Saturday, December 12, 2015


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Who Will Pay Power and Light Rate and Franchise
Tax Increase?

The recent approval of a rate Increase for customers of Kansas City Power and Light is anticipated to cost the average homeowner in Raytown about $15 more each month on their electric bill.

The Raytown Board of Aldermen was quick to increase the Franchise Tax on the increased utility rate as well. Raytowners will have to dig deeper into their pockets to pay the electric and franchise tax increases.

But not all Raytowners will be affected by the rate increase. According to a news story in the Kansas City Star those homeowners who live in areas  once serviced by Aquilla will not see the increase. As a result, those Raytowners will not be charged the additional Franchise Tax.*

Did the Board of Aldermen consciously raise the franchise tax on some Raytowners, but not others?

Next time you see one of your elected officials it would be a fair question to ask if they purposely approved a tax increase that one half of Raytown must pay, but the other half will not.

*AS REPORTED IN THE KANSAS CITY STAR: “KCP&L said the rate request covers about 270,000 of its 565,000 Missouri customers in its traditional territory, which includes most of Kansas City. The rest of its customers in western Missouri, including those in St. Joseph and in some area suburbs such as Raytown, will not have to pay for the upgrade.”
“Those customers were once served by Aquila, which was acquired by KCP&L.” 

City to Receive Tax Windfall
The City of Raytown will reap a significant windfall from the rate increases. Franchise Taxes and Sales Taxes are based upon the gross amount of a sale. If the utility rate increases, the amount collected by local government increases with it.

Anyone who suggests otherwise is being dishonest.

The bottom line is that one half of the people in Raytown will pay the utility increase. Those who live in the areas previously serviced by Aquila will not pay the rate increase or the Franchise and Sales Taxes connected to the utility bills.

If the Board did agree to the unequal taxation of Raytown citizens . . . shame on them.

If they were unaware of the result of their action  . . .  shame on them for not doing their homework.

If the latter is the case, the Board should be angry at those who misled them to believe what they did is a fair and equitable way to treat Raytowners.

Kylee's Toy Drive
Everyone has their favorite charity. Mine is Kylee’s Toy Drive. Kylee Maple is a ten year Raytown resident who collects toys for children who would not otherwise receive new toys as Christmas.

This is Kylee’s third year in her toy drive. 

Her toy drive is called Kylee's Kids and this year the toys will be donated to the Raytown Emergency Assistance Program and The 3 Wish Foundation. If you wish to make a donation to Kylee’s Kids you can do so by using either of the two links listed above.

Thank you for your effort Kylee, and Merry Christmas!

Brooks Running Stocking Stuffer Giveaway!
Want to go on a joyride? Hey, us, too — especially if by “joyride” you mean an awesome winter run plus a sah-weet Brooks Running giveaway! (And, remember, we’re a brand ambassador for them because we  L-O-V-E them so much.)

I recently got to try two Joyride pieces from Brooks: The Joyride Beanie and the Joyride Mitten. And, guys, winter running accessories just don’t get any better. We’re talking details. DETAILS. READ MORE

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Raytown Newbie said...

Dear Friends,

This time around, I am one of the lucky ones. My house is in the area that won't see an increase in the electric bill. However, I am in the part of Raytown that is served by the Raytown Water company and our water bill is going up. I feel bad for those who fall in the area that sees an increase on both bills. And I envy those lucky ones who dodge both increases.

Like many of my fellow Raytowners, There's no raise in my SS check this year either, but my city/county taxes keep climbing.

I was surprised to see the listing information on a house up the street from me. It is bigger and nicer than mine and is listed for more than mine is appraised at by $20K and yet the taxes are about $500/year less. I am flattered the county thinks my old house is worth so much but I will probably contest the appraisal next year.

So, anywhere you look you can find inequality in how we are taxed. Pretty tough to make it absolutely "fair". Oh, BTW, I was filling up at the gas station the other day and the gentleman on the other side of the pump explained to me how he licenses his big diesel truck and RV in Florida so he can avoid the personal property tax bite here. Wonder how much of that goes on?

