Delaware County Council’s meeting today (11-23-10) was interesting, to say the least. I didn’t get all facts and figures written down, so this will be a “brief” post on today’s festivities.
Watch the video at CDCPTR.
Terry Murphy, Vice President, Economic Development at Muncie – Delaware County, Indiana Economic Development Alliance, confirmed the jobs Progressive Rail will generate is 650. The newspaper had made a correction stating the figure was 450, or 200 less than what was earlier reported. So, it is 650 jobs, not 450 as reported in the newspaper a few weeks ago.
World Wide Battery asked for a tax abatement of roughly $21,000 for the year 2011 taxes. This plant will be located on Hoyt and Mount Pleasant Blvd.
A few citizens questioned the council about the monitoring of abatements and if there were any consequences if the abatement requirements were not met, citing some past abatements which didn’t turn out so well. President Chris Matchett said abatements need to be monitored more closely.
Last Sunday Larry Riley’s columns was about economic Development funds, so we were expecting the meeting to be centered on this topic. It was.
WHEREAS: It has been determined that it is now necessary to appropriate more money than was appropriated in the annual budget, or roughly $6,975,000.00 more.
Topping the list of appropriated funds is $50,000.00 for a full-time grant writer. Currently the county is paying $25,000 for a grant writer with ECI Energize Indiana, and Brad Bookout will still be tasked to provide grant writing when needed. The first interview for the position will be on Wednesday November 24 with Commissioner Larry Bledsoe. President Mr. Donati said the idea for this position could be credited to Mr. Larry Bledsoe. President Donati said the county will withdraw their funding for the ECI grant writer.
Another appropriation is in the amount of $1,200,000.00 for a sewer system in Desoto. When asked by councilperson Ron Quackenbush how Hamilton Sewer System residents would feel about the appropriation when their sewer rates are close to $80.00 per month. President Donati said “they” are helping the Royerton residents. The Desoto Sewer System will lower the monthly sewer bills for Royerton.
Mr. Quakenbush was the only person which asked any questions about the $6,975,000.00 spending. Well, Mike Jones asked a question or two. Basically, the remainder of the county council members were silent. So, it seems fitting to our County Council to give out checks for almost $7,000,000.00 and not even ask how the money will be used.
A fine example of blanket spending is in the amount of $500,000.00 for building upgrade and/or maintenance thru 2013. Then we have the Plaza Project where we will be removing the marble and making it a “green” space with some other goodies thrown in. That will be another $500,000.00.
Yorktown is on the list for $750,000-infrastructure improvements. President Donati said he didn’t care how the money was spent. If Yorktown deemed the money should go to their Sportscomplex, he would be fine with it. Recently a few letters have been published about Yorktown and their spending habits…so who knows what is happening over there. Yikes!
You know, it probably would be an easier pill to swallow, had there been some type of spending plan in place for this money. There isn’t.
So, the next time the elected officials come calling for more county taxes from your paycheck, remember this. Hey, it’s only money…$6,975,000.00.
I wrote this all from memory and a few haphazard notes. The Muncie Star Press will probably have an article on Wednesday and the video should be available shortly along with the minutes of the meeting.
Other topics covered included borrowing money from the Rainy Day Fund and an assurance by Mr. Donati of 100% payback to the fund. The office manager for the Delaware County Prosecutor’s Office took the early “buy out” plan offered and the position needed to be filled. According to Mr. Jeff Arnold (prosecutor to take office January 1st, 2011) nothing is getting done and the position can not be filled from within. A few salary grades and pay changes…that’s about it.