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Candidate Sightings – everywhere!

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Ball State College Republicans – GOP mayoral debate

Thursday, March 14 @ 7:00 PM

Cornerstone Center for the Arts.

 St. Patrick’s Day Parade starting at 6 p.m.

Saturday, March 16 @6:00 p.m.

Lineup will begin at 4:30 p.m. at the Fieldhouse. The parade will proceed south on Walnut Street to Charles Street and return via Mulberry Street. (source: Muncie Star Press)

Muncie Resists, Democratic mayoral candidate  forum

Sunday March 31 @4:30 p.m.

Kennedy Library.

Forest Park Senior Center

“Seniors understand the importance of voting and are still active and want to have a say in things,” said Judy Elton, director of the senior center in the old Forest Park Elementary School. “They’re independent people living in their own homes or apartments, they pay taxes and they aren’t afraid to ask tough questions.”

“We are offering the candidates mini-town halls — mini in terms of only a half hour long between bingo and lunch,” Elton said. The center is also serving as host for many other campaign events, including a chicken-noodle dinner expected to draw multiple candidates 4:30-6:30 p.m. Friday, March 15. (source: Muncie Star Press)

Meet & Greet and other events

  • Tom Bracken, Republican, a Ball State University board of trustees member — March 17 at 11 a.m., Antioch Baptist Church, 1700 E. Butler St.; March 20, 6-8 p.m., “Meet & Greet with Tom,” open invitation, Elm Street Brewery, light snacks provided.
  • Nate Jones, Republican, county veterans affairs service officer — April 6, golf outing, Crestview Golf Course. Prior campaign events included the fundraiser “Under the Stars,” a prom for adults, including complimentary prom pictures.
  • Dan Ridenour, Republican city council member, MutualBank regional lending manager — Taco ’bout Dan event, March 20, 5-7 p.m., Knights of Columbus. All you can eat tacos, $10 adults, $5 kids. Previous Ridenour campaign events have included Donuts with Dan and another Taco ’bout Dan.
  • Terry Whitt BaileyDemocrat, director of the city’s Community Development Office —  March 23,  “Bowling Shoot Out,” Liberty Bowl, 3 p.m. Prior events included a voter registration rally at Kennedy Library.
  • Andrew Dale,Democrat, self-employed business and design consultant — Saturday, “Pop-Up Breakfast” at Mac’s on Batavia Avenue at 8 a.m. Dale has held pop-ups nearly every Saturday since December at different locations. Other prior events have included two bowling tournaments; John “Doc” Peterson and Phil Dunn concert to benefit Dale for Mayor.
  • Saul Riley, Democrat, retired on-call coordinator for home health-care service and former crisis intervention center staffer, past president Delaware County Workers for the Blind — Campaign meeting Wednesday at 6 p.m., Muncie-Delaware Senior Center; fundraiser at the center 4-8:30 p.m. April 3.
  • David Smith, Democrat, former state police officer — “Dialogue with Dave at the Senior Center,” March 21 at 6 p.m. Prior events have included “Meet ‘n Greet” at the Buley Center.

Source: Muncie Star Press

Printable itinerary of Candidate sightings (PDF)

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FYI: Muncie City Council changes meeting dates

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On December 8th, 2017 received information  Muncie City Council changed the date of the January 2018 meeting.   Originally scheduled for January 8th it will be held on January 1st New Year’s Day.

Muncie City Council has never held meetings on holidays.  Councilperson Doug Marshall said he was informed by the city attorney (not sure which one) having the meeting on January 8 was in violation of  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)
It appears this code is decades old.  Checked Indiana Code IC 18-1-3-2 and came up with zero information.  Basically, City Council has been in violation for probably as long as the City Code has been on the books.  Take for example in 2017 three times, 2016 two times, 2015 one time, 2014 two times.   When a holiday falls on the first Monday of the month, Council moved the meeting.  Sometimes the holiday fell on a Sunday as the with the  July 2010 meeting being held on July 12, although the first Monday of the month was July 5th.
The City of Muncie is so desperate to pass the EMS ordinance quickly, they dug around until they could find something to justify the date change.  E.G.: 40-year-old city code which hasn’t been followed.   Well, until now.
Screen Shot 2015-10-30 at 4.36.56 PMYou’ll recall in 2015 Mayor Tyler and City Council introduced and passed a 43% income tax in 14 days.  It was needed to keep 16 firefighters on the payroll.

As proposed by Tyler, the city would enact a public safety LOIT of 0.25 percent — generating more than $1.5 million a year — and an 0.2 EDIT increase, which would generate more than $1.5 million.

The revenue would go into the city’s general fund, where a portion of it would go to offset another funding loss: The federal SAFER grant, which has in recent years covered the cost of 32 Muncie firefighters, will be cut in half beginning next year, Tyler said. Source: Mayor seeks local income tax increase  Star Press 9-1-15

The city was “just notified” that it will receive $2.1 million in SAFER grant funding for two years that begin in February 2016, Tyler said. That’s only enough to pay for 16 of 32 firefighters, he said.

