Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Tax Man Cometh!  by Greg Walters

The letter began with the salutation, “Dear Jackson County Property Owner”.

It did not take long to figure out that the letter was from the Jackson County Assessor’s office. That it had been sent to most of Raytown. And, that it foretold of an increase in the value of property in my neighborhood. The sentence ending with the words “some property owners will see an increase in their fair share market value” did not sound very friendly.

Which caused me to wonder . . . it was just last year when property taxes were raised in Raytown. The City and School Board increased levy rates to a historic high in what they justified as a drop in property values.

Now, the County Assessor is raising those property values back up.

No doubt the City and School District will lower the levy rate. In so doing they will escape any hint of reaping a windfall profit from the good people of Raytown.*

If I were a cynic I would exclaim “In a perfect world, maybe. In what we have on the City Council and School Board, don’t hold your breath!”

But ever the optimist, I will wait and see. The ball is definitely in the court of our political leaders in Raytown.

Will they do the right thing and lower the levy rates back down?

Time will tell.

We will be watching.

*In the words of Curtis Koons, Director of Assessment, Jackson County, Missouri . . . “The amount of each final tax bill is determined by the tax levies set by the various taxing jurisdictions including cities, libraries, school districts and others. The County Assessment Department only determines the fair market value of each property. The assessor does not have the authority to raise or lower anyone’s taxes. Only taxing jurisdictions can set your tax rates. Those jurisdictions are required by law to set final levies by October 1, 2011.”

BOA Lowers Employee Requirement Numbers for BHA/GE

Last week’s Raytown Report had a story about a request by the BHA Group to make changes to a tax abatement agreement they have with the City of Raytown for the building located at 63rd and Blue Ridge Cutoff. The current tenant of the building is GE.

The request from BHA Group was to lower a requirement that an employee base of 220 be changed to 165 to continue the agreement. The current tenant, GE, is bound by the same agreement as BHA Group. A spokesman for GE told the Board of Aldermen that the down economy has reduced the number of their workforce at that location.

Last Tuesday night the Board of Aldermen voted to lower the requirement from 220 employees to 165 employees.

Was it the right thing to do?

That is a matter of opinion. Ward 4 Alderman Bill VanBuskirk told the Raytown Report that if lowering the requirement keeps GE in town, it is well worth it.

He may have a point.

But as long as we are being so generous with one of Raytown's corporate citizens – how about doing the same for ALL of the taxpayers in Raytown? Last year Raytowners saw a significant increase in the property tax levy, which in turn, increased their property taxes.

In light of the action by the Jackson County Assessor's office, wouldn't it be fair to roll back the property tax increases passed by the School District and Raytown City Hall last year?
 "Why not give Raytown's taxpayer's a break, just as you have given Raytown's corporate taxpayers?"
After all, the Jackson County Assessor’s office is increasing property tax valuations. So what do you say guys and gals of the Raytown Board say – why not give Raytown taxpayers a break, just as you have given Raytown's corporate taxpayers.

How’s that old saying go, “what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.”

ASK PETE . . . a column dedicated to gardening

You may now plant almost anything without worrying about frost (yes it still can happen..but very doubtful that it will).

One of your first concerns, especially since we just had rain, is not to work your soil when it is too wet.  When you work soil that is too wet, it destroys the structure of the soil.  When the soil dries out it will be hard as a rock and the roots of your plants will not be able to penetrate for the nutrients that are required for good growth.  The soil should be crumbly when you work it with your tools or hands.

I have been planting all spring long, even after a rain.  The trick I use is to spread my seed on top of the ground, then I apply compost, mulch, or potting soil on top of the seed.  Then I will water. The applied material will hold moisture and help to germinate the seed.  As a rule of thumb, cover the seed with the material about twice the thickness of the seed. 

Of course this assumes that the soil has already been worked so that there is not a covering of weeds or grass.

If you have access to dirt or compost or a way to haul, then you can make raised beds even with out sides.  This compost or dirt may be dry enough to plant in a traditional way.  If you use compost, then your weeding will be light at least for the first year as composting destroys most weed seed.  You may get compost by the yard at a reasonable price at the Lee’s Summit dump.

