Saturday ramblings: How to manage a hotel

But we need to acknowledge the extent to which we’re banking, literally, on the success of the development now that the city of Muncie is the primary financial investor in the project — to the tune of $30 million. Larry Riley –  Muncie goes all-in on hotel Star Press

Riley’s column took me off guard because there was no warning. Certainly borrowing $30 million is newsworthy. Yet, the paper didn’t report on Muncie City Council’s vote. With the additional borrowing, the grand total of debt accrued since June 2013 has reached $55 million.  I’m sure there is more, good luck in researching it, though.

An on-line commenter said it shouldn’t have been a shock. He had presented over the summer to City Council regarding the bond. I went to the City of Muncie’s website to review city council’s minutes. Unfortunately, the last minutes posted – June 2014.  Muncie Redevelopment Commission minutes most current is 2010, too.

He went on to post the financing was a done deal, just taking longer than expected.   And if the financing didn’t go through, the City of Muncie would own the hotel property. Initially we were told the private financing was a done deal. Ground was broken and no mention of the financing problems, no mention city would be the sole financer. How can we be assured of something proving to be unstable financing? We simply can’t. Continue reading →

Good to know, we have normal vomiting

You can’t make this stuff up.

City garage: Damage, vandalism and normal vomiting

 

Live Election Results

Live election results Delaware County

2014 Mid-Term elections

Locally, the mid-terms have been rather lackluster.  A lower than normal primary voting total kicking off the election season.  Strange was two pieces of campaign literature received days before the election.  One for Democrat clerk and another for Republican recorder.

Both Democrat and Republican mainstream parties refused to participate in League of Women Voters’ guide or candidate forums.  A handful of Democrats not supported by local headquarters and school board candidates completed the voter’s guide.

The Democrat Party claimed the LWV favored Team Democrats and I have no idea what the Republicans thought.  A guest column from LWV noted candidates didn’t want their answers in writing.  Well, o.k.

LWV may have gotten in too deep with their campaign for the $43 million tax increase for Muncie Community Schools in 2013.  Still, it seems strange the Democrat Headquarters, holding a press conference in support of the referendum taxation, joined hands with LWV.  Politics is fickle and one day they support and the next day they don’t.

Many of the seats are uncontested.  Fewer voters and fewer candidates willing to enter into what can only be considered one step away from Hell.

At one time, enjoyed the campaign season.  Open houses, food, meeting people, campaigning, parties.  Excitement of watching the political process in action.   Except for party faithfuls, it seems voters are becoming more and more disenfranchised.  Mentioned earlier low voter turn-out, lack of campaign signs and Sunday which is traditionally packed full of letters to the editor supporting candidates, just two or three were printed.

Surprising is Democrat Headquarters supporting a Republican.  One of the financial supporters is ex-Democrat commissioner, Todd Donati, ousted after four years.  He served with candidate and current commissioner, Larry Bledsoe.  Often times the two clashed about such things as nepotism, depleted accounts and economic development.   Hearing a small variety of reasons why the support has shifted, basically Bledsoe has been in office for two terms and the state of county finances.

Personally, I find the arguments  disingenuous simply because the same train of thought is not applied to other Democrat candidates.   Two of which have over eight years in office and do control the general budget and spending.  If there is so much concern for county finances,  one has to ask why for six years it has been ignored, excused and well, kicking the can down the road type management  Oh, yes, it’s an election year.

Ah, yes, Bledsoe is being blamed for the financial problems.  From the years 2006, 2007 and 2008, the county, although not wealthy, made a few good cost saving changes and entered the new years with an operating balance.  On January 1-1-09, Todd Donati was sworn in and soon voted in as president.  By the end of ’09, the county was so broke, borrowing $10.5 million to keep from breaking Indiana law.

In my opinion, the real issue of Democrats supporting a Republican is retribution for not following party dictates.  It’s a common event.    In ’08, Democrats recruited a fake candidate to be on the primary ballot to oust popular commissioner John H. Brooke.  Waging a campaign against two candidates running for judge seats, Cannon & Wolf, did everything possible to keep them from winning.  It failed.  Shortly after the judges were worn in, Democrat Headquarters approached the judges offering an olive branch.   All that was required, judges to pay their party assessments and they would be welcomed back into the fold.

Judges said no.

It didn’t end there.  The County Council (mainstream Democrats) waged a war against the judicial branch with lawsuit ensuing.  Most everyone believed it was politics and retribution in all her glory.

I wouldn’t consider myself a disenfranchised voter.  Let’s just say, sick of the local political scene.  It’s disgusting to me

A word in closing.  I have been a strong conservative for decades, it is not a political party that makes one conservative.   You believe in taking personal responsibility, fiscal responsibility, you seek out those with strong moral character and you avoid those which don’t exhibit, let alone hide their lack.  When the party you most align yourself begins to practice the latter you move on before you find your spirit dulled and your beliefs marred.

 

Saturday morning rambling: Voters threatened?

A few days ago, we learned of the Chicago pastor who received death threats.  In the State of New York, voters received a letter warning them to get out and vote.  Read the NY Post article here.

I have a real problem with both of these incidents.  Why?  Because, even at an early age I was taught the right to vote was not only a right afforded to all Americans, but a civic duty.  As I got older, reading books, watching the news, talking with people like veterans, I realized, all the sacrifices made for that right.

We had the Women’s Suffrage (now we have the fake “War on Women”),  we had the Civil Rights movement, we’ve had wars.  All filled with people who shed their blood, lost their livelihoods, families, homes, friends all so we can freely exercise that one precious right.  Voting.

