Saturday, February 21, 2015


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TUESDAY,   FEBRUARY 24th    7:00 PM
There will be a Public Forum of the Raytown Charter Commission Tuesday, February 24th at Raytown City Hall. The meeting will begin at 7:00 p.m. Raytown Charter Commissioners will be on hand to discuss the proposed Charter to be voted on at the April 7th Election.

The meeting is a Public Hearing. Members of the audience will be invited to ask questions and give their opinion of the proposed Charter.

One Year Ago . . .
I was looking through some old newspaper stories from last Spring’s editions of the Raytown Times and the Raytown Report. My favorite part is reading the old editorials. 

The reason is simple . . . it is in those editorials that you learn the true intentions of the writer. In many cases, the stories told are based purely on opinion and often times, full of hyperbole, exaggeration and overstatement.

It was at about this time one year ago when the Charter Campaign was in its very earliest stages of formation. The Raytown Times came out hitting pretty hard. The editor of the Times waxed rhetorically about the Charter.

He wrote, “I think this is the sixth time we have attempted charter”.

He was wrong. It was, and for that matter, still is the fifth attempt.

He predicted the formation of the Charter Commission and the anticipated year of work on creating the document would probably cost $150,000.

Wrong again.

We checked with the Treasurer of the Charter Commission, Mark Moore, and found the anticipated final figure will probably come in around $16,000.The bulk of which will be spent on legal fees and publication/distribution of the final Charter document.

What does it all mean?

Last year's tactics by the nay-sayers in Raytown did not make much of an impact with the voters. I am inclined to believe it is because the voters made informed decisions despite some of the rumors making the rounds last Spring.

On Tuesday there will be a public hearing on the Charter. It is a good opportunity for Raytowners to come and voice their opinions, ask their questions and come to their own conclusions on the Charter. 

Copies of the Charter will be on hand for all who attend the meeting.

City Rehires Finance Director
It has been a rocky ride for the position of City Finance Director at Raytown City Hall this past year.

On May 21, 2014 the City Finance Director at the time, Mark Loughry resigned his position. In a memo to the Board of Aldermen City Administrator Mahesh Sharma wrote that Mr. Loughry had decided to go into business in the private sector.

In late August the position was filled when the city hired Martha Munt. When she was hired City Administrator Mahesh Sharma wrote Ms. Munt, “brings a wealth of experience to the position.”

Ms. Munt’s time as City Finance Director was short. In less than a month she announced she would be leaving her job at City Hall.

At last Tuesday’s meeting the Board of Aldermen voted to rehire Mr. Loughry as City Finance Director. Mr. Loughry will be paid the same amount he was paid under his previous contract ($90,409.28 annually).

The Paul Livius Report
Raytown Board of Aldermen Meeting – February 17, 2015
The Board passed a resolution authorizing an employment agreement with Mark Loughry as Finance Director for the city.  The City shall pay the Employee an initial salary of $90,409.28 annually.

The Board passed a resolution to fund related to Charter Commission expenses in the amount not to exceed $16,000.00.  This is needed to cover the cost of attorney’s fees and other expenses of the Commission.

The Board passed a resolution approving participation in the Missouri Department of Transportation Highway Safety Crash Reduction/Hazardous Moving Enforcement Grant application.  The grant allows for approximately 200 hours of enforcement overtime and to send one person to the annual LETSAC conference. There is no match required by the City for this grant.

The Board passed a resolution approving an agreement for professional consulting services with Pros Consulting, Inc. for a park master plan in an amount not to exceed $50,000.00.  The Park Master Plan is a planning document to guide future park development for the next 10-15 years. The process includes a comprehensive audit of the City’s park facilities, identifying system weaknesses, evaluating recreation programs and exploring new opportunities to generate additional revenue. The plan has the potential to produce positive economic development and become an integral part of the City’s comprehensive plan. Further, a master plan provides direction and public input using statically valid community surveys, assesses citizens’ needs and guides park acquisition and development. The final report will identify future funding sources and guide direction of the City’s resources. Special consideration will be given to the future of Super Splash. The City’s Park Master Plan was last updated in 2001.

