Sunday, November 22, 2015

RAYTOWN'S LEADING NEWS SOURCE



If "thank you"
is the only prayer you say, 
that will be enough.

Thanksgiving Blessings to Everyone from
Greg  and  Paul


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BY GREG WALTERS
Park/Storm Water
Sales Tax Meeting
Nineteen people were in attendance last Thursday when the special committee appointed by Mayor Michael McDonough held its first meeting. The Committee is made up of seven members. 

Two of the committee also hold seats on the Raytown Park Board (George Mitchell and Michael Hannah), two of the members hold seats on the Raytown Board of Aldermen (Karen Black and Eric Teeman), and two members are private citizens (Steve Knabe and Angel Abercrombie). Former State Representative Ralph Monaco has been appointed Chairman of the Committee.

The Committee is tasked with recommending a solution to an impasse on the split of a Sales Tax between Parks and Storm Sewer needs. As expected, the two members of the Park Board want all of the funds to remain within the park budget. The City representatives wish to use part of the funds for storm sewer needs to control flooding in Raytown neighborhoods.

Generally speaking, Park Board members spoke of traditional support from the City to Parks in the past. City Council members point to the specific language on the ballot which clearly states the sales tax dollars will be for “FOR THE PURPOSE OF FUNDING LOCAL PARKS/STORM WATER CONTROL”.

Members from the audience threw in their two cents worth as well. A former Park Board member provided literature used in the 2010 campaign to urge support of the voters for the sales tax. Committee member Steve Knabe pointed out the campaign literature specifically mentions the sales tax will be used for both purposes.

Some members of the audience suggested without the addition of the storm water portion of the tax question, the sales tax may not have passed.

In response to comments of the need to build trust between the people of Raytown and its elected leaders, Chairman Ralph Monaco ended the meeting on a positive note.

He told those in attendance he is certain there will be resolution to this discussion. He anticipated the meetings will continue until mid-February. At which time the Committee recommendation will be sent to the Board of Aldermen for final resolution.


Paul's Notes . . . Readers may want to contact their Aldermen about a proposed tax increase under  consideration on electricity by the Board of Aldermen. The tax increase is the result of a rate increase by Kansas City Power and Light. If the Board of Aldermen approves the ordinance taxpayers will see a substantial increase in their electric bills.


BY PAUL LIVIUS
The Paul Livius Report 
Raytown Board of Aldermen Meeting
November 17, 2015

SALT CONTRACT: The Board passed a resolution approving the purchase of salt for the purpose of treating roads and bridges in inclement weather from Independent Salt Company.  In June, Independent Salt Company submitted a bid for 800 tons of salt at $63.99/ton resulted in an expenditure of $51,192.00. The contract, approved by the Board of Aldermen on July 7, 2015, includes the option to purchase additional salt at the same unit price of $63.99/ton through March 31, 2016. The staff recommended the purchase of 800 additional tons from Independent Salt Company to be delivered prior to March 31, 2016 to replenish salt levels that are anticipated to be used through the winter season.

KANSAS CITY AREA TRANSPORTATION CONTRACT: The Board passed an ordinance approving a contract for transit Kansas City Area Transportation Authority in an amount not to exceed $58,151. This is a demand-response public transportation service (Metro Flex) that the City has provided under contract with the KCATA since April 2001.  The City of Kansas City also pays the same amount as the City of Raytown to the KCATA for the Metro Flex service as the service area extends beyond Raytown to make connections with the rest of the KCATA network to the north and to the south within Kansas City.  The hours of operation for the Metro Flex service are from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.; and from 2:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. The proposed agreement would maintain that level of service at a cost of $58,151 which is an increase from $55,273 for 2014-2015.  The increase is due to increased operational costs but is within the amount budgeted by the City for this service. 

This contract will be for a 12-month period that mirrors the City’s budget year.  A presentation by the KCATA will be provided at a future Board of Aldermen meeting which will provide further details relating to number of riders, origins, and destinations of riders and other service information over the past 12 months.  Shawn Strate, with KCATA, said riders must call 24 hours in advance to arrange rides.  The regular fares are $1.50 per ride or $50 for a monthly pass.  Rates for senior citizens or the disabled are $0.75 per ride or $25 for a monthly pass. 

Alderman Mock said the cost to the city is increasing due to increased operational costs.  He asked when the last time the fares were increased.  Mr. Strate said the fares are set regionally.  If Raytown wanted to increase the fares, KCATA would have to contact all municipalities in the region.  Alderman Meyers pointed out the contract stated that when the operational losses reached $82,312, KCATA has the right to terminate service.  Mr. Strate said this is standard language in all the KCATA contracts.  Alderman Meyers said this is the second reading.  No one from KCATA bothered to come last week to answer these questions. The Board is expected to vote on this contract without time to digest the new information.  Attorney Joe Willerth said under the terms of the contract, if KCATA reaches the loss limit, they can either suspend service, or come back to the Board for more money.  Alderman Meyers asked Joe Willerth if there is a tie-in with KCATA and Walmart to require the bus stop in front of the new Walmart store.  Mr. Willerth said no.

