Sunday, August 21, 2011

Story by Greg Walters
City Reaps $193,967 in Tax Windfall
In a report outlining tax revenue income to the Raytown Board of Aldermen, City Hall, Finance Director Jeremy Wilmoth told City Council members that the city had gained $193,967 in franchise taxes over the previous year. 

The bulk of the revenue was received from the 7% Franchise Tax the city collects on natural gas and electric bills from Raytown homeowners and businesses. The windfall tax increase is the result of an unusually cold winter followed by an extremely hot summer.

In his report Wilmoth did not specify revenue gains from sales tax collected on natural gas and electricity. If included, the sales tax would undoubtedly push the windfall to the city well over the $200,000 mark.

Telephone and Cable television carry similar taxes but are not prone to gains or losses due to the unpredictability of the weather. The city does not collect a franchise tax on water. (see below)

Even though the city’s increase is substantial it still falls below budgeted predictions by 9%. The budgeted amount is misleading. Predicting revenue amounts from year to year in areas where market conditions and fluctuations in weather patterns is extremely difficult.

In his presentation to the Board Wilmoth said that over-estimation of income from utilities was due to an aggressive position by the city in its budget process. He said that adjustments will be made in the 2011 / 2012 budget to correct the mistake.

Windfall Tax Gains Should be Given Back to Taxpayers
This is not the first time the City of Raytown has realized a large gain in revenue due to extremes in weather.

The winter of 2002 was extremely harsh. Natural gas usage set all time high records. This drove the price of natural gas to new highs as well. The city received over a quarter of a million dollars in unanticipated revenue from the Natural Gas Franchise Tax.

Raytown was not the only city affected. In Independence, the return was so great that the Independence City Council rolled back the Franchise Tax to a lower rate to help people pay their heating bills.

In Raytown we took a different approach.

At the time I was Chairman of the city’s Finance Committee. I had scheduled a public meeting to discuss the crisis. Local citizens were invited to testify on how they were handling their heating bills.

At the time, I was serving as Chairman of the Finance Committee. I had called a special meeting of the Finance Committee along with an invitation to the public through the local newspapers to comment on the situation. About 15 members of the public showed up to testify of the dire straits they were in.

The Finance Committee directed that over $30,000 of the windfall be donated to the Raytown Emergency Assistance Program (REAP) to help those in need with payment of their utility bills.

That evening Raytown received accolades from the local television stations and other news media for the decision.

A more equitable solution would be to simply lower the tax rate (as did Independence) for a given period of time to bring tax relief to local taxpayers. But the compromise donation to REAP was the direction the Committee chose.

An interesting footnote to this trip down memory lane is that the very next day, then Mayor Sue Frank (who was adamantly opposed to giving any money back) removed me as Chairman of the Finance Committee.

Given the chance – I would do it exactly the same way again.

So, what is the point?
Quite simply this  . . . the city has collected $193,967 over last year’s take on Franchise Tax. No doubt the increase will grow, though at a slower rate due to more moderate weather. It is conceivable that the city’s income over last year could reach that quarter million dollar mark by the end of this fiscal year.  

The windfall is undeserved. There are those in our community who need the money more than city hall. The excess should be given back to the taxpayers.

A Trip Down Memory Lane . . .
Readers will note that the city does not collect a Franchise Tax on water. Such was not always the case in Raytown.

Years ago, while reviewing the city’s annual budget, Ward 2 Alderman Garth Bare and Ward 1 Alderman Greg Walters noted that the city was receiving Franchise Tax revenue from the Raytown Water Company, but not from the Jackson County Water Supply District No. 2.
Upon investigation we found that Water District No. 2 held the position that since they were a governmental body they were not required to hold a franchise to sell water. The other water company serving the area, the Raytown Water Company, is privately owned and was required to collect the tax.

Realizing the inequity of one half of the population being forced to pay a tax, while the other half did not half to pay stirred the Board of Aldermen to action. The tax was revoked.

