Saturday, September 6, 2014

RAYTOWN'S LEADING NEWS SOURCE

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Breaking News

Firefighters were called to the Raytown Senior High School just before 2 p.m.
Smoke was reported inside the building.
Students have been evacuated as a precaution.






BY GREG WALTERS
Diversity of Charter 
Commission Pays Off

When the Raytown Charter Commission was elected last April there were many naysayers who predicted the process would fail. Ward One Alderman Joe Creamer gave dire predictions as he wove conspiracy theories as to the “real” plans behind the Charter. At one meeting shortly after the election he accused Ward 2 Alderman Jason Greene of conspiring with others to undermine the city’s ability to govern.

Randy Battagler, owner/editor of the Raytown Times, opined that the voters would not endorse creating a Charter Commission. Once the Commission was approved by the voters, he said the Commission was made up of so many parts that it was doomed to failure.

Apparently he had a change of heart. Two weeks ago he wrote “the Charter Commission seems to be doing a good job”. He went continued they (the Commissioners) are “staying on track”.

As one of the thirteen members on the Charter Commission I was happy to see Mr. Battagler coming around.

Then, in last week’s Raytown Post, Battagler re-joined the Creamer’s mantra of conspiracy theories. 

Next thing you know he is writing editorials claiming (once again) that the charter effort is doomed. He points to a split among Charter members on a vote over a residency requirement for the City Administrator.

Let’s get this straight. Ten of the members on the Commission, voted to require the City Administrator to live within the city limits. Only two Commissioners voted against it. One member was absent

That’s right, 77% voted “yes”. Only 2 voted against it. I don’t know how Randy counts votes, but in the real world a 77% vote in the affirmative is not a split vote. It is a landslide. 

You try to figure it out. I am past the point of worrying about people whose only concern is protecting the status quo.

Frankly speaking, I am very pleased with the progress of the Charter Commission. To be sure, it is a very diverse group of people. The Commission has stalwart Republicans and Democrats (four of who have seats on their respective parties Central Committee), a number of independent voters, at least one or two members who match the definition of the Tea Party. There is even one member who would fit comfortably in the Libertarian Party.

Mix them all together and you have a group of people who have one thing in common. They want the City of Raytown to prosper and grow. More importantly, they want the people of Raytown to share in that prosperity.

The Commissioners have cobbled together a unique document that guarantees the strengths and rights of the individual and creates a strict set of responsible rules for the city to be governed. The Commission is creating a Charter in which the words “transparency” and “accountability” means more than just something politicians say at election time

How was this possible with such a diverse group?

We saw the need to come together as a group with one goal in mind. Despite our differences and despite the ill wishes of detractors, we have determined that we will write a workable and successful Charter for Raytown.

I am proud to be a member of the Raytown Charter Commission. It is a unique group of people elected by the voters to improve how Raytown is governed. As we move forward with our work on the Raytown Charter I urge everyone to take the time to learn all they can about it.

To view those sections of the Charter the Commission has completed use the following link, and make up your own mind on what the Commission has produced. I think you will be pleased with what you find.


Use this link to view RAYTOWN CHARTER PROGRESS
To view the last Charter Meeting use these links:




PAUL LIVIUS

The Paul Livius Report 
Thanks to Greg for covering the meeting two weeks ago.  Also, many thanks to our readers for their kind words during my family crisis.

The Board also heard from the department heads in preparation of the upcoming Budget.  We will report on that next week.

The Board approved a change order for the 2014 Concrete Repair Project with A & A Concrete Company in the amount of $125,000.00. The change order is for an increase of $35,000.00 for a total amount not to exceed $160,000.00.  These costs will be paid for with funds available through planned annual expenses of the Transportation Sales Tax that is budgeted for the amount of $772,572.00 for 2014 street maintenance.  With this additional work, more concrete areas are added to fix trip hazards and places with voids underneath the sidewalks and curbs. There was also an increase in concrete replacement within the project locations.

