Saturday, March 5, 2016

RAYTOWN'S LEADING NEWS SOURCE


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Consequences . . . by Greg Walters

The controversy over how TIF’s are managed and the lack of public reporting by the City of Raytown as required by State Law continues to reverberate through the community.

The Raytown Times ran a front page story last Tuesday on the issue.

“TIF reports filed; city in compliance” ran under an unsigned column named TOP NEWS.

Whoever wrote the column has not been paying much attention to the facts.

Apparently the City Finance Director has been busy filling out delinquent reports due certain state agencies. And, yes, according to the story, the reports are now filed. But, no . . . that does not resolve the issues of non-compliance.

It ignores the two most important issues.

The first is a reply to the Raytown Fire District’s assertion that the city has over-billed the District for sales tax and property tax revenue.

According to sources at City Hall and within the Raytown Fire District, both sides have hired outside legal help in pressing their position.

The other issue is the City of Raytown’s failure to conduct public meetings and timely reporting requirements outlined under Section 89.865.2 of Missouri State Statutes.

COLUMBIA, MISSOURI
Raytown is not the first city to fail to report the financial progress of TIF projects.

On December 16, 2015, a Judge of the Circuit Court of Boone County, Missouri (Division 2) ruled against the City of Columbia for failure to comply with three sections of Missouri State Statutes as regards public reporting.The City was prohibited from implementing any new tax increment finance projects for a period of no less than five (5) years.

Those three sections RSMo 99.865.1, 99.865.2, and 99.865.3 require timely reporting of the following:

99.865.1 – Each year the governing body shall prepare a report concerning the status of the redevelopment plan and redevelopment project, and submit a copy of the such report to the director of the department of economic development.

99.865.2 – An annual statement showing payments in lieu of taxes received and expended shall be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the municipality.

99.865.3 – Every five years the thereafter the government shall hold a public hearing regarding redevelopment plans and projects. Notice of a public hearing shall be given in a newspaper of general circulation.

ANALYSIS . . .
The people have a right to know how a TIF, or for that matter, any tax abatement scheme is performing. How else are they to gauge the effectiveness of the leadership at City Hall?

When public disclosure of the performance of tax schemes is ignored by the governing body it calls into question the success or failure of the promises made to sell the idea in the first place.

As the ruling by Judge Gary Oxenhandler clearly shows, the consequences of not following state law can be serious.

The Columbia Tribune published a detailed story about the Judge Oxenhandler’s ruling. To learn more about what happened in Columbia use this link . . .   READ MORE




Petition Drive Continues . . .
The Raytown Fire District is gathering petitions to bring a State Audit to review the City of Raytown’s financial records.

Petitions can be signed at Raytown Fire Station Number 1 located at 6020 Raytown Trafficway. Blank petition forms can be obtained at the same location. For more information contact the Fire District Headquarters at 816-737-6034.



BY PAUL LIVIUS
The Paul Livius Report 
Raytown Board of Aldermen Meeting – March 1, 2016 

Rev. Pat Jackson told the Board March 23 is the birthday of Queen Mother Maxine McFarlane.  There will be a celebration of her 90 years on March 19 at 3:00 at the Blue Ridge Presbyterian Church.  He invites everyone to come and join the celebration. 

Rev. John Wiley told the Board there is a motion to vote of no confidence when a person in a position of responsibility is no longer deemed fit to hold that position, perhaps because they are inadequate in some respect or failed to carry out their obligations or make decisions other members feel are detrimental.  He believes there should be votes of no confidence against someone in this administration.  Someone is responsible for the lack of TIF filings.  As a citizen, he finds it shocking that we would be punished as a municipality.  This is so disappointing.  He knows this didn’t happen under Mayor McDonough’s administration.  He appreciates the fact the Mayor said he would get to the bottom of this.  He believes the Mayor will and he fully supports the Mayor and the Board.  He is concerned with the staff.  Someone on the staff is responsible for this and for the last four years, either the City Administrator or the Finance Director.  It should cost them their jobs.  There should be a vote of no confidence that will follow the responsible person through their entire career. 

The Board approved the appointment of Richard Koop to the Elected Officials Compensation Review Board.  

The Board approved the appointment of Ralph Monaco to the Elected Officials Compensation Review Board.  

The Board approved the appointment of Clifford Argeon to the Elected Officials Compensation Review Board.  
The Board approved the appointment of Denise Bozikis to the council on aging.  

The Board approved the appointment of Larry Schwieterman to the council on aging.  

