Animal Shelter

Not an April Fool’s Day Joke

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black and white dog
Are you pulling my tail? Photo by Helena Lopes

 

Do you all remember Hank the Dog?  If not, here’s a synopsis.  Once upon a time, there was a dog named Hank.  Hank was notorious for being picked-up by city animal control.  You might go as far as to say he was targeted.  The owner was summoned to city court, and although the details are a little murky, one thing we do know, the City of Muncie violated their own animal control ordinances.  You see, there was nothing about the number of times an animal could be picked up and nothing about an owner having to appear in court.    Later they did change the ordinance after they violated it.

Dennis Tyler hired a local attorney firm to represent the City of Muncie. (We’ll leave out Tylers Indy firm for now.)

First, we need to ask, “Why are we paying for their services?”   Did the law firm not read city ordinances pertaining to Hank the Dog?  Did they not know about the Indiana law from 2013? Mayor Tyler and his administration are surrounded by attorneys. Think about this for just a minute.

Funny, how the city’s attorney could find an ordinance that was decades old. Suddenly, the elected officials are concerned because they aren’t following this ordinance. City Code 32.33.

Sec. 32.33. Time and place for regular meetings.
The first regular meeting of the council shall be
held on the first Monday in January after the
general election of the members-elect of the council, at 7:30 p.m. as provided by IC 18-1-3-2. All
regular meetings shall be held on the first Monday evening of each month at 7:30 p.m. and may
be adjourned at the pleasure of the council. Adjourned meetings shall have all the force and
effect of regular meetings. Meetings shall be held
in the council chamber, unless otherwise determined by the president and designated on the
agenda.
(Code 1968, § 31.14; Ord. No. 620-80, 10-10-80)

The city council has been in violation of this for years.  So, what’s to stop them from violating a 2013 Indiana State law?  Or any law, for that matter?    As you can see, absolutely nothing.  Ah ha. Let’s have a meeting on January 1, 2018. Surely no one would show. And, and,  and we’ll be following an ordinance we have never observed.

As the City-run EMS began to heat up, the elected officials, who are supposed to represent the people were hoping to find a something that would weaken the DCEMS supporters on council turnouts.  Wrong on Muncie City Proper’s part.

Demolishing empty lots?  No problem.  We’ll change the addresses.   Who said anything about bid rigging?  Did you hear anything about bid rigging?

This has to be the most poorly run administration to date.  Or at least it comes close.  With all of the history and many of the old-timers would remember days gone by, there was quite a bit of action.  Have talked with a few and the stories they would tell.  Sadly, many have passed from this earth.  Oral history is most effective.

So just for fun, and possibly to jog a few memories, here is a clipping from the local newspaper dated February 21, 1993.  You would think the cost of corruption would be enough to throw these characters out on their ear.  Nope.  They are like a bad penny…just keep showing up again and again.  Most have been replaced with the younger generation.  Make no mistake they learn from their elders.

How do you define insanity?  Well, yes, it’s doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
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Animal Shelter Fiasco & Budget Cuts & Politics

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City Council will be holding a special meeting on the fate of the Muncie Animal Shelter, Monday December 14th at 5:30 PM City Hall Auditorium.

I hope the people attending will direct the comments to the people who are responsible for the closing of the shelter. It is the fiscal body of our city, none other than the City Council. You can blame the mayor and that is fine if it makes you feel better. But the mayor has her hands tied on this one. She can do nothing. The city council MUST rescind the cut.  Please address your concerns to the only people who can rectify the situation.  Other than that, it will turn out to be an exercise in futility.

See, Mr. Sam Marshall announced the cuts, And it just so happened he and other unknown people, chose to cut from the animal shelter budget. The position which was cut was a union position, and surely Marshall and the City Council knew that cutting this position would result in the lay-offs of 4 part-time attendants. If not, then they have no business governing our city. If you will recall, when the mayor had to lay-off five police officers the reserves had to go. The city council should have learned from the mayor’s mistake and not committed it themselves.

The cut of a little over $40,000 was enough to cripple the Muncie Animal Shelter to the point it had no other options but to close. They City Council was hoping this would evoke a heated response, and it has. They are also hoping to slide through this without taking any responsibility.

Yet, as the fiscal body, they WERE the ones which made this and other senseless cuts. The mayor warned the council the cut would probably close the shelter, and they didn’t care. Her written response is available on this blog. Please take the time to read it.

Now, we have to get down to business. The City Council created a Rainy Day fund which has over $300,000.00. We believe, based upon state law, the fiscal body is not allowed to add to the budget only make cuts. Creating this fund is illegal.

All it takes to keep the shelter open is $40,000.00. Before they made the cut, the City Council should have looked at all the ramifications and used the “rainy day fund” to keep it operable. They did not.

Muncie also had a wonderful opportunity to partner with the Humane Society. This would have allowed for not only animal control, but animal care. We would have finally seen a return on our investment. A better shelter at a lesser cost. County Council voted it down. Why?

Since the Humane Society and Muncie Animal shelter was no longer an option, the next possibility would be to update the ordinances to reflect fees that are more current and generate revenue.  I believe the city council was afraid the Muncie Animal Shelter may have become self-sustaining within a year or two, very similar to what we saw with Prairie Creek. Certainly, we could not have that, could we?

The animal shelter has been a thorn in many people’s side for years. How long does it take to have a working and efficient shelter anyway? In Muncie it is about 25 years.

Muncie was facing a 4 million dollar budget shortfall. The mayor has found 2.5 million dollars. City Council called an impromptu press conference when the elected officials found they may not get the glory. Because the mayor did not act as fast as they wanted, the city council took it upon themselves to find the 1.5 million dollars.

This is what they came up with. Closing the animal shelter, no street lights, less fuel for police, removing key personnel and removing the water hydrant maintenance budget without any source of revenue.

I shudder to think what would have happened had the city council tasked themselves to find the 4 million.  In some respects, the finance committee, headed up by Vice President Mike King, did us a favor by not having any meetings with the committee in 18 months span.

 If anybody doubts the validity of this, one only needs to read the minutes of the city council meeting from April ’09.  Clearly, Mr. King deceived the people, and clearly Quirk or King never made good on the promise…meeting with department heads within 30 days.  In fact, if anybody should get a hold of the transcripts from the pre-election forums, you will find neither King or Quirk have lived up to their campaign promises.  Let’s make this their last term.

Nobody was able to answer any questions on the budget cuts. How they were determined or the reasons behind it. No thought was given to cutting the 911 Communications Center budget (Muncie City pays for about 85%). I believe it is because the center is now completely controlled by Dunnuck, Donati and Bledsoe. The city council would not dare touch that line item. Care to guess why?

“You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch.”