 Three Tips to Beat the Body Image Blues by Jenn Walters
This entire week, we’re featuring select posts and articles by some of the best-of-the-best writers and bloggers across the World Wide Web as part of FBG’s second-annual Guest Bloggers’ Week. Click here to see all of the great guest posts that inspire, make us think and crack us the heck up! If there was one thing you could change about... Continue reading

Jon Stewart at His Best:
I usually do not put these links up, but this one is soooooo funny it deserves to go viral on web. It shows the true nature of politics in America. Use the following link -- Enjoy!  Why is the Media Ignoring Ron Paul?

For those who may not know, Ron Paul ran second in the Ames, Iowa poll of Republican candidates at the Iowa State Fair. Keep in mind that participants in the Ames, Iowa poll had to make a $30 donation to cast their vote.

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Andy Whiteman said...

I have addressed this issue before the BOA several times in the past and was ignored. Obviously that is the way the Socialist Fascist Fief of Raytown can legally extort money from taxpayers. My last electric bill was $282 and the Fief extorted close to 10% in both franchise and sales taxes!

Giving the money to REAP won't help most taxpayers. I am not poverty level and won't qualify to receive help from REAP, but I still can't afford heating and cooling.

My a/c is set at 80 from 9AM to 1AM and 78 from 1AM to 9AM. The house usually stays cool enough so the 80 setting doesn't activate the a/c until noon, 5PM, or even much late in the day depending on how hot it is. It was so cool and cloudy yesterday that the a/c ran 3 hours 47 minutes all day.

As for heating, mt setting is 61 degrees 24/7. The only warm rooms are my bedroom and bath. I do use space heat at one end of the house that has low air flow from the system but the cost of gas, electricity, and kerosene is outrageous. I have medical issues and my doctor wants me to turn the heat up but I can't afford to do that.

I feel the money should be refunded to the taxpayers but it would cost a fortune to mail everyone a check. It could be a credit to the sewer bill rather than mailing a check. The real solution is to reduce the franchise tax during extreme heat and cold or reduce the tax on all essential utilities (gas and electric.)

People also think that the previous windfall from cell phone providers that was used to fund Wallmart. They are incorrect. It was NOT a windfall. This alleged windfall was added to my phone bill. People should read their phone bills carefully and go through EACH line item. We the people are still paying for this Windfall that financed Wallmart!

Andy Whiteman

Andy Whiteman said...

"The only thing that can save this planet is selfless non-reproduction" (David Attenborough).

Anonymous said...

You have robbed us now do the right think and lower the rates.

Pat Casady said...

To Anonymous 10:09, From last week.
The trash situation did get worse when the
pool hall went back to being open all night
of most of it. The bar is closed but about
to reopen.
The pool hall, as far as I know, doesn't let
people have alcoholic beverages in house. I'm
sure this is my problem. Even when the bar was
open, I doubt the customers came out just to
trash up the parking lot. I'd say most of the
beer bottles, needles and malt liquor containers
are from the patrons of the pool hall. However,
We have worked well into the night and when we
left there were always young people making fools
of themselves and trying to out do one another
as far as cussing and carrying on. I don't pretend
to know the answer. I just think that if a patrol car
would drive through once in a while it might help.
I have a deep respect for our police and I know
they are busy but, the amount of empty liquor containers
that are left behind has to put people on the street
in danger. And you are right. Curfew wouldn't apply
to anyone that can buy liquor legally.

Anonymous said...

The city best hold on the tax windfall to cover Wal-Mart sales tax short falls that the city will again be forced to cover.

Anonymous said...

Is the city giving the new horse stables at 81st Ter and Springvalley a tax break?

Also does anyone know what they change to house at their stables.

Doesn't seem they have a lot of land for the stables, but one never knows what majical undertakings are allowed in Raytown.

Andy Whiteman said...

Pat, I used to walk Hank Dogg in that area several years ago (he died in '06.) There was unneeded activity in that alley lasting from late afternoon and still observed after 1AM! Some of the nuisance apparently came from the banguet hall. They are supposed to be supervised, but once they step out the back door supervision ended.

I suggest you call 737-6020 (which is 9# programmed on my phone), ask for a Sgt., and request a drive through that alley a few times overnight. I suspect more is going on than you or I think. The PD doesn't know about this unless someone calls.

Andy Whiteman

JWDT said...

