Sunday, February 26, 2012

-- BREAKING NEWS --

Basehor Voters Recall Mayor, Two Councilmen FROM KMBC NEWS
The mayor of Basehor and two members of the city council were recalled in a special election Tuesday. Mayor Terry Hill was voted out with a 586-320 margin. Council members Iris Dysart and Dennis Mertz were ousted by similar margins. The votes will be official next week after officials in Leavenworth County certify the results. Organizers of the recall effort said all three played a role in the firing of former city administrator Mark Loughry last fall. Supporters of the recall said Hill improperly revised Loughry's contract so he got a $50,000 severance check and additional health benefits. Organizers said Mertz and Dysart talked about their votes outside of public meetings, in violation of the Kansas Open Meetings Act. 
Five People Escape Burning Home FROM KMBC NEWS
Five people escaped their burning home early Tuesday morning thanks to their neighbors. KMBC's Diane Cho reported that neighbors saw flames at the back of the house in the 11300 block of East 77th Street about 3:30 a.m. and ran next door to alert the people sleeping inside. Everyone made it out safely.Firefighters were able to put out the fire, which started outside in back of the house.The battalion chief told Cho that the home had a smoke detector, but it had been disconnected. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
19 Year Old Man Shot FROM KMBC NEWS
Raytown police are investigating after a 19-year-old man was shot in the head. Police said they were called to the 8600 block of 52nd Terrace late Sunday afternoon on a report of a shooting. Kansas City, Mo., police arrived first and found the wounded man. He was rushed to a hospital and was listed in stable condition. The man's friend told police he was with the 19-year-old at the time of the shooting. He said they were driving on Blue Ridge Cutoff near 55th Street in Raytown when someone fired a gun at them from another car.

Paul Livius
THE PAUL LIVIUS REPORT

Raytown Board of Aldermen Meeting BY PAUL LIVIUS
Due to the high interest in the Dollar General Store zoning application we have highlighted that portion of the report in bold type.  

Cory Thompson, of the Beacon Free Will Baptist Church gave the invocation.

Andy Whiteman told the Board during Public Comments that 100% of the sales tax dollars collected in Raytown do not go to the intended jurisdiction.  He said this is true across the whole state.  He was shocked when he filled out a survey from State Representative Tom McGower.  Representative McGower stated the merchant keeps 2% of the sales tax collected if the merchant makes a timely remittance.  He wants this practice stopped.

Mayor Bower said he is excited to be delivering the State of the City address.  “We have so many good people in this city” he told the Board.

Mahesh Sharma, City Administrator, said crews responded to the first significant snowfall of the season on Monday; using 143 tons of salt and drove 1,549 miles in response to the snow event. Additionally, the sanitary sewer crews cleaned 5,781 feet of sewer line; the storm Crews removed debris and leaves from storm box inlets identified on the storm water issues spread sheet, repaired a ditch washout at 72nd Terrace and Hunter and reset a large storm box lid hit by a car at 81st and Spring Valley; and the maintenance garage mechanics have been busy up-fitting the new police patrol cars by installing lights, sirens, and data terminal equipment.

A resolution authorizing a contract with Infinity Building Services for mowing services of $15,000 for 2011-2012 was read.  Alderman Van Buskirk said Raytown spent $21,645 for mowing services during the 2010/2011 budget year.  The 2011/2012 budget for Public Works calls for $78,100 and he asked Andy Noll why the significant increase.  Mr. Noll said the Public Works budget includes miscellaneous contractual items such as building maintenance services and repairs to facilities and is not exclusive to mowing.  The Board passed the resolution.

The Board heard the second reading of the ordinance authorizing a municipal agreement with the Missouri Highway Commission for the Bike Lane Project.  Alderman Melson asked if all turn lanes between 51st Street and 59th Street will be restriped to eliminate the turn lanes.  Andy Noll said the lanes will not be restriped at the intersections.  The turn lanes at the intersections will remain.

The Board passed the second reading of the ordinance granting a conditional use permit for the Day Care Center at 9140 East 350 Highway.

The Board heard the second reading of the ordinance to grant a zoning change at 9109 E. 63rd Street.  During the public hearing, Greg Stervinou, the owner of the property, told the board he graduated from Raytown High School and grew up in Raytown.  He said Dollar General approached him about putting one of their stores at the 63rd Street location.  He talked to a few people at the city and a few neighbors in the area and met no resistance.  After hearing the comments from last week’s meeting, Dollar General decided a store at this location is not a right fit for the community, and he said he wanted to withdraw his re-zoning application.  Mayor Bower asked Joe Willerth, City Attorney, about the proper procedure.  Mr. Willerth said the applicant has the right to withdraw if he chooses.

