Friday, November 25, 2022

Something Different, Something New!

GREG AND MECEE WALTERS
After giving it a lot of thought and talking it over with my boss, we have decided to expand the Raytown Report by adding links to our side/bar advertising area to Facebook Pages we believe merit recognition for what their creators offer to the Raytown community.

We have decided to name this section of links "Raytown's Gathering Place". 

The inaugural link is to Elisa Breitenbach’s Facebook Page. Elisa and her husband, Marjain, own and operate Doughboy’s Donuts in Raytown. 

Though we know she has been in Raytown forever (Elisa grew up in Raytown), we  recognize the good they have done for the Raytown community and continue to do so through Elisa's Facebook page.

We are pleased they have agreed to allow us to open the link to the right of this story to Elisa's Facebook page.

Greg and Mecee Walters                                      

P.S. If you are interested in having your website or Facebook Page added to this sidebar, send your request to us on or blog page (preferably with a link).

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Filing for Office in Raytown Opens
FILING PERIOD OPENS, DEC. 6 / CLOSES, DEC. 27

The office of Mayor and five of the seats on the Raytown Board of Aldermen will be elected on April 4, 2023. The filing period for public office in Raytown opens on December 6, 2022 and closes on December 27, 2022. Candidates will be filing for a four year term of office.


The following offices will be up for Election April, 4, 2023

OFFICE             SALARY            CAR ALLOWANCE                TOTAL*        
Mayor                 $12,750.00    +    $2,700.00 car allowance     =    $15,540.00     
Aldermen            $  5,100.00    +    $   900.00 car allowance     =    $  6,000.00

*Mayor and Aldermen salaries (under the total column) show total annual monetary benefits.

Compensation shown includes Annual Salary, Car Allowance, Workman’s Comp/FICA.  Elected officials may also purchase health, dental and vision insurance at cost through the city’s health insurance plan.


November 8th Election – Analysis
BY GREG WALTERS
The November 8th Election was interesting. The closeness of the race was the
biggest surprise. Voter turnout for the election hovered around 50% - which is pretty much average for a mid-term election.
 

By comparison, the August 8th Election had a voter turnout of approximately 30%. 

Both of the issues had an unusually high under-vote. This means that many people who voted on other issues simply did not vote on the two Raytown questions. 

No doubt being the last issue on the ballot can explain part of the under vote. It remains that the under vote as high as shown in the results is exceptional. 

Election Judges working at the polls noticed that there were a number of voters who came in, voted, and left very quickly. The opinion overwhelmingly shared was those "in and out"  voters were casting votes on the Recreational Marijuana ballot measure. 

Since the vote totals were so close they were subject to an automatic recount under Missouri State Law. 

The recount did show a very small gain of votes on the two Tax Questions. Question Number Two was a squeaker of an election. The difference between the yes and no votes was only 7 votes. 

Question One had a larger split and never had much of a chance of picking up the extra votes needed for approval.

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Sunday, November 13, 2022

Breaking News
ELECTION BOARD OFFICIALS CONDUCT RECOUNT
OF RAYTOWN NOVEMBER 8TH ELECTION

Late Friday the Jackson County Election Board conducted recounts of the results from Question 1 and Question 2 General Election held on November 8th.

“Results of the two elections were so close” . . . , an election authority said, . . "that the margin of victory/loss fell within one half of one percent between the NO  and YES votes in both elections”

Under Missouri State Statutes, such tight margins between yes and no votes require an automatic re-count of the election.

When the recounts were completed it was found that Question 1 received a total of four additional “yes” votes that had not been previously counted.

Question 2 received a total of three “no” votes that had not been previously counted.

A spokesperson for “Still Not the Time for this Tax” was pleased with the outcome of Question One which would have created $30 million dollars in bond indebtednesses for homeowners and business owners in Raytown.

“Our message was clear. Times of high inflation is NOT a good time to raise property taxes on homeowners and businesses.”

Question 2, which can only be used for storm sewer repair in Raytown, passed by the smallest of margins . . . the original vote count came to only a seven vote difference between yes and no votes.

Mayor Michael McDonough and Ward 5 Alderman Bonnaye Mims were on hand during the recount as representatives for the “yes” votes on both questions.

