$$Five Million Greenbacks and Some Change$$
Is there a $5 million operating budget or not? His inquiring mind wants to know. So, Dennis Tyler has asked his staff to not make any “spending commitments”. Mayor Tyler has his doubts and it is clear, he wanted to know the financial state of the City of Muncie. He asked the controller to quickly give him “an accurate picture of city finances”. We haven’t heard the new controller’s report update, though.
Looks like Mayor Tyler is confident the finances are there as he has begun work on the Mock Street fire station and preparing for it to re-open. There should be no doubt the city has the money or Dennis Tyler wouldn’t be spending. Obviously, he didn’t feel comfortable with the previous controller or the independent audit.
The first round of SAFER grants have been awarded, and Muncie is missing from the list. The SAFER grant of which Muncie received $3.5 million dollars used to recall 25 firefighters will be expiring this year. Center Township will increase its payment to Muncie from $250,000 to $400,000.
A video interview with Mayor Tyler on his first week as Commander-in-Chief, Mr. Tyler points to the messages he has received about the Mock fire station. Accolades, he said, from people praising the painting and re-opening of the station. If you are a fiscally conservative citizen and if you pay attention to local government, you may find yourself with more questions than answers.
Congressman Mike Pence showed up to congratulate and offer his support to Mayor Tyler. From there the two men went to a local high school where Dennis Tyler gave the students a brief history of his experience and a student asked a question.
“What are your goals for Muncie?”
Tyler: “His main goal of Muncie, like all mayors across the state and nation, is to create decent paying jobs. And hold on to the decent paying jobs we got and create newer, decent paying jobs, you know.”
This has kind of been his mantra since 2006.
The first week of December a group of economic and elected officials traveled to Germany to meet with a prospective business. Prior to the junket to Germany, then Mayor Sharon McShurley said the representative should be the future mayor, Dennis Tyler and she wouldn’t be going. Commissioner Don Dunnuck, who is not running for re-election was selected to go. No long-term relationship building there.
Fortunately for us, Dennis Tyler has promised his full support.
“What I’ve told the chamber is that I’ll partner with them in whatever ways we can to entice investors to Muncie and Delaware County,” Tyler said.
He said his administration — which takes office on Jan. 1 — would make representatives available for meetings with potential developers. SP 12-7-11
Well, at least there is a five-year park plan which should give the ex-county highway department employee plenty of time to get up to speed on running a $1,424,000.00 park system. We still need to put the final touches on Canan Commons and this will be the first full season for Tuhey Pool. Cardinal Greenway will be expanding and the grant money has been allocated.
“It’s been busier than I could have even imagined.” Dennis Tyler on his first days as Mayor of Muncie.
Last night was the first Muncie City Council meeting.
The closing of the tracks was not voted on…imagine that. Yes, the Land & Traffic Committee was nothing more than a political move.
If you are interested in watching the video, complete with a guest appearance by Muncie Mayor Dennis Tyler, click on the CDCGG icon below.
Assessment Appeal Help Day # 3
Mark your calendars for Saturday January 7, 2012. The Citizens of Delaware County for Good Government is hosting our third Annual “Property Tax Appeal Help Day” at the Kennedy Branch Library, 1700 W. McGalliard Road. The Seminar starts promptly at 10:00 am, followed by questions and answers, and personalized help sessions.
Last year’s Help Day was a huge hit as we helped hundreds of property taxpayers find errors on their assessments and prepare property assessment appeals.
The deadline to file your appeals is January 20, 2012. If you file late you will lose your right to appeal for the current tax year. You may need to appeal your assessment this year, even if you appealed last year and won. The purpose of the Help Day is to help Delaware County property owners who believe that their property tax assessment is too high. We will provide pointers on how to create a successful appeal, and will help you complete your property tax assessment appeal forms, but we cannot guarantee that you will win your appeal. There is no charge for this service.
It is very important that you bring a current property record card so that we can identify errors on your assessment. You should also bring photos of your home at angles that show the front, side, and rear elevations. You should also provide photos of any yard buildings, pools, or other improvements to the property, plus photographs and documentation of any damages or other issues that detract from the value of the property. Make two copies of your appeal and all supporting documentation and have them date stamped when you turn in your appeal, keeping one copy for your records.
Scott Alexander, 2012 President of the Citizens of Delaware County for Good Government.
