Sunday, January 10, 2016


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- - - - - - BREAKING NEWS - - - - - - 

Park / Storm Sewer
Split to be 75/25 
Tuesday evening the Special Committee on the Storm Sewer/ Park Sales Tax formally recommended a division of a 1/8 cent sales tax.

The sales tax was approved by voters in 2010 to fund storm sewer repair and the Raytown Park system.

Ward 1 Alderman Karen Black brought the issue to the Board of Aldermen’s attention when she discovered the discrepancy last July.

Despite ballot language specifically guaranteeing the split of the sales tax revenue, the first six years of the tax revenue was given entirely to Raytown Parks and Recreation.

Tuesday night’s decision created a 75% (parks) / 25% (storm sewer) split of future revenue. Because of City Council action earlier this year, the split will not take effect until 2017, with only three years of the sales left before it is set to expire.

The result means that seven years of the tax will have gone to the Park Department despite promises in the ballot language for the revenue to be shared between the two needs.

The Committee also agreed to “guarantee” the Park Department would receive a minimum of $200,000 annually from the sales tax revenue.

The sales tax generates approximately $360,000 annually. However, not all of the revenue goes to taxpayer needs.

Due to a TIF agreement with 350 Live tax district (home of Walmart on 350 Highway), $75,000 of the sales tax revenue is taken off the top of the sales tax revenue. With the agreement approved last night, the resulting division of the tax revenue is shown here:

 $75,000    TIF payment to retire 350 Live debt
 $85,000    Dedicated to Storm Sewer Repair
 $200,000  Dedicated to Raytown Parks and Recreation (guaranteed)
 $360,000  Total Sales Tax Collected

The special committee was formed by Mayor Michael McDonough after the Board of Aldermen did not act to find a solution to the sales tax impasse in 2015.

The Committee, which was chaired by former Raytown State Representative Ralph Monaco, has held five meetings. All of the meetings, with the exception of last night’s meeting were open to public participation.

The Committee’s recommendation will be formalized and sent to the Raytown Board of Aldermen. The Board will have the final say in the matter, at which time the can approve, amend or deny the recommendation.

Street Improvements 
Under Consideration
The Mayor and Board of Aldermen have a pretty full plate of items coming before them in 2016. Capital Improvement projects are high on the list. The following projects, if carried through to completion, will impact Raytown in a positive way.

59TH STREET SIDEWALKS: Taking a stroll on 59th Street between Blue Ridge Boulevard and Woodson Road has always been a treacherous journey. Pedestrians had a choice of walking in the street, in a very deep ditch, or literally in somebody’s front yard. The project is slated for construction in the summer of 2016. The price tag on this project is $400,000. Grant money pays for $160,000 of the project.

DOWNTOWN RE-DEVELOPMENT: Watch for construction to begin on Downtown Redevelopment. Specific dates have not been set, however, the Board of Aldermen has given the green light on street improvements that include new curbs and larger sidewalks in the Downtown Raytown area. The project’s price tag is 1.2 million dollars. A federal grant is paying for $483,750.00 of the project.

BLUE RIDGE BOULEVARD UPGRADES: This project is for Blue Ridge Boulevard from Downtown Raytown to the northern city limits. The cost of the project is $800,000. Grants total $131,250 of the cost. A new roadway surface with bike lanes is currently under consideration.

This project is not without controversy. More than a few Aldermen have questioned the wisdom of removing the turning lanes on Blue Ridge Boulevard. Some have suggested a compromise that would redesign the street to accommodate both the bike lanes and the turning lanes. A final decision has not been reached on the project. Mayor Michael McDonough is known to be a supporter of the plan and believes the differences on design can be worked out to everyone’s satisfaction.

83RD STREET BRIDGE: Safety concerns of the deteriorating condition of the 83rd Street Bridge has caused the City Council to investigate ways to correct the problem. The bridge has deteriorated over the years. A specific solution has not been reached. Discussion of creating debt issuance (bonds) to fund the project is currently under consideration. The project has been estimated at a cost of 1.7 million dollars.

350 HIGHWAY WALKING TRAIL: This is one project the public will probably not see any time soon. When it was first announced years ago the Board of Aldermen received the idea with some enthusiasm. On closer examination the project was not a very good idea. Preliminary plans showed the so-called “walking trail” was actually a large sidewalk running parallel to 350 Highway. How many people want to take a stroll along Raytown’s busiest street . . . particularly during rush hour? Talk about breathing in the chemicals! The Board of Aldermen has indefinitely shelved the project.

