Sometimes it’s good to have common thoughts. Other times common thoughts can be trouble.
A perfect example, would be two Muncie city council at-large candidates sharing the same common thought, doubling your taxes. As previous president of Muncie City Common Council, Alison Quirk introduced LOIT (Local Option Income Tax) at its highest percentage. Standing at the podium urging the council to act upon this tax was Nora Powell, currently running for at-large seat.
Nora Powell, which hoped to take Monte Murphy’s seat “should he go down” began to diligently seek the favor of the local Democrat Party in early 2008. The most effective way, apparently, was to agree with everything city council did.
So, if you are unhappy with how city council has been run for the past four to eight years, would you vote in the same model of governance? Probably not. If a candidate has supported nearly every decision made by council, it stands to reason this is the type of governing most pleasing to the candidate.
Nora Powell’s campaign slogan is “Giving Volume to Your Voice” which makes it nothing more than a catchy phrase. Consider how city council has reacted to their constituents’ voice and Nora Powell sharing their core values leads one to believe it will not be YOUR voice being heard.
I would imagine the LOIT will be introduced as early as possible in 2012. This will give County Commissioner President Todd Donati the opportunity to raise the county option income tax (COIT). President Donati embraced the additional taxes and promised to couple the tax with budget cuts back in 2009. (We have seen no cuts, just additional spending and waste.)
What is the denominators that unite Alison Quirk, Todd Donati and Nora Powell? Common thoughts and taxation. Recipe for disaster.
Muncie City Council needs new faces with fresh ideas. Not a candidate which shares the same ideals of what we have today.
On September 12, a public hearing at 6:00 PM on Ordinance 38-11 Budget and Tax Rates. There is nothing to really to be said about the public hearing.
Some highlights you can expect at the city council meeting will include Ordinance 24-11 amending Ordinance 20-08 Meijers-Menard annexation.
Ordinance 17-11 vacate 9th & 10th Streets at railroad tracks. Now, this one is really interesting. If you will recall, a meeting to discuss the closing of these streets was canceled due to no official public notification. A second meeting was held and this one was just to get the invite list together for the public meeting to be held on September 14th.
In July the ordinance was tabled, in August there was an attempt to bring it back on the table by Linda Gregory. That didn’t happen. Yet, the Land & Traffic committee is holding a public meeting on an ordinance that hasn’t even been introduced. You have got to love the peculiarities of how the city council operates. I would imagine this ordinance will be introduced Monday night. Finally.
Another interesting thing. The superintendent of Public Works, contacted Julius Anderson and asked if Anderson could forward the questions the city council wanted answered on the closing. Unfortunately, Anderson didn’t have the questions as he said the recording equipment was broken. No it wasn’t. Anderson suggested he contact a member of Citizens of Delaware County for Good Government and see if someone had a copy.
Friday, the Democrat Headquarters’s supported candidates held a press conference and pledged a clean campaign. Democrats pledge to run a clean campaign 9-9-11.
The signers of the pledge (not to be confused with the signers of the Declaration of Independence) although this could become a historical document:
Mary Jo Barton
Yep, it’s an election year in Muncie, Indiana.
The county is beginning its budget meetings. Delaware County is looking at $8 million shortage, lay-off of 100 employees or at the very least three-hour reduction of work week or 8% cut in pay. According to Larry Riley’s column today, the county council submitted a budget which is higher than the 2011 budget.
As many of you know the county was unable to meet this year’s budget and 25 people were laid off from their jobs. I am trying to comprehend how the county council could submit a 2012 budget higher than 2011. Is it a shuffling of money? In other words, is the 2012 budget higher in order to cut and thereby giving the appearance the county has done due diligence to meet the $8 million dollar shortfall?
We all know it is common practice to submit a budget higher than needed, that way cuts can be made, the county can function like normal and everybody is happy. Times are different.
During the spring budget meetings this year, the county borrowed from the rainy day fund. Most understood the fund would never be paid back. It would be impossible considering the current financial climate. Today’s articles confirmed it. We do need cuts, and there are plenty of things that should have never been done. Additional hiring, $7 million dollar bond, forgiving a loan and receiving land as payment, changing lawyers and losing nearly a million dollars in taxes because of it, a county broke in 2009 and so on and so forth.
