Sunday, September 14, 2014


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Raytown Park Board Votes to Close SuperSplash in 2015
On September 15, the Raytown Park Board voted to close SuperSplash Water Park for one year while a plan could be studied for the future of the entire park system.

“Generally, it was about the numbers,” said George Mitchell, Board Chair. “For several years the city has subsidized Super Splash as the park aged and operations costs increased. It was a difficult decision; it’s really all about the numbers. We had to be realistic about the future of the park and sustaining the park fund for the long term.” READ MORE

The Paul Livius Report
Raytown Board of Aldermen Budget Hearing – September 2, 2014

Mahesh Sharma told the Board they have hired Ben Hart to help with the Budget process since the Finance Director resigned.  Total expenditures will increase 4% over the last budget.  There has not been a significant pay increase in three years, and he is proposing a 4% pay increase across the board for all city employees.  The final budget will be presented to the Board on October 7, 2014.

Doug Jonesi, with the EMS department, said they have purchased new ambulances and upgraded the radio system.  They will reduce overall expenses by 5% in the upcoming year.

Public Works director, Andy Noll, said the clean-up coupon program is going well.  The Google Fiber installation is almost complete.  They plan to monitor the GIS data base to find the sewer backups and correct before it becomes a problem to homeowners.  The GPS upgrade for vehicles is saving the city money.  They plan on spending $250,000 this year on the 83rd Street Bridge and $350,000 in the next fiscal year.  They are not expecting any growth in sales tax revenues.  The city plans to spend $75,000 for the KCATA bus system.  The budget includes $800,000 for the City Hall renovations.  There is also a provision to replace police and public works vehicles.

John Benson, the Public Affairs director, told the Board the ads in the City’s newsletters help offset the cost of sending it out.  They have sold 2 out of the 3 rehab houses the city purchased.  They will send out requests for bids for the new animal services contract.

Police Chief Jim Lynch said the radio upgrade is ongoing.  He reminded the Board that the City had partnered with Verizon on the infrastructure upgrade and saved about $6.5 million.  The police department is looking to install a mobile ticketing system in the police vehicles that will tell the officers any outstanding warrants.  They are also looking to provide body cameras to the uniformed officers.  They need to purchase five mobile finger-printing ID kits.  There is a provision in the budget to upgrade the police building.

Judge Tracy Fann told the Board she hopes to work with the new Finance Director to install online payments for municipal tickets.  She also would like to replace two printers and a few office chairs.  Alderman Ertz said the Legislative Committee has been trying for two years to increase the fines for municipal offenses such as speeding.  So far, the General Assembly has not voted on that.

Park Board director, Kevin Boji, said in the past year, they replaced the equipment in two playgrounds, upgraded the tennis courts in Coleman Park, and were looking to acquire a new park on the north side of Raytown.  This year’s budget will spend $50,000 in maintenance at Super Splash.  Mayor Bower asked if the Park Board doesn’t spend the necessary money on maintenance, how will Super Splash stay open.  Mr. Boji said they had to reduce expenditures in order to balance the budget. 

Alderman Aziere said it would appear the Park Board is doing as little maintenance as possible in preparation of closing Super Splash in the near future.  Mr. Boji said everyone knows there have been challenges and significant losses at Super Splash.  The Park Board will have to make some difficult decisions in the future. 
Mr. Boji said there will be a new basketball program in partnership with the Raytown Schools.  The Park Board will handle the registrations and cover the cost of the uniforms, supervisors, and referees.  The School District will provide the gyms and prepare the schedules. 

Alderman Creamer said the parks sales tax is supposed to be set aside to pay for the parks.  Every park costs money.  The families need a place to go and the parks belong to all of us. 

Alderman Josh Greene said Super Splash lost over $100,000 last year.

He asked if the City should keep hemorrhaging money or do we save the rest of the parks.  He wants to keep Super Splash open if possible.  He also said the BMX Park is being overlooked.  He knows they are trying to get a national race.  He wants the Park Board to push for this.  It will benefit all of Raytown if the race is held here.
Alderman Aziere said three years ago, the Park Board went before the Board of Aldermen  and said Super Splash manager quit.  They said Super Splash wouldn’t open unless the Board approved the management company.
Mr. Boji said the management company would run efficiently.  Super Splash lost a lot of money with that management company.  He also pointed out that ten years ago, attendance at Super Splash was approximately 73,000 people.
Five years ago it was in the neighborhood of 46,000 people.  Last year, the attendance was 26,000 people.  A lot of money will have to be spent in maintenance if Super Splash is going to stay open, a lot more than what Mr. Boji has budgeted. 