Mayor Bower said even though the application had been withdrawn, he would open the floor to public comments.

  • Ann Philanay thanked the owner for recognizing the feelings of the residents in the area.
  • Andy Whiteman said he was glad the application had been withdrawn and asked the property owner to build residential on the property.
  • BJ Taylor said if he owned property in the middle of Raytown he’d be very unhappy.  The City is turning down a big investment.  Maybe this will be a wakeup call for land owners.  He went on to say that what happened was unusual.  Normally, people complain about things, but do nothing.  Here, the people made their thoughts known and the city and developers acted.
  • Alicia Holliday told the Board Mr. Stervinou said that now he has withdrawn his application for the Dollar General Store, he will turn the property into Section 8 housing.
  • Greg Stervinou came before the Board again to say that last week Alderman Van Buskirk accused him of threatening people with Section 8 housing as he walked through the neighborhood.  He said current zoning is high-density housing.  The people may have chosen to make that leap, but he never said he would put in Section 8 housing.  Alderman Van Buskirk said he made no accusations.  He just read an email from one of his constituents and asked Mr. Stervinou if the email was correct.
 The meeting was adjourned.

Greg Walters
Bits and Pieces BY GREG WALTERS
The Raytown Board of Aldermen listened to the people of Raytown by agreeing to deny an application for a proposed Dollar General Store on 63rd Street. The applicant got the message as well. He withdrew his application.

The area in question, a large vacant tract of land just easy of Blue Ridge Elementary Grade School, is a text book example of  how to properly zone a city. 

On the west side the residential neighborhoods are surrounded by commercial office zoning with a sprinkling of multi-family duplexes and apartments. This creates a soft buffer for the neighborhoods before the areas zoned for retail commercial use. 

Most people are not aware that if the zoning change had been made, the developer would have been allowed to put nearly any retail development at the location. I was surprised not to hear that argument in the debates about the application. Zoning changes do not "lock in" a particular development spoken of during the debate.

Some Board members appeared to be unaware of that simple fact. More puzzling was a few of the Board members  were more upset about perceived threats from the applicant's attorney rather than the specter of a heavily used retail outlet dumped into a residential neighborhood.

Oh well, all's well that ends well. In this case the Board made the right decision by standing by the people they represent.

ATTENDANCE AT COMMITTEE MEETINGS REMAINS LOW

A post received last week on the blog portion of the Raytown Report said it best when commenting about a meeting they recently attended. The blogger wrote:

"I went to a meeting yesterday afternoon at the Raytown school building on Raytown Road to learn more about KC school closing and what it would mean for Raytown. I noticed there were four Raytown Alderman there. It seems it is always the same four that attend anything outside of the BOA meetings. I wonder if it is only these guys who truly care about Raytown. I am talking about Alderman Ertz, Lightfoot, Mock and Van Buskirk. Keep up the good work."


It has been over one year since Mayor Bower re-structured the Board of Aldermen's standing committees. Readers may remember that he combined the two standing committees, Finance and Municipal, into one super committee. That committee meets before the Raytown Board of Aldermen's bi-monthly meeting at 6:00 p.m.

Bower said that he made the change so that all of the Board would be able to attend the meetings. Thereby becoming more acquainted with the issues to come before them.

Any casual observer of a committee meeting held at 6:00 p.m. can see that his plan does not hold water. Plainly speaking, only about 50% of the Board  are able to attend the meetings at that time. 

SPEAKING OF MEETING TIMES

A couple of weeks back we published  a meeting notice from the City Administrator's weekly report that a meeting of the The Steering Committee for the Central Business District (CBD) Streetscape Design will be held on Thursday, March 15th from 4:00 to 5:30 in the City Council Chambers at City Hall.

We understand that when objections are made to the early meeting times that the argument is ne city official questioned the time of the meeting with the suggestion that an evening meeting time would probably draw more interest from the public. The response received by the question is usually a sarcastic remark that no one will show up anyway. Which is irrelevant. The public deserves an opportunity to attend these so-called "public meetings".


No doubt fewer people would show up if they held the meeting at 3:00 p.m.


EARLY MEETING TIMES COUNTERPRODUCTIVE
Some members of the Board have responsibilities, like their jobs, that keep them from attending daytime meetings. That is understandable. What is not understandable is why the Mayor continues to allow meeting times that are inconvenient and make it difficult for the public to attend.

