The Paul Livius Report BY PAUL LIVIUS
Raytown Board of Aldermen Meeting January 15, 2013
Mayor Bower proclaimed January 21, 2013 to be the Dr. Martin Luther King day in Raytown.
Brenda Gustafson, the new Public Information Officer, gave a short study session to the Board, informing them of the duties of the Public Information Officer. She said her goal was to increase communications, encourage informed participation, foster community pride and satisfaction, and encourage growth. There are many ways to achieve these goals. She plans to use the media, i.e. internet, television, and the newspaper. After her presentation, Alderman Aziere said he has had several requests to broadcast the Board meetings on the ATT U-verse provider. The meetings are already being broadcast on Comcast TV. He asked if she has looked into broadcasting with ATT also. Mayor Bower said the City looked into ATT a couple of years ago and the cost was $15,000. The Mayor told Mr. Aziere that they could talk more after the meeting, and called for the first item on the agenda to be read.
The Board passed a resolution approving an annual maintenance agreement with Harris Computer-Global Software in an amount of $36,480.00. This is for maintenance of records management and computer aided dispatch system for the Police Department.
The Board passed a resolution approving the purchase of Digital p25 capable/compliant mobile and portable radios and equipment from Motorola Solutions in the amount of $18,699 for the Police Department.
The Board passed a resolution approving the purchase of a 2013 Ford F-550 truck from Dick Smith Ford. They also approved the purchase of aerial equipment from Altec Industries in the amount of $85,717.00. This bucket truck will be used by the Public Works department.
The Board heard the second reading of an ordinance to grant a conditional use permit to operate a vehicle sales business at 8910 E. 350 Highway. Greg Wagner was seeking approval of a conditional use permit application that proposes to operate a vehicle sale and display business at 8910 Highway 350. The property is owned by Robert Gear and would be leased and/or sold to the applicant, Greg Wagner, upon approval of the conditional use permit application. Mr. Wagner said he understood there are several requirements of the Zoning Board and agreed he would have to complete all items before opening his business.
Those requirements are:
1. The vehicle sales and display business shall only be owned and operated by Greg
2. The vehicle sales and display business shall be operated on the property and may not move to a different location or expand to another property without first obtaining approval from the City.
3. The vehicle sales and display business shall be in compliance with all applicable City and State ordinances and codes.
4. The conditional use permit shall be valid for a period of ten (10) years from the date of approval.
5. Light fixtures, poles and bases shall be repaired and repainted so that they match in appearance, color and show no signs of rust or disrepair. In addition, Mr. Wagner will remove two existing driveways on Highway 350, the driveway on Lane Avenue will be relocated further to the north on Lane Avenue, the shoulder along Highway 350 abutting the property will be removed, and seeded with grass, the curbing will be constructed along portions of Highway 350 and Lane Avenue next to the property, storm water improvements will be constructed along Lane, and a sidewalk with a minimum width of five (5) feet will be constructed along Highway 350 and Lane Avenue.
6. Additional landscaping will be installed by May 1, 2013 on the property consisting of trees and shrubs along the property next to Highway 350 and Lane Avenue.
The Board amended the ordinance and added the requirement that Mr. Wagner remove the trailer from the premises immediately. Board discussion included requiring Mr. Wagner to have all conditions met before conducting business on the property. Mr. Wagner told the Board he had spoken with the City and was led to believe the property would be grandfathered to the code requirements at the time the current property owner, Robert Gear, opened business. He was told he did not have to meet the other requirements until he had actually purchased the property. Mr. Wagner told the Board the property was in foreclosure and currently being managed by GMAC. Due to Mr. Gear’s legal problems, no one was sure when the actual sale would take place. He also told the Board he cannot afford to spend the money necessary to meet the City’s conditions until he is sure he will be able to purchase the property. All he wants to do is run his business until the purchase can take place. The property owner should be responsible for clearing any code violations. Since Mr. Gear seems unwilling or unable to do so, the City is now forcing him (Mr. Wagner) to take that responsibility. If the City didn’t want his business here in Raytown, he wished they would have told him that before he signed the lease. After more discussion, some of which took place during a ten minute break in the meeting, the Board passed a resolution allowing Mr. Wagner six months to have his business up and running, or he would have to remove his cars from the car lot.
Transparent or Opaque? BY PAUL LIVIUS
At the January 15 meeting, the new Public Information Officer, Benda Gustafson, gave the Board an overview of the responsibilities and plans for her office. One plan, she said, was to increase the City’s transparency. She wanted more residents to know about more events and services provided by the City.
She said she plans to use the media more. By the media, she means the internet, television, and newspapers. She wants to improve the City’s website. She wants to make it fresher, with more and news photos of happenings around town. She wants more advertising on local television, and she wants the Kansas City Star’s Community Page to have more information about Raytown and photos of Raytown citizens.
At the conclusion of her presentation, Alderman Aziere said he has had numerous requests from residents to show the Board meetings on ATT U-verse, as well as Comcast. He can appreciate her efforts to improve the website, but he said many of the elderly residents are unable to navigate the internet. They do, however, watch television, and many want to be able to watch the meetings. He asked Ms. Gustafson if she had looked into broadcasting with ATT.