Of the nine firms who submitted proposals, PROS Consulting was selected as the finalist following evaluation through a qualification-based weighted scoring process. The fiscal year 2014-2015 budget is $50,000.00. The PROS Consulting contract is $78,275.00 with a 15% contingency for a total project cost of $90,000.00 Since the project exceeds budgeted amounts the total cost will be spread over two fiscal years and will be broken into Phase I and Phase II. Phase I will be completed during fiscal year 2014-2015 and Phase II will be brought back to the Board of Aldermen for funding during fiscal year 2015-2016.

The Board passed a resolution approving the expenditure of funds with Splashtacular for waterslide maintenance and repair in an amount not to exceed $88,700.00.  Super Splash water slide maintenance is required to ensure rider safety and extend the equipment’s useful life. Fiberglass water slides are durable but weather conditions, heavy use and aging can cause exposed laminate, leaks and water loss at flume joints. Two of the three slides were installed in 1993 and have developed cracks, gel coat chips, oxidation and rusted hardware. In 2014, the Jackson Hole slide was partially closed due to structural issues.

This work will repair the damage. The scope of work involves a visual inspection report, slide joint leak repair, gel coat repair, removal and replacement of damaged or rusted hardware, buffing and cleaning of slide riding surfaces, and recoating the slide’s interior and exterior. Aldermen Jason Greene and Janet Emerson voted against the repair work. They stated they prefered to wait until recommendations were made by PROS Consulting (the city has hired the consulting firm for $90,000) before spending more money on SuperSplash.

RDA Meeting Attracts
Large Crowd of Candidates
The Raytown Democratic Association (RDA) drew a large crowd of candidates to its monthly meeting last Thursday night. Candidates for Mayor, City Council, Fire District and the Raytown School Board were in attendance at the monthly meeting held at Las Chiles Restaurant in the Center 63 Shopping Center.

Mayoral candidate Mike McDonough was the guest speaker at the February meeting. The other candidate for Mayor, Pat Ertz, had been the guest speaker at the January meeting of the organization.

The Raytown Democratic Association is one of the few organizations in Raytown that consistently holds meetings in which candidates can meet the public in an informal setting.
The next meeting of the Raytown Democratic Association is scheduled for Thursday, March 19th at 7:00 p.m. at Las Chiles Restaurant.

Other candidates in attendance at last Thursday meeting included:
ALDERMAN:  Greg Walters (Ward 1), Steve Meyers (Ward 4), Mary Jane VanBuskirk (Ward 4), Eric Teeman (Ward 5), Ryan Myers (Ward 3)
SCHOOL BOARD:  Thomas Granger Estlund
FIRE BOARD:  Richard Tush

The following guest article is by Mary Jane VanBuskirk, candidate for Alderman in Ward 4. All Raytown candidates are invited to send an article to the Raytown Report for publication. Candidate reports will be posted in the order of which they are received.
Ward 4 Alderman Race

I am Mary Jane Van Buskirk and I am running for Alderman in Ward 4. I'm a 42 year resident of Raytown. We have a great city and we need to market it as such.

We do have problems but working together we can fix these problems and make Raytown better than its ever been. I am not saying I can fix all the problems but I promise I will give it 100%. In order to fix our problems we must find ways to expand our economic base by attracting new business, because all of this comes with a cost.

I do have concerns and here is a list of them:

1. I feel very strongly that we need more police patrol in our neighborhoods, crime in the neighborhoods is on the increase.  We have 56 full time police officers and a budget of $7,839,664.00 (47% of our city's budget).  We had 7,221 outstanding warrants in the month of December. I believe we should look at the possibility of restructuring our police department so as to better utilize the personnel and the tax dollars that fund it. As a strong supporter of our police department it is not my intent to bash the police department but to make it more efficient. 

2. Code enforcement needs to be done on a daily basis not just when citizens or elected officials complain, it should be proactive. The codes department employees are on the streets daily and if they are doing their job properly they see violations and that is when they need to be handled. Enforced codes benefit all home owners and businesses in our city.

3. Street in many areas of our city are not well lit and this Invites crime. The taxpayers deserve to have their neighborhoods well lighted to allow them to feel safe and secure in their homes.

4. Street maintenance is also an area I feel needs to be reviewed. Good streets, like codes, are essential to make Raytown more attractive to potential home buyers and prospective businesses.