“Not the Time for this Tax” had three representatives in attendance at the recount. They were Jeanette Gentry, who lives in Ward 3. Also in attendance were the owners of Doughboy’s Donuts, Elisa and Marjaine Breitenbach. Elisa also serves as the Treasurer for “Not the Time for this Tax”.

At the end of the recount, both parties were informed that not enough “new” votes had been discovered by the Election Board Officials to change the outcome of Question One or Question Two.

However, “Recognition” of the returns as “official” will be determined November 22nd when the Board of Election Commissioners will meet to review of all the elections held in Eastern Jackson County on November 8th.  


BY GREG WALTERS
That sound you heard after the vote totals were announced in Raytown was a collective sigh of relief from taxpayers, Voters turned back a $30,000,000 million dollar bond package.

Voters did approve a more reasonable tax package. Question No. 2,  is dedicated to repair of storm water issues in Raytown. The price tag on Question 2 is set at $7,200,000 million dollars.

For those looking at the bottom line of annual tax payments, it was definitely the lesser of two evils.

If this were baseball . . .
AN ANALYSIS OF THE NOVEMBER 8TH ELECTION RESULTS

The second election on whether or not to raise Raytown’s property taxes to historic levels is in the past.

If this were baseball, the standings would look like this:

NOT THE TIME FOR THIS TAX:              4 wins        1 loss
RAYTOWN CITY HALL                             1 win          4 losses

Just as in baseball, what should be a light-hearted give and take, known as banter, often develops in political campaigns.

Some supporters of the two property tax increases joined in the discussion.

Unfortunately, their “banter” was anything but light hearted. It would be fair to say what was shared was unkind, at times even hateful. It most certainly was not cute, funny or enlightening.

Those individuals seem to glory in insulting and demeaning anyone who does not agree with their point of view.

To their credit, the members of Not the Time for this Tax did not reduce themselves by responding in kind.

What’s Next?
The Raytown Report has learned City Hall has begun exploring the possibility of a re-count of the close election results on Question 1. 

No doubt City Hall is interested in challenging the results of the (failed) $30 million dollar Question One property tax increase. Question One lost by over 70 votes. It is doubtful a re-count will reverse the final decision of the voters on Question One.

Question Two is another issue. The tax passed by a margin of only seven votes. That translates to “swing” of only four votes to change the outcome of the election.

As someone who has participated in re-counts, I can share with you the Jackson County Election Board has a reputation of being extremely thorough in their original counts.

Years ago I lost an election by three votes. I challenged and received a re-count of the vote totals. The vote total changed one vote. Other than being interesting, it proved little. All it meant was that I lost by two votes instead of three votes.

Still, four votes out of a total of 8668 votes cast is within the realm of possibility for the vote totals of Question 2 to be reversed.

There is also a question as whether such a re-count is allowed by law in Missouri. All of the re-counts I am aware of have been between opposing candidates for political office.  

This is probably one issue that will have to be decided by the Jackson County Election Board before anyone in Raytown asks for a re-count.

Looking Forward . . .
There is an election date of February 7, 2023 in which City Hall could set another election. However, an election held on that date would require a 2/3rds majority for passage AND it must be the only item on the ballot.

It is very unlikely City Hall will take on those odds.

The Raytown School District has already announced it plans to hold a property tax “renewal” at the next City Election scheduled for April 4, 2023. If the proposed “renewal” fails, voters will see their property tax lowered. If it passes, the property tax will continue on at its current rate.

City Hall could place a third ballot question on the ballot at the next City Election scheduled for April 4, 2023. It would require a 4/7ths majority to pass. It is also when the Mayor and one-half of the Board of Aldermen will be up for re-election. It is doubtful the politicians up for re-election want to make over one-half of the electorate angry at them (those who vote NO).

A 3% Sales Tax on Recreational Marijuana will probably be on the April 4th Agenda as well  City Hall attempted to put the issue on the November 8th ballot but was informed by election officials they had to wait until the voters had their say on the issue.

The tax revenue generated on the sale of marijuana could be dedicated to the repair of streets in Raytown. It is a thought worthy of discussion.

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Tuesday, November 8, 2022

RESULTS
CITY OF RAYTOWN
QUESTION 1 AND QUESTION 2

Results are a mixed bag for Raytown voters tonight.