The Board approved an agreement with Trekk Design Group for the design of the 59th street Sidewalk project and the Blue Ridge Boulevard bike lanes project in an amount not to exceed $196,492.75. The staff has secured a grant for each project. As a requirement of the Missouri Department of Transportation, detailed construction plans are required; therefore, the services of a consultant are needed. The base contract is an hourly not to exceed contract of $77,165.25 for the 59th Street Sidewalks project and $119,327.50 for the Blue Ridge Blvd. Bike Lanes project.

The Board heard the first reading of an ordinance establishing the annual Property tax levy rate for the City of Raytown general operating fund and the Park fund for the year 2014.  The City has received its notice of 2014 Assessed Valuation from the County. The finance department has recalculated the levy rates using the formula supplied by the State Auditor's Office. These calculations indicated the City could levy a rate of $0.374 (up from $0.3694) per $100.00 assessed valuation for general city operations and a rate of $0.1845 per $100.00 assessed valuation for park operations. The 2014 proposed rates represent a net increase of $0.0046 over 2013.

The preliminary Adjusted Assessed Valuation:

 Real Estate values decreased by $1,274,200 or 0.54% from last year's amounts for a 2014 value of $233,860,218

 Personal property value decreased by $3,011,763.00 or 5.4% from last year's amounts for a 2014 value of $52,755,542

State assessed utilities values had a 2014 value of $8,831,865

Total adjusted assessed values decreased by $3,536,192 for a 2014 total value of $295,447,625

Based on the assessed valuation and the proposed mill levy staff is projecting that approximately $1,104,446.00 will be generated for the General Fund and approximately $551,625.00 will be generated for the Park Fund. However because actual collections are closer to 95% of assessment staff will budget for slightly less than the projected amount.


Paul's Rant BY PAUL LIVIUS 
This column would be more appropriately named “other people’s mail”. Greg shared the following email “blasts” generated by Raytown City Hall and Jason Greene of the Raytown Charter Commission. A little background would probably helpful so let me explain.

At the last meeting of the Raytown Charter Commission, Commissioners, by an overwhelming majority, voted to require the City Administrator to live in within the city limits of Raytown, Missouri.

During the debate, Commissioner Jason Green shared with the Commission information he had gathered of what requirements other cities use to determine residency of their City Administrators.

Greene’s list included 22 cities. ALL of them required the City Administrator to live within their respective city limits.

I hope that gives you an idea of what all the emails are about. The letters follow . . . my comments are at the end.
 
Teresa Henry wrote:
Jason,

The Mayor has contacted me and asked that my office gather some information regarding residency requirements for the City Administrator and Department Heads along with information on Charter/4th Class Cities that have elected Department Heads.

During the last Charter Commission meeting, you stated that you had done a little bit of research on this topic in general and of the Charter Cities in Missouri you had yet to find one that did not have a residency requirement for the City Administrator.

So that I do not duplicate my efforts, would it be possible to get a copy of the information you put together or have gathered?

It would be greatly appreciated.

Teresa M. Henry
City Clerk

Jason Greene wrote:


Interesting.....



I have looked through a very large sample size of Charter cities in Missouri and as I stated in the meeting, each had a residency requirement for the CA.  Being said, are you looking for a list of cities I looked at? The Raytown Charter website  on google docs has dozens of charters to examine and is a good resource, are you familiar with the site or need a link?


As for a requirement on all department heads, I did not collect information on such as my remarks were reserved for just the CA as stated in the meeting.

 Jason Greene
Alderman Ward II, City of Raytown
 

Teresa Henry wrote:
Jason,

I’m not sure of your definition of a “very large sample size” since I think there are less than 50 Charter Cities in Missouri, but a list of the Cities that you looked at would suffice and certainly be helpful.

I am aware of the links which are on the Raytown Charter Commission Google site; however, my compilation of information will be a little more intensive than just looking at the City Administrator, which is why I have asked for information so that I did not duplicate my efforts.

