Sunday, September 27, 2015


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To view a copy of the Park Board Survey scroll down to the end of this week's Raytown Report.

Park Survey
with Hidden Agenda? 
A regular reader of the Raytown Report has forwarded a copy of a Park and Recreation Survey sent to selected households in Raytown. The focus of the eight page survey is to learn the desires of Raytown residents as it regards to services offered by the City of Raytown through its Parks and Recreation Department.

Most of the questions deal with the current level of use of those taking the survey. But there are a number of questions that may leave a person taking the survey scratching their head in wonder?

For instance, Question 7 asks for . . . “reasons that PREVENT you or other members of your household from using parks,” . . .

Nineteen choices are left for the reader to wade through in giving answer. Surprisingly, the one reason many Raytowners would give would be “the parks do not feel safe” is masked with a more benign choice of “security is insufficient”.

Question 17 deals exclusively with Super Splash. In a preamble to the question of the water parks future it is explained that “more than $160,000 of tax dollars are spent annually from the local option sales tax to help fund operating costs.” The statement masks the fact that the $160,000 expenditure could be used to improve neighborhood streets and improve street lighting if not spent on Super Splash. Four of the five choices give varying responses geared toward maintaining the facility. One option suggests closing it down.


Question number 19 asks if the respondent would support a sales tax to increase funding for the parks. Again, two responses suggest an affirmative answer. Four choices of a response are given.
Vote in favor
Might vote in favor
Not sure
Vote against
Once again, two affirmative responses are shown as an option to one in opposition.


In the world of poll taking, this type of poll is referred to as a “push poll”. Not all of the questions guide the poll participant towards an answer. However, enough of the key questions that would directly affect park policy, as the Safety Issue, Super Splash and Sales Tax questions illustrate, are salted into the poll to reach a desired response.

The City of Raytown spent over $50,000 to create a plan for the future of Raytown Parks. Part of that money was used to pay ETC Institute of Olathe, Kansas to conduct the above mentioned survey.

The ETC Institute proudly proclaims the following on its website located at www.

Since 1992, the principals and associates of ETC Institute/Leisure Vision have helped secure funding for more than $2.5 billion of parks and recreation projects. The firm has extensive experience conducting surveys as components of plans leading to successful voter elections. Leisure Vision’s work allows the community to see itself in their planning efforts, providing buy-in and trust in the process.

In other words (to borrow a phrase from a once popular movie), “It’s all about the money, honey!”

Paul’s Rant!
I had meant to do a report on last Tuesday’s Budget Hearing of the City Council this week. However, the city has not yet posted the meeting to its You Tube site. I sincerely hope it is not an indication of returning to the practices of the previous administration of keeping the public in the dark on business proceedings at city hall.

Onward and forward . . . I had to chuckle after reading Bob Phillip’s (of the Raytown Times) take on the squabble between the Park Board and the City Council over sales tax dollars. Phillips wrote about  . . . “the city’s desire to grab some sales tax revenue” . . . from the Park Board.

It would be more accurate to have written the “city’s desire to fulfill a promise to the voters made in 2010”. The ballot language specifically stated the sales tax revenue is to be used for Park / Storm Sewer needs. For the past five years ALL of the money has been taken by the Parks Department.

I personally know Folks who have storm water problems, flooded basements and yards routinely eroded away from storm water runoff because the city unwisely allowed developments upstream from them. The City Council would be doing the right thing by fulfilling their promise and directing the money to solve the flooding problems.

Bob also wrote the amount raised by the sales tax comes to $290,000.

Wrong again!

Here are the correct figures:

Projected 1/8 cent Sales Tax Revenue . . . . . . . .  $350,000.00
Less TIF-EATS obligation/debt retirement  . . . . . - $  75,000.00
Total Tax Revenue/City of Raytown . . . . . . . .  $275,000.00

As the reader can see, $75,000 of the sales tax revenue is captured for TIF-EATS debt retirement. The amount left over is $275,000, not the $290,000 Bob wrote about.

The lesson here is that going deep into debt has consequences that can and do come back to haunt the borrower.

Finally, Greg’s story about the Park Department exploring another sales tax was interesting. Given the city’s track record on broken promises as to the use of sales tax dollars on both the Safety Tax (remember that one, we were supposed to receive more police protection) and now the 1/8 cent sales tax (supposed to have money spent on storm sewers), I don’t think the voters will be too receptive.

How to Make 
an Omelette 
and why chefs wear those goofy hats
Everybody and their brother is headed to culinary school these days. It looks like a fun occupation (and don’t get me wrong, it is), but it can also be a grueling, hot and often stressful job—plus you have to wear that goofy hat. The traditional checkered pants and chef’s coat are comfy enough, kin to medical scrubs if you ask me, but the hat—yikes! Who came up with that design? Those style mavens, the French, of course.

