brad polk

Muncie Indiana – What’s happening in our city?

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O.K. I’ll make this brief. Just how much has the spending or wish list amounted to so far?

April the estimated spending (based upon newspaper articles) according to the figures was $1,490,450.00. Included in that figure was the cost of Mock Station, Downtown Development, Community organizations, Roberts Hotel, etc. Well, I was off a few bucks.

Mayor Dennis Tyler released his EDIT spending and the figure came in at $1,536,507.00 a difference of $46,057. 00. The spending plan differed slightly from the earlier newspaper articles, but really, who cares?

Next on the agenda is the purchase of a fire truck at $879,647 pending approval of City Council. We purchased new trucks less than three years ago and acquired Center Township’s well-oiled and maintained fleet.

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In today’s paper (1-22-12) a guest writer, Brad King, penned a column. Continue to chat but drop the gag. Although I found some inaccurate information, he did bring up a the idea of continuing the Mayor’s Chat with Dennis Tyler. I want to remind the folks, we were introduced to this very thing in 2009 and it didn’t get past the doors of City Hall. It would be nice to have the new Mayor update us on what is happening as it seems information is hard to come by.   Please feel free to click in the link to read the full story from the April ’09 City Council meeting.

Muncie Politics

Updated! Check out Jim Arnold’s view on the meeting. Guarantee you will find it entertaining. Go to the Pages section of the blog.

The usual abatements and ordinances were passed and every thing seemed to be moving at a good pace. Until, a motion was brought to the table to purchase a previously owned aerial truck from Pike Township. For the people at the meeting, it was a whirlwind of comments from the city council and members of the audience spoke. The MFD is a touchy subject among many people in the city. I will spare you the details and refer you to the Star Press article: http://www.thestarpress.com/article/20090407/NEWS01/904070322/1002

The issues with MFD and funding deserve a full page spread with more information than I am able to provide at this time. Just know, Muncie is not protected as she should be. One wonders why the MFD is not able to…

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Choo Choo – The Train Has Left the Station Muncie City Council 1-2-12

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Last night was the first Muncie City Council meeting.

The closing of the tracks was not voted on…imagine that.  Yes, the Land & Traffic Committee was nothing more than a political move.

If you are interested in watching the video, complete with a guest appearance by Muncie Mayor Dennis Tyler, click on the CDCGG icon below.

 Hear That Train A Comin’

Land & Traffic Part 2

Land & Traffic Part 3

Muncie City Council December 5th, 2011

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The day has finally come.  The day Muncie City Council will vote on the Layne Crest neighborhood.

The room was packed full of people and I wish it was packed every month.  That being said…..

Linda Gregory asked the minutes of November 1st meeting be amended to include a breakdown of Marshal’s budget cuts.

Mary Jo Barton presented Sam Marshal and Mike King each a plaque for their service on Muncie common council.

Ordinance 39-11 was first on the agenda.  This is the rezoning of what has commonly been called Layne Crest.

Mr. Sam Marshall, president said he would allow one spokesperson from each side to speak. 

The attorney for Campus Crest spoke first.  Mr. Shockley had a compelling argument.  He had drawings, studies, petitions and everything in between.  He presented for nearly 30 minutes.  When he finished, Sam Marshall changed his tune and said he would allow 15 people to speak at three minutes each for the neighborhood.

I would say approximately nine or ten people spoke.  However, there were citizens allowed to speak not in favor of the citizens of the Layne Crest edition.  In my humble opinion, Marshall should had gaveled the speakers and reminded them the purpose of the last half of the meeting.  This was the time for the citizens to represent their views.  How can a group of people who care for their neighborhood even begin to compete with an attorney experienced in presenting an argument, let alone the commercial drawings and promises of a better Muncie?

I’ll cut to the chase.  The ordinance was passed.

Voting for the ordinance:

  1. Conatser
  2. Dishman
  3. Anderson
  4. Barton
  5. Marshall

Voting against the ordinance:

  1. Polk
  2. Gregory
  3. Quirk

Voting to abstain:

  1. King

Alison Quirk read a prepared speech, which gave some an indication of how she might vote. 

Linda Gregory said she agonized over the decision, even lost sleep.  She spent time reading the ordinance, the planning commission recommendation and the zoning board’s decision. 

Mark Conatser gave his opinion why this should pass.

Jerry Dishman, who was elected to represent this area of Muncie, said not a word. 

