"The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving."
Happy Thanksgiving from Greg and Paul
. . . BREAKING NEWS . . .
Matt Cushman, Raytown's Director of EMS Operations turned in his resignation last Friday. His resignation is the third this year from the City's Management Team of Directors and Department Heads. Mr. Cushman was employed by the City of Raytown for 17 years. He told the Raytown Report that it was time to move on and that he had some opportunities he wished to explore.
News Updates . . . by Greg Walters
IT has been one month since Raytown Road between Downtown Raytown and 350 Highway was resurfaced. Many readers will recall that the job looked nice but had a serious flaw. The manhole covers and water company covers to sewer and water lines had not been raised before the work was begun. The result is a bumpy ride for anyone who travels over that section of Raytown Road.
We checked with the city's Public Works Director, Any Noll, ab0ut the timeline of the project. He said that the hardware needed to raise the covers of the manholes should arrive soon and that he anticipates the project completed within two weeks.
He also told us that the city is working in conjunction with the water companies that have lines under the streets so that the job can be completed without too much disruption of traffic.
Style changes are inevitable in any publication. The Raytown Report is no exception. We realize the Paul Livius Report can be a long "read" for many of our busy readers. For those who are in the habit of skimming large articles we have taken the liberty of highlighting in bold face those comments we found interesting or unusual. It will be our practice to note these sections of the Paul Livius Report without comment.
We have broken the Paul Livius Report into two sections this week. One dealing with a topic that will undoubtedly affect us all this winter, snow removal. The other with Paul's regular report on the last City Council meeting.
Work Session 1-15-11
Winter Weather Operations / Snow Removal
Before winter weather sets in, the Public Works Department reviews policies and procedures, reviews the snow routes, performs preventative maintenance on all snow removal equipment, and fill the salt barn. The Public Works Department uses passive GPS system to track the trucks.
They also review the snow removal maps. During winter weather, the Public Works Department will determine if 24 hour operations will be needed. If conditions change, the Raytown Police Department can call the Public Works Department to assess street conditions. The Public Works Department will give priority to street conditions reported by the Police, Fire, or EMS departments. Streets will be cleared according to the following maps.
The goal is to have all streets cleared in 36 hours. The Public Works Department will also clear the parking lot at City Hall and the EMS station. Andy Noll explained the Public Works Department considers an event to be freezing rain and sleet, as well as snow. Some challenges facing the Public Works Department are stuck vehicles and parked cars.
The Public Works Department asks citizens to be patient, prioritize vehicles trips, and do not park on the street. The Public Works Department recommends shoveling our driveways to the right. They also recommend we shovel out two feet past the driveway, and an area of 2’ x 24’ to the right of the driveway in the street to prevent the plows from leaving large amounts of snow blocking the driveway.
Citizens can contact the Public Works Department at 737-6012, or 737-6064 after hours. The Public Works Department will post weather information on the city’s website.
Alderman Ertz asked why the city uses passive GPS. Mr. Noll explained the passive GPS system allows the city to now where the trucks have been. For example, if a landscaper with a plow clears a parking lot and causes damage, the city will know if their trucks caused the damage. Also, “there have been times when we have employees who don’t live in the city that we needed here. We went to get them, and plowed them out of their neighborhoods, and brought them here.”
Alderman Mock asked what happened to the snow when the Public Works Department hauled it away from parking lots. Mr. Noll said they dumped it in the Green Space.
Mayor Bower asked about the difficulty in plowing cul-de-sacs. Mr. Noll said it was a challenge because of the open areas and fewer curbs.
Alderman Aziere said if citizens had difficulty shoveling snow from in front of their driveways after the plows have been through, they can call the Shepherds Center for help at 356-9000.
Consent Agendas Not in the Public's Best Interest by Greg Walters
CONSENT AGENDA. The term brings up images of everyone happily holding hands as they go about the routine business of governing. When originally used at Raytown City Hall, the Consent Agenda was meant to be used exclusively for the mundane types of business, such as appointments to citizen boards, resolutions recognizing community accomplishments, etc. Under the David Bower administration, the consent agenda has been morphed into a tool by which the minority is effectively silenced and the majority creates of facade of business as usual.
Two weeks ago the facade was cracked and came tumbling down when Ward 4 Alderman Bill VanBuskirk gained acceptance from the majority of the Board in his effort to remove select items from the consent agenda. Three aldermen (White, Pardue and Aziere) fought VanBuskirk over a request to remove certain items from the Consent Agenda. Thankfully, calmer minds on the City Council prevailed when Aldermen allowed the items to be removed.
VanBuskirk specifically asked that certain money/contract items be read for the public's information.
We are glad he did. Here is why.
Supporters of the Consent Agenda argue that all of these items have already been approved in the City Budget. Therefore, the discussion is over -- the decision has been made. That may be true, but that does not mean that all involved approved of the Budget Committee's decision. What was a valid argument against the decision in the budget process remains a valid argument until the entire City Council signs off on the legislation approving the contract/money spent.
That is state law. And every one of the ten Aldermen sitting at Raytown City Hall should be well aware of it.
The reason is simple for this final vote. Budget meetings are not always well attended. In fact, one of the Aldermen who argued most vehemently against VanBuskirk's request (Ward 1 Alderman Shane Pardue) was absent at many of the budget hearings. In light of that information, Pardue's arguments should be ignored.
