Sunday, October 16, 2011

As seen from space.
Click on image to enlarge.

Every Picture Tells a Story

Lake Tahoe is the largest Alpine Lake in North America. The surrounding shoreline and mountains will be snow covered from October through late Spring. The lake never freezes due to its great depth, 1,645 feet (second only to Crater Lake located in Utah). The Lake Tahoe region often receives tremendous amounts of snowfall. The snowmelt during summer months keeps the otherwise desert mountains lush and green with many smaller alpine lakes and streams to be found in the surrounding area, aptly named Desolation Wilderness.



Paul Livius
The Paul Livius Report by Paul Livius
Raytown Board of Alderman – October 18, 2011



The invocation was given by Jay Grimwood of Graceway Church (formerly Kansas City Baptist Temple).


Due to technical problems, the public comments, and communications from the Mayor and City Administrator were not broadcast on television.


• The Board approved the budget for the City for Fiscal Year 2011-2012. Alderman White commented that the police pension fund was rather large and she was worried about the stability of the plan.


• The Board approved a resolution awarding a two year bid to Alamar Uniforms for the purchase of police uniforms and minor equipment. Chief Lynch explained that while the amount bid seemed higher than other companies, Alamar is a local company. As such, they will be able to provide uniforms that will properly fit the officers. In the long run, he believes the contract with Alamar will save the City money.


• The Board heard the second reading of an ordinance granting an amendment to the conditional use permit at 11900 E. 350 Highway. Mayor Bower asked if any aldermen had ex-parte communications. Alderman Aziere said he had a conversation with Mr. Ellerman and Ms. Grant. Due to that conversation, he will not be able to remain objective. Alderman Mock stated that he, Alderman Lightfoot, and Alderman Van Buskirk had a conversation at the site and discussed the landscaping and number of cars to be placed on the lot. All Aldermen agreed they would be able to remain objective and the conversation would not affect their votes. The applicant is asking for an extension to complete the work to bring the property up to code. Ms. Grant, a partner with Mr. Ellerman at Asset Motors, said they are asking for 18 months to complete the curbing and shoulder and the landscaping. The items left to do before opening are to spend $26,000 in landscaping so they could put in 257 trees and plants, spend $15,000 for curbing and approaches, spend $8,000 for electrical and lighting, and pay $73,000 in back taxes. She pointed out that come January, the amount due for back taxes will increase to over $100,000.She said Mr. Ellerman has a snow removal company, with several large trucks and equipment. If they put in the concrete approaches now, they will be destroyed over the winter. They would like to wait until spring to do the concrete work. She pointed out that if they put in trees and plants now, they will die over the winter, so she is asking to do this work in the spring, also. Mayor Bower asked how much of the back taxes were owed to the City of Raytown. Ms. Grant stated that taxes on the property were due for tax years 2009 and 2010. It is approximately $31,000 per year. Alderman Melson asked how they could open if they owed back taxes and John Benson said all taxes have to be paid as a condition of the certificate of occupancy. Alderman Ertz said the money Ms. Grant mentioned did not include the cost of the bonds the Board has already required. Ms. Grant said the bonds have not been purchased yet. She has received some bid, but they are very expensive, and she is still looking for the bonds. Alderman Ertz asked about the 18 month time limit. He wanted to know when the clock would start to click. Mr. Benson said it would start when the Board voted for it to start. Ms. Grant said they would like to open the business in April, 2012, and want the 18 months to start at that time. Alderman Van Buskirk asked Mr. Benson what kind of shoulders was required at this business. Mr. Benson said it would be similar to what is at the Aldi’s location. Mr. Van Buskirk said he was not a proponent of curbing on 350 Highway, since the highway is maintained by Missouri DOT. He thought it was a flaw in the design. It was pointed out that the owner made the commitment and now has to carry through with it. Alderman Lightfoot said at the last meeting, Ms. Grant didn’t say the 18 months would start after April, 2012. Alderman Aziere asked if commercial property is like residential property in that it is sold on the courthouse steps if the taxes are in arrears three years. Joe Willerth, City Attorney, said that is the case. Alderman Aziere asked Ms. Grant if they don’t open until April, how they planned on paying 2009 and 2010 taxes. He asked if the building will be vacant next May. Ms. Grant said to pray for snow. She said Mr. Ellerman has the snow removal business and has plans to pay 2009 taxes from the income for the snow removal. Alderman Pardue said that at the last meeting, Ms. Grant indicated they would complete all the work in 18 months. Now they are saying they will complete the work 18 months after April. 2012. He asked why that has changed. Ms. Grant said it is easier to start the work in the spring because the concrete will have all summer to set up and harden so the snow removal equipment won’t destroy the curbs and approaches.


