Sunday, September 4, 2011

THE PAUL LIVIUS REPORT . . .
Wildwood Homeowners ask for Help with Private Lake by Paul Livius

At Tuesday night’s meeting of the Raytown Board of Aldermen representatives of the Wildwood Homeowner’s Association asked the Board of Aldermen for help in removing silt from the privately owned lake located in Ward 2.

The Wildwood Homes subdivision is considered a political stronghold of Mayor David Bower and Ward 2 Alderman Jim Aziere. At the April 12 meeting of the Raytown Board of Aldermen, Wildwood homeowner and political activist Witty Whitman reminded Ward 2 Alderman Jim Aziere to remember his promise to help Wildwood homeowners.


Ward 1 Alderman Shane Pardue cautioned the Board that if the city were to participate in cleaning up Wildwood Lake that there are other privately owned lakes in Raytown that would rightfully deserve the same service.

Ong Lake and Elm Lake are located in Ward 1. Ong Lake, located at the southern boundary of Gregory Heights, is used by the City of Raytown as a retention basin. Ong Lake is the first of two large retention basins maintained by the city. The use of the lake and a similar basin in a nearby cemetery has saved the city close to one million dollars in storm sewer construction costs downstream.

Wildwood Lake, because it is literally at the “bottom of the hill” is not a retention basin. Any cleanup of Wildwood would be for aesthetic purposes only.


Ward 2 Alderman Jim Hamilton added that Gregory Lake, located at 70th Terrace and Gregory Lane, should receive the same treatment as shown Wildwood Lake. 

Hamilton lives on the southern edge of Gregory Lake, which is facing the same silting problems as is Wildwood Lake. The lakes fill up with silt that comes with storm water runoff from surrounding watersheds. 

Complicating the matter is that Wildwood Lake is a privately held property. The general public cannot use the lake. In fact, anyone using the lake who is not a member of the Wildwood Homeowners Association can be arrested for trespassing. 


  Bushels of Fun  St. Bernadette Fall Festival 5-9 pm, Sept 10.  BBQ Rib/brisket dinner, Raffle (top prize of $1,000), Games, Silent Auction, Country Store, Car Smash, Live Music, Fun.  Children’s games and activities.  Come join us at 4pm Mass and stay for festival.  St. Bernadette Church, 9020 E 51 Terr, Kansas City, MO  (816) 356-3700.

WARNING: SNEAK SALES TAX INCREASE PLANNED FOR NOVEMBER 8TH ELECTION
Zoo Tax Deserves a “NO” Vote by Greg Walters
I was looking at the results of a CNN Poll this morning about how Americans view the economy. The headline read that 8 in 10 Americans believe the country is in an economic recession.

Which tells me that 20% of those polled are wide-eyed optimists who believe it never rains after 9:00 a.m. and the temperature never goes over 90 degrees in a Kansas City summer.

The Friends of the Zoo, an organization that has a contract to run the Kansas City Zoo, must also be part of that 20%.

Like most true believers, they will not rest until they get you to become one of them.

They have a plan to hold an off-year election on November 8th, 2011 to raise your sales tax to pay for expansion of the Kansas City Zoo.

Before I go on, let me explain that I like the Zoo. I even go to visit it every now and then. Last time I did I took along my trusty Canon PowerShot A720IS and took pictures, some of which ended up on this page.

I also like groups like the Friends of the Zoo. In fact, I was a card carrying member when my children were young and the Zoo was a frequent destination for family outings. Friends of the Zoo does a fine job of managing the Zoo for the City of Kansas City.

That being said, I am still opposed to their scheme to raise our sales tax. Yes, even by one eighth of a cent.
 
Let me tell you why.

We are in a recession. Jobs are very scarce, particularly in the Kansas City area. As many of you know, my business office is located in Downtown Kansas City. Used to be there was a traffic jam going to work every morning in my daily trip from Raytown to Downtown. An even worse one in the evening.

That was then . . . . This is now.