For additional information call: 765-286-7070
Please share this email/alert with ALL your friends and contacts!!!
Help Day_010712 (Informational PDF)
1700 W. McGalliard Road
Most of us have read George Orwell’s famous novel 1984. A fictional and futuristic book full of manipulation, one party control and from where the term Big Brother became a household name. The story’s main character, Winston, holds a position in the Ministry of History and his duty is to rewrite according to the Party. Winston decides to keep a diary of historical fact.
Another key character is O’Brien, a powerful Party member.
Winston is summoned to O’Brien’s beautiful apartment where Winston is convinced by O’Brien he is part of the Brotherhood and is working to overthrow the Party.
Unfortunately, Winston is arrested by the Thought Police and O’Brien spends months brainwashing the poor guy.
Winston is separated from his true love, Julia, and while he is being indoctrinated into the Party he finally snaps and gives her over to O’Brien. This was goal of O’Brien and the Party all along. When Winston is finally reunited with Julia he is void of feeling for her. He has completely given his life, mind, soul to Big Brother and the Party.
As is characteristic of all great novels written circa 1934, there is always a moral to the story.
So, you may be wondering what Mr. Orwell’s novel has to do with 2012 and the progress of our Nation, State, County and City. Although George’s ideas seemed a little extreme, all extremists have a measure of truth.
Let’s take a look at Delaware County for example.
Of course, we aren’t actually living in Big Brotherville, for now, we still have the First Amendment and I would suggest you read it again if you have forgotten it.
A progressive move that makes Mr. Orwell’s Party characterization similar in nature to Delaware County, is the appointing of board members. Appointments to the county fair board was required to be evenly distributed among the parties. Since this didn’t happen, the next best thing is to just change the ordinance to fit the appointments.
This is progressive thinking, folks. (Sorry there is no link. The county link takes you to the EDIT fund ordinance.)
In the city of Muncie, we’re clipping right along. How can you not vote for someone who worked so hard to get screens and bulletin boards in his work place? The assurance Mayor Elect Tyler was able to work across party lines can’t be any more clear than this:
Asked if he expected to name any Republican department heads, Tyler laughed a little and said, “I doubt it. We have more than enough qualified Democrats.”
For District 34 State Representative, the Party precinct committee members chose Mike White over Lewis Coulter. The only surprise was that Mike White was even considered for the position. Mike believes his work as a ’60’s activist will serve Delaware county well in Indianapolis. He certainly has the look for it.
The City and County elected officials have their own consolidation going on.
Can’t find qualified Democrats in the city to fill administration’s slots? Let’s branch out to the county and pull from their pool of employees. If the best of the best is being recruited to work for the city, where does that leave the county?
As we live precariously in the past, a letter to the editor imploring Mayor Elect Dennis Tyler to bring back Ron Bonham. Certainly, the city can afford to pay an additional $140,000 to keep Prairie Creek reservoir open. And why stop there, as soon as possible, let’s get Mr. Bonham back into the Commissioner’s seat. We can always use a new sewer system.
The position has been filled, and it wasn’t with Ron Bonham. Maybe now, he can finally retire in peace.
Of course, I hope most of you understand this is written in jest. Nevertheless, we are totally represented by one party sect in the City, most of the County and State. I hope you realize that every person appointed to positions of power and to boards are deeply vested in this same party. Come January 1st, they own the good, the bad and the ugly.
If Mr. Orwell was alive today, perhaps he could write a sequel to 1984. The perfect title? 2012.
Funny how some things work out. Just the other day I was looking for something of interest which had nothing to do with the Delaware County Fair and the grandstands proposed expenditure. Out of nowhere pops an article from the Muncie Star Press written in July 2007. Yep, the headlines grabbed my attention.
Facilities improved in time for this year’s county fair
During 2006 and 2007 nearly $200,000.00 worth of repairs were made to the grandstands. The roof was on the list of improvements. County Engineer Michael Denton said it would cost less to repair the roof than to take it down.
Other improvements included new chain link fence, new seats, new walks, new stand for the judges, structural repairs and safety additions. A couple of years prior, according to the article, new lights and ticket office was added.
I’m not sure what has changed from 2007 to 2011, but volunteers provided earth moving equipment to tear down the motorcross track back then. I wonder if volunteers could assist in the removal of the dilapidated grandstands. Sure would save some money.