• Mayor Bower opened the floor to public comments on this issue. Don Plessler said he owns a business at 82nd and Westridge. He opened his business 10 years ago. At that time, he had to put stucco on his building, widen the street, and put in curbs to conform to city codes. He spent $30,000 on a 3,000 square foot building. He was required to conform with all city codes before he was allowed to open. He said that Bordner Roofing also had to conform to all city codes before they could open their business. Now, he has to deal with all the dirt excavated from Walmart that was dumped in the lot next to his building. There were 1,000 truckloads of dirt and the pile is 49 times bigger than his building. He has tractor trailers parking on the unpaved property north of his building. The trucks are there all weekend, and the owners are working on the trucks while they are parked there. If Raytown wants to attract new business, they must insist that businesses follow the codes already in place.


• Bart Thayer, of Bordner Installation Group, said they were given strict guidelines and codes before they were allowed to move into their building. They occupy the property vacated by the old Payless Cashways lumber company. When they bought the property, they thought they could just move in and start their business. The city told them they had to bring the property up to code. They spent millions of dollars complying with the city requirements. He thinks the city should impose the same requirements for the car sales company as they did for Bordners.


• Andy Whiteman said 350 Highway is under the jurisdiction of the Missouri DOT, not the city of Raytown. The owner originally asked for three years to complete the curbing. The Board said this was not reasonable. On the other hand, he said, the Board gave the City Administrator three years to move to Raytown and to date, that has not been completed. He asked if the city thinks the owner of this property will fail to meet the obligation since the City Administrator has failed to meet his obligation. He thinks this is two different sets of standards. The owner of this property is not asking for taxpayer money like other businesses in Raytown in order to open. He asked why the Board is making it so difficult for this business to open. Raytown should be more business friendly.


The public comment portion was closed. Mr. Benson agreed to read the original conditions Mr. Ellerman agreed to. They are:


1. The Conditional Use Permit shall be issued to only Richard Ellerman with the provision that the automotive sales business shall be owned and operated by him and he shall be responsible for its actions.


2. The Conditional Use Permit granted herein shall not be transferable and any change in ownership or control of the business shall require issuance of a new Conditional Use Permit.


3. The existing shoulder shall be removed and curbing along that portion of the property abutting eastbound and westbound Highway 350 shall be constructed. Construction plans for these improvements must be submitted and approved by the City of Raytown and the Missouri Department of Transportation prior to construction.


4. Landscaping shall be installed in accordance with the approved site plan dated July 25, 2008.


5. The conditional use permit shall not become valid and vehicles shall not be displayed for sale or sold on the property until all site improvements required herein as a condition of approval (e.g. construction of parking lot island, curbing along Highway 350 and installation of landscaping) have been completed and a Use Permit has been issued by the Community Development Department. Due to inclement weather and seasonal challenges, in lieu of completion of improvements prior to issuance of use permit, the Mr. Ellerman may provide a performance guarantee to the City of Raytown equal to the cost of construction of all site improvements along with an fully executed access easement sufficient for construction of the improvements. If the option for a performance guarantee is exercised, all site improvements must be complete prior to August 1, 2011.


6. The conditional use permit shall expire ten (10) years after issuance of a Use Permit by the city and that said Use Permit shall not be issued until all required improvements specified as a condition of approval herein are completed.


7. Compliance with all applicable local, state, and federal laws and regulations.


8. In compliance with Section 12-18 of the Raytown Code of Ordinance, no Use Permit or Business License will be issued until all prior and outstanding city, personal property tax, sales tax, sewer use charge, special assessment, merchant’s tax, real estate tax or other tax, fee or user change is paid in full.


9. No ramp or other structure for the purpose of displaying vehicles shall be constructed, installed or placed on the property unless it is a permanent structure that is constructed of materials that are consistent with and in keeping with the façade materials of building(s) on the property, has landscaping around it all of which shall be approved by staff.