 I didn’t stay for the rest of the meeting.  I will be surprised if Ordinance 41-11 for the approving of additional appropriations for the budget year of 2011 will be approved.  This includes the $1,000 bonus for the employees.  I believe the employees of Muncie have done an excellent job under some of the most gruelling and trying circumstance, and haven’t received a raise some in four or more years.  Some may say they are not deserving.  I may say that, myself, if I hadn’t seen the extraordinary work they produced.

Good night, Muncie.

What’s Happening in Muncie?

A Thank You – City Employees

Muncie City Council Votes for Rezoning Star Press 12-5-11

What’s happening in Muncie? ~ Local Neighborhood Organization Preparing to Fight the Battle Again!

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Muncieanna Neighborhood AssociationBrief history of the neighborhood  Layne Crest – Muncie, Indiana

On September 1st, 2011 The Delaware-Muncie Metropolitan Plan Commission voted no to the rezoning of two separate areas in Muncie.  One was located in the Village area, 300 block of Dill Street.  The second zoning was a residential neighborhood, Layne Crest.   For those not familiar with Layne Crest Addition it  covers the region located between W.  McGalliard Rd. (to the North) and Northside Middle School (to the South), and Scheumann Stadium (to the West) and Oakwood Ave. (to the East).

In attendance at the meeting was over 70 Layne Crest homeowners.  After two hours of testimony, the planning commission voted no on the rezoning.

The passing of the rezoning for Layne Crest and Dill Street would allow both areas to build apartment complexes.  In regards to Dill St., it would be a 36 unit apartment complex built in an area which is considered by most residents of Muncie to be a rental neighborhood.

Layne Crest however, is looking at a much larger complex with 216 units consisting of two or three bedrooms.  This number adds up to an influx of 584 people into an area which for all intents and purposes is a neighborhood.

Single family dwellings.

It was a unanimous NO vote by all nine members of the board on the Dill St. project.  However, when it came to Layne Crest, the vote was 3-6.  Enough for the planning commission to say NO.  Voting in favor of the rezoning, was current Muncie City Council member, Jerry Dishman, Richard McIntire and Tom Parker.

The next step was Muncie City Council for their approval.  At the city council meeting on October 3, 2011 Ordinance 39-11 was tabled after a persuasive argument was presented by the neighborhood representative, Misty King, followed by a handful of residents. Muncie City Council October 3, 2011.

The November 14th, 2011 city council meeting saw no decision on Layne Crest.  With an hour of testimony by the attorney of the developer, Scott Shockley and neighborhood association vice-president Amy Ryder and other concerned residents.  A decision could come as early as the next city council meeting on December 5th, 2011.

I have been trying to look at this rezoning objectively, and find myself left with more questions than answers.

For example voting  unanimously NO for development of rental units in an area which by all definition is a rental area.  Voting YES for the rezoning in an area which by all definition can be considered single housing residential.

A typical all-American neighborhood.

Both had presented issues like flooding, parking  and increased traffic.  Dill St. was geared more for the employees of Ball State University and IU Health.  Layne Crest is definitely a student rental development.

It seems backwards.

Normally, I am in favor of development, when development benefits the community as a whole.  However,  with the Layne Crest residents,  I fear they and the City of Muncie, will not see much benefit.  I would suggest, Muncie City Council do extensive research before voting.

The homeowners will find their property values lowered, and more importantly, their neighborhood will be increased by nearly 600 people.

Think on this for a minute

Muncie is not in any want for student housing.  The dorms at Ball State University are newly built or remodeled.  An apartment complex of this magnitude, if truly needed to meet the student housing needs, would better our community if it was built in an area which doesn’t destroy a neighborhood.

Please take a few minutes to view The Anthony-Northside Neighborhood Association.  I believe you will find a wealth of information.

Good luck, Layne Crest.

~ Keep Calm and Carry On ~

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keep calm and carry on
For historical trivia on the slogan, please click the picture

The Muncie 2011 Mayoral election has come and gone. Many people have expressed concern about the direction our city may take in the next four years.    The British government, in 1939, produced a series of posters designed to motivate the people and alleviate feelings of anxiety. 

Muncie citizens, take heart.  Your property taxes will not be raised to meet any shortfall like the 11% increase we saw in 2006.  With property tax caps firmly placed in the Indiana constitution your homestead will not rise above 1% of assessed evaluation – with a maximum of 3% on other properties.  This is a bit of insurance for property owners.

Included in the HB1478 signed in 2007 is the ability to tax the working residents a certain percentage.  This is  known as Local Option Income Tax (LOIT).  This tax if imposed, will encompass all of Delaware County.  It was first introduced in 2009, by Muncie Council President Alison Quirk, which won another four-year term.   The outcry was simply the Muncie Common Council had not considered any other options before introducing LOIT at the highest rate available.  Adding to it, among other reasons,  unemployment and foreclosures were at a record high. 