Every warning signs were ignored, poo-pooed as just citizens making a stink about elected officials. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The simple fact is, who we have in office is a detriment and it can’t be any clearer in light of the financial mess.
When I think about how our city council is a mirror image of the county officials, I can’t help but feel a tinge of uneasiness with the November election. The very thought we would vote in the same people again and place Dennis Tyler as head of the city is extremely unnerving. And it should be.
When members of our city council tried diligently to shuffle animal control to a county that was flat broke and lacked any real experience. Giving away every asset paid for by city tax dollars, you and me, and give up any control the city would have in running the shelter, is amazing. The city council paid no attention to the county’s finances or even considered how the county could afford the additional cost of animal control. And they didn’t care.
This is nothing but dereliction of duties on the part of city council. When a woman from Albany, Indiana stood before the council imploring them to take the county deal, and many of the city council members listened to her, while the people who vote, live and pay for this service were ignored and treated as if their involvement and concern for their city was nothing more than excrement to be scraped from the shoe. We knew we have no representation on city council.
Now, the simple fact is this, city council never looked any further than the immediate. It’s a good thing the Mayor of Muncie, Sharon McShurley vetoed this proposal or we would see our selves without any form of animal control at all. Gregory, Polk and Conatser , city council members, saw the future and changed their votes.
I can’t stress this enough. We can’t just look at the immediate without considering the future.
I implore all city voters to consider our future and vote with this in mind.
I don’t support Alison Quirk, Mary Jo Barton, Jerry Dishman, or Nora Powell. Mark my words, having these people along with Dennis Tyler as mayor will see us in the same boat as the county. If this is what you want, then this is what you will get.
But, if you have a strong desire to see our city move forward, then you will replace every single person that has hampered our progress and created nothing but drama for our city. It’s your choice, vote informed.
Things are rolling down the track. With the second meeting of Land & Traffic since 2007 under our wheels, you may be asking “What the heck was this meeting about, anyway?”
I can fully understand why they chose this to be a venue without public input, as it was obvious they hadn’t a clue on the issue before them or what they were supposed to be doing. So, I am going to recap as best as possible on what happened.
The full committee was there, Mary Jo Barton, Jerry Dishman, Julius Anderson, Alison Quirk and Mark Conatser.
The committee’s goal was to discuss the ordinance 17-11 which is to close the tracks permantly on 9th & 10th Streets. It wasn’t about the quiet zone. Julius Anderson was the facilitator of the meeting.
Mary Jo Barton began the meeting by saying the neighbors don’t want it closed. She said she found paperwork on when it first started. She believes it began with David Dominick wanting more parking for the convention center. Mary Jo Barton said the plan was quickly shut down by the council.
I was trying to picture the convention center and the proximity of 9th and 10th streets. There must be a link to connect the two…somewhere.
When asked what year this took place, she shuffled through some papers and said she didn’t know. Why she didn’t have the articles or a synopsis available is strange. Mary Jo Barton said the railroad can’t close down the tracks.
Conster said he believed the railroad could, and I tend to agree with him. He had spoken to someone at Norfolk Southern a few years ago when he tried to address the trains stopping on the tracks in his neighborhood.
Mary Jo Barton said it was up to the city and not the railroad to close the crossings.
A link to Railroad-Highway Grade Crossing Handbook – Revised Second Edition August 2007 outlines the procedures for railroad crossings. I want to be upfront, I don’t know if this is current, but it is a read, nevertheless, on the questions of who is responsible for closing the crossings.
Alison Quirk said this is an ordinance to vacate a public street. (Something the city council has done several times.) She said the purpose of the meeting was to determine who to invite to the public meeting in September. Mary Jo Barton reiterated it was to vacate/permanetly close the streets.
Allison Quirk stated the purpose of the meeting was to put our (committee) concerns in writing. She had no opinion, just wants to make an informed decision. Then she began to list the questions/statements. Not sure if I got them all, but here is what I believe she asked.