• Aldermen Melson and Hamilton expressed concern that Mr. Ellerman had not attended this meeting or the last meeting. Alderman White said the 18 months should start from the date the ordinance is passed. The company can open any time they want. She assumed the company would want to open as soon as possible. Alderman Van Buskirk said he visited the site and spoke with Mr. Ellerman. That was how he found out about the back taxes. He suggested the extension be tabled and the applicant can ask it be considered in the future. Joe Willerth reminded the Board that the conditional use permit has been approved. The applicant is asking for an extension for the work left to be done. Otherwise, the business can’t open until all the work is done. Mayor Bower said the Board decided years ago what the guidelines will be for the 350 Highway Corridor. Other businesses have adhered to these conditions. They would be setting a dangerous precedent by giving this extension. Alderman Pardue said the Board should show mercy to the business owners. They have given tax breaks and tax abatements to other companies and should grant this extension to Mr. Ellerman. Alderman White said it was possible to stick with the standards previously set and still give the 18 month extension. Mayor Bower asked the Board, if XYZ Company comes in and wants prime real estate on 350 Highway and they owe 3 years back taxes, and has a bad track record, is the city willing to set aside the guidelines established by the Board. He believed this extension is a bad business decision. The Board passed the amendment to extend 18 months to Mr., Ellerman.


• The Board passed an ordinance authorizing the Memorandum of Understanding between the Jackson County Storm Water Commission and the City of Raytown.


• The Board adjourned the regular session and moved to a closed session.


Park Board / City Considering Memorandum of Understanding by Greg Walters
About one month ago the Raytown Report began receiving emails telling of a Memorandum of Understanding between City Hall and the Raytown Park Department. The authors of those emails asked for anonymity and they have received it.

Upon investigation and repeated attempts we received a copy of the Memorandum of Understanding from City Clerk Teresa Newton.

At this time Raytown Parks and Recreation is an autonomous governing body. It is governed by the Raytown Park Board. The Park Board is appointed by the Mayor of Raytown. The Raytown Board of Aldermen must vote to approve such appointments. In turn the Park Board hires its own Director, manages its budget and controls all aspects of how park property is maintained and operated.

The Memorandum of Understanding would change nearly all of that.

The proposed Memorandum of Understanding would strip the Park Board of most of its autonomous status. The Park Board would then become and advisory board.

Budgetary matters would be combined with the City of Raytown’s operations under the direction of the City Administrator. The Park Board would still choose a Director for Parks and Recreation, but all other aspects, including development of new parks would require approval of the Mayor and Raytown Board of Aldermen.

To view a draft of the Memorandum of Understanding use this link: Memorandum of Understanding

Memorandum of Understanding AN ANALYSIS
Anyone who reads the proposed Memorandum of Understanding will quickly realize that the real question on the subject is who will control the purse strings of Raytown Parks and Recreation. There are many arguments that can be made both pro and con for the combining park services with city services under the control of the City Administrator.

From conversations with Park Board members, the Park Board Director, City officials and documentation received from Raytown City Hall the Memorandum has definitely stirred things up.

Long time President of the Raytown Park Board, Bob Smith, has resigned – though he does not attribute his resignation to the Memorandum, there is little doubt that it did play a part in the decision.

Even though it is a public document, Park officials were reluctant to release the Memorandum of Understanding. Finally, one week after the original request, the City Clerk released the document along with an explanation of the short history of how a Committee was formed by Mayor Bower to study the issue on August 2nd. The Committee is comprised of Mayor Bower and Aldermen Creamer, White and Mock.  This Committee has met on several occasions since then and Park Board members have been participating in the discussion.

According to the City Clerk, the idea of a Memorandum of Understanding has been suggested and began as a topic of discussion with the Park Board Governance Committee on August 10, 2011.  The Mayor is the Chair and facilitated the discussion of this Committee.  All meetings of the Committee have been open meetings; meeting all of the requirements of a Public Meeting.  All information has been posted at City Hall and at the Fire Department, where meetings have been held.

So, if you were by City Hall and the Fire District headquarters AND found where the posting for the meeting was, you were notified. Here’s a thought, why not send notification of the meetings to those who keep the public informed on a regular basis?

I know the Raytown Report would publish events of this nature. No doubt other publications in the Raytown area would do the same.

The changes within the Memorandum of Understanding are a bench mark of how city’s parks will be operated in the future. Whether the goals set out by the Park Board Governance Committee are in the best interest of the Committee is a judgment yet to be made by the public and their elected representatives.

As an addendum to my story regarding the Memo of Understanding:

I received more information from the City Clerk's office this morning regarding the meeting times and places held by Mayor Bower and the Park Board Governance Committee.