Oh well, Have a nice weekend. Almost half way through December and no snow!! YIPPEE.

Regards, RN

Anonymous said...

Aquila served all of Raytown, so looks like this story was much about nothing.

Greg Walters said...

The earlier comment about Aquila serving all of Raytown is soooo wrong! I have lived here all my life and due to my time on the City Council am well aware of which electric utility companies served Raytown in the past. Aquila served most of the eastern half of Raytown. Generally speaking, Elm Street was the dividing line from north to south of Raytown.

I grew up on east of Raytown Road near Gregory Boulevard. The utility company bills we received at that address were from Aquila. The first home I bought in Raytown was located just west of Raytown Road on 66th Terrace. Aquila was the utility company that serviced the area.

I now live on the west side of Raytown at 60th and Hunter. The power company serving this house has always been Kansas City Power and Light. Even before Kansas City Power and Light acquired Aquila and made them part of KCP&L.

The reason KCP&L has two different rate structures is because the old section of Kansas City Power and Light draws its power supply from a different network that the power used to supply homes in what was once Aquila.

In my opinion, the decision to penalize rate payers under the old KCP&L section what amounts to a higher amount of tax than other sections of the city is just plain wrong.

Peter said...

I grew up south of Gregory west of elm that house has always been KCPL , I bought a house in that area 40 yrs ago and it too has always been Kcpl and Raytown water co. My daughter bought a home in Raytown 20 yrs ago that was Aquila and water district #2.
Yes the article is true and now the previous comment will have some real knowledge of Raytown. Some of us old ones who grew up in Raytown and stayed to raise our family are well aware of this one Greg.

Andy Whiteman said...

Raytown Newbie,

Good luck in protesting your property taxes. Assessments should be out so now is the time to start. (Time to protest is limited.) I protested mine some years ago and kept being rejected by those who answered my calls after long hold times. Finally I asked for a manager. I made my case and he sent an appraiser to check my property. My assessment went down, but I still thought it was too high. I suggest you do your research and provide "comps" which are comparables of of properties on similar lot size and house size. They will disallow comps of foreclosures and bank sales because "they do not represent fair market value." You may get your comps from any of several internet sites. I finally based my argument on condition (leaking basement, etc.) "Bigger and nicer" doesn't establish much. It is the assessment, not taxes paid that counts. What are the exemptions on the property taxes? If the owner has a military, senior, or low income exemption the taxes may be less. When I am looking for a house, I always check county records for exemptions because the taxes stated on the MLS may be much lower for the owner than I as a buyer would pay since I don't have his exemptions.

When I worked at AT&T downtown, my 2nd level manager had Colorado plates on his cars. I asked about it and he said he owned a home in Colorado, registered his cars, and paid taxes in Colorado saving $$$.

Andy Whiteman

Raytown Newbie said...

Dear Greg,

I guess I don't really have a "dog in the fight" since I reside in an area exempt from the KCP&L rate increase. But I do want to understand the issue better. I just deconstructed my current bill. The total charges for service at my house were $116.31. Then there is a city license fee shown of $9.30(calculates to 8%). Then finally a city sales tax amount of $2.32 ( which is 2% on the $116.31).

This was all added together to get my monthly bill of $127.93.

Based on my numbers, it does not appear that the city applies sales tax on top of the franchise tax.

So are they going to change that now?

Also if the KCP&L increase is +/- $15 per household. That figures to net the city an additional $1.20 (8% of $15) for the franchise tax and 30 cents more sales tax.
So if that affects 2500 households it will be $3750 a month... not quite a windfall as I would envision it.

Is this one of those "stabbing at minnows while whales swim by" moments? From a previous blogger... thanks.

Anyway, please enlighten me if I have got it wrong.

And thanks for this blog

Regards, RN

Greg Walters said...