Teresa M. Henry
City Clerk

Jason Greene wrote:
Teresa,

I'm well aware of the number charter cities in Missouri, in fact as of 2014 I believe there are 39. Out of these cities with a charter I have examined close to 20, so I would consider that a "very large sample size".

Send me the name of the cities you wish to investigate and I will check to see if I have the information for you.  Again this was just the CA residency requirement.

Jason Greene
Alderman Ward II, City of Raytown


Jason Greene wrote:
Teresa,

I found my list, this is only 22 of the 38 or 39 charter cities in MO. I didn't look at any more but, if I have time I would be more than happy to check into some others.

St.Joesph
Cape Girardeau
Joplin
Webster Groves
St. Charles
St.Louis
University City
Springfield
Richmond Heights
Neosho
Hazelwood
Ferguson
Fulton
Independence
OFallan
Jeff City
Columbia
Sedalia
Lees Summit
Kansas City
Grain Valley
Blue Springs

Jason Greene
Alderman Ward II, City of Raytown

Paul’s Comments . . . 
What I find amazing about this exchange is what reads like someone is trying to make a mountain out of molehill. Teresa Henry keeps asking for information about Department Head residency -- a topic that has not even been discussed by the Commission. If my sources are correct – it is unlikely that Department Head residency will even be broached by the Commission.  

I also wonder if the Mayor has crossed the line in using city staff to gather information for what appears to be political purposes. He could haves simply called Mr. Greene, is one of the Commissions most acccesible members, to find out what he needs – rather than use the City Clerk to check out Greene’s information.

It shows a disconnect between the City Administration and the Charter Commission that may foreshadow political infighting down the road.

A few observations . . . 
The Commission has become a very interesting body of to watch. There is genuine give and take by the Commissioners in their deliberations. The members seem to have grasped the ideals of compromise and transparency. When watching the meetings you get the impression that you are watching true democracy in action.

A small group of anti-charter activists seems to be taking shape. Ward 1 Alderman Joe Creamer, Ward 2 Alderman Jim Aziere, Commissioner Mary Jane Van Buskirk, Randy Battagler (Pubisher/Owner of the Raytown Times), and now based on his use of city personnel for political purposes, Mayor David Bower  appear to be coalescing into an anti-Charter group.

On the other hand, with the exception of two members, the Charter Commission is definitely becoming a dynamic force. The members are well aware of the challenges in writing a document to bring Raytown up to speed with other communities.

To say the least, the next few months should prove to be interesting.


BY KAREN

FIT BOTTOMED EATS

Gardening Triumphs

and Woes of 2014 

The first year Bill and I planted a small garden we didn’t have much success. I like to blame it on the heat wave of 2012, which didn’t help, but in actuality our lack of general gardening knowledge was the culprit. But this year we had a plan….READ MORE

 
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42 comments:

Anonymous said...

Jim - Just be quite already.

You admitted to me that you where out of town for two weeks prior to the BOA meeting that addressed the issue of the CA receiving a raise and finally moving to the city that hired him. Something he he agreed to for the last six years.

The current CA incomes is MORE that enough for the job being performed. Face it his gasoline expense would go done 2/3 if he lived in within the city.

Jim are your scared that you will not be in the Mayor's good graces should you actually think for yourself and stand for what the citizens want.

You admitted that you didn't even know everything that was going on since you where out of town and only brought it up and agreed to it because the Mayor asked you to.

Enjoy your time at city hall I have a feeling it will be very short lived

SAM

Anonymous said...


I wonder about our new candidate for Mayor Mr. McDonough, wonder if he will say any thing about the charter commission that he is serving on. Maybe it is better to be silent. We know now how the present Mayor stands on the charter with his use of the city clerk to obtain information about the commission. I still wonder what his real qualification is to be mayor.

Anonymous said...

Why not Jason Greene for mayor? He has backbone and seems to be able to work with others. I'm curious to see who all decides to run though. Change is needed!

Lillian said...

