Delaware County

Saturday night and I ain’t got no money

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It’s a Saturday night and the past few weeks have been exciting.  Here are some awesome highlights of what’s been happening! Take a peek, if you dare.

We’re getting new landscape at City Hall.  Yep, the old landscape was removed and new is on the way.   A few months ago, we were privileged to get $5 million additional debt.   Some of the bond  debt was to go for needed repairs of the Hall.  Certainly, this was an awesome way to spend tax dollars.  New landscape…woo hoo!  I guess it wouldn’t matter if it was included in Todd Donati’s bond presentation most city council members wouldn’t question the expenditure.     “Let’s spend some more.”

Here are the before and after pictures of the landscaping done in 2009.  All native plants which require low maintenance and water have been removed to make way for the new landscape which nobody has a clue what it will look like or how much it cost to remove the previous and replace with whatever the city is replacing it with.

city hall circa 2008muncie city hall landscape 2009

City Parking Garage with caption 9-25-13Finally,we got the first glimpse of the $5 million parking garage, which is surrounded by stores and apartments.  No swimming pool on the top as promised.  A big bummer, but I don’t think it would be a public pool anyway.    Here’s the rendition of the $60 million complex and I have pointed out the $5 million garage we are paying for.

Here is the architectural drawing of the $1.5 million bathhouse.  Originally we were told it would be privately funded.  Nobody donated, so we get to pay for it.  Yea…

→ Image not available –

Sorry, the city hasn’t released the drawing yet.  We have to build it before you know what’s in it. 

Gee, you would think we are the Federal Government or something.

The good news is we are so broke, we can’t afford to build the $4 million Visitor Center located smack dab in the middle of a couple of car dealerships.  Looking for a car?  Stop in at the Visitor’s Center for some brochures of our county after or before you shop.  Jim Mansfield Director of the Visitor’s Bureau, was disappointed he wasn’t getting any new digs.

As most of you know, the county had to hire a firm to study our financial situation and give us an assessment.  It was pretty darn rosy.  Although, the county cleaned out the Rainy Day Fund (surplus) and cut $300,000.00, we still are teetering on the cusp of being broke or being broker.  (Is that a word? Oh well, it fits.)

The good news is the county passed a budget higher than last year.  I think they must have some money stashed away.  Anyway, it confused us because if you can’t meet last year’s expenditures without borrowing from the RDF (Rainy Day Fund), it makes perfect sense to increase the budget.  I mean, that’s what we all do in our budgets, right?

Well, no biggie, we’ll just borrow until we get property tax revenue. Except, we still have a higher budget than 2013, so exactly how is that going to work out?

Mike Jones, county council, isn’t the president, but may as well be as he is the lead spokesperson for the council.  I look for him to be president next year.  I mean, he spends some time on the public chats.  His comments on the budget weren’t well received.   “Yes way” Mr. Jones exclaimed when putting in his vote for the unsustainable budget.

Divided council and split vote

By the way, according to Jones, everyone that disagrees with him is a member of the Tea Party and every Republican that beats out a Democrat is a Tea Party, too.  (Sigh)

Kind of reminds you of the NSA thinking millions of American Citizens are terrorists.  So, we do mimic the Federal Government just a tad bit.

Mayor Tyler said that both the city and county were now controlled by one party.  He said there would be no excuses and we would be pleasantly surprised.

Wrong on both counts.  The excuses continue, at least on the county side…what’s new?  Yawn.  And nothing the Tyler administration does is a surprise.  How can it be, when it’s same old, same old?

That’s about it, folks.  See you soon!

Common Core Summit – Muncie, Indiana

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common core summit 9-28-13

www.CommonCore-Summit.com

 

When:            Saturday, September 28, 2013 – 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. (noon)

 

Where:          First Church of the Nazarene 

                        3101 N Benton Road

                        Muncie, IN  47304

 

Why:    House Bill 1427 charged the Indiana State Legislature with evaluating the new  Common Core Standards and making a recommendation to the State Board of Education who must revote on whether Indiana will keep or abandon the standards by 2014. Citizens are unaware of the new standards and their possible negative consequences on public, private and home schools.

46 states have adopted the Common Core Standards which creates a defacto national curriculum. Many of these states did so because they received federal incentives through the Stimulus Fund and No Child Left Behind waivers.

Indiana has paused implementation of the Common Core because of the low quality of the standards and the loss of local control under the governance of the standards.

States can’t change or delete any of the standards as private organizations hold a copyright on them. We may only add 15% to the content, which will not be covered on proposed new national tests.