I read the "stabbing at minnows while whales swim by" as well. The comment sounded like an apologists trying to blow off the unfair policy of setting a two tier system whereby some are taxed more than there neighbors for the same service.

I look at it a different way.

Let's say you believe it is wrong to tax electricity twice on the same bill. So you quit paying one of the two taxes. It could be either the Franchise Tax or the Sales Tax, makes no difference.

Do you think the taxing authority or the utility would dismiss the slight loss in revenue as no big thing? Or, would they stab a those minnows and not really care if there were whales swimming by?

My guess is your electricity would eventually be turned off for non-payment of the entire bill. The City could exercise its authority to put a lien on your property for non-payment as well.

As for the number of households affected. Raytown has a population of roughly 30,000 people. I really do not know how many were former Aquila customers. For arguments sake, lets say it is half of Raytown. Using your figures, the $3750 increase in monthly income would equal $45,000 annually.

A nice sized chunk of change Raytowners were not paying a year earlier.

From my point of view, the amount is not important. The city is wrong to tax part of its population more than the other half.

Right is right and wrong is wrong. The City Council was definitely on the wrong side in this situation.

Vicky said...

I saw on the upcoming agenda that the staff at City Hall finally got the message. There are 2 items where people are coming to the Board for action. Instead of putting these items last like the staff has been doing, these items are now first on the list. Good job, Steve Meyers!

Andy Whiteman said...

Raytown Newbie, I did the same calculation on my utility bills several years ago and discovered that the franchise fee was taxed with the sales tax. I contacted the Finance Director at that time who stated that the Franchise Fee is properly taxed. Maybe things have change since then.

KCPL rates up only $15 per household? I question this type of calculation whether it an utility increase or tax bond issue! This type of calculation is minimized as much as possible by tax increased on a house of $15,000 value or utilities based on very minimal use. Who in Raytown has a house assessed <$150K or uses minimal utilities? I always used more than the minimal utility calculation especially in the summer when the a/c was on. My neighbors in Raytown couldn't understand why I kept my house hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It was because I couldn't afford the high utility rates compounded with City franchise fees and sales tax!

Andy Whiteman

KMCCLA said...

What is "interesting" is the power pretty much all comes from the same place anyway. Even though in the past there was Aquila (aka MoPub), and KCPL, all of the [primary] substations are interconnected. I was able to a small microcosm of the power grid. Power plants, transition lines, sub stations, are all interconnected to each other. So to say one part of town is worse/better off than the other, really is not true, per say, the power all comes from the same place, just via different routes.

Anonymous said...

Not sure all the power comes from the same place. The increase in the cost of electricity for the old KCP&L area includes costs involved with Wolf Creek because a lot of the power is generated at that plant. Since it is a nuclear power plant it has costs that you will not find at a power plant that makes electricity by burning coal. Which is where the power from the old Aquila area comes from. So the rates will be different for that reason.

The city jumped on the rate increase and passed legislation to take advantage of it by increasing the money raked in from the franchise fee. It was not done because of increased costs to the the city. It was done to satisfy greed.

It is an ill-advised strategy to raise income by taxing one part of the population more than the other part. To say the least it is discriminatory. Our representatives should take better care of those who put them in office.

Andy Whiteman said...

Merry Christmas to my Raytown friends:

Please cut and paste the link to your browser to view the ecard.

KMCCLA said...

