-----------------------------------------------------------------Due to technical difficulties the Raytown Report will be not be published until Tuesday, May 5th this week. Thank you for your patience.
Paul and Greg
An Open Letter from Paul Livius
To: Mayor Michael McDonough / Raytown Board of Aldermen
I know some of you are new to your position. I am hoping you can help.
The City’s website reads “Meetings are telecast live on Comcast Channel 7 and replayed during the following week. Meetings are also placed on YouTube by the Thursday/Friday following the meeting barring any technical difficulties. You can view the meeting by clicking on the link under Video."
I wish that was the case.
It seems after most meetings the video is not available. Pick one of the following excuses. They have become routine when it comes to answering why the video is not available to the public.
Person responsible for uploading the video did not get it from the IT Department. Either the Java link was broke, the link simply did not work, or, my personal favorite, "technical difficulties.Five days after your swearing in at last Tuesday’s meeting, there is no link on the city’s website of the event. I repeat, there is no link and the video is not on You Tube.
The opinion at City Hall in the past has seemed to be if we want to know what’s going on, we should get off our rears and go to the meetings.
Not everyone can attend. I hope this attitude is something of the past. Please bring some responsibility and professionalism to city hall. City services should be a reliable. Not something we hope will be done.
Comcast is no longer the only source of Cable Television in Raytown. U-Verse and Google have expanded the number of hookups in Raytown exponentially. Raytown politicians are fond of bemoaning the fact of apathy and low voter turnout. Perhaps if the City were to expand its access to view public meetings the apathy would decrease.
We are 15 years into 21st Century. Yet, City Hall is still using 20th Century communications technology to bring the public on board. Fancy magazines are no substitute for real time information from City Hall. Magazines look back at the news. Live video allows the public to become participants in how the city is run. Take advantage of it. You will be glad you did.
At the very least, please correct the problem of Council meetings not being linked to You Tube on a timely basis.
Paul wrote one. So, I figured, why not? Here are my thoughts to the new Mayor and Board of Aldermen.
Gentlemen and Ladies:
It takes a few weeks to look back at an election to decipher the message the voters have sent. That space in time is needed to remove the personalities from the race, so an accurate reading can be made.
The April 7th vote totals speak very clearly. Five new officials were elected to our governing Board of Aldermen. The message from the voters was unmistakable. They want a change from the policies of the past eight years.
More specifically, they want change in the following areas:
STREET OVERLAY: It is very clear no one likes the way Raytown residential streets are being repaired. The end result is substandard. The people of Raytown pay a lot in tax dollars for their city to be maintained. They want it done properly. In those areas of the city that lack adequate street lighting, address the problem.
PUBLIC INFORMATION: Paul hit it best in his Open Letter to the Mayor and Board. We are in the 21st Century. Publishing a slick magazine with about as much real content as People Magazine is not informing the public. More could be accomplished with well written and designed newsletters enclosed with monthly sewer billings. It would save the city money because they would not have to spend the additional postage to mail the magazine.
FIX AND EXPAND THE VIDEO COVERAGE CITY HALL: Nearly every city of any size around Raytown offers this service to the public. Raytowners deserve as much. If you need new equipment, buy it. The one-time expense could easily be recovered by publishing one less magazine.
PRIORITIZE, BECAUSE . . . you cannot do it all. Last year the Raytown Park Board recommended Super Splash Water Park be shut down. The Bower Administration reversed the decision. It comes down to it, which is more important, a new water slide for a water park that is losing money hand over fist, or, making neighborhoods safer with adequate street lighting?
Finally, a word of advice . . . I have seen administrations come and go. If there is one mistake often repeated it is a form of inertia brought on by a desire to create an image of everyone joining hands and singing Kumbaya. Don’t go down that path. It leads nowhere.
It has been said that running a democratic government in which elected representatives work for the betterment of all is like making sausage. It is a messy process. But if done correctly, the result is truly tasteful and something we all want to achieve.
In other words, do not be afraid to speak up clearly and loudly. If you do not understand what is being done, ask questions. And remember, there are no dumb questions. There are only people who cannot give adequate answers. Never forget the ones you need to please the most are your constituents.