1. Why two crossing next to each other?
2. Who is responsible for maintenance?
3. Who determined 9th & 10th Streets closed?
4. There is an agreement and wants to know who has a copy of it?
5. She wants input from Police, Fire, and EMS.
6. What is the signage if the streets are closed?
7. What is the community impact?
8. What will the closing look like? (Drawings/rendering of the closings.)
9. Impact on businesses.
10. Who assumes liability?
Now, we are getting to the crux of the matter. She heard the railroad would compensate the city. What is the amount of money, how could it be used and would the money be appropriated by city council. (I thought they appropriated the money now.) What is the estimated cost for ongoing maintenance?
Mary Jo Barton said she believed it would be $4,000-$10,000 per year. I am just going to have to take her word for it, and that makes me uneasy. (Stole that line, but it is fitting in this case.)
Jerry Dishman asked some questions. More like a recap of Quirk’s list.
Conaster had no questions.
Jerry Dishman said the sound of the engine was as loud as the horn. (Huh?) Financial was his biggest concern. (Sure it is Jerry, which is why they paid $35,000 for a fiscal study on the consolidation plan after having it for nearly a year.)
Mary Jo Barton said she didn’t understand the vacate verbiage. 16 years on the council and she still doesn’t understand the word vacate.
Dishman thought the railroad would do the maintenance and the city would reimburse.
Quirk said she thought the railroad should be at the next meeting.
Anderson asked what are the codes? Need to talk with the department of transportation.
Barton forgets her question.
Quirk has pictures of the crossings.
Anderson will work with clerk on getting people notified.
The crossings have been closed for several years, the land & traffic committee hasn’t meet since 2007 and suddenly we have this concern for the public. Nearly four years to consider the impact and nary a word said. It’s an election year.
Don’t be fooled as Alison Quirk said at the 2007 candidate forum when asked if she had to cut the budget she would look at public safety, meet with department heads and work with the mayor. None of which she has done.
Sorry if this is a little jumbled, it’s the best I could do with what little I had to work with. The spell check stopped working so I had to eyeball it. We depend on technology for everything!
Have a great evening, folks. Sleep tight and know our city is in good hands….(not).
Periodically, I would drive by Tuhey Pool to assess the progress of the construction. It wasn’t all that exciting and not much changed from trip to trip. The last visit was about a week ago. What a difference a few days can make.
A welcome sight to find water flowing into the pool, and the lifeguard stations up. What really tugged at me was the slide. A beautiful blue and white circular slide, although stationary, was full of movement. The sun glistening on the color and contrasting to the crystal blue water was so inviting. The picture taken with my phone turned out far better than I imagined.
All sorts of images ran through my mind as I snapped the few shots. The most vivid was imagining the children on the slide. delightful laughter, smiling faces and surprised looks as each one hit the water.
Just being kids.
Last week there was so much construction debris I wondered if it would be finished by this summer. To the untrained eye, all that is left to be done today, is the landscaping and finishing touches on the building.
July 9th, 2011
On June 3rd, 2011, Lisa A. “Nettie” Peterson-Hankins left behind three small children. The event that lead to her death had many of us in shock and disbelief. I didn’t know Nettie and I have never met her children. From this tragedy, a young man, Benji Koontz, is running a race to raise funds so Nettie’s children can go on vacation.
Last year Benji ran from Losantville to Wes Del Little League Complex to raise money for Ryan Berry who is battling cancer. Mr. Ryan’s family got a vacation. Benji will be doing the same run this year for Nettie’s Kids.
Benji’s scheduled run is listed and the end of this post. At each stop, you can greet him, offer support and make a donation. Let’s make this vacation possible for three beautiful children.
Ryan Berry said the support from the community is “exploding.”
“It’s kind of taken a life of its own here,” he said. “You have many people saying, ‘I’ll do whatever. You tell me what and I’m there.’ It’s been huge.”
The July 9 event will include a cookout with a carnival atmosphere at the Wes-Del Little League Complex after the run. Admission to the carnival will cost $5, which will cover food and activities. T-shirts will be for sale for $10. Organizers are asking anyone who can help them get a bounce house, dunk tank, cotton candy, games, tournaments or any other novelties to call Audra Koontz at (765) 722-0008.