The toque blanche or French for “white hat,” dates back to the 16th century when every tradesman wore a hat of some sort, but over the years it has evolved into the pleated cylindrical shape you see today. A true toque blanche would have exactly 100 pleats, which legend has it represents the 100 ways to use an egg. READ MORE

Farmers Market to Host
My Yoga Centre October 10th
Stephanie Haynes, owner of My Yoga Centre, the newly opened yoga studio next to Benetti's Coffee on Blue Ridge Boulevard, will be at the Farmers Market on Saturday, October 10th to answer questions about yoga, offer free class passes, and hold a drawing for free yoga mats! Because My Yoga Centre has a Kid Yoga Party at the studio the first Friday of each month, they are happy to be sponsoring a fun craft at the kids table at the market, and teaching kids a few yoga poses, like tree pose, eagle arms, and superman pose on Saturday, too! 

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Anonymous said...

Let me get this straight. The city has $20,000 for a digital sign in front of city hall but cannot put any streetlights in my neighbohood because they do not have enough money! Someone has got their priorities all screwed up. I don't know who came up with the such an ignorant choice on projects but they should step forward and try to explain themselves. I would almost bet they do not live in Raytown and probably have streetlights where they do live! I am so tired of the regular Raytowner that pays the bills for such nonsense getting the short end of the stick. I voted for my new city councilman to get away from such stupid decisions. I hope he keeps his word and starts taking care of the people in Raytown ahead of the egomaniacs at city hall who think the world revolves around them.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for exposing the real plan behind the $50,000 spent on the park study. It looks like it is just a smokescreen to find another way to tax us more. I wonder if any of the $50k is for a campaign? If it is someone could be in a lot of trouble. It is illegal in Missouri to use public funds to campaign for ballot positions. Someone should send a memo to the BOA. They would be the ones ultimately guilty of breaking the law.

Anonymous said...

Does the BOA has a meeting on Tuesday or not??? - Its not on the calendar of events. But an agenda is list under public meetings.

Does this violate the Mo Sunshine Law??

Sorry Paul - I am positive the meeting of 09.22 and 09.29 will not be posted for few NOR will we see minutes of said events.

something smells at city hall.


Anonymous said...


As listed on the City's website under "Public Meetings", there will be a meeting tonight to discuss and vote on the tax levy rates. Because it has been there for over a week, the Sunshine Law has not been violated.

Anonymous said...

My questions is: This is not a regular scheduled meeting of the BOA it is a "special" session and is not listed on the calendar of events.

How is the public suppose to know about the meeting?

Unless you click into public meetings and see the agenda. Also what's up with the 6p start time? Several members of the BOA have jobs. Do they not want the BOA and general public to participate????


Anonymous said...


Why don't you just call City Hall and ask? 737-6000. Teresa Henry is very helpful and informative. I'm sure she would be happy to answer any and all of your questions.

Anonymous said...

When I see public meetings and want to know what it is about I go to the agenda that way if it is something I'm interested in I can go and also be prepared. Agendas are the best way to know what's going on.

Anonymous said...

The meeting tonight is at 6:00 so the out of town department heads can get home on time.

Anonymous said...

Let me help explain why the meeting is not posted as a meeting and why the meeting starts at 6:00 p.m.

The meeting is not posted because it is continued from a previous meeting.

TRANSLATION: We don't have to post it, so we will not post it. Besides, that takes effort. And we don't believe in putting much effort into anything. Especially if it has to do with informing the public. That's why you may have to wait an entire week to view a meeting on You Tube.


The meeting is started at 6:00 p.m.

TRANSLATION: Sure, we know a lot of the people in Raytown do not get home from work until after 6:00 p.m. But remember this. Our department heads all live far away from Raytown. Should we inconvenience them for the 30,000 people who live Raytown? I don't think so!


Anonymous said...

I saw a Public Meeting listed on the web site for the 29th at 6pm last week.

Jimmy said...

Which third grade classroom put together that park survey?

Beth said...

To Jimmy
I believe I read in Greg's opening on the Park Board Survey the name of the firm whom wrote it. Check out his piece at the beginning of this blog. I'm sure many of us would have prefered to write it.

Jimmy said...

Beth -

You sound like your smart. I bet you could do a better job.

Anonymous said...

The intersection of Raytown Road and 59th Street in front of city hall has one of the lowest traffic counts in town. Why would any thinking person choose to put a digital sign in front of it? The traffic count is so low it does not even merit a stop sign!

Anonymous said...

I find it so interesting that the city spends $50,000 on a park study that is nothing more than a thinly veiled campaign piece. The city also budgeted $50,000 for street lights last year. Not a single light was installed with the money. But the park board's survey was printed and mailed.

At least with the street lights we would have something we could continue using. The study, particularly the questions in the study leaves absolutley nothing of lasting value.

Once again, we the taxpayers are left with little to show for our tax dollars.

It is disturbing. I thought this new board would be different. but I am beginning to wonder.

Anonymous said...

Looks like the work on the old YMCA is moving along; I see workmen there daily. Glad the building will no longer sit vacant

Anonymous said...

Tell me who and when was the $50,00l0 authorized for the survey. Did the new board do this?


Anonymous said...

There is a stop sign for northbound Raytown Rd and a yield sign for eastbound to southbound Raytown Rd. Know what you're talking about before speaking.