Chat With The Mayor 4-30-09

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UPDATE:  Chat with the Mayor now available at CDCPTR website

Didn’t take very good notes, as a matter fact took very little. So, this will be from memory, and I hope it is all correct. If not, you will be able to watch it later on the Citizens of Delaware County For Property Tax Repeal website.

By now, most have read the front page of the newspaper on stimulus money for the parks so I won’t spend to much time on it. It always amazes me how the newspaper can write such an extensive article on a 5 minute report from the mayor. Anyway, we will be receiving $385,000 which will go to new equipment and paving. (Please don’t ask me how I feel about the stimulus money, it ain’t a pretty sight.)

Mayor Mac talked about her Japan trip and some other economic leads that could be coming our way. We know that many things are involved in economic development and building relationships with would be investors is the first and correct step to take. She touched on her last trip and the cost, somewhere in the ballpark of $12,500.00. Not a bad investment if we can get business here.

It is interesting to note that the companies (names unknown) are seriously considering our area. Prior, the companies have been locating in the below I-70 line, now they are running out of workers and looking towards the future…that would be us, folks.

The clients Mayor McShurley met with were impressed that Indiana was in better financial shape then most. Having a rainy day fund is a good thing in their eyes.

Let’s hope this pans out and be patient. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Jerry Friend, Building Commissioner, talked about the changes in ordinances and what that means for the average taxpayer. There is a good possibility this department could become self-sustaining. The mowing fees have increased and that caused some concern for the people in attendance. I understand where Mr. Friend is coming from. It is more of a detriment than a money making scheme. Where I come from, there were plenty of ordinances which were enforced and you didn’t see the amount of disarray as you witness here. In a perfect world, everyone would mow, every neighbor would pitch in and every person would pick up trash.

Next up was Ron Ball, Interim Superintendent of Public Works. He discussed the pothole policy. Neighborhood by neighborhood, or a methodical way and what appears to be efficient. Mr. Ball passed around a paving list and with the help of the Mayor and the Controller displayed a map of the roads. The map became to heavy and true gentleman stepped in to help. 🙂 I didn’t get his name.

The fire department issue was discussed and one concerned citizen asked that her station not be closed. At this time, nothing concrete has been said. We just know that a station will be consolidated.

Another community activist asked when the sign would be replaced on the street she had reported months ago. Seems, there is a new mandate from the state and all signs need to be larger. What legislature had that bright idea? Anywho…this won’t go into effect until 2012, so a new sign that meets state regulations has been ordered.

The mayor had a couple of great traveling stories to tell, which were very funny. We will wait until the movie comes out.  I am sure I missed many things, and promise to do a better job next time. Will post the link to the Chat as soon as it becomes available.

Time now to kick back and enjoy the weekend. Have a great one!

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The Plot Thickens..

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Delaware County Election Board; Jim Mansfield; ECIBT Vs, CDCPTR; CDCPTR Vs. ECIBT; Citizens of Delaware County Vs. The Old Way Of Conducting Government Business.

Whew!  It sure gets complicated.  All this over just a simple ad.  One  complaint against a citizen group  and we may see a series of very real election violations surface.

I mean, we have group which filed a complaint with the election board over a lack of disclaimer in an ad.  Then we find out the same group who filed the complaint didn’t have a disclaimer in their ad, has no address, no phone number, no website and their ad was paid for by an entity other than the group printed on the ad.  To boot, the group is not even registered as anything in the State of Indiana.

If any of you reading this blog have been following the election board’s recent decision and are shaking your head in amazement,  this column will make your head explode (as my dear friend always says). Little confused on the legal name of ECIBT, so please forgive me if I left a letter or two out.

Larry Riley’s Column, Sunday April 26, 2009

TAXES! CONSOLIDATION! BUDGET CUTS!

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Good evening, folks.

Tonight, at Muncie Central High School, the citizens had the opportunity to listen to the benefits and disadvantages of additional taxes in the form of LOIT (Local Option Income Tax) and COIT (County Option Income Tax) and why this is just a tool and not a fix for our financial problems.

Guest Speaker, Mr. John Stafford, (just got a correction on his name)Director, Community Research Institute at IU-Fort Wayne and a member of the Kernan-Shepard panel had this to say:

Option Income Tax will only bring in an estimated $1,000,000. Wow, you say, that’s a nice chunk of change. Not bad, how are we going to come up with the additional $2,000,000+ needed?

