Sunday, November 25, 2012

Ever wondered what Earth looks like at night from space? Watch this amazing video. Enjoy! Use this link . . . Alone at Night

Greg Walters

Economic Setbacks Costly BY GREG WALTERS
Raytown has taken some pretty hard hits recently at the economic level. Three businesses, two of them recipients of tax abatements/sales tax schemes, have left the local economy. Two of them will not be back. One is questionable.
  • BURGER KING on 350 Highway near Raytown Road remains closed due to a fire last summer. The clean-up and re-opening of the popular fast food restaurant has caused some to wonder if it will ever re-open.
  • SAV-A-LOT at 63rd and Raytown Trafficway has closed. This was one of the city’s more recent property tax abatement deals to lure a business to Raytown. The tax abatement package carried a guarantee of increased employment opportunities for the entire strip mall at that location. The lack of any announcement from City Hall of the success of the tax abatement indicates those goals were not met. The ordinance setting up the tax abatement was supposed to carry a claw-back provision to end the abatement if the space was not occupied. No official word from city hall has been received on that question either.
  • BUFFALO WILD WINGS has pulled out of its location on 350 Highway. The sports bar and grille occupied space at what is generally known as the Hy-Vee Development on 350. That property has a property tax abatement and a ½% CID sales tax. The CID sales tax is paid by anyone spends money in any of the stores at the location.

The City Council has exhibited poor judgement those cases where tax abatements have remained in effect even when the buildings are vacant. For instance, years ago the City granted a property tax abatement for improvements to the owner of a building that housed Coldwell Banker in Downtown Raytown. 

That building has been sitting vacant longer than it has been occupied since the abatement was granted. As a vacant building it produces zero tax dollars for the city. Raytown should have required occupancy of the building as a condition of the tax abatement. Such "clawbacks" are a guarantee the City does not end up with nothing from the abatement.

The lack of such a simple policy is short-sighted and will eventually cost every remaining taxpayer in Raytown.

How so?

It’s really very simple. Somebody has to make up that lost tax revenue. More often than not, that someone turns out to be John Q. Public.

Something to ponder as you read the following public notice.

The following is a condensed version of the Official Public Notice that a General Municipal Election will be held on Tuesday, April 2, 2013. The official notice was posted last week by Raytown City Clerk Teresa Henry.
Notice is hereby given that a General Municipal Election will be held on Tuesday, April 2, 2013, and the following municipal offices will be elected:
Alderman Ward I
Alderman Ward II
Alderman Ward III
Alderman Ward IV
Alderman Ward V

Filing for Municipal Office for the City of Raytown will open on December 11, 2012, at 8:00 a.m. and will close January 15, 2013 at 5:00 p.m. in the office of the City Clerk, Raytown City Hall, 10000 E. 59th Street, Raytown, Missouri 64133. 

Candidates for Alderman may present a petition signed by at least 50 registered voters from their Ward. 

Petition forms may be obtained at the office of the City Clerk at Raytown City Hall.
In lieu of a petition, candidates for Alderman can pay a $25 filing fee.

For the first day only, ballot order will be determined by a random drawing. After the first day, ballot order will be in order of filing.

Candidates for Alderman must be:
  • 21 years of age
  • a citizen of the United States
  • a resident of the city for one year next preceding election
  • a resident of the ward at the time of filing
  • all City property taxes and fees must be paid in full for a candidate’s name to appear on the ballot.
A number of readers have inquired as to the names of the incumbent Aldermen up for election. They are:

Ward 1: Shane Pardue
Ward 2: Jim Hamilton
Ward 3: Christine White
Ward 4: Bill VanBuskirk
Ward 5: Steve Mock

Paul Livius
The Paul Livius Report
Raytown Board of Aldermen Meeting – November 13, 2012

The Board approved a professional services service agreement with Incite Design Studio, LLC for city hall renovations in the amount of $56,200.00. Andy Noll told the Board this was for major audio and video upgrades, lighting upgrade, HVAC replacement, new entry into conference room and break room, as well as Police Department HVAC replacement, and new underground service for vehicle maintenance.

The Board approved the final payment to Vance brothers, Inc. for the 2012 light weight aggregate seal project final payment in the amount of $214,990.00.