Benji Koontz will be running that day, and members of the public are welcome to join him, either on bicycles or on foot, for as long as they wish. Berry and his family plan to ride bikes along the route with Koontz, and Kris Berry’s brother, Ryan New, will be riding an adult-sized tricycle.
Benji’s Running Itinerary:
Click on the link for the itinerary in a printable PDF Another Berry Long Run Netties Kids pdf
» Losantville Trail Head (start), 7:30 a.m.
» South Prairie Creek Reservoir Post, 8:50 a.m.
» Memorial Drive, 9:47 a.m.
» Greenway Depot (Muncie), 10:05 a.m.
» McGalliard Road, 10:19 a.m.
» Riggin Road, 10:30 a.m.
» Wheeling/County Road 400-N Post, 10:43 a.m.
» Delaware County Road 500-N, 10:55 a.m.
» Wes-Del Little League Complex, 11:25 a.m.
It’s time to tell the local politicians to LET THE PEOPLE DECIDE!!
The Delaware County Commissioners and the Muncie City Council will have a joint Public Hearing on their AMENDED Reorganization Plan on:
Tuesday, June 14, 2011 @ 6:00 pm
Commissioners Courtroom, Room 309
Delaware County Building, Muncie, IN
In February 2008, over 2,200 local registered voters and citizens petitioned the local governments to reorganize and modernize Muncie and Delaware County. A bipartisan committee of 8 very dedicated local citizens appointed by our local governing bodies worked extremely hard for well over a year to craft a very progressive and comprehensive Muncie-Delaware County Plan of Reorganization . This effort would move Muncie and Delaware County out of the 19th century and into the 21st century reducing layers of bureaucracy, consolidating and unifying the local governing authority and public services to represent everyone equitably and efficiently. No more double dinging the taxpayers through multiple layers of government, no more taxation without representation by a COIT Council controlled by the Muncie City Council and many other antiquated and expensive concerns could be addressed in this reorganization.
For nearly a year, the County Commissioners and Muncie City Council allowed this Plan to gather dust as it sat on their desks wholly ignored until the statutory deadline forced their hands. At the midnight hour, a 2-person “committee” comprised of Todd Donati and Sam Marshall, who never had an open meeting to discuss or reveal their intentions, and after throwing $70,000.00 of taxpayer money at a financial impact study in an attempt to provide themselves “cover”, simultaneously sabotaged the future public referendum on this initiative by amending the plan to require a 2/3’s (66.67%) Supermajority approval at the polls in November 2012.
This folks, speaks volumes to the agenda of our County elected officials and the 5 members of the City Council that supported this amendment to the Reorganization Plan. After being forced by a citizen-driven initiative to seriously consider broad sweeping changes to our archaic local governments, our elected officials have now shown their true colors in a last ditch desperate measure to deny the citizenry and sustain the status quo. This ought to infuriate any voting citizen who believes and participates in our democratic processes.
To make matters even worse, our illustrious elected officials have strategically orchestrated this subversive maneuver in such a manner as to occur at the very last possible moment in the statutory timeline so as to minimize, if not nullify, the public’s response. Thanks to our local legislative bodies, there will be ONLY ONE OPPORTUNITY to speak out against this Supermajority requirement and that will be at the meeting on Tuesday, June 14th at 6:00 pm in the Commissioner’s Courtroom, Room 309, County Building in Muncie.
PLEASE REMEMBER THIS!!..
IT DOESN’T REQUIRE A “SUPERMAJORITY VOTE” TO ELECT AN INDIVIDUAL TO A POLITICAL OFFICE!…
IT DOESN’T REQUIRE A “SUPERMAJORITY VOTE” FOR A LEGISLATIVE BODY TO ADOPT LEGISLATION (INCLUDING THESE OBSCENE AMENDMENTS TO OUR REORGANIZATION PLAN)!….
IT DIDN’T REQUIRE A “SUPERMAJORITY VOTE” TO ELIMINATE INDIANA’S TOWNSHIP ASSESSORS!….
