“I’ve learned one thing when it comes to local government – Muncie moves forward when we all work together. The past four years have been frustrating for all of us. Whenever elected officeholders had differences during Mayor Dan Canan’s administration, we always worked together in a respectful and bipartisan manner for the best interests of our city. I am eager to get back to what is best for Muncie a collaborative effort of all local officials working together to improve our community. It is the only way we can make Muncie a city that we can be proud of. ” Alison Quirk People before Politics 2011 campaign flyer.
“Giving Volume to Your Voice.” Nora Powell 2011campaign slogan.
“Imagine the possibilities if we all worked together.” Dennis Tyler 2011 campaign slogan.
What does this have to do with current city business? Much. It’s no secret the animosity between McShurley and most city council members from 2008-2011. She just couldn’t get along with anybody, was their mantra. This is only one part of the story. The second part of the campaign was all about working in Muncie’s best interest.
There is no denying the ideologies of Sharon McShurley clashed with those of Muncie City Council. Was it the ideologies, or was it a Republican beat their candidate and therefore everything she presented created a backlash? Well, let’s see.
A shortlist of ideas hindered by Muncie City Council:
- Downtown parking
- Prairie Creek improvements
- Channel 60
- Tuhey Pool
- Quiet Zone
- Pursuing $4 million in grant money
- County Animal Control (2008 proposal)
- Repairs at City Hall
- Downtown hotel
- Purchasing firetrucks
Nearly everything on this short list would have benefited the citizens of Muncie. Note #5 and #6 would have helped to facilitate #9. At this time the downtown hotel was the Roberts. Without the quiet zone, Roberts was a hard sell. #6 would have gone a long way in financing the quiet zone.
A short list of ideas by Dennis Tyler and approved by Muncie City Council.
- Downtown Horizon Center Garage Project $14 million (2014)
- Prairie Creek improvements $4 million (City Hall HVAC and Bathhouse 2013)
- Channel 60 back on the air with an increase in funding and one employee with benefits.
- Mike King broke the vote to finance Tuhey Pool.
- Quiet Zone (see #1).
- Not pursued by the current mayor or council.
- County animal control.
- City Hall was repaired with contracts awarded to Craig Nichols, City Building Commissioner. He did many of the “emergency repairs”. He has 34 felony counts against him.
- Downtown hotel (see #1).
It seems to appear that the very requests from McShurley which made the council unable to work with her, are the very same things they gladly pursued at a higher cost with Tyler. Enough said.
Muncie City Council recently voted for the borrowing of $4.5 million claiming they had to do what MCS and Ivy Tech cannot do…training programs. No Democrat on the council struggled with the vote, they don’t need to, all they need is politics before people.
There is so much more, but for now, we’ll bring this to a close.
To be continued….
The differences between the press conference on the arrest of Delaware County deputy sheriff and the city’s press conference on the arrest of Muncie City building commissioner notable.
Tyler spent more time talking about what he has done for the city and the effect of the FBI investigation on his employees. When asked questions from the press he was quickly ushered away by the city attorney. Not much information was provided to the citizens. We’re still in the dark.
City of Muncie’s press conference was more like a feeble attempt at a State of the City Address. The Sheriff’s press conference provided more details and stayed focused on the arrests.
Both of the investigations and subsequent arrests are bad news for this area in one respect. On the other hand, it’s good arrests were made.
Mayor Dennis Tyler is finally realizing his decade of campaign promises: “Jobs, Living Wage Jobs. Begining in 2006 and every campaign thereafter, Dennis Tyler promised jobs. Not just jobs but Living Wage Jobs.
With a mere $4.5 million dollars of tax dollars (most of what came from his tax increase of 2015) Tyler is going to do what Muncie Community School and Ivy Tech can’t do. He is going to provide job training.
Yes, folks, that’s correct. Job training.
The best part and you can’t miss the financial genius behind it, the $4.5 money will pay off the $1 million debt owed from the revolving loan the city set up for Madjax.. So, it’s not a total boondoggle. We get our $1 million back and they get out of debt with more money to spend.
I know we can all be happy, knowing our tax dollars are going into a training program. Ivy Tech should just close their doors.
While the six Democrat council members, Mayor Tyler and Todd Donati put their collective minds together to find a selling point on this bond…they came up with JOB TRAINING. Funny, we never so much as heard of job training….
You know Powell thinks we’re stupid because she made an effort to let the press know how she “struggled” with the decision.
