Sunday, March 24, 2013

 Oh No! Not Again!!!

Another winter storm blasted the area last night. This picture of my flower garden, which would normally be showing signs of life by now, was taken at 7:00 a.m. Weather forecasters are predicting another one to four inches before the storm passes. (photo by Greg Walters)


The Paul Livius Report
Raytown Board of Aldermen Meeting – March 19, 2013
The invocation was given by Pat Jackson of the Blue Ridge Presbyterian Church.
Jason Curry, CEO of sComm in Raytown presented the Raytown Police department with an UbiDuo communication devise.  He told the Board through his interpreter that he is hearing impaired.  He said when a hearing impaired person goes into a police station, they can’t communicate and have to wait for an interpreter.  This will cost the police between $75 and $125 per hour.  The UbiDuo is a new state of the art communication device that will allow the hearing impaired and the police communicate quickly and efficiently.
Mayor Bower said the Raytown YMCA has been a part of this community and many residents have contributed to it as it was built.  On March 1, the Mayor and City Administrator were told the YMCA would close on April 12.  They were asked to keep it quiet until the Y could inform their own employees on March 11.  Mayor Bower and Mahesh Sharma met with the staff at the YMCA.  They were told at that time it cost $1.2 million to run the YMCA annually.  There were $2.2 million in deferred maintenance costs and the facility was running at $150,000 annual loss.  The facility needs between 1,500 and 2,000 members to keep the YMCA functioning and it had only 1,000 members.  Mayor Bower told the Board he asked for an extension to the closing until November, 2013 so the city could see if they want to open a community center.  The staff at the YMCA said it would cost the city $40,000 a month to keep the facility open.
We have made every attempt to correctly identify the residents who came to the meeting to be heard.  We apologize if we incorrectly spelled anyone’s name.
  • Gary Kronan went before the Board to thank them for their desire to open a community center.  He works at the YMCA as an Occupational Therapist with disabled children.  The YMCA or a community center is important for these children.
  • Corey Prochaska said he is a senior at Raytown High and is on the swim team.  He needs the YMCA in order for his sport to continue in Raytown.
  • Tim Curry said he uses the YMCA for his health as part of the “Silver Sneakers” program.  He doesn’t have the means to go elsewhere and he needs the YMCA for his health.
  • Bill Hammond said he is organizing “”.  Closing the Raytown YMCA is a direct violation of the National mission statement.  This decision discriminates against the residents of Raytown because of their age, their income level, and their social status.
  • Anita Nevell said the YMCA is like a 2nd home to her.  She started going there to lose weight.  She could go to the facility at 6:00 am before work. 
  • Larry Shiner said both his sons were involved in YMCA activities, such as soccer and little league.  Due to injuries he got in Vietnam, he walks every day for his health.  He can’t walk his neighborhood in winter.
  • James Miller said he walks at the YMCA 6 days a week for his health.
  • Tony Taylor said he represents children with special needs.  The YMCA provides services and the facility for many Raytown residents with special needs.
  • Pam Harrison Clark told the Board her father is diabetic.  He was able to lose weight through the YMCA and is healthier because of it.
  • Linda Myers said it is important to keep the YMCA open because the swim team has nowhere else to go.
  • Betty Loveland said she had a meeting at the YMCA last Monday.  She has been with the YMCA since it opened.  She is a swimming instructor.  Many doctors recommend swimming for physical therapy and rehabilitation.
  • Phyllis Miller said she uses the YMCA for water therapy.  She is disabled and the therapy helps her to walk better.
  • Shirley Whitman said that 8 cities around Raytown have community centers: Grandview, Belton, Independence, 2 in Lee’s Summit, North Kansas City, Grain Valley, Liberty, and Sugar Creek.  Having a community center is an incentive to young couples to move to Raytown.  If the YMCA won’t work with us, they need to give us the building.
  • Steve Cushing said he broke his leg awhile back and has been using the swimming pool at the YMCA for rehabilitation.  He said that the city should look at a 1/8 cent tax to pay for the community center.
  • Cathy LaClare said she is a disabled United Methodist minister.  She moved to this area because of the YMCA.  She needs the facility for rehabilitation.  She did some research and found the Henley Aquatic center in Independence has 1 water aerobics class on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8:00am.  People with arthritis need more than 2 times a week.  If Raytown opens a community center, she is worried she would have to pay more than Raytown residents since she lives in Kansas City.
  • Tom Day said the closing of the YMCA was a short sighted response to internal pressure from the financial and philanthropic community.  The decision to close the 3 YMCAs does not address the social or political issues, but only the financial gains of opening a new facility.
The Board passed a resolution approving a revised purchasing policy.  This would allow staff to incur expenses for city elections.
The Board passed a resolution approving an expenditure of funds with Ed Roehr Safety Products for the purchase of Taser equipment and supplies.  Police Chief Lynch told the Board the Police Department started its TASER program approximately five years ago.  These devices have proven to be excellent tools for officers to use when confronting highly aggressive individuals.  They have allowed the officers to take these highly aggressive individuals into custody while reducing the probability of significant injury.  The first TASERSs that were purchased by the Police Department are now out of warranty.  The planned purchases will ensure that officers will have these tools available to them while on duty.  It will also ensure that the officers receive the required recertification training to use these devices.
The Board passed a resolution approving the purchase of Computer equipment and supplies from Dell Marketing, Chief Lynch told the Board the Police Department has developed an IT replacement and upgrade plan that requires the purchase of software to upgrade the mail server, as well as virtualization software to allow for the virtualization of three physical servers that will be running eight virtual servers and allow the decommissioning of seven existing older physical servers.  The current mail server software will not support the current generation of iPhones and tablets utilized by the Police Department.
The Board passed a resolution authorizing the expenditure of funds for audiovisual equipment and supplies from Digital Ally.  The current audio/video systems have been in use since late 2007.  The current DVM-500 system is no longer available from the manufacturer and certain parts have become obsolete.  Newer updated systems utilizing updated hardware and software are now available.  The Police Department maintains an operational audio/video recording unit in each marked police unit.  These units record the interaction of officers with the public.  These recordings are used for determining employee compliance with current policies, as well as to record video evidence regarding traffic offenses and other significant events.  Audio and video recordings have proved invaluable when reviewing employee and citizen conduct with regard to complaints and adherence to policies.
The Board passed a resolution authorizing the purchase and installation of a high density mobile storage system from Southwest Solutions Group.  Chief Lynch said the Property Room is currently home to over 15,000 items.  The most common items are guns, drugs, media, documents, and an increased amount of homicide evidence.  Unfortunately, these are the items that stay the longest in a Property Room.  The recommendation is to update the Property Room with a high density storage system.  With the high density storage system we would double the storage space and possibly triple it.  High density storage would increase the overall efficiency of storage in the Property Room.  This customization will allow us to better organize the Property Room in a way the “International Association of Property and Evidence” considers as best practices.

