Sunday, February 17, 2013

Raytowner's listen to speakers at Tuesday night's meeting.
COMING SUNDAY: Watch for a complete review in the Paul Livius Report of what fellow Raytowner's had to say about Walmart and economic development in Downtown Raytown at Tuesday night's meeting of the Board of Aldermen.

Board of Aldermen Meeting
The meeting is open to the Public.
No doubt one of the topics to be brought up will be a proposed Downtown Raytown  Grocery Store. 

Many people in the Raytown area have vocally opposed the building of a Walmart Store in Downtown Raytown.  

Officially, the city will not confirm or deny that a proposal is coming to City Hall for a Walmart Store. However, news articles in the Kansas City Star have clearly stated that Downtown Raytown is one of three areas targeted for a Walmart Grocery Store. The other two areas identified are Waldo and Lee's Summit.

A number of people are expected to attend Tuesday night's meeting to voice opposition to a Walmart Grocery Store at the location. 

The people will be speaking. 
The question is, will the Mayor and Board of Aldermen be listening?

The Mayor has scheduled a "closed to the public" executive session at the tail end of the meeting.  The subject of the closed session has not been announced by the Mayor's office. 

Greg Walters

The Dollars and Cents of Why Residency Matters BY GREG WALTERS
There is a dirty little secret the Raytown Board of Aldermen and Mayor are well aware of at Raytown City Hall. It speaks loudly of a poor decision on their part of how Raytown is run on a day to day basis.

It is a decision that literally makes no “cents” at all.

Here it is:

None of the highest paid appointed Department Heads and other members of the Management Team who manage our city on a day to day basis live in Raytown.

We added up the salaries of those who make up this list of elite employees. Because of the city’s policy over $700,000 leaves the city each year when these employees go home to places like Raymore, Lee’s Summit, Basehor, Riverside, and Kansas City. 

The $700,000.00* that leaves the City of Raytown each year is based on figures provided by Raytown City Hall in response to Request for Information under the Freedom of Information Act. To view the information provided by city hall use this link RAYTOWN SALARIES

Since these highly paid individuals do not live in Raytown the money is not re-circulated  to the community.

It will not be used to pay a neighborhood kid to rake leaves or shovel snow. It will not find its way back to city hall through sales tax on groceries or services provided by Raytown merchants. There will be no return on property tax to the city, school district. In some cases, even Jackson County and the Public Library system will be left out of the equation.
In short, the money goes home with them and does not come back.

It does not have to be that way.

In fact, other area governmental bodies require highly paid city officials to live within city limits, the City of Kansas City being the most notable. Recently, the Independence School Board announced that upper management officials will be required to live within the school district boundaries.

The decision allowing this siphoning of city tax dollars out of the City was made by the Raytown Board of Aldermen.

Most recently, the Board of Aldermen voted to remove the requirement that the City Administrator live within city limits. It was done the same night that they voted to give City Administrator Mahesh Sharma a $30,000.00 pay increase.

Raytown’s City Administrator is one of the few  City Administrator/Managers in the metropolitan area not required to live within the city they serve.

The decision to abandon residency requirements for the appointed department heads at Raytown City Hall is counter-productive, makes little fiscal sense, and, in the end, costs the city a considerable amount of tax dollars in money lost to other communities.

It is a decision that should be reversed.

*Salary information based on salary figures provided by the City of Raytown City Clerk obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. Total compensation does not include cell phone allowance, automobile allowance, health insurance benefits or pension benefits.

To view the salary information click here RAYTOWN SALARIES

Paul Livius
True Stories . . . BY PAUL LIVIUS
The following are true stories.

The names of the individuals in the story have been removed. Who was involved is not as important as what transpired.

As anyone reading this page is well aware, on April 2nd voters will go to the polls to elect one-half of the City Council. 

What most people do not know is that one of the candidates was originally filed in the wrong ward by the City Clerk’s office!

The Office of the City Clerk has many responsibilities. The most important of which is the management of candidates who file for public office Raytown. It is her responsibility to make certain candidate taxes are paid, and, more importantly, that they meet residency requirements. 

