Sunday, July 13, 2014


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The Paul Livius Report 
Sorry to say folks, but there is not a report of the Raytown City Council meeting held last week to share with you.  The city has not re-broadcast the meeting.

My usual routine is to record the meeting when it airs on Tuesday night. Due to a power outage in my home I was unable to do so.

“No problem,” I thought, I'll just record the meeting when the city re-broadcasts the meeting. So, the following evening, I tuned into Raytown’s Government channel to record the rebroadcast. Imagine my surprise when I saw that the previous night’s meeting was not re-broadcast. In its place was a video recording of the July 1st meeting.  "Ok, they broadcast again on Thursday," I thought.  Well, guess what?  Thursday was also a re-broadcast of the July 1 meeting.

“No worries,”  . . .  Certainly the City of Raytown, in keeping up its efforts to create an image of a modern, professional community of the 21st Century, will have its meeting re-broadcast on You Tube. I remember watching meetings of the Board when Aldermen dutifully congratulated each other and anyone who was watching how great it was that people could watch Board meetings on their home computers.  I went to the You Tube link on the City's web page.  There was no re-broadcast of the July 15th meeting . The link took me to the May 6th meeting! 

Brenda Gustafson, the city’s Public Information Officer, says it is not her fault the meetings don’t get rebroadcast on a timely schedule.  She blames the IT Department for not converting the tape in a timely manner.  I wonder what her excuse is this time?

Instead of a solution, it appears we are going to witness to a contest of finger-pointing at City Hall. Unfortunate, but apparently accurate.

I did take a peek at last week’s agenda.  There were only two items on the agenda, so no doubt the meeting had a short business session.

But there was a report to be given by Mr. John Benson, Director of Development and Public Affairs, about progress in Raytown.  I was really looking forward to the report.  I like hearing how well our City is progressing, but that report will have to wait until another time.

The city’s Public Information Office either re-played the wrong meeting by accident – I really hope  is the case – because if it is not, it means it was done purposely. If that is true then those who run our city should take a hard look into why the meetings are not being rebroadcast on Channel 7 or You Tube.

This is not a nice way to be when your only job is to keep the public informed as to what is going on at Raytown City Hall. 

Boondoggle (noun)
An activity or project that is unnecessary and waste of time or money, especially one undertaken for personal or political gain.A government project of little practical value.

The propaganda machine at Raytown City Hall was working overtime in its pursuit to  protect the Mayor’s plans to spend $81,750.00 to make upgrades to the City Council Chambers at Raytown City Hall.

Most notable was an oft-repeated phrase (which was dutifully reported in the Raytown Times) stating that there had not been any upgrades to the Chambers in the past 35 years.

If this were Jeopardy Alex Trebeck would tell them they had the wrong answer.

The last upgrades were completed about 16 years ago, in the mid nineteen-nineties. At that time the Board of Aldermen voted to create an entryway on the East side of the building that was ADA compliant as an entrance to City Hall. Another upgrade was ordered by former Mayor Jack Nesbitt. He had the wood paneling covered with blue colored cloth panels behind the dais to improve broadcasting abilities of Council Meetings. It is believed attractive wood paneling is still in place behind the cloth panels.

At the time, an access ramp to the raised Council dais was planned but removed from the project because the dais already has two access points that are ADA compliant.

In other words, the story line cranked out by Raytown City Hall is just plain bogus. It is fixing a problem that does not exist in the ADA compliance question and it is creating so-called facts that simply are not true.

Be that as it may, it was good to see that at last four of the City Councilmen broke with the Mayor on a Board that is often criticized for marching in lockstep.

Ward 1 Alderman Josh Greene told the Board he would rather see the money used to fix the streets in residential neighborhoods that are falling apart. The Mayor’s rejoinder, “this is the people’s house and it is our job to keep it up”, makes little sense when residential neighborhood streets go year after year without repair.

There are many in Raytown that wish the Mayor would care as much for their neighborhoods as he does City Hall. Street repair has been neglected for too long. An ill-conceived program using a slurry seal type of overlay has been a failure. Old scars of broken pavement are not fixed but literally encased in the slurry seal once it hardens, leaving ugly cracks and uneven surfaces for motorists and bicyclists to maneuver through in local neighborhoods.

