“Are you feeling lucky, citizens? Well, are you?”
Making a play on words from Clint Eastwood’s famous movie, Larry Riley’s column continued with an outline of the debt the City of Muncie has accrued over the past few years.
Riley estimated $62.6 million, Muncie Politics gathered some information from the Indiana Transparency Portal. Other sources of financial information included the newspaper bringing the estimate of $60 million. What’s a couple of million in the grand scheme of things, anyway?
Circa 2012, Mayor Tyler announced the hotel – not one penny of local dollars would be invested. Fourteen months later we have indebted the citizens $46,000,000.00.
We’re buying properties and building more parks. We’re building parking garages and bathhouses. We’re remodeling City Hall complete with $50,000 new landscaping. Heck, the city was even eyeing property owned by the Muncie Community School Corp.
What’s the worse that could happen if the tax revenues, like TIF, PILOT and Food & Beverage fall short?
For starters, we could take our cue from 2009 and introduce Local Option Income Tax (LOIT). The County has alluded to the passing of this tax, Mayor Tyler has sad absolutely not. The ball for LOIT falls strictly on Muncie City Council, although every working stiff in the county would be taxed, not just Muncie Proper wage-earners.
Alison Quirk introduced the tax in 2009 at its highest percentage. Nora Powell spoke passionately at the public hearing and meetings in support of the LOIT’s passage. She has since been elected as an at-large council member.
Or we could cut 12 jobs, close the animal shelter, turn off street lights, add a hydrant fee, cut police department fuel. Refuse to fund the mayor’s copy machine, etc. It was with glee and delight the cuts were read by Councilperson Sam Marshall that cold November night in 2009. Today, the council would be chopping friends and supporters from the payroll. It would be painful.
Since the City Council has approved all the millions in expenditures, the increased budgets I often wonder if they considered the cost?
As County Commissioner, Todd Donati claimed Delaware County invested $236 million in capital investment. We have yet to see the fruit of that investment. In just two years Muncie has invested $62.6 million and the promise of 800+ jobs yet to be realized from the Village project under his direction.
Here’s a thought. By the time the debt is paid the current city council members will be well into their 70’s and their children will have been in the workforce for at least two decades paying the debt off.
Listed below reports from in.gov on the total debt. Please keep in mind, it doesn’t include every debt, nor does it break down the debt. You can run specific reports on the information available.