This year one candidate filed only to be informed later that he had been filed in the wrong ward. 

Here is the strange part. It was not the City Clerk’s office that discovered the snafu. It was discovered by an opposing candidate!

The incident illustrates the need to be familiar with the city in which one works. The current City Clerk has been at her job for over ten years. She is the first City Clerk to work for Raytown that has not been required to live within city limits.

An argument is often made by apologists at City Hall in an attempt to explain away why high paid city officials do not live in Raytown. The most common excuse given is that the housing market is weak throughout Kansas City and that individuals cannot receive the true value for their property.

On the face of it, the argument makes sense. Real estate prices have remained depressed throughout the Midwest. The Kansas City is no exception.

Despite that, one city department head has moved since going to work in Raytown. 

He was single, met a woman, they fell in love and got married. They consolidated their homes and moved into her place. 

Coincidentally, she was works for another city. 

They made their new home at her home which is located in the municipality for which she works. 

Reusable Coffee Cozy Magic! BY JENN
There are about a million posts over on Fit Bottomed Girls where I declare my love for coffee (here and here, for example). I like it black---or with … Read More

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Anonymous said...

Chris you say "We" as in if you are the leader of this anti-Walmart movement. Please don't sound like that, because it may cost you some votes.

Elisa Breitenbach said...

Hello everyone this is Elisa Breitenbach with DOUGHBOYS in Raytown. I understand Politics & Business don't mix very well. I understand at least one of you think we are doing “Business Suicide.” We feel politics sometimes can be damaging to our families and business. As responsible citizens, we must take a stand. I believe this because Walmart is very damaging to the community and all the small businesses. Back in the 80's when the first WalMart store went in Raytown, all the small businesses in that area tried to fight. The little businesses went under. The majority of our customers know we respect & appreciate them. Our customers are loyal and are grateful for the stand we are taking. They know we are loving of our community and that we truly care. This may seem offending to some people, but we are honest, hard working citizens and our loyal customers know this. If any person is unhappy with the way we run our business by mixing it with politics, we understand if they want to do business elsewhere. I know from somes views that we are committing "business suicide" but our growing sales has proved otherwise. I feel it is my God-Given responibility to inform and improve my community. I know this may cost me customers, but I have grown customers in exponential numbers because of my support towards Raytown as a community.

Anonymous said...


On the other hand your position may very well gain you some votes!

Don't pay too much attention to the Debbie Downers in the world.

Anonymous said...

Does any body writing on this understand
the words "Free Enterprise?" This town
may be able to pass rules about how many
grocery store's may be in Raytown but,
if and until that happens any company can
buy that property and build on it.
City hall cannot discriminate against any
one company.

Chris Merrill for Alderman said...

I believe in the freedom of America. I believe that as an American company, Walmart should be able to build as many new stores they decide they want. I also believe that as a proud American, I have the right to NOT shop at stores I don't like. The reason I oppose this Walmart is the location. There are many safty issues that go with not only Walmart, but any large box store in this location. I have spoke to many small companies in Raytown and many residents of Raytown, not all are against Walmart. But, when I mention the safty issues, they all agree with me abaout them. I still ask them to attend the meeting that I am assisting to get together. If I stand against this project, yes I will lose votes. And, if I stand for this project, I will lose votes. But, at least I am STANDING for the people I want to serve. If there were no safety issues and the residents of Raytown wanted the grocery store in that location, I would not voice an opinion. I would very much like to see the residents show up at the meeting and voice there opinions, but most have obligations or a fear of public speaking. This is why I have been out trying to speak with as many people as I can.

Anonymous said...

Is Chris Merrill the Chris Merrill from CH9?

Maybe Walmart should be closed as a public nuisnace due to the high crime rate, cost of police response, and taking officer's time from other parts of the city.

Andy Whiteman

Elisa Breitenbach said...