There is No Free Lunch
Board members are quick to point out grant money for the various projects come with strings attached.  Grants are effective way to fund large public works projects. But it is rare the grant money will cover the entire cost of any given project.

Alderman Janet Emerson told us, “The upgrades on these collector streets are long overdue. By taking advantage of grant money we can stretch the taxpayer’s dollar and give them some real value in return for their taxes.”

The Paul Livius Report 
Mayor McDonough said Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. devoted his life to advancing equality, social justice, and opportunity for all Americans.  Dr. King’s teachings can continue to guide and inspire us in addressing challenges in our communities. Celebrating this holiday is an appropriate way to honor Dr. King, meet local and National needs, bring our citizens together, and strengthen our communities and nation.

He proclaimed January 18, 2016 as Martin Luther King, Jr. day in the City of Raytown and called upon the people to pay tribute to the life and works of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. through participation in community service projects on this day and throughout the year in honor of Dr. King's life.

Harvey Bruce told the Board he has lived in Raytown for almost 40 years.  When Remax Real Estate put in their building, they also put in curbs.  There are not enough storm drains in the area and the property along 75th Street around Hardy and Ash become flooded.  He said he has built a retaining wall, but the flooding continues.  He asked the Board to install enough storm drains to resolve the problem.

The Board passed a resolution approving the appointment of Darrell Swofford as the Ward 4 Representative to the Special Sales Tax Review Committee.

The Board passed an ordinance granting approval of the site plan for a bakery on land located at 5902 Blue Ridge Boulevard.  Wanda Mullins, owner of “Baby Cakes Bakery”, is seeking approval of the attached site development plan for a bakery she plans to open in an existing building located at 5902 Blue Ridge Boulevard. There is an existing building on the property that is not proposed to have any additions or exterior alterations made to it. Therefore the building design standards and sign design standards are not applicable. The applicant is, however, proposing to construct a parking lot on the property which is  subject to the Site Design Standards provided in the CBD Overlay District.

The site development plan identifies the location of the proposed parking lot as well as proposed landscaping to be installed. The staff has reviewed the site plan in relation to the Commercial Site Design standards and found it to comply with all of the applicable standards except for the standard stating the parking lot be located to the side or rear of the building on the property.  For more information on this proposal . . . 
USE THIS LINK . . . Baby Cakes (GO TO PAGE 17)
The Board passed an ordinance granting a change in zoning from Neighborhood Commercial District to Neighborhood Commercial and Central Business District located at 6200 Blue Ridge Boulevard.  The City of Raytown is seeking to rezone a 3.85 acre area located at 6200 Blue Ridge Boulevard from Neighborhood Commercial District and Planned District Overlay to Neighborhood Commercial, Central Business District Overlay and Town Square Overlay District.  The rezoning is being sought as the City wishes to revert the zoning of this City-owned property back to what the zoning was prior to the proposed Walmart Neighborhood Market grocery store, which was proposed and approved in 2013.

The Board passed a resolution approving an agreement with Wiedenmann, Inc. for an emergency repair project to the sanitary sewer main located in the vicinity of 10717 E. 71st Terrace in an amount not to exceed $69,500.  The Public Works Department identified a sanitary sewer manhole which had cracked due to pressure build-up during a storm.

Upon investigation, the manhole was found to be structurally unsound as well as two other manholes in need of immediate repairs; further, the camera crew found the pipe to be undersized and several areas where the pipe was in need of repair. It is the opinion of the Public Works Department that these repairs must be made on an emergency basis.
The collapsing manholes in conjunction with the undersized pipe could lead to significant back-ups and the inability to access the sewer line. The City Administrator agreed that this is an emergency repair. The Staff contacted Wiedenmann, who estimated the cost of the repairs at $69,500.

The Board tabeled a resolution approving the expenditure of funds with SmartCover Systems in an amount not to exceed $23,045.  Kati Gonzalez told the Board that currently, the City has 33 unmonitored in- and out-fall sanitary sewer connections. The Public Works Department has identified a flow metering system, the SmartCover System, that will provide flow volume data for these in- and out-fall locations to the Public Works Department to aid in identifying problem areas for inflow and infiltration.

By obtaining this data, the Public Works Department will have more accurate information on where future projects should be located. The Public Works Department requested a bid for five SmartCover units which came out to be $23,045.00 initially with ongoing maintenance and warranty costs amounting to $988.00 per unit per year ($4,940.00 total annually) in the years following.