It’s hard to say how much it would have cost the County if bulldozers and other like equipment had a price tag attached to the Delaware County Fair budget in 2007.
“The grandstand is safe and the roof has been repaired” said Jane Lasater. “Now the grandstand needs to be painted to make it look nicer. It’s rusty.”
There is some rumblings the stands could be repaired for $90,000.00 but I think they’re toying with a $900,000.00 bond. Since 2006 and including the current estimated price tag, the county will have invested over $1 million dollars in the grandstand area. That is if the $900,000.00 financing comes through.
2011 wasn’t that great of a year for generating money. First the Band Day and then the Antique Tractors. Sure, they filled it with other “attractions” but didn’t make very much money.
You would think 21 people could come up with better ideas to expand the exhibits to draw more people. As 2012 comes in, let’s hope we see some innovative and progressive ways to increase attendance and interest.
Perhaps the move to change from admission fee to parking fee wasn’t so hot of an idea after all.
We were lucky.
Had not been for the tragedy at the Indiana State Fair, Delaware County may not be having this discussion. The grandstands are reported to be at least 60 years old…did anyone think it may be high time for replacement? At the very least, regular inspections of an aging structure should have been considered.
In October 2011, the grandstands WERE inspected. Major structural support problems were reported. Some of the wooden seating had deteriorated and the announcer’s booth was not attached to the metal structure. Instead was supported by wood planks.
December 1, 2011, the Muncie Star newspaper reported the grandstands had serious defects. Jim Mansfield, Fair Board president, estimated the cost of replacement to be $900,000.00. Apparently the decades old grandstand can’t be repaired.
How to fund it with a county that is cash-strapped? This is where it gets interesting.
Jane Lasater, Fair Board vice president, in a private meeting with Commissioner Todd Donati and others, brought up increasing the food and beverage tax. With a sunset clause, of course. At first, it was reported as Donati who suggested the tax increase. He quickly denied it and pointed to Lasater as the brainchild of the increase. Lasater cited Donati’s proposal for a combined animal shelter and a $3 million dollar bond for Muncie to reduce the Tuhey Pool debt.
If your head isn’t spinning yet, it should be. A quick note. Why would Donati even suggest a bond for Tuhey? The bond can be paid down or greatly reduced with the money the city has left in her budget. Shouldn’t President Donati be focusing on his responsibilities? One of which is the Delaware County Fair. It appears he has been a little lax in this area.
December 13th, 2011 County Council meeting saw some discussion on the funding of the grandstands.
Although no council member was able to confirm it, the food and beverage tax increase would need to go through the legislators and none were sure the increase would be acceptable. Jane said she spoke with two representatives while in Washington, D.C. Neither were willing to commit. Senator Lugar’s office wasn’t that accommodating and Brad Bookout said the county would be hard pressed to get a grant.
Ron Quakenbush said quite a bit of money was appropriated a few years ago and only repair was new seats. Lasater countered, Michael Denton had inspected the grandstands and the repairs were done based on his recommendations. This was about six years ago.
Lasater said there are only 21 volunteers on the Delaware County Fair Board and none have the time or the experience to fund raise. Therein lies one problem. A couple of simple requests for Band Day denied; a fee for the antique tractors; an increase in parking and you have a recipe for a decrease in attendance and far less revenue.
Not that doubling the parking cost was a poor idea, you do need some attractions that would offset the increase, though.
It’s no longer uncommon to take a tax guzzling entity and turn it into self-sustaining one . Case in point, Prairie Creek Reservoir. You just need the right people in place, someone who can think outside of “taxes” for creative ideas and sources.
Ron was looking like a cat that just ate the bird, when he made the comment…”The fair board is political.” Jane said it wasn’t. Quakenbush stated all the members were appointed by the commissioners. He went on to say when the commissioners took over from the Lion’s Club he predicted the fair would become political. I smiled just a little during the exchange, as Mr. Quakenbush was right on the money.
The County Commissioner’s took over the Delaware County Fair in 2001.
2002 was the year a last-minute switch for fire protection saw Center Township out and Muncie City in. It was also the first time Mayor Dan Canan donated to the fair. $10,000 of EDIT funds. Center Township Trustee, Dick Shirey was in the second year of fire protection after Muncie City handed him a bill for fire service. Nah, no politics there.
