Muncie Sanitary District
As we get closer to the November elections we are beginning to see the 214 Democrats hard at work.
Earlier Muncie Politics wrote about the unintentional candidate for a position as a Democrat precinct committee member. Although, no elected officials, not the County Clerk Mike King or the County Prosecutor Jeff Arnold and neither of the political party chairs felt the need to pursue how the unintentional candidate was able to beat the intentional candidate. Score 1 for the local Democrat Headquarters. How to unintentionally win a race
Next on the list is the swinging door for the commissioner’s race. Phill Peckingpaugh withdrew early on – citing health issues. The seat for commissioner remained unfilled for several months until Brock Reagan stepped up to run. A few weeks later Reagan dropped from the race. He cited lack of time and money. providing an opening for the third time in the commissioner’s race.
As luck would have it, the Democrats immediately found a replacement in Jason Donati, MSD Stormwater educator, and MCS advisory board member. Jason was nominated by Mayor Tyler for the new school board but wasn’t chosen.
Asked if he had another candidate to fill the commissioner vacancy on the fall ballot, Craycraft said, “They’re talking to some people.” Candidate resigns another files
Wonder if “they” talked with Dave Ring? He ran as a Democrat, albeit, an outsider. Now Ring is running as an independent for commissioner.
Here is the timeline of the commissioner’s race:
- Phil Peckinpaugh files and drops out.
- The position sits vacant for several months.
- Brock Reagan drops from the recorder’s race and runs as commissioner.
- Jason Donati is not appointed to the MCS school board.
- Reagan quickly resigns from the race.
- Dave Ring files as an independent.
- Democrats immediately pick Donati.
Let’s go back to 2012. Todd Donati lost his bid for a second term as commissioner. A few weeks later, Muncie Redevelopment director retires unexpectedly after 20 years. As luck would have it Mayor Tyler appoints the former commissioner and longtime friend, Todd Donati to the position recently vacated…as luck would have it.
So why the blog title Missing Larry Riley? We lack solid political commentary in this county. No one gets to the meat of an issue. Perhaps there is no need. We all know what’s what in Delaware County politics. Here is an example:
Yet we’re facing stranger times. Once Dennis Tyler took over the Muncie mayor’s office in 2012, and then saw no Republican opposition in his re-election, the floodgates opened up for people running Democratic Party Headquarters. Nothing stopped Democratic HQ from using reins of Muncie government for its own purposes, including to line pockets.
That’s what the FBI has been investigating since late in 2015, and resulted so far in one arrest, that of the Mayor’s building commissioner, the son of the man in the seat of power in Democratic Headquarters. That FBI investigation remains ongoing in Muncie, recently heating up.
I’ve always liked Dudley, and he’s always been cordial and willing to talk with me. But joining your star to that particular Headquarters, a corrupt party and city administration, is treacherous. Larry Riley May 1, 2018
The only way Delaware County is ever going to advance beyond the corruption, poverty, absence of fruitful economic development, and 214 political appointments is to vote NO! to anyone who is affiliated with the 214 mainstream Democrats.
There must be some way out of here
Said the joker to the thief
There’s too much confusion, I can’t get no relief
Businessmen, they drink my wine
Plowmen dig my earth
None of them along the line know what any of it is worth
No reason to get excited, the thief, he kindly spoke
There are many here among us who feel that life is but a joke
But you and I, we’ve been through that, and this is not our fate
So let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late
With everything that has been happening and the city in a perpetual state of turmoil, it’s difficult to stay focused. So much to watch in this crazily contradictory place called Muncie. We have a ton of facts, even more, opinions. Do we have an understanding of current events? Do we see the big and bigger picture? Are we examining the past and the present? Are we looking at personalities, self-gratification, greed? Is there an end goal of this administration we aren’t seeing? Hoping we can find answers to these questions. Even better..get our grey cells expanding and be forever watchful.
Hats off to the EMS supporters which provided information we can use. Much of the time, we don’t give EMS a thought until we need their services. One good thing which came from Mayor Tyler’s proposal: he helped to spotlight an integral branch of public safety. We’ve learned about their duties, their costs, their equipment and their dedication to their jobs. DCEMS provided clear facts, but the war is not over yet.