Two members of the Common Core Validation Committee refused to sign off of the standards because they will put our students two years behind high-performing countries by eighth grade and leave our children unprepared for entrance into a four-year university. They both testified to the legislature that Indiana should reject Common Core.

 

 

Panelists:    

Brad Oliver:            Associate Dean – Indiana Wesleyan University

                                 District 6 appointment by Governor Pence to the

                                  Indiana State Board of Education

 

Heather Crossin:     Parent – HoosiersAgainstCommonCore.com

                       

Erin Tuttle:              Parent – HoosiersAgainstCommonCore.com   

Common Core Summit Flyer (PDF)

Directions to the Summit (PDF)                    

Saturday morning ramblings: MSD & new business is really old business

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toiletMuncie Sanitary District and you.  Seems the MSD appointed attorney, Mike Quirk, has a new business venture,  Small Office Solutions.  Apparently it is a collection center and the one of his first, if not his first client is the Muncie Sanitary District.

Yes, folks, you heard right.  His business SOS which was just created on August 21, 2013 was the business to grab that contract.  Sure, he signed a disclosure agreement, which isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.

MSD is $1 million behind on delinquent sewer bills.  An amnesty program failed to collect much money.  The MSD attorney creates a new business, and the MSD gives the MSD attorney the contract.  Did I mention he signed a conflict of interest disclosure form?

MSD hires collection call center

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Detroit’s One Man Show – George Will

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Detroit’s One Man Show – George Will

I read with interest George Will’s current column on Detroit’s plight and couldn’t mistake the parallels to Delaware County.   Although Delaware County’s financial problems are minuscule compared to Motor City, the resemblance is striking.

In March, Detroit’s City Council agreed to 21 stipulations needed for reform.  The city council ignored it.

In June,  Delaware County was handed a $25,000 study with suggestions to bring the budget in line with revenue streams.  It has been largely ignored.  One item in the study was acted on,  a move towards additional taxes.  Fortunately, that was shut down quickly.

Detroit is also in a pickle with their pensions.  Delaware County has never really gotten a handle on the sheriff’s pensions.

Detroit has bonds, so does Delaware County.  We owe.  Will’s column touches on the cost of those bonds should Detroit’s creditors receive pennies on the dollar.  It’s possible that future bond issuances may come to municipalities at a higher financial cost.

Detroit has layers of bureaucracy, so does Delaware County.  Delaware County, has a population of 120,000 or the size of an average city.  Last year voters  soundly rejected an attempt to reorganize the county, decrease the layers of government.  A campaign of misinformation by both party headquarters was amazing in and of itself.  The current mayor donated $5,000.00 out of his campaign coffer to help defeat  modernization.  His position would have been eliminated.  $5,000 from donors is a small price to pay to retain $72,000 salary plus benefits and control over millions of dollars.

Kevyn Orr, appointed to oversee Detroit’s bankruptcy observed “the fact that people had gotten used to the city like this — people were tolerating the abnormal.”

So goes, Delaware County.

I would like to believe the voters would refuse to allow the county to continue in this financial decay, yet every council member retained their positions.  One exception, Commissioner Todd Donati was ousted from office, but quickly hired by the City of Muncie.  Within months of his appointment, he has indebted the city close to $10 million dollars.    When you vote, you’re are not just voting for the person.  You are also giving the elected official the power to place people in positions to oversee millions of dollars in spending.

Is it like this everywhere?  Possibly.  Our neighboring county, Henry, advertises  their appointments and interested parties must submit resumes.    Take that procedure for what it’s worth.

Saturday Ramblings ~ Double standards and Hypocrisy

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The greatest rationale to become a Leftie is immunity from the rules they impose on the rest of us. The sanctioning of the double standards and hypocrisy. Andrew Breitbart

MC900439169

Lately, I have been feeling slightly disenchanted with the state of human events.  Actually, it has been brewing for some time.  So, when I came across this quote which exemplifies my feelings, I filed it away for later use.  Today is the day.

In Sunday’s paper (6-30-13), current city council member, Nora Powell had a letter published.  The gist was she came back from vacation to find not one, but two articles  in the paper where she was mentioned.

 Recently, my family returned from vacation to discover we’d been mentioned in two of Larry Riley’s opinion columns.

The first instance of a double homestead, and the second  a correction to the first article.  She wasn’t really the focus of  either column, only a mention.  Nevertheless, she felt compelled to clear her name possibly recalling the firestorm this created back in ’09 when the former mayor, a former council member and current council member all were found with double homestead credits.  However, only one person was targeted while the two council members basically went unscathed.  It’s the double standard in all her glory.