Those meeting times were: 
August 10, 2011- 7:00 p.m. / Fire Station #1 Training Room
September 1 – 7:00 p.m.  / Fire Station #1 Training Room
September 8 – 7:30 p.m.  / Fire Station #1 Training Room
September 15 – 3:00 p.m. / Mayor's office 
 
31 Years Ago . . .

The link below is a short film clip of a Phil Donahue interview of Milton Friedman.

Mr. Friedman was an American economist, academic, and author who taught at the University of Chicago for more than three decades. He was a recipient of the Nobel Memorial Price in Economic Sciences.

Friedman was an economic advisor to conservative President Ronald Reagan.

Even though the clip is 31 years old it resonates with issues being discussed in the world of national politics today. I think you will find it interesting.


To view the film clip use the following link: Phil Donahue / Milton Friedman clip


Around Town by Paul Livius

Jim Lynch
On October 11, 2011, Raytown’s Top Cop, Chief Jim Lynch was awarded the 2011 Clarence M. Kelly Award.  This award recognizes Chief Lynch as an active law enforcement administrator in metropolitan Kansas City who is an excellent administrator, proactive in his approach and dedicated to improving the criminal justice system.  Chief Lynch was selected due to his strong sense of community as demonstrated by his work with such community groups as the Community Policing Institute, the N.A.A.C.P., the Department of Justice, and the Raytown C-2 School District.
Chief Lynch began his career 36 years ago as a Police Officer at the Raytown Police Department and has been promoted through the ranks.  He was elected to the position of Police Chief in 2001.  Congratulations, Chief Lynch.
 
Sav-A-Lot Review
I visited the Sav-A-Lot store at 63rd and Raytown Trafficway.  It’s a small store, compared to others in the area, but it is well lit and very clean.  This store, as do other discount grocery stores in the area, has a large number of generic items on the shelves.  The big difference is the number of brand name items.  One can find Coca-Cola next to the cola product; Uncle Ben’s rice is on the same shelf as the generic product.  This store also offers fruits and vegetables.  One may purchase a single apple, or a whole bag – same with the oranges.  The bananas were only a day or two away from being ripe.
When I was there, I found only the store manager to check me out.  He was talking on the phone, checking out customers, and I even observed him stocking shelves.  Few headcount equates to lower costs.


Sutherland Lumber has opened their doors in the old Wal-Mart location at 67th and Blue Ridge. I took some time to tour the store on Sunday. They have done such a fine job of cleaning up the old Walmart location that you would think the building had just been newly constructed. The store will be a welcome addition to Raytown's local economy.

O'Hara and St. Mary's aid Joplin by Brother Richard Geimer

Kansas City, Mo. – Two fifty-five passenger buses, filled with members of the Class of 2012 from Archbishop O’Hara High School and St. Mary-Bundschu Memorial High School, are headed to Joplin on Tuesday, October 18 for a day of service.

O’Hara’s seniors were given the option of a Mission Day in Joplin in place of their customary senior retreat day at Conception Abbey in northwest Missouri.  The students overwhelmingly choose to head south this year where they will assist with outdoor clean-up in the aftermath of the May tornado.  With enough remaining seats on the buses for St. Mary’s seniors, an invitation  to include the Trojans was issued and accepted.

The students will board buses beginning at 6 a.m. on the front driveway of Archbishop O’Hara High School, 9001 James A. Reed Road, for a 6:30 a.m. departure.  Catholic Charities of Southwest Missouri is helping coordinate the student efforts.  Students and teachers will work from 9:30 a.m. until 3 p.m., then load the buses for the return trip with a 7 p.m. anticipated arrival in Kansas City.

Archbishop O’Hara and St. Mary’s high schools are schools of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph.  Together, they serve nearly 500 young women and men in grades 9 through 12 in southeast Jackson County.



Motivational Workout Song List by Jenn Walters
Oh, the wonder drug otherwise known as good old fashioned motivational workout songs. It’s a beautiful thing. There’s a reason that clever Nike put a “power song” on its Nike + GPS App—that stuff works! Some day researchers will gather in a tiny room and figure out what it is about hearing positive messages... Continue reading





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

35 comments:

Andy Whiteman said...

The Parks department "autonomous status" is a real rip off. It is never was autonomous at all. It is collecting sales and property taxes with the board appointed under a hidden "consent agenda." Since taxes are collected, the park board should be an elected body. The Fire Board is elected, why not the parks board? I am glad I voted against the rip off parks sales tax increase!

