by Nearly 1 Million Dollars

Another revelation found in the audit report was on the page entitled Revenue Highlights – General Fund. The report shows that revenue is (-$941,234) below projected levels for the 2010 audit period .

Only two areas of city income had shown any growth. One is in fines ($6,992). The other is in Inter-governmental Transfers ($34,369). Intergovernmental transfers occur when other governmental agencies provide money to the City for certain projects like the 63rd Street Bridge. Part of which was paid for by Jackson County through County Urban Road funds (CURS).

ASK PETE . . . a column dedicated to gardening

Has Spring Finally Arrived???

After one of the worst winters in history, warm weather has arrived, at least for a couple of days. It is important to remember that the frost free date for our area is April 15th and all that means is that we have a 50-50 chance that we will not have a freeze after that date. Last year we had a hard freeze in May.

The weather patterns have changed and we are not getting the Artic cold as we recently have.

“So can we garden now?”

If you were to come by our shop at 5900 Raytown Trafficway (Eden’s Acre), you would see that we have rows of vegetables already up and some of these have managed to make it through recent 20 degree weather. In fact, we just sold the last of our spinach that we planted last fall and had grown to a height of a foot already this spring.

It is not too early to plant, in fact, it is getting late to plant some crops. Many of you are familiar with the custom of planting potatoes on St Pat’s day. But did you know you can plant peas, radishes, spinach, (and other lettuce type crops) just as soon as you can work the soil in the spring. That is why we have crops already up and raring to go.

There are many bedding plants that can also be put in the ground right now. Cabbage and broccoli for instance, but it is not too early for flowers. Pansy and Violas will with stand a hard freeze and there are a number of spreading plants that will make it through the winter that can be planted now.

Of course, everyone wants tomatoes and peppers and green beans and many times we get in a hurry for these. It is important for the soil to have a chance to warm up as well as for chances of frost to past. Green beans if planted to early, will rot rather than sprout if the soil is not warm enough. If your garden was tilled in the fall, the bare dirt will help to absorb heat and will warm up earlier. If you have mulch on your garden space, it will keep the soil cool and it may be helpful to pull the mulch back for a few sunny days to allow the soil to warm.

Tomatoes and peppers are both warm weather crops and will probably do better planted toward the last of April. If you are in a hurry, then you can lay black plastic mulch around the plants and that will help warm the soil. You can set jugs of water around the plants to help gather and hold the heat. Or you can purchase a ‘wall of water’ and plant your tomato plant within this water filled container. No matter how much growth you have with your tomato plant, most varieties have a certain temperature required at night before the blossom will set fruit. If your tomato plants are extra early, you may want to spray ‘blossom set at the first sign of blossoms.

Questions? Ask Pete at

Foods to Fuel You by Jenn Walters

On my recent trip to the Team Luna Chix summit, Tish and I had the chance to stuff ourselves with all of the Clif and Luna Bar products that we could. It was like Christmas. And boy, did we take advantage. I scarfed at least one Clif bar and one Luna protein bar a day. Oh, who am I kidding?! I probably had two of each both days. So yummy. Anyways, today we’re reviewing three of those nom-tastic Clif Bar products we tried. Read on for the delicious 411!

Shot Bloks

Clif Shot Bloks were my fave form of energy during long training runs, and Tish and I ate them all throughout the marathon. These bite-sized gummies are filled with electrolytes and sugar to help fuel your activity when you’re working out for more than an hour, and I have to admit that they’re pretty tasty, especially when you’re 20 miles into your run. I was a huge fan of the black cherry variety, which even has caffeine in it (perfect for long early-morning runs), but at the summit, I was introduced to two new flavors that I’d never seen at my local running store: tropical punch and margarita. Yes, you read that right. Margarita! I have yet to find the Margarita ones and they were out at the event (sad face), but Tish did jack a few packs of the the tropicals and OMG what a find.

The tropicals were like a party for your mouth. We stuffed a bunch of the flavors in the back of our totally groovy biking shirt pockets and quickly forgot about them. That is until we arrived at our first rest stop to fuel up. I pulled out those blue bits for Jenn and myself and the fruity fantasia began. When you’re exhausted and in definite need of fuel, you’ll eat just about anything and these were like gifts from the workout gods. If you’re partaking in sweat fests that last an hour or more, these are the perfect fuel and fun for a job well done.