Critics of the plan were successful in blocking the move by the Administration to have the wood ceiling above the dais torn out. Public Works Director Andy Noll told the Board that the designer the city had hired said that wood paneling was “dated and out of style”.

Ward 3 Alderman Janet Emerson told the Board that all the wood needed was to be cleaned and oiled. She also pointed out that high dollar business offices and well accommodated homes are frequently paneled on ceilings and walls in wood. The majority of the Board agreed with Emerson and removed the designer’s recommendation from the plans.
HOW THEY VOTED: $81,750.00 to remodel the Council Chambers
VOTING YES: Aziere, Melson, Ertz, Jason Greene, Creamer, Mock 
VOTING NO: Josh Greene, Emerson, VanBuskirk, Lightfoot

Paul’s Rant!
Six of the ten members on the Raytown City Council apparently believe it is more important to remodel the meeting room they use twice a month than to upgrade the condition of residential streets. It is a sad statement of the priorities of those six errant Board members who voted to waste $81,750.00 on a remodeling project that does not need to be done.

Do they really believe the public wants remodeling of the Council Chambers over better residential streets or adequate street lighting?

The public be damned approach of government exhibited by Aziere, Melson, Ertz, Jason Greene, Creamer, Mock is sad statement of what those elected officials believe the public expects from City Hall.

What is odd is that the Raytown City Council Chambers is one thing that was done right when City Hall was built so many years ago. It has withstood the test of time in good fashion and served the public well. A large mural in the back of the Chamber is an aesthetic balance to the raised dais at the front of the room. Sixteen years ago the Chambers was improved when handicapped access was created and the front décor made more “camera friendly” for the televising of public meetings.

It is a well know landmark in Eastern Jackson Count that is frequently used for area public events other than Council meetings. As Council Chambers go, Raytown’s is one of the most attractive.

It was chosen by former Vice President Al Gore to kick off his Midwest campaign for President. It has been used as shelter during a bitter ice storm to house people whose homes were without power. It is home to public meetings, art shows and holiday celebrations. The municipal court is held there and it is currently being used the Raytown Charter Commission for its deliberations.

This action, led by the Mayor and endorsed by six of the ten Aldermen, does raise an  interesting question. Can it be assumed that the large sum spent on remodeling is a commitment to keep City Hall at its current location?

The City owns three acres of property behind City Hall if expansion is ever needed at the facility. The Mayor has let it be known that he would like to see City Hall moved to the Green Space in Downtown Raytown.

Voters should remember this unnecessary expenditure when the Mayor and his six Aldermen* come up for election next Spring.

*Mayor Bower and five of the Aldermen who voted “yes” on the $78,500.00 expenditure are up for election next April.

Area Internet 
Service Fees Dropping

It has been a few few years since Brian Morris stood up at a City Council meeting and asked about Google Fiber.

Last week Mr. Morris saw Google Fiber installed in his home.

Installations in Raytown were started on Saturday or at least that was the first day they were available in his part of Raytown. Mr. Morris noted that the competitive nature of wireless service has already forced Comcast to lower prices and offer the same quality equipment it offered in other communities but not in this area. Thus even people who don't switch to Google Fiber will see a financial benefit.

We have also heard from U-Verse subscribers of competitive upgrades and pricing schedules from other providers who compete with Google.

It just goes to show that nothing works better for consumer’s interest than the market place.

According to Morris, Comcast will no lower people’s rates without them calling so people should call Comcast and inquire about their cable and internet rate. He wrote that he was offered the lower rate when he called to cancel.

Farmer’s Market Numbers Growing
The success story known as the Raytown Farmer’s Market is growing in participants according to Ward 3 Alderman Janet Emerson. Counts of over 100 visitors per day have encouraged organizers that they are on the right track with meeting local demand for a Farmer’s Market.

“The most telling evidence is the growing numbers of shoppers," said Emerson. “we have more vendors and a larger variety of product to choose from.”
In a press release to the local media, Market Manager Elisa Bedsworth wrote . . . 