IT DIDN’T REQUIRE A “SUPERMAJORITY VOTE” TO RECENTLY CHANGE OUR STATE CONSTITUTION TO INCLUDE PROPERTY TAX CAPS!….
IT WON’T REQUIRE A “SUPERMAJORITY VOTE” TO CONSIDER INDIANA’S MARRIAGE AMENDMENT TO OUR STATE CONSTITUTION….
IT DANG-GONE WELL SHOULDN’T REQUIRE A “SUPERMAJORITY VOTE” FOR MUNCIE AND DELAWARE COUNTY CITIZENS TO DECIDE ON OUR FUTURE (NOT THE SELF-SERVING “PROFESSIONAL” LOCAL POLITICIANS) WHEN IT COMES TO HOW WE CHOOSE TO BE GOVERNED….
In a nutshell, whether in favor or opposed to the Plan, Muncie and Delaware County voters are at the threshold of having a once in a lifetime opportunity of HISTORICAL PROPORTIONS. We would like to think (and hope) that you would want to be a part of it. We would also like to think that as Americans, Muncie and Delaware County citizens you would want to have this very important consideration fairly adjudicated by a vote of the people in a manner consistent with the the way we decide upon all our other governing and political issues.
We sincerely hope to see you at the County Building on Tuesday evening…….
Poison Ivy in the fall
Sam Marshall, president of Muncie City Council introduced changes to the Modernization and Consolidation.
Here it is in a nutshell. For this to pass in 2012, there must be a vote of 66 2/3 vote. A majority vote is 51%.
Jim Arnold asked if they would like the same to be applied to them…at the polls.
Another speaker asked if the City Council had the authority to speak for the county on this 66 2/3 vote. The usual him-hawing and finally, I believe it was Marshall, said it had to match the county. I was told, but can’t confirm, the county passed the same tonight.
It is so obvious to any person that has a brain, this was an attempt to destroy the people’s right to vote. Raising the vote to an outrageous 67% is nothing short of self-serving and party line government leadership.
Voting for the 66 2/3 vote was (in alphabetical order):
- Julius Anderson Democrat (up for re-election) District 6
- Mary Jo Barton Democrat (up for re-election) District 3
- Jerry Dishman Democrat (up for re-election) District 5
- Sam Marshall Democrat
- Alison Quirk Democrat (up for re-election) At Large
Voting against the 66 2/3 vote was (in alphabetical order):
- Mark Conatser* Republican (up for re-election) District 2
- Linda Gregory* Democrat (up for re-election) At Large
- Mike King Democrat
- Brad Polk* Republican (up for re-election) District 4
There is no gentle way to say this, these city council members are destroying our city and have shown nothing but lip service on her behalf. It is time to vote them out of office in November. And we need to do the same in 2012 on the county level.
They have been poisoning our city for decades and it has gradually been seeping into our roots. “Round Up” the voters and let’s remove the poison from our city.
*Good city council members.
The total presentation lasted approximately 45 minutes. Commissioner Todd Doanati laid down the ground rules. (Those were his words, not mine.) There was to only be questions from the council members and the attorneys. For the city, Joe Hunter and for the county it was Jack Quirk. (Mike Quirk abruptly resigned.) Missing from the city council was Mary Jo Barton (no surprise, there) and Mark Conatser (big surprise). If memory serves me correctly, Mark & Linda Gregory were the only council members which were familiar with the Modernization and Consolidation proposal. I don’t remember seeing Jerry Dishman.
Mr. Donati made a point to ask the representative from Crowe-Horwath if the company had enough time to do a thorough job on such short notice. The answer was a resounding YES. Mr. Donati just doesn’t get it. He along with the other usual suspects aren’t listening to their constituents. The problem was not the late hour of the study, but their total disregard and lack of interest on an important proposal given to them June 2010.
In 2006 legislation was passes giving local governments the legal right to consolidate. In 2007, neither city or county took the initiative. A group of citizens gathered over 2500 signatures forcing the hand of our elected officials to move on this marvelous tool. From the passage in 2006 we saw the Kernan-Shepard Report with recommendations that would save our state millions of dollars.
