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As if there was any hope that Commissioners Ridgeway and Owen would come to their senses on the $50 million dollar certificates of participation, it looks as if they are asking for a showdown at the Clay County Commission meeting next Monday with the tax payers.

If you head over to the Clay County website and pull up next Monday’s Commission Agenda you will find that the last item on there is the approval of the certificates of participation.

What you won’t find is any specifics on the certificates of participation.

10.15.2018 Commission Agenda

As if it wasn’t frustrating enough that there’s been no public discussion on what exactly the $50 million dollars is going to pay for, they don’t even have the courage to tell us what they’re passing on Monday.

Apparently we have to pass it so that we can see what is inside of it.

I’m sure they will say they can’t publish the details by hiding behind some Executive Session excuse. That excuse is nothing more than an “opinion” given by some overpriced legal counsel. Legal counsel who does the bidding of the two behind this. These people are not judges. It’s a ridiculous excuse and pretty shameful. But, ridiculous excuses and shameful is something I would associate with Commissioners Owen and Ridgeway as that’s been pretty much the way they’ve behaved for years now.

Updated: 10/12/2018 11:57 AM – Someone was apparently shuffling around the office and found the document. I’m sure it was an honest mistake.

Get your reading glasses out, because it’s a 49 page document. Oh, and we’re getting a new astronomy center because well, you know, the people are in the streets demanding a new astronomy center. Here’s the full list of projects:

County Project List

Again, the question remains, HOW DID YOU COME TO THESE NUMBERS ESPECIALLY ON THE NEW ANNEX!

I will be attending the County Commission meeting on Monday with a video camera in hand. If able to have the opportunity, I will be standing up and speaking against the passage of this plan.

We’re going to need your help. Two weeks ago we saw Commissioners Owen and Ridgeway back down from what was going to be a tax increase. We had about 3-4 dozen citizens shown up at the Courthouse, and I think it made the difference.

We need about 5-6 times that amount to show up on Monday. I’ve watched these two for years now. They think you don’t care, and they’re only being opposed by a small minority of highly opinionated people. And in fairness, that’s been the appearance to me, too. I do think that is changing, and this is a perfect opportunity to show them.

Please don’t feel like you need to speak, just show up and make your presence known. The room where the Commission meeting is held needs to be so full that people have to leave the room and stand outside.

There’s two things to keep in mind here: First, a large crowd could potentially stop this from going ahead. Second, this needs to be about optics. Commissioner Owen and Ridgeway both need to be retired from public service in 2020. Going ahead in the face of this opposition will be terrible optics. Those sorts of things make outstanding campaign ads and mailers in an election.

This is a direct appeal to all of our state representatives, state senators, local school board members, and anyone else in the public sphere who is concerned about rocking the boat.

Rock the damn boat and show up on Monday in opposition to this. This is your County, too. I don’t want politicians who want to just get along, I want elected officials who serve the people by standing up against something that doesn’t benefit them. You’re a voter and tax payer, too. Act like one.

A few things that I need you to do:

  1. If this came to you by email, please forward it on to everyone you know in Clay County.
  2. If you are on Facebook, please join the event and tell us that you are coming, at the very least if you honestly can’t make it, please click Interested. This helps the Facebook algorithm determine the interest level in the event. The more interest the more it is shared with others.
  3. Share this Facebook Page with others by clicking share on Facebook!
  4. SHOW UP MONDAY IF YOU CAN
  5. Do not feel like you need to speak
  6. Consider bringing signs simply stating NO to the certificates of participation. Lots of people holding signs may look good on TV. I suspect a couple of local news stations will show up.
  7. Prepare for a long morning as this is last on the Commission Agenda.

 

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I spoke with Commissioner Nolte this week. He’s going to hold a Town Hall meeting to discuss the $50 million certificate of participation (bond) proposal that Commissioners Ridgeway and Owen are trying to ram down our throats.

I’m going to try and make this and video the entire thing. I would be nice to see a strong crowd there.

The event will be held at Bridgeview Hall at 1041 Burlington St. on Thursday, October 11 at 5:30 PM.

Imagine… a public servant taking it upon himself to hold a public town hall in the evening, not 4:00 PM on a Friday.

I found out last week that there was a chance that Commissioners Ridgeway and Owen were going to raise county property taxes at the Commission meeting this Monday. I just don’t have much time these days to pay attention to this stuff as I’m quite busy working for companies that have to pay these taxes so that I can earn enough money to pay my taxes and keep all the property I supposedly own.

I was able to squeeze out a couple hours and head to the Courthouse to watch the crap show that doubles as a public meeting of our County Commissioners. I tell you, after covering that place for the better part of two years I don’t miss sitting through one of those meetings for five seconds.