Something is rotten in the Socialist Fascist State of Raytown. An investigation is needed to determine if it is legal to collect taxes without an elected board?

We the serfs of Raytown have been ripped off again!

Greg please remind everyone about this when the next election takes place.

Andy Whiteman

Pat Casady said...

There has to be a reason for this so called
"Memorandum of Understanding" has come around.
I say follow the money. If the Parks and Recreation
money now stays in the P&R account and the new
"Memorandum of Understanding" takes the P&R money
and puts it in the cities general fund account, then
I understand why and what is going on.
If this is the case then I don't think it to be a good
idea. It's not that I don't trust the city to spend the
money on the parks. Wait...that's exactly why I don't
think it's a good idea.
The track record of how and what our city leaders have
done with our tax dollars isn't that good. Let's face
it, it's no secret that this city needs money. Mostly
because of the bad decisions that have come out of City Hall.
If City Hall sees the P&R's bank account as something they
would like to get their hands on, again, not a good idea.
Something smell a little fishy here.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Pat for the most part. There probably are some savings and efficiencies by combining the maintenance departments of the city with the park departments. Probably be better coordination of services too.

When I drive by Walmart I am reminded that 15% of our sales tax dollars that were promised to be used on our streets ended up paying for the Walmart parking lot and other street improvements for that store it causes me to pause.

Do I really want to turn all the Park money over to City Hall to manange? Will they break other promises? Pat is right. The city's track record is not very good when it comes to keeping promises.

Andy Whiteman said...

Will the Parks department money be used to pay off the Walmart and Aldi bonds? Maybe Parks Department crews will maintain Walmart and Aldi?

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Chief Lynch. It has been 10 years since X Mayor Sue Franks publicly hurled insults and accusations against then Police Chief Overfield so you could get elected and promote her husband to Captain. Crooked politics is alive and well in Raytown. Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

Of course it's about the money. Park has it and the City want to get their greedy paws on it to give to out of town multi-billion dollar corporations. Maybe we can get an extra scoop of gravel with that tar on our streets too!

Anonymous said...

This is for Andy:

Missouri Revised Statutes
Chapter 90
Parks and Recreation (Cities)
Section 90.520

August 28, 2010




Park board--appointment.
90.520. When any incorporated city or town shall have decided to establish and maintain public parks under sections 90.500 to 90.570, the mayor of such city shall, with the approval of the legislative branch of the municipal government, proceed to appoint a board of nine directors for the same, chosen from the citizens at large with reference to their fitness for such office, and no member of the municipal government shall be a member of the board.

(RSMo 1939 §§ 15334, 15342, A. 1949 H.B. 2038)
Prior revisions: 1929 §§ 14241, 14249; 1919 §§ 9213, 9221; 1909 §§ 10242, 10250

Greg Walters said...

As an addendum to my story regarding the Memo of Understanding:

I received more information from the City Clerk's office this morning regarding the meeting times and places held by Mayor Bower and the Park Board Governance Committee.

Those meeting times were:

August 10, 2011- 7:00 p.m.
Fire Station #1 Training Room

September 1 – 7:00 p.m.
Fire Station #1 Training Room

September 8 – 7:30 p.m.
Fire Station #1 Training Room

September 15 – 3:00 p.m.
Mayor’s Office

Anonymous said...

I found this very interesting, the part about the parks having exclusive control over the money. I am not sure but it seems like the "Memo of Understanding" is trying to get around this.

The "MOU" also seems very one-sided in favor of the City. Sounds more like a "Memo of You will do what we say".

Gee I wonder why Bob Smith resigned, maybe because the Mayor and CA are trying to slip one by the Park Board and Director.



Missouri Revised Statutes
Chapter 90
Parks and Recreation (Cities)
Section 90.550

August 28, 2010




Park board--organization--powers.
90.550. Said directors shall immediately after their appointment, meet and organize by the election of one of their number president, and by the election of such other officers as they may deem necessary. They shall make and adopt such bylaws, rules and regulations for their guidance and for the government of the parks as may be expedient, not inconsistent with sections 90.500 to 90.570. They shall have the exclusive control of the expenditures of all money collected to the credit of the park fund and of the supervision, improvement, care and custody of said park. All moneys received for such parks shall be deposited in the treasury of said city or town to the credit of the park fund and shall be kept separate and apart from the other moneys of such city or town and drawn upon by the proper officers of said city or town upon the properly authenticated vouchers of the park board. Said board shall have power to purchase or otherwise secure ground to be used for such parks, shall have power to appoint a suitable person to take care of said parks and necessary assistants for said person and fix their compensation, and shall have power to remove such appointees; and shall in general carry out the spirit and intent of sections 90.500 to 90.570 in establishing and maintaining public parks.