As I said above, I was able to "map out" (via Google Earth) a small microcosm of the power grid in the Kansas City area. However, it is complicated to explain how the power grid looks and works. Granted, for the most part, most of the [primary] substations are connected to certain power plants. In my mapping project, I discovered that there are two (or three, depending on how you look at it) substations; primary, with multiple lines servicing it, and secondary, with either the line "passes through" or "doglegs" to another substation. For instance, the substation at 59th and Woodson, for the most part is connected to Sibley, via (the Dogwood plant), at Pleasant Hill, but it also is connected to the one near the Sports Complex, and also is connected to (a substation in) Blue Springs. The Loma Vista (near 87th and Hillcrest area), is connected to Montrose Plant (now shuttered, being converted from coal to natural gas). In turn, Loma Vista [substation] is connected to 87th and Troost, and one near the Sports complex. The Troost [substation] is connected to (one of three lines) to Spring Hill, which in turn is connected to La Cyene, and that turn is connected to Wolf Creek. The other lines from Troost go down to Harrisonville, and towards downtown. The once south of the Sports Complex (I-435 and Raytown Road) finds it's way to the Hawthorn Plant (435 and Front Street), which in turn, is connected to Sibley. It is all an interconnected "web" of sorts. So while certain areas are with in a certain "region" of a power plant, the way the power grid works, there is this complex "web" of inter-connected network of power stations and substations. So you are correct, in the sense certain areas are under certain power plants, however, because of the interconnections a redundancy of the grid, if one power plant, or substation, goes down, or a certain area is needing more power, the power can come from other sources.

Raytown Newbie said...

Christmas Greetings to you Andy. The card is beautiful. Thanks

Anyone who wants to check it out should be sure to copy both lines into their browser.

Merry Christmas Raytowners.

Regards, RN

Anonymous said...

I understand what you are saying about the power grid. The more telling sign for me that rates will be different is the lack of action by the Public Service Commission. I do not know how they determine electrical rates. Kansas City Power and Light is a regulated utility. If it was all the same throughout the KCP&L District the rates for the former Aquila area would have been raised at the same time. Since the rates were not raised at the same time my guess is they will be different. Time will tell.

Raytown Newbie said...

Oh boy, had a skiff of snow so I'll be up all night as the plows try to grind away the remaining pavement on Blue Ridge Blvd.

I know the guys need the overtime, but really?

Okay, maybe I am just over reacting. They probably won't be out all night plowing. Will they?

Have a Happy New Year Raytowners

Regards, RN

Anonymous said...

I agree with Michael. Raytown is a nice place to live. Super Splash has outlived its time. It bothers me that our political leaders are doing such an elaborate dance around keeping it open. The place is not viable and i don't care how much money you throw at it it will remain a failure because the number of children and teenagers needed to make it viable no longer live here. Maybe in another ten years they will. But right now the numbers do not support it. I find it interesting that in the 1980's Super Splash made money. Now it is losing money. Shouldn't that be an indication of what works and what does work?

Vicky said...

Now that the YMCA has reopened, perhaps Aziere will finally allow Super Splash to close. It is old, dirty, understaffed and unsafe. The money saved by closing Super Splash could repair a lot of storm sewers.

BTW - I keep hearing rumors that city hall wants to get another tax to pay just for storm water so all the other money can go to the parks. If they try it, I will do my darnedest to defeat it. They need to use the money we gave them for the uses they said they were going to.

Anonymous said...

Please do not call it a YMCA it is operated by the School Dist. as a wellness center. The Y is no longer a Christian organization and does not care about Raytown.

Vicky said...

2:28 - you're right. Thanks for the correction.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the clarification. I hope Park Board members are reading these comments. There is definitely interest in developing the old YMCA. A good chance for the city to work with the school district. With the savings from clsoing down super splash they could do it all without a tax increase.

Kevin said...

The article in Randy's Rag stated the new Wellness Center will be open to Raytown residents, with senior citizens getting a discount.

Anonymous said...

268-7000. That's the phone number to Raytown School District offices. Give 'em a call. They will be able to tell you if Raytowners can sign up for using the old YMCA.

Anonymous said...

Got news for your buddy. It is that way all over. Don't be so gloomy. Raytown has good people living in it too. People who take care of their property. They pay their bills and act responsibly. Do not turn your back on them. Remind our city leaders they have a tough job to do. The hardest part of that job is making hard decisions. They will be judged on how good they do that job.