Sunday, December 6, 2015

RAYTOWN'S LEADING NEWS SOURCE

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BY GREG WALTERS
Agenda Policy
Needs Clarification
The City of Raytown is required by city ordinances and the Sunshine Law of the State of Missouri to post meeting agenda’s at least five days before the meeting is held. The purpose is to give the public an opportunity to become aware of what is happening on the local level.

In governmental circles, the end result is transparency. The requirement guarantees the public will have an opportunity be well informed on issues that affect them. A good example is the last meeting in which the Board of Aldermen passed an ordinance enabling the city to increase the amount of tax it collects on the sale electricity. (see Paul’s Notes following this column)

Under the previous administration it was not unusual for an agenda to be “amended” at the beginning of the meeting. The practice circumvented local and state laws on published agendas. It is refreshing to report that under Mayor McDonough’s administration, the practice has been stopped.

Still, there is a policy change that should be considered.

In a number of meetings since they were sworn in, Board members, in particular, Ward 4 Alderman Steve Meyers, has asked that items be re-arranged as a courtesy to anyone who is attending the meeting from the public and wishes to address the Board.

We applaud Mr. Meyers' gentlemanly intentions, and, the Board’s willingness to go along with his suggestions.

However, there is room for improvement. It is not difficult to determine which items will bring the public to a meeting. Most will have to do with zoning applications. The Board should set a policy whereby those items are placed on the agenda early in the meeting.

All it will take is direction from the Board to the City Administrator to make this happen. In that way the public will not have to sit around cooling their heels while the Board spends time on what amount to house-keeping measures.


Paul’s Notes: 
Board Approves Franchise Tax Increase on Electricity
The Board approved an ordinance which allows the city to collect more franchise tax from electric utility bills. Kansas City Power and Light has been granted a rate increase for the electricity it sells the public. The Board of Aldermen jumped on board the inflationary rate hike by passing an ordinance allowing them to collect more tax on electricity.

Due to the inflationary nature of the rate increase, KCP&L will receive more money. The city’s Franchise Tax will take more money. And, the City’s Sales Tax will take more money.

Bottom line is, Raytowners will have to dig deeper into their pockets to pay for the rate increase and the two taxes associated with the cost of electricity.

BY PAUL LIVIUS
The Paul Livius Report
Raytown Board of Aldermen Meeting
December 1, 2015

The Board approved a resolution to reappoint Allan Thompson to the Tax Increment Financing Commission.

The Board approved a resolution to reappoint Gerald Young to the Tax Increment Financing Commission.

The Board approved a resolution to appoint Nancy Nail to the Raytown Park Board.

The Board approved a resolution to appoint Chris Rathbone to the Raytown Park Board.

The Board passed 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 passed 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.

The Board approved a resolution approving a continuation of an existing service with McKesson for EMS Billing services and supplies including integrated patient care reporting software and related.  Medical billing requires extensive knowledge of the Medicare system as well as ongoing training and education. Outsourcing ambulance billing is the most efficient and effective method of billing. It would not be cost effective to do ambulance billing in-house. In addition, the Department of Emergency Medical Services has an existing agreement which is in effect until January 31, 2016. Raytown Emergency Medical Services has also forged excellent relationships with McKesson over the years and the two organizations have been working together continually to improve all aspects of the ambulance billing processes.  Alderman Green said this contract expires in a couple of months. Is the city planning to renew it then?  Mr. Jonsei said they were exploring all options for the EMS billing.
The Board passed a resolution approving an agreement for inmate security housing services with Johnson County Missouri sheriff’s office. This facility houses the inmates for Raytown.

The Board approved a resolution approving a maintenance contract with Motorola Solutions.  The Police Department uses the Motorola radio system during its normal course of duties.
To ensure the life span of the equipment having the manufacturer perform the maintenance will make certain the equipment has the best service available. Proper maintenance is necessary to extend the usable life of the radios. This is a recurring yearly contract between Motorola and the City of Raytown to provide maintenance and infrastructure repairs to the radio system in case of failure. Motorola is the sole source provider for this service.