The Board approved the expenditure of $105,600 MDL Technology, LLC for information technology services. Chief Lynch told the Board that prior to fiscal year 2010-2011, the Police Department IT infrastructure was supported and maintained by a single full-time employee 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. That single employee was not able to effectively handle the IT demands 24/7 for the Police Department. The Police Department explored IT managed services and MDL Technology, LLC ultimately was awarded the bid after it was determined that MDL provided the best service for the cost. The Police Department has been more than pleased with the quality of work and the customer service provided by MDL. MDL’s technicians are intimately familiar with the IT structure of the Police Department and have been a critical part of the planning, management and budgeting of the Department’s IT program. MDL provides a service bundle for each server and workstation. The bundle cost for each server and workstation has remained the same for the past two years. MDL has agreed to honor that bundle price for the next three years. Cost would increase only if the Police Department increased the number of servers and/or workstations.

The Board approved a revised purchasing policy. City Finance Director Mark Loughry told the Board the current purchasing policy requires that any time a department conducts business with a vendor exceeding $15,000.00 in total for the year they must bring a resolution to the Board of Aldermen for approval. The intent of this policy was to ensure that Departments did not try and work around the bidding requirements in the policy and the approval of purchases in excess of $15,000.00 by the Board. This requirement has resulted in forty plus resolutions a year being brought forward just in case any department may do over $15,000.00 of business with one vendor in total.

Under the current policy the Board is asked to approve transactions that have not even been contemplated yet. Therefore the Board has no way of knowing what purchases they have actually approved. He does not believe this is the intent of the purchasing policy nor does it make sense when determining what has been approved. He believes that the same intended result can be accomplished with much simpler language. He is proposing that the language in the purchasing policy be amended to allow small purchases conducted throughout the year with one vendor exceeding $15,000.00 be allowed as long as they are within budget.

All purchases would still follow the guidelines for competitive bids and quotes. Any attempt by a department or employee to skirt the policy by issuing several smaller “serial” purchase orders would be dealt with accordingly. He included language that puts some enforcement language in to the policy as well. He is also recommending cleaning up the language in the Emergency Purchasing policy. It currently requires polling the Board via phone which may violate the Sunshine Law.

It would also put the City in a position that given a true emergency may cost thousands of dollars while waiting to hear back from a majority of the Board. None of these proposed changes are targeted at reducing the authority of the Board or increasing staff’s current purchasing authority. They are simply being asked for consideration in order to allow for a more efficient application of the current policies. Alderman Ertz pointed out that the new policy does not require the Staff to give local Raytown businesses preference when purchasing items for City use. Mr. Loughry said that common sense practices were in effect, and the staff purchases items from Raytown businesses when possible, but if an item can be purchased outside Raytown for less money, the staff will purchase outside Raytown.

The Board approved a purchase agreement with Tyler Technologies, Inc. for a consolidated software package in an amount of $250,000.00. Mark Loughry told the Board that currently, multiple areas of the city run different software solutions which often lead to duplication of work. 

For instance,  all sewer and courts functions are handled in the City’s Incode software while all general ledger and balance sheet functions are handled in Financial Edge. Additionally Payroll is completely outsourced and there is no formal human resources software. Public Works and Community Development are also running standalone software that cannot tie into the other city software. 

By transitioning to a consolidated software package all departments would benefit from utilizing a common database. There would be an elimination of manual daily, weekly, and monthly uploads from each independent software into the City’s financial software. Additional features would be added and available to all departments including electronic document management.

The Board heard the first reading on an ordinance establishing the Compensation for the office of Board of Aldermen for the term beginning April 2013. The Board voted to leave the compensation the same as for this term, which is $400 per month, with a $50 per month car allowance.

The Board heard the first reading on an ordinance amending section 23-53 of the city code relating to obedience to no-turn signs. The change is No left turn on the following streets:

U.S. 50 Highway and Raytown Road, Westbound.

The Board heard the first reading on an ordinance amending chapter 3, alcoholic beverage control code pertaining to the number of retail alcoholic Beverage licenses. Mark Loughry told the Board that currently the City ordinance only allows for a limited number of the different types of liquor licenses allowed by state law to be issued within Raytown. This is a self-imposed limit utilizing the City’s population to calculate how many of each type of license is allowed. The limit was adjusted four years ago to increase the number of allowable licenses of which we have reached the limit on again. We have reached the imposed limit of 30 licenses for “Full original packaged sales” and we have been notified of one additional store that plans to make application soon. This type of license is issued to grocery stores, convenience stores and any other location that intends to sell packaged liquor. This is the most popular type of liquor license issued by the City.