The EDIT revenue carried over from 2015 was $189,470.54. The first year of tax revenue from the 2015 tax increase Muncie received $4,165,848.25. The city of Muncie dispersed $4,216,934.69 and ended with a balance of $138,384.10 for 2016. The city of Muncie spent more EDIT monies than they took in and tapped into the 2015 balance. In other words, if Muncie continues with this type of EDIT spending, and there is every indication they will, they will need to go to their second and third sources.
I would suggest the council members who voted yes keep an eye not only on EDIT spending but the financials of Madjax in the event we have to pay the bond payments. And further, monitor the job training program and provide updates.
Citizens: Don’t hesitate to contact your representative for information. They own it as the fiscal body of the City of Money. Please stay involved.
Three quotes from the newspaper best explain the public’s complaint against the Muncie Redevelopment Commission and the City of Muncie’s request for $4.5 million dollars in financial support of Madjax.
“These much-needed revenues, which should be used for essential city services, will be diverted to subsidize this project that is not for the public utility and benefit.” Tom Bracken (remonstrance)
Gregory said this week that the project was “a non-profit that has too little history to make it viable for the 23 years of the bond’s life.”
Ridenour said that Tyler is “within his scope” to use EDIT funds for the building. “The project has some merit but I would prefer to see it occur over time so that it is self-supporting.” Remonstrance, question Muncie Star Press 9-8-17
Indeed, our tax dollars should go to provide essential city services. The city is at the highest tax levy we have ever seen. Mayor Tyler and Muncie City Council passed LOIT and increased EDIT tax in 2015 at the highest percentages. Currently, the city is paying attorney fees and we have no idea of the financial cost. Yet, according to a previous article, Madjax will use a portion of this bond to pay off their debt liabilities.
According to a previous article, Madjax will use a portion of the bond to pay off their debt liabilities. Should Madjax fail to have enough revenue, then city tax dollars will pick up the shortage. Certainly, this is not a financially sound move for the city tax payers.
Nora Powell resigned from the board because it is a conflict of interest. Last we heard, Todd Donati sits on the board of Sustainable Muncie and is the Economic Development Director. Would this not be a conflict of interest?
A remonstrance has been filed
Nora Powell Muncie City Council resigned from Madjax board citing conflict of interest
Linda Gregory Muncie City Council cited lack of requested information
Madjax assets $2.4 million (includes building at $2.4 million)
Madjax debt $1.7 million
Revenue for 2017 $168,817
In 2016 the City of Muncie earmarked a loan for $1 million for what then was known as Gearbox. Tyler told The Star Press he wanted to loan $1 million in EDIT revenue to the group rather than just give it to Sustainable Muncie to create an obligation to be repaid. The loan is supposed to be repaid by the end of 2016. City council split on Gearbox loan
When Madjax first came on the scene it sounded pretty cool. This was before board members resigned, and the city offered to support with tax dollars.
Just a reminder, the City of Muncie passed an increase in taxes EDIT and LOIT in 2015, effective January 1, 2016.
Stop gambling with our money.
Muncie City Council Meeting
Muncie City Hall
Monday September 11th
Todd Donati – Muncie Redevelopment Commission, President
When: Thursday 9-7-17
Time: 4:00 PM
Where: City Hall Mayor’s Conference Room
A public hearing on $4.5 million dollar bond for Madjax. The repayment is from leases and should they fall short? You guessed it….tax dollars will make the payment.
The bond money will help to pay off some of the $1.762 million in debt Madjax owes. Seems similar to a consolidation loan where you borrow money to pay off your debts and have one payment. You still owe, though.
In this case, if Madjax pays off their debt, but fails to make the bond issuance payment, the taxpayers will pick up the slack.
Since when did the Muncie Redevelopment Commission become a bank? We’re talking about $4.5 million dollar loan. Surely, if MRC has that kind of dough to throw around perhaps MRC should instead loosen up their purse strings and return $4.5 million back to the taxing entities.
Mayor Tyler claims he wants to help the schools, how about restructuring TIF districts? Instead, we’ll take even more money for the cash-cow call TIF districts.
Most everyone liked the idea of a Maker’s Place until we found out the city is dishing out money right and left. You have to wonder about the adverse reaction Bracken’s proposal created. There’s some money to be had or someone is going to benefit. Won’t be the taxpayers, guaranteed.
Some time has passed since council members showed some reluctance on this bond. Let’s see how they vote after their private meetings. Afterall, going against Mayor Tyler and his appointed friend Todd Donati might cost them Democrat Headquarters support come next election.
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.