The Board approved the appointment of Ruth Schwieterman to the council on aging.  

The Board heard the first reading for an ordinance granting a conditional use permit subject to certain conditions to allow an animal kennel facility as part of an animal adoption operation at 10312 E. 63rd Street.  Monopoly Acquisitions, LLC, on behalf of Raytown Animal Hospital and Midwest Animal ResQ, is seeking approval of a conditional use permit application to allow an animal kennel facility as part of an animal adoption operation at 10312 E. 63rd Street. The  property is zoned Neighborhood Commercial (NC). Monopoly Acquisitions is in the process of purchasing the property from Raytown Animal Hospital. Upon purchase of the property, Monopoly Acquisitions then plans to lease the property to Midwest Animal ResQ, who wants to operate an animal adoption center. The animal adoption center will include the keeping of dogs and cats in kennels, which will be located inside the building. The keeping of animals in kennels, however, requires approval of a Conditional Use Permit application.  Erin Morris, with the Midwest Animal ResQ, said they have placed over 3,000 animals since their inception in 2009.  They plan to reduce the euthanasia rate in Raytown by adopting out unwanted pets.  Midwest Animal ResQ is very different from the previous organization that ran the shelter in the past.  Midwest Animal ResQ has paid employees instead of volunteers.  The Missouri Department of Agriculture has performed several unplanned inspections and Midwest Animal ResQ has a perfect record.  Bev Matlin told the Board she is a life-long Raytown resident and believes this will be good for both the people and the pets of Raytown.  Alderman Teeman asked how many animals the shelter will house.  Ms. Morris said there will be 12-14 kennels.  Last year, the previous organization adopted out more than 350 pets.  Alderman Aziere said the previous organization had problems with odor and excessive barking.  He asked how Midwest Animal ResQ will address those issues.  Ms. Morris said no dogs will be housed outside.  When dogs are taken out, the staff will remove the waste.  The inside of the facility is concrete and easy to keep clean.  They follow all state regulations and requirements for kennels. Josh Greene asked about the hours of operation.  Ms. Morris said there will be staff there 7 days a week to care for the animals.  They will be open to the public Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in the beginning.  Alderman Steve Meyers asked that the rules be suspended and the second reading occur that night.  Alderman Josh Greene said he fully supports the ordinance, but he hesitated to suspend the rules because it is a public hearing and the residents have a right to be heard at the next meeting.  Alderman Jim Aziere said he also would not support suspending the rules because there has been a petition circulating against the ordinance.  The motion to suspend the rules failed, but the motion to have a second reading at the next meeting was passed. 

The Board passed a resolution approving the expenditure of funds with Smartcover systems in an amount not to exceed $23,045. 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. 

The Board passed a resolution approving the purchase of parts and supplies for police vehicles from Ed Roehr Safety Products off the Missouri Department of Transportation purchasing contract.  The Police Department has purchased four new Ford Police Utility Interceptors and one new Ford Police Sedan Interceptor in fiscal year 2015-2016. Since the City has adopted a new vehicle platform, we will require new up fit equipment (exterior lighting) designed to fit the new vehicle dimensions. No other bids are required as this is a Government Contract through Western States Contracting Alliance. 

The Board passed a resolution accepting the recommendation of the Parks/Storm
Water sales tax committee and directing staff to make the necessary changes effective with the 2016-2017 budget year. The Committee recommended that effective with the 2016-2017 budget year, 75% of the sales tax revenue generated by the storm water/parks sales tax be allocated to the Parks Board and that 25% of the sales tax revenue generated by the storm water/parks sales tax be allocated to storm water, with the minimum sum of $200,000.00 being guaranteed to the Parks Board each year.  The Committee strongly recommended that the Board of Aldermen investigate additional sources of revenue dedicated exclusively to storm water control, and that the Parks Board investigate additional sources of revenue dedicated exclusively to the Parks Board.  Alderman Emerson asked if this resolution was for this budget year or the next budget year.  Mahesh Sharma said it is for the next budget year.  He said this ordinance is setting a threshold of $200,000 going to the Park Board and then 25% of the remaining tax dollars going to Storm Water projects. 

The Board then went into closed session.


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34 comments:

Anonymous said...

What a deal $200,000 out of say $300,000 goes to the park board and of the
remainder of $100,000 only $25,000 would go to the city. They just threw a
small bone to the city and thy are happy.

Anonymous said...