There is no traffic jam in the morning. In fact, the traffic does not even slow down. In the evening there may be a brief slowdown, but that is really because of construction underway at the I-70 / I-435 interchange.

My point is. There is not any traffic because the jobs are gone. Despite the best efforts of our leaders in Washington to restart the American economy those jobs lost in the past and current recession have not come back. 

A one-eighth cent sales tax may not sound like much. But to those who are without a job, with bleak prospects of finding a new one, every cent counts.

Most of the people who read this page are pretty well set financially. We spend our time sending messages via electronic media as a way to share ideas, entertain ourselves and relax.
Not everyone shares our good fortune.

Some evening stop by the Public Library and try to find a spot at one of the computer terminals. Arrive early, because you will have to wait your turn. Some of those folks cannot afford a computer of their own. 

The same can be said for many of our senior citizens and young families. People who have seen their pensions diminished by inflation, their jobs downsized, or even worse, eliminated.
None of the above can afford the eighth cent sales tax increase.

This is especially true in Raytown. Our city used to be called a “low tax city”. Not anymore. Pass this tax increase and watch Raytown’s sales tax shoot up to 9.225% in stores like Walmart on non-grocery items in Raytown. 

We want Raytown to be a leader in the Kansas City area. Having the highest sales tax rate is not an enviable goal to achieve. 

As originally planned, the sales tax question was supposed to go before voters in four Missouri side Counties, Jackson, Clay, Platte and Cass*.

The elected officials of both Platte and Cass County have decided not to put the issue on the ballot. It is, after all, their county and they are elected to make such decisions.

That means that if the tax passes, the sales tax burden will be carried exclusively by taxpayers in Jackson and Clay County. 

The reaction by the Friends of the Zoo has been to force Platte and Cass County through judicial intervention to place the sales tax increase on the ballot. That’s right. They are suing the counties to force them to place the issue on the ballot.

As ballot issues go the proposed sales tax increase by Friends of the Zoo is a train wreck happening before our eyes. 
  
  • It is already a matter of litigation just to place it on the ballot.
  • It does not have the popular support of the elected officials.
  • It burdens those who are suffering in this down economy who can afford it the least.
  • It is being pushed during an off-year election so proponents can “target” the voters in a “sneak” election.  
The Zoo Sales Tax Increase deserves to be defeated overwhelmingly. Please mark your calendar and remember to VOTE NO on November 8th.

*It is interesting to note that none of the governmental bodies in Kansas were asked to participate in the election. Keep in mind that many parts of Johnson and Wyandotte County in Kansas are closer (geographically speaking) to the Kansas City Zoo than most of the people who live in Cass or Platte County in Missouri.

10 Ways to Get Fit Without Any Fancy Equipment by Jenn Walters

It’s an excuse many of us have heard or even said ourselves: I want to get fit, but I can’t afford a membership to the gym or a personal trainer. While a health club can be a fantastic place to work out, it’s not the only way to get fit. In fact, you can enjoy a variety of different workouts at home or outside that are extremely... Continue reading

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30 comments:

Andy Whiteman said...

I don't believe we are in a recession. We are in the beginning of a depression. There are no good jobs anymore. The jobs were sent overseas. The jobs report reported that for the first time in many, many years there were ZERO new jobs (not even 1) in the USA.

I don't believe that "Most of the people who read this page are pretty well set financially," is entirely correct. I don't think having a computer means that one is well set even thought it costs quite a bit to buy and maintain one as well as pay for an ISP. Computers are almost a necessity in these days. I know people besides myself who own computers and are not well set. One has been unemployed over 2 years, the other is retired, and my retirement is certainly not enough to exist on! I recently changed ISPs from one that cost close to $80 per month to one that is $45 per month and receive a much faster download and upload. At least I cut a few dollars there.

They try telling us that it is only 1/8% sales tax, the same way sales taxes were presented to Raytown voters. If it is ONLY 1/8%, why do they bother asking for it? If it is that small to them, they don't need it. Greg is correct, it adds up.

