Chat With The Mayor 8-27-09

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Chat With The Mayor is an excellent opportunityfor the citizens of Muncie and Delaware County to really get to know our public officials. It is an opportunity to learn about local government, get information on what our city is doing and where it’s going. I always leave with a positive feeling and a sense we are heading in the right direction. For someone like me, who wants immediate results, it has been a lesson learned in patience. I truly believe we will (and have) seen some very positive movement in the city. That being said, let’s move on to what we learned tonight.

Mr. Doug Zook, Muncie Parks Superintendent was the first on the agenda. Mr. Zook believes our parks have the potential to be some of the best for a second class city. (Second class is referencing size only.) Before you can even apply for any grants, a park department must have a 5 year plan in place.

The last plan was 1998 and partially resurrected again in 2003, so it is slightly overdue. McCullogh Park with over 100 acres only had five parking places, and Heekin Park had not had an update in almost 20 years. Today we see additional parking at both parks and a disc golf course (I have no idea what is is, seems popular)

So many good things are in the planning stages or have already been completed, I think a full page devoted to the Parks and Recreation is in order.  It will include Tuhey Park Pool, Cardinal Greenway and Westside park.  Bear with me as I pull all of it together.  Give me a day or two, please.

The Unity Center is on hold.  Without funding to sustain it, building it would not be fruitful.  Once a demand is created and capital funding is made available we may see this or something similar on the South Side.  Currently, Price Hall will be a computer lab.  So if you are looking to volunteer some of your computer skills, betcha there would be a place for you.

Channel 60 is still on the table and city is  just waiting to hear from BSU.  Approximately $300,000.00 in taxes are collected on your cable bill that has not been used for Channel 60.  It has been dropped into the general fund.

Someone asked about the budget shortfall we have all heard so much about.  All sorts of number have been thrown out, 3 million, 4 million, 2 million short.  Nobody can really say with any certainty, and the figures are derived from the Umbaugh study.  Apparently, Delaware County doesn’t even have the total of assessed evaluation available.  With no tax bills mailed, who can really say for sure?  (JUST SAY NO TO LOIT.)

It could be four million among 5 taxing districts, we just can’t be certain.

In 2010, for bi-weekly, salaried employees there will be 27 pays instead of the standard 26 weeks.  The controller figured the bi-weekly on a 27 week pay which in essence will increase the pay.  This seems like a big snafu to me…so we can leave it to city council to make the call to approve or reject the salaries.

Now to the war on blight.  So far the city has demolished 49 buildings, owners 31 and an additional 50 buildings are out on bid.  Kudos to Connie Gregory and her staff.

Next week the Mayor will announce who has been awarded our “Comprehensive Plan” for the city.  As a community, we will be asked to get involved and if you are itching to make this city come alive feel free to participate in the process.  This is one of the stipulations, public input.

Until next time, have a great weekend.

If you would like to watch the meeting, it will be on the Citizens of Delaware County for Property Tax Repeal site.

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