The $30,000,000 million dollar street improvement package failed to garner enough support to win voter approval.

However, the $7,200,000 million dollar storm sewer package did win voter approval by a 1.7% margin.

QUESTION 1: Street Improvements (failed)

Yes . . . . . . . . 4,910    (56.69%)

No . . . . . . . .  3,751     (43.31%)

QUESTION 2: Storm Sewer Improvements (approved)

Yes . . . . . . . . 4,964    (57.27%) 

No . . . . . . . . . 3,704   (42.73%)

Saturday, November 5, 2022

Good morning Raytown!
Today is November 8th. It is election day. It should go without saying, but please remember to vote.  A lot of people have spent a tremendous amount of energy and time trying to get their message out to yo
Your participation in the election is what all of the hours of effort spent informing the public on what is to be decided today at the polls.
You honor all of those who worked hard to present their message by taking the time to participate and vote. On a personal level I wish to say "thank you" for listening to what we have had to say.
Some final notes that we I know will be of interest to everyone.
RESULTS: Local results usually come in by about 9:00 p.m. As soon we have them we will post them on the Raytown Report.
ELECTION QUESTIONS: The final authority on any questions about what is happening a the polls is the Jackson County Election Board. They can be reached at 816-325-4600.
Thank you for listening,

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

To view the meeting covered in the following story . . . 

USE THIS LINK . . . November 1, 2022 Board Meeting
GO TO ITEM SIX TO VIEW THE MAYOR/BOARD PAY INCREASE DISCUSSION
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Aldermen approve pay increases
for 
the Mayor and themselves

In a surprise move the Raytown Board of Aldermen voted to increase the salary of the Mayor and of the Board of Aldermen at last Tuesday night’s meeting. The controversial move less than one week before voters will decide the fate of two historically high property tax increases. 

The pay increases for the Mayor and Board of Aldermen will not go into effect until after the next city election scheduled for early April of 2023. 

Following are the increased salaries for the position of Mayor and the ten Board of Aldermen.


INCREASE FOR THE MAYOR:*
The current annual salary is $15,512.60. The increase takes the salary up to $16,562.60.

Mayor’s annual salary:                      $12,750.00   ($1,062.50 per month)
Mayor’s annual car allowance:         $  2,700.00   ($225.00 per month)
Work Comp / FICA                             $   1,112.60   (based on current salary)


INCREASE FOR THE BOARD ALDERMEN:*
The current annual salary is $5,824.00. The increase takes the salary up to $6,424.00.

Board member’s annual salary:        $  5,100.00   ($425.00 per month)
Board member’s car allowance:       $     900.00   ($  75.00 per month)
Work Comp / FICA                              $     424.00   (based on current salary)

*Elected officials may also purchase health, dental and/or vision insurance at cost through the City's group insurance plans.


The timing of the ordinance is interesting. Next Tuesday voters will go to the polls to vote on some very expensive property tax increases.

Just as interesting is that the Mayor and the majority of the Board of Aldermen slammed the legislation through in just one night. 

Missouri State Statutes and Raytown City Ordinances require that all legislation be read in public session twice before a vote is taken. The reason for this law is so that the public will have time to learn of laws that affect them before their elected representatives cast their votes.
 
To by-pass that requirement, Ward 3 Alderman Ryan Myers made a motion to suspend the regular rules of the meetings the Board to approve the legislation in one night. The vote requires a two-thirds majority of the Board for approval to suspend the rules. Alderman Ryan Myers said he “would rather not drag this along any further”.
 
At the time of the meeting, the Board had been discussing the issue for just over six minutes.
 
Alderman Walters objected to the suspension of the rules. He said, “I believe we should hear from the public on these pay raises before we vote. Other than the people in this room we have not had any feedback from anyone.”
 
HOW THEY VOTED:
On a motion to suspend the rules, Motion by Ryan Myers, second by Loretha Hayden.
 
YES:           Aziere, Hayden, Mary VanBuskirk, Emerson, Myers, Mims, Ward
NO:            Walters, Bill VanBuskirk
ABSENT:   Scott 
 
A similar vote pattern was recorded for the question increasing the salary and car allowance increase for the Board of Aldermen. The only difference being that Alderman Derek Ward joined Walters in opposition to the increase.
 