I remember when my wife wanted to go to the zoo. I called for their hours and discovered that they closed too early for me to go. Obviously they aren't available to all of the people with their daytime hours. Is this Zoo going to be like the Chiefs where Jackson County residents get preference or a lower price? Really discriminatory! The zoo's funding should come from admissions and donations. If I am still here, I will be voting NO. I hope this becomes a well discussed issue because I believe ignorant people tend to vote for sales tax increases believing they are voting for only a few pennies.

I also question if it is proper for a non-profit organization to receive tax payers' dollars? How are these fund accounted for?

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

I have not had a pay raise in two years as the industry in which I am employed is still in recession.

My main goal now is to pay the bills. We have cut our expenses to the bone.

I will not vote for any tax increase for any luxury. Yes, the zoo is a luxury which I can't afford to visit.

Let those who visit the zoo support it.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the last comment. The zoo is a luxury. I am glad it is there. But my priorities in these hard times is to my family.

I am also upset that once again it looks like Jackson County will end up paying most of the bill. We are already paying for the Truman Sports Complex, the Combat tax. Is there ever an end?

Raytown sales taxes are getting so high that I am ready to take my grocery shopping to stores on the K.C. side lie Cosentino's. They have everything and in many cases more than the Raytown stores offer.

And the sales tax is over 1 cent lower per dollar!

Andy Whiteman said...

I don't think anyone will save enough on sales taxes going to the Kansas side to pay the cost of the extra gas as well as their time. I value my time, and figure a shopping trip in Raytown as 2 hours while going to KS is 3 to 4 hours.

I checked my receipts some time ago and taxes on the KS side were just as high or higher!

As I have said before I shop by what is on sale, not tax rate. If Hy-Vee has what I want, I go there. If Hen House has what I want, I go there. I also schedule my trips so that I am making several stops like maybe West Lake and/or dinner, and not just grocery shopping.

I was thinking that Greg's comment that he felt most of the readers of this blog are well off does have merit. I have stated that one must be rich to live in Raytown due to the high property taxes and high utility rates along with close to 10% city taxes on utilities. Anyone living in Raytown better be well off. That is why I am moving. Besides the miserable climate, I can't afford to live in Raytown if I want to live on my pittance of an income.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

I think it would be so interesting to see where most of the members that are friends of the zoo live. Betchay a dollar that most are from Kansas.

Disagree with Andy's comment about distance. A person living in Cass county or Platte county lives way further than one living along state line to the kc zoo.

plug into mapquest and figure it out.

I can read a cash receipt. If you shop in Raytown at any one of the new grocery stores (except for Sav A Lot) you are being charged about 10% more in sales tax than shopping at Apple Market or Cosentino's.

Dress it any way you want. Dance around it any way you want. The fact is that it costs more to buy grocereies in Raytown at Aldi's, Walmart or HyVee than most enywhere else in the K.C. area.

Count me as one voting NO on adding to that tax burden in Raytown for a zoo that I never visit.

Andy Whiteman said...

8:39PM, My distance comment was regarding the high sales tax on groceries, not the Zoo. Aldi, Hy-Vee, and Walmart are ALL in special sales tax districts because the taxpayers are paying for their construction. Apple Market was already there. By Constantino's I assume you means Price Chopper at 63rd and Blue Ridge. There are may Costantino's in the KC area. As an FYI, that center just underwent a redevelopment. I suggest you check your receipt for a sales tax increase. I normally don't shop that store because I shop by price and their sale items don't really attract me. Also I can't get my 5 cents off gas because a $50 purchase is required. I have no way of knowing if I have $50 and usually don't buy that much. I came close once so I was cheated because my bill was like $48. Had I known, I would have made them hold the register open while I got another $2 of something.