“Every Thursday and Saturday, we'll have a wide variety of produce, farm product, handmade artisan crafts, canned goods, etc, to offer the freshest and finest in the Kansas City area! At our market, you buy directly from the producer - the person who grew it or made it and can tell you how to best cook, use and enjoy it. Plus, your dollars contribute directly to the local economy and assure the future of a healthy regional food system.”

But we're more than a farmers' market, we've provided a community gathering place each Thursday from 2:00 to 7:00 and Saturday from 8:00 to 1:00 with live music, great food, family activities and lots of learning and educational opportunities! Each Thursday and Saturday, savvy shoppers from across Raytown and the KC Metro area come to shop, dine, relax and visit with family and friends. Won't you join us on Raytown Road just west of the Green Space.

Local. Hand-made. High quality.
  • Fresh Produce: vegetables, herbs, berries, tree fruit
  • Baked Goods: artisan breads, pies, cakes, cookies, pastries
  • Condiments and Preserves: jams, jellies, relishes, hot sauces, salsa
  • Sweeteners and Sweets: honey
  • Flowers and Plants: cut and potted flowers, potted herbs, bedding plants
  • Household Items: soaps
  • Artisan Wares: pottery, wool and knitted goods, paper, photography (available during craft fair days)
·         Interested vendors can learn more by contacting Ms. Bedsworth at 816-399-9846 or by email at

Vegan Almond 
Spice Cookies
Has Picnic Week been fun or what? ! And today, it’s getting even sweeter because we have a yummy vegan cookie recipe from Dr. Alejandro Junger!
Dr. Junger just launched his newest book Clean Eats, which  includes 200 plus recipes from Dr. Junger’s kitchen, as well as the cookbooks of his buds (like, er, not to name-drop but Gwyneth Paltrow, Dr. Mark Hyman, Donna Karan, Zoe Saldana, Orlando Bloom and more). He let us borrow this particularly yummy vegan cookie recipe from his book, and let’s just say that they’re delicious whether they’re packed in a picnic basket or straight out of the cookie jar or — who are we kidding? — licked straight from the mixing bowl! READ MORE

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Anonymous said...

Nearly 82 thousand dollars for a redo of the chambers when my street needs help. Sorry that Jason Greene was one of the voters. The others I expected.

Anonymous said...

I can see the need for rennovations at city hall becaus ethings look very bad there, on the other side it was quite a bit of coin. I think it was a tough decision to make.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure who is writing the comments about the Farmers Market but it is a JOKE!!! I have driven by 3 or 4 times and each time it looks sadder than the time before. They are looking through rose colored glasses, that's all I have to say.

Anonymous said...

To Look at the Receipt. The following stores in Raytown have additional hidden taxes every time you shop at them. Walmart leads the pack. Its rate is the highest in the area hovering around 9%. It is followed by the others who have additional taxes like the CID (community improvement district) or TIF (tax increment financing) that you pay extra for on every dollar spent in those stores.

Here is the list. If you know of more please add to to it.

HyVee, Sutherlands, Aldi's, Westlake Hardware, IHOP, Cosentino's Priced Chopper at Blue Ridge and 63rd Street (technically not in Raytown but a lot of Raytowners shop there).

I know there are other stores that get tax breaks like Bennetti's Coffee, the old (and now empty) Coldwell Banker office building in Downtown Raytown.

Some places had tax breaks that may have expired. Like the old Raytown Plaza the shopping center at 63rd and Woodson Road.

Corporate welfare is alive and well in Raytown.

Each one of those tax breaks cost the people of Raytown in fewer tax revenue dollars which means reduced services.

Anonymous said...

If you want to see Raytown go away just go and shop somewhere else. When that happens don't bitch. If you don't want high taxes the why did you vote Obama into office? Just want to know

Pat Casady said...

When is it a surprise the good folks high up on
Mount City Hall would go against the people of
Raytown? Try and remember the “Street Overly Tax”
the taxpayers were told, would put an overlay of
asphalt on their streets and was passed by the taxpaying
voters. Never happened! Oh, a couple of streets got
some asphalt and a few more got chip and sealed.
Let’s look at this from the board members view that
passed the eighty thousand dollar renovation. They
have done nothing good for the people of Raytown
but, they can look back after they are hopefully voted
out of office, and say “I did that.”

