Michael Hicks brings to us another Tale of TIF Districts. In case you missed it…
The required report has been submitted to the State of Indiana for the year 2015. If you’re interested in looking at the financials of TIF districts in Delaware County have at it.delaware-county-tif-districts-2015 Just for the record, the TIF debt which is slated to be paid off in, oh, say, 25 or more years will more than likely never be retired.
You see, once the debt load is decreased, the borrowing begins again and TIF revenue is never returned to the taxing entities. This includes schools, libraries, general fund, etc.
So what good is a TIF? If managed properly TIF can be a plus for the community with infrastructure and an increase in businesses and jobs. Paying off the districts, and in the case of Muncie, the return of tax dollars would be around $4 million today.
Considering Muncie had to pass an income tax just to make ends meet in 2015, doubt seriously Muncie will be able to pa the debt off early. At least not while it continues to spend more than it takes in. No doubt, everyone involved in local TIF will be out of office the debt will be left for someone else to handle and the people left will be footing the bill.
The local Muncie newspaper has lost a valuable resource. Larry Riley, a local journalist, has penned his last column for the Star Press.
For decades Riley has been educating the public on local, state and sometimes national happenings. He was a true investigative journalist with a talent for writing. To be honest, at times his columns could be controversial, sometimes whimsical, sometimes boring.
The columns offered more than just insight, it gave you a wealth of information lacking in many of the articles we read today. He attended several government meetings and you would often see him visiting the local library.
He had his critics especially when he wrote about events such as the infamous city demolitions (the target of an FBI probe) or when he jogged our memories with his yearly “Famous Quotes” columns. I would venture to guess he had more fans than critics, though.
He wasn’t so arrogant to not admit he made a mistake or two. Reporting the correction usually as soon as possible normally in the next column. In one instance he had written city council person, Nora Powell, was sporting a double homestead credit. She corrected him in a letter of her own. He responded with a retraction.
Riley was also well-versed on the working of TIF districts. I remember reading his blog several years ago when he did an essay on the Mall TIF. This TIF Riley penned was how a successful TIF should function. Of course, most of it was like trying to decipher Greek to me. It was an introduction and he did not disappoint with subsequent columns over the years. So, he was an educator as well as a columnist.
He was and still is a well-respected writer. I know his columns will be missed by those interested in learning more about our local government. I hope he continues.
By now, most everyone which is paying attention understands the Mayor of Muncie didn’t apply for State paving funds. If you have been on vacation the State of Indiana provided matching grant opportunities for additional paving funds.
All one had to do was apply with provided information and have matching funds. The public has not stayed silent as letters appeared in the local newspaper.
Muncie misses out on state funds
It is unfortunate that the mayor did not choose to apply for state funding to repair our streets.
And a bit of sarcasm, too.
Who needs the money?
I am personally glad that the mayor did not accept a million dollars from the state of Indiana. Who would want any money from those stinky Republicans that occupy our statehouse? Besides, it probably came with silly ole strings attached, like the money would have to be spent on streets and stuff like that, and not on private swim clubs. Those silly auditors are so demanding and so out of touch with the needs of good ole Muncie.
And some uncommon common sense.
Muncie could use grants
It’s a given that you won’t receive grant money if you do not apply. As for the city doing all right, is Mr. Tyler talking about the streets I drive on every day? Driving on some of our streets is like trying to maneuver a mine field – large potholes and/or mini hills one must try to miss
We seem to have a plethora of ideas, broken promises, dreams not realized with this administration. When he took office he had the dreams, you all. Maybe a minor baseball team or the old Chevy plant would be a beautiful park. You might even wonder about the $10,000 in forgiven property taxes for a community garden on an old polluted property of an abandoned factory on 8th St.
How about demolishing buildings and paying a goodly price on properties which have been vacant lots before Mayor Tyler took office. The mayor never promised us the FBI investigation nor a 43% income taxed passed in a record 14 days.
Spending thousands of dollars for an open wastewater pipe, a fence, some plantings known as Liberty Pass legally but Dennis’ Ditch publically. Oh, how this will be a draw for all the visitors Muncie is sure to have soon. Currently, it is a nice meeting place for drug deals as a neighbor revealed.
Let’s go back to the LOIT and income tax for just a moment. Mayor Tyler’s justification for the tax was property tax caps. Yet, this administration is taking properties off of tax rolls. He had to have the Local Option Income Tax for public safety, although previously he said there would be enough money without a grant. The previous mayor, Sharon McShurley made the same promise in 2011. Of course, she was not re-elected but did leave the city with more than enough cash for the Muncie Fire Department.
Prior to the Economic Development Income Tax (EDIT) increase, unbeknownst to the public, the mayor was using the EDIT tax dollars to fund the city’s building commissioner’s businesses, paying an obscene amount for demolishing blighted properties. Not to mention all city contracts as well as the business the commissioner got from new construction. Some may call it racketeering. Perhaps even the FBI would place it in the same category, No wonder he needed more money…
Some feel inclined to plead on behalf of the city administration with claims there is no proof. However, the handful of supporters don’t have any city documents. Neither have they pounded the pavement to investigate the internal policies hidden from the people of Muncie.
