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dennis tyler

MSD Board, statutes and what is truth?

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MSD Meeting

Timeline

  • June 2012 Board of Public Works hires city engineer
  • July 2012 Mayor Tyler demands MSD board member resign
  • July 2012 City attorney informs MSD board they are violating a statute
  • January 2020 Mayor Ridenour appoints city engineer
  • January 2020 Mayor Ridenour demands an MSD board member resign
  • January 2020 MSD attorney reports there is no city engineer on the MSD board
  • January 2020 MSD attorney will review the statute.

MSD 5-minute meeting with the president, Bill Smith voicing his opinion about the letter, Mayor Ridenour presented to the Sanitation Board.  He called it unprofessional and mused why Ridenour would quit a well-paying job to be mayor.  (Rolling eyes)

In the July 18th, 2012 Star Press edition an article appeared “Tyler moves to flush Sanitary board member” The article goes on to say Tyler demanded board member Theresa Ford resign no later than Monday.  John Quirk, city attorney, cited a statute that required the city engineer to sit on the board.    In June 2012 the Board of Public Works (BOW) hired Mike Cline of Indianapolis consulting firm HWC to fill the role of an engineer.  John Quirk was a member of the BOW.

That was then and this is now.

The meeting starts with Bill Smith receiving a letter “demanding” one of the board members resign.  Mr. Smith is somewhat displeased and he hands the meeting to the MSD attorney Mark McKinney.    Mr. McKinney says the letter reads “the commissioner (name unknown) needs to resign because of the city hiring an engineer who will replace the unknown commissioner”.

Approximately 50 seconds into the video, Attorney Mark McKinney says Cline is not on the board as an engineer.  He was appointed by Mayor Dennis Tyler to sit on the board.  McKinney said he would look into the statute.  The same statute John Quirk used to remove Ford.

There seems to be a conflict.  In June 2012 Cline was hired as the city engineer.  In July 2012 John Quirk said the board was in violation of the statute requiring the city engineer to sit on the MSD board.   Quirk demanded Ford resign.  To our knowledge, Cline has been on the board ever since.  We believed he was the city engineer during Tyler’s administration.  Guess we were wrong.

McKinney said he would look into the statute.  We don’t know when Cline stopped being a city engineer but certainly, the MSD is in violation of the 2012 statute as was the previous board.

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Copied this statute from the City’s Facebook page.  It was posted as a comment:

City Engineer must be a member of the Board as required under 36-9-25-3 (b)(3) because the district was established under 36-9-25-1(b)

.IC 36-9-25-1 Application of chapter Sec. 1. (a) This chapter applies to the following: (1) A second class city located in a county having a population of more than one hundred eleven thousand (111,000) but less than one hundred fifteen thousand (115,000). (2) Each municipality in a county having a population of more than four hundred thousand (400,000) but less than seven hundred thousand (700,000) in which the legislative body has adopted this chapter by ordinance. (b) This chapter also applies to each second class city not in such a county in which the legislative body has adopted this chapter by ordinance. (c) In addition, in a consolidated city, sections 9 through 38 of this chapter apply to the department of public works and the board of public works, subject to IC 36-3-4-23. [Pre-Local Government Recodification Citations: subsection (a) formerly 19-2-27-1 part; 19-2-27-3; subsection (b) formerly 19-2-14-32part; 19-2-28-1 part; 19-2-28-6; 19-2-28.5-1; 19-2-28.5-3 part; subsection (c) formerly 18-4-2-9(a) part.] As added by Acts 1981, P.L.309, SEC.98. Amended by P.L.12-1992, SEC.179; P.L.80-1997,

 

 

 