Alderman Van Buskirk said he noticed the shingles on the roof of the shelter house in Kenagy Park were missing.  He wanted to know when that was going to be fixed.  Mr. Boji said the damage was done when the storm came through on July 30.  They are waiting on the insurance company settlement before making repairs.


My job at the Raytown Report is both a blessing and a curse. I love to watch the Board of Aldermen meetings and actually enjoy sharing with the public what exactly is going on at City Hall. I believe the more knowledge out there for the public to consume, the better off we are.

That being said, the downside is some of the stuff that spills out of our elected officials mouths. It makes you ache to hear it – it even hurts your fingers to type it. But if it is what gives an accurate picture of what goes on – so be it!

This week’s Paul Livius Report is one such example. I am glad to tell the story, but some of what was said, and, just as important, things that were NOT said (but should have been said) makes the story hard to report.
I will start with the simple and advance to the more complex.

Ward 1 Joe Creamer said . . . “the parks sales tax is supposed to be set aside to pay for the parks.  Every park costs money.  The families need a place to go and the parks belong to all of us."

Wow. Let me take that in. I think he left out the part that the water in the pool was wet! If you have something to say, say it. But spewing out that bit of wisdom really added nothing to the debate.
Okay. That’s out of my system.
There were some intelligent comments in the debate as well. Jason Greene asked rhetorically how long we could stand to see SuperSplash lose money in the six figure range before we finally admit this is not working.
Jim Aziere made some very good points about the declining use of the pool. Even in the god- awful heat two years ago the pool saw a historical decline in attendance.
Bill VanBuskirk mentioned how the roof of one of the buildings was damaged and needed repair. Kevin Boji, the Director of the city’s Parks Department said they were waiting on the insurance company to settle the claim. It made me wonder: that if it was Kevin’s home in Riverside, Missouri that was damaged if he would wait months before repairing it?  (The damage was caused by a storm in July!)
What is most bothersome about the debate was that one of the most poignant arguments was not brought up. People do not feel safe at SuperSplash. Anyone who tells you otherwise is being less than honest.
The reality is the population of Raytown has changed. We do not have the numbers of young children that used to fill up SuperSplash on hot summer days. Our population is aging.  At one time SuperSplash was the ONLY game in town when it came to municipal water parks. Not so anymore. There many more, both private and public that offer a lot more for the money, have more convenient hours, and offer a degree of safety that is not present at Raytown’s pool.
SuperSplash will continue to be a drain on the local economy, siphoning much needed tax dollars that could be spent on repairing our other parks, our streets, the list goes on and on. Maybe the Board of Aldermen will start to have some honest conversations to address the problem. If last week’s meeting was any example, we may have to wait a long, long time.

Buttermilk Oven-Fried
Chicken Recipe
My last When In Rome post made us realize that comfort food doesn’t necessarily have to be congruent with heavy, greasy, “I need to take a nap” food. I’ve often wondered how eating something that sits like a rock in your belly and makes you feel like hell afterward was ever awarded the nickname comfort to begin with.

Oven-fried chicken is just as tasty as deep-fat fried, is actually easier to prepare and won’t tempt you to loosen the top button of your trousers and make a beeline for the couch. Whip up a batch of mashed cauliflower like this one from EatingWell magazine, serve the obligatory green beans and iced tea, and you’ll have one fine Sunday meal. READ MORE

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Anonymous said...

Matt Mace is a dedicated public servant. We are lucky to have him in Raytown. The reason the Fire Department is dispatched by k.c. can be traced right back to David Bower and his cronies on the City Council. Remember when Charlotte Melson killed the merger talk between the city and the fire department? She held one public meeting and then announced the committee had decided not to do the merger. The Committeemembers did not even know she was going to blindside them with that. The only person in the room who did not look surprised was the mayor. Imagine that!

Anonymous said...

its obvious that none of you have a clue to what actually happens in the aspects of public service in relation to the fire department

Anonymous said...

Here is where the fault lies and that is with Bob Palmer.

Lillian said...

The storm in July also blew off some of the shingles on my house. I called my insurance agent and an adjuster was out the following week. I had a check the week after that. It took 2 weeks to get my roof fixed. Why is it taking the Park department 6 weeks to fix a shelter house? Do they have cut rate insurance, or did it just take awhile before someone called the agent?

Anonymous said...

6.49 PM please inform me about the aspects of public service.

Pat Casady said...

I have been in business for over forty years.
If my business went in the hole $100,000.00 and still
needed over $50,000.00 for repairs, I believe it would be
time to close it up.
Supersplash was a great idea in the past but it is obvious
it isn’t working now. It’s time for our leaders to
face the truth and close it down before it costs the taxpayers
too much. Besides the money could go towards streets and
things for all Taxpayers to use, even the new proposed park.