Clif C

I love Larabars, especially the peanut butter cookie ones and the cherry pie. Deeeelicious! But why am I talking about Larabars in a Clif Bar-themed post? Well, because it’s the best way for me to describe these new Clif C bars. These puppies really do remind me a Larabar. They have a similar consistency and flavor, although they’re a little crunchier with a layer of fruit and a small layer of nuts.

The bars are 70 percent organic (hooray!), boost a small ingredient list that you can pronounce and include a full serving of fruit in each one. Clocking in at 130 calories, they’re a fruity snack to get you from breakfast to lunch or lunch to dinner. I do wish they had a touch more protein (each only has 2 grams) and less sugar (they do taste darn sweet), but their 4 grams of fiber softens me on that.

Would I go so far as to say that these bars are as good as my beloved Larabars? Nah. That’s a tall mountain of tastiness to climb. But they are good.


Mojo is something every pro (fill in the blank with your favorite sport/workout) should look for in their athletic groove. I chuckled when I read the name of Clif’s Mojo peanut butter pretzel bar, but I was singing another tune after taking a bite of one of these bad boys that were a mix of salty and sweet. It was more like “Get in my tummy, oh yeahhh” and it sounded like Barry White.

With all of the yummy protein (10 grams) your body will be singing songs of happiness, too. Remember, if you get in some protein goodness at least 30 minutes after your workout, your muscles will thank you.

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 post a comment click on the word comments below:


Andy Whiteman said...

I have previously stated that I doubted if the Walmart TIF will ever be repaid. I feel the same way about Aldi especially due to the way it was snuck through.

It was previously stated at the BOA the the telecom franchise tax windfall was covering the Walmart deficit. This is somewhat untrue because the windfall was NOT a gift. It appears on your and my AT&T bill. I assume the other companies are doing the same billing. The taxpayers are being billed for this over many years.

I read RSMO 497.020(8) several times. My understand is that someone doesn't have to be an attorney to be elected but if not an attorney must complete and pass the municipal judge course within 6 months. Obviously anyone may run for that office and then complete the course.

I asked Teresa, who is the keeper of many records, if she had a copy of Fann's law license. She replied that she didn't. Who has documentation that Fann is legally qualified to be a judge?

Andy Whiteman

Greg Walters said...

I want to take a moment to thank all of those who gave support to my campaign in the recent Raytown Elections.

Unfortunately, I fell short of the mark by about 60 votes. Still, the message was clear that voters do expect more credibility in the maintenance of Raytown. Particularly in the area of code enforcement.

There is one small bit of business left. I placed 150 yard signs through the course of the campaign.

I believe I have retrieved all of them -- however, there is always the possibility that I may have missed some.

If you see one of my yard signs, I ask that you take it down. Or, contact me and I will see that it is removed.

Once again, thank you to the many who took time to vote in the election.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone else find the timing of the city's audit report surprising? Walmart is goint to cost us more tax dollars and the annoucmenent comes right AFTER the election!

I wonder whose street will mot be repaired this year so that Walmart can continue to rake in the profits.

Wake up city hall! The people in Raytown are just as important as a big box store.

Anonymous said...

The people have spoken! They like potholes and trashy nieghborhoods. That's why they reelected the incumbants.

Anonymous said...

I am a proud citizen of Raytown. Today, I went to the Raytown Apple Market for groceries , then to a Raytown Dry Cleaners. then took my pets to a Raytown Veterinarian, bought gas for my car at a Raytown Gas Station, and enrolled my child in Raytown sports activity. I only tell you this so that the Mayor and BOA will understand that one of the reasons that department heads should live in Raytown. I guess we're only a paycheck to these supposed know it alls. I guess I'll go mow my Raytown yard, and do some odds and ends around my Raytown Home, then take a much deserved Raytown nap... But, before I do, I wish someone would tell me how in world this town has gone down hill the way it has in the past 10 years??? Have a nice Raytown day.

Andy Whiteman said...

Willow in the middle of the block southbound side between 63rd Ter and 64th still has cracks that are a hazard to pedestrians. This was reported several YEARS ago with no action taken. The oil/gravel coating still leaves the crack there.

Does someone have to be injured before the city will repair it?

I have twisted my ankle several times.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

On tonights BOA agenda is again the rehabing of houses that will result in section housing. Where are these peoples head? Section 8just means more of what moved and left the mess here to begin with. Section 8 brings property values DOWN and that is what we are fighting now. The weak links on the board need to do some research and see what section housing does to a neighborhood. I don't need to name the wark links you know who you are!!!!

