As we were sifting thru the Muncie Politics files we found an editorial written after McShurley lost the election. The editorial ended with McShurley saying she is leaving the city in better shape than when she took office. The writers of the editorial concurred. This piqued our interest and decided to see if it was an accurate statement.
Mayor McShurley announced in 2011 during the Chats with the Mayor there was enough money to provide raises/or bonuses to every employee. At the end of her term, she said there would be enough money to fund the MFD if the SAFER grant was not renewed. These comments infuriated Dennis Tyler’s supporters and they lost no time calling her a liar and various other vulgar adjectives.
Was it a lie? She did leave the city with $8 million and it was confirmed by the audit Mayor Tyler’s administration commissioned. Government reports showed a minimal amount of debt. Of course, we knew the debt was Tuhey Pool.
The debt spiked in 2013 and it appears the city borrowed money and the next year paid off some debt. This is the only logical explanation minus a clerical error, which is doubtful. So, listed is the principal debt only (no interest) owed by the City of Muncie and MSD. If you want more complete detail, simply click on the link directly below each year.
Oh yea, 2013 is the year Mayor Tyler appointed Todd Donati as the MRC director.
Pulled up the Annual Financial Reports for 2011 & 2018 and searched for accounts which had a negative beginning or ending balance. The search showed 2011 with 10 negative balances and 2018 having 25 negatives. You will find the full Annual Reports for 2011 and 2018 at the end of this post.
All the data is from the Indiana Transparency Portal and based on the financial reports submitted to the State of Indiana from the City of Muncie and Muncie Sanitary. The city, knowing the revenue was declining, the debt growing and the insatiable need to use taxpayer-funded-monies for personal and party gain had no recourse but to increase taxes 43% in 2015.
If you’re reading this and a candidate for a city position, you may consider taking some time to review the documents. After all, should you win, this will be your baby to diaper.
As of 3-16-19
Debt Statement – 2011-2018
We’re halfway thru the holidays and almost finished with 2018. It’s been a year! Of course, we often say “It’s been a year” no matter what year it is.
In 2018 Mayor Tyler’s dream was to have his very own EMS. In 2018 he is canceling the 911 contract. And in 2018 we’re seeing his 43% income tax did add new revenue to the city coffers. However, even with his increased taxes, Mayor Tyler simply outspent more than he took in. Is it possible Muncie City simply can not afford 911? Nor can we afford his EMS. We simply can not afford a corrupt government system with Tyler at the helm. Let’s just say, no Democrat supported by Dem Headquarters will be fit to serve as mayor. Party before people, then, now and forever.
You all were warned about the future prospect of having Dennis Tyler as mayor. Looky, it’s all come to pass. No one was clairvoyant, instead, we simply looked at his history.
So, that being said, let’s move on to the jail issue.
Both the City of Muncie and Delaware County is facing the new jail project. The County is looking at borrowing $45 million to upgrade the former Wilson School. We certainly need all the facts, no doubt about it. Not just costs, but alternatives. No one has full disclosure on the project so at this point it is simply opinions based on incomplete information.
The Delaware County Commissioners held a public hearing. In addition, a public forum at the Cornerstone and neither netted much additional information. The public hearing and the public forum both within days of each other had nearly the same attendance. No one walked away with new information at either one.
While the residents of the county are facing millions of dollars for the new jail project, the city taxpayers will be footing that bill along with the debt the city has amassed over the past six years.
A critic of the jail, Jason Donati, quoted the cost will be $92 million (the next 25 years). Add to this figure the debt of Muncie’s $66 million (for the remaining 21 years-if the city doesn’t take on any more debt) and we will be bearing a whopping $158 million in debt. For the jail and for the Mayor’s spending. To put it in perspective. City taxpayers will be paying for Muncie debt and the jail. Whereas the county will only be liable for the jail debt. But if Muncie can’t afford the 911 contract, the county will need to pick that up or decrease services.
Can you say…problem? Todd Donati, Muncie Redevelopment director weighed in, too. He cited property tax back-up for jail. “I might add that for the lease to be effective for that long, the developer is asking for a property tax back up on the funds. This would change the perception as to whether this could effect property taxes.”
Source: Star Press comments 12-12-18 Opinion
You would be hard-pressed to disagree with Todd Donati except for the fact, property taxes have never bothered him in the past. Not as a county council member, a county commissioner or the city’s redevelopment director.
Tax Increment Financing (TIF), especially in this county, is a thorn in our sides. When an area is designated a TIF district any additional property taxes gets dumped into a fund to be spent with very little oversight and often not even in the specific TIF district. A few years ago, MRC combined the TIF districts into one pool of money. But, enough about TIF. It is for another time.
Todd’s favorite line: “It won’t cost the taxpayers a dime”. You know it will. All revenue comes from some form of tax paid by the citizens. Period.
In closing, before one can have a public forum, they must have something to “forum” on. In other words, we need concrete information. Otherwise, we’ll waste our time hearing what we already know.
Source: Muncie Star Press 12-11-18
The people have been up and down, over and under by Muncie Mayor Dennis Tyler and his City Council. It’s called “his” City Council because the majority of the members will do as the party dictates. We don’t want another bloated and costly department. We want to keep the service which has done an excellent job for 40 years. We don’t trust this administration to work for the best interest of the people. We want to know that DCEMS will come when we call. Listen up, we DON’T want Tyler’s ambulance service.
Keep Delaware County EMS on the streets of Muncie.
Just received word from Dan Ridenour, Muncie City Council member the EMS Committee will be meeting on Thursday. Please pass it on. Sorry for the short notice.