It's truly my hope that everyone will try to join us this Tuesday Night Feb. 19th,6:30 PM. We need to find out why the City of Raytown has been calling the Walmart Neighborhood Market #85201 a "Rumor". Randy Battagler of the Raytown Times "believes in the old adage that if you just assume something it can come back to make an ass of you." (Raytown Times Jan. 30, 2013) That is why I did not just assumed this. Our Raytown officials can be upset all they want and tell Bob Phillips they have no idea what business might be developed on the old church property downtown. Off the Top By Bob Phillips Raytown Times Jan. 30, 2013. Boys boys, boys we have a box of Puffs for all your little brown noses. For the rest of Raytown we have the paper work that proves this is sooo wrong on every level. I wish Randy and the boys good luck in their kitchen tails. I live in Harry Truman's Neighborhood and I work 7 Happy Days A Week in my Donut Shop "DOUGHBOYS" kitchen. I don't mind the heat. With all that has been said and done. What are they covering up? They have not been open or transparent on any of this. Why???

Lee said...

Political commentary can definitely hurt your business. I don't think being against a new competitor is exactly political commentary. OTOH, when Papa John's announced that they would lay off workers if they were forced to provide health insurance, they lost my business. I would have accepted that they might have to raise prices a little, but the stance they took was purely political.

For years I didn't shop at Walmart. The Hypermart at Bannister was a bad experience. I started shopping there again when they did something that helped working Americans immensely, they published their $4 drug list. That drove down prescription costs for generic drugs since many other pharmacies matched those prices. More recently a member of my family has needed insulin, and insulin from Walmart without a prescription is cheaper that buying through my insurance. And we aren't talking a small amount, Walmart may save me $1200 this year on insulin alone. Once upon a time the complaint was that Walmart sold cheap, imported merchandise. But so do Target, KMart, Sears. If the provenance and quality are the same, Walmart is no more evil than any other big box. What is being proposed apparently is a Walmart Neighborhood Market, and it's a completely different beast than a Supercenter. In my opinion, as long as no tax breaks are given, having this well funded grocery store downtown is a plus for Raytown.

As far as crime is concerned, I would be willing to bet that the majority are shoplifting calls. Which, btw, aren't as common at grocery stores. How could Walmart decrease those, stop prosecuting shoplifters?

Pat Casady said...

To Elisa Breitenbach,
I meant no disrespect to you or your business.
I just wanted to warn you of what could happen
when you enter the fight with City Hall.
As I said, I have been in many battles with
this city and it has cost me. This city and
school district doesn't use us for hardly any
of the goods we could help, or even save them
money on. I wish you well, and hope this doesn't
hurt your business.

Anonymous said...

If the police are spending all their time at Walmart they sure can't be in our neighborhoods protecting us, can they?

Has Raytown benefited by having Walmart?

Look around. No other store has put there sign up anywhere near Walmart! Guess it was not the great retail magnet they thought it would be is it?

Go up and look at the Green Space. Looks pretty big for a downscale grocery store to me.

It our City Council was serious about economic development they would clean up the Downtown. Remove what some hilariously call buildings on 63rd Street and develop something on the main drag.

Instead, they paid an outrageous price for an abandoned church that was falling in on itself. Then they tore down the building. Now they are ready to hand it over to one of the richest corporations in America for a song.

There are more ways to give away tax payer dollars than through tifs and tax abatement schemes. Undervalue the property and give it away on the cheap and pretend that you are doing your city a favor is another.

Greg Walters said...

Actually, not just anyone can come in and open up shop in Downtown Raytown. The City Council has created a development district in the Downtown area.

Anyone can MAKE APPLICATION to bring a development to Downtown Raytown.

But at the end of the day, the Board of Aldermen will vote whether or not to accept the proposal.

It is probably why the Board is meeting in closed session at the end of their meeting tonight -- to discuss a proposal before them.

But make no mistake about it. The Board has the authority as the governing body in Raytown to say Yes or No to what is proposed.

There appears to be a large number of people in Raytown who are not too excited about Walmart opening a grocery store in Downtown Raytown.

The real question is whether or not the Board will listen to what those folks have to say.

As for the denials from Raytown City Hall that Walmart is not under consideration.

Get real.

It has been reported in the Kansas City Star by Yael Abouhalkah . . .

"Based on past results, there’s a good chance Wal-Mart will be allowed to open new stores in Lee’s Summit, Kansas City’s Waldo area and Raytown. If that happens, elected officials made those results possible."