Just my 2 cents!
1st let me say, I have issues when a Government looks at any tax as a Revenue Generator...this implies the Government is its own value producing entity...Essential Government services are required for a properly functioning Society, once a government takes on a Income/Loss mentality (i.e. revenue/cost) the essential services is lost and entitlements become the standard.
With that off my chest....the City has already 'reaped the windfall'...knowing how inefficient and possibly inept it is, returning the money in any form will probably cost more then what has been received.
Here is an alternative option: Why no use the money for basic things like Road Repair & the Sewer Replacement? Or replace the Sand/Salt used last Winter? My point is, lets use it for something Raytown Residents will need or are needing that belong to the 'infrastructure'...

Andy Whiteman said...

JWTD, I agree with you, but does anyone really believe the funds will actually be used as you suggested?

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

the sad thing is that i don't think most of the aldermen know that they have options. they seem to be like children waiting for instructions from their paid staff.

Andy Whiteman said...

The highly paid staff always says, "We are waiting for direction." Translation: "We are waiting for you to ask us what to do."

I wondre who is really the boss?

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if Ron Paul is against corporate welfare.

You know those deals like the one Raytown did for Wal-Mart.

Anonymous said...

I don't know about Ron Paul's stance on Walmart. He is usually described as a Libertarian. Those folks believe that the role of government in our lives should be reduced so my guess is that he probably takes a dim view of corporate welfare.

Pat Casady said...

I regret to say it is too late. Our taxes
are used primarily to help big business not
the people of Raytown. Look at the facts.
Sales tax increases were not used for what
we were promised. Streets and safety.
The Wal-Mart deal lost tax
income for twenty three years. It also cost the
taxpayers over a million eight hundred thousand
in bond payments, so far, because Wal-Mart isn't living
up to it's expectations of revenue.
Instead of putting in a clause that would make W-M
make up the difference they make the people of Raytown
make it up. That's money that could have been used
streets and city services.
If you add up all the money spent on bad developers,
surveys, heads of departments that did nothing for the
town, all the tax deals that have lost or cost taxpayers,
you could have paved the streets added new sidewalks and curbs
not to mention cleaned up the downtown to draw new businesses.
I'd like to hear about one thing this city has done for the people,
with their tax dollars other than the chip and seal job on a handful
of streets. After that list what they have done for big businesses.

Anonymous said...

When is the Tea Party going to address illegal immigration?

We have a problem in our Nation with business who believes the bottom line is all that maters and will hire illegal to help the company boost profits.

Why is the government not arresting these same business owners or the CEOs of the corporations who are breaking the law?

Wake up Raytown this is not an issue just facing areas like the state of AZ, but his happening right here.

Make sure your lawn service, roofer and anyone else you do business with can prove their employees have the right documents to work in America.

If you catch or suspect wrong doing contact ICE and you Congressmen and US Senators to ask them to clean up America by starting with bad business owners and CEOs.

Anonymous said...

Kansas City just removed a judge from the bench because of a question about residency. KC judges are required to reside in KC. What a novel idea. I can't find our mayor in the Raytown phone book.

Andy Whiteman said...

I made an issue at the BOA meeting that several city offices and departments have been left out of the Raytown phone book. Maybe they aren't located in the city???

There is no requirement that the mayor (or anyone) have their number listed in the phone book. Many pople don't want their phone number in the book. I will tell you it was listed before the first time he was elected because I called him.

You can verify property ownership via the County tax assessors web site by doing a name search.

BTW: I used to be listed in the Raytown Phone book but they dropped me from it this year for some unknown reason. (Possibly because my address is not published.)

Andy Whiteman

Pat Casady said...

The following is a letter I wrote to the Raytown Times
in response to yet another person ragging on our police
I would like anyone that believes as I do to write
a letter to the Times and help defend our police.