Anonymous said...

Joe Creamer and Jim Aziere are YOU listening to what Jeremy is saying tonight about the Wal Mart deal we are making NO money on this deal and won't for the next 25 years. Can you wrap your head around this??!!!

Andy Whiteman said...

Walmart was the most knuckle headed deal I have seen the BOA make but that started under a previous regime. Some still remain from back then.

Jeremy gave an explanation of why property values go down but taxes remain the seem. It is due to the Hancock amendment. He said that it also prevents taxes from going up as value rise. He had a straight line graph of taxes compared to a varied graph of values to demonstrate it. Seems like a rip off to me.

Jim Aziere commented on schooling required of HUD buyers on budgeting and maintaining a home. Sure they go to the class, but does that mean they will maintain the home? I think NOT!

Andy Whiteman

Greg Walters said...


Reminds me of an old verse about taxation:

Don't blame you.
Don't blame me.
Blame that guy behind the tree!

Walmart may have had its start under Sue Frank but it was during David Bower's first couple of months as Mayor that it became a reality.

Without the nine to one vote that he ruled over, the deal would not have gone through.

There would be no Walmart.

The city would not be 1.8 million dollars poorer. That is how much the taxpayers have had to pay to keep the TIF bonds solvent.

Calling the Walmart deal knuckleheaded is being way too kind. It is proof that the human being is the only animal that can makes its own hell.

The Hancock Amendment did not force the Board of Aldermen to vote 7 yes, 2 no and 1 absent to raise our property taxes after Jackson County lowered property values.

Without that vote, property taxes would have remained lower for the taxpayers in Raytown.

In both cases it was the BOA and Mayor that had the final say. It was their decision and their decision alone.

No one forced them to vote the way they did.

Pat Casady said...

I wasn't going to write or more to the point
complain any more on this blog. But, I have to
say one more thing, The reason this great little
town is going downhill so fast is because for our
elected officials. You can't blame anyone else.
This town will never be better until it gets rid
of elected officials that clearly don't know what
they are doing.
Case in point, schooling required for the section 8
housing dwellers? More than eighty percent are school
dropouts in the first place.
Instead of asinine people running this town the way "they
live", this town needs people to run it the way things actually
are. Listen up City Hall, there are bad, ill-mannered
people out there that don't give a damn what you think.
They are going to live like they do, tear up property
and since you don't care to enforce the codes and laws
already in place, now listen rules won't
do anything!!!!!
Please get your head out of that dark smelly place and
do right for this town for a change!

Anonymous said...

Call you alderman and tell them to vote no on the HUD housing. Unless, of course, you want inner city residents on welfare living next door to you. Thats what Setcion 8 is - housing for welfare people. Next thing you know, real estate agents will be steering poor people to Raytown. Property values wont just go down, they will take a dive and then no one will be able to sell there house.

Anonymous said...

Hate to burst your bubble but Section 8 housing has been in Raytown for years, at least 20-30 or more. Besides, if the City were to say no to that it is possible that a discrimination lawsuit against the City could happen. Think about it before making knee jerk reactions.

Anonymous said...

I feel I would be doing a great disservice to Mayor Bower if I did not post this. Please don't get the idea that all or even most of Raytown is behind you, becasue you were re elected. In fact you would not have had a second term if you had had worthy opposition.Just letting you know and telling you the God's truth.

Anonymous said...

That last post was a whopper!

The nature of grants is that you have to apply for them. You will not get sued if you do not apply for the grant.

Go ahead, your turn. Make up another story to justify a very, very bad decision by the board and mayor.

Anonymous said...

I think we need a complete overall. The attributes most people want in a neighborhood include a clean well-kept street to live on, police who are seen and responsive, good shopping/restaurants, neighbors who are good citizens and really good schools. Our residents need to start speaking up with a positive outlook for the future, not a negative look backwards. We MUST improve our schools. As a parent of a 2010 graduate, I can say even though my child graduated with honors he was in no way ready for college classes. The first semester was not a disaster but far from successful. This was not because of partying but because of being ill prepared. When Advanced Placement classes give extra credit for attending sporting events, how can students learn accountability? How can a senior come home after seven classes and not have any homework? What kind of study habits can that possibly create? And, how do we get parents involved? As for our neighborhoods, I wish homeowners would take more pride in their properties. When I see peeling paint on houses, weeds in fences and broken down cars in driveways because the garage is full of trash, I sure don’t get a warm and fuzzy feeling that would draw me to purchase a home there. Our residents need to take pride in their properties and expect some accountability from our schools. I really don’t have any beef with the police; I see them drive up and down my street on a regular basis. Shopping/restaruants are OK although I still spend a lot of money in Lee's Summit.