What: EMS Committee Meeting
When: Thursday, January 4, 2018
Where: Muncie City Hall
Time: 6:00 PM
Update: 2017 not yet over. Muncie changing EMS ordinance to clear the way to use the revenue for more than EMS. Read the article!
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.)
- 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…
Sometimes the best way to see the future is to dig up the past.
Larry Riley predicted the outcome of Gearbox now Madjax. His column appeared in the local paper on January 30, 2016. One community member claimed Riley was biased in this column, although Riley did provide compelling arguments.
the organization has no revenue stream, no signed tenants, no record of accomplishment Source: Gearbox vs Greenspace Muncie Star Press 1-30-16
Sustainable Muncie hasn’t been around as an organization long enough yet to file its first required annual financial report, having been organized only in December of 2014. Source: Gearbox vs Greenspace Muncie Star Press 1-30-16
Another minus to Gearbox is the cost: $1 million, now guaranteed by the city (if Sustainable Muncie can’t make existing or future loan payments this year, then the city’s money kicks in, but the organization is to pay back the city by the end of this year … how?) Source: Gearbox vs Greenspace Muncie Star Press 1-30-16
So involved was Mayor Dennis Tyler no other ideas could be considered. In fact, he was silent about another proposal, Tom Bracken’s greenspace. Which makes one wonder why he dismissed other ideas and put Gearbox to the feasibility test. Or Bracken’s proposal for that matter. Mayor Tyler brought only one idea to the public.
And that’s the end of that.
Let’s look at what has transpired since Riley’s column. At the time, City council passed an ordinance backing $1 million to be paid back by the end of 2016.
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.
We know for a fact the money was not paid back.
“The city has not issued any money as it related to this line of credit,” officials replied through city human resources director Sarah Beach last week. Donati, who is also a Sustainable Muncie board member, told TheStar Press that the board was “trying to decide what direction we want to go with” the funding for Madjax, including the original $1 million line of credit. “Eventually, something will have to be done with it. … It’s totally Sustainable Muncie’s responsibility to pay that back and they’re looking at how to get that done.” Source: Star Press June 6, 2017
Two months after this article appeared in the paper, the citizens of Muncie were looking at a $4.5 million dollar bond. The bond was passed with the promise of no property taxes and a training program. But, in June, Donati and Tyler were already considering bonding for this project, we just didn’t know about it.
Interesting to note: The City Council had little financial information in 2016 and just a smidgeon more in 2017 yet, they still voted a big fat YES in both instances.
- January 2016 Muncie City Council voted to loan Gearbox $1 million with no financial information
- December 2016 Loan not paid
- June 2017 Donati said it was Sustainable Muncie’s responsibility to pay back the money
- August 2017 Notice for public hearing on $4.5 million bond published
- August 2017 Muncie City Council learned of Sustainable Muncie’s debt
- August 2017 Donati said $200,000 has been set aside by Muncie Redevelopment Commission & others for $348,000 annual bond debt repayment (Muncie Redevelopment Commission & others)
- August 2017 Muncie City Council voted to introduce the ordinance
- September 2017 Public Hearing for Madjax – Sustainable Muncie
- September 2017 Muncie City Council voted to approve the bond
Madjax was not able to pay the interest-free loan in 2016 or make any payments in 2017. Muncie Redevelopment has set aside $200,000 to guarantee the 2018 bond payment.
This is the transparent government of Mayor Dennis Tyler. But I digress…
Elections are funny little creatures. You never can be certain how the results will go. One election which has always puzzled me happens to be the 2011 Muncie General Election. So many inconsistencies can be found – decided to pull the information together.
Let’s begin with the number of registered voters according to Delaware County Clerk’s Office. Election results for the 2011 election are showing 60,811 registered voters. However, the population of Muncie in 2010 was 70,085. U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts selected- Muncie city, Indiana
The Census Bureau includes Ball State Students living in the City of Muncie both on-campus and off-campus. Roughly this would be approximately 15,000 students.
Persons under the age of 18 accounts for 17.8% of the population. If the calculations are correct this would mean 12,475.13 were ineligible to register to vote in 2010. Granted, some may have turned 18 in 2011 and registered and indeed did vote. (I did, my father forced it upon me.)
Let’s err on the side of caution here.
70,085 residents –5,000 BSU students not registered in Delaware County (assuming 10,000 is registered in Delaware County )-10,475 under the age of 18 (assuming 2,000 reached 18 making them eligible for ’11 elections) 54,610 estimated alive and residing in Muncie.
Although, we can’t have an accurate count of registered voters because the rolls are never cleaned up. People die, people move away and their registration stays active. Like the man who moved back to Indiana after living in Illinois for decades. He was still registered to vote in Muncie.
Let’s go on to 2011 election results. The ’08 Presidential election muddies the waters a little because we don’t have a break-down for city and county voters. However, from 2007 – 2011 there was an increase of 6,137 new registrations of which 2,029 came in after the 2011 primary.
In 2007 both McShurley and Mansfield were in a dead heat. After the recount, McShurley won by a handful of votes. And this is where it gets interesting. In 2011 Dennis Tyler received 1,789 more votes, in fact, more than either candidate received in ’07. Probably due to their registration drives of which 240 didn’t bother to vote. Good odds, huh?
Still, even with the additional voters, 2011 saw less than a 1% increase in voter turn-out from 2007.
2007 had 3992 Democrat straight tickets and 1,366 absentee ballots.
2011 had 4000 Democrat straight tickets and 1,722 absentee ballots, just 67 votes shy of Dennis Tyler’s total vote of 1,789 over McShurley.
2007-2015 election 1 (PDF)