No reason to get excited, the thief, he kindly spoke
Mayor Tyler gave an impassioned speech asking the Muncie City Council to table ordinance 68-17. He made reference to emails from unknown firefighters which he had distributed to members of the council. His voice rose with emotion and determination at times. Three council members already a no vote, Tyler needed to convince the remaining members to approve the tabling. No doubt, the six-member party loyalists had been schooled on their vote prior to the meeting.
He needed to “correct the total unfairness to the citizens and taxpayers of Muncie, Indiana.” He went on to say “the citizens of Muncie in 40 years has received zero dollars in a program they participated in.” Mayor Canan began the first responder’s program in 2003. Not quite 40 years Mayor Tyler.
Does Mayor Tyler think our payments to the county covering a portion of EMS services is going to end with the city’s ambulance service? No, we’ll still pay the same. In fact, we will be paying for county and city ambulance services. Where is the fairness in that one, Mayor Tyler?
Mayor Tyler and Chief Bell believe this will be a profitable department. They need to borrow just to get the program off the ground. Let’s put that all aside for a minute and look at the past six years of the Tyler administration.
During the 2011 Mayoral debate, Tyler said Muncie had plenty of money. As soon as he was voted in he began to spend it, too. A “surplus” left by former Mayor McShurley to cover the cost of MFD if and when the SAFER grant ended. She campaigned on keeping the MFD staffed. Mayor Tyler, on the other hand, saw the $8 million as an open checkbook to spend. He made no effort to prepare for the inevitable loss of the SAFER grant. He had the money, he could have deposited it in a “safer” fund. It doesn’t take much to add a line item to the budget.
Or pass an income tax.
Three years into his administration, the city realizes it is coming up short. Guess no one noticed the revenue statements. The EDIT and LOIT taxes was passed in 14 days. That’s a record. Mayor Tyler, where is the fairness to the citizens of Muncie? Did you allow the citizens of Muncie time to examine the tax and question the city on their expenditures?
Mayor Tyler was it fair to the citizens and taxpayers of Muncie to filter tax dollars to Craig Nichols’ companies? Where was your sense of fairness then? How fair is it to the citizens of Muncie when MSD purchased the flea market well over the assessed value? You said, “All I know is it’s an expensive project”. It sure is, Mayor, when deals like these are brokered. Do you believe the citizens were treated fairly?
Mayor Tyler, is your definition of fairness to withhold financial information on attorney fees? Is this fair to the citizens who will be footing the bill? From State agencies to news sources to the citizens no one, except maybe Tyler, believes this is fair.
In six years Mayor Tyler has never had any department become self-sustaining. He was handed two well-organized and re-structured departments, Prairie Creek Reservoir and Building Department. Today PCR running over budget. The Building Department a cash cow for the on-leave building commissioner. Tuhey Pool mismanaged by the company Tyler hired and it lost nearly $100,000 in ’16.
And all this isn’t even the half of it.
If Mayor Tyler could truly make a department self-sustaining he would have done it by now and there would be no need for increased tax levies or 43% income tax. The environment Tyler operates in is not conducive to fairness or good fiscal management. No one in all good conscience could use these terms to describe his administration.
What is the true purpose of Mayor’s proposal? Is it political? Will he involve the citizens in his political games? Disregarding the safety and services and placing us smack dab in the middle of his childish actions? You bet he will. That’s his definition of fairness.
All Along the Watchtower is where we need to be standing. Watching with our eyes every move this administration makes.
Mayor Tyler and the City of Muncie is in the news again. This time it’s over the city’s refusal to release attorney fees. Freedom of Information request was denied. City’s spokesperson, Sarah Beach, on behalf of the city, claimed it was “privileged” information. The state’s public access counsellor disagreed.
Four days later after the letter was released in the paper, and not without public criticism, Mayor Tyler held a one-minute press conference. That’s all the time needed to discredit the letter. The city’s feeble attempt at damage control. Again.
You know the letter Beach submitted to the newspaper was approved by both the city attorney and Mayor Tyler. Now Dennis Tyler is saying it was inaccurate.
Tyler said Friday that the city “has always and will always be transparent to its citizens.”