I never visit the Zoo but I know others like it. I am voting NO because it should be user and/or donor funded. In otherworks I don't want to pay for others to go to the zoo the same as I object to paying to educate and babysit children of people who tend to breed. I feel the schools are lacking in education and are really only for babysitting and team sports. Maybe those on teams can get a college scholarship so they can drop out and sign with a pro team and be unable to play by the age of 35 or 40 due to injury.

Andy Whiteman

Pat Casady said...

Here's a thought,
If a town, let's say Raytown needs more income
because, let's say the city leaders have given
away a large percent of the town's income to
big business. Why not start enforcing and fining
codes violators. This will be two fold. It will
clean up neighborhoods and bring in some much
needed revenue. Then there is the speeding problem.
This could generate a huge amount of money for this
town.
If the "Kansas City Zoo" needs more income, why not
raise their prices at the gate and refreshments?
Why does every city, instead of doing their jobs find
it easier to raise taxes? Our leaders decided to raise
our taxes without a vote from the people. This after the
light bulb went off enlightening them that they had given away
too big a piece of this towns tax income. The light bulb
then went out because they keep giving tax breaks and
giving away income to date. But, the biggest boner deal they
made and the one that hurts the taxpayers the most is,
making the taxpayers make up the difference in the bond
payments. Over a million eight hundred thousand so far!
That kind of waste is what will keep this small town from
growing.

Anonymous said...

My Church is having their Fall Festival this weekend. I went by Aldi's to ask them to put a sign in their window or on their community bulletin board. I figured since they had just opened, they would want to help out. I asked the manager and she told they don't get involved with the community.

It would seem to me that if "the community" can loan the store $850k, the store can help the community.

Anonymous said...

Hey Wildwood, that is what HOA dues are for. Give me one good reason why the City should clean your lake with taxpayers money when taxpayers can't use it.

Anonymous said...

If we the public can't swin, boat or fish in it, then that makes it private. So the tax payers money should in no way help Wildwood Lake. It will be interesting as I know Mayor Bower had a hugh number of supporters in that area the last election.Lets see if the city has the spine to stand up to this bunch of people who want a freebie

Anonymous said...

I am not surprised about the comment about Aldi's. That's why I shop at HyVee or Applemarket. Both of those store seem to care about Raytown.

The others feel like carpetbaggers.

Andy Whiteman said...

Paul, Thanks for getting the post about Wildwood lake up a day early!

While not a resident of Wildwood, I feel that since the city's runoff goes into that lake, the city has some responsibility. Mosquitoes are a public health issue and will roam far from the lake. I am a little over 1/2 mile away and the mosquitoes are here. I have a large bug zapper on from twilight to sunrise to handle the mosquitoes. When I go out with Red Dogg I hear the bug zapper zapping several bugs.

Wildwood is a somewhat exclusive area in Raytown and diminished property values will affect property tax collections. It affects the whole area. What if someone adjacent to Wildwood has a house for sale and mosquitoes are present when a prospective buyer is looking at the house? Property values for a large radius are affected.

One alderman commented to me that possibly a neighborhood improvement district could be formed. It would raise Wildwood's taxes, but I think it is a good solution.

Andy Whiteman

KMCCLA said...

Wildwood is a private lake, why should we the people of Raytown help them in cleaning up their lake, if we can be a arrested if we even get near it. If they want help, then open it up for public use, otherwise, as someone said here -- that is what your HOA dues are for. Also, as stated, what about the other lakes and ponds in the area, would they get the same treatment?

Not to defend Aldi's, but last June when I asked Radio Shack if I could put a sign for the Raytown Amateur Radio Club, Field Day event, thinking what better place to help advertise. I was told by the manager that they are not allowed because it is a "corporate" thing (they had even gotten in trouble for having business cards for a tax guy). In this case, if they allow one church, or group to put up a sign, they have to allow everyone, and then sometimes it gets over loaded. So do not blame the manager, most likely it is a "corporate" thing, and they are not allowed as a matter of policy.

Andy Whiteman said...