I don't always agree with what Mr. Abouhalkah writes, but in this case, he is 100% correct.

The only way there will be a Walmart in Downtown Raytown is if the Raytown Board of Aldermen approve it.

Their hands are not tied. They can say no. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Keep up the good work Elisa. You guys have an uphill fight but I hope for all of us, that you win.

I don't know why, but it is widely documented that Walmart attracts a criminal element to its stores. Here are a few quotes I found on the web.

Some businesses are good for Raytown. Walmart is a black hole that drains our community funds, ties up our police and makes targets of innocent citizens who become victims in their parking lots.

We don't need this kind of progress in Raytown.

Anonymous said...

The officers at Walmart are paid by Walmart. They are working on their days off.

Anonymous said...

And when they arrest someone they call the Raytown Police Department to back them up. Just like every other city does.

Face reality. Walmart does not help cities. It cripples them.

Anonymous said...

I wish all you Free enterprise haters good
luck tonight. I don't think you have a
chance of stopping the new store from going in.
To the dohnut people, good luck after fighting
city hall. All the friends of city hall, what's left
of RRFT, the Chamber, and all other
friends, you know the three or four thousand people
that back everything that city hall does, will
blacklist your store for causing trouble.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if any of you have ever seen a Neighborhood Market. They are fine grocery stores. They are not a "Wal Mart". I welcome any new business to Raytown that is not supported by taxpayer money.

Anonymous said...

Pretty impressive turnout at City Hall. Almost every seat was taken. I counted over 60 people.

I don't know all the speakers but I want to thank them for having the courage to stand up and say their piece.

You guys did a great job.

Elisa Breitenbach said...

I am so proud of everyone who came tonight. It did warm my heart. Thank You One And All!!!

Anonymous said...

I was amazed after watching the BOA meeting last night to find out how many of the local business owners don't live in Raytown where their business is located. Some of them couldn't even get the facts straight about Raytown. Makes me wonder how loyal they really are to Raytown.

Elisa Breitenbach said...

Anonymous Before opening up yet another WalMart owned store in our city, let's concider the impact that they have on our local economies of other communities throughout the U.S. Researchers at UC Berkeley concluded in 2011 that "jobs created by WalMart in metropolitan areas pay less & are less likely to offer benefits than those they replace. WalMart workers earn an estimated 12.4% less than retail workers as a whole & 14.5% less than workers in large retail." Yet we are supposed to believe that this new store will help our community thrive? One recent study found that a WalMart store opening reduces county-level retail employment by about 150 workers, and each WalMart worker replaces approximately 1.4 retailer workers at other merchants.

Anonymous said...

As someone who lives within eyesight, I'm not terribly excited that it's a Walmart, but a neighborhood market is still better than empty. For years driving through town has been a joke. The main stretches look abandoned and run down and the shops sit empty. Just about any business to an economy are better than no businesses. The grounds to protest who comes in should only come after there is actually competition to protest against. Walmart deteriorates the property values no worse than empty and dilapidated properties.

Anonymous said...

I watched the meeting last night. Interesting how the Mayor says the Board will not interact with the people who attended. But after all was said and done he goes into a rather lengthy monolog trying to explain everything away.

Most interesting is him mentioning plans he has seen from a developer he claims he has not met.

Come Mr. Mayor. Who showed you plans unless you are aware of someone with a development?

My goodness. I can't help but feel you are being less than honest with us!

As for the Board members up for election. I hope you listen well to what your constituents are saying.

I know my vote will depend on how you vote.

Anonymous said...

Why would you expect this Mayor and Board to listen to anything the taxpayers say. We told them how we wanted to Public Safety Sales tax money spent and they are ignoring us. I guess they forgot how they got where they are. It is time to remind them, that they need us more than we need them. Send them packing in April and The Mayor in two years. These people are just intereted in development, they don't care by who. I thought the vision was to make downtown a destination. If they want a grocery store why not court a Whole Foods or Trader Joes, these would be a much better choice, and would bring people into the downtown. But that would be too logical.

Anonymous said...