A majority of metropolitan agencies have opted for utilizing high density storage systems in lieu of constructing additional storage space.

The Board passed an ordinance repealing Chapter 3, “alcoholic beverage control code” and re-enacting and amending chapter 3, “alcoholic beverage control code”.  The Board of Aldermen directed City Staff to draft an Ordinance for their consideration which would amend and repeal certain sections of Chapter 3, Alcoholic Beverage Control Code allowing the Chapter 3 of the City of Raytown Code of Ordinance to mirror the Missouri Revised State Statute Missouri, Chapter 311, Liquor Control Code in its entirety with any amendments or as applicable.  Certain provisions in Chapter 3 regarding administrative tasks have been maintained or re-enacted.  In addition certain amendments pertain to procedures no longer applicable or followed.

Everything on the Table BY GREG WALTERS
What makes a community special? What gives it character and an identity that people come to recognize?
More than anything else, it is the institutions that people join and come to together for a shared purposed.
In the past few years Raytown has been hit hard with radical changes in the makeup of those special organizations that are part of its identity.
Our Lady of Lourdes Grade School (in continuous operation since the 1950’s), the Raytown Girls Softball League, and now the YMCA are becoming a memory.
Which is sad, because organizations, be they a church, school or community based groups, are the threads that bind a community together. It is also what others view as part of Raytown.
If there is one thing that is true in this life it is that change is inevitable. It is also  true that we can be masters of our fate.
For instance, Our Lady of Lourdes may be closed as a Catholic Grade School. But it is slowly making the conversion to a major place for those who home school their children to gather for a common purpose.
The closing of the YMCA can also be viewed as an opportunity.
City leaders should come together and work to find a way to keep the facility. Can the City of Raytown and the Raytown School District partner to keep the facility open? Can they partner with the YMCA to bring its membership numbers up to a sustainable level?
Are there other organizations in the public or private sector who may be interested in re-forming the scope of services at the facility to make it more affordable to operate on a limited basis?
The City of Raytown and the Raytown School District invested over a hundred thousand dollars of Raytowners tax money when the YMCA was built. The Raytown School District gave money for the creation of additional swim lanes and locker facilities. The City of Raytown helped finance a community room and paid for extensive water run-off control made necessary by the large parking area and building footprint.
The YMCA has a responsibility to the Raytown community to cooperate with efforts by the City and School District to find a solution to the void left by the closing of the facility.
The burden of making certain this comes to pass rests on the shoulders of our civic leaders.
All these issues should be brought to the table, discussed, and explored.
All of Raytown will be watching. We will keep you informed.