If you have a fence near your garden, then you might consider planting climbing green beans, cucumbers, and even cantaloupe.Climbing green beans(pole) will bear all season and have a better flavor.  Cantaloupe of most varieties are ripe when they slip off the vine.  Many people insert them  in panty hose or net while they are still green and attach that to the fence to prevent bruising when they let go as they become ripe.  You may add extra mulch to soften their impact when they drop.  The end result will be more crop from less space.

And of course, if it is time to plant and none of your garden is ready or you don’t have any place tilled, now what?

Quick hints for a quick easy garden.  Grab a planter or barrel or bucket, the largest you can find and fill with potting soil after punching drain holes in the bottom.  You can plant many items from spinach to peppers and get a crop. The larger the better for root expansion.  In fact, a 50 gallon barrel split down the sides making two halves will provide a good garden(small).

You can also buy a bag of potting soil, lay it flat on the ground, cut a slit in the top(side), punch a few drainage holes in the bottom and you now have a spot for a tomato.

Or, buy a tomato in a large pot(one of the throw away kind of pots, usually black), slice off the bottom of the pot, lay a trash sack on the ground( makes no difference if it is sod as the grass will smother out), cut a hole in the sack a little smaller than the pot, sit the pot over the hole, drive a wooden stake along side the pot to stabilize the pot and behold, a tomato planted.  The roots will have already been growing in the pot and there will be no transplant shock.  If the soil can be worked, make a small hole for the tomato plant pot.  In time the tomato will root below the plastic into the dirt and should bear much fruit.  Don’t forget that water may have a problem getting through the trash sack and you may have to water a little extra
Questions or comments, pete@lazygardens.com 

Reader Success Story by Erin Whitehead
We get so many inspiring emails from readers, and this week we’re finally sharing them with you! Read on for Erin D.’s inspiring success story.

Erin’s Story
I just wanted to send you all a big ol’ thank you for all that you do. I started following you guys on Twitter and reading your blog in the beginning of January, around the same time I joined our local rec center. And you guys have definitely helped me stay motivated!

I was a chunker my whole life up until high school—never overweight, but never healthy, either. During high school I lost a lot of weight, but since then (9 years ago!) it has slowwllllly crept back on. Working out was always a chore. I would go for a month doing three to four workouts a week, but then fall off. I didn’t know how to make it a part of my life. And I always went back to the chips and late night visits to Buffalo Wild Wings. I started running outside last fall, but once it got cold out, I stopped. And the few pounds I did lose during that stint quickly came back on, as I hadn’t changed my eating. Again—I wasn’t overweight, but I was unhealthy, and definitely hovering around the overweight mark the whole time.

But this time…this time I got it. And I seriously owe a big part of it to you guys. Your tweets, your posts, your interviews, your stories. Everything! You even got me hooked on The Biggest Loser (and Bob! ). They’re all a constant reminder that being healthy should be a large part of your life. I never understood that before. Not just something off to the side, not something you visit now and again, like I was doing so many times before. But that it’s SO important to take care of yourself and lead a healthy lifestyle. Your marathon story really got me going, too. That was awesome.

This time, I’m more aware of what I’m putting into my body. I’m starting to cook with veggies I’d never consider before—I love love love artichokes!—and try new things, like quinoa. I used to take it easy at the gym, in fear of injuring myself or being so sore I wouldn’t be able to keep with it. What an excuse! Now, I absolutely love coming off of the treadmill, red-faced and sweaty—and I’m in love with running! Someone actually said to me the other day, “Oh, you’re a runner?”—and I absolutely loved the sound of it!

I know that I’ll still have my temptations, and I’ll still have my off days. I know that it’s still going to take hard work to keep this as a part of my lifestyle. But, I’ve already begun, and I don’t want to look back. And this time, my husband is also there with me. He’s all for trying to eat healthier, and he’s lifting and running with me at the gym every day! I’ve lost about 10-12 pounds so far (he’s lost 20!), but you know? It’s not that number that keeps me going. It’s the fact that my goal is to run 4 miles on Saturday—my farthest ever—and that I think I’m completely capable of doing it! Slowly, but it’ll get done. I’m scared but so excited!

So, after my novel of an email—THANK YOU! I’m sure you get stories like this all day long, but I wanted to send my thanks along as well. You guys are awesome. Being healthy is the greatest thing you can do for yourself, and you’re out there motivating so many people to do just that. Amazing. Cannot thank you enough. —Erin D.