Mayor Bower interrupted the conversation by saying the City looked into ATT U-verse two years ago and the cost was $15,000. He then ended the conversation by telling Mr. Aziere they could discuss the subject after the meeting.
Really, Mr. Mayor? Is there some reason you didn’t want to discuss it out in the open? Could it be you were afraid the other aldermen would agree with Mr. Aziere?
We, the residents of Raytown would like to know why you are against spending $15,000 to broadcast the meetings to more people. After all, you were willing to spend $56,000 to renovate City Hall. You were willing to spend $15,000 on new carpet at City Hall. And, of course, you were willing to give a $30,000 pay raise to one person.
We would like to know why you are willing to spend money on things that only benefit you and your friends, but you are unwilling to spend money to increase the transparency of the City.
Annual Financial Report Paints Bleak Picture BY GREG WALTERS
Sales tax revenue figures for the past nine years show that the City of Raytown has not experienced the growth one would anticipate from new construction over the same time period.
In fact, once the annual payment for what is commonly known as the Walmart TIF is taken out, city sales tax revenues are actually in decline.
In 2012 the City of Raytown collected $663,996.00 in sales tax revenue. However, an estimated annual payment for the Walmart TIF for 2012 only, based on actual average, is expected to take back $69,406.00 of that revenue.
That means $69,406.00 for street improvements, police protection, and other city services, will not be spent on those needs. Instead, the money will be used to pay bondholders interest and debt retirement for the construction of the Walmart development.
Subtract the Walmart payment from the total sales tax collected in 2012. The “real” sales tax total drops to $594,590.00.
That total shows a decrease of real sales tax revenue below the 2004 benchmark of $610,486.00.
Dedicated Sales Taxes Captured by Walmart TIF
It is a little known fact that special use sales taxes are also captured by the Walmart TIF in Raytown. Missouri state statutes require that ALL sales tax revenues within a TIF District are collectable for debt retirement.
The last two sales taxes passed by Raytown taxpayers, one named the “Transportation Sales Tax” and the other the “Public Safety Sales Tax” are two such taxes.
Voters were told that if they supported the two sales tax increases (1/2 cent on each tax), that the revenue would be used specifically for street improvements and increased police protection.
What they were not told was that the sales tax collected within the Walmart TIF District would be used for debt retirement of bonds held by private investors of the Walmart TIF.
Even if the tax was passed after the Walmart TIF was created – as was the case with the Public Safety Sales Tax – it is still used to pay down the debt.
Walmart is estimated to produce close to 20% of the city’s sales tax revenue. That means 20% of the sales tax dollars collected for street improvements and public safety are not being used for those purposes.
Next Week . . . Promises Made, Promises Broken
Firefighters Rescue Dog From Frozen Lake BY MATT MACE
On Tuesday January 15, 2013 members of the Raytown Fire Department rescued a four year old dog from Wildwood Lake. Local residents, who had alerted Raytown’s 911 Dispatch Center, spotted the dog on the ice. The Fire Departmetn was called and Raytown Engine #1 made the rescue and transported the dog to the Raytown Animal Hospital for treatment. The Raytown Animal Hospital has advised the Fire Department the dog’s owner claimed the dog later that same day.
Fire Marshal Matt Mace said, “Both of our trucks are equipped with cold water suits which allow us to safely effect a rescue from icy lakes and ponds. While we certainly do not want to rescue anyone or anything from icy water, events such as this are valuable training exercises.”
For more information on safety and rescue tips on iced over ponds and lakes contact Raytown Fire Marshal Matt Mace at 816-737-6034 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
|Chris, Jeannette and Garrett Merrill|
Chris Merrill Files for City Council in Ward 3
My name is Chris Merrill and I am running for Alderman in Raytown Ward 3. I am 36, been married for 14 years with 1 child, and lived at my current address for 15 years. I started attending Raytown schools in first grade and graduated from Raytown South High School in 1994.
I have been a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (I.B.E.W.) Local #124 for 17 years. At the end of my 5 year apprenticeship I passed my masters exam to recieve my Masters Licence. Since that time I have recieved many other certifications. I am a very active member of my union, volunteering my time for DADs day (dollars for diabetes), Christmas in October, Local #124's Childrens Christmas party, and delivering Christmas baskets to the widows of deceased members of Local #124.
My wife, Jeannette Thomas Merrill, is a paraprofessional for students with special needs in the Raytown School District, and my son attends school at a Raytown Elementary School. I am a member of the Union Sportsmen's Alliance. I also like to coach my son’s sports teams. I have coached baseball at Kansas City Baptist Temple and now at Raytown Sports Association. I am also a youth wrestling coach for Mat Rat Wrestling Club overseen by O'Hara High School.
I would like to have the opportunity to be the voice of my ward. I am a very good listener and would work to correct the concerns of the people of my ward. The best way to contact me would be email, email@example.com.
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