I would like to respond to the letter to
the editor of last week. It was about police
officers sitting in parked cars with the engine
Personally, I like to see the police sitting in certain
areas of this town. In fact the police have been asked
to be in or near Colman Park. It is or was a trouble area.
I would like to challenge last weeks
letter writer to sit in his car in the hot sun in a
black or dark suit and a bullet proof vest for an hour. Three sweaters
will be an OK exchange for the vest.
Also other than keeping cool they "are" saving taxpayers
money by not just driving around.
Our police, when sitting in their patrol cars are either watching the area or
filling out reports on the in car computer. Another reason to have
the car running.
If our police officers would get out and go into a cool
building (as suggested by the letter writer) then someone
would complain about that.
No, I would rather them be at the ready to make a run if needed.
There are people that find it necessary to
rag on the police.....that is until they need them.
My question is why isn't the writer of the letter complaining about City Hall
and the millions that have been lost because of terrible decisions
also, tax increase promises that have not been kept?

Anonymous said...

Why isn't there a policy in place requiring Raytown Police Depart. officers to live within the City of Raytown? Other "professional" police departments make it a requirement for their officers to live within their city limits. Most of the command staff live in other communities including north of the river, and out east of the metro. This include the most of the staff responsible for first response and citizen safety.

It seems very unusual especially if officers are allowed to drive city owned vehicles home.

Anonymous said...


How do you feel about the police who are working security at Wal-Mart using city equipment, which to often includes a city police car?

Andy Whiteman said...

Pat, I agree with you and raise the question of why don't ALL complainers take it (the complaint) to City Hall? There are many conplaints on this blog (usually code complaints) to which I raise the question, "Have YOU notified the city?" The simple fact is the city has no way of knowing there is a problem if no one complains.

I spoke at a BOA meeting and Mayor Bower later said, "It is only ONE person." The problem with the BOA is one person is ignored. It takes a mob filling the room to get attention. A mob is obviosuly not one person complaining.

Anyone with a complaint should address it to the city and then complain if the complaint is not addressed.

Andy Whiteman

Tom Rigot, Sr said...

Not all area police departments require residency. The Following departments do not:

Grain Valley
Oak Grove
Blue Springs
Lees Summit

This is just a partial list. I don't see how you can require residency and limit the field of candidates for open positions. In a smaller community. Officers have families, homes and bills to pay like everyone and want to improve the quality of that lifestyle so if they can get a better employment situation with another department they will go! I can see requiring the chief to have residency but then you are again restricting the list of qualified candidates. I know of several officers that have left current departments and went to less pay but the new department retirement program was a lot better. Kansas City PD requires residency but their department is huge and their territory is vast. Smaller Departments have different parameters driving decisions. I personally like it when I see an officer sitting in his car parked next to my business because it deters crime. That is the point of them sitting in a high profile public area. The car is not just a cruiser but is their mobile office where they complete reports and many other paper requirements they have. I can guarantee you that the next time someone sticks a gun in your face and says "give me what you got" you won't care where that responding officer goes to sleep at night!

Anonymous said...

I agree with mr. Rigot. I especially liketo see our police at the parks. It gives them a chance to interact with a good cross section of Raytown.

Much better than sitting in a vacant parking lot.

Wouldn't you agree?

Andy Whiteman said...

The Police Chief is required to live in Raytown because it is an elected position.

9:06 AM, I have seen Sheriff's officers working security at Walmart but NEVER an RPD officer! When an RPD car was parked outside Walmart, I have still observed a JCSD officer on duty. I made the assumption (which may be wrong) the the RPD officer was there in response to a complaint of which there are several per week.

I suggested before Walmart opened that the RPD establish a mini station in Walmart for public contact, report writing, and simply being on site in a high crime area. I have made use of the KCPD station at the old Walmart on Hillcrest because of a suspicious person in the parking lot. It appeared to also serve as a Walmart Security office.

Andy Whiteman

Andy Whiteman said...

I was just thinking. The BOA usually has an emergency meeting at the end of August to establish the mill levy. When will this be done? Did it take place at one of the secret 6PM meetings?

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...


The has been known to allow both marked and unmarked police cars to be used by the officers who are working security at Wal-Mart.

The more I think about this I wounder what our state's AG would say and if we have laws against this. I understand some states put a stop to this several years ago as it gives an aperance that the business is getting special treatment by the department. Based on the tax break we all know about it does make one wonder what else we gave Wal-Mart.

Anonymous said...