For those that were not able to torture themselves, I have uploaded what is pretty much most of the public meeting and the passing of the ordinances to my personal YouTube channel. You can watch that below if you wish. I’d encourage a 2-3 drink minimum to make it not hurt so bad. I’ll do my best to summarize the important parts below and show you why I say Commissioners Ridgeway and Owen are lying.

I applaud those citizens that were able to take the time to attend the meeting. There was easily over 3 dozen people there, and I think it certainly helped.

For those that are not familiar with how property tax levies are set, they are approved by the Commission after the state auditor’s office determines what is the maximum levy permissible. Don’t be confused by that previous sentence. The Commission can set them as low, or as high as they want, as long as they fall underneath that magic number the auditor gives.

There are two seperate sets of tax levies. There are the outside agencies which include levies for mental health, developmental disabilities, and senior services. These levies are always small, and are currently set at the maximum level allowed by the auditors office. The second set of levies, which is where all the controversy came from, are the levies for finance and administrative services. These are the general levy, road and bridge, park, and debt service. Those rates were set at the following levels going into the meeting on Monday:

General .0853 per $100 of assessed valuation

Road and Bridge .0800 per $100 of assessed valuation

Park .0000 per $100 of assessed valuation

Debt Services .0000 per $100 of assessed valuation

I found out about the supposed tax increase from social media, to be more specific I saw it on Facebook from the Clay County MO Audit Facebook group. And it appears the information that made everyone think they were going to raise taxes seems to come from the 2018-Ord-16 document that was inserted into the Commission Meeting packet. You can find it over at the Clay County MO Website. Here’s a direct link, and here’s a screenshot because I like to make the Internet forever as much as possible.

2018-ord-16

From early on in the meeting it was apparent that Ridgeway and Owen were trying to make it seem like people had been misinformed on social media, and that neither one of them had any intention of raising taxes.

The Sherry Duffett stepped up to the podium and starting asking what seemed like an obvious question. Why was an ordinance inserted in the meeting packet that clearly states “does hereby establish the Clay County Levy Rates for Clay County for the 2018 tax year as follows”? Why does this document clearly show an increase over the existing levies?

Unfortunately, I didn’t get 100% of Duffett’s testimony. I had an issue with the camera and the beginning of her comments didn’t get fully recorded. You can watch what was captured here:

Later in the meeting a new ordinance to replace the 2018-Ord-16 was brought out by staff for the Commissioners. This new ordinance was passed with no increase of taxes.

This is a photo I took of that document:

2018-09-10 11.50.59 (512x1024)

After the passage of the ordinances, they recessed so people could stretch their legs. For whatever reason, Commissioner Owen came up to me to try and convince me that I’d been “sold a bill of goods” and there was nothing to worry about all along.

I asked him the same thing Duffett was wondering. Why have an ordinance in your meeting packet that had the incorrect rates that you were not going to support? Seems to me it would save you a lot of headache from angry citizens. He tried to claim that it was required by law that this ordinance had to be written this way.

So, I’m a person that likes to prove things. Maybe he was right, maybe my sense about what was going on was wrong. I called the state Auditor today and spoke to a representative to see if there was any truth to what he was saying.

According to the Auditor’s office, the County is only required by statute to pass the levies and to set the levies within the maximum level provided by the auditor’s office. They do not have to bring an ordinance up at the meeting with the maximum rates on them.

Here’s what I think was going on. Admittedly, I can’t prove this 100% but everything appears this way. They were going to raise your taxes because they did it previously and no one really said much of anything about it. They didn’t expect the strong response from the citizens and realized that they may have overplayed their hand a little. So, yesterday was all about damage control. Let’s blame “social media” because well, that’s what politicians do these days, and let’s make strong statements about how we had no intent of ever raising your taxes (just have short term memory because we did it previously).

So, it begs the question, why raise the rates at all?

Ridgeway and Owen want to pass a $50 million dollar bond. I’m not sure what’s all in this bond at this point in time. And considering that Owen and Ridgeway are completely inept at using any modern communication medium to communicate to us peasants, I hold little hope that we’ll ever truly be told by these two what they want. But by all means, take time off work and go to the meetings to find out after they pass it. You can be angry retroactively. To be able to get the bond the County has to have a higher income stream than they currently do for the underwriters to deem the County a safe credit risk. That additional tax revenue would have helped them with this.

The citizens may have done themselves a significant favor in stopping this tax increase if the above is true. I’m not going into the details of why. But suffice it to say, the last thing you want the County to do is go out and take on debt. I don’t care what the “Make America Great” crowd is telling you. We have a massive debt reset in the world on the horizon, and it’s probably closer than anyone would like to know.