 I believe it is obscene to tax an economically down people because government couldn’t control their spending, and made no attempt to do so. We may want to keep an eye on this one should it be brought back up.

One other area which isn’t far from our minds, is the concern the city may be spent into debt.  If you have been following the county, you will understand the county had a decent financial cushion going into 2009.  At the end of that year, the county was struggling to find $10.5 million dollars. 

It only took 12 months to go into debt. 

The ramifications have yet to be fully realized.  Just a little pin prick with the county building closed one day per week.  For  those needing to use the county building services, it probably affects them more.  The human factor saw 25 people laid-off.

The city on the other hand, will feel more than a pin prick if we go from black to red in a matter of months.  Some things take longer before the pain is realized.  Like the two-year audit of the Community Development Office.  Often we find the sins of the past rears its ugly head years after the actual event took place.

With a voter turnout of 29% our fate for the next four years has been decided.

It’s time-consuming, sometimes frustrating to follow local government.  Fortunately for me, I have a wealth of information available in the form of video, documentation, resources and people.  Living in the city you almost always have to do double duty…city and county both. 

Kudos to those which keep a diligent eye on the National level.  That must be very intense.

I followed the McShurley administration closely, and I hope you all gleaned a bit of information and insight into our local government scene.  God willing and the creek don’t rise, I hope to continue in this same vein.  That being said, here is a short list of things to expect in 2012.

  1. Coming up in 2012 are two projects which have already been earmarked.  I will go into more detail as the year-end gets closer.
  2. Department head appointments.  How departments are run and their effectiveness depends on the ability and experience of those appointed to the positions. 
  3. We still have close to six weeks before the new administration begins, Muncie expects to have a $3 million dollar balance (approximately) to carry into 2012.
  4. SAFER grant ends.
  5. Decrease in EDIT funds from the State of Indiana.
  6. Opening of Mock Fire Station.

Why I won’t vote for Dennis Tyler for Mayor ~ Part One

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Dennis Tyler campaigned for State Representative in 2010.  This is what was mailed out to his constituents.

“Dennis Tyler promised to reform property taxes.  He delivered.”

Dennis Tyler did not reform property taxes.  He voted and that was it.  There is a big difference between reform and a simple vote.  Sure, we are grateful for his vote but to say he promised reformed and delivered, is not correct as I see it.

 That was the citizens of the State of Indiana which did all the leg work.  I remember being at the State House.  There were people from all over the state, but Dennis Tyler didn’t speak to us, not even for a minute.  No support…not even a two-minute “thumbs up” I’m listening to you.  Before you say he was too busy, consider this.  The Governor and the Lt. Governor spoke to us.  Other House representatives spoke with us.  Even the Attorney General took time to speak with us.  An article about the meeting appeared in the Wall Street Journal.

But, it wasn’t important to Dennis Tyler.  We went to his office, and we waited and waited and waited.  Absent when we go to his place, absent at city meetings and absent from the state. 

Dennis Tyler, Democrat, July 11, 2007 opposing a special session of the legislature to deal with property taxes. Within weeks, taxpayers saw property taxes skyrocket as much as 50 percent, and we all found out nobody had a game plan.  A week later, the mayor, and presidents of city council, county council and county commissioner wrote the governor urging him to call a special session. Larry Riley Memorable quotes of 2007

With property taxes soaring, a need to tighten the State budget, Dennis Tyler voted himself a raise.  (2007)

He is stuck in the past.  A dinosaur, so to speak.

 Dennis Tyler has no campaign platform.  His website which is void of any detail on his plans for Muncie, is so vague one wonders if he has any idea what running this city is all about.

His absenteeism isn’t just at the Statehouse,  you won’t find him at a public meeting.  He made no appearance at the Land & Traffic meetings, city council, MAP or Community Updates.   The Legislative Update held regularly in Muncie was canceled simply because he was out-of-state.   It was more important to be in Urbana then to be in Muncie listening to you, giving YOU updates on current legislation.

The evening Dennis Tyler announced he was running for mayor at the Democrat Headquarter, he was surrounded by his supporters, former Delaware County prosecutor Mark McKinney, Commissioner Todd Donati,  Alison Quirk, Sam Marshall, former Democrat Chair Phil Nichols and Jim Mansfield.

The local newspaper article read: ….instead promising to lead the community “from the inside out” with a coalition of political, private sector, clergy and educational leaders.

From the names of those who attended his announcement it looks like he had already started on leading from the “inside out” with his coalition of political insiders, that is.