MASSAGE PARLOR ORDINANCE APPROVED: The Board passed an ordinance granting an amendment to the regulations governing massage establishments as specified in Chapter 10 of the code of ordinances. Raytown staff is proposing to amend the language written in Chapter 10, titled Massage Establishments, Bath Houses, Modeling Studios, and Body Painting Studios”, is outlining business licensing requirements for massage establishments and massage therapists.  The City has previously adopted an ordinance requiring those wishing to open and operate a massage establishment within the city limits to go through extensive procedures and prerequisites that are now undertaken by the State of Missouri as part of their licensing requirements for these establishments. Such requirements include, but are not limited to, mandatory background checks for criminal convictions, written character references from three state residents, and health certificates proving the absence of communicable diseases from all massage therapists and employees.

FAILURE TO APPEAR LAW UPDATED: The Board heard the first reading of several ordinances.  They are to bring the city codes in compliance with State statutes:
Any person who willfully violates his/her written promise to appear or who shall fail to appear at the time and place scheduled in response to any summons or warrant shall be guilty of an ordinance violation regardless of disposition of the charge upon which he/she was originally arrested or summoned, with the exception of minor traffic.  As a municipal or county ordinance violation prosecuted that does not involve an accident or injury, that does not involve the operation of a commercial motor vehicle, and for which the department of revenue is authorized to assess no more than four points to a person's driving record upon conviction. Minor traffic violation shall exclude a violation for exceeding the speed limit by more than nineteen miles per hour or a violation occurring within a construction zone or school zone.

Whenever in any section of this Code or in any ordinance the doing of any act is required or is prohibited or is declared to be unlawful or a misdemeanor, and no specific fine or penalty is provided for a violation thereof, any person who shall be convicted of a violation of any such provision of this codification or of any such ordinance shall, for each offense be fined not more than $500.00 or be punished by imprisonment in jail not to exceed 90 days, or be punished by both fine and imprisonment. Exception is a minor traffic violation as defined in Section 1-2 where the fine and cost shall not exceed $300.00.

"Minor traffic violation", a municipal or county ordinance violation prosecuted that does not involve an accident or injury, that does not involve the operation of a commercial motor vehicle, and for which the department of revenue is authorized to assess no more than four points to a person's driving record upon conviction. Minor traffic violation shall exclude a violation for exceeding the speed limit by more than nineteen miles per hour or a violation occurring within a construction zone or school zone.

CITY TAX INCREASE ON ELECTRICITY: The Board heard the first reading of an ordinance reaffirming the gross receipts tax to be imposed upon electric corporations conducting business with the city.  Kansas City Power and Light is  has been granted a tariff increase in excess of 7% which necessitates the City to either reduce the current franchise fee of 7% approved in 2014 or adopt an ordinance opting out of this “roll back”. The staff is recommending the City opt out of the rollback thus maintaining the current franchise fee.

ZONING CHANGE ON 75TH STREET/350 HIGHWAY: The Board heard the first reading of an ordinance vacating a portion of the Right-of-way, legally described as 75th street, generally beginning at its Intersection with westbound highway 350 and extending west along the Centerline of 75th street approximately 130 feet.  The Planning & Zoning Commission at their November 12, 2015 meeting gave consideration to the requested right-of-way vacation. Block & Co on behalf of Raytown Auto Developers, LLC is seeking approval of the Final Plat of Raytown Crossing East – Second Plat. The final plat proposes to vacate a portion of 75th Street, located immediately west of westbound Highway 350. The portion of the street right-of-way proposed to be vacated is indicated by the cross-hatching on the Final Plat.

The Board heard the first reading of an ordinance approving the final plat of Raytown Crossing east-second plat, a subdivision.  Block & Co on behalf of Raytown Auto Developers, LLC is seeking approval of the Final Plat of Raytown Crossing East – Second Plat. The final plat proposes to create two lots that are to be developed for a restaurant and future commercial business or restaurant. The proposed lots, as depicted on the attached Final Plat are 1.35 acres and 0.80 acres. Lot 1, which was previously platted as part of Raytown Crossing East is 1.21 acres and was the first phase of a multi-phase redevelopment of the former Dodge dealership, BP Amoco and self-serve car wash properties that are located on the east side of Raytown Road  between the east and west bound lanes of Highway 350. In accordance with the approved Preliminary Plat and Preliminary Development Plan for this area, the Final Plat proposes construction of a new entrance drive on westbound Highway 350 which will result in the vacation of a portion of 75th Street, located immediately west of westbound Highway 350. The portion of the street-right-of-way proposed to be vacated is indicated by the cross-hatching on the enclosed Final Plat.


BY PAUL LIVIUS
Paul's Rant!
Gaggle of KC Star
Reporters Have It Wrong
Recently we have been treated to some old fashioned hyperbole compliments of two Kansas City Star writers, Mary Sanchez and Barbara Shelly.