After Center Township made arrangements to staff and located extra equipment, Center Township’s Lt. Hackett spoke with fair board member Todd Donati and was told their services were not needed. In the past, the fair had been protected by volunteer fire departments. Center Township was free of charge.
‘We were disappointed,’ Hackett said. ‘I think it politicizes the fair.’
But, all that aside, I think the county is missing the point. Planning and preparing has not been one of their greatest strengths. The grandstands are the best argument to “be prepared”. The stands didn’t deteriorate overnight and no money was ever set aside for needful repairs, let alone any improvements.
Now, we are in crisis mode, yet again. We don’t have any money and a fair board lacking in time and experience to raise money.
Time is running out and from the county council meeting, an increase in Food and Beverage tax is highly unlikely to succeed. Maybe it’s time to tap into the rainy day funds. Or a bond? Perhaps Mayor Elect Dennis Tyler will share the EDIT funds. How about closing the Delaware County Building on Thursdays, too. Just some ideas to consider. (Tongue in cheek!)
Regardless, this isn’t the first crisis and it won’t be the last.
One door closes and another door opens.
December 15th marked the last evening for Chat with the Mayor. Bittersweet.
Mayor Mac began the chat as usual providing information on different areas of the city. She introduced the department heads.
It was in essence, a state of the city address in condensed form. .
Thank you Mayor Sharon McShurely. You have been a wonderful mayor for our city.
Special thanks to the department heads. You have all been great.
So without much ado, here is the video of the last Chat.
Imagine leaving the country on an economic junket to Germany. When you left you were Delaware County Commissioner for District 1. When you return you find your district is gone.
There was no catastrophic event, no nuclear incident, nothing like that. Instead, it was Commissioner Todd Donati’s Sharpie which drew the lines that eliminated Commissioner Don Dunnuck’s district.
No biggie for Dunnuck. He has indicated he won’t run for commissioner in 2012. Mr. Dunnuck has his eyes on a county judge seat.
Which brings up another question.
Why would Don Dunnuck be chosen to seek out economic development when his goal is to be a Delaware County judge? I will never understand how Delaware County operates, thinks or works. It’s foreign to me. (Pardon the pun.)
But, I digress.
In case you may be wondering where District 1 went, have no fear. It’s still there. Now, Dunnuck’s kingdom is Larry Bledsoe’s. Go figure.
The new and improved District 1, which includes Daleville, is as far away from Dunnuck’s residence as you can get. What Democrat county council member lives in the new district?
Hmmm….Intrigue and suspense right here in Delaware County. Who would have thunk it?
District 2, which is Todd Donati’s district hasn’t changed all that much.
Mr. Donati who revealed he wants a second term ended the speculation with this confirmation “at this point in time” In other words, he needs four more years to continue his reign of spending. Donati in the county and Tyler in the city. It just doesn’t get any better than this, folks.
Larry Bledsoe, District 3, was “suspiciously” left out of the redistricting planning.. He may have put a chink in the new districts and we couldn’t have that, could we? What do you expect from a man who was against the County Plaza building project ($700,000.00+), closing the county building on Fridays and had the audacity to call the Delaware County Building “The people’s building”.
Mr. Dunnuck has a lot on his plate. He doesn’t have a district and the Democrat party chair announced his sister will be running for District 2 judge, same seat Dunnuck wants.
That’s about it for a Saturday night in Delaware County, Indiana. So, I will leave you to ponder this quote from the Star Press:
“You take from one and give to another and it affects everything,” Quirk said. “We’ll see how everything shakes out here shortly.” Mike Quirk, Democrat chairperson SP 12-10-11.
The Muncie 9/12 Tea Party
1700 W. McGalliard Rd. Muncie, IN 47304
DECEMBER 9, 2011
Get to know your 2012 Candidate
for U.S. Senate, Indiana
From an email I received describing Richard Mourdock:
Hope all of you have marked your calendars for this Friday, December 9 at 6:00 – Kennedy Library – to meet Richard Mourdock. Richard currently is the Treasurer of the State of Indiana and is opposing Richard Lugar in the Primary in May to represent Indiana in Washington D.C. as our Senator. Each of us bears a responsibility to pass on the Republic (which was given to us by our parents) to our children and grandchildren and Richard Mourdock knows how to help us do that. He’s a real, died-in-the-wool conservative, both socially and fiscally.Richard has done (alongside Mitch Daniels) in Indiana what needs to happen in Washington, D.C. You will like the character of the man. This is an opportunity to meet, personally, the next Senator from the great state of Indiana. There will be a question and answer opportunity after his speech. Look forward to seeing you on Friday.“It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people’s minds.” Samuel Adams
Richard Mourdock at the Lebanon Fourth of July Parade.
