Hubach burns Council’s midnight oil

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The Raymore City Council met at its regularly scheduled time on Monday, October 14, at the Council Chambers in Raymore City Hall. A lengthy agenda was paired with a public hearing concerning the proposed budget for the new fiscal year, which begins November 1.

Thirteen items were listed for new business, set for the first reading.

The Council passed an amendment of the new City budget concerning solid waste revenues and expenditures. Ward 4 Councilmember Charlene Hubach was the only one opposed. The Council also passed an amendment of the budget concerning appropriations that occurred in 2013 for operating budget items. That Bill passed unanimously.

Raymore’s 2014-2018 Capital Improvement Program was discussed, considering (and eventually reconsidering with amendments) an indoor/outdoor recreation center inside the Raymore city limits. Further details of this topic are discussed in another article in this week’s publication. In the end, the amended 2014 fiscal year budget and the five-year Capital Improvement Program were both approved.

A plat extension for the Madison Valley Subdivision was discussed by the Council as well. Scott Shanahan, representing property owner Kinban, Inc., who received the plat out of a foreclosure, has requested the two-year extension. The plat has been under a preliminary extension since 2005 and it currently does not meet the stream buffer requirements of the City, as their original extension was granted before those requirements were put in place. The subdivision erected its first three phases, but phases four and five were halted when the economy went downhill. City Staff recommended giving the owner a one-year extension and that is what was eventually granted by the Council in a 4-4 tie with Mayor Peter Kerckhoff breaking the tie by voting in favor. Councilmembers Ryan Wescoat, Jason Boehner, Robert Piepho, and Sonja Abdelgawad opposed.

Craig French, a representative for RFF Development, LLC, the owner of Madison Creek Subdivision, also asked for a two-year plat extension. Madison Creek, like Madison Valley, also has stream buffer issues.

“At some point we need to say, ‘You know what, we’re no longer going to rubber stamp it,’” said Ward 2 Councilmember Ryan Wescoat, also pointing out that neither of the subdivision owners came to the meeting to ask for the extensions. Just as with the other subdivision, a one-year extension was granted with Councilmembers Boehner, Piepho, and Wescoat opposing.

Two of the new business items were put on the agenda by Councilmember Charlene Hubach, both of which were proposed in order to limit the Mayor’s role in city government. The first item addressed was an amendment which would affect City Code Section 110.070, “Mayor Shall Have the Power to Enforce Laws.” The other item would also amend the City Code regarding the Mayor’s duties at City Council meetings and supervision of City affairs.

“This has to do with employees,” said Councilmember Hubach in reference to her first proposal.

The part of the municipal code that she was seeking to be removed/altered was the section that encouraged the Mayor to deal with insubordinate employees of the City.

The Code states, “The Mayor shall be active and vigilant in enforcing all laws and ordinances for the government of the City, and he/she shall cause all subordinate officers to be dealt with promptly for any neglect or violation of duty; and he/she is hereby authorized to call on every male inhabitant of the City over eighteen (18) years of age and under fifty (50), to aid in enforcing the laws.”

“I’m not going to support this and to be honest I am very, very disappointed in Councilmember Hubach,” said Councilmember Wescoat.

“I don’t know what else to say other than I’m disappointed.”

Hubach’s second item concerned the Mayor’s duties described in Section 110.080 of the City Code. That Section states, “The Mayor shall have a seat in and preside over the City Council, but shall not vote on any question, except in case of a tie, nor shall he/she preside or vote in cases when he/she is an interested party. He/she shall exercise a general supervision over all the officers and affairs of the City, and shall take care that this Code or other ordinances of the City, and the State laws relating to such City, are complied with.”

“There’s no place in the [City] Charter that says the Mayor has a seat in the Council,” said Hubach, attempting to point out a discrepancy between the Code and the Charter.

Councilmember Hubach’s persistence on this issue began several meetings prior when Mayor Kerckhoff broke the Council’s tie regarding the construction of the roundabout at Dean Avenue and Lucy Webb Road.

Ward 2 Councilmember Derek Moorhead and Councilmember Wescoat both spoke to the court’s decision in 1998 by Cass County Probate Judge Thomas Campbell which stated that the Mayor can break a tie in a Council vote. Councilmember Hubach was the suing party in that case, known as Hubach v. City of Raymore, Raymore City Council, and Mayor Stathopoulos.

On July 13, 1998, then-Mayor Frank Stathopoulos broke a tie of the City Council which resulted in the termination of City Administrator Richard Herbel. Whether or not Hubach remembers the ruling to this day, she was the very reason it came about. She had not publicly informed the Council of the 1998 case as she continued to press the issue over the past weeks, though, and it was only brought up during the October 14 meeting because it was previously discovered by other city officials.

“I take great exception to this and I am offended by this,” said Moorhead, stating that false information was disseminated to the Council and information was purposefully withheld in previous discussions concerning this issue.

READ THE REST OF THE STORY IN THIS THURSDAY’S JOURNAL

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