Can’t Get Enough Nuts! BY JENN

You didn’t think we could go all week without some mention of nuts, did you? I mean, come on. It is Fit Bottomed Dude’s Week! So, of course, we have to share this roasted nut recipe from Fit Bottomed Eats. Have to…
Can’t Get Enough of these Roasted Nuts
We’ve always known that roasted nuts were good. But after we ran this roasted almonds recipe, it was just one of those “Um, why don’t I make those more often?” kind of deals. And then, a week or so later, my husband and I were at one of our favorite places in Kansas City, Bier Station. READ MORE

To post a comment on this blog click on the word comments on the line directly below this sentence.


Anonymous said...

Is the Raytown city government one of the worst
in the area? Yes! Do they look out for exsisting
businesses? No! Do they think about the decisions they
make and how it will effect the citizens and small
businesses in town? No! Are our leaders truthful and
up front with the people? No! Does Raytown cater to
big business? Yes! Has this administration cost
the taxpayers of Raytown MILLIONS? YES!
Will you vote them back in to do more harm?????
YES!!!!!!!! How sad.

Anonymous said...

Lee's Summit has give numerous TIFF's and other tax incentives to businesses who came to their city. You just can't have it both ways folks, sometimes to attract people who are willing to invest in a business in our city it may be necessary to offer certain incentives. Granted, sometimes bad deals have been made with businesses, but many times that is just not the case. To run away those businesses who are willing to come here and not really ask for any incentives is pure nonsense, even if you don't particularly like the company!

Anonymous said...

4:10 PM, Maybe you don't realize it, but one must be rich to live in Raytown. Property taxes along with franchise taxes are so high that an average peson cannot afford to live in Raytown! Stores selling merchandise at low prices are needed to help make living more affordable. That and miserable climate are the reasons that I sold my house for less than 50% of its cost and moved to a better climate. There is a good possibility that "those people" will eventually occupy my former house. City Hall needs to look into Making Raytown Affordable through lower taxes. High taxes are attracting business such as Walmart and others that many believe to have low prices. Raytown is attracting "those people" into residential areas when people move out and Section 8and HUD homes take over.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

We have some good people who serve in our city government that do a very good job and are there for the right reasons. To try to get rid of them just for the sake of change would be a really silly thing to do. To throw out the good apples with the bad ones is just plain dumb!

Anonymous said...

Lee's Summit has given numerous TIFF's and other tax incentives to businesses who came to their city. You just can't have it both ways folks, sometimes to attract people who are willing to invest in a business in our city it may be necessary to offer certain incentives. Granted, sometimes bad deals have been made with businesses, but many times that is just not the case. To run away those businesses who are willing to come here and not really ask for any incentives is pure nonsense, even if you don't particularly like the company!

Anonymous said...

There are some bad apples too.

One has removed himself from consideration this year.

If you are writing about Walmart, remember this. There was significant opposition to a Walmart going into Lee's Summit. I hear that the Walmart deal in Waldo has fallen apart and will not happen.

It is a mistake to ignore the pleas and concerns of the people in Raytown. Acting like our fathers at city hall are wise an sage in these matters is not a solution.

The track record is there for people to see.

The $30,000 pay increase for the City Administrator when ALL other employees went without a any pay increase.

The economic black hole on 350 Highway that is called Walmart.

The change from repairing our streets like every other city in the metro does to a substandard crack seal solution.

These are just the tip of the iceberg as to what is wrong.

This election might be a solution.

Anonymous said...

Get rid of our so called Mayor and his other "puppets" and Raytown might have a chance!

Anonymous said...

If we don't vote out all of these incumbent aldermen we might as well pack up and move to some of these other surrounding cities. Look at how backward and wasteful Raytown is as compared to our neighbors. Even Sugar Creek and Grandview don't have the negative image that we do. To try to compete with Independence, Blue Springs and Lee's Summit is impossible. Oh, by the way these are all Charter Form of Government cities. Just wondering it maybe that is contributing to their success and our 4th class status is holding Raytown back. Let's try something new and vote ALL of these worthless aldermen out. I don't believe it can get any worse.