Anonymous said...

To understand why it takes the park department over eight weeks to have an insurance claim filed and resolved you have to appreciate how things are done at Raytown City Hall. Late last spring the public works department came through my neighborhood. They were patching holes in the streets. When they hit my street they did a real sloppy job. Only filling some of the holes half way. Ignoring the rest. I called the public works director. He explained that these were "temporary patches" and that they would be redone during the summer. It is mid September. I am still waiting for them to come back.

Why not fix it right the first time? Oh, they are probably waiting for an insurance company to say it is okay to fix the holes in the street. Whatever the case, I can assure you it is NOT their fault. It is very clear that they are not concerned about it.

Meanwhile our City Council debate=s whether or not to keep a pool open that fewer and fewer people go to each year.

Unbelievable!!! We need some changes in City Hall. Next April cannot come too soon.

Anonymous said...

Know what you mean. Next wek he will probably be after jason greene, janet emerson, or vanbuskirk. They seem to be his favorite targets. Msybe he will learn his bullying wont work anymore.

Anonymous said...

Pat before you make statements you need to know how the park budget works. Get the facts or shut up.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 10:05

Explain it. Put up or shut up.

Anonymous said...

Pat, the park has its own budget and money. Any money the parks has CAN NOT go to fix the streets, put up street lights ect. That is the fact. So as always Pat goes off half cocked.

Anonymous said...

That last comment is an indication of what is so wrong at City Hall and, in particular, those who think they run the city.

The Park Department does have a dedicated sales tax. It is all supposed to go to pay for the cost of running the parks. It also has a property tax levy. It is all supposed to go pay for running the park as well.

As it turns out, neither of them really do.

For instance, the sales tax collected at the Walmart on 350 Highway (which takes in more than 20% of the sales tax collected in the city) is part of the at "dedicated sales tax" for the parks.

But the sales tax money collected at Walmart does not go to the Parks Department. It goes to pay the debt created to purchase the land, build the buildings, parking lot, and public infrastructure being used by Walmart for their store.

Same is true for the property tax. Every abated property tax, and Walmart is not the only abated property tax in Raytown, goes to pay down the debt.

If the city has already forgiven the tax obligation owed by Walmart, HyVee, Sutherlands, House of Pancakes, etc. it cannot collect the money and give it back to the Park Department.

Here is the scary part. Whoever wrote the message before this one understands the budget process at the Parks Department. What they do not know how to do is follow the money trail.

If they follow the money trail of the tax dollars collected they would see that Mr. Casady is correct in his statements and that they are dead wrong.

Pat Casady said...

I also said,
If the tax money eating pool was closed,
it could go, towards the new PROPOSED
Any way you cut it it’s still taxpayer money going down
the drain. Besides it wouldn’t be the first time City
Hall used money from one department on another.
At least I sign my name to what I write!

Anonymous said...

Get a new Mayor and a couple new aldermen in April and things will get done!

Anonymous said...

Get a new Mayor, get rid of the appointed czars. Get rid of the worthless Economic Development Admin, the City Admin..... we've seen their work! Get rid of the Public Information Officer AND her Assistant (the list is long). I've had it with these and the other worthless empty suits. Slap all the paint you want onto a pig - it's still a pig. While you're at it, take the Walmart you plan to put on the Sav-A-Lot site along with your Dollar stores, Tatoo Parlor, car dealerships, and bail bondsmen and shove them wherever it is your vision for this city is (it's never seen the light of day either).

Anonymous said...

IF a Wal Mart neighborhood grocery goes in the old Save A Lot store the city can not stop it because it zoned for that type of store. So all you nay sayers may have cut off your nose to spite your face.

Anonymous said...

I see the pros and cons of SuperSplash, in some respects it really shows a failure of the park board and the park director, and in others it shows the market reality of it. My understanding is that people just felt unsafe there, I may be wrong but that is what I heard.

Pat Casady said...

I have to give credit where credit is due.
It was a good decision to close the Supersplash
for a period of time. This will give the Parks
Department time to decide how or if the water park
can make money instead of losing it.
The demographics of our great little town have
changed over the years and in some cases not
for the better.
Also, if there is a WalMart grocery store going in
the Center 63 store area, I think that too was a good
decision. Using empty store buildings make better sense
than building new. Even though there is a tax break
in the downtown area, and if the city doesn’t give
any deeper tax breaks, this store should make some
tax income for the people of Raytown.
Empty stores don’t collect sales taxes or provide jobs.
By the way, did any of you know that our Police
Department is nine officers short?
This should be no surprise because after looking into
base pay scale KCMO $42,465, in Independence $46,000
Raytown $35,964.
This is from the Kansas City site, computer site "Indeed"
and Raytown’s site.
Trying NOT to go off halfcocked with wrong information.

