RAYTOWN, Mo. — Ten years after Raytown cut Walmart a sweetheart deal to convince the retail giant to come to town, city leaders are discussing declaring Walmart a public nuisance.
The discussion came during a special session to discuss budget cuts that will lead to police layoffs.
“We have cut literally everything we can when it comes to these departments,” Alderman Jason Greene said during the meeting.
“There should not be any mistake. With a reduction of $3 million in cuts, people are going to lose jobs,” Chief Jim Lynch said.
In an open letter released on the Raytown Police website Monday, Chief Lynch said he would have to cut 17 full-time police officers to meet the budget demands.
For months both alderman and residents have pointed to one 2007 vote as the source of the city’s problems. A TIF, that’s erased roughly $3 million dollars per year in tax revenue from city revenues.
“Right now we are getting this much from Walmart,” Alderman Eric Teeman said forming his fingers in a zero.
“Walmart does not pay anything to the city of Raytown; no property taxes, anything because of the TIF,” Cheryl White said.
Chief Lynch says he’s already informed the 17 police officers, they’ll be off the force in Raytown on November 1st.
But Tuesday night in a final meeting between the Board and Police Command staff, Teeman proposed an unusual solution.
“Would you be in support of a declaration on this board of making Walmart a public nuisance?” Teeman asked.
“I would consider (Walmart) to be a drain on our resources,” Major Randy Hudspeth said.
Raytown Police say they made more than 500 arrests at Walmart in 2016. In May an off-duty Jackson County deputy shot and killed a shoplifter investigators say reached for her taser.
Raytown Police say Walmart accounts for 30 percent of their part-one crime. With that percentage of cops about to get pink slips, charging the big box store for each 911 call to the store, is a solution some think might just work.
“Walmart only did a trillion dollars last year and we did what 21 million?” Alderman Mark Moore quipped.
“We all have to tighten the belt these days, but to have a corporation anything to the city or town that they live in, it’s just not right,” White said.
A Walmart spokesperson reached in Bentonville, Arkansas said the company is working on a response to the city’s proposal. No vote was taken Tuesday night.
The city is set to vote on the budget October 3rd.