We have an additional type of license that we are down to one available. There is a limit of 7 “full sales-by-the-drink” licenses which cover bars that do not have an excess of 50% of their revenues by food. With only one left, any new bar that would like to open or if one of the restaurant/bars would have a dip in food sales dropping them below the 50% requirement, we would be unable to issue them a license. In order to simplify the liquor license process and eliminate the constant tracking of which types of licenses are available, he is requesting that these self-imposed limits be revoked. This would allow staff to issue license as needed and eliminate any delay in the opening of future businesses.

The Board heard the first reading on an ordinance approving a contract for transit service by the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority not to exceed $49,116.00. Mark Loughry told the Board the current contract was shortened to conform to the City’s Fiscal Year.

Do We Really Need More Bars in Raytown? BY PAUL LIVIUS

Is the Raytown Board of Aldermen dropping the ball when it comes to liquor licenses in Raytown? That is the question that crossed my mind when I watch City Finance Director Mark Loughry make his case for eliminating the limit on the number of liquor by the drink establishments in Raytown.

Oh, I am sure he was only talking about restaurants. After all, he was talking about the requirement that such establishments must make 50% of their revenue from the sale of food.

Or was he?

I mean, if you eliminate the 50% sale requirement, haven't you in fact, described a bar?

Let's face it, there is no lack of places to get a drink Raytown. According to the report from Loughry, 30 such licenses are already in place. In a city like Raytown, with well over 90% of the property zoned residential, that's packing the drinking joints in pretty tightly.

If the Board approves the recommendation, the sky will be the limit on the number of bars in Raytown.

Our Raytown Board of Aldermen have many responsibilities. Their number one concern should be maintaining high standards with an eye towards a higher quality of life. Making our city home to more drinking establishments is step away from that goal. 

Don’t be Bullied into Bad Health! BY TISH
Who knew that making conscious decisions to eat healthier and work out had social consequences?! I sure didn’t, but I’ve heard negative backlash time and time again from folks who find out I’ve decided to incorporate yet another healthy ingredient into my diet. What’s with the hatin’? Luckily for me, I have... Continue reading

Raytown Holiday Lighting Ceremony

Downtown Raytown

December 7th, 2012      6:00 pm
Lighting of the Pocket Park,
Holiday music by the Little Blue Sing-O-Gram Team!
Pocket Park – 63rd Street and Raytown Road
  • Visit Santa inside UMB Bank and listen to music provided by Raytown Community Band Flutes
  • Hop on a hay ride around downtown
  • Stop by the Winter Wonderland at 63rd Street & Blue Ridge Boulevard to enjoy a sip of cider & a cookie.
  • The first 120 children will receive a craft kit. Santa’s elves will be there to help put them together.  Parents must accompany all children.
  • Visit Open Houses in the Downtown Business area
To post a comment on this blog click on the word comments on the line directly below this sentence.


Anonymous said...

I think that since Raytown is the ashtray of the area, we might as well be the tavern capital as well. It’s just one step closer to a true ghetto.

Anonymous said...

What is this thing about no left turn from 350 and Raytown Road? Would like a little more infomation please. If it is the way it reads, no left turn from westbound 350 (however it is listed as 50, which is a mistake/typo) to -- if turning left, woudl be southbound Raytown Road. It is much safer, however to turn left at the light, than it is to try and turn left at 75th Street, without the light.

Anonymous said...

Raytown is quickly becoming a ghetto due to a poor economy, numerous closing businesses and lack of upkeep.

I recently moved to Alamogordo, NM and many businesses that were here 4 years ago are closed, but many new businesses have opened or are under construction. There are still some parts of town that are typical of old run down New Mexico towns.

In Alamogordo, you either buy locally or make a 120 to 190 mile round trip to do your shopping.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Amen to that Andy. There has been some improvement in the lack of upkeep department but so much more needs to be done. I wish the city would spend more time on cleaning up our town than on giving away tax dollars on abatements fro businesses that do not stay.