We can also say the Mayor has some wins under his belt with the downtown hotel. To be sure, it was needed. Yet, the mayor when he announced the hotel said there would no public funds. Before he borrowed nearly $18 million…
Two months before the presidential election the Delaware County Democrat chair resigned. There is speculation on a federal lawsuit alleging the city required 20% from the companies awarded city contracts be donated to the Democrat Party. The building has not paid a penny of property tax for years, but all you hear from the mayor is property tax caps.
Soon the City Council will be voting on the budget for 2017. It has increased about 20% including raises for the mayor and department heads. Kind of strange Mayor Tyler cried “Wo, is Muncie and those dreadful caps. Poor subjects of Muncie I’ll need to decrease your income. It’s those tax caps, you know.” The next year, despite the caps, he crafts a budget the city or folks can’t afford. Does this make sense?
Anyone can increase their budget, paying for it is the hard part.
Notice is hereby given to taxpayers of MUNCIE CIVIL CITY, Delaware County, Indiana that the proper officers of Muncie Civil City will conduct a public hearing on the year 2017 budget. Following this meeting, any ten or more taxpayers may object to a budget, tax rate, or tax levy by filing an objection petition with the proper officers of Muncie Civil City not more than seven days after the hearing. The objection petition must identify the provisions of the budget, tax rate, or tax levy to which taxpayers object. If a petition is filed, Muncie Civil City shall adopt with the budget a finding concerning the objections in the petition and testimony presented. Following the aforementioned hearing, the proper officers of Muncie Civil City will meet to adopt the following budget:
Seems Mayor Tyler recently realized there may be a conflict of interest. Stuff like that happens when the FBI comes knocking on your door
It took a handful of citizens working diligently for two or three years, investing their time and money to uncover several violations.
Within months of Craig Nichols appointment as the city’s building commissioner, his defunct business was reopened. Shortly thereafter his company began receiving city contracts. It took the local newspaper about nine months to report and even at that it was a lighthearted almost humorous article.
The paper is reporting Nichols had a conflict of interest statement filed in 2015. The State of Indiana is not showing anything filed for Nichols in 2015. The Conflict of Interest law states the form must be filed within 15 days with the State Board of Accounts and the county clerk. (See picture).
Uodate: Newspaper responded on their story.
For 2016 three council members, building commissioner and one attorney filed conflict statements. Four of the statements were done at or near the time the investigation and Federal Lawsuit was reported to the public.
Another appearance of conflict would be the street department superintendent and city contracts awarded to his nephew’s company.
“Obviously, I don’t see any problem with them doing work for the city because they are the best and the lowest,” said Campbell, a Democrat who is more high-profile this year because he’s running for Delaware County commissioner against incumbent James King. “They’re good guys.
“I know what people may think, but it’s all on the up-and-up,” Campbell added. “I don’t consider it a conflict. It goes by the book.” Duke Campbell, Muncie’s street superintendent
Not exactly sure how “goes by the book” is defined in this instance. If the street superintendent’s nephews are awarded contracts to work on the streets one would think a conflict of interest statement submitted by Duke Campbel would be going by the book of Indiana State law. There is no conflict statement for Campbell in 2015.
It’s not just about conflicts of interest, it’s the Federal lawsuit alleging contractors have been cut out of the bidding process in favor of friends and relatives of the Mayor and his close associates.
We will end this post with excerpts from the Muncie Star Press after the 2011 election.
“It’s not going to be a ‘good old boy’s club,'” Tyler said about the first Democratic city administration in 20 years.
At the same time, Tyler acknowledged that Democrats will now control both city and county government locally and with that control comes expectations.
“This isn’t going to be easy,” he said. “Democrats don’t have any excuses now. But I think people will be pleasantly surprised.” WALKER/ROYSDON REPORT: Tyler: No‘good old boys club’ Nov. 27, 2011
Finally, Indiana has been on the list of States to watch during this primary season. Crazy, huh? Trump and Sanders cleaned up and we can expect heated debates all the way to November.
Here in Delaware County ,we saw some movement, an increase in voter turnout. Somewhere around 34%. The Republican ticket saw more votes than the Democrat ticket. And a relatively unknown candidate which never campaigned won the highest vote count and ousted a long-time sitting official.
We’re used to “ringer” candidates appearing on the ballot. You can spot them immediately. Mostly, it’s the brainchild of the local Democrat party. How do you spot a “ringer” also known as a “ghost” candidate?
First to qualify to be a ringer candidate on the Democrat ticket, there needs to be someone running who is despised by the local Dem leadership.
Second, the ringer candidate will alway appear before the unsupported candidate.
Third, the ringer candidate will not campaign, send out literature, rarely if ever have any signs. The ringer will not respond to any debate requests, phone calls from the paper, and not well known in the community.
Fourth, the ringer will have a sparse campaign finance report.
Sometimes the act of placing a “ghost” on the ballot does exactly what it was intended to do. Other times, it fails. Take for instance the ’08 primary when the Democrats successfully ousted incumbent John H. Brooke using a ringer candidate. Other candidates made it through the “ghosting” as we saw with Sue Errington in ’12 and Linda Gregory in ’15. The practice has been applied to several other elections.
In 2010, the Democrats upped their ante by getting ghost candidates to run on the Republican ticket. As far as we can tell, this was a first.
If you are up to reading the scary ghost story of 2016, please check out Larry Riley’s column.