Their target is any politician who believes increased screening of political refugees is a good idea. They have narrowed their target to Governors of these United States who have publicly agreed with a more stringent policy.

It should be noted the Governor’s have asked for a temporary halt. Their goal is safety and security. In light of the recent increase of terrorist attacks worldwide, it is the prudent course to take.

Not in the eyes of Sanchez and Shelly. Their response has been one of extreme partisanship, name calling, and a tendency to use weak historical references to buttress their argument.

Shelly refers to the 30 Governors as a “herd”. Sanchez is a little less demeaning, referring to them as a “pack”. I wonder how those two writers would feel if they were referred to as a “gaggle” of reporters, bent on demeaning their supposed enemies?

In Shelly and Sanchez eyes, the Governors have, as President Obama once famously said, drawn a “red line” when it comes to security in our nation.  Sanchez rants on even further in a follow-up column in which she compares 2015 to 1942 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt had people of Japanese heritage placed in refugee camps.

Many of our political leaders, Independents, Democrats and Republicans, are concerned for the safety of our country. I have yet to read where anyone has called for our borders to be closed (as has been done in France). Or for that matter, even a suggestion of internment camps. The reality is, there is not any firm evidence Americans want or should turn their backs on political refugees.

But only a reckless fool would go on with business as usual given the number of attacks in recent weeks.

 The Russian plane crash in Egypt caused by a terrorist bomb killed 242 people. The Paris attacks were preceded by twin suicide blasts in Beirut that killed 43 people. In Mali, 21 people were killed by terrorists following the Paris attack. The death toll in Paris stands at 130.

Make no mistake, the world is at war. The tactic of this war is terrorism. It is not a new tactic, but it has never been used on a scale of this size. The enemy has shown they are capable of striking across continents and borders. We would be wise to wake up to this reality and make certain we are as secure in protecting us from those who would do us harm.

Many of our leaders have stepped up and called for more vigilance. We should open our borders to political refugees trying to flee the horrors of war. But we should also make certain America remains a safe haven as well.

Their call for reviewing the mechanics of an influx of political refugees is the prudent course to take.


BY ERIKA
Healthy (and Super Delicious!) Pumpkin Swaps
‘Tis the season … for everything pumpkin! The problem with all those delectable pumpkin products? They’re often loaded with tons of sugar and calories, along with many other unwanted ingredients (and chemicals).

Lucky for us, Senior Dietitian Amanda Foti from Selvera Wellness mocked up some easy swaps to satisfy our cravings this holiday season. READ MORE

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8 comments:

Andy Whiteman said...

ANDY'S RANT:

One of the main reasons I left Raytown was the high cost of living. Raytown was affordable! Contributing to the high cost of living is the high electric and gas rates along with the franchise fee and sales tax. It was explained to me that the sales tax also taxes the franchise fee. In other words, it is a tax on a tax!

When I buy a house, I question the seller's precious utility bills. I am sure current and prospective new businesses also watch utility costs and taxes as a cost of doing business in making their decisions to move to Raytown or to leave Raytown.

I strongly suggest that the BOA lower the franchise fee and not tax the franchise fee with a sales tax since these taxes impact decisions on moving to or leaving Raytown.

Andy Whiteman

Beth said...

A franchise fee is not a tax it is a fee paid for use of right aways a company uses to do business in a local
Taxes are paid on the total of the bill

Andy Whiteman said...

Beth, I agree with you, but I, as a bill payer, consider it to be a tax since that I must pay it as a percentage of the bill rather than the utility paying it! What is really bad is that the fee is taxed by sales tax. I consider this to be a ripoff!

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Andy all utilities and extras like. Tv, phone, internet, etc charge these to the consumer as part of a doing business expense. It's in every town.

Anonymous said...

Planning and Zoning meets the first Thursday of the Month.

A meeting is scheduled for next week December 3, 2015

Zoning revision for "The Green Space" will be on the agenda

I encourage all to attend for public comments

Andy Whiteman said...

8:57 AM, I agree, but my main point was that due to the high cost of utilities plus the franchise fee compounded with sales tax makes living in Raytown affordable for the average person. This may cause people to leave Raytown causing vacant homes! Businesses as well as people make decisions about moving to or leaving a city such as Raytown based on several factors including but not limited to franchise fees, sales taxes, property taxes, etc. This needs to be considered if Raytown wants to attract and retain residents and businesses. Whether you call it a fee or a tax is totally irrelevant. There is no sense wasting your time and mine arguing over terminology!

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

To 8:57
I see the point you are making. I went to the Missouri department if revenue site and saw where the state if mo. Talks about franchise fees. Might have to find a state without them in order to avoid them. Like they say " one thing certain is death and taxes"

Anonymous said...

Andy I didn't mention a terminology therefore not arguing over that or going to; what I did say was these fees are everywhere. Please reread my 8:57 comment ; You may have confused me with someone else