A guest column by German Cruz titled “Vulgarity in our civil affairs”gets to the heart of what ails Delaware County. As always, Mr. Cruz is elegant in his presentation of local events. His words, no matter how majestic, no matter how true, will undoubtedly fall on deaf ears and blinded eyes.
After the 2010 primary votes were tallied, the local Democrat party ended the evening in a loss. A clean sweep by Team Democrat candidates found the Democrat Headquarters’ supported candidates not making it out of the gate.
With the physical ejection of the media, and the public forums lit up with the disdain for the winning candidates, one wonders…does it really matter if it is a victory or a defeat? Vulgarity is displayed regardless if it is a win or lose election.
Then as now, there was no apology given to the press or the citizens for their behavior…there is no need, the actions are justified and even supported.
Now, before you say this is something new and civility and ethics have reigned supreme long before Lee Hamilton spoke at Minnetrista, I would like to take you back a decade when newly elected Republican Joe Russel introduced a code of ethics to the county council.
New council President Joe Russell proposed the code of ethics, which included pledges to represent the interests of taxpayers and ‘not use my service on county council for my own personal advantage or for the advantage of my friends or supporters.’
Veteran council Democrat Todd Donati was more critical in his assessment.
‘I think it was uncalled for,’ Donati said. ‘All of us know what our job is; we don’t need it restated by some Republican thinking.’
As much as I would love to claim ethics and civility as Republican thinking, it would be in vain. Ethics and civility is more an individual characteristic, and those which practice it in their personal lives normally carry it into the political arena. They align themselves with others of like mind. In the past four years, having been introduced to several Democrat and Republican political figures, it’s encouraging to find ethics and civility isn’t just talk. We need to support this these types of candidates and elected officials. All parties.
Now, more than ever before, the people are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless, and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness, and corruption. If it be intelligent, brave, and pure, it is because the people demand these high qualities to represent them in the national legislature. ]f the next centennial does not find us a great nation … it will be because those who represent the enterprise, the culture, and the morality of the nation do not aid in controlling the political forces. James A. Garfield
Moving on to another opinion piece, Larry Riley’s regular column begins to address the 2012 election. Specifically, the county race in Circuit Court 2. Running with the Team Democrat is Kim Dowling which has been campaigning since the 2011 primary. She will be one to watch. Don Dunnuck, currently the county commissioner and a long-standing Democrat insider, has announced his intentions to run. Mike Quirk, Democrat Party chair, announced his sister will seek the same office as Dowling and Dunnuck. It’s still early, but Kim Dowling is the best of the three.
If you are interested in modernization and consolidation, Riley’s column is spot on. A good read.
Moving on to the lead story, Tyler: No ‘good old boys club”, Mayor-elect Dennis Tyler promises Muncie will not be lead by the “good old boys”.
But, what is far more interesting is his comments on the 911 lawsuit. This lawsuit alleges the city has been over charged for 911 services by the county for at least a decade. The suit cites an interlocal agreement from 1987 which spells out the costs the city is obligated to pay.
Outgoing mayor, Sharon McShurley, believed the city should not bear the majority of expenses, and the county said we should.
Mayor-elect Dennis Tyler and Democrats seemed a little more than perturbed the public was eyeing the 911 lawsuit with suspicion. And why not?
Immediately after Tyler’s win, the paper reported Delaware County council members talking about how they would spend the money. The attorney for the county, Mike Quirk, which is also the Democrat party chair, and rumored to become the city’s attorney, said he wanted to spare the city the cost of a lawsuit. Commissioner Todd Donati wants it gone, too.
These are all people very closely aligned to Tyler. With all of this, it would be hard not to view it with suspicion.
And the county which is millions of dollars in debt, needs the money.
It will barely make a dent.
Vulgarity in our civic affairs Star Press 11-27-11
Next year’s politics offer even more Star Press 11-27-11
Tyler: No ‘good old boys club” Star Press 11-27-11
911 dispute delayed again Star Press 11-29-11