When I wrote to Erin to let her know we’d be using her story this week, she had an awesome update: She’s bumped her long runs up to 5 to 6 miles, is slowly increasing her speed and has decided to train for a half-marathon! Nice job, Erin! Let us know how it goes!  
Erin and Jenn publish Fit Bottom Girls on the internet. To learn more about their view views on life style choices use this link www.fitbottomedgirls.com


To post a comment on this blog click on the word comments below:

25 comments:

Andy Whiteman said...

As an FYI about this editorial: There was a large manure pile covering 2 acres that recently caught fire in the Alamofordo, NM area:

Will the manure pile in Washington catch fire, too?
Alamogordo Daily News
Daily News letter to the editor
Posted: 05/07/2011 12:00:00 AM MDT

The lead story in the Saturday, April 30, edition of the Daily News, "Manure pile ignites," states a two-acre manure pile spontaneously combusted, which I take to imply that Mother Nature was the villain and not caused by a human act.

That one got me concerned. With all the manure piling up at the White House and on Capitol Hill, how soon before Mother Nature acts again?

There is enough fuel there to set off a major explosion. Is the Washington, D.C., emergency response team capable of handling a problem of this size?


Robert. D. Brown, Alamogordo

Greg Walters said...

If you have ever wondered what happens in a city when code enforcement is ignored read the lead editorial in today's Kansas City Star.

It has happened there.

Please don't let it happen here.

Go to www.kansascity.com/opinion

Andy Whiteman said...

I received that letter too. I don't understand their intent since Jeremy Wilmoth has stated that under Missouri law, property taxes cannot go up or down because of assessments.

Maybe they have decided to raise assessments and this is our first notice not to appeal. I sure wonder. I don't understand how property assessments could possibly go up unless there are comps to prove people are actually paying more for homes. Raytown people are lucky not to be in NM. In NM assessments go up by state law 3% annually without assessment. I know good and well that the value of my house has NOT increased 3%.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

OK everybody, don't get your hopes up about
lowering property taxes. As we have seen in the
past our tax dollars are like drugs to city hall.
They are hooked!! In fact it was so easy for them
to raise property taxes, after the county lowered
property values, I wouldn't be surprised if they
didn't do it again.
I believe that since the county will raise property
values, this bunch will have no trouble taking a
big bite out of our wallet with more tax increases.
Let's not forget our school district either. I'm
sure they have already spent a new increase on
anything but education. More green carpet anyone?

Pat Casady said...

It's no wonder this country is in such bad
shape. Iread in an AARP article that the big
corporation General Electric, a company that
did over fiev BILLION dollars of business last
year did not pay one penny in federal taxes.
Governments federal, state and even small towns
bow down to big corporations then make us taxpayers
pay for it all.
this SUCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

How can the ambulance service be losing so much money in one year? Is it because of improper fileing with the insurance company and no follow up. Perhaps the bills don't ever go out to collect the balance due. All I can say is don't count on city hall to fix it.

Andy Whiteman said...

Boy am I mad. I spent over 1/2 hour on my post and the puter dumped it all!

The problem is each provider has contracted rates paid by insurance, Medicare, and Medicade. If you pay yourself, the rate is much higher. I found this out when St Joseph's ER billed me over $3000 when the claim was denied by the wrong insurance company. When the correct company paid, they paid only $250. I asked the hospital if this was right and was told that the contracted rate for an ER visit was $250 no matter what he do (even for a massive coronary)!
This contracted rate must be accepted as FULL PAYMENT and the patient is not billed except for copay or deductible.

To me it is a rip off to be billed much more than insurance pays if I don't have insurance. That is why many doctors refuse Medicare and Medicade patients.

Medicare and Medicade cut their contracted rates so Raytown EMS must accept it as FULL PAYMENT even if it doesn't cover costs.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Why worry so much about the EMS? It is funding the police pension fund that will break Raytown financially.

Pat Casady said...