(RSMo 1939 §§ 15337, 15345, A. 1949 H.B. 2038)
Prior revisions: 1929 §§ 14244, 14252; 1919 §§ 9216, 9224; 1909 §§ 10245, 10253

Andy Whiteman said...

I love these secret meetings!!! I am sure Greg remembers my complaining about that when he was on the board.

Posting at City Hall is NOT public notice. It may meet legal requirements, but who goes to city hall on a regular basis? I go monthly to pay my sewer bill as well as most of the BOA meetings.

I would consider it acceptable if notice was published in the Raytown Report and Raytown Times so the public would see these NOTICES. Obviously the intent is for the public NOT TO SEE THESE NOTICES. FYI: Greg has offered many times to publish public notices free. I assume the Raytown Times would charge their regular rate.

This secret government needs to END!

I question if anyone on the Parks Board has authority to sign the "the Memo of Understanding" since this board is appointed and follows orders of the mayor rather than being elected. I question who had the understanding. I think it is actually an executive order by the lord mayor directed to appointed officials who were in control of tax dollars. Now the socialist, fascist, fief has seized control of these tax dollars.

What recourse do taxpayers have? Wasn't someone in the past going to start a petition for an audit. If someone is doing this, please bring it to a BOA meeting. I and I am sure several others want to sign.

Andy Whiteman

Andy Whiteman said...

BTW: Is that "We Can Do It" image Clabber Girl? It looks familiar.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

I see that Kansas City has removed one of its municipal judges for violating the city's residency codes for municipal judges.

Judge (or should it say former judge?) Elan Franco "has been suspended without pay amid questions about whether she complied with the city charter's requirement that she live in the city limits."

Another example of a misguided community requiring its upper management people to live within the city limits.

Gee whiz, if they were only as enlightened as we are here in Raytown where the rule is for non-residents to run the city.

Raytownn's city codes require the city administrator to live within the city limits. The mayor and city council have excused him of this requirement for six years!

Anonymous said...

Rosie the Riveter?

Pat Casady said...

There is a reason for cities and town to require certain
department heads to live in the cities and towns that
hire them.
Our forefathers weren't stupid. They knew that people
that have to live within city limits would take more
interest in the towns they live in.
If we look back for as long as we have had non-resident
department heads what do we see? No improvements and nothing
good for the town and or the people.
Kurt Winson, Michael Miller, Beth Lynn and more used this
town for steppingstones to better themselves.
I do believe Mr. Wenson did buy a home here after a while.
All but Mr.Wenson did nothing for this town. Unfortunately
he did more to hurt Raytown than he did good.
Our current City Administrator has been given, first three years
to move here and then another three years extension.
The taxpayers pay these department heads a lot of money. Plus we trust our
elected officials to follow the rules and live up to their
promises. This has not been the case for many years.
Street overlay tax, safety tax, no new metal buildings
on 350 hwy. the list goes on and on. The rules that are in place
don't mean a thing if someone in City Hall doesn't think it
fits their purpose. It doesn't work that way for the rest of us.

Anonymous said...

I believe that Mayor Bower and his cronies are "skating on some very thin ice" in tampering with the Park Department. State law is very clear and I believe it is time to get either the State Auditor or the Attorney General to look at what they are trying to do. Bower is so greedy that he just can't stand it that the Park Board does a better job at managing their money than the city ever will. So now he wants to drag them down too. Sure it would be more efficient to have EVERYTHING under the city, including the fire department, but let's not forget about the laws that govern 4th class cities. If you 'd passed that charter a few years ago all of these things could be happening and would be perfectly legal. Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

Greg,

As I remember the city clerk has 3 DAYS TO MAKE AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC WHAT THEY HAVE ASKED FOR, SO WHY DID IT TAKE A WEEK TO GET THE MEMORANDUM OD UNDERSTANDING?

If the city get their hands on the parks dept. money our parks will go south fast. we need to tell our alderman and this mayor not to even think of that if they want to stay on the board. I know we are having money problems but it's wrong to take if from one dept. to give it to another what's next the fire dept. or ems dept?