First we should address how we got in this mess. Did you know that Muncie has one of the highest tax rates for second class cities? Why is that? Because, we spend to much.  This is always a forgotten part of the equation.

It goes back to many past city council meetings and how the budget shortfall was addressed again and again to the council, our fiscal body. Their first reaction should have been, “what can we do to save money?”.  Instead, the concern was for fishing holes, life guards and fireworks. Oh, yes, parking spaces. If the fiscal body does not understand budget shortfall, that is ONE major problem that needs to be addressed NOW!, or you may as well hang it all up.

Mr. Shaffer talked about consolidation. As a matter of fact, when he was introduced by Mr. Riggin as being part of the Kernan-Shepard panel, a “boo” came from the audience. Second major problem, the fear and loathing of any type of consolidation. We witnessed that first hand in July,  2008, when the Modernization and Consolidation was benched by Muncie City Council. It has been reinstated, but at what cost? Instead of being almost a year into the project, we are now nine months behind. We lost precious time on that one.  The Muncie City Council must be held accountable and responsible for the delay.

The past commissioners had already started their own “consolidation” in the form of combining the highway and engineering departments, saving the taxpayers $500,000.00/year or roughly 1/2 of what COIT would bring in. You may want to ask yourself where that savings and efficiency is today.

  • Why is Muncie’s tax rate so high?
  • Why has there been NO effort to do any budget cuts?
  • Why was the Modernization and Consolidation effort tabled?

The answer is:  until our fiscal bodies can get a grip on reality and work to change how Delaware County operates, we will just slide deeper and deeper into debt.

Yes, Mr. Shaffer threw out the option taxes, he also said it is not the answer, and never will be.  Cut spending,  begin TRUE consolidation and if neither of these things get us to where we need to be, then our option is a tax.  However, we won’t know the answer until our elected officials make an honest and concerted effort in this direction…so far, very few of the elected politicians have been on board.

We must hold city council responsible for the lack of response when it comes to consolidation and modernization and the budget.  The citizens worked hard and long, yet we will pay for the inaction.  This is one reason why we despise any additional tax.  The council had the tools and refused to use them,  the council was warned again and again and ignored the signs.  We pick up the tab again, in the form of more taxes. 

Lucky us…

Mayor McShurley and Japan Trip

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Just found out Mayor Mac is blogging on the Japan trip. Take a peek.

City of Muncie

Mayor’s Blog

Prairie Creek, again.

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Links to the Muncie Star Press articles on Prairie Creek from Sunday April 19, 2009.  They will be available for 7 days.

I am not as concerned with the development of Prairie Creek as much as I am concerned HOW Prairie Creek will be developed. Who will be the building contractors, will there be a board, who will be contracted to install the sewer system?

We had a Board of Supervisor for the Justice Center, and this became an expensive drain on taxpayers. Law suits, cost over runs and jobs for the buddies. The same is with the Royerton Sewer Project.

So think hard and long when it comes to Commissioner Dunnuck and President Donati.

‘Conspiracy’ to develop Prairie Creek alleged

Our View: A few should not override majority on Prairie Creek

GUEST COLUMN: Prairie Creek proposal handled incorrectly

Election Board Needs Stopped! Updated!

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I certainly hate to be so negative about Delaware County, believe it to be a wonderful place with wonderful people.  Yet, until we get rid of the corruption this county will never be able to move forward.  We need and we want to move forward.  There is never a better time than now, folks!

The Election Board is out of control:

Video of election board hearing.