I'm sorry but is not the police pension that will break
Raytown. It will be mismanagement and dumb decisions
that will break Raytown.
Once again...a town the size of Raytown cannot give away
millions of tax dollars and expect to survive.
It cannot afford to make loans to rich corporations and survive.
It cannot keep raising property taxes and school taxes and
survive. This town only had so much tax money coming in, and
they made the asinine deal of the century when they gave away
millions in income for Wal-Mart.
Over eight hundred thousand in loans to build Aldi's and Ihop.
Please! This is your money Raytown taxpayers. You voted to have
your streets overlaid, you voted for a safety tax to help the
police department. How's that going? Why in the Hell did you
re-elect the people that did this to you?

Anonymous said...

Give us all a break! Pension funds are not going to break a city or state financially. There is a lot of jealousy swirling around because someone might get a decent pension, and I wont, so we need to bring everyone down to my level. In other words, if I cant have it, nobody can. Now how childish is that? Grow up whiners! If it is earned, so be it.

Also, has anyone remotely considered the cost of fuel, tires, oil, supplies, etc. can also drive costs up along with the costs of everything else?

As far as the big corporations go with the tax evasion stuff, you reap what you sow. Republicans are big supporters of big business, and for the record, big business bought their positions within government. Talk about corruption! Yet, that is what a lot of you idiots wanted. You made your bed, now sleep in it! May there be more catered Wal Mart deals for Raytown into the future.

BTW, for those of you that were opposed to universal health care, why are you still getting medicare/medicaid and social security benefits? If you are so dead set against any of this, you should feel obligated to repay the federal government for any benefits paid to you retroactively.

Anonymous said...

If the county tries to raise my taxes I will protest. I will take pictures of the houses in my neighborhood that are vacant and the ones occuppied that have numerous codes violations that are bringing my house value down. I will have a professional come and give me a true valuation of my house. Believe me I will go down fighting!

Andy Whiteman said...

I thought that it was Walmart and other TIFs that would break Raytown. Actually I think that rather breaking Raytown, they are breaking the taxpayers. The worst part of the TIF giveaway impacts the schools which have the highest taxes of all. In turn, property taxes going to the schools are outrageous. 75% of my home property taxes goes to the schools and I have no children! Most people don't know this because they never see a tax bill since the lender receives tax billing.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

I was told the BOA will be voting on bike lanes. The citizens are begging for street and bridge repairs, more street lights and this is what we get. I will be looking for these idiots to be out on their bikes in tight bike shorts, helmets ready to ride to the city council meetings. What has happened to common sense thinking? Some on the board are so full of it their eyes are brown!!! Enough said.

Raytown Report said...

To all of my readers.

No doubt many of you have noticed that there has not been any recent activity on the blog portion of the Raytown Report.

I have received notification from Google that they had some technical difficulties these last two days. In fixing the problem they had to remove comments posted since Wednesday.

Google says that they have since fixed the problem.

I do have copies of the posts and will place them on the page the page this evening.

Sorry for the inconvenience.

Anonymous said...

Are you really going to do that? What is the value of your time worth? You are really going to spend several hundred dollars to get your home appraised? What happens if it appraises out at more than what the county came up with? Are you going to tell them that they are wrong then? If I were you, I believe that I would be better off just saving the money and see what happens with the taxes.

People never cease to amaze me. They will blow money on stupid stuff just to get out of paying to support the community as a whole. This whole philosophy of Taxed Enough Already (TEA) is insane. Most people fail to realize that in order to have basic services, infrastructure, support staff, facilities, utilities, fuel, and supplies that there has to be taxes and fines to support the governments whether local, state, or federal. The ones that are yelling and sounding off the loudest about excessive spending, taxes, etc. are generally the same ones that will complain when there are holes in their streets, and violations on neighboring properties, and will holler the loudest when they try to take away their medicare and social security from them. Most of the people who mover to this community way back in the 40's and 50's wanted good schools, safe neighborhoods, excellent fire and police protection, and public services. They paid their taxes to support the community, and they may have complained about it too at that time. You may or may not have chosen to live in this community, but that is the price that you pay for living here and being a part of the community. Yes, even paying for schools when you have no children! That is the price that everyone pays for in this society. You can move away to the outskirts in the country, but eventually the city will come to you. That is what happened in Raytown, and most of the first residents have either passed on or moved elsewhere, and new residents are moving in. They also get to pay the taxes to support the community as well. All that is left to say is just grow up!

Anonymous said...

I don't think anyone sounds jealus. But someone sure does sound selfish!

Anonymous said...

Community Blood Drive
Friday, May 20th
1:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Raytown EMS Training Room
10020 E 66th Ter

For more information call 737-6030

Anonymous said...

Jobs will keep moving out of KCMO thanks to the earnings tax.

Do away with the waste and the tax and watch jobs stay.

Anonymous said...

I was told the BOA will be voting on bike lanes. The citizens are begging for street and bridge repairs, more street lights and this is what we get. I will be looking for these idiots to be out on their bikes in tight bike shorts, helmets ready to ride to the city council meetings. What has happened to common sense thinking? Some on the board are so full of crap their eyes are brown!!! Enough said.

Anonymous said...

Pat

Do you really understand the issues with the police department?

I don't think so, but that might be becasue you don't live in Raytown.

The simple answer is we need more patrol officers and less on the management side.

Look at the cost of those management positions and the number of those positions.

Yes we need officers, but we don't need all of the management level positions.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 8:48,
First, most of the people receiving
Social Security benefits, paid their
whole life to receive them.
Second, I don't think you can distinguish
a Republican from a Democrat anymore.
What I mean is, none of them in the Federal
Government care two cents about you or me.
If they did they would make tariffs so high that
it would not be so easy to shut down American
manufacturing plants and ship jobs to cheap labor
countries like Sprint did. Shipping over three
thousand jobs, many from this area, to India and Mexico.
Colgate tooth paste, all made in Mexico.
They would have put limits on foreign cars that have
helped ruin this countries economy.
Most of all, if they cared about the people they would
have put a ceiling on gasoline prices.
Just think if we had back all of our manufacturing jobs
that have gone to China and Mexico. There would be jobs for anybody
that wanted to work. The Federal Government would be
collecting more taxes and would not have to be so deeply
in debt. Remember every foreign item we buy or support, every
illegal alien someone hires is another nail in the coffin
of these United States.

Anonymous said...

"Why not give Raytown's taxpayer's a break, just as you have given Raytown's corporate taxpayers?"

Huh??

When did Raytown give tax breaks to all of Raytown's Corporate taxpayers?

Sounds like a rumor to me.

Anonymous said...

Are you really going to do that? What is the value of your time worth? You are really going to spend several hundred dollars to get your home appraised? What happens if it appraises out at more than what the county came up with? Are you going to tell them that they are wrong then? If I were you, I believe that I would be better off just saving the money and see what happens with the taxes.

People never cease to amaze me. They will blow money on stupid stuff just to get out of paying to support the community as a whole. This whole philosophy of Taxed Enough Already (TEA) is insane. Most people fail to realize that in order to have basic services, infrastructure, support staff, facilities, utilities, fuel, and supplies that there has to be taxes and fines to support the governments whether local, state, or federal. The ones that are yelling and sounding off the loudest about excessive spending, taxes, etc. are generally the same ones that will complain when there are holes in their streets, and violations on neighboring properties, and will holler the loudest when they try to take away their medicare and social security from them. Most of the people who mover to this community way back in the 40's and 50's wanted good schools, safe neighborhoods, excellent fire and police protection, and public services. They paid their taxes to support the community, and they may have complained about it too at that time. You may or may not have chosen to live in this community, but that is the price that you pay for living here and being a part of the community. Yes, even paying for schools when you have no children! That is the price that everyone pays for in this society. You can move away to the outskirts in the country, but eventually the city will come to you. That is what happened in Raytown, and most of the first residents have either passed on or moved elsewhere, and new residents are moving in. They also get to pay the taxes to support the community as well. All that is left to say is just grow up!

Anonymous said...

Corporate tax breaks in Raytown. How about HyVee, Walmart, USA 800, GE, and that is just the tip of the iceberg.

Check it out. So sad but true.

Your property taxes will go up this year. Their property tax will not.

Like Harry Truman said, "How many times do you have to be hit over the head with a stick to know that someone is taking advantage of you?"

Andy Whiteman said...

I want a tax break to sell my house. Why does Walmart and Aldi get $$$$$$ and I can't get one red cent?

BTW: The Red Star reports Save-A-Lot will open here in July and 85th and Holmes will open in August. Hopefully I will be gone by then.

Andy Whiteman