Gloria said...

To 7:18
In response to
Look at the reciept
The taxes you pay on purchased items is recorded on the reciept and added to the final cost. These are not hidden and anyone can see them on the reciept.
On the previous blog it was mentioned of various districts in various cities where taxes differ due to CID and TPP.
These are added to purchase price of items .
If one wants to find the different districts they can look at the web sites given on the previous blog of July 5Th.
TIF is on the property . It is a deferment of taxes the business pays. Personal Property Tax . This is not a tax added to the shoppers purchase price.
TIF 's are on the property .
Again; if you look at various cities web sites you can see what districts have the CID , TPP taxes added to purchase price of the consumer. It will also give you a break down of county , city, parks, school district, etc taxes that are figured in to determine the final sales tax on purchases by consumers. Or just look at the reciept.
Add your items add the quoted taxes .
TIF is not on the consumers bill on purchases.
It is a tax deferment break to the property paid to the city.
Hope this helps with the confusion.
If you go back to the previous blog thread you will see it was speaking of sales tax consumers pay on purchased items.

Anonymous said...

I don't ever see Raytown being a nice, clean community anymore. The out of town manager and department heads do not and never will care about our well being. It's all about them, their families and communities. Not Raytown

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:46
You sound like a member of the "Party of No" who is sucking on sour grapes. Face facts. You lost. Get over it and get a life.

Anonymous said...

TIF is not on the tax we pay. What you neglect to say is that the money does not go to the city. In other words, your services are cut because the city does not have the money because it all went to pay the debt of say, for instance, Walmart.

Property taxes that are reduced is the same sad story. The city does not get the money. Your services are cut. The business entity is the only winner because they pay less in taxes.

The "tax abatements" are not in the best interest of the home owner in Raytown either. When they pay less it means you pay more.

The rest is all smoke and mirrors put out by elected officials who should know better. Either they do not care or they are too stupid to comprehend what they are doing when they create these corporate giveaways.

Anonymous said...

It's time to ask our City Manager and department heads if Raytown is an acceptable place to live. If they say yes then residency should be a term of their employment. If they say no, I want to know why and what they are doing to correct it. I am tired of these people simply drawing a salary and leaving our community when the sun sets.

Anonymous said...

When the City approved the 76 million dollars in graft to Wal-mart it was supposed to include the development of three phases on highway 350. Include several restaurants two strip shopping centers, and three large retail stores. To date we have Wal-mart and iHop and 25 years of debt. Where are the funds that were supposed to be used to develop these sites, where are the audits? If the funds were not spent then do we pay off the debt sooner?

Mary Pat said...

Tax abatements on homes in cities are the same problem.
Someone buys a home in a blighted area dirt cheap and the property tax is abated.
They spend thousands of dollars to repair it. All in an effort to make the blighted area thrive again.
Many of us pay thousands of dollars at market price for our homes; then spend thousands of dollars in maintence and repair and pay our property tax yearly as well as pay for those home owners who have tax abatements
All in an effort to make our area strive and to hopefully recoup our investment and the investment we had to pay for the tax abatement folks riding on our backs.
People and business need to pay their own way.

Anonymous said...

If or one am glad that people are trying to create a city market in Downtown Raytown. The crowds are larger now than they used to be and I would bet they continue to grow as more crops become available for sale. Anypone who has a vegetable garden will tell you that this year has not been the kindest (so far) to vegetables. I look forward to going up on Saturdays. The atmosphere is fun and and relaxed. Next time, park your car and smell the roses. I think you will like it.

Anonymous said...

Yes all we got on 350 was Walmart,IHOP , Jimmy Johns, Chipotle , Aldis and a Game stop

Anonymous said...

Please stop the victory dance. Every one of those retailers has an additional sales tax on every dollar spent there. Why should you have to pay an extra tax to use a a service?

Not every store, restaurant, or service in Raytown has the extra tax on their goods.

Sound unfair? Yes.

Why? Because it is unfair. It is even worse when our own leaders are the ones who sold us out.

Terrence said...