Downtown will never be a destination because there are no through arterial roads. A destion is a good goal, but who will go out of their way to go downtown unless it is for something really unique and special. A grocery store may serve local residents but who will go out of their way to get there from a distance?

Walmart has 2 grocey stores on Metcalf. I used to go there when Discover card had a 5% rebate on groceries because they had merchandise opther grocerers didn't have. Of course I combined the trip with a stop for dinner along the way so as not to waste time and gas on a trip to the that store.

That attitude at City Hall seems to be "Ignore them and they will shut up." Well, it angers me and I didn't shut up. I moved away but my move was due to climate, not rhe Fascist, Socialist government. BTW: I still down my house in Raytown.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Im tired of the city bending over backwards for Walmart. Im also tired of my tax dollars going to Walmart instead of public safety. Im voting against my incumbant I suggest you do the same.

Anonymous said...

Wonder if Mrs. Doughboy will be getting another group together to speak againist Dunkin Doughnuts coming to town.

Anonymous said...

I was impressed with the guest speakers the other night. They have what's best for Raytown in mind. If a Walmart proposal is planned for Downtown Raytown it is not what is best in our best interest.

I am going to be watching how my incumbent alderman votes on this one.

Keep us informed guys. This one is important.

Anonymous said...

If you are going to be mad about the Wal Mart going in be mad at former mayor Sue Frank and her BOA at the time the building was bought. They should have left it alone and let someone else purchase the building. There were several other offers.

Anonymous said...

Heres a nice read about walmart

Anonymous said...

We might have more police on the street if the depaartment would quit buying their expensive toys.

Anonymous said...

Walmart has a history of bribing officials in Mexico. Now, they want to put a second store in Raytown. Has anyone asked the State's Attorney General to look into the finances of the Ciry's Department heads, the mayor, and the city council? It might be interesting to see what he finds.

Anonymous said...

I vowed to never, ever post on this blog ever again but I felt compelled to do so anyway.

Do you want to see something interesting? Look at the southwest corner of 67th and Raytown Road. What is there? a vacant parking lot and pad site. Does anyone know what used to be there some 30 to 40 years ago? A Dunkin Donuts Store. Gee, this is like the predecessor of the Wal Mart thing. Lets build it, let it get run down, close it up, let it become run down, tear it down.

Wal Mart is far more harmful to this town than some may believe. People fall for this "Lets run up and get something cheap from Wal Mart" only to find out later that it was cheap, poorly made, usually from inferior materials, sometimes from harmful products or chemicals... usually imported from some 3rd world country or China sweatshop using child or slave labor..... instead of buying made in USA products from a local Mom and Pop store....

I think that we have seen what Wal Mart can and has done to this and other communities. This is not the same Wal Mart that Sam Walton created... this is instead a corporate monster that has the ultimate goal of monopolizing no matter what the cost or collateral damage might be. We certainly do not need another Wal Mart within the city limits of Raytown. We have the one on 350 Hiway, and the one at the old Blue Ridge Mall area, basically we are over saturated with Wal Marts here. I understand this is supposed to be different, a neighborhood market. Okay, then if we really need a neighborhood market, why didnt Thriftway in Raytown Plaza, United Super or IGA at Center 63, United Super at 51st and Blue Ridge continue to thrive and operate? We still have The Store, two Apple Markets, a HyVee, a Price Chopper, and I believe a Cosentinos Thriftway by the old Blue Ridge Tower at 43rd and Blue Ridge..... it could be argued why do we need another grocery store in Raytown? Raytown is over saturated with grocery stores anyway, and it is proven that it cannot support more stores in this area over time, historically speaking. Leave the green space alone, redevelopment will happen, as it is in the downtown district right now, without Wal Mart.

Anonymous said...

Whether it is Wart Groceries or any business that is a destination business, the green space is not a good location because it is not on a through arterial street. The green space would be ideal for high rise resitential (condos or apartments) with a basement garage for parking. The first floor would be suitable for small businesses,

Would most people will go out of their way after passing a Walmart both to the north and to the south as well as many grocery stores to go to a Walmart grocery?

Andy Whiteman