In 2008 the voters went to the polls and we consolidated all of the assessors. Saving over $100,000 and creating a more uniform department. As far as I know, not one single citizen has suffered pain from this first step at consolidation. Countless articles have been written, in fact it was even brought up at the League of Women Voters candidate forum in 2007.
The reason I am giving you all this background is simply to let you know the elected officials have let us down by allowing a good proposal to gather dust for nearly one full year. Certainly with all of the budget meetings, a combined budget of nearly 80 million dollars and knowledge of how the city and county are structured, the commissioners and city council should have been able to reasonably assess the proposal. However, because they lacked the will to do so, at the final hour both entities commissioned a study for $70,000.00.
For goodness sakes. As many times as the resolution/ordinance has been voted on and voted down and tabled and then voted on again, you would think there would be some interest shown on their part when the proposal was finally completed.
But, I digress.
It was hard to follow the financials without having it in your hands. The cost analysis was on a screen and unless you were sitting very close, it would have been nearly impossible to read it. Still, this is what I gleaned from the presentation. I hesitate to put the numbers out there as I can’t guarantee they are 100% accurate. Still, this is what my notes read.
A side by side study of current tax rates. The company used use this to determine what tax rates would be if the sheriff departments was paid for by the unincorporated cities/towns. All Delaware County pays into this budget now. They used the 2011 budgets for both the city and county, took into account debt and revenue to estimate tax rates/levies. (None of the taxing entities such as the library were considered.) City would pay .68 and Center Township would pay .33 more.. For example, because the city taxes are so high now and Perry Township taxes are so low, they would see an increase.
Mayor Sharon McShurley said if the consolidation of Yorktown and Mount Pleasant went through this will increase the tax rate. The representative said that was correct.
I hope to have the video link to post tomorrow.
Now, some of the candidates asking for our vote were at the scene. Jim Arnold candidate for District 5, Murray Barthomome candidate for Council-at Large, Doug Marshall, and Nora Powell.
That’s all, folks. The public hearing is tomorrow night 6:00 PM at the Horizon Convention Center. Expect a media blitz of solid information from the reorganization Committee.
The June 23rd deadline is just around the corner and the Delaware County and Muncie legislative bodies (Commissioners and City Council) are now in the final stretch in responding to the Mun-Del Reorganization Plan filed last year. Next week will have both a joint Commissioners and City Council Special Meeting as well as a Public Hearing on the Mun-Del Reorganization Plan. It is all so important for the citizens to now come together and become informed of this immensly important opportunity of historical proportions. Be rest assured, there will be a whole lot of misinformation and uninformed dialog being disseminated as our current elected officials are starting to exhibit a lot of paranoia about the prospect that the citizens might decide to move out of our antiquated 19th century of governing.
As spoken to before, the two person committee of Todd Donati and Sam Marshall have been meeting behind closed doors to come up something that they and their respective legal counsels, Mike Quirk and Joe Hunter, may only know. So much for transparency in our local governments. In addition at the last possible moment, the Commissioners and the City Council mysteriously came up with $70,000.00 to throw at a Financial Impact Study that is suppose to reveal some sort of financial revelations of the newly formed political subdivision as proposed. Initial drafts of that report appear to fall way short of a comprehensive assessment and only redistribute existing costs. The final report has yet to make its appearance, at least at the level of the public.
The law requires the County and the City to respond by a twice-read Resolution and a Public Hearing at the level of each political subdivision. The City Council entered their first reading of said Resolution in April and then tabled the issue not to be read again. The Commissioners have done nothing. Following the introduction of the Resolutions, there is suppose to be Public Hearings in each participating Political Subdivision which apparently is not going to occur. Instead, it appears that there will be some sort of “joint Public Hearing” next week.
Tuesday, May 31, 2011 @ 5:30 pm:
Muncie City Council & Delaware County Commissioners
Joint Special Meeting on Crowe-Howarth Report
Financial Impact Study on Reorganization
Commissioners Courtroom, Room 309
County Building, Muncie, IN
Wednesday, June 1, 2011 @ 6:00 pm:
Muncie City Council & Delaware County Commissioners
Public Hearing – Muncie-Delaware County Reorganization
Horizon Convention Center
401 S. High St., Muncie, IN