“We have to cover the cost of 16 firefighters,” Tyler said. The department has 110 firefighters. Source: Muncie Star Press 8-31-15

Fast forward to December 2017 council meeting and the city revealed it had the money for the 16 firefighters without the LOIT revenue.  The LOIT revenue will be used for start-up costs for the city-run EMS.  Amazing.
  There is no rush for this service as we have Delaware County Emergency Services (DCEMS) and it has been serving faithfully for 40 years.
If you would like to contact Muncie City Council members you will find their addresses  and contact information here:

Muncie City Council and EMS

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Muncie City Seal copy
City of Muncie Government Seal

City Council had their regular meeting.

Can you believe the council (all but three) voted for an ordinance with no information and no line item in the budget?

So many people spoke and I have to say, every one of them had some worthy piece of information to bring to the table.  Proud of those people who did their homework.  Citizens are paying attention.

One man said he email all of the members and only three responded.  I don’t think Peters has an email, or she didn’t have one last time I contacted my representative.  He did get back to me, though.

This is exactly like how city council used to be.  They didn’t listen then and they are not listening now.  “Bye, bye, Miss American Pie…..

I hope people remember this and the fight to have our voices heard at election time.

Bad streets, FBI investigation, arrest, lack of transparency, the high cost of attorney fees (if would could get that information), city parks and spending $6.5 million for a start-up idea.  Can it get any worse?  And the audits…anything left out?  Probably.

Saturday ramblings…

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Update:  2017 not yet over.  Muncie changing EMS ordinance to clear the way to use the revenue for more than EMS.  Read the article!

 

Removing spending limits – EMS ordinance

***********

Muncie local government is so out of control.  With the debt rising, investigations, lawsuits, public hearings, arrest one just can’t seem to catch their breath.

Bracken vs. City of Muncie public hearing was held on 11-29-17 in Noblesville, Indiana.  Mayor Tyler taking the stand and under oath not recalling details of events.  Yes, it is all about Madjax.

Todd Donati was called to testify and now people are looking at the State’s audit reports of the Muncie Redevelopment Commission (MRC) for 2014 and 2015.  It will curl your hair when you read it.  The scary part is Muncie’s debt including principal, interest is nearly $74 million.

Michael Hicks testified and put into question the City’s economic development efforts.  City Councilman Dan Ridenour testified the information he received in the lawsuit differed from the information he received at the time the bond was approved.

Moving on.  A few months ago Mayor Tyler wanted the city to have it’s own EMS.  Currently, we have a county EMS.  Then he changed his mind no EMS.   Now he is actively working on a city-run EMS.  This will be a disaster.  And it’s self-serving not for the good of the community.  City or County.  Muncie was fortunate to receive federal funding for the Muncie Fire Department.  When Tyler took office in 2012 there was $8 million from the previous mayor to fund the MFD.  But, when the grant was not renewed, Mayor Tyler had no money so he passed a 43% income tax in 14 days.  Well, that didn’t draw enough money, so he wants to have a city-run EMS to keep the 16 firemen employed.

Let’s just briefly (if that’s possible) review 2017.

  • Building Commissioner Craig Nichols arrested and charged with 34 felonies.
  • Damaging financial audits of the city.
  • FBI investigation.
  • Chief of Police resigns and files a lawsuit against the city.
  • Prairie Creek reservoir substantially over budget.
  • Muncie Fire Department facing layoff
  • City acquires private property claims it was to keep the neighbourhood from deteriorating.  Mayor and two council members live in this neighbourhood.
  • The city takes over the financial records of Muncie Redevelopment after the audits.   City controller resigns.
  • Mayor Tyler and Todd Donati claim they weren’t on the board of Sustainable Muncie when the city decided to financial support with tax dollars.  (Bracken’s lawsuit said they were.)
  • Councilperson Nora Powell resigns from Sustainable Muncie’s board when Councilperson Linda Gregory said it may be a conflict of interest.  The city attorney concurred.
  • Tom Bracken sues the City of Muncie, Muncie Redevelopment and Muncie City Council.  Courts will rule in January.
  • The city of Muncie attempts to require Tom Bracken to put up a $4.5 million bond citing his lawsuit could hinder Sustainable Muncie (a/k/a MadJax) ability to get leases.
  • City refuses to release attorney fees related to the FBI investigation.   Issued public statement by city spokesperson Sarah Beach.
  • Mayor Tyler said the city has always been transparent and Beach’s statement was not accurate.  (Note: the fees still haven’t been made public.)
  • Founding members of Sustainable Muncie (a/k/a MadJax) resign citing the direction has changed.
  • Rumored the FBI is taking some interest in Sustainable Muncie.  Has not been confirmed. (Update:  Michael Hicks testimony 11-29-17 hearing.)
  • EMS
  • Delaware County has given the city over 200 properties and none have been put back on the tax rolls.  Delaware County stopped the practice.

There was a whole lot of shaking going on prior to good old 2017.  That’s for another time.  Look for a rundown on the SBOA audits and more…

 

 

 

Jobs, Living Wage Jobs and other tales

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Muncie City Seal copy
City of Muncie Government upside-down

 

Madjax gets city money

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.

Update on Madjax – City Council to vote Monday

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City of Muncie Government Seal

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

Interested in Muncie and MSD end of year debt? Got it!

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

7:30 PM