Good luck to all of you, I truly hope your time in office will be a successful for all of Raytown.
Raytown Board of Aldermen Meeting – April 21, 2015
Mayor Bower presented a proclamation of appreciation to Aldermen Steve Mock for his service as Mayor Pro Tem.
The Board voted to accept the certified election results.
Mayor Bower gave a certificate of appreciation to Joe Creamer, Charlotte Melson, Pat Ertz, and Michael Lightfoot for their service to the City. Steve Mock gave Mayor Bower a certificate of appreciation his service to the City.
Teresa Henry administered the oath of office to Mayor Michael McDonough, City Collector Kathie Schutte, Alderman Ward I Karen Black, Alderman Ward II Jim Aziere, Alderman Ward III Mark Moore, Alderman Ward IV Steve Meyers, and Alderman Ward V Eric Teeman.
There was an adjournment – Sine Die. Mayor Bower said this is the adjournment of the legislative body Sine die, and no motion necessary. He explained Sine die is a Latin term for "without a day." It is a term to describe the finish of the legislative session.
After a short reception for the outgoing Board and the new incoming Board, the new session was started.
Teresa Henry swore in Police Officers: Shanna Clausen, Nicholas Quatrocky, Christopher Smith and Joseph Wise.
The Board voted for Steve Mock to continue as Mayor Pro Tem. The vote was unanimous.
The Board passed a resolution establishing the rates for medical and dental Insurance for July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016. Debbie Duncan told the Board The City has received the rate increases from Midwest Public Risk (MPR). The City currently offers three types of coverage: Employee, Tier 2, and Family. Each plan type has three options: HMO, Cigna Open Access 750 (PPO B) and Choice Fund 1500. The Choice Fund 1500, a high-deductible plan with associated Health Savings Account (HSA), was added two years ago and has increased in enrollment each year. The average increase for each coverage type is 3.8%, with the HMO increasing 4.5%, PPO (B) increasing 4.9% and Choice Fund 1500 increasing 2%. Attached are two proposals to fund health insurance from July 2015 to June 2016. The City currently pays 94.5% of the HMO plan. Any employee choosing this coverage who utilizes a more expensive option would pay the difference. The City currently pays approximately 70% of the HMO plan for both Tier 2 and Family coverage. Any employee choosing this coverage who utilizes a more expensive option would pay the difference. Both proposals would fall within current budgetary amounts. Option 1 is to retain City participation at the same rate structure and then share the increase in premiums proportionately. The City share would increase approximately $2,280 for 24 payrolls for a total annual increase of $54,720.00. This option would fall within current budgetary amounts. Option 2 is to reduce the City contribution by 2.0% and then share the increase in premiums proportionately. The City share would increase approximately $1,608.00 for 24 payrolls for a total annual increase of $38,590.00 .This option would fall within current budgetary amounts. Staff did review other scenarios but feel the two proposals being presented fall within the lines of previous years practice and within budget. In the past management has expressed the desire to slowly lower the City participation rate to the mid 80% range. However due to significant rate increases and limited wage increases over the past few years that plan had been put on hold. The staff believes with the excellent renewal and the Board approved wage increases in the current budget that it would be appropriate to reduce City participation. Therefore, it is staff’s recommendation that the Board approve option 2 above reducing city participation by 2%.
After discussion by the Board, Ward 4 Alderman Bill VanBuskirk made a motion to accept option 1, which reduced City participation by 2%. The Board unanimously approved the motion.
How to Tell (and Help Him Slim Down)
Today’s guest post for Fit Bottomed Pets Week is from Mikkel Becker! Mikkel is a certified trainer specializing in dogs and cats, co-author of five books in the “Ultimate Pet Lover” series, and the resident trainer for Vetstreet.com. In her professional work, Becker uses positive reinforcement and non-force training strategies based in scientific learning theory.
America’s four-legged inhabitants are fighting the battle of the bulge along with their human companions. Not only are more than 50 percent of Americans overweight or obese, but the same can said about their pets. READ MORE
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