Larry Riley – January 12, 2020

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Six months before The Star Press discontinued my services as a twice-weekly columnist in 2016, I became concerned that the newspaper was growing more enchanted with the Dennis Tyler city administration in Muncie. The mayor himself had long complained to me personally that I was too critical of him. I had to remind him that when I thought he had done something good, I was quick to acknowledge and congratulate.
* * * * *
One such issue was the downtown hotel, the new Marriott Courtyard. While I disagreed with underwriting the financing of the hotel by the city and committing the Food & Beverage Tax for 20 years to the parking garage, I still wrote that Tyler single-handedly deserved credit for bring the hospitality giant downtown. I even told the mayor I got flak from readers who said I shouldn’t be applauding the mayor, but I told them they were wrong.
* * * * *
Yet the mayor kept complaining, not just to me, but to the top editor at The Star Press, repeatedly, and once asked the editor to come to the mayor’s office so Tyler could air his grievances. Around that time, one of my columns got spiked—newspaper parlance for getting pulled from publication. The column was an important one about the difference between municipal “bids” versus “quotes” for a public project.
* * * * *
The difference is that bids on a project are open to any vendor who wants to compete for the work, while quotes are only from “selected” businesses—including firms that don’t even do the type of work the project calls for. That’s one of the problems that brought the city into the FBI’s sights and a major transgression I first brought to light.
* * * * *
Tyler’s Building Commissioner, Craig Nichols, son of the retired firefighter mayor’s good friend and fellow MFD retiree and fellow former Democratic Party chairman locally, had submitted bills from his private business for demolishing houses on properties where, for starters, no houses had stood. But he got the contract because the only other business quoting the work didn’t even do demolitions and had quotes higher than Nichols, hence Nichols won. Quotes were rigged.
* * * * *
But the newspaper’s top editor killed my column because I had quoted a city employee, Gretchen Cheeseman. The editor had evidently become convinced Cheeseman was the bad guy in an ongoing battle—playing out in public—in Muncie’s Community Development office. The editor didn’t want me to use Cheeseman as a source. I said I could rewrite the piece without quoting Cheeseman, and later did. Cheeseman, whom the administration wanted out of the way, got dismissed on trumped-up accusations.
* * * * *
Spiking my column did make me think The Star Press’s was leaning more and farther into the administration, buying into the mayor’s complaints. Four months later, the newspaper jettisoned me. Yet the FBI’s investigation into city wrongdoing intensified, since resulting in indictments of two high-level Muncie Sanitary District officials and three contractors, all on charges of fraud and kickbacks. And a conviction of that crooked Building Commissioner. And, of course, the indictment of former Mayor Tyler himself, on charges of accepting a bribe to steer business to a contractor.
* * * * *
And Gretchen Cheeseman was as honest as anybody in the city’s employ. In fact, she was the only obstacle between Community Development’s $4 million federal house demolitions grant and the shell corporation of Tyler’s cronies aiming to siphon that largess into their pockets. The principal crony will spend most of this year in prison. Cheeseman, meanwhile, is new Mayor Dan Ridenour’s Community Development director, replacing the woman who wrongly fired her. Delicious irony.
* * * * *
One new piece of evidence arose last week that continues my theory about the newspaper as chief apologist for the Tyler administration: the lead for the front-page story about the Muncie City Council’s refusal to appropriate money for fire department equipment purchased by Tyler last year without legal authority. A reporter wrote that Council members “refused to sign off on what they considered a mistake by the old administration.”
* * * * *
“Mistake”? What? No, this was no mistake, this was a crime, and that’s what Council members thought. If you rob a bank, you won’t be arrested for “making a mistake.” Spending city money without authorization was no mistake. The Tyler administration purchased $1.5 million in equipment without approval. To their credit, the new City Council refused to abet the crime

Muncie Debt History 2011-2018

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Muncie, IN

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.

Muncie Civil City, Delaware County, Indiana
Total Outstanding Debt Obligations

As of 3-16-19

Muncie City: Principal & Interest Debt as of Mar. 16, 2019 $69,899,513
Wastewater: Principal & Interest Debt as of Mar. 16, 2019 $177,301,243
Muncie Civil City, Delaware County, Indiana

Debt Statement – 2011-2018

Muncie City: Ending Principal Balance as of Dec. 31, 2011 $2,682,274.00
Wastewater: Ending Principal Balance as of Dec. 31, 2011 $22,530,000.00
Muncie City: Ending Principal Balance as of Dec. 31, 2012 $2,760,000.00
Wastewater: Ending Principal Balance as of Dec. 31, 2012 $22,530,000.00
Muncie City: Ending Principal Balance as of Dec. 31, 2013 $53,596,000.00
Wastewater: Ending Principal Balance as of Dec. 31, 2013 $66,297,638.00
Muncie City: Ending Principal Balance as of Dec. 31, 2014 $39,897,615.09
Wastewater: Ending Principal Balance as of Dec. 31, 2014 $71,096,393.00
Muncie City: Ending Principal Balance as of Dec. 31, 2015 $38,236,432.09
Wastewater: Ending Principal Balance as of Dec. 31, 2015 $77,435,645.00
Muncie City: Ending Principal Balance as of Dec. 31, 2016 $ 38,562,681.56 
Wastewater: Ending Principal Balance as of Dec. 31, 2016 $137,838,344.85
Muncie City: Ending Principal Balance as of Dec. 31, 2017 $ 37,706,163.00
Wastewater: Ending Principal Balance as of Dec. 31, 2017 $139,133,585.36
Muncie City: Ending Principal Balance as of Dec. 31, 2018 $ 35,997,466.75
Wastewater: Ending Principal Balance as of Dec. 31, 2018 $137,251,590.57
Annual Financial Reports

2018 – almost over

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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.

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Screen Shot 2015-10-30 at 4.36.56 PMIn 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.

Mayor Sharon McShurley or Dennis Tyler?

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.

Conjecture.

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.

Muncie debt 12-13-18

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.

UnitTotalDebt TIF 8-13-18

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

Keep  Delaware County EMS on the streets of Muncie.

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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.

 

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NOTICE: EMS Committee Meeting!

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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

 

 

 

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

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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…

 

 

 

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