One suggestion I have for Wildwood Lake is if the city helps, the HOA should deed it to the Parks Board and it would be operated and maintained as a city park. Is that an expense the city and Parks Dept. would want to take on? It could also become a police and EMS issue.

As for posting notices in stores, I have noticed that some stores have bulletin boards for that. When I owned a gas station, I would post anything within reason that a group requested. When I worked in a 3rd Class Post Office, The Postmaster wouldn't allow anything to be posted. She wouldn't allow the annual free BBQ provided by the Fire Department. I debated her on the grounds that anything that was non-commercial that affected the community should be posted. It is impossible to debate someone who wants to assert authority. I was a notary and even though the issue never came up, I was told that I couldn't notarize anything on the job (even at no charge) but the PM was collecting bills for the gas and electric companies. I couldn't understand the difference.

I returned several years later after she retired and the Officer in Charge had some notices posted and was selling the local "Village Club" calendar.

In my opinion an amateur radio event is compatible with Radio Shack's business, but putting out cards for a tax preparer is giving one preference over another with free advertising. I really think it is a personal issue rather than a fixed policy. The policy varied by person in charge of that particular office. I think it may be the same at RS and Aldi.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

This Wildwood Lake request will be fun to watch.
If this city does decide to help clean a private lake
I can guarantee every news channel in the area will be
notified. They may be notified just because the board
is even thinking about it.
A word of cauthion to our elected people,
Be careful with your per-election promises. They may
come back to bite you on the......

Andy Whiteman said...

Wildwood lake is a private lake but is also a public nusiance (mosquitoes).

I still think that if the city becomes involved, it should be donated as a public park.

I hate to bring it up, but the city sure could cite the lake as a big code violation which obviosuly the owner doesn't have the funds to remedy the nuisance.

Andy Whiteamn

Anonymous said...

Andy,

There were a couple of places that said I couldn't put the posters in the windows, but directed me to the community bulletin board. There were also a couple of places that said they sorry, but corporate policy wouldn't let them have posters in the windows.

Aldi's was the only place that refused on the grounds that they didn't get involved in the community.

In my opinion, if Aldi's doesn't want to get involved with the community, the community should buy their groceries at one of the other six stores in the area.

Tom Rigot, Sr. said...

I live in a local Raytown community that has a private lake. Because of development in Kansas City and other construction projects up stream their is something like 60% less watershed available to absorb rainfall. Consequently runoff after a good rain causes the inlet stream to our lake to turn into a torrent and brings lots of silt and other debris into our lake. This silt has to be removed every 5-6 years at great cost to our HO association. When the developers planned the upstream construction they had to do studies on runoff and provide for a place for it to go before the city/county would aprove the project. Our HO association contaced the city and county to try and get some financial help and were met by dead ends at every turn. Our community was not involved with the planning of this construction yet we are forced to deal with the results. My point is that if Wildwood is used by Raytown for storm runoff or watershed then the city does hold some accountability for the damages. How much if any is the debatable part. I don't blame the residents of wildwood for looking for assistance because the cost is huge. Where would that runoff go if not into wildwood... the basements of homes outside the wildwood area?

Anonymous said...

The park department doesn't need Wildwood Lake, let the homeowners take care of it. They want thte privacy use of it so now step up and take care of it and quit whinning.

Anonymous said...

tom, if you have lived in raytown that long then you are very much aware that if wildwood lake were not there that no one wuld get flooded.

Wildwood lake is really two lakes. The uupper and the lower. the lower one does not hold water very well.

Below that there is no housing to flood.

in fact if you trace the creek from the lower lake you find that it does not flood anyone when it goes under woodson road to kansas city.

You have a nice PRIVATE lake.

my advice? keep it that way. Accept public funds and it will no longer be private.

Do i need to say more?

Andy Whiteman said...

If Aldi doesn't want to get involved in the community, where do they think their business comes from? They are biting the hand that feeds them. I think whenever a TIF comes before the board, community involvement (even if it is only placing posters in the window) should be addressed in the agreement. If the Girl Scouts want to sell cookies at Aldi, would they be denied? Makes me angry!!