The Board passed a resolution approving the purchase of fuel from Maher Oil Company off the city of Olathe, Kansas Cooperative Purchase.  The City of Raytown is presently purchasing fuel from Maher Oil Company utilizing a cooperative purchasing contract administered by Olathe, KS. This contract provides the City of Raytown favorable pricing associated with the purchasing power of Olathe, KS. The current contract was put into effect on June 1, 2015 and extends until May 31, 2016. The cooperative contract is planned to be renewed for Olathe, KS beginning June 1, 2016. Fiscal Year 2015-2016 budgeted amounts for all city departments and the Fire Department totals $279,628.00. The Fire Department is budgeted for an expense of $25,200.00 which the Fire Department reimburses the city for the actual usage expense; therefore, the actual City budgeted expenses are $254,428.00.  Total expenditures with Maher Oil Company in Fiscal Year 2014-2015 were $160,986.00. Due to the fluctuating nature of fuel prices, previous fiscal year expenditures were reviewed for Fiscal Year 2015-2016 projections. Fiscal Year 2013-2014 expenditures were $250,781.37 and Fiscal Year 2012-2013 expenditures were $264,638.81.

The Board approved a resolution approving the expenditure of additional funds through a change order with Wiedenmann, Inc. This is related to the storm water infrastructure repair for 59th Street and Raytown Road and 59th Terrace and Raytown Road.  In October 2015, the staff brought two storm water issues to the Board to inform the Board of urgent repairs needed. The issue along Raytown Road near 59th Terrace has been repaired. The second issue was in regard to a 60” pipe that ran parallel to 59th Street, then crossed 59th. Repair of this issue is underway. In preparing for the repair, two locations were found where the pipe had actually failed.

Before a new invert can be poured, the two locations where the pipe had failed must be repaired. Staff obtained a proposal from Wiedenmann, Inc. for replacement of 20 feet of pipe at one failed location, and installation of a concrete collar at the second location. The quotes were $12,238.75 for the pipe replacement and $8,906.76 for installation of the concrete collar.  Additional quotes were not required since the contract with Wiedenmann, Inc. is part of a cooperative contract through the City of Lee’s Summit, MO. The cooperative contract is a time and materials contract, and the project is not expected to exceed the proposed amount. The funds are available from unbudgeted reserves. The staff is recommending that the budget be amended to reflect an additional $21,145.51.

Alderman Steve Meyers said the city has only budgeted $60,000 for storm water repairs.  How much does the city need to spend to fix the problems?  Kati Gonzalez said if the city was to repair all the problems that affect our citizens, it would be upwards of $30,000,000.  Alderman Meyers said this particular project is a “pants on fire” project.  How much of the $30,000,000 are “pants on fire” projects?  Ms. Gonzales said the staff is in the process of putting together a list.  She should be able to publish it Thursday.

Alderman Aziere asked where the staff gets the information to compile the list.  Ms. Gonzalez said it is from previous studies and citizens’ complaints.  The staff then evaluates if the problem is a nuisance or a major problem.  Alderman Aziere asked if the Board could see this list.  He said the Aldermen know where the problems are in the wards that the staff doesn’t know about.

The Board passed 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.

The Board approved an ordinance reaffirming the gross receipts tax to be imposed upon electric corporations conducting business with the city.  KCP&L 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 which will increase the amount Raytowner’s pay for the tax on electricity.

 

In Our Mailbox . . .
We received the following letter from one of our regular reader’s this past week. We found it interesting and thought we run it here for general information. We do not know who the rude photographer was, but we know he or she was not from the Raytown Report. (we were not at the event). Our policy on photographs, particularly when it comes to individuals, is to receive permission before taking photos and then sharing the photo with the individual before publishing.

The writer has a good point. As a former public official I have had obnoxious reporters sticking cameras in my face trying to create a “gotchya” moment. Though not exactly the same situation that took place at Mr. Dickens’ rendition of The Christmas Carol, the writer’s point is well made.

Gerald Dickens, the great-great-grandson of Charles Dickens, performed The Christmas Carol the other week here at the Raytown Mid-Continent.  He later wrote about it:

"This year the Mid Continent’s marketing team have a done a fabulous job and there has been a great deal of media interest during my stay.  At this show there is a journalist from a local newspaper, as well as a video cameraman from the Kansas City Star (which is slightly confusing, as the Star is a print newspaper).