To 6:54 am
Yes not every store on 350 has the extra sales tax.
On the July 5th thread it gave links as to where to find who has the CID and Transportation added tax in Raytown, Lees Summit, KC and Independence Mo.

Anonymous said...

Those tax abatements on homes can be 5 years and some are 10 years.
The new owners are only taxed on land. While the rest of us pick up their share of taxes.
What gets me is they are usually the ones who complain about taxes raising or go out of ther way to block any .
They are only paying the taxes on their personal property if they haven't found a way to get around that too.
They are riding on the backs of the rest of us!!
Sound unfair??
It is!!
I agree with the blogger who said business and individual people
Need to pay their own way!
Tired of them both always wanting a hand out at the expense of others.

Pat Casady said...

Anonymous 1:21,
I think you are wrong on stating, “TIF is not on the
tax we pay.” It is not on the sales tax we pay but,
in the long run, giving a T.I.F on property taxes
will raise your property taxes. The city has to make up
for what they have given away. I have heard that all
who live around the WalMart, property taxes have gone
It’s a lose, lose deal for the taxpayers and a huge win
for the big companies our leaders are in bed with.
The last line in your article was the most truthful line
I have read in a long time.
Elected officials are supposed to represent the people.
Not make costly deals with big companies.
There should be a sign on the wall in City Hall that every
elected official should have to read out loud every time
they walk into the meeting room. It should be printed in
bold letters, “THE PEOPLE COME FIRST!”

Anonymous said...

I went back to the July 5th blog and looked at the sights to several of the area cities. That was a great idea when it comes to exactly where the higher sales taxes are.
Without looking into these sights a lot of the talk is here say.

Terrence said...

To Pat
Jackson county asseses the properties of residents at a market value then a value is added and a taxing code for the area and a property classification. State, county, city, school district, library, etc are added from the percentage.
Tax code is for the homes near Walmart on 350 are the same as mine and I live way southwest on Raytowns border.
You can go to Jac Cty gov and do a property tax search.
The ones Randomly looked up are the same as other areas in Raytown. And it did appear that Jackson County had appraised the properties fairly

Anonymous said...

Here is an eye-opener for you. The amount of dollars collected by the property tax has remained stable over the years. Adjustments were made during the recession increasing the percentage you pay on your property tax. But they were never returned to the previous rate at the end of the recession.

Your local governmental units, paricularly the schools and districts receive the windfall from that increase.

Here is the real run. When a piece of property, like, let's say, HyVee has its property tax lowered, that does not mean the amount of dollars collected is lowered.

Other property values within the taxing like Raytown are increased to make up the shortfall. The increase is small, it is subtle, but it is there.

Logic dictates that if you have a (tax) pie and you remove a smaller piece of the pie, then everyone else's portion of the pie becomes larger.

In other words, they pay less. You pay more.

Some will try to tell you this is just business and that's how it is done now-a-days.

It is unfair. It hurts those who can afford it the least and it will continue until you replace those who support such economic hypocrisy, as does our Mayor and most of our City Council.

Anonymous said...

It is sad that well over 30 years the cities in the K.C. Metro area have been a part of the TIF experiance.
It has been Statewide in various forms.
City, County, and State are all to blame.
If you look back into the history of this TIF economic you would be surprised at the amount given statewide.

Pat Casady said...

I sometimes read on this blog how some people
don’t care much for the Raytown Police Department.
That’s too bad, because if you read the Raytown Times
you can understand why I don’t think our Raytown
police men and women are paid enough.
It’s easy to criticize our police department for buying
“SUV’s or new equipment. It’s easy to complain when
they are seen sitting in their cars not on patrolling the
These great men and women that serve us all so well
have to deal with the underbelly of Raytown’s lowlifes,
thieves, drunks, crazies and thugs. But, the worst of all
of the filth they have to deal with are child sex abusers and
child beaters. A six month old baby was beaten by a
sick adult. This sick SOB hit her so hard it fractured her
Most of us would do a couple of things if we were in
these police’s shoes. I favor shooting them on site.
However, that would be after the second thing I would do,
throw-up from disgust.
So the next time you see one of our policemen and
women sitting in their rolling office, please think before you
complain about them. They deserve our thanks not criticism.
Most of us couldn’t do their job….for any amount of money!

