Watch this “short” animated film from Disney and you will understand why it has been nominated for an Oscar this year . . . Enjoy . . . Paper Man
Public Discussion Belongs in Front of the People BY PAUL LIVIUS
Last week’s City Council meeting did not show the Board of Aldermen at their best. A simple matter of issuing a license to a business became the topic of over an hour of debate.
The issue is understandable. The location on 350 Highway looks like a junkyard. It needs to be cleaned up. The Mayor and some members of the Board want the property cleaned up before the license is issued.
By the end of the evening, a compromise of sorts was reached by issuing a license for a limited period of time with the understanding that the property would be cleaned up.
That is all well and good. But the process that was used to reach that decision was marred by what may be a violation of Missouri’s Open Meetings Law.
Towards the end of the discussion, Mayor Bower declared a five minute recess (which actually stretched to about ten minutes). Someone forgot to turn off their microphone. The video portion of the broadcast was gone, but the audio portion remained live.
As members of the Board were leaving their seats they could clearly be heard discussing the issue at hand. Some of the comments fell into the area of “counting votes”.
That is not proper. They were technically adjourned. The business discussion was out of place during a recess. Those comments should be made on the Council floor, not away from it.
The Mayor knows better and so do members of the City Council. It is known for certain that the Mayor and at least one other member of the Board, Christine White, left the Council Chambers during the recess. We sincerely hope there is not a repeat of this lapse of judgment by the Mayor and those member of the Board who tested the limits of the Sunshine Law that night.
"The voters did not raise taxes so that we would have fewer police.”
A Promise Made, a Promise Broken BY GREG WALTERS
Named the “Public Safety Sales Tax” by city officials, voters have been promised that proceeds will be used exclusively for improvements and more manpower related to public safety.
The strongest selling point is that six additional police officers will be hired to increase a police presence in Raytown.
As promised, six new police officers are hired. But in the 2012/2013 city budget, five positions in the police department, not funded by the sales tax increase, were eliminated by the City Administrator.
The “bait and switch” tactic has left many of those who campaigned for the sales tax increase angry and disillusioned.
Sources within the Raytown Police Department say Police Chief of Police Jim Lynch was approached by City Administrator Mahesh Sharma with a request to reduce the number of police employees by five positions.
Lynch refused to do so. He explained that the voters had been promised extra police officers and to remove police personnel from the payroll would be breaking a that promise.
In response, the City Administrator removed five positions from the police department in this year’s city budget.
The Mayor and City Council gave its stamp of approval to Sharma’s suggestion when it unanimously adopted the city’s 2012/2013 city budget last October.
The Crime Factor
I was watching the news the other night. There was a story on crime in the metropolitan area. It showed a graph by zip code of where violent crime was most prevalent. According to the map Raytown is not a high crime community. But the areas immediately south and east of Raytown lead the metro in crime.
It speaks of a need for an active police force.
The Mayor and City Council’s action fly in the face of that reality.
The Walmart Factor
In 2012 the City spent $69,406.13 to pay down the debt of the Walmart Store TIF on 350 Highway. Even if the tax was passed after the TIF was created – state law requires sales tax collected within the TIF District be used to pay down the debt of the special tax district.
The financial impact of the Walmart TIF is huge.
In Raytown it means the half-cent Public Safety Tax revenue collected at Walmart is not used for additional police protection. It is used to pay the debt for the Walmart store, parking lot and related highway improvements.
It does not just affect the Public Safety Sales Tax. It also takes money from other so-called dedicated sales taxes like the half cent Transportation Tax and the sales tax collected by the Raytown Fire District.
That is why your residential streets are no longer paved with asphalt but with a low-grade slurry sealant that does little to repair uneven pavement. It is also why the City Administrator eliminated five positions from the Raytown Police Department.
The City promised the voters of Raytown improvements with both the Transportation and Public Safety Sales taxes.
These were promises made by the Mayor and City Council.
These are promises that have broken.
Janet Emerson for Ward 3 Alderman BY JANET EMERSON
My name is Janet Emerson, and I am a candidate for Raytown Ward 3 Alderman this coming spring. Now having the time to devote to this important position, I have the concern and drive it takes to bring positive change to this City. I want to help return Raytown to the prosperity it once knew. In order to do this, I will need your vote in April.
I have been a resident of Raytown for 36 years. I have seen Raytown thrive from its early years, but I have also witnessed a troubling loss of businesses. In 1997, I started a company with nothing, and it independently grew to be one of the top international astronomy/telescope stores in less than five years. In addition, I have been instrumental in founding two other companies which have achieved success. I will use my knowledge and experience in this field to help guide the commerce policy in Raytown so that businesses want to come to and enrich our city and remain and prosper in it.
I raised my daughter through the Raytown School District from kindergarten to when she graduated and left to go to college. She received a quality education via the teachers and administrators of this District. I want to ensure that quality education is available for every student here because our young people are the future.
If elected, I will keep the Citizens in my Ward up-to-date as to what is considered and planned so that they may voice their input about how this City is being run. Unfortunately, I do not feel that the Citizens are typically aware of the workings of the City. I want there to be as much transparency as possible and for them to be as involved as they want to be. After all, it is THEIR community.
I wish everyone in Raytown a marvelous 2013. Please, if you haven’t done so, register to vote before March 6th (voter registration forms are available at the library on Raytown Road), and if you’re in Ward 3, please vote for Janet Emerson on Tuesday, April 2nd.
Ward 5 Candidate Removed from Ballot
According to a memo released by City Clerk Teresa Henry, Ward 5 candidate Efrem Z. Williams, Jr. has been removed from the April 2nd ballot. His removal means that incumbent Ward 5 Alderman Steve Mock will be unopposed in his bid for re-election. The remaining four races are contested.
New to the Raytown Report!
This week we are proud to introduce to you a new contributor to the Raytown Report. Fit Bottomed Eats is the brainchild of Jenn Walters. This is Jenn’s third web blog that promote healthy lifestyles. Fit Bottomed Eats joins her other two publications, the highly successful Fit Bottomed Girls (#2 in the nation!) and Fit Bottomed Babies.
Fit Bottomed Eats focuses on cooking and how to do so in a way that is both healthy, innovative, and most importantly, yummy.
We hope you enjoy this new addition to the Raytown Report.
Incidentally, Jenn makes her home in the Kansas City area, as does this week’s featured writer, Karen Romeo.
FIT BOTTOMED EATS . . .
|The Tasteful Olive|
With eyes wide, I counted more than 60 different naturally flavored and infused balsamic vinegar and gourmet oils. Foodie that I am, I tasted my way through the basic balsamic vinegars first: lemon, strawberry, basil and the like; and then the more unusual concoctions of jalapeno, fig and espresso. YUM! READ MORE
Baseball Season may still be over two months away but the 39 degree temperatures of Saturday did not deter one young man from preparing for the season.
A level surface, a brick wall, a ball and a glove was all that was needed for Justin to warm up for next season – he plays for Avila College.
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