I would appreciate your support on April 7th to give me an opportunity to serve you for the next four years. My promise is that I will take the job seriously and work hard for those I represent.

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Anonymous said...

Speaking of communication with cixty hall, can someone explain to me why it takes nearly a week for the city to put the webcasts of the meeting up on you tube? It's not like they have to leave the office to post a recording. I am beginning to think they should change the name of Raytown City Hall to Disfunction City Hall!

Anonymous said...

10:05 AM
1) Maybe it takes a week to edit the webcasts.
2) An uniformed public can't complain about what transpired at the meeting.

Anonymous said...

Interesting that Mary Jane is running for Alderman when her husband is a sitting Alderman in that same Ward. Hmmm sounds kinda weird to me. Now she is an expert on how the Police Department should be run and structured? Really???

Anonymous said...

Same old same old stuff. Is Mary Jane running bother you as much as the two Greene brothers being on the city council at the same time? As for the police, I think they would welcome some discussion on how to make the people in raytonw more secure. I bet you just don't like Mary Jane so you write mean things about her.

Anonymous said...

Greene Brothers......,different households different Wards......Van Buskirks, husband and wife same household same Ward
Can't you tell the difference?

Anonymous said...

Wow I'm impressed by Mrs. VanBuskirk's openness. Willing to say what many of us have been thinking for years. Proud of her to have the guts to speak up.

Anonymous said...

Hey 6:48 p.m. Do you remember we had a mayor and sister in law on the council at the same time while brother and husband is captain on the police force also the Kinman brothers at the same time and now the Greene brothers. Just askin!!

Anonymous said...

Seems strange that you are worried about the Van Buskirks being from the same household. For those of you who don't know them rest assured they don't agree on a lot of issues and she will not be told how to vote or think. If you are worried about them maybe you should be worried about Mike and his connection with the police department.

Anonymous said...

As for Ward 4 Alderman Steve Meyers has my vote. He is very positive and truly interested in our community.

Anonymous said...

So does positive mean you bury your head in the sand and don't address problems?

Anonymous said...

Funny how someone wants to compare this to the Greene boys. Different wards, different houses and both ran at the same time if Im not mistaken. Anyway, Ive heard enough about Mary VanBuskirk, watched a couple videos of the Charter meetings, she seems to always have something negative to say and no least thats what I took from her attitude at those meetings.

Anonymous said...

Mary Jane is a good politician says all the things that people want to hear, just like Obama.

Anonymous said...

OMG, MJVB on the board??? She screamed at people because she wanted walmart. Looks like the arguing she offers has already made it to this blog.

Anonymous said...

I would hope that everyone reads the front page story of the Raytown paper by Randy.

He sid that he would do some investigating of the Police Pension Fund of Raytown.

I sounds as though the city has a hug unfunded liability for the pension fund. This will have to be paid of with the citizens tax money for some years to come. When a sergeant can retire at 112%of annual pay with an amount of 79,800 a year the city is in trouble. I only wish that my pension from a non governmental organization could be that large.

I hope that the LAGERS fund will not be as harmful to the city but I guess time will tell.

Citys like Stockton CA and Detroit have experienced bad results with their unfunded liabilities let us not be down the same road.

Anonymous said...

The Raytown,Police Department served over 6000 warrants last year.
What do you know about running a business, have you ever held a real job, supervised etc.
Please tell me why your qualified to be an Alderman.

Anonymous said...

You guys can bash Mary Jane until the cows come home. She is honest and hard working. Why are you guys picking on her? I live in Ward 4 and I plan to vote for her on election day. The bullying tactics I see in play here do not impress me that much. Mary Jane, hold your head up and take your message to the voters. They will listen.

Anonymous said...

6000 warrants? That means they are serving at least 16 a day. I don't think so. Where on earth did you dig up those numbers?

Mary Ellen said...

Well, it's been a week, and still no video on YouTube. Just how incompetent are these people? The new website has said it is under construction for over two weeks. How long does it take to tweak a website? Who puts up a website that isn't fully ready for use? What a bunch of losers!

Pat Casady said...