There is a lot of remodeling going on at the Hy-Vee in Raytown. Is that being paid for by the CID tax they have collected all these years

Anonymous said...

We are going to have fine dining and a new care center in the Hy-Vee. Hope
that it is out of profits for the fine dining and the care clinic is paid for by
St. Lukes Hospital system, at least that is the word.

Anonymous said...

Oh have they started the kitchen remodel at rsytown Hyvee like they have been doing at all the other Hyvee stores? Haven't been in there recently.

Anonymous said...

That sounds like it'll be nice. If other restaurants won't come to Raytown, then we can eat at Hy-Vee. St. Luke's is a good hospital.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Mr. Wiley. There is something terribly wrong at City Hall and I hope our elected people have what it takes to clean up the mess. I read the story about Columbia. We do not want to go down that path.

Anonymous said...

Whats awesome is the fact the mayor announced Friday that all the reports are caught up and the State did not penalize the City for missing them. The part he glossed over was the fact the City has missed 11 years of public reporting and at least 4 public hearings. If you read the judgement issued from the Columbia, Mo lawsuit it explains the fact the penalty is not assessed by the State, but by the Court system instead. If anytime in the next 5 years the City attempts to issue a new TIF project all any taxpayer or taxing entity can file suit in Jackson County and stop the project cold. The law and the judgment are very clear to this fact, so regardless of how hard the City tries to make this up the damage is done.

very disappointed said...

I am glad to read that people are seeing through the bull coming out of city hall. That last comment hit it right on the head. The mayor can run around saying he has solved the problem all he wants. The problem is not solved. Turning reports in years after they are due does not solve a problem.

I though we were through with this kind of bull when our last mayor left city hall.

How about holding a public hearing on the TIFs? How about public reporting of the cash flow of tifs in a local paper that reads like a balance sheet? Something that shows how much money has come in. How much money was anticipated and so on. The numbers will tell the real story.

Somebody was very negligent at city hall. They did not do their job. Is the mayor and city council going to stand by and act like nothing happened?

Anonymous said...

8:34

What it really does is bring into question what other things are they trying to cover up at city hall.

For example look at the back woods approach to code enforcement, which would have anyone looking to purchase property in Raytown asking does Raytown have an code enforcement.

They may question what is going on with closed door deals with the same company that have TIFs with the city and the fact police cars are parked outside the doors on a regular base.

This all leads to the fact the city administrator who needs to man up and take ownership for having the city at non-compliance just happens to be the same one who has called out the crazy funding of the police pension fund.

In any case the topic is the TIF and clearly the city is still not at compliance as there have been no meetings as required and even the city's mouth piece newspaper quoted the city administrator as not being able to tell when the last public meeting was on the TIF.

On top of the meetings not being held the city has yet to post annual reports in the local paper as to the income/expense and who in the city has seen anything on the with a break down on the progress of paying of the TIF, where all money was spent and what was done with the money from the Bonds that were issued.

I know I am not the only one that is questioning what is going on at city hall.

I see us becoming the next Detroit with the over spending and clear unexplainable money practices at city hall.

Anonymous said...

I would think that if there were no problems and nothing to hide at City Hall that they would welcome an audit. Just the opposite is true though. There is no way that we can believe anything they are saying at this time. I am glad the Fire District in standing up for the tax payers. Maybe the City Council will get to the bottom of the problem and do away with those that caused it. After all we continue to hear about our paid 'professional' staff. LOL

Anonymous said...

Anonymous very disappointed said...
I am glad to read that people are seeing through the bull coming out of city hall. That last comment hit it right on the head. The mayor can run around saying he has solved the problem
all he wants. The problem is not solved. Turning reports in years after they are due does not solve
a problem.

I though we were through with this kind of bull when our last mayor left city hall.

How about holding a public hearing on the TIFs? How about public reporting of the cash flow of
tifs in a local paper that reads like a balance sheet? Something that shows how much money has
come in. How much money was anticipated and so on. The numbers will tell the real story.

Somebody was very negligent at city hall. They did not do their job. Is the mayor and city council going to stand by and act like nothing happened?


The above statement is right on and should be read and reread by every citizen of Raytown.

Anonymous said...

This Mayor was left with back years of messes made by the previous administration. Yes he has far to go but he is starting to clean up messes one at a time; given how many were left. Not a job any if us would want for sure. Let's give him the opportunity to clean up Bowers mess and not judge him by those messes.

Anonymous said...