The people in Raytown have a right to know about the details of all legislation. Telling people they can look it up on the internet, or pay for a copy of legislation at City Hall is not really public access. They are roadblocks to the free flow of information.
Alderman VanBuskirk did the right thing in asking that certain items be removed from the Consent Agenda. And we applaud those on the City Council who supported his suggestion. At the same time, we question the ability of the entire Council to effectively "block" a request by any one Alderman to remove an item from the Consent Agenda.
EDITOR'S NOTE: In the Paul Livius Report we highlighted those items in the Consent Agenda we believe should have been read for the public's information.
The Paul Livius Report (part 2) by Paul Livius
Board of Alderman Meeting / 1-15-11
The Invocation was given by Larry Jones, of the First Baptist Church of Raytown.
Chief Jim Lynch swore in Officer Scott Gillespie.
- Steve Gunther said the Raytown Main Street Association is in the process of putting together information about what businesses and residents want in downtown Raytown. Street Scape and regional mass transit through the downtown project will make a dramatic impact. Light rail will create economic growth and Street Scape will allow a vision and help celebrate our community. One can tell a lot about a town by their downtown area.
- Andy Whiteman asked why Kansas City has a Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, and Raytown has a Holiday Lighting Ceremony. What is wrong with Raytown that they can’t have a Christmas Lighting? He also stated that the consent agenda is supposed to be for routine items. The consent agenda items that spent over $15,000 each last week was not routine. Alderman White had stated it appeared on the budget and was discussed in committee. Also, it was on the internet. She also said they would lose the TV audience if these items were discussed individually. He asked if she was watching the advertising budget or TV ratings. He said they spent more time arguing whether or not to read the items than if they had just read and voted on them. He asked why they were covering up their expenditures. Under the American Disabilities Act, he was entitled to ask for city communications be presented in writing and verbal. He was therefore demanding they be presented verbally.
- Vicki Turnbow, with the Raytown Chamber of Commerce, reported the annual Holiday Lighting Ceremony will be Friday, December 2 at 6:00 pm in downtown Raytown. She invited everyone attend and enjoy the festivities.
Mayor Bower urged all residents to shop in Raytown. Shoppers can also purchase gift cards for Raytown shops. Mahesh Sharma reported the new energy efficient street lights have been installed in front of City Hall They will evaluate the lights to determine their efficiency.
Within the Consent Agenda:
- The Board approved a resolution to reappoint George Mitchell to the Raytown Park Board.
- The Board approved a resolution to reappoint Clifford Sargeon to the Human Relations Commission.
- The Board approved a resolution to reappoint Bill Williams to the Human Relations Commission.
- The Board approved a resolution to appoint George Koepp to the Tax Increment Financing Commission.
- The Board approved a resolution approving the expenditure of funds with Commenco, Inc. It is in excess of $15,000, but within budget.
- The Board approved a continued agreement for inmate security housing services with Johnson County, Mo Sheriff’s Office. It is in excess of $15,000, but within budget.
- The Board approved the expenditure of funds with MDL Technology, LLC for Information Technology related services. It is in excess of $15,000, but within budget.
During the regular legislative agenda:
- The Board approved a resolution for expenditure of funds with AT&T Mobility for cellular and wireless services. It is in excess of $15,000, but within budget.
- The Board approved a resolution accepting a Missouri Department of Transportation Highway Safety Crash Reduction/Hazardous Moving Enforcement grant in the amount of $8,500.
- The Board approved a resolution for the reappropriation of funds received from the administration of a “Secure our Schools” grant from the US Department of Justice for security improvements for the Raytown School District. It will be approximately $150,354.
- The Board approved a resolution approving change order #2 to the agreement with R.L. Phillips Construction Company for the Public Works Renovations project. This is to authorize the final payment of $623,020.53.
- The Board approved a resolution approving additional payments to Incite Design Studio, LLC for design services for the Public Works Renovations project. The amount will not exceed $3,000.
- The Board approved a resolution approving change order #1 with Superior Bowen Asphalt Company for the 2011 Asphalt Overlay project. They also approved the final payment in the amount of $496,569.46. The aldermen asked why the payment was $11,000 over budget. Andy Noll said the 2” overlay cost more, the striping changed because they used bike path markings, and they striped in front of the EMS building.
- The Board approved a resolution authorizing the final payment for the 63rd Street Bridge project in the amount of $15,800.
- The Board approved a resolution approving the expenditure of funds to Willey Disposal from the 2011 Annual Clean-Up Day.
- The Board approved a resolution approving professional services agreement with Confluence for the design of the central business district Streetscape not to exceed $205,755.
- The Board heard the second reading of the Ordinance regarding disorderly conduct and resisting or interfering with arrest.
- The Board heard the first reading of an Ordinance approving an interlocal agreement between Kansas City, MO and Raytown for permitting and inspection of services related to Mt. Olivet Cemetery.
The Board then moved into a closed session to discuss the hiring, firing, disciplining or promoting of particular employees by a public governmental body when personal information relating to the performance or merit of an individual employee is discussed or recorded; and/or individually identifiable personnel records, performance ratings or records pertaining to employees or applicants for employment.
You never find the book; the book finds you. That’s my philosophy anyways. One day I was driving to work when I heard an NPR story about a gal named Babe Didrikson Zaharias who had made ESPN’s top 10 athletes list OF ALL TIME. She was the only woman in the top 10. I was immediately intrigued and went to work and Googled her.... Continue reading
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