From the stage I can see the KC Star cameraman discreetly positioned behind a pillar, making sure that he does not disrupt the performance, or get in the audience’s way.

The local journalist quickly becomes apparent too, for he is sitting in the front row, and taking a whole series of flash photographs which are completely distracting to me and presumably to everyone around him.  I can see Kimberly at the side of the audience considering whether to move in and tell him to stop, but it becomes academic as he gets up and leaves after twenty minutes.  It is not a sensitive display on his part."

...and after his performance was over...

"Standing very patiently to one side is the Kansas City Star journalist who wants to record a brief interview to accompany the footage that he took during the show.  I make sure to thank him for being so discreet and respectful during the show. ‘That’s the job’ he replies.  Hmm, I wish that all journalists realised that."

Just sharing in case someone accuses either of you of being 'that guy'.


People For Bikes
As many readers know, Greg is a bicycling enthusiast. Evidenced by his annual participation in RAGBRAI (Registers Great Bike Ride Across Iowa).

The Board of Aldermen has snuffed the plan to put bike lanes on Blue Ridge Boulevard. Perhaps the City should look into funding from a bill recently passed by Congress that may be another source of money for the worthwhile project.

To learn more about this worthwhile group visit: LEARN MORE

All year long we’ve been asking you to write letters to your leaders in support of better bicycling. We’re here to tell you that the 35,000 letters PeopleForBikes supporters wrote in 2015 made a difference.

Yesterday, President Obama signed into law a five-year transportation bill that includes hundreds of millions of dollars per year for bicycle and pedestrian projects.

This victory belongs to you! In 2015, you also helped secure bike funding in Seattle and Florida, defeated a proposed bike tax in Wisconsin and spoke up against harmful bike laws in North Carolina.

BY KRISTEN
A Green Ginger Smoothie
Plus a Tip for Nutrition on the Go!

A couple of weeks ago, I attended Yoga Journal Live in Hollywood, Fla. with my friend Megan from Designer Protein. Although she was flying in from California, it was just a drive for me, and since we’re both such smoothie geeks, I offered to bring my Vitamix along so we could make smoothies. You know, like you do. (You don’t? Well, you should.) READ MORE

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8 comments:

Anonymous said...

The federal government spends hundreds of millions of dollars on projects to help people ride bicycles and walk when we are we trillions of dollars in debt. It's just money.

Anonymous said...

Pedestrian and cyclist are great for helping with emission controls, living green and living healthy.. In a world of overweight people with more health issues than decades ago coupled with the poor air quality; it would be to all cities advantage to make safety for cyclist and pedestrians job one.

Andy Whiteman said...

12:42 PM, I totally agree! When I selected my house in Raytown, I chose it because it was walking distance to the Post Office, 2 banks, 2 auto repair shops, 2 restaurants, City Hall, and a very long walk to 2 grocers. Also there was a nice walk either to the lake or around RHS for my dog who demanded 2 to 3 daily walks. I walked Hank to City Hall and to Raytown Water Company to pay my bills. What I especially liked was that it was an older area with no sidewalks for me to trip on or slip on the ice! After Hank died, I put on 40 pounds but I still walked to the Post Office and to the bank to deposit my check.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

I am all for communities building bike and walking paths as they see fit. The federal government has no constitutional authority to spend federal tax dollars on local projects. I realize the Constitution doesn't stop them.

Ralph Stewart said...

Anonymous 12:57 -

Please, please show us where anyone, anywhere on this blog in any way indicated there was some sort of Constitutional obligation for the Federal government to spend money on the local level. I have been through the blog and the comments to the blog for several weeks and can find no suggestion as to what you are talking about. I'm beginning to think you just like to rant about topics without knowing any of the necessary facts.

Anonymous said...

Ralph just become the smartest person on here. Facts? Reasonable assertions?

KMCCLA said...

There will be a special event Amateur Radio event at the National WW 1 Museum, at Liberty Memorial. This will be a 36 hour event, and will be commemorating the withdraw from Gallipoli. Come down and see what fun Amateur Radio is.

Kelly McClanahan / KCØKM

Anonymous said...

Yes but the Federal government give us FREE MONEY.