We want to take the opportunity to wish Raytown’s Nancy Nail the very best of luck today when she performs as guest soloist at the Lincoln Center in New York City. Congratulations Nancy!
Paul and I decided this would be the perfect opportunity for you, our readers, to tell us of other great things happening in Raytown. Send us an email and when we get a chance, we’ll post it.
59th Street Blues
This last week has seen a lot of traffic on the Raytown Report Blog about the repair and deterioration of 59th Street between Raytown Road and Blue Ridge Cutoff.
A quick review for those not familiar with what has happened.
About a month ago the Raytown Water Company experienced a major water line break at 59th and Elm Street. Repair crews came out and dug up quite a bit of the west bound lane of 59th Street to repair the water line.
East of where the work was completed, the road service became wavy. It is clear to anyone who regularly drives on the road there is definitely something going on under the street.
The picture at the left shows what was allowed to stay in place when the street was repaired for the broken water main.
Do you think a little foresight might have helped here?
Why not pay the contractor a few hundred dollars more to move the street cut over a couple of feet to eradicate the potholes and broken seams of a failing street? Do you think the water undermining the integrity of the street might be coming from this perforated pothole mess?
I was reading Raytown’s last remaining wood pulp news source, the Raytown Times, when I came across Bob Phillips “Off the Top” column. Never understood what “off the top” means in that context, but at least we are all on the same page.
Bob was bemoaning the city not taking advantage of a grant that would have paid 80% of the cost of “improvements on Blue Ridge Boulevard”. He then went on and wrote, “There is no reason to look for blame”.
An interesting thought, because in the next sentence he blames the revolving door of the city administrators, department heads, and, ultimately, the Board of Aldermen.
So much for not placing blame. Wouldn’t you agree Bob?
He continues about other things “falling through the cracks”, like the reports on the 350 Live TIF project.
To paraphrase a comedian of my generation, “ . . . for a guy living in the Ozarks, you sure do place a lot of blame on people living in Raytown!”
Let’s take a closer look at what Bob wrote:
“For unknown reasons the city dropped the ball and only recently the boulevard improvement was brought up again”.
Come on Bob, you can do better than that! How about, the city was broke and did not have the funds to pay the 20% needed to receive the 80% grant from the Missouri Department of Transportation.
Where did the money go? Let me help you out. The money went to pay for the construction of Walmart, buying the property from the school district on which to build the Walmart Store on 350 Highway, and, the highway entrances and signals off of the east and west bound entrances to Walmart. Don’t forget the street, aptly named “Walmart Way”.
Somebody’s got to pay those bills.
You see, Bob, Raytown’s Board during the golden age of former Mayor David Bower, thought it was a good idea to create a 20+ year mortgage through a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) scheme to jump start the local Raytown economy. The debt from those bills have to be paid. And , the shoppers in Raytown are paying it with a sales tax of close to 10% on every dollar spent at Walmart.
The sad reality is there is a finite amount of money paid by shoppers in Raytown on an annual basis. Walmart is such a large retail engine that it easily creates 20% of the sales tax revenue in Raytown.
That means roughly 20% of the sales tax collected in Raytown does not pay our police or repair our streets. It pays for the interest and debt created to build the Walmart facility.
Which brings us to your comment . . . "there is no reason to look for blame"
Actually, there is a reason to place blame. Because if we do not recognize why the city is in such financial straits then we are doomed to repeat the same mistakes again.
The blame rests on the shoulders of former Mayor David Bower and his City Administrator Mahesh Sharma. They engineered and convinced the Board of Aldermen to go down the slippery slope of creating debt to get rich.
Incidentally, it was also under Bower/Sharma watch that the city failed to report 350 Live TIF reports to the state.
It is a sad testament to the reality of the situation that even today, with all of these facts, you still refuse to accept the failures of the past that has created Raytown’s dilemma today.
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