Let’s build Raytown up not tear it down. We must discontinue the insults and each do our part to make this a satisfying place to live and raise our families. Maybe then we will be the wonderful sleepy little town we once were.

Anonymous said...

Have you noticed regarding the HUD housing grant; that the only people who seem to be trying to make this into a racial issue (at least of those on the board), are the ones who are in favor of the issue, not those opposed to it!

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, both of my kids who also graduated from the C-2 School District within the past 5 years also were not ready for college level classes. They ended up having to take remedial classes their first day of college. It is not that they are stupid, because they are not. The system rushed them through, and when I would inquire about homework, there was very little or none sent home, yet they got very good grades (A's and B's) in High School. Someone needs to look into this problem because now it appears that the buck was passed on to the colleges to teach the skills that should have been mastered at the High School level. This is also not a isolated incident, it is very common from what I understand in talking with others parents of school district students and graduates.

Maybe the State Department of Elementary and Secondary Education should open an inquiry into this?

Not by our own school board, as it would just get swept under the rug there.

Anonymous said...

To april 14 at 8:21

You are absolutely right. If Bower and the rest of the incumbents had had anyone with a lick of sense running against them they would never have been re-elected. We are once again in a world of hurt for another 4 years. Maybe it is time to move and let them have the whole town for Section 8 then we'll see how they like trying to run a town with no one who cares.

Andy Whiteman said...

7:53AM, Doesn't surprise me. I graduated from Albuquerque Public Schools in 1967 and went to UNM to satisfy my mother. Math 101 in college was beyond my comprehension. On the other hand, Accounting 101 was easy for me and I was assisting a classmate who couldn't understand double entry bookkeeping. Not only does it depend on the student but I think some HS classes haven't reached college level.

Andy Whiteman

Andy Whiteman said...

Looking again at this, does "C-2" indicate the grade of the Raytown School District, I.E. C minus minus? That translates of a GPA for the district of 1.8 which is a D++ but if you are liberal call it a C--.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

The most important thing the school board did, or at least they think it was, was to install artifical turf. It is okay the kids don't have enough text books for the whole class. By God get them the turf. It is a real important teaching tool. These people don't have a clue what their job is as a school board member. Our test scores are about as low as Hickman Mills and they sit up there and tell us all is right with the world. Not a one knew what a state audit was and what it would report about the school. Rick Moore thought it was about money. Well it is not. Do a little research and you will find out. Please pray fkor these people they neede all the help they can get from the Almighty.

Anonymous said...

C-2 stands for Consolidated #2. The district 'Consolidated' several grade schools in its early days into one school district. There are several that did this. Consolidated School District #1 is the Hickman Mills District, Consolidated School District #2 Raytown, Missouri is the Raytown School District's official name, not 'Raytown Quality Schools' like some would like you to believe. (some are always trying to change things not always for the better, or best interest of the groups or organizations that perceive themselves as having an image problem)

Then you have 'Reorganized' School districts like Lees Summit R-7. I guess they couldn't get it right the first time, huh? (just kidding)

Andy Whiteman said...

As of 8:45PM Gas at Conoco on Raytown Rd at the one way bridge was still $3.57! Other stations are $3.69.

Gas prices posted on:
Please scroll to bottom of page.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Poor Raytown!! What is going on with this town? I see kids behind the wheels of police cars.. I won't even get into that! I say let's get out of Raytown. Our votes apparently don't matter. Raytown is becoming more like TRASHTOWN. What happened to the good ole days were my wife and I could take a walk down our street without fear? What happened to the day when we could go to a restaurant and be treated nicely and respectly? Now we have this brat kids taking over and have no respect. My family and I REFUSE to purchase anything in Raytown. We will go a hour out of our way if we have to, but I will not settle for this crap! Good bye Raytown, Welcome TrashTown..
Will someone step up and help Raytown? Probably not, those people are too worried about their paychecks...