I'd like to see Chris Rathbone run for Mayor. He's the one that got the charter commission going. He gets things done.

Anonymous said...

Is any one talking about the low annual performance rating of 71.8% for the C-2 Raytown school district as determined by DESE. Goodby to the myth of Raytown as a leading public school district. Is everyone in Raytown aware of the severe decline of our once proud local school system? Is anyone?

Elizabeth Stanton

Anonymous said...

Not rathbone....he is untested.

Anonymous said...

Jason is too wet behind the ears. If you followed the Ch. Comm. you'd have seen Jason come unglued when the issue about BOA salary change had to coincide with the BOA member's term of office. I couldn't believe how he writhed over that one and he should have known better.... he's also still convinced that the BOA sets a budget for the Ch. Comm. when State Statue says that the City shall pay the Ch. Comm.'s expenses - period. These are just 2 of the more minor examples. I'm not impressed.

Yes, Rathbone may have started the Charter petition but ALOT of people got it done and Chris failed to give them credit in his campaign essay. He didn't get on the Comm. because he didn't campaign and people didn't know who he is... It's not so hard to start things but working them through to completion is another deal altogether.

Raytown needs a Mayor who has a proven track record of running a successful business. Raytown needs smaller government - ditch the weak mayor system with the city admin and go with a strong mayor system where the elected Mayor actually runs the city. With only 30,000 citizens this city could be run by 3 people, no more. Look at the dismal results we've gotten from the current administration. Get the Mayor and his influence off the BOA. If we had a strong mayor system, he'd have his hands full without mucking in the BOA's work of legislating - his branch of city gov't is the Executive branch and in a gov't with the correct checks and balances he has no place elsewhere. It's so much more important than a popularity contest. Our city govt. is a bloated, expensive, ineffective joke with jokers running it.

Anonymous said...

Chris Rathbone for mayor you are kidding right? He would be nothing more than a puppet for Greg Walters and Jason Greene he would nothing more than talk and he does plenty of that, give him two drinks and you would think you just put a nickel into a talking idiot!!!

Anonymous said...

You are so right! Our representatives in Raytown are sooooooo good that they do not even have to live in he city or ward they represent. Our department heads influence is felt greater the further away from Raytown that they live.

You guys crack me up!!!

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:28

You must have watch a different charter meeting than I did, never saw Green get as you put "unglued". I saw him lead discussion on the Alderman section. I also saw the discussion that the Alderman don't set the budget on that Charter Commission and I never heard that. I think you should rewatch those meetings before you make those comments or ask Mr. Walters if he recalls what you said.

Rex Block said...

I think it is appropriate to require the city administrator to live within Raytown. That being said, Mahesh Sharma has done a fine job and this requirement will create real hardship either for Mahesh, for the City of Raytown or both.

Wouldn't it be an acceptable requirement to "grandfather in" Mahesh and require all future city administrators to live within the city?

Everyone would come out ahead!

Rex Block

Anonymous said...

Yes, our schools are a mere 2 points away from becoming discredited. Rated at 71 now, if they drop 2 points lower, they are discredited and lose their funding. The school board is yet another example of expensive bloated administration who has not one thing to show of their so-called work and all the money they've spent. If I lived in Independence, I'd be pushing like crazy to separate from Raytown in the C2 District. Ours used to be some of the most highly rated schools. Now that idiots and crooks have their hands at the wheel, our children's education, our property values and our tax dollars are ruined. It's time to run the dogs out of town and out of our business. No longer a matter of 'somebody should', we reap what we sow and had best start kicking up the dust ourselves if we want better than what we've got. The Rathbones and both Greenes --- little fish no ready for prime time; toss them back to grow up and elect capable, adult Raytown citizens who know how to read and think. Same goes from BOA members who think the drive through of Taco Bell is a good placed for an imbibed nap in the wee hours.

Anonymous said...