Raytown Newbie said...

Returning home this AM from E 40 Hwy in Independence near the 291 intersection when I see a Raytown city PU w two occupants get off on 40 from 291 north bound and go west into the BassPro. One middle aged man and a younger woman got out and went inside, were not long, then got back in the city truck (plate number CD 406) and left. Maybe on city business but I wonder what's available at the Independence Basspro that could not be found here in Raytown.

Anonymous said...

Anon July 16, 2014 at 7:15 AM, you are partially correct. The City and the School District did increase their levy without a vote. The library, county, and the fire district did not. Their rates have not changed in the past 5 years.

Anonymous said...

process in this nation that prevents police from shooting presumed guilty suspects. You probably would be upset if the police shot you in a rush to judgement and I doubt "most of us" would support totalitarian rule.

Also the Raytown PD is beyond professional. They're what the city needs.

Anonymous said...

To Raytown Newbie
Were you in Bass Pro? Were you just sitting in the parking lot?
Or did you follow the PU?
You said you were going home this am on E 40 near 291 so I'm assuming you were heading back to Raytown; by chance did you see where they went after Pro Bass??

Pat Casady said...

Please don’t misunderstand me. I said I would shoot
them in site. This is what makes our Police Department
and others so great, they don’t shoot these sickies on
site. At this point in my life I really don’t think I could show
so much restraint. I have found, in my later years, it
is becoming harder to tolerate bad people and even
harder……..stupid people.

Anonymous said...

Criminals pass many city boundaries into other areas

Anonymous said...

PD all over are strapped with tools (weapons) to do their job.
IF they shoot, they are held to a much higher level of judgement than the regular joe on the street who feel that they are in the right to defend or stop a crime. I would never want to be a PD officer where every decision is second guessed. My choices are simple - retreat or fight. PD has but one chose, to defend the public.

Lillian said...

Anon 9:39
You're right that the police are held to a higher standard than the regular citizen. But, then again, the police are better trained than the regular citizen. They are trained, re-trained, and trained again. They spend countless hours in "Shoot-Don't Shoot" scenarios. Their weapons are for defense only. That's why they use other tools, such as their tazers before their pistols. Their training enables them to protect and defend.

Anonymous said...

To 9:39
You are so right !
Police are held to a higher standard and while trained to make executive decisions of life or death; once made those decisions are analized by their superiors and the general public.
They put themselfs in harms way daily; never knowing from one day to the next the uncertainty of their life or death

Anonymous said...

And they should be paid accordingly. Not the peanuts they are paid. The roles should be reversed in regard to professions athletes. Pay athletes peanuts and give soldiers, public servants and teachers millions a year.

Anonymous said...

Anon - 12:47

You got that right!!!

Anonymous said...

Did you see the wonderful "patch" job at 59th and Raytown Trafficway were the water main broke? I think a 2 year old could have done a better job with "play dough" than the City of Raytown/Raytown Water Company did. The City and the Raytown Water Co. are in bed together and their service sucks!

Anonymous said...

I hate to say this about our so called "illustrious" congressman from the 5th district, but if you are a white, middle class, conservative republican, he wants to have nothing to do with you, and from what I have heard will not even have the decency to reply to any correspondence. Not only does he "own" half of Raytown, it is over half of the district, who will blindly vote for him. However, just because he has that "D" next to his name, he will be continuously re-elected. He does not care about me, or my opinions, and expressing them to him is no better then spitting into the wind. Although I respect him as a (former) pastor, I feel like that his first and for most loyalty is to the Party, and he a pastor of the First Church of Obama. Simply put all he cares about -- as any politician -- is getting elected, and once they are staying in that office. He cares only for his key supporters, and the rest of us we are nothing but pond scum on the heel of his boot. I saw Jacob Turk the other day, tooling around in an old blue pick-up truck, just a common average guy. You would never see Cleaver doing that, as he thinks he is above us, and we are beneath him, and most of us he could not care less.

Anonymous said...

The city had nothing to do with the patch job. That was all the wonderful Raytown Water Company. And I'm sure the city will make them redo it until it's right.

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