John said...

When they give ONE person $30,000 a year pay raise, that doesn't leave much for the rest of the employees. But, then again, he doesn't care if the streets aren't safe. He doesn't live here.

Anonymous said...

September 17, 2014 at 7:53 AM

What about the nay sayers.

I think that it has always been that if a business wants to come in and take over an existing store there is no problem.

It is too bad that they will probably get some tax advantage but at least it is an existing store.

Try to keep the playing field level please.

I do not think that my nose has been cut off by your sarcasm sorry.

Anonymous said...

We are nine officers short because Chief Lynch hasn't replaced them, and it is his decision if he even does.

Anonymous said...

If a new Walmart Grocery Store goes in at Center 63 it shows how far-sighted those who opposed destroying the green space with a box store were.

The old Sav A Lot location makes sense for a grocery store. It is on a major road, easy to get to and will not disrupt surrounding residential neighborhoods because there are none!

The big plus is that the city will still have the green space to develop into a more family and user friendly center for our town.

We all owe a BIG debt of gratitude to those who stood against the earlier Walmart application.

Anonymous said...

I agree 8:27, those who stood against the esrliee walmart deserve support because we still have a downtown we can develop and not a one tenet controlled downtown.

Anonymous said...

Good to see the Park Board came to their senses on SuperSplash. It should have been closed down years ago.

Anonymous said...

well 9:27 what would you like to know about public service? Post your questions and I will answer them.

Anonymous said...

There is no reason PD pay should be that low for starting officers, but the problem is not resolved by giving raises to everyone in the PD. Only starting pay should be adjusted for the blue on the street.

Salamander said...

There has to be something rotten in Denmark -- or, rather, Raytown. A few weeks ago the Raytown Times esteemed Publisher (or was it his out-of-town reporter/columnist/editorialist) issued a lengthy discourse extolling the success of the local swimming pool -- SuperSplash!

We were told it was making money hand over fist.

Sure sounded good, didn't it?

A failing enterprise rescued through the valiant efforts of our Mayor and his Top Men.

Truth be told, we were either lied to or misled.

Just the other day it was reported that the Park Board is closing the pool -- for a year we are told but you can bet all your money it is a permanent closing.

Whatever happened, this much is obvious. Either Randy Battagler's paper did not know what it was talking about or we are not getting the full story from the gang at City Hall.

Take your choice. Someone was deliberately misleading residents, and, ultimately, the taxpayers.

Anonymous said...

One again it was NOT a raise but a salary adjustment. Got that stupid!!!

Anonymous said...

Call it what you want. Here is how it reads in the real world:

Mahesh Sharma received....$30,000.

All other city employeess received....$0.

I call it unfair and wrong.

Pat Casady said...

I still think that this blog should NOT print
any person telling people to “shut up,”
calling people names or other childish actions,
hiding under the “Anonymous” signature.
It’s just a license for children minded people
to cheap shot the real caring adult writers.
Please note, I did not say all “Anonymous”
writers. However I personally think that is wrong
in some cases too.

Anonymous said...

An earlier post indicated about Super Splash "that people just felt unsafe there." Better shutdown Raytown because I don't feel safe here either! Too much riff-raff moved to town.

Anonymous said...

One again it was NOT a raise but a salary adjustment. Got that stupid!!!

September 18, 2014 at 9:17 PM

Boy what an adjustment the above sounds like Jim Azier or Bower or maybe even Melson.

Scott said...

The riff-raff is coming from all the rental houses. People want to get their kids out of Raytown because the schools are so bad, but they can't sell the houses for what they paid for them. They have no choice but to rent them out when they move. Renters don't take care of the property as well as the homeowner.

Kelly said...

Neither Aziere no Melson call people stupid in public. It sounds more like Bower or Joe Creamer. Remember when Rathbone submitted the charter petitions? It was Creamer that came completely unhinged. He used the word stupid about four times.

Anonymous said...

I guess it is the sign of the times. Inner city sprawl to the once nice neighborhoods and schools, combined with an incompetent city hall is a double nut punch.

Anonymous said...

I remember a couple of years ago a lady that lived around the 87th and Lane area approached the board meeting where she said that there are 2 Raytowns. The mayor was fast in saying that it was not true. Mr. Mayor it was true then and it more true now We have a real problem and I see no way out.