economics

Saturday Ramblings: April Fools Day

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Good morning.

Muncie is always in the news.  If it’s not the Muncie Community Schools, it’s the City of Muncie.    Necks are hurting from all the shaking of the heads or SMH for short.

Muncie is in a perpetual state of April Fool’s Day and the joke is on those living within the boundaries.  We at Muncie Politics thought it would be fun and challenging to bring to remembrance some of the more funnier jokes.

  1. 2012 Muncie’s tax levy was increased.  The city controller blamed it on the previous administration for not considering insurance increases.  Seems they forgot Muncie City Council did not approve the ’12 budget.   On a side note: the tax levy has increased every year since ….go figure.
  2.  Consider a private pool located in Mayor Tyler’s neighborhood and his family frequents receiving $10,000 city tax dollars for repairs while the city pool operates at a $96,000 deficit.
  3. The previous mayor, McShurley, promised enough money was available to fund public safety and she left the city with over $8 million in funds to support her claim.  Mayor Tyler assured us that he also had enough money for public safety.  But, in 2015 he passed LOIT and an income tax increase in a mere 14 days. (43% increase)
  4. Mayor Tyler promised living wage jobs but it appears the only person seeing an income increase was his building commissioner.  I mean, how many people get paid for work never performed?  It’s a good gig if you’re inclined to pick the pockets of taxpayers.
  5. In 2016 the Mayor encouraged his street superintendent to run for county commissioner.  Meanwhile, they were attempting to get paving funds yanked from the county.  The State of Indiana said no, it was a minor error which the State did not catch in the approval process.   The State would not punish the county.  Funny how Mayor Tyler can sniff out a county issue while his administration is hosting FBI agents investigating city corruption.
  6. The State of Indiana awarded the City of Muncie $4 million for demolitions of blighted property.  It took the city a few years to get started and Mayor blamed the late start on the State.  Never mind other communities were ahead of the game.  If they were making headway with the funds, why is Muncie so far behind?
  7. The City of Muncie approved to forgive $10,000 in delinquent property taxes for a community garden.  I don’t know if the State said yes because there has been no follow-up and no community garden, either.  Considering the land housed an old factory…was polluted anyway.
  8. Of course, who could forget the Muncie Redevelopment Director, Todd Donati, asking for a tax reduction on his personal condo claiming it was economic development.   City Council voted no, but Donati vowed to return with his request when people were more “open” to the idea.
  9. Muncie has also ventured into the real estate business.  Putting out a request to bid on a privately owned downtown building throwing in a city-owned parking lot.  The requirements were stringent and no bidders came forth.  So, the city is planning on “loaning” over $7 million to the owners.
  10. After Mayor Tyler won, he said both the county and the city was controlled by one party and there would be no excuses.  However, there are excuses.  If it’s not the State of Indiana it’s the previous mayor’s fault…oh well.

It’s been a perpetual April Fools Day since January 1st, 2012, and the joke is on us.

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Saturday morning ramblings: What’s happenin’?

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breaking news copySome big news stories in our small part of the world.

If you care to read the ruling from Indiana Department of Education, you may find it here.

MCS waiver denial (PDF)

Muncie Community Schools has some daunting issues and no plans on how those will be addressed.  No plan for transportation and possibly no cost savings for the high school consolidation or closing.

Muncie Community School’s waiver request was denied by the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE).

IDOE says the waiver was denied because the district’s plan was “insufficient and fails to demonstrate that Muncie has formulated a sufficient plan that provides for the safe movement of eligible students to and from school,” as required.

Muncie Star Press 1-11-14

*****

We weathered  (pardon the pun) a snowstorm.  A major casualty when a snowplow caught fire.  A total loss to a county with no money.  and with hopes to recoup the loss with outside funds. The driver escaped injury, and that is definitely something to rejoice over.   The next big weather event will be flooding.  Can’t wait.

None of us will be looking forward to the utility bills. This storm is going to be expensive for everyone.

*****

The filing season has begun and will continue until February 7th.  As expected, some of the old gals and guys will be looking to continue their tenure or switch positions.  Mayor Tyler and his crew were ecstatic in 2011 all of his good friends were now controlling both city and county.  No excuses, he said.  There are, though.  It’s not their fault, it’s yours.    The judicial race is pretty much sewn up for me.

*****

Another big event is watching the Muncie Sanitary District as they slowly slide into the $168 million storm water project.  Removing Steve Murphy from the board and replacing him with Joe Evans was a major turning point.    Joe was an intricate player in the Royerton Sewer Fiasco and so one must entrust him to a project 168 times more expensive.   My prediction is:  you will be paying a lot more.

No matter where you choose to live, you just can’t get away from the crew.  Although we looked for homes in Royerton, the expensive sewer bills deterred us.    Neighboring county, Hamilton, is looking like a good place to retire in 10 years.    Talk about progress.

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We live in a strange little area.  While we constantly talk about bridging the gap between town and gown, as soon as a gown addresses the town all bets are off the table.

Yesterday, a local economist Dr. Cecil Bohanon, (one of my favorites) wrote another column.   This one titled Why Politics is so Nasty is really a non-partisan look at our current political climate.  Many good points made and the one which resonated with me “it is so much more fun to be entertained than to have to think through a serious argument.”

Fortunately, one doesn’t need to travel far for entertainment.

“Of course one of the big problems he ignored was the amount of money ij politics today and Cecil is a fully owned subsidiary of the Koch brothers. ” wrote a local  poster in the newspaper chat section.  The person attached a link to PDF document as proof, I suppose.  30+ pages of grant information complete with graphics.    I’m sure many took the time to read it.   Not.

I had read the document earlier, so I just skimmed through the pages.  Yep, the dude was right.  Dr. Bohanon received a $2,000 grant from…drum roll, please…

Charles Koch Foundation

All the proof one needs right there in black & white.    Perhaps the informed poster was first alerted to the connection from reading the Muncie Squeak.

Have a nice weekend, y’all.