Watch this amazing video of the reaction of people on a Brazilian beach when a pod of Dolphins are stranded in low water.
Mayor Interrupts Guest Speaker BY GREG WALTERS
The following address was given by Witty Wittman at the Raytown Board of Aldermen meeting on August 21st. Mrs. Wittman had been appointed by Mayor David Bower to serve on the Elected Officials Compensation Review Board. The purpose of the Review Board was to recommend salary increases to the office of Chief of Police, Municipal Judge and the Board of Aldermen.
Her address to the Board was, in part, and explanation to the elected officials why the Review Board had recommended no increases* for those positions.
Mrs. Wittman had publicly stated that she was addressing the Board on behalf of the Wildwood Home Owners Association (of which she is President). It is common practice for the City Council to allow seven minutes for a spokesperson for groups before the elected body.
Four minutes into her report, Mayor David Bower, interrupted Mrs. Wittman and informed her that her time was up.
Bower did not give an explanation for his action.
Mrs. Wittman had provided written copies of her address to the Board before the meeting. The portion that Bower did not allow her to speak is in bold type.
* The Review Board did reject a pay increase for the Board of Aldermen. However, they did approve a $10 a month car allowance for members of the Board of Aldermen. This action sets the Board of Aldermen salary at $400 per month plus a $60 car allowance -- for a total of $460 each monthly paycheck.
FOLLOWING IS MRS. WITTMAN’S SPEECH
To view a recording of Mrs. Wittman's comments go to WITTY WITTMAN PUBLIC COMMENTS
To view a recording of Mrs. Wittman's comments go to WITTY WITTMAN PUBLIC COMMENTS
Dear Board Members:
I am here to address you this evening as the president of the Wildwood Lakes Home Owners Association and am taking it upon myself to represent the citizens of Raytown.
I had been appointed to a committee to determine if the city’s Chief of Police, its Judge and the Board of Aldermen should be given a raise. When our committee of 5 met on 7/10/12 to vote as to whether or not we should give a raise to the people in question, we had no idea as to the financial status of the city before we voted. City administrator, Mahesh Sharma, came into the board room and sat down.
When asked as to the financial status of the city, Mahesh told us there had been a slight increase in sales tax revenues but that everything else remained about the same. Thus when Mahesh left the room we did not feel the city was in any position to grant any raises; consequently, we unanimously voted against given any raises.
I, along with other citizens of Raytown, was shocked to learn that City Administrator, Mahesh, had been granted a $30,000 dollar a year raise. Now I learn that the city is interviewing people for the position of a public relations officer at a salary between $45,000 to $65,000 a year.
This was an additional shock considering Mahesh’s comment concerning the city’s financial status. How could the city justify giving Mahesh a $30,000 raise?
I checked the 2010 National Census for Raytown and learned that 3,817 of the 7,687 families living in Raytown are of retirement age. This equals 49.65% of Raytown’s citizens who are on fixed incomes, many of which live on less than $30,000 a year. More than 49% of the members of my homes association live on social security benefits. We face an increase in food costs and many other products using corn due to the severe drought this summer.
Also, we face increasing fuel prices due to the drought. In addition we are receiving letters from our utility companies seeking to raise our utilities.
I recall a petition presented to City Council some 5 or more years ago, signed by more than 40 of our association’s homeowners requesting street lights. This request was tabled and forgotten. There are a number of streets throughout our fair city that lack street lights.
How many other requests have the citizens of Raytown have presented to the city which have gone on unanswered?
Then I went to City Hall to request the city’s financial statement. I was led to a public budget record album which was comprised of a 2 inch thick volume budget statement which had to contain somewhere between 750 and 800 pages. I was shocked to see how many pages that a citizen of Raytown had to go through in order to determine the financial status of our city.
Luckily, I have computer internet access and was able to go through the many pages of the budget online. I learned some shocking information regarding how the city handles our city budget. Each year I learned the city has been operating at a deficit!
For example there was a deficit of over 2.5 million dollars in the 2008-09 budget whereas we showed a beginning reserve fund of 24 million dollars, …………. almost 6 million dollar deficit in the 2009-10 budget with a reduced reserve fund of 21.5.
AT THIS POINT MAYOR BOWER TOLD MRS. WITTMAN HER TIME WAS UP . . . following is the rest of the speech Mrs. Wittman was not allowed to give.
…………a 3.7 million dollar deficit in the 2010-11 budget and a further reduced reserve fund of 15.5 million……. a 1.2 million dollar deficit in the 2011-12 budget with an ever further reduced reserve fund of 11.7 million.
Looking at the multi-year budget projection by the year 2015-16 budget the reserve fund balance will be slightly more than 7.3 million dollars. I am shocked to find that the reserve fund balance was more than 24 million dollars in 2008 and an estimated reserve balance of slightly more than 7.3 million dollars 4 years later.
Therefore, I am exercising the rights of my home owners and the citizens of Raytown to exercise the rights of the Missouri Sunshine Law by requesting in writing in a separate letter that the City of Raytown present the citizens of Raytown a summarized financial statement from the city, comprised of 10 pages or less, which is to be made available to all Raytown citizens and placed on a shelf outside the City Administration/Mayor office’s within 3 business days of my formal request under the Sunshine Law. (I have been since informed by the City that they will not provide a summarized financial statement and that if the public does not wish to come to city hall and thumb through the many, many pages of the city budget they find the information on the city’s website)
Last, but not least, I request that the city council appoint a non partial committee to oversee the financial budget each year after having met with the finance director to review the operations of the budget. I request said proposed budget be presented to this special committee prior to its being voted upon each year. Also, this committee should make itself available to answer questions from the public regarding any financial statement they might question in the budget.
