Muncie, Indiana Bond Debt
The information concerning the City of Muncie and Muncie Sanitary District is fairly sparse. Once in a while, we receive a nugget or two like the recent hire of an attorney specializing in corruption cases by the MSD. We are never privileged to the reasons of the hiring, what employee or employees are being represented or if the payments will be subjected to reimbursement by the employees being represented. Currently, the fees are being paid for by the taxpayers.
Everyone is a taxpayer.
I’m sure this will fall under client-attorney privilege, however, if the fees are paid for through tax dollars then wouldn’t the citizens of Muncie be the clients?
Taxpayers received an increased tax bill April 2017. The reason? MSD raised the stormwater fee. All questions about the rate increase were directed to Jason Donati. He would only answer if the request was in writing. Surely, an organization this size has a document on the rate increase available.
Not forthcoming or transparent on the rate increase…
“We’re getting a lot of calls about the stormwater fee,” the treasurer said.
Patterson said her office was told to tell taxpayers who called to contact Muncie Sanitary District stormwater educator Jason Donati, who when contacted Monday by The Star Press asked that a written request for information be submitted to sanitary district officials. District officials did not respond to The Star Press’ request for an interview about the fee.
Patterson said the stormwater fee “went up substantially … and we can’t get an answer from anybody why. I haven’t been able to get that answer yet.”
Source: Property tax rates go up across county April 11, 2017 Muncie Star Press
Four months later, still no answer.
Let’s take a look at the current debt from both Muncie Sanitary District and the Muncie Redevelopment Commission as of 12-31-16.
City of Muncie debt $38,562,681.56. Amount due in 2017 $7,186,146.00
Muncie Sanitary District debt $176,401,026.41. Amount due in 2017 $8,052,765.00
Source: Indiana Government Transparency Portal
At the Muncie Sanitary District rate hearing in, 2012 Mayor Tyler was not present but did give a statement expressing concerns the increase would hurt the people. He was hoping to work with the MSD on a phase in. At the time the 2012 hearing, the board had all been appointed by the previous mayor, Sharon McShurley.
Today, the MSD board is all Mayor Tyler appointments. No expression of concern when the board voted to raise the rates in 2016. In regards to MSD purchasing a building well over the assessed evaluation, he said: “all I know is it is an expensive project.” (sic) Craig Nicholas’ charging the city for demolitions of vacant lots, the city scrambled to cover it claiming the addresses were wrong. All four properties?
The Muncie Sanitary District board on Thursday unanimously approved a rate hike, but not until after hearing from members of the public, who said they didn’t trust the board.
“This is poor timing,” local resident Kimberly Ferguson told the board after referring to articles in The Star Press about the sanitary district’s practices of buying property from and paying politically well-connected people.
Source: Sanitary district unanimously approves rate hike July 7, 2016 Muncie Star Pree
We could go on, but that is for another blog.