I don't know about giving time to clean up Bower's mess. Mike McDonough is Mayor now. It is his responsibility to clean up the current mess. He needs to show some leadership. Pretending that filing delinquent reports retroactively solves the problem is the path of someone who does not want to face the serious situation the city is in. If the Fire Department is being overbilled what other governmental agencies are being over-billed? Those numbers could become serious business if they are true. How much money is left-over if an audit shows their has been bad faith by city hall in handling the taxpayers dollars. The Board and Mayor are elected to keep an eye on how city hall operates. So far, I have not seen anything that indicates the city will rid themselves of those responsible for not following the law and taking care of business in an an open and honest manner.

Anonymous said...

Several years ago I recall stopping on channel 7 to see an individual reference something or another about “TWO RAYTOWNS.” The individual was referencing “have’s vs have not’s” or something or another. At the time, I thought they were a bit nutty.

In retrospect, they were correct.

“Two Raytowns” do exist.

The first Raytown is one of euphoric oxytocin-laced memories that reflect on days spent shopping for shoes at Raytown Plaza, the root beer stand, Jerry’s Steakhouse, Fox’s soda fountain, upper-scale homes, progressive thinkers and exceptional schools. This is a Mayberry-esque recollection of what we were.

The second Raytown is what we are.

A bedroom community of undervalued homes, a downward sliding demographic with many of our students on free/reduced lunch, schools that rank toward the bottom of the metro (we often rank higher than KCMO and Hickman Mills, but that’s about it), declining infrastructure, a complaining population with few solutions and an unsubstantiated bloated view of our self-importance.

Memories are great, but the “good old days” are far from returning. The metro doesn't need us. Heck, most of the metro can't find us on a map. Our relevance rests solely on our ability to raise our neighborhoods and the expecations of those neighborhoods OURSELVES. Not by hoping some city government person decides to help us...our community is our responsibility.

We can blame the elected positions all we want, but the majority of those few who voted selected them. If we don't like such leadership, we need to vote. If we don't vote, we need to stop complaining.

So...I'm headed over to Fun House for a pitcher of Pabst Blue Ribbon and large pizza with enough meat to clog an underfunded firehose while I reminisce about Roundup Days.

Anonymous said...

You know what bothers me the most about the non-reporting at City Hall. It is the outright reluctance of our City Administrator to even admit anything wrong has occurred. He is quoted in the Raytown Brooking Eagle about things just falling through the cracks. He blames the high turnover under his watch as the reason for the problem. But don't worry. It is now all resolved. The reports are filed. No problems, no worries. What a joke! The over-billing of the Fire Distrrict is not something that "fell through the cracks". He can't blame it on staff that was not there. It was a considered move and the city got caught in the act. They can pretend all is well in Mayberry all they want. It does not change anything. An audit is coming. It will clear up all the nonsense going on at city hall.

Anonymous said...

I don't know what the problem is. According to the city's own website, back in 2010 the Finance Director held a public hearing for a TIF called "USA 800" (whatever that is)... Maybe they should put this guy in charge... http://www.raytown.mo.us/vertical/sites/%7B418C71C3-E397-4C87-B464-C498EC8900F9%7D/uploads/%7B9883D63B-9A83-450D-95AA-D825D970B170%7D.PDF

Anonymous said...

The grand daddy of TIF's inRaytown is the one used to create Walmart on 350 Highway. No public hearing held. It is a big deal. It is the exact same reason the judge ruled against the city of Columbia. Perhaps you are right. It may be time to start looking for a new city administrator. The one we have does not seem to have a clue about his job requirements. It is going to get the city in trouble.

Anonymous said...

To show our distrust and perception that someone if not several department heads and possibly current and former elected officials tied to city hall may find themselves on the inside looking out, we need a "Drop the Soap" night in conjunction with a Board of Alderman meeting.

Everyone would show up with a bar of soap as their sign that they hope someone is held accountable for the mess at city hall to the point of having to serve time and they need to make sure they "Drop the Soap" for what they have done to the citizens of Raytown.

The city could collect the soap and provided to a worthy group like REAP, which would at least find a benefit for some in our community from this mess.

Anonymous said...

Sot tell me. How much does the city administrator get paid for not doing his job? From what I have read here, these people do not care about Raytown. They care about how much money they can take home with them every pay check. We really deserve a lot better.

Anonymous said...