Back to Wildwood, as Tom pointed out it is a private lake with issues caused by the city as well as man-made changes upstream over a period of time. Somewhere, there should be a compromise. The city should shoulder some but not all responsibility. As to how much, who knows? I remember from a BOA meeting it was stated that part of the Parks tax is for flood control. I think that the money is there if the level of responsibility can be resolved. This could be a very costly court case if an agreement can't be reached. A lady who I couldn't hear spoke before the BOA. All I could hear was the lake caused medical issues with her child. Nevertheless, the lake is a health hazard as well as having multiple ordinance violations. These issues need to be addressed.

Andy Whiteman

KMCCLA said...

Home of the Brave or the Chiefs?

I was listening to KMBZ this afternoon, and this topic came up. There seems to be a petition going around to keep people from yelling "Home of the Chiefs" at the end of the National Anthem, in light of it being the tenth anniversary of 9/11. They already are going to be having several things to honor those we lost that tragic day, but perhaps this could be one of the most important things people do. Although I have to admit that often now when I hear the end of the Star Spangled Banner, I often think "Chiefs" it really is "Brave". I have to admit, that to some degree it is at least "mildly" offensive, and really should not be done in the first place.

So pass it on, if you or someone you know is going to the game Sunday, it is the "Home of the Brave" and not the "Chiefs".

Andy Whiteman said...

I also heard that on Shanin & Parks. I find "home of the Chiefs" to be offensive because it is The National Anthem. It is referring to our country not a private group or area of the country. I was thinking while listening to S&P that there are people who never heard of the Chiefs or don't give a damn about the Chiefs. Lets give our country the respect it deserves. Our national anthem is not subject to change by an individual or group.

I fly my flag on 9/11 not to commemorate the event but rather as an act of defiance towards those who oppose us then and now.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

I have always been offended by those who change the last word of our national anthem to Chiefs. It is really sad that so many have no patriotism and no idea what this country was about. Sadly there is less and less to be proud of.

On it s current course, our country is doomed, but so many don't care as long as they can afford Chiefs tickets and beer.

Anonymous said...

There was a swimming pool in my neighbors back that was in horrible condition and not being used and was a mosquitoes haven.We contacted the city and asked for help and was told nothing could be done ,since they had a peivacy fence. This was a hugh health problem children or adults could not even enjoy their backyards. The city did nothing for us so why do it for Wildwood?

Andy Whiteman said...

Wildwood is NOT surrounded by a privacy fence and is visable to anyone who drives or walks the area.

Your Voice Counts said...

Thursday, September 15th, 2011 at 7:00 PM
Las Chili’s, 6210 Raytown Trafficway., Raytown

If you agree, we live in a democracy please join us and invite your friends too.

Lets learn about stopping elected offials in Jefferson City from overturning the vote of the people initiatives like they did with the puppy mill initiative.

This is not their first time to force their will on us against the votes cast related to initiative issues.

Anonymous said...

Andy, my point was the health issue with the mosquitoes.
Wildwood Lake isn't the only area where there are problems like this.
For some reason these people who live in this area seem to think they are the upper class of this community. I pay my taxes keep my property maintained and I don't get any special consideration with problems on my street so why should they?

Andy Whiteman said...

Anon 7:55AM, I agree the mosquitoes are an issue. You stated the city wouldn't take action against your neighbor because the pool was behind a fence. My point is Wildwood Lake ain't behind a fence so there is no excuse. Has anyone called the Health Department? Also CH 4 has Call for Action. There is also the Watchdog in the Red Star.

I remember a similar issue at 79th and Spring Valley. These issues seem to thrive in Raytown.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Your Voice Counts?

I hope your discussion is not limited to the puppy mill petition.

If it is a one issue lecture I am not too interested. But if you are going to talk about other petitions that have been kicked aside by elected officials i will be there.

So, what is your agenda?