Chat With The Mayor 5-28-09

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As scheduled, we had a nice presentation from Connie Gregory, CD Director. Believe me, wouldn’t want her job for a million bucks. It certainly appears to be a complicated position dealing with Federal funds and agencies. There are 136 houses scheduled for demolition , we saw how some of the money has been spent. One change that Connie would like to see implemented is to target one area, clean it up, fix the sidewalks and roads and move on to the next neighborhood. We will be able to gauge the progress and it will be an incentive for the neighbors to work on their properties. Great idea!

The guidelines for the $385,000 earmarked for playground equipment has been changed. CD has had to scramble to put another plan in place for the money. Hopefully, she will have all this information on the website.

Kudos to Ms. Gregory for her efforts in restoring HUD’s confidence in our city.

All the flowers, planters and J. Crew working diligently to pull weeds and water are all done by private contributions and volunteers. The mayor spoke at how astounded she was at the amount of people who volunteer their time for the city. Anybody can have a fund raiser to help pay for the incidentals without approval from the city. Having worked for many fundraising events over the years, all you do is tell the powers that be your plans, and then go for it.

The mayor did address the grants. The grants need matching funds, and the other grant discussed can not be applied for at this time. It is stimulus money. The President must sign it into law first, and that has not been done. Once it becomes available and the doors are opened to apply, the city will do so barring any hand tying requirements. Also, she did mention that one grant for hiring P.O.s which would pay for their salary for 3 years, the catch was, you had to keep them employed after the grant money ran out or pay it all back.

Mary Ann Kratochvil, Controller, spoke on the budget and gave us a straight answers on the budget problems Muncie is and will be facing. I appreciate the directness. Just give us the down and dirties, no sugar coating. The county is in the process of a software upgrade and this will cause our tax bills to come out later, possibly the end of July. It all depends on how smooth the conversion goes.

Mr. Ball, Interim Super. of Public Works spoke briefly on road repairs, recapping information he gave us from the last chat. He has started 4 10 hour days and this will help get more streets patched and probably save us some money, too. I believe the county under the ex-commissioners had this same program and it worked wonderfully. I spoke with Mr. Ball last night about a hole and this morning, as promised, a cone was placed at the scene of the crime.

Other good news, we may see Channel 60 come back on line. For all those who are unable to attend the meetings, this is a great way to see what is really going on.

I am so proud of the people we have running our city, From Mr. Burcham, Fire Chief to Ron Ball. Each department head has shown much professionalism even in the face of overwhelming problems and a willingness to help get this city back on it’s feet. Thank you all so much. You are a breath of fresh air.

It is always to a person’s advantage to try and attend these chats. So much information is made available, and you learn just a little more about how our local government operates.

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