Anonymous said...

I am quite sure my humble opinion will count for anything but I will state how I feel about the park situattion. I feel the park needs to be under the city if for nothing more than accountability. I voted aganist the tax they were asking for simply because no one knew exactly how much money they did have and if it was really needed and to this day we still don't know. The city doesn't want their money only to hold them accountable which by the way the police needs also. The police chief needs to be appointed and the park board needs to be elected.
Now I have had my say not that anyone cares but I feel a heck of alot better.

Anonymous said...

Are we surprised of this six year exclusion of the residency requirement? It's no different than the non-enforcement of some of the ordinances. The saying going around is "It's only Raytown".

Now the city see's a pot of gold they can use to offset some of their miscues, are we surprised?
But with the state statues in place the city might have bit off more than they can chew.
Of course, in the long run who will lose? Again, the citizens!

Greg Walters said...

In fairness to the City Clerk, my original request for the Memorandum of Understanding was to Parks and Recreation. When that did not produce the document (yes, they had a copy)I took my request directly to City Hall.

The document was then produce within the three day period.

Anonymous said...

The last Park Sales Tax was not a new tax, the department was seeking a renewal. Most of the money collected from this tax pays for right-of-way maintenance.

Rumor I hear is that Bob Smith resigned because the Mayor was not going to reappoint him as Park Board President. Mayor Bower, Mahesh and Jeremy did not like that Bob would not back down from them. Now with Bob out of the way they are trying to bully the park board and park director.

Andy Whiteman said...

Greg, Thanks for clarifying that issue. I was wondering about it.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

"Park Board / City Considering Memorandum of Understanding"
I guess we all "understand" the above piece of city double
talk. It's really the Memorandum for the city to take money
from the Parks and Recreation Department.
If the park board gives in to the city on this one they
should be ashamed of themselves.
They need to step back and see what a mess the city has
made of this town and what shape it is in. If they care at all
for our parks they will fight this takeover.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:31

I am not sure why Mr Smith resigned, but as I understand the state law. The mayor appoints individuals to the park borad with teh approval of the board of alderman.

The park board votes within its members as who will act or serve as President. Again it is my understand that is what is required by state law if it is and you can prove the Mayor or others are doing something outside the law you need to contact the state attorney generals office. Which might not be a bad idea even if you thing there is wrong doing as they should be able to help you understand the law and what is allowed.

Andy Whiteman said...

The Mayor is sure lucky he didn't appoint me to the Park Board because I would have refused to sign the memo of understanding.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

From: Tired of it all!
I really believe that, other than a couple of aldermen
on our board of aldermen, none of them think for themselves.
They are told what and how to vote. It has been this way
for many many years. The most powerful loud voice is the
alpha animal in this bunch. It's not good for this town and
it's not good for the people of this town.
They seem to want their $450.00 a month and get out to go home.
Which makes them no better than the out of towners that run
this town.

Anonymous said...

Have any of you bothered to actually read the document?

You assume something that is clearly NOT in the document and then one comment after another and suddenly it is fact?

Grow up! The document (should you care to have someone read it to you) CLEARLY states that the Park Board has sole authority (or autonimy) to spend all appropriated funds within the Park Fund!

The document CLEARLY states that all Park Funds will be kept in a seperate fund (in accordance with state law if you bothered to have someone read that to you) so the big bad city cannot legally spend it on anything but park activities.

Instead of reading comments and taking them as fact, discover for yourself what the truth is!

For the record, people who lived here Sue Frank, Dan Estes allowed the horrible deal to be given to walmart.

The worthless out of towners brought in Save A Lot, IHOP, Aldi, and are cleaning up blight.

For the record, people who lived here Sue Frank, Dan Estes bought the old FBR church and let it sit for years!

The worthless out of towners got federal grant money to tear down the church and turn it into green space.

Yes the people from out of town have done FAR worse than those who actually lived here...give me a break!

Andy Whiteman said...

7:58 AM, I think board members represent their constituents and should vote based on their own judgement and not on the advise or orders of others.

I spoke in favor of the proposed new used car lot but the more I of the discussion I heard from the alpha animal of the pack, I started to agree with him! I was shocked the board passed it after hearing the flaws in it from not only John Benson but also out City Attorney. There were too many things wrong with the agreement.

I wonder if the alpha animal will VETO the ordinance? I think he should and then maybe out City Attorney will emphasize all of the problems one by one.