So, when our voting rights get violated by the very people claiming to protect that right, It makes me more than angry.  It makes me angry, not only because fear is a powerful tool to keep the people down, it also shows complete and total disregard for the millions of people that sacrificed.

Its reprehensible.

Chicago Sun Times -Pastor receives death threats

Chicago Sun Times has reported the pastor of New Beginnings Church has received death threats possibly related to his support of a Republican candidate.  He put his family in hiding, the church had $8,000.00 stolen from a recent break-in and his congregation targeted.

The problem is in the United States of America, you should be allowed to support and voice your opinion on political candidates without fear of deadly retribution.   Certainly, most have been met with some opposition on many issues, faced the name calling and other acts of retaliation.

But…threatening children, can’t get any lower than that.

Chicago Sun Times article

Trouble in Paradise – Carmel, IN

Carmel robbed roads, maintenance funds as development costs mounted

Read the article here.

Muncie Community Schools Candidate Forum

This may possibly be the only time you will hear from the MCS school board candidates.

Candidate Forum information, click here.

A new roof, City Hall and other incidentals

city hall circa 2008

In the summer of 2013, the City of Muncie embarked on two projects.  One was Prairie Creek Reservoir bathhouse and the other remodeling of City Hall.  At the city council meeting the bond issuance was voted on (a yes vote, no surprise) and the bond debt was $4,000,000.00.

We heard from city grant writers of the private donations for PCR, unfortunately, it had to be mums the word on donors.  I watched from the sidelines of the citizens gallery as council woman Mary Jo Barton shook her head in disbelief at the condition of City Hall.

True to form, she most likely forgot the requests for money for upkeep and repairs.  Forgot about the information of the leaking roof or curled up carpeting.  Forgot she consistently voted no for any repair money. Imagine for a moment if the roof had been repaired when needed, could have avoided $600.000 expense.  Sadly, we will never know the true cost of a roof repair.  There was no need to pursue it.  Council said NO.

I can’t tell you the exact date City Hall was built, but it was during the Carey administration.  For decades, no money was allocated for maintenance on the building.  When the previous mayor requested funds, you can imagine all the comments on the newspaper forum.  One even said there was no need to budget, as it was a newer building.  Mayor McShurley was crazy to ask the council for money.  Indeed she was.

However, all buildings, even 25 year old ones, require general maintenance now and then.  The point is, citizens were aware of the roof leaking as far back as circa 2010, but a person with over 20 years as a sitting council person did not?

So we fast forward to 2014 and find that not only did we pay for new landscaping to replace maturing and beautiful plants, we get to replace the roof at a tune of $600,000.00.

The metal roof, which is supposed to have a 50 year warranty, is approximately 25 years old.  Half the life span of metal roofs and a little better than an asphalt shingled one.  President of Muncie Economic Development, the one who presented the bond to the city council, said the roof was improperly installed and the warranty has been voided.  Mayor Tyler has been reported to blame the previous administration for not allocating funds.  So, there you have it.

According to Todd Donati, since the roof was improperly installed, there is no warranty recourse.  Once again, the taxpayers are on the hook, financing less than stellar craftsmanship.  We had the sting of the Justice Center and the Gawd awful construction, in which we saw cost overruns, additional bonding, lawsuits, etc.   The Justice Center was so poorly designed, it actually is an ineffective building for its intending purpose.

Of course, who could forget the Royerton Sewer System fiasco, another shoddy government project in which parts had to be replaced.  Once again at the taxpayers expense.  Time does not allow for listing all the mismanagements of these projects.

So, today, we can add the City Hall roof to the list.   Or can we?  Has anybody seen the reports and the costs associated with the replacement or repair of this roof.  Not really.

An excerpt from Muncie City Council June 2014 meeting minutes:

Committee Reports: Barton asks if he (Energy Systems Group) did repair the roof.  Koons stated they have provided several options to the Building Commissioner and it wasn’t part of the agreement.

It appears the only option considered is a complete tear-off and an additional $600,000.  If you are interested in the other options, get in touch with the Building Commissioner.

Muncie City Council minutes 6-14 roof info (PDF)

City Hall/PCR bond information (PDF)

 

Saturday morning ramblings: What’s happening? Local politics and how it works for you.

Muncie Politics

The Road to Prosperity

September began with a bang when the State of Indiana levied fines of $12,500 on a local construction company for work being done at Muncie’s City Hall.  The city’s building commissioner, who is the owner of the company, Advanced Walls and Ceilings, said he took a hands off approach when his business was awarded a contract and knew nothing about the violations, as well as Mayor Tyler.   Mayor Tyler plans to appeal  to the State of Indiana.

Advanced Walls and Ceilings violation report

SOS Advanced Walls and Ceiling business filing history

Last week the Muncie Star Press newspaper reported the Building Commission tagged the headquarters of Team Democrat candidates for code violations.  There was no construction or remodeling going on, and no other units received violations.

The initial implication of the red-tagging was that the dissidents — who prefer to be considered the mainstream Democrats now, as was noted in an earlier W/R column — had been targeted by appointees of Mayor Dennis Tyler, the standard-bearer of the mainstream Democratic Party.

Source: W/R REPORT: Dissident Dems red-tagged by city Star Press 9-7-14

 The building commissioner could not be reached for comment. The mayor however did comment.

“No, absolutely not,” Tyler said. “I will not allow them to be treated any differently than any other organization.” Source: W/R REPORT: Dissident Dems red-tagged by city 9-7-14

Well, O.K. Let’s move on. Continue reading →

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