With two Van BusKirks in the same ward would be
an injustice for the people of that ward.
It would be like having one alderman with two votes!
The fact is she has already proven she would not
listen to the people. She wanted the WalMart grocery store
and was upset when the people were against it.
What she wrote on this site was just what I have
been talking about. She says what she knows the
people want to here and like her husband did, will
not live up to her promises.
How long have we been upset with the way codes
have been enforced? How long have we been
upset with our streets? How long have we wanted
better street lighting? Her husband has done nothing
about all of this, what makes you think she will try?
They are of one household!
We need NEW people at City Hall!

Anonymous said...

My sentiment is that we need to finish cleaning house on the Board Of Alderman to rid ourselves of the Bower yes men. Electing an incumbent's spouse hardly is cleaning house. I will vote for Steve Meyers.

Anonymous said...

I noticed on the city website when they mention the Charter they make an effort to mention that the city doesn't support it. I find it funny how they mention that when it doesnt need to be said. Secondly, I click the link to read the Charter that the city offered and nothing pops up.... interesting.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Greg for making your comments about Randy and his "half truths". Lets just say I know first hand of some of his misleading remarks of the Charter. I prefer not to speak but just listen, however I will not be lied to. If that guy had a clue he wouldn't be tieing himself to the mayor or the direction of this city, it may come back and hurt him after April.....but he doesnt seem that smart so he probably will continue to do so.

Anonymous said...

Pat have you ever sit down and talked to her? Sounds like you are talking and don't know what you are talking about.

Anonymous said...

So anonymous 8:46, tell us everything you know about serving warrants. We're listening.

Anonymous said...

Last night's public meeting on the Raytown charter was interesting and informative. I want to recognize those commissioners who showed up to share with the public. You guys did a good job answering our questions. Hartwell, Bowman, Walters, Emerson (both of them), VanBuskirk, Guenther and Moore.

Pat Casady said...

I don’t like to respond to “Anonymous” writers but.
It’s been a long time but when Mr. Van BusKirk
was first running, it seems they both stopped
by my shop and left off some literature and at first
I was impressed, when he was elected but, after a few
months and some butting heads with the mayor, he
started to change and fell in the mayors pocket.
I lost all respect for him as far as a representative
of the people.
I’m sure they are both nice people but sorry I don’t
trust them as politicians. But then that’s the way I
feel about 90% of our elected officials.

Anonymous said...

How is it that Mr. Ertz can be out campaigning when he should be at work running the water district???? Perhaps they don't need the full time person that we are paying for? Does anyone know who a complaint could be filed with? It can't be his board of directors because he has hand picked them and they just do what he wants. I pray he is not elected Mayor but I bet he would have no problem drawing both salaries.....after all he is still beating the drum for the City Manager who he had no problem giving a $30,000 raise to. Not exactly the person I want in charge at City Hall.

Anonymous said...

6:14 is too funny

Miranda Brown said...

The last Board of Aldermen meeting was 9 days ago. Why hasn't anyone posted the video yet?

Anonymous said...

My God, the cities web site is horrible. It seems to reflect the complete disarray that's going on up there. "Welcome to Raytown's Open Government"? my foot. The money they spent remodeling should have gone to some company that could actually build a site. It's 2015! Does someone know are they trying to do this in house? Is anyone running for office going to do something about this mess?

Mary Ellen said...

Their website said the new site was written by "GovOffice". Now we know who NOT to call for website development. My ten-year-old could make a better web site than this one. Half the links don't work. The other half point the user to outdated information. What a joke!

Anonymous said...

"Keep the sheepole (serfs) of the Socialist/Fascist Fief of Raytown is uninformed as possible. The uninformed will be more satisfied and less likely to express disagreement.

Anonymous said...

Considering the Mayor’s last State of Raytown
Speech, maybe we should ask him why he hasn’t
fixed the Cities web site. After all he single handedly
made Raytown a better place. According to him
he didn’t even need any help from the other
elected officials, it was all him. He never acknowledged
any of the Aldermen. What an ego!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Mary Ellen- and they have a high paid Public Info office for that website
Amazing isn't it?

Anonymous said...

To 6:14 am
Did you ask Ertz why he was there? Did you document the time and day? Did you get him to sign his campaign brochure with the date and time ? I bet you gave him an ear full for being out campaigning at that date and time when he should if been some where else. Please tell us more about your encounter with the encubent on that date???