Which lead me to another time when she didn’t feel compelled to clear her name.  It was the 2011 election.  Nora filed her candidacy with “Evans” as her middle name.  With the ballots printed she was moved to the top seat on the ballot.    The name that moved her to that number one spot  on the ballot, Nora “Evans” Powell was mysteriously absent in this letter .  No doubt, it will be back next election.  We’ll see.

Many people felt the local Democrat party was giving Powell an edge.  Marilyn Bennington-Smith filed her candidacy with her maiden name hyphenated and since she wasn’t a Democrat  party insider she had to get an attorney to represent her.  Ask yourself if this isn’t a classic case of double standards.

Powell’s letter took me back a few years to another elected official which came back from an economic junket  in Japan.  I respect former mayor, Sharon McShurley’s need to be private, yet this is a crucial point of this blog entry.  The double-standard.   The moment the McShurley’s plane took off, the rumors hit the runway.  Filthy, vile, disgusting ranging from abortions to alcohol abuse to something as mild as her resignation.  Imagine had Ms. Powell come back from her vacation to face 1/1000 of what she and others contributed in just a short four years.

One would hope that Powell has gotten a small taste of what it’s like and perhaps even those which helped the rumors blossom would think twice next time.  I doubt it, though.  Because in their eyes, the actions over a series of years are acceptable, and if it should happen to them it becomes the Cardinal Sin.   Imagine if we critiqued Powell using the same standards (rumors, lies and innuendos)?   Of course, we don’t because it was just to vulgar to recreate.

Double standard and hypocrisy is the breakfast of self-appointed champions of all things vile.

I’m going to take you back to the Arizona shootings.  If you will recall, the media and leftist libs were calling for Sarah Palin to apologize.  Why?  Did she pull the trigger, and there was no indication she ever crossed the path with Jared L. Loughner,  In fact he never even attended one Tea Party meeting.  It mattered not.  Yet rogue ex-cop Chris Dorner prior to his killing spree wrote a manifesto in which he praised Pier Morgan.  Morgan tweeted this:

piers morgan and chris dorner

Is Piers Morgan responsible for Dorner’s actions?  The answer is obvious.  No.   Any thinking person would agree.  However, when you live by the double standard, your ability to think clearly and reason correctly is seriously impaired.   If their standards were compared to alcohol levels, it would be 20 times over the stupid level.

After defending my views on the 2nd Amendment someone called me a supporter of murderers and criminals.  One would wonder what he thinks of the author, James Madison.   Never mind…

An article on former Governor Mitch Daniels, a local poster (although missing in action for months) had commented  he hoped Governor Daniels had a heart attack and died.    Texas State Senator Donna Campbell received emails “hoping you get raped” “hope your daughter gets raped” and so on and so forth.  An article about Mia Love saw comments she was an Aunt Tom, a house n______. Dr. Ben Carson is a pawn and n_______.

Alec Baldwin tweets George Stark (a British reporter) is a toxic queen and he wants to shove his foot up Starks’ backside, and then he made a sexual reference.  Anderson Cooper got wind of it and said had it been a conservative it would be virile in minutes.  It’s all quiet on the homefront.

anderson cooper tweet alec baldwin

While the lefties are stomping the grounds with their outrage, real or perceived (mostly perceived) against any conservative, be that conservative white, black, Hispanic, male, female, straight or not, they are  certainly silent when one of their own commits the thing they say they hate.    Which leads me back to Andrew Breitbart’s brilliant quote:

The greatest rationale to become a Leftie is immunity from the rules they impose on the rest of us. The sanctioning of the double standards and hypocrisy. Andrew Breitbart

MC900439169

Delaware County, Living on the Edge and $25,000 Financial Report

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American Dollars Falling from the Sky

Last night the long-awaited financial report was presented to the County Commissioners and the County Council.  For a mere $25,000 we learned the county has money, we just need to move it from one fund to another.  Take for example, the Highway Department.  According to the Umbaugh report, the ending balance for this department is $2.8 million.  Move some of it, all of it, or none of it into the Rainy Day Fund and from there use it to pay expenses from the general fund.

I am no CPA and I wouldn’t presume to tell them how to do this job, their findings ain’t nothing different from we have been sayin’.  Of course, revenue from additional taxes and cuts in the budget go hand in hand with shuffling money.

The report also states a revenue stream for public safety of $2.5 million from an income tax called Local Option Income Tax (LOIT) can help ease the financial burden.