Jason Greene? He's become just another puppet for Bower. -seems he'll blow smoke up anyone's skirt who will express interest in his future political aspirations. He hasn't earned my faith - too much yammer without accurate facts to back up things he says (reminds me of Aziere and MJ Van Buskirk).

McDonough. Who is this guy? Besides having lived here along time (as if that's to marvel at) I see no qualifications and no one seems to know anything about him let alone who he is - he could be blown over with a feather. nolo contendre

Anonymous said...

Jason Greene a puppet for the mayor? Seriously where have you been the last year.

Anonymous said...

How will Mahesh Sharma moving to Raytown cause him a hardship? He promised not once, but twice to do so. The only hardship was that he never intended to move here. I do not see where he has done such a great job. He gave us Walmart on 350 Highway. He has been a tool for a Mayor who cares for himself an no one else. I think any of the four or five that have been mentioned on this blog can do a better job than Bower and his Administrator has done.

Anonymous said...

On this Charter Commission Guenther, Greene, Bowman, and McDonough have all impressed me, anyone of these men would do a better job than Bower.

Anonymous said...

Hey greg and paul. Excellent stories this week. I really appreciate how you guys get into the back story of what is happening at city hall. The other news outlets in raytown do a terrible job of telling what is going on. One paper seems more interested in telling about reports from the Jackson county health department. Another one is nothing but a tool of the mayor and that other blog needs someone who can write.

Keep up the good work. We appreciate what you do.

Anonymous said...

I hear Mr. Markley is looking for a new job. He won't get hired anywhere why? Because who will hire a man to run their district who currently runs a district who is just a stones throw away from being just like Kansas City. Just wish he would leave and take the school board with him!!!!

Anonymous said...

While I agree that the school district is too top heavy, the real blame for school performance rests with parents sending their kids to school having not taught them to behave in a civilized manner. Many have no interest in learning.

Anonymous said...

Guenther can't run a charter meeting without asking Lisa Emerson what he should do next.

Anonymous said...

One of my greatest regrets in live is not being able to put my children in a better school district than Raytown. Perhaps the Raytown School District is better than Kansas City's, but given time the two will be exactly the same - unaccredited.

Anonymous said...

Randy B. says that Andy Noll is probably leaving because of the residency bit in the charter. First of all they are not looking at those positions.

Someone will remember back when Dan Estes left for a positron in Liberty the same city that Andy Noll is going to. Maybe Dan had some influence after allLiberty is growing and Raytown ????.

Randy why not get the facts straight, more people might respect your articles if you were not in the back pocket of the Mayor.

One important fact is that at the end of things the commission will hold public meetings where if you are really interested you can voice your opinion. Nothing is set in cement as of this time.

The last charter meeting had two people attend other than the PIO and Randy B and the film mister.

Anonymous said...

Markley, his bloated administration and this un objective school board all need to leave. First thing they do is look for excuses. That man has wasted so much of our tax dollars.

Anonymous said...

The Raytown schools are just like the Raytown Police "TOP HEAVY"

Anonymous said...

Andy Knoll announced his decision to leave before the charter made a decision on city administrator residency, Randy is a hack!

Anonymous said...

I wonder if Mayor David Bower is going to share the findings the city clerk had residency requirements? Not sure if this is why the rest of you pay taxes but it is not why I do. No wonder our streets are allowed to go to hell in handbasket. Is it better for David to have his department heads running around playing politics?

How about a report on SuperSplash. I hear it dropped another $100,000+ in loss this year! Once more, better to have a swimming pool that loses money than repair our streets.

And to thin people have the gall to carry on about what a fine job Mahesh Sharma is doing.

Wake up folks. Guys like Bower and Sharma are little more than tin plated dictators. We deserve a lot better in Raytown.

Anonymous said...

I would like to see the new Fire Chief run for mayor, I didn't know who he was till I heard someone ask him about the high school fire today. He spent the next 30 minutes explaining what is going on at the Fire Department and why they have distanced themselves from the city. I was impressed with how much he believes in Raytown, and how active he seems in our community. The Fire Department is not under the City of Raytowns control so I do not see why he couldn't do both.

