Walking down memory lane
Let’s take a walk down memory lane. 2013 was the year when MCS planned to stop bus service unless the referendum was passed. The Democrat Party held a press conference in support of the $45 million tax increase. At that time, Democrat Headquarters property was tax exempt. This property would be exempt from paying the tax. I’m not sure if they pay a voluntary PILOT (Payment In Lieu Of Property Taxes), it does seem if there is so much concern for safety, they would gladly pay PILOT.
Plans, plans and more plans
Muncie Community Schools claimed they were working with the City of Muncie on a plan to get children back and forth to school safely. At the public hearing in December 2013 before the Indiana Department of Education, no one from the City of Muncie presented any plan. In fact, not one representative from the city spoke on any plan. A member of the IDOE board asked if there was a plan. The answer was no. No fiscal plan and no safety plan.
Income tax increase
Fast forward to September 1st, 2015 when Mayor Tyler announced the LOIT tax would be passed. 43% increase in income taxes for employees all over Delaware County. Muncie was denied renewal of the SAFER grant and although the Mayor assured the public the city had enough money to continue public safety, we didn’t. Hence, the passing of the tax in 14 days.
The 2016 City budget had been crafted in August 2015. Neither the Mayor or Muncie City Council ever mentioned the possibility funds would be short. Leading citizens to believe public safety monies were available in the budget. Mayor Tyler presented the LOIT tax, and I suppose the lack of funds which no one seemed to notice may have been justified. Still, if safety is foremost in the Mayor’s mind, he certainly didn’t seem to be monitoring it closely.
The Great Debate – Safety
The big debate now is if the Muncie Community Schools should be closed or delayed because of weather. It shows up every winter season. Yet, MCS has a history of no delays and seldom closes. The winters of 2014 & 2015 were certainly out of the norm. Extreme weather conditions warranted the closing of schools, businesses and canceling of events.
Mayor Tyler did not miss the opportunity to weigh in through his Twitter account.
Words vs. Actions
This brings me to aligning words with actions. While the Mayor feels compelled to criticize Muncie Comunity Schools, he seems to be oblivious to the children, teenagers and adults which are forced to walk in the streets because the City of Muncie doesn’t enforce the ordinance of snow removal from sidewalks.
Certainly, it is a difficult ordinance to enforce. Yet, not that difficult it seems. Last year, a property owner was clearing the sidewalks of his property. The ordinance police showed up and wanted to levy a fine against the owner for complying with the city ordinance. As it goes, the citizen had blown some snow into a street which had not yet been plowed. Police were called and nothing came of it. To my knowledge, no one from the city addressed the incident.
Yet all around the vicinity were sidewalks that had not been cleared. Go figure…
Speed limits and stop signs
The City of Muncie is busy lowering speed limits on streets and installing stop signs in obscure locations, they can’t seem to come up with a safety plan or a way to enforce their own ordinances.
If safety is a concern, might one suggest the Mayor use some of the tax dollars he increased to make our sidewalks safe to walk on in the winter months? Not sure how safe Memorial or Tillotson is for foot traffic, especially in the early morning and evening hours.
All this just to say, align their words with actions. So, I’ll leave you with an op-ed cleverly written and laced with humor: