Saturday rambling: Whole lot coming down the pipe

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American Dollars Falling from the SkyOn Thursday the Muncie newspaper reported on the purchase of a property by Muncie Sanitary District.  The District purchased the property for $395,000.

MSD pays 3 times assessed value of bldg. Why?

On Friday, the newspaper reported the property was appraised by unlicensed appraisers.

District didn’t use licensed appraisers

I would like to point out the quote from Mayor Tyler:

Mayor Dennis Tyler said Friday he wasn’t familiar with The Star Press report about the purchase of the flea market building in the 1700 block of East Main Street.

“All I know is that the city of Muncie and sanitary district have to get those levees recertified,” Tyler said. “It’s an expensive process they’re going through.”

In December 2014, the State of Indiana audited the District finding eight projects paying over the quoted prices.  The lowest percentage was 22% and the highest was 822%.  The total amount over the quoted prices was $300,763.  Knowing an expensive process is in the making, perhaps Mayor Tyler needs to be more cognizant of how tax money is used.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOn September 1, 2015, Mayor Tyler announced a 43% Income Tax.  Citing the property tax caps as the reason.    This was the second time LOIT was introduced.  The first was in 2009 by President of City Council Alison Quirk.  Then Mayor McShurley said no to the tax.  Of course, Muncie had a minimal amount of debt and a decrease in revenue.   Nora Powell supported the increased taxes and was later voted into office.   Knowing the tax was back on the table and who the office holders were, it would be a done deal.

The  Federal SAFER grant was nearing the 2-year renewal  date.  Grant monies of $2.5 million/year assisted in funding the fire department’s budget.

Mayor Tyler seemed confident without the grant Muncie would be able to maintain the department at the current level. Despite revenue reports submitted to the State from the City of Muncie indicating property tax revenue declined in 2012, increased slightly in 2013 and 2014.  Even with the minimal increase, the revenue continued to fall millions below 2011 property tax revenue

The grant was not renewed. The income 43% income tax passes in 14 days.

January 2012, newly elected Mayor Tyler attended the first City Council meeting.  One of the issues needing addressed for 2012 was the closing of railroad crossings.  All through 2011, the crossings was a political hotbed of debates, dissentions and campaign promises.

Councilperson Dishman asked Mayor Tyler to comment on the railroad closings, to which Tyler’s response was “All I know is what I read in the paper.”   Dishman pursued it further and it was clear Dishman was overstepping his boundaries with the new mayor.

railroad crossing two tracks microsoft free

An article mentioned both Tyler and Todd Donati as rumored to be involved in the closings.   Although Tyler and Donati have a close relationship then and now, Mayor Tyler only knew what he read in the paper.

In August, Delaware County Commissioner Todd Donati opened a public meeting by trying to “dispel a couple of rumors” that the Democratic commissioners — and the party’s mayoral candidate, Dennis Tyler — were involved in controversial discussions about closing roads at two railroad crossings in the city of Muncie.
“We don’t want to get in that game,” Donati said. “That’s a controversial mess.”
But in fact, a little more than a month earlier, Donati had signed an agreement with Norfolk Southern Railway to“obtain all necessary approvals” to ensure the closings of the crossings on West Ninth and 10th streets in exchange for the county not having to close a crossing in its own territory.  

Source: Commissioners have beenworking on the railroad Muncie Star Press 9-15-11

Two additional events at the start of Mayor Tyler’s first term had people scratching their heads.

Tyler announced he didn’t like the weed ordinance and wouldn’t enforce it.   This led to Muncie’s lack of funds to maintain overgrown lots.  The Mayor once held the position of State Representative  and should understand one can’t just ignore an ordinance or law at whim.  Changes must go through council approval.  Loss of revenue was a major factor, too.

MSD held a public hearing on rate increases.  The Mayor didn’t attend nor did any Muncie City representative speak on behalf of the city property owners.  Shortly thereafter a city department head weighed in.

“The parks office was blind-sided by the stormwater increase,” parks superintendent HarveyWright told the city park board on Tuesday.
The park department’s bill went from $1,500 to $9,500, Wright said.“This will hurt,” he added. “It was not budgeted”.  Source: Muncie Sanitary District officials considering ways to offset stormwater fee increase Muncie Star Press 5-17-12

Muncie’s debt, $64 million,  will be paid over the next few decades.  Currently, the Mayor has plans for another $48 million project, funding sources unknown. He was unable to fund public safety without additional taxes, is unaware of the Sanitary District’s actions and we are supposed to feel confident he can handle the current debt as well as two major projects?

You decide.











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