At one time, the Raytown FPD (Fire Protection Dist.) only required them to live with in the FPD boundries (which extend a mile from city limits). From what I have heard (at least for a city like Lee's Summit) that one reason is affordable housing. While I feel it is ideal that they should live with in city limits, perhaps there are extenuating circumstances why they do not live with in city limits. Perhaps they already had a house before they where hired for instance. Unlike some, I am for the most past willing to give the police officers the benefit of a doubt, after all, they are willing to risk their lives for ours, and we should show them respect.

Anonymous said...

RPD does what RPD wants and it don't matter what you, me or the man in the moon think about that.

Along with the Ford Expeditions, maybe we can buy them a private jet to fight crime with - and go to all of their out of town paid vacations disquised as conferences, siminars, retreats.

I'm sorry for ranting, but
We don't live in a safe town anymore and I am felt up with the lack of police protection and failing infrastructure. Instead of street lights, safe parks and neighborhoods, etc, we get out of town staff living fat on the taxpayer's dime, and taking unnecessary trips at the tax payer's expense.


Anonymous said...

A correction to the misguided

This is a fourth class city and therefore we don't elected a police chief. We elect a city marshall and under state law the city marshall doesn't have to be the police chief. I would sugguest you and our elected official take the time to read the state law for fourth classs cities it will be both educational and enlighting.

Anonymous said...

I would love for a Police man or woman to live on my block. What is wrong with a residency requirement for PD. We complain about department heads not havng residency, why not require high ranking PD officers to have residency? Seems reasonable.

Anonymous said...

Could someone please tell me what happened to the young officer that was hired (I think back in Feb or so~I believe he had previously worked in Freeman) that was sworn in at the BOA meeting? I have heard that he was let go because he could not pick up the orientation fast enough or something like that. I also remember at the time of his hire there were several other potential candidates that could not make it because of budget. How much does it cost the taxpayers for a new officer to go through orientation then only to be let go? Does Chief Lynch have the final say on hiring new officers and if so I think he might need some help in evaluation of talent.

Thank You,
Doris Dixon

Anonymous said...

The reason you can't find our mayors phone number in the book is because he is hiding.

Anonymous said...

History shows that many bad leaders hide when they know they are not doing what is best for the people they represent and / or their time as a leader is up.

Hussin and Hitler top the the list.

Both are also examples of mean and hateful individuals who did like those around them to speak up.

Sure sounds like our mayor.

Anonymous said...

Comparing the mayor to Adolf Hitler and/or Saddam Hussein is not only insulting, it is uncalled for. Why is it if someone disagrees with someone else, or do not like them, they find it necessary to compare them to some of the most vile, evil men that ever walked the earth? Is it fair to call George Bush or for that matter Barrack Obama to these men as well? Hitler was a butcher, he ordered the mess executions of millions, because he saw them as unfit. I do not see Bower doing that. If you dislike him so much -- why did you not run as mayor. after all you must think you could do better. Depending on the point of view, it is a thankless job. I notice people are willing to bitch and complain about just about everything, but more often than not, they are unwilling to be part of the solution.

Anonymous said...

Comparing the mayor to Adolf Hitler and/or Saddam Hussein is not only insulting, it is uncalled for. Why is it if someone disagrees with someone else, or do not like them, they find it necessary to compare them to some of the most vile, evil men that ever walked the earth? Is it fair to call George Bush or for that matter Barrack Obama to these men as well? Hitler was a butcher, he ordered the mess executions of millions, because he saw them as unfit. I do not see Bower doing that. If you dislike him so much -- why did you not run as mayor. after all you must think you could do better. Depending on the point of view, it is a thankless job. I notice people are willing to complain about just about everything, but more often than not, they are unwilling to be part of the solution.

Anonymous said...

There is plenty of hyperbole on any blog.

The comments about Hitler and Hussein did not bring images of David Bower as a butcher.

But it did bring an image of intolerance.

Let's face it. If your vision of a solution does not fit our Mayor's vision it will be ignored by his staff, not allowed in discussion at public meetings or considered in any way at all.

The shoe fits, doesn't it?

Anonymous said...

The comparison of Mayor Bower is in extremely poor taste.