Thank you for your time and now I will present the Sunshine Law’s written request for a simplified financial statement to be made.
The Paul Livius Report BY PAUL LIVIUS
RAYTOWN CITY COUNCIL MEETING, AUGUST 21, 2012
RAYTOWN CITY COUNCIL MEETING, AUGUST 21, 2012
The invocation was given by Sue Glotz of the Blue Ridge United Methodist Church.
Shirley Whitman went before the Board with public comments (SEE MAYOR INTERRUPTS GUEST SPEAKER).
Mayor Bower congratulated Dr. Markley and the Raytown School Board for the “2012 what Parents Want” award.
- Mahesh Sharma gave the following report to the board:
- Construction continues on the Chipotle restaurant in the Gregory Square Shopping Center at Highway 350 and Gregory Boulevard. Work began this week on the interior finish for the Game Stop store. In addition, interior construction plans are being reviewed for the planned Jimmy Johns restaurant.
- Three sets of 2012 International Construction and Property Maintenance Codes that are now available for public review; one in the City Clerk’s Office and two in the Building Department. In addition, staff has provided information on the city’s web site regarding the proposed code updates that are being considered as well as a comment form that persons can use to provide written comments and questions regarding the proposed codes.
- The Raytown Artists Association will sponsor their 6th Annual Art Show at St Paul’s Church of the Nazarene (8500 E 80th Terrace) from 9:30am to 5:30pm on August 24th thru 26th. The Artists’ Reception and Awards will follow Friday’s showing at 6:30pm on August 24th. Attendees can shop for prints and gift cards of artist’s original works and participate in the silent auction of donated works, proceeds to benefit the 2013 Raytown High School Art Scholarship; admission is free.
- The Board approved a resolution approving the purchase of a 2012 Chevrolet G4500 Type III ambulance from Osage Ambulance off the Montgomery County Cooperative purchasing contract in an amount not to exceed $130,355.00. Brandon Buckman told the Board this will replace the 2003 Ford ambulance that has over 140,000 miles.
- The Board passed a resolution approving the expenditure of funds with Northcraft Enterprises, Inc. Andy Noll explained this was to replace carpeting at City Hall.
- The Board passed a resolution approving a conditional use permit for property located at 9615 E. 63rd Street to allow the operations of motorcycle sales and repair business. John Benson told the Board this will allow the owners of the shop to park their motorcycles on the sidewalk, even though City codes state that nothing is to be located in the street right of way.
- The Board heard the first reading of an ordinance that would amend the curfew for minors. The changes proposed are minors will not be allowed to wander throughout the city during the day unless accompanied by an adult, it will be illegal for the owner or manager of any establishment in Raytown to knowingly permit minors in or on their property during daytime or nighttime curfew, unless the owner or manager has the Raytown Police department and demanded the minor leave the premises.
The Board Does Not Interact . . . BY GREG WALTERS AND PAUL LIVIUS
We have often heard this phrase or words to similar to it when frustrated Raytowners approach the Board of Aldermen with their problems.
The Board and Mayor do not seem to grasp that most people are reluctant to air their grievances publicly. It is only after all other avenues to a solution have been exhausted when individuals go public with their problem by airing them at a City Council meeting.
We saw this when concerned parents of lifeguards at Raytown Super Splash addressed the Board about problems at the city’s public water park.
We saw it at again when city employees showed up in large numbers to protest the $30,000 pay increase handed to City Administer Mahesh Sharma.
This week a member of the Mayor’s Elected Officials Compensation Review Board, Witty Wittman, used the same venue to voice her concerns.
Through each of these events, the Board of Aldermen sat mute. The only one to speak was Mayor David Bower. Typically those comments were limited to a curt – time’s up – statement or an admonishment to the audience not to respond with applause to what speakers had to say.
Sometimes this rule reaches the absurdity of ridiculous. An example of this is from two meetings back when the Board handed Mahesh Sharma a $30.000 pay increase. A member of the Raytown Police Department had addressed the Board . . . after he finished the people it the audience showed their appreciation for his words with polite applause.
The Mayor then reminded the audience that public demonstrations would not be allowed during Public Comments.
Come on Mr. Mayor, give us a break! We saw the meeting in question. Polite applause is a not a public demonstration. It is a civilized way in which people can show their support and appreciation for a public speaker. If you cannot do this much at a public City Council meeting, where can you?
In our view the Mayor’s actions are bad enough. What is worse is that the Board of Aldermen, by meekly sitting in their chairs, is showing tacit approval of the Mayor’s words and actions.
It does not reflect well on them.
It is their meeting – they should change this uncompromising policy that leaves an impression of a City Council that is uncaring and aloof.
POLL QUESTION: This week’s poll question asks if the Board of Aldermen should be allowed to answer questions from the public during the Public Comments portion of the meeting.
When I was young, I swam almost daily during the summers. My grandma’s condo had a pool that was almost 5-feet deep in the shallow end and 10 feet in the deep end. The depth made the water freezing on all but the most sweltering of days. But whether because of the cold or just luck, the pool was almost always empty and my brothers... Continue reading
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