Pat Casady said...

I am not trying to put down any of or
elected officials but, there are no requirements
other that to have lived here for a certain amount
of time to run for any office. No degree in business
or any other requirement that could tell the
voters how well an elected person should help the city.
Instead we have everyday people trying to deal with
crafty lawyers and developers selling a bill of goods
that sound good but in the end are only good for the
developer and the store not the city.
We have seen this on 50hwy. not once but several times.
Bad deals that have cost the taxpayers millions.
I'm sure back at the Wal-Mart headquarters in Arkansas
they are still laughing and giving high fives on how they
screwed the people of Raytown.
Downtown Raytown needs an anchor business. However or leaders
have to careful how this building goes in. If it goes in
and separates the businesses on 63st. with a tall concrete wall
then the crime rate in the area will increase. The buildings
that are blocked out of view will become targets for vandals.
Here's something many of you may not know. The Neighborhood
Mart wants to have a gas station too. My guess is they want
to put it where the police union building is now at the corner
of 63rd and Blue Ridge.
Not only does the plans I was all but stop any deliveries to
the rear of businesses along 63rd. st. but will cause a huge parking
problem for every business in the area. Especially, when
the new parking plan for the downtown area goes in effect.
Back-in parking on
No tall concrete wall and downtown will be safer, more parking
and less crime.

Anonymous said...

I encourage everyone to continue to write letters to the YMCA and the Kansas City Star editorial page regarding our frustration with the swift closing of our Y. It is so frustrating that our children, youth, adults, families, retirees and the disabled have been so blatantly disregarded when it is those very groups that kept the facility up and running for so many years. I, too, am shocked by the Young Men’s Christian Association and their changed view of purpose compared to their founder’s beliefs. I cannot imagine the Raytown Y could not continue to function without millions of dollars worth of repairs. If $40 million is the number of dollars to be raised for the downtown unit (of which I doubt anyone from Raytown, Independence or KCK will ever visit), imagine how long those funds would last in maintaining the THREE existing facilities and how many more families those dollars would serve. Our Raytown YMCA always appears clean and in top shape. I agree with another writer that if the Y must close the doors, they should deed the entire building over to the City of Raytown and we should pass a sales tax to run the new Raytown Community Center. It should not be named after any “city father” but just called the Raytown Community Center. The reasons it is needed are too numerous to mention here. Let’s act now.

Anonymous said...

To anonymous March 28, 2013 at 6:21 AM: Most of your 'facts' are incorrect or only half correct, some are outright lies. It's easy for you to take underhanded, half truth, shots at city leaders from your safe anonymous cover, this reveals a lot about what kind of person you are. Why don't you say who you are and confront these people in person. I'm sure you won't because then the truth might come out about what your real agenda is, and why you have an 'ax to grind'. It might reveal why you are bitter and hate Raytown, and would probably reveal that you don't even live here now!

Anonymous said...

Could anyone tell me WHY the so called and greet Tuesday night was not televised? It seems to me that the people who could not make it to city hall for whatever reason would like to have seem it on TV. There should have not even been a question about whether or not to put that on TV. This election will affect each and everyone of us and we should have had the right to see it even if we could not get to city hall. Shame on you mayor Bower again and again.

Anonymous said...

Hey there March 28, 2013 at 9:46 AM, it looks like you forgot to sign your name too.

Double check your facts:

1. The city council did vote to give Mahesh Sharma a $30,000 raise. That same year city employees had their wages frozen.

2. The Waldo Walmart is not a done deal. They have agreed to not have a 24 hour operation. They have agreed not to cross the trolley trail.

3. The walmart on 350 highway is a black hole that takes every penny in sales tax spent there and puts it towards reduction of the debt to create Raytowns highest crime area.

4. This is he city council's legacy.

You may think its great. I think it stinks.

Anonymous said...

Oh Really!!!

Christine White and John Hamilton were both on the Board when they voted the great give-away to Walmart.

Shane ParDue is not running for re-election.

That leaves only Bill Van Buskirk who was not on the Board when the Walmart vote took place.

So I guess you mean that if they were on the Board when Walmart was voted through then they should be voted out of office.

Oh, by the way. ALL of those that are running voted to give City Administrator Mahesh Sharma a $30,000 raise last summer.

ALL of them are ignoring the pleas of Raytowners who do not want another Walmart Giveaway in Downtown Raytown.

Better get your fact straight before you start to run your mouth!