It is interesting to note that the ordinance will not take effect for five months when the next city elections will be held.

Apparently the Board did not want the public focused on pay increases for elected officials when campaigns for office begin in 2023. This tactic is not new to City Hall Board meetings. The original property tax proposal, which was voted down in the August 2, 2022 election, was approved for the ballot two months before the election was held. The move technically removed the item from public input and debate through the election.

The current property tax increase to be voted on next Tuesday, was placed on the ballot in an emergency meeting of the Board of Aldermen. This kept public debate from taking place at Board meetings as well.

This all speaks to the issue of transparency at City Hall. As Alderman Walters told us during our discussion on the so-called "suspension of the rules" . . . 

"I was not aware they were going to do this with five months before the next election. At the same time, I am not at all surprised. Suspending rules at  regular meetings, emergency meetings,  and deciding important tax issues months ahead of deadlines occur all to often at Raytown City Council meetings. Such tactics stifle public participation in debate on issues before their local government."

They Are Here!
A Jackson County Assessor was spotted along 350 Highway as the reassessment process begins in Raytown.

If your house has been re-assessed there will be a blue door hanger left on your home notifying you the process is complete.

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In this week’s Raytown Report . . .
  • Rice / Tremonti invitation to its return of the Soup and Craft event.
  • The final installment of the Raytown Voter Guide. This week's highlight is entitled "Just the Facts".
  • Our Friendly Ghost is back - photo and greeting from the Raytown Report.
  • The rest of the seven page Raytown Voter Guide.
  • Raytown Democrat Association turns down a request to endorse Raytown Property Tax Questions One and Two.
The Rice-Tremonti Fall Soup and Craft Fair is back! The Covid 19 virus shut down the event the past two years. 

The home was recently remodeled back to its original design. Visitors have compared walking through the house as taking a step back in time. 

Do not miss this opportunity for some delicious soups and desserts plus a chance to visit with our fellow Raytowners as well.  Scroll down past the political stories for a full page of information about times, cost, etc. of the event.






 TO VIEW THE REST OF THE VOTER'S GUIDE
SCROLL PAST OUR FRIENDLY GHOST GREETING


Thankfully, our ghost is light of foot.
Otherwise, he would most certainly 
crush our roof!

The angle of the picture makes the photograph of our celestial guest appear to be taller than our house.


In reality, he is only about three feet tall.


He is a friendly ghost. Slow to anger and a perfect house guest for the season.


From us at the Raytown Report,
have a safe and spooky Halloween. 

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To our Raytown Report readers:

The November 8th Election is only a couple of weeks away. We have spent an enormous amount of time visiting with home and business owners. It has been surprising to learn how many people are unaware of the very large amount of taxes that will soon be dumped on Raytown in 2023.

We urge you to talk to your neighbors and friends and remind them to vote on November 8th.

ONE FINAL NOTE: The November 8th ballot is extremely long this year. There are 37 races and ballot issues on the November ballot.

The two Raytown Property Tax Questions are the last items on the ballot..

VOTE NO on Raytown Question 1 and Raytown Question 2.



Other Politicial News . . .

RDA turns down request to endorse tax increases
Eastern Jackson County’s oldest continuing political club, the Raytown Democrat Association (RDA) has turned down a request from the pro-tax faction out of City Hall to endorse two property tax increases to be determined on the November 8th Election.

A spokesman for the club told the Raytown Report, “The voters already told the city “NO” in very clear terms last August 2nd.  Given the state of the national and local economy and the uncertainty of inflation, we feel it is best to weather the current economic storm. Now is not the time to raise taxes on people who are struggling to make ends meet.”


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Sunday, October 2, 2022

In this week's Raytown Report
  • Democrat Candidate for the United States Senate, Trudy Busch Valentine will be holding a meet and greet event at Breakfast and Lunch Lover's. The event is being sponsored by Raytown's State Representative Jerome Barnes and the Raytown Democrat Association. For more information go to the last story under "Bits and Pieces".
  • A continuation of our story of upgrades and improvements at Raytown's premier historical attraction, Rice Tremonti Home.
  • Bits and Pieces . . . A collection of short articles about many topics.
  • An Editorial Reply by Greg Walters
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BY GREG WALTERS
Rice Tremonti CONTINUED

Last week we published a story featuring upgrades to the Rice Tremonti Home located at 67th and Blue Ridge Cutoff. Barb Schlapia is the Event Manager of Raytown’s premier historic venue. She contacted us to catch us up on other improvements at the home.