If this comes up again, I will speak AGAINST it.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

I read the memo of understanding.

Each of the following paragraphs represents control taken away from the park board by the city. Anyone that reads that agreement and cannot see the grab for money and power is either naïve or cannot comprehend the written English language.

As used in this paragraph I, the term "exclusive control" with respect to expenditures of appropriated monies shall mean preparation and submittal to the City Board of Aldermen of recommended items and expenditures for inclusion in the annual budget prepared and authorized as part of the City's normal budgetary timeline and process.

In consultation with the City Administrator, the Park Board may additionally make annual recommendations to the City Council for inclusion of budgetary items and expenditures from monies deposited in other segregated funds

The fixing of compensation of the Parks Director shall be reviewed annually in a collaborative effort and joint review by the City Administrator and the Chair of the Park Board, subject to the City's comprehensive personnel policy and Council review.

The Park Board shall not hire an outside legal representative without the prior consent of the Board of Aldermen.

The Park Board shall maintain all rights of way and other
designated green ways by the Board of Aldermen.

Anonymous said...

Blaming everything bad in Raytown on Dan Estes and Sue Frank is like blaming all of Obama's problems on George Bush!

Andy Whiteman said...

Some people think it is logical to blame problems on the previous administration. Then everything that is wrong could date back to George Washington! In other words don't take responsibility for your own actions.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

As used in this paragraph I, the term "exclusive control" with respect to expenditures of appropriated monies shall mean preparation and submittal to the City Board of Aldermen of recommended items and expenditures for inclusion in the annual budget prepared and authorized as part of the City's normal budgetary timeline and process. - So this says that the Park Board shall have exclusive spending authority of all funds appropriated by the Board of Alderman, news flash - THEY ALREADY DO THIS!!!

Since a bunch of guys threw tea in a harbor America has stood on the foundation that no one can be taxed without direct representation, Thus the Park Board who is appointed must get the actual spending authority from the group we elect and hold accountable. Would you really want an appointed board to decide to raise the park levy and have no say in the matter?

In consultation with the City Administrator, the Park Board may additionally make annual recommendations to the City Council for inclusion of budgetary items and expenditures from monies deposited in other segregated funds - This is new. The old process was to allow the park fund to appropriate all monies available with no plan on how they are spent. The City seems like they want to maintain appropriation control since they are the ones that were elected to make sure the parks fund is not just sitting there but actually doing something. What is wrong with that???

The fixing of compensation of the Parks Director shall be reviewed annually in a collaborative effort and joint review by the City Administrator and the Chair of the Park Board, subject to the City's comprehensive personnel policy and Council review. - So you think a group of appointed people should be allowed to pay a park director without following the guidelines used for all other city employees? Are you crazy????

The Park Board shall not hire an outside legal representative without the prior consent of the Board of Aldermen. - This does not say the Park Board cannot hire an attorney, but that they must get prior approval. - Why would you want an appointed board hiring high priced attorney's without the knowledge of those who appointed them?

Andy Whiteman said...

The Park Board should be elected rather than appointed since they are receiving and spending tax money! The people have a right to elect these officials just as the fire board is elected.

The park board should be able to use the City Attorney if they need an attorney.

That is one man's opinion.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Then we are agreed. The park board goes from a separate entity to one that requires permission and acceptance of their plan by another governing body.

I do not say it is wrong. I do not say it is right.

But it is definitely a change in how the business is handled.

The park board will become an advisory board rather than a governing body.

The downside of all this is that the City council has a very poor record of keeping its word to the voters. Its judgement is questionable and decisions in the last five years bears this time and time again.

Do you want that poor track record to take over the job the park department has been doing?

I am not sold on this being a step in the right direction.

Andy Whiteman said...

Re: The Paul Livius Report Oct 18
Mr Livious stated the first part of the meeting was not on TV and his report started from the point TV coverage was started. I appreciate his report, but assume he is one of the rich watching on cable TV. I would like to point out that it was stated, I believe by Andy Noll, that while there was a TV issue, the entire meeting would be rebroadcast.
Obviously those who are rich may view the reruns of the meeting IF they want to see the first part.

Unfortunately, I am one of the commoner serfs. If I was rich, I still wouldn't waste mpney on cable TV.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

I am trying to get you to understand the Park Board IS a recommending body! They NEVER were anything more, but the City has allowed them far greater powers than State Law requires.