Seems that our elected officials would be calling for an audit, to find out exactly what is going on with our tax dollars, instead I am afraid they are sticking their heads in the sand and hoping this will pass over. Cudos to the Fire District for asking the questions and demanding answers.....I will be stopping by the station today and signing the petition and encourage everyone else to do the same thing. Let's get to the bottom of this shell game.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Greg for not posting my comment on Tuesday, March 8th in the pm. I guess it was to much to the point and the truth. I will try it again.
Raytown is a mess. I have lived here 50 plus years and it looks like the inner city. You don't see many Public works employees doing any street maintenance, pot holes every where. streets crumbling. Vacant buildings, trash everywhere. Now they get a grant and other monies to do a "street scape" on 63rd street while the rest of Raytown looks like hell. Fix the infrastructure first, "get your house in order" before doing the "fluff". The old saying: "you can dress a pig up, but it is still a pig".

Anonymous said...

First of all, the responsibility of the reporting falls on the finance department. That is where it has originated in the past. I feel this is a terminating offense and is flat irresponsible. The City Administrator, who came in with great fan fare and with everyone all excited about the future. In very short order, he alienated the Police, fueled conflict with the Parks, mismanaged development of downtown, is systematically killing our EMS agency, meanwhile he got to disregard his contract stipulations on moving here, never once intending or attempting to move to Raytown. It was all a fraud, and frankly so is he. How many departments must suffer his poor leadership and asleep at the wheel approach. How much turn over must occur before someone says "wait a minute." And then to blame turnover on negligence is a telling statement to say the least. Here is a thought. Forget the board, how about the people of Raytown voice their NO CONFIDENCE in Mr. Sharma. For years the City was successful at bridging the gap of credibility, being able to pass taxes and benefit departments with Capital equipment and Public Safety. And, frankly, His legacy here will be that he destroyed that credibility and harmed this City for a generation to come. Congratulations Mahesh.

Andy Whiteman said...

Why would the City Manager and Department Heads care about Raytown when they don't live in Raytown. I have always felt that these highly paid executives should be required to live in the city that writes their checks!

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

The notion that anyone that world for the city is "highly paid" is highly hilarious. What's highly paid? How do we define that statement?

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Umm, less than 24% of our residents have an education beyond 12th grade and our median HOUSEHOLD income is less than $50k. So...comparatively speaking, this town views anyone...or any household making in excess of $50k as high paying. If this is the measuring stick, it's pretty sad. $50k for a household isn't much in 2016 dollars. Woe be it for pur community to import educated talent.

Anonymous said...

Of course you are right. Highly paid is subjective. Probably make more sense to say highly paid for what is done. I read in one of the news outlets that the city finance director and city administrator take home more than a quarter of a million dollars a year ($250,000.00). I would say that for what they have done in Raytown they are most definitely overpaid!

Anonymous said...

In my experience, calling the city for info is pretty easy and painless unless you're an argumentative, accusatory buffoon. Apparently the City Admin makes around $130,000 and the Finance person about $90,000. I'm not sure those amounts are even fair for anyone who manages the affairs of a $30 million budget and the bickering of 29,000 people. You get what you pay for and there are probably only a handful of people who would take either job for those wages.

Anonymous said...

After buying a box of Girl Scout Cookies the other day it reminded me of another consistent reoccurring passage of spring. Jim Aziere is making his predictable State Representative push once again. . But this time filling as a Democrat... Desperate measures for desperate people I suppose.

Vicky said...

I hope Jim Aziere gets elected as State Rep. When he gets down to Jeff City, he'll either vote with the Democrats, which means the Republicans won't like him, or he'll vote with the Republicans, which means the people who elected him won't like him. Either way, he'll be just as despised down there as he is here. The sad part is he's not smart enough to know why.

Anonymous said...

Sharma's salary is closer to $170,000 than to $130,000. The city does NOT have a $30 million dollar budget. Take away the sanitary sewer charges and it is a lot less. Whoever tells you those stories is blowing a lot of smoke at you.

Anonymous said...

I read Jim Azieres letter to the editor in the Times. I would say I agree with about75 to 85% of what he said. One thing he said that is totally not true is building himself as the only alderman who does anything. There are two senior alderman who have done more on the board in their seven years than Jim has the entire time he has been on the board. It is Jims time to go.

THIS COMMENT HAS BEEN EDITED BY THE BLOG ADMINISTRATOR.

Anonymous said...

The total operating budget has been hovering around $30 million for several years.

http://www.raytown.mo.us/index.asp?SEC=705F46CC-3901-45A9-A1DE-F4F8AADBF2EF&Type=B_BASIC

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