Raytona Beach Bum

Pat Casady said...

I don’t understand why, in the Raytown Times
Randy Battagler comments about the ruling by
the Charter Commission to add in the requirement
for department heads to live in Raytown.
This is after all, stating the rules set forth by Raytown’s
forefathers.
Fact is with this and previous administrations, the people
of Raytown believe our leaders haven’t found a rule
they couldn’t break.
This attitude was brought upon our leaders themselves.
All they really had to do was change the rules and make
them law by voting in session (BOA) meetings, the rules
wouldn’t work anymore.
It didn’t help that the present City Administrator promised
to move to Raytown within three years, then after six years
then was given a thirty thousand plus raise a year and also
told he didn’t have to live up to his promise.
When a city official or department head promises to do
something, he/she promises to the people, not just his/
her buddies at City Hall.
Lies and closed door meetings and agreements are the reason
for the Charter in the first place.
I have nothing against any department head or city leader
but, if they lie or promise us to do something and don’t,
then they are worthless, not to be trusted.
This has happened too many times, i.e. the safety tax, the street
overlay tax, the Wal-Mart deals and so on.

Elisa Breitenbach said...

Let me please be the 1st to say Congratulations Mayor for your dream of another WalMart in Raytown coming true.

Anonymous said...

Pat, Randy owes his livelihood to the Mayor. He will carry his water from here to the moon for him. The relationship is strange. It gives some insight into the thinking of the Mayor and how he views Raytown.

Anonymous said...

The fire started in a restroom?!? Not much flammable stuff there. Better call in Raytown's finest to get to the bottom of who started the fire in the cr....

Anonymous said...

Raytown will be a better community when its leaders are proud of their city. Sime of our city council do mot have any pride. I could npt believe my ears when I heard jim aziere said we do not have nice enough homes I raytown for our department heads. Unbelievable!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Where was the save a lot location at 63rd and Blue Ridge cutoff?
Thought that's where price chopper is?

Anonymous said...

The Save-A-Lot was at 63rd and Raytown Road, in the shopping center next to Wendy's.

Anonymous said...

If it is true WELCOME WALMART NEIGHBORHOOD GROCERY!!!!

Greg Walters said...

EDITOR'S NOTE . . . about the previous blog from Elisa Breitenbach. We checked with Elisa on this bit of news. She was able to confirm that the plans are in place for a small Walmart Grocery Store will be going into the old Sav A Lot location at 63rd and Raytown Trafficway.

Anonymous said...

Can any one tell me if there is a TIF or some other taxf give away on the property that Walmart is going into??

Anonymous said...

Our fire department is so great that is why they go to Kansas City to answer calls. As one resident said my house could have burned down waiting for Raytown to come because they were in Kansas City answering a call. Oh yea this chief is so smart!!!

Anonymous said...

Pat, the requirement was put in just for the city administrator, not all dept. heads.

Anonymous said...

just for the record..the former fire chief entered the district into this agreement prior to his retirement. The current Fire Chief tried to bring the department back to local dispatching. However the police chief and mayor said no. The fire district even offered to pay for a dispatching position and we were turned down. That is a fact. I brought this up months ago and nobody wanted to talk about it.

Anonymous said...

I am sorry Raytown Beach Bum, but I think that the head of the fire dept. would be a very bad pick for the city.

I think that the fire dept. is being run for the benefit of the leadership of the dept. not for the good of the citizens of Raytown.

Mutual assistance is nice but we should not be using our assets for the benefit of K.C..

The citizens of Raytown pay for the assets not K.C..

I do not want a union boss running anymore of Raytown. Sorry if that sounds bad to some people.

Anonymous said...

Does the mayor really believe he can get re elected by having his newspaper guy battagler beat up on greg walters. That is getting pretty old. I think the msyor and his crew .. aziere, creamer and company are in trouble plenty. They will have to run on their records. A terrible thing to wish on anyone.