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As a teenager, my Mother would often say “Money. It doesn’t grow on trees.” I would roll my eyes and let her know in no uncertain terms that I knew money didn’t grow on trees. I didn’t sleep through Biology, ya know. At least not every class…
I would marvel at her refusal to get me the new Stingray bike with the banana seat. “You have a perfectly good bike and money doesn’t grow on trees.” There she goes again. It was a great bike at 10, but now I’m 13 and EVERYBODY has a Stingray bike with a banana seat. Their parents didn’t say “money doesn’t grow on trees.” Of course, not everyone had a Stingray and I’m sure my Mom and Dad knew it. So, I did what any thinking teenager would do, I got a job. First it was babysitting, then on to the doughnut shop and then pay-dirt! I got a job as a cashier/stocker at the local dime store. No, I never bought the Stingray, though. It was to expensive.
Money. It doesn’t grow on trees, you know.
Now, a few years have passed and some tough money lessons have been learned. Nearly everything comes at a price and nearly everything tangible costs. Paying more attention to the finances of the city and county one wonders if “Money Really Does Grow On Trees”. And if so, where is the orchard?
In an earlier blog the question of EDIT spending came up. We all know that EDIT funds are at the discretion of the Mayor and he or she may do as they please with the money, regardless of what the public thinks. So, let’s skip EDIT and leave the change up to the State Legislatures for now.
Delaware County has a wheel tax. For every car you own, it is a yearly fee of $25.00 and the amount varies with the type of vehicle. The Wheel Tax, enacted by the Delaware County Council came with the assurance we would get periodic updates. Uh, periodic is once every two years, give or take. The City of Muncie, according to Mayor Tyler, is slated to receive $1.2 million bucks.
“And we’re holding back $1.2 million in wheel tax for infrastructure.”
That’s fine and dandy, but here we are into June and we haven’t had one road paved, contracts awarded or even a paving plan on notebook paper. Not a word on how the money is going to be spent. On the other hand, from Memorial to Washington (several blocks) just about every cross walk is impassable. Not only is it difficult for people to walk through the rubble, a disabled person would find it impossible. Take a sharp turn and you will find your car in a concrete cut-out. Half the time the orange cones are tipped over. Once I did see someone working on the curbs.
The Madison Street Project has earmarked $1.2 million dollars (20% from local roads – 80% federal funds). The project was released in September of 2011 and scheduled to begin work in early 2012. The work has begun, that’s a fact. The weather has been more than conducive for this project and one fears the completion in a timely manner is a pipe dream. There is far more to be done besides the curb cuts for ADA laws.
Here it is the down and dirties, folks.
$1.2 Million Wheel Tax Dollars
$1.2 Million Madison Street Project Federal and Local Tax Dollars
$1.9 Million Estimated Motor Vehicle Highway Taxes (pulled this figure from 2011)
Wouldn’t it be nice to see something for our tax dollars? We don’t have to wait very long. Muncie City Council is introducing a Resolution (14-12) for an interlocal agreement with Delaware County for an intersection improvement at Cowan and 23rd. The City will be asked to pay 50% of the cost or $200,000.00. I don’t know how much of this is actually city property, nevertheless, we will pick up 50% of the cost.
Did you know Delaware County gets Wheel Tax and MVH funds? Like the city, they don’t have much of a plan. It’s obsene City tax dollars are being given to the county. Here is a quick history lesson from 2007.
In 2007 , county government received about $3.7 million from the two funds, while the city of Muncie received about $2.6 million.
The amount of money spent on wages for employees in city and county street departments leaves relatively little for actual street repairs. In the city’s case, that amounts to about $603,383. What Muncie needs is better roads Star Press February 17, 2008
Muncie city tax payers just gave the county $1.8 million dollars to fund the 911 Communication Center. James King, Delaware County Council president, said that money was needed to restore and would restore salaries (not Communication salaries, that needs to be made clear). However, last week, we learned even with this money, the county can’t return the pay. In 2009 Delaware County received a tax levy refund of $8.3 million dollars. Muncie city taxpayers contributed to that fund and we didn’t see a dime. In fact, it is nearly all spent as it has been tapped again and again by our elected officials.
Muncie City has taken on county animal control and nobody knows how much the county has been billed or paid for their portion. If we haven’t seen payment, then Muncie is supplying county wide animal control for $280,000.00 The director of the shelter, Peckinpaugh, is slated for 25% increase in pay¹ or roughly slightly more than 15% of the total budget of $280,00.00. Without job descriptions, there will be a salary increase for animal shelter employees. Most of Muncie city employees haven’t received a raise in years and new employees receive an unheard of increase. Its degrading to Muncie employees.
Money doesn’t grow on trees. It comes from our pocket books. Please spend wisely and for goodness sake, let the County bail themselves out of their financial mess before Muncie finds herself in the same boat.
¹Previous blog had mention Peckinpaugh’s salary was hovering at $60,000. He received an increase of 25% currently at $38,425 to $46,000 (not including PERF, insurance, etc).