This system is mounted directly to the manhole covers and can be moved from one manhole to another. Moving the monitoring system will not require special equipment but will involve recalibration performed by our operations staff. Traditional flow metering is very costly and requires significant amounts of ongoing maintenance.  Traditional meters are not portable and can be installed and maintained by the Little Blue Valley Sewer District at $10,000.00 per unit per year. Approval is requested of the budgeted amount of $23,045.00 to purchase these monitoring units.

The Board passed an ordinance approving an intergovernmental agreement with the Jackson County Board of Election Commissioners to utilize city hall as a polling place for the 2016 calendar year.  This is a request for a cooperative agreement with Jackson County to provide a polling location for two precincts that serve the City. Under state law, public entities are required to provide polling locations to election authorities free of charge and City Hall has been used as a polling location for many years. To continue the service, the City needs to approve a new contract with Jackson County.

Two Ingredient Oatmeal/Banana Cookies
These guilt-free cookies make the perfect on-the-go snack or after-dinner indulgence. They also satisfy nearly all dietary restrictions since they are free of dairy, gluten and nuts. Simply mix two ripe mashed bananas with one cup of rolled oats and bake for 20 minutes. Want to make them even more flavorful? Add some chopped nuts or cocoa nibs. See the full recipe READ MORE.

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Anonymous said...

In my language a "split" is 50-50 unless otherwise stated. A fraud was perpetrated on the tax payers. I want a refund of the sales tax that was collected from me and given to parks without my consent! When I voted, I assumed that 50% went to parks and 50% went to storm sewer. I NEVER would have voted for my tax money to go to parks if they had been separate issues!

I feel that parks and storm sewer should have been separate ballot issues so that the voters could have chosen one or both. But I vaguely remember something about the city having to pay the cost of each ballot item or a space issue.

Andy Whiteman

Groucho K. Marx said...

Terrible decision and split!

Those Raytown residents most affected by stormwater runoff issues should file a lawsuit against the city for ballot-language fraud

Anonymous said...

Groucho, what is the secret word? I am surprised there hasn't been a class action lawsuit for the fraud as well as water damage, pain and suffering, etc. Maybe there is an attorney working on it. Those lawsuits seem to take several years to pop up.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

No surprise on the special committees recommendation, but in response to the park board deciding to leave open the outdated water park/place in fact to throw away money, the parks department should be defunded. For years the park department has worked hard to never follow the BOAs wishes from Supper Splash to watering and caring for the plantings in street medians.

Sorry Raytown Park Board that you are depending on money that is not yours, and have been allowed to use it. Time for the BOA to say NO!!!! The BOA should not allow you to have money that’s not yours and since you want to continue to spend the money you do have like spoiled child they, the BOA, have to turn off your allowance!

Vicky said...

I agree with 10:51 -
The BOA should make it very clear to the Park Board that next year they will have to operate with a budget that is solely from their share of the tax revenue. If that means closing the money pit, then so be it. They have (or should have) the same fiduciary responsibility as the BOA.

Anonymous said...

Are the results of the Raytown Main Street group's survey ever going to see the light of day or will it go mysteriously into the darkness like Steve's hot dog stand and wedding world?

Raytown Newbie said...

Fellow Raytowners,

The Park board and their department seems to be a bit of a bully around here. Where does their power derive from? They have almost complete autonomy. I think roads and sewers should trump spending more money on the Super Splash. And if a 75/25 split is made then it should retroact to the beginning of the collections.

I applaud the Mayor and the B of A for the sidewalks on 59th, Any sidewalks added to this town is a good thing. EXCEPT some silly "walking trail" along 350 HWY.... that is a bad choice.

The almost 500 pages of the results of the park survey is a joke. They took the same set of data and just massaged it and represented it a different way. 90% of the "report" is the same information viewed slightly different.

The one thing the report did say that is telling is that the first choice for most of us is more walking and biking paths. Sort of ties into the bike lanes on Blue Ridge. I hope the city will give it a shot. It will slow down some of the hot rodders for sure.

Have a great day.


Paul Livius said...

We will be happy to publish the Main Street Group survey. Please have them email the report to us. It would be interesting to read what it has to say.

Vicky said...

The Park Board survey is totally worthless. They only mailed it to those people that think like them. Then they took the data and presented it the way they wanted.