An on-going project has been the refurbishing of the windows at the home. The home still has all of its original glass. When the home was first constructed back in the 1850’s, leaded glass was used for windows.

The frames supporting the windows were decaying. The Friends of Rice Tremonti, which is the governing body of the Home, made a grant application and were awarded $40,000 from the Sunderland Foundation. Twenty thousand dollars will be used to repair the windows using the original glass from the home.

The other $20,000 will be used to install a new fire alarm system, a “must have” precaution needed in a pre-civil war home built of wood.

The window project is about 50% completed.

Three years ago the aging roof was replaced with a new shake shingle roof, which more accurately fits the construction used in the pre-Civil War era when the home was built.

A new floor was added to the home in the kitchen using the original blueprints from when the home was first constructed.

It is the small details that count. When completed, the windows will shine like a new penny. The imperfections in the glass from the time period they were first installed from, have been excellently captured and preserved.

So the next time you are at the Rice Tremonti Home, take a relaxing tour of the home and grounds as you step back 170 years and imagine how life was back in those days.

Bits and Pieces . . .
Barb Schlapia has been a community activist in Raytown for many years. She served on the Raytown City Council for four terms. She was then elected to the Raytown Fire District Board of Directors. A position she still holds today.

We had heard from another member of the Fire District Board that they had just finished their budget. We were told the District actually “lowered” their tax levy. Barb confirmed she and her seatmates had lowered the Fire District's tax levy.

She told us, “People are hurting out there. We thought it would be a good idea to see what we can do to help ease the pain of inflation and all the new tax increases headed Raytown’s way.”

Well said Ms. Schlapia, and speaking for many in Raytown, “thank you”. Please pass our thanks along to your seatmates on the Raytown Fire Protection District as well.

This act of a governmental body lowering a tax in hard economic times is unusual. Particularly when you compare the aggressive path governmental bodies like Raytown and Jackson County are pushing hard to increase taxes and fees.

Greg Walters Response to Censure

To my readers:

The following is my response to an editorial printed in an out-of-town publication regarding my recent censure by the Raytown Board of Aldermen. 

The owner of the publication refused to print my rebuttal to the editorial. I have decided to run it here.

Greg Walters


Dear Readers,

It is no surprise the Raytown mayor jumped at a second attempt to censure me, after I told the City Administrator, I would be unable to attend the following Tuesday council meeting due to a family commitment. 

It is no surprise that Mayor McDonough chose the Friday before Labor Day weekend to rush his almost unintelligible self-authored “evidentiary” document to the agenda.  It’s no surprise that he chose not to have the City Attorney write it, as it might not have included the overt hearsay, along with violations to my first amendment rights, state and city laws that specifically allow me to do things I was “charged” with doing.

It is no surprise that when I asked to have the resolution carried over to the following meeting to be able to present my facts about the issues addressed he blazed through it in a meeting in my absence, without giving me the  courtesy of a rebuttal, not to mention any due process.

It is no surprise that what the mayor is really upset about, is that I opposed three enormous property tax increases in August that voters declined.

Despite knowing families in our community struggling to make ends meet, he wishes not to acknowledge that we are staring down the barrel of a huge property tax re-assessment increase by Jackson County. This alone may force some from their homes.

Now, being upset with the voter’s decision, he is bringing the taxes back to the November ballot and hoping the censure will silence my voice.

It is no surprise that after the first censure attempt didn’t meet the super majority of votes required to pass, the mayor brought legislation to lower the required threshold for a censure.

I have worked with many mayors throughout my 30 years on and off the Board of Alderman, but this one takes the cake. I have seen him publicly belittle Aldermen should they dare disagree on an issue.

It is no surprise that he chose to have one of his appointed minions write an editorial to a publication in another city about my censure and the Mayor has now forwarded the article to Facebook.

A friend of mine told me, given how and where this censure came from, that I should consider it badge of honor.

It should be no surprise that I do.

Greg Walters
Alderman, Ward 1
Raytown, Missouri

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