THE CITIZENS OF DELAWARE COUNTY FOR PROPERTY TAX REPEAL

On Friday, April 17, the political persecution of citizens willing to stand up and speak out against their government moved from the kangaroo court of the Delaware County Election Board to the embattled offices of the Delaware County prosecutor. Most recently, officers of the Citizens of Delaware County for Property Tax Repeal Inc. (CDCPTR) were summoned to testify before a grand jury, which resulted in an indictment against President Chris Hiatt.
Remember that for the first two months of this year over the course of four hearings, the Delaware County Election Board publicly berated the CDCPTR for placing an advertisement in The Star Press endorsing candidates running for various offices in the 2008 general elections. The complaint against the CDCPTR was levied by Joe Evans, president of the United East Central Building and Construction Trades Council and Carpenters Local 1016. In response, the CDCPTR filed its own reciprocal complaint, alleging that the Trades Council had published an advertisement of their own that mirrored the issues involved in the allegations brought by Evans.
Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, certain members of the election board — Phil Nichols, Steve Craycraft and Mike White — were predisposed in their narrow-minded objectives, virtually ignoring the complaint against the labor council while deciding to pursue criminal charges against the CDCPTR. Craycraft, in particular, demonstrated his agenda by sitting as a presiding officer and casting the deciding vote against the CDCPTR and then turning around and recusing himself from the complaint against the trades council because of his direct association with the solidarity cause. Imagine that.
Subsequently, Prosecutor Mark McKinney apparently took up the charge of trying to quash the citizens that would speak out against public officials and denying them their right to free speech and expression. We find that extremely disturbing on several fronts.
The use of political offices and appointments to conduct tribunals against the citizenry is not only a waste of time, public resources and an abuse of power, it’s simply absurd. And while certain political offices appear beyond the reach of the average citizen, make no bones about it, those officials can be tried in the court of public opinion, and the jury can cast their final and un-appealable verdict via the polls.
We find it more than hypocritical that McKinney, who touts that his many issues are a result of a political vendetta, is now allowing his office to be used as an inquisition orchestrated by Phil Nichols and his henchmen. Serious issues of alleged voter fraud have languished mysteriously in the shadows for well over a year, yet McKinney feels compelled to expeditiously seek a misdemeanor indictment against the voters and taxpayers that butter his bread and are merely exercising their rights.

So far…Check back often for updates!

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So far, this is what has happened in Delaware County this past year: (The list is not exhaustive, by any means)

  • New: Dog Tax
  • Wheel Tax-had some not so kosher things thrown into the ordinance.
  • Wheel tax ordinance not even complete when it was introduced
  • Commissioner Donati calls the regular county council meeting a “special hearing”, yet the Wheel tax did not appear on the agenda
  • Commissioners create job and hire commissioner’s son (No others need apply.)
  • Update: Prairie Creek development and “secret” meetings.  This is one to really watch. Blogged on it earlier.
  • Public Access Laws broken
  • Investigation of prosecutor-Indiana Supreme Court found violations
  • Update: Investigation of surveyor (he was cleared based on the evidence presented by the prosecutor to grand jury) Later he was arrested.
  • Charges against surveyor from former employer
  • DTF investigation
  • Election Board doesn’t follow the law
  • Added recently: Late voter registrations reported to Secretary of State by anonymous person-should have been reported immediately by the officials (November ’08 election)
  • Prosecutor’s office refuses to prosecute Muncie Police arrests
  • Election fraud charges gathering dust
  • Councilmen admitting publicly he signed a conflict of interest statement, none on record
  • Councilman indicted
  • City Council refusing to put the safety of the residents and MFD first
  • Kay Walker making demands the city can not guarantee (She knows where her votes are!  She is working hard for the MFD)
  • Kay Walker cancels meeting of crucial importance on fire safety
  • Prosecutor finds the time to prosecute a citizens action group for what may amount to a misdemeanor
  • City Council calls a meeting on the Modernization and Reorganization without proper notification to the public
  • Update: Mansfield still wants to be mayor.  He isn’t paying for the legal fees.  Who will call in the favors if he wins?  Bad News! Update: He finally gave up the ghost
  • Judge resigns in lieu of prosecution
  • Democrats throw poll books in the trash
  • 214 N. Walnut (Democrat Headquarters) pays no property tax on the building and hasn’t for years, classified as an educational institution
  • Update: Motion to re-instate payroll deductions for political contributions by the commissioners IT’S A DONE DEAL, NOW.
  • Phil Nichols’s friend taking pix of local citizens at a monthly Breakfast with Gregory meeting
  • Bob Wolf finding Judge Wolf’s campaign signs in trash at Democrat Headquarters
  • Democrat Headquarters attempts to force candidate to pay assessment (donations to DHQ) and when they refused for ethical reasons, DHQ worked unsuccessfully against their campaign
  • Adding Bilbey to the primaries to steal votes from Brooke, virtually guaranteeing a win for the Democratic pick for commissioner