But, my question is simple, if the county is in good shape, we have the money, and all the report’s recommendations are followed, why would any additional taxes be needed?

So, without further ado, much has already been said, here is the link to the Muncie Star newspaper (available for seven days):

Report: Delaware County could impose new taxes

Heres the $25,000.00 report:

Comprehensive Financial Plan

More will be forthcoming, for now let’s just chew on this.

A Vat Full of Bull

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Every since Mayor Dennis Tyler hired Todd Donati to spend city tax dollars, we have been writing checks left and right.  For those of you that aren’t familiar with Mr. Donati, he was the county commissioner from 2009 to 2012.  Despite his campaign of how well the county is doing, he left it in deplorable financial shape.

Sitting through Muncie City Council meeting as Todd Donati danced his way through nearly $10 million dollars of bond issuance.  Yes, it only took six months to rack up that much debt under the direction of Todd Donati, the master of economic development.

It’s like watching reruns of a bad program.  Donati standing before a different council, asking for a yes vote, and right down party lines, yes, yes, yes, yes….As Delaware County Commissioner, he stood before the council asking for a yes vote.  As president of county council, he asked for a yes vote.  The more things change, the more they stay the same.

The first bond  of the season, a mere $5 million is needed to build a parking garage.  Muncie will be the proud owner of 89 parking spaces.  Mr. Donati is expecting a revenue stream of $250,000 a year from the 89 prime parking spots located conveniently in the middle of an apartment complex.

According to Donati, this will create 693 jobs.  That’s what he said.

Second bond of $4 million will cover everything from the Prairie Creek bathhouse, to streetscape and City Hall remodel.    Originally, it was $5 million, but thanks to some nifty grants (we don’t know how much or from whom) we have brought it down to what Donati would call a reasonable debt.  Although, as a county resident, he won’t be obligated to pay this debt.  Heck, as a county resident, he didn’t mind running up debt…so what the hey.

Brad Polk asked Todd about the streetlights and if there was a possibility those lights could be used.  Polk was referring to the solar-powered lights purchased in ’09.  Donati said they were all in use.

A little background on the lights, if I may.

VAT, a manufacturer of solar-powered lights sold us a slew of these precious gems.  They were placed strategically throughout the county.  One little glitch.  The lights don’t work.  Along with the lights, we were promised 100+ jobs and a wind vane.  Yes sir, this was going to put us on the map as the green capital of Indiana.  And it only cost us $1.9 million dollars.  No jobs and no wind vane, either.  Last I heard, someone (us) will be paying $29,000 to fix the lights.

Delaware County, A Modern Day Fairy Tale

But wait, there is more.  We had the unforgivable loan of $350,000 to the trucking company.  We were led to believe the loan came from the redevelopment funds (still our tax dollars).  Yet, Donati came before county council asking for a bond approval.   And not only that, he asked for a suspension of the rules.  In other words, he wanted the bond passed now.  The county needed that bond passed to make the New World software payment.  Don’t ask, it is just to complicated to follow the money.

After the 2010 election, the $7 million dollar bond came up for a vote.  Part of that money was for the county plaza.  It’s economic development, dontcha know.  Nobody had seen the plans until Donati went to his office to get the blue prints.  Desoto got some sewer money.  An exchange between Quakenbush and Donati about the  Desoto sewer system and Royerton led to Donati saying the county had been helping Royerton customers for two years.  That would not be true, but what’s a little whopper when it comes to $7 million buck-a-roos?

$7 million and a sewer

Just last week at the Muncie Redevelopment Commission meeting,  questions on how much money was available  in the checking account.  All eyes looked at the director of MRC, Todd Donati.  Nobody really knew the answer and the paper didn’t follow-up on the balance.  That’s o.k.    The City is planning on moving stone pillars, storing the pillars and restoring before they find a final resting place at some city park.  After the pillars are removed, the basement underneath must be filled in.

So, you can see why it’s important our tax dollars be spent on moving pillars instead of, say, paving streets.  After all, Donati did build a county building plaza, and then promptly shut down the county building one day a week.  Lack of funds, you know.  And despite the plaza being funded with economic tax dollars, it generated not one penny in revenue.

In case you are wondering, Muncie Redevelopment is funded by your tax dollars.  They can spend it anyway they please, and even if they can’t they still will.

Back in the 80’s the county bought a boatload of Bull Computers.  These computers were as useless as the streetlights.  Both were kept in storage, courtesy of the tax payer’s dime.

A Vat full of Bull.