So, let’s look at the transparent government.
In 2012 the City’s building commissioner re-opened his business and immediately received city contracts. It wasn’t until Walls & Ceilings was fined by OSHA the public became aware. (It was rumoured Nichols was doing work.)
The city’s Neighborhood Investment Committee (NIC) program birthed in 2015. For this program, the city buys and sells properties to revitalize neighbourhoods. Some of you may remember East Central Reinvestment Corporation (ECRC) funded with federal dollars.
East Central Reinvestment Corp., a pioneering local CHDO founded in 1986, went under after defaulting on mortgage payments on 13 houses in 2008. ECRC spent more than $3 million to improve more than 80 properties before HUD cut off funding to it in 2006 after an investigation of conflicts of interest and other complaints. Muncie to prop up housing rehabbers with HUD 4-1-2011
What’s happening with the NIC program?
Last week we learned Delaware County gave the city 215 properties and not one has been put back on the tax rolls. Where is the transparency? Does anyone know the status of these properties? Nope.
Or the status of the Village? Or the transparency of the Muncie Redevelopment Commission? Did we know city money was filtering into the building commissioner’s wallet? Did we know Mayor Tyler was preparing to pass a 43% income tax? The press conference on Nichols’ arrest, was Mayor Tyler transparent?
Or that Tyler and Donati were board members of Sustainable Muncie? (Both said they resigned and Beach went on to say Tyler’s involvement was as a “figurehead” only). Of course. At the final hour, Tyler said there would be a job training program. Transparency.
The night he won a second term, he declared to followers “I will never lie to you.” Cheers. Every time the city gets caught they blamed it on someone else. The increased tax levy in ’12. McShurley’s fault. Traffic lights not synced, blight program delayed, no paving grant? The State’s fault.
Do you ever wonder why the former MRC president resigned right after Donati lost the election? Perfect timing. Or how about bid specifications written specifically for the companies the city favours? The building on Walnut, Wilson School, VAT. Was the Mayor transparent or distressed when MSD purchased the building for $300,000 based on an inflated appraisal? Did Mayor Tyler or Todd Donati give any indication the city was buying the Rutter Building? Or how much rental revenue? Do we know?
Woe to those who increase their wealth on the backs of the people they were elected to serve. The readers may not agree with this statement, but they are to be pitied. Lacking integrity, greedy, and they will not enjoy the fruits of their labour. It’s tainted fruit. It has soured in their bellies. But then again, if one is void of honesty, integrity, empathy and virtue they will think they are the victims of unjust circumstances.
Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman. The most important political office is that of the private citizen. Louis Brandeis
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.
Interested in the City of Muncie and the Muncie Sanitary District 2016 year end debt report? Would you like to see the how it is distributed?
Having you been missing Larry Riley’s columns from the local newspaper? If so, you won’t want to miss this event.
When: May 29th, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM
Where: Kennedy Library
1700 W McGalliard Rd, Muncie, IN
We know Memorial Weekend is busy, so even if you can’t make it at 6:30 PM, the doors will be open during the event. Bring your questions.
Hope to see you!
By now everyone in Delaware County and outwards has heard the news, Muncie Building Commissioner has been arrested and charged with 33 felonies. He is on unpaid leave.
You may remember when Nichols’ company billed and was paid to demolish four buildings. There were no buildings on these four properties. Several people commented on social media the buildings had been demolished during Mayor McShurley’s administration. She lost to Tyler in 2011.
In an attempt to cover up the fraudulent invoices, Nichols claimed it was a mistake and submitted new invoices. Journalist Larry Riley penned a column citing there were no demolition permits attached to the paperwork. Mayor Tyler took no action.
Reviewing the Board of Public Works none of the 2015 minutes are available as of 2-18-17. According to the indictment, many of the violations occurred in 2015.
Muncie City Board of Public Works approves payment of submitted invoices. The president of BOW is John Quirk and his law firm represents the City of Muncie as well. January 13, 2016, minutes reflects approval of a change order presented on behalf of the City of Muncie for Nichols company Capitol Consulting and Property Management in the amount of $14,000 bringing the total of services billed to $88,950.00. bow-jan-13-2016-minutes-1 Read the rest of this entry »