Anonymous said...

I believe that the main responsibility of our
Aldermen is to the people of Raytown. Not big
business. The people of Raytown don't have a
choice as to where their hard earned tax money
is spent. That is the responsibility of our so
called representatives. They are supposed to
use the taxes collected to improve the streets,
sidewalks and pay the codes department to enforce
the codes. Along with the safety of the people
of Raytown. Instead it seems they like to see who
can give away the taxpayer dollars faster than the
next guy. As far as I can see, not much has changed
in the last ten years, other than the big stores getting
a free ride on taxes. Yet, our elected officials saw
fit to hand out over thirty thousand dollars a year
in a raise to the City Administrator. OH and while we
are at it why not hire a PR person just to open another
department and spend your money. Just drive through
downtown and try to find one thing this administration
has done to make you proud of where your tax dollars
have gone.
Please remember promises made and NOT kept when you
vote in April. Remember how these people have wasted
your tax dollars, as you are driving down the streets of
Raytown hitting holes that jar your teeth. Our "Green Area"
has become a trash dump for beer bottles and cans along with
McDonalds paper bags and so on.

Anonymous said...

Some shrewd investors found a cash cow! Simply get a tax abatement and then close the business. That loophole should be closed. A good reason for Greg's use of claw backs.

Andy Whiteman

Paul Livius said...

The Board discussed the No Left turn ordinance at the November 13th meeting. According to Teresa Henry: Ross Nigro, City Prosecutor has asked that the current ordinance language be amended as listed below:

Current Language:
Sec. 23-53 - Obedience to no-turn signs. Whenever authorized signs are erected indicating that no right or left or U-turn is
permitted, no driver of a vehicle shall disobey the directions of any such sign. No left turn on the following streets: U.S. 50 Highway and Raytown Road.....Westbound Proposed Language: Sec. 23-53 - Obedience to no-turn signs. Whenever authorized signs are erected indicating that no right or left or U-turn is permitted, no driver of a vehicle shall disobey the directions of any such sign.

Here is the link:

It is on page 76.

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:40
Of course they hired a PR person. Who else is going to spin the $30,000 raise to the CA?

Anonymous said...

Doesn't the Mayor's daughter work for INCITE Design???

Anonymous said...

A PR person is someone to damage control blunders,in other words a $30k annual blunder with no residency requirement.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

If the Mayor's daughter works for INCITE Design, and the City does not go out for bid on a $53,000 quote, then there is a very serious conflict of interest and perhap laws being broken governing Elected Officials and family members providing any type of services.

Anonymous said...

Interesting.The haves disrespect the have nots because someone complained about the disparity in pay and benefits between the public employee and those who are not public employeess. Isn't claiming you have laid your life on the line for 35 years a little over the top? It would be interesting to see how many people have died in the line of duty in Raytown. I haven't been here too long but would not be surprised if the answere is zero.

Pat Casady said...

To "Anonymous" 5:48,
I don't know where you are getting the
"laid your life on the line" but, if you
you are talking about our Police Department
you are off base. Due to several bad decisions
our City Hall has made, this town has become
a lot less safer than in past years. Crime is
higher than ever before. How dare you suggest
that an officer has to die "in the line
of duty" to prove how dangerous their jobs are.
Look at the murder and violent crimes rates in
the last ten years. We are lucky that few or none
of our Police officers have been seriously hurt
or worse. I know for a fact that our Police officers
have actually "laid their lives on the line"
for you and me. Just because it isn't always reported
doesn't mean it doesn't happen.
The climate has changed in Raytown and the surrounding
areas. There are armed robberies and shootings happening
all the time.
Our Raytown Police go through a lot of training to stay
safe and to keep you and I safe. Just because they don't
get hurt on the job doesn't mean they don't ever get hurt. It means
they are well trained and cautious.
Speaking of have and have nots. How do you justify a thirty
seven percent pay raise a year for the CA and a two or three
percent raise for all other city employees including the Police?
I don't care how you look at it, that was wrong and it will
always be wrong.
I proudly sign what I write!

Anonymous said...

I am in total agreement with Pat's comment.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Pat, you should run for mayor.

Anonymous said...

Pat, read the news papers, listen to the news on television. We aren't safe anywhere.