Could it be that critics of City Hall are correct when they claim that the early meeting times are for the convenience of the out of town department heads that run the city?

A quick check of those department heads show that there are some long drives home for them. The City Administrator lives in Raymore. The City Finance Director lives in Basehor, Kansas, the Public Works Director lives north of the Missouri River near Gladstone, the City Planner lives in Lee's Summit. If the Park Director is at a meeting he has an extremely long drive home. He lives in Harrisonville.

Raytown has been plagued with a revolving door at its city department head level. The average department head stays with the city for two years and moves on. If the Mayor and Board were to stipulate residency requirements for new hires they would have an opportunity to put down roots in the community.

The big payoff would be an increase of longevity and more stability at the department head level at Raytown City Hall.  

Adele
Stick to Fashion, Karl BY ERIN FOR FIT BOTTOMED GIRLS
I was a bit annoyed recently when I saw Chanel bigwig Karl Lagerfeld’s comments on the singer Adele being “a little too fat.” If you haven’t been keeping track, he made the comments about the singing sensation before removing his foot from his mouth, apologizing and trying to make it right. Now, he’s saying... Continue reading



Come to  Soup and Craft Days
Rice-Tremonti Home historic site
Saturday, March 3 -- 11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Sunday, March 4 -- 11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
66th and Blue Ridge, Raytown, MO
(Look for the log cabin in the yard)
You are invited to bring a friend and join us at our
Spring Open House

 To post a comment on this blog click on the word comments on the line directly below this sentence.

6 comments:

Andy Whiteman said...

As I have previously stated here and at the BOA, early meetings are to PREVENT the public from attending; hence, they are not truly public meetings.

Greg, I think a companion poll should be, "Should ALL department heads including the City Administrator be required to live in the City of Raytown?" Apparently living at a distance is an excuse to have early meetings. Another option would be to change department head hours to be Noon to 9PM on meeting days then all public meetings would be conducted while on duty. A precedent has already been set. I have seen previous city advertisements for codes/animal control officer and the hours changed on Wednesdays that court was in session.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Ten people don't want to know what is going on at city hall? Unbelievable!

Loved the coverage of the primaries last night. I guess Romney didn't lose. In most places that would mean he won. But not in the world of the liberal elite press. According to them he really only barely won.

Don't know about the rest of you. But in the real world when you do not lose you are called a winner.

If I were the President I would be very concerned.

Depsite all the pounding Romney is getting from the press he still has lengthened his lead in delegate count.

Pat Casady said...

Might 1,
You ask "What kind of people are these
small business owners who do not want to
provide a health insurance plan for their
employees?"
I will tell you. However, it is not an
easy explanation. First you have to define
"Small businesses." If you are talking about
a business with a total of less than five
employees, including the owner then it is
simple. I can tell you it would be hard to
come up with an extra five to six hundred
dollars per person per month. In this age of
business, most small businesses are competing
with the big Chinese product selling box stores.
Who, I might add, is who you should really be
going after. You see they cut hours down so
they don't have to supply insurance to their
employees. All the while reporting hundreds of
billions in yearly profits. The same goes for
the big box grocery stores.

Andy Whiteman said...

I agree with Pat. When I was in business, the only benefits I offered were Social Security (which is required), overtime, night differential, and Sunday Differential. I didn't have health insurance for myself.

I have a friend who hasn't been able to find work in over 2 years. When she was working, the employer cut her to less than 20 hours per week so there there was no health insurance.

Big Business including the Post Office is trying to get rid of senior employees to eliminate health insurance as wells as other benefits and to lower pay by hiring part time temporary workers. The plain fact is workers with senority are at top pay and their health insurance costs much more than insurance for a younger person. There is a big savings in replacing them with younger temporaries who will work for much less.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Guys, don't you see what is being played out here? Class warfare will be the central theme of Obama's re-election campaign. The shrillness of the left leaning media pretty much shows it all.

They want a socialist state in America. They do not care that the western European models are going bankrupt. Just like the socialist systems in eastern Europe collapsed before them.

Andy Whiteman said...

7:24AM, Agreed!
***********
A writer previously stated that the FCPL tree trimmers didn't clean up and left clippings on fences. The KCPL contractor left another notice about tree trimming on a different line. I called and asked him about that. He said they are professionals and do a proper clean up but if it is during a storm to protect the lines, they don't do a clean up.

BTW: He wrote a second order to trim the same tree twice. Those on corner lots might want to watch for this. If KCPL pays to have a tree trimmed twice, our rates go up!

Andy Whiteman