“If you analyze…

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“If you analyze it I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism. I think conservatism is really a misnomer just as liberalism is a misnomer for the liberals — if we were back in the days of the Revolution, so-called conservatives today would be the Liberals and the liberals would be the Tories. The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom and this is a pretty general description also of what libertarianism is.”
― Ronald Reagan

Been on sabbatical, enjoying some much needed free time.  Taking a break on writing political prose.  Like most of us, I get fed up from time to time, yet still maintain the eye on what’s happening.   After the dismal 2014 local primary, and considering the outcome and events leading up to the primary, sometimes think you may be spinning your wheels.  After all, you can lead a horse to water, but sure can’t make the horse drink it.   Feeling disenchanted can actually work to the good of your soul.  

~See you all soon~

Blight in Delaware County

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blighted house copyWednesday night I had the opportunity to attend a public forum addressing blight in Indiana communities.  Muncie was the third such forum held.    Graciously hosted by Mayor Dennis Tyler at City Hall, the event saw a large and diverse group of citizens.

Indiana’s Abandoned Home program was presented by Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority overseen by Lieutenant Governor Sue Ellspermann, and spearheaded by Senator Jim Merritt in conjunction with State Representatives Lutz and Errington, and State Senators Lanane and Eckerty.

I’ll admit not familiar with the legal complexity of blighted properties,  still one doesn’t have to look far to see examples of houses and how it affects the surrounding neighborhoods.  Blighted properties are a magnet for crime, vandalism, squatters, arson and a variety of other undesirable elements.  It’s not just an urban problem, it extends to the rural area, too.

In Muncie, circa 2010, blighted properties were highlighted weekly in the newspaper drawing the public’s eye to the problems and solutions.  Often a property would be targeted, and the end result saw it either rehabilitated or removed.  We had a deconstruction program praised by Joe Hogsett, Indiana U.S. Attorney, which utilized  prison re-entry program as the source of labor.

We had some fantastic successes in rehabbing apartments and homes, but sadly, not every property is worth saving or fiscally feasible to rehab.

Somewhere along the line, the zeal for targeting blight has diminished,  The weekly articles ceased, information and progress on the properties became a guest column now and then with ideas but no real progress has been made.  Oh, we have had successes and hope of future successes to come, yet blight is still here for now.  And it’s very real.

With funding and legislation expected, how can those monies be evenly dispersed among 92 counties?  The State of Indiana has designated “Divisions” which groups together counties based on population.  Delaware County is Division Three and includes Clark, Elkhart, Hendricks, Johnson, LaPorte, Madison, Monroe, Porter, Tippecanoe, Vanderburgh and Vigo Counties.  Estimated amount of funds $19 million dollars.  As presented, this will be a very competitive program.  Municipalities will submit their properties and future reuse of properties.  The criteria used for submission is point based and links to further information is listed at the end of this blog.

The program, is quite detailed and subject to change before it becomes finalized, just consider this as a heads up and something to watch.

I’m still trying to digest all the information, and certainly don’t consider this anything more than a basic source of information.  Just keep your eyes out for further developments.

Economic Digest – Gary, Indiana

Indiana Association for Community Economic Development

Media Release – Muncie, Indiana

Funding Divisions and more info

Muncie competing for state’s demolition dollars (Star Press article available for 7 days)

Property Tax Assessment Appeals Process

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The Citizens of Delaware County for Good Government and participating real estate offices are hosting the fourth annual “Property Tax Appeal Help Day” at the Kennedy Branch Library, 1700 W. McGalliard Road this Wednesday from 6 to 8 p.m. and Saturday from 8 to 10 a.m. The seminar will be followed by questions and answers, and personalized help sessions.

Help Day is to help Delaware County property owners who believe their property tax assessment is too high. We will provide pointers on how to create a successful appeal, and will help complete property tax assessment appeal forms, but we cannot guarantee the appeal outcome.

There is no charge for this service. Prior year’s Help Days have been successful in helping hundreds of property taxpayers find errors on their assessments and preparing property assessment appeals. The deadline to file appeals is Oct. 31. If you file late, you will lose your right to appeal for the current tax year. You may need to appeal your assessment this year, even if you appealed last year and won.

It would be helpful to bring a current property record card so that we can identify errors on the assessment. Also bring photos of your home that show the front, side and rear elevations. Also provide photos of yard buildings, pools or other improvements to the property, plus photographs and documentation of any damages or other issues that detract from the value of the property.

Make two copies of your appeal and all supporting documentation and have them date stamped when you turn in your appeal, keeping one copy for your records.

Scott Alexander is president of Alexander & Co Real Estate Appraisers Inc.

Dr. Brad Oliver on HB 1357

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  • I pulled this from Dr. Oliver’s Facebook Page.  I haven’t been following State Education bills all that closely.  However, I respect Dr. Oliver as a stellar educator and felt this is something to pass on.  
  • I am proud to be a professional educator. As such, today was an active day for professional educators, highlighted with both good news and bad news.

    At the State Board of Education meeting, we learned that REPA II has failed to make it through the rule promulgation process and subsequently will not be enacted. In my opinion, this is GREAT news! The State Board of Education will start the rule promulgation process over. Perhaps this time, the State Board of Education will listen carefully to the bipartisan testimony being offered on how to strengthen teacher and school leader preparation in Indiana.

    Sadly, the Senate Education Committee passed HB1357 which removes the need for school superintendents to hold a superintendent’s license. Subsequently, this means individuals will no longer need formal preparation to lead a school district (i.e., assuming a local school board is comfortable hiring an individual with no formal school administrationpreparation and no license).

    While most school boards will still insist that their school superintendents are formally prepared and well-trained, you will see a number of districts take advantage of new “flexibility” to hire individuals from outside the education profession. This bill is completely unnecessary. Indiana currently allows local school boards to petition the Indiana Department of Education for a waiver when a local board wants to hire someone who has not been formally prepared.

    I would encourage you to write to your State Senator and ask them to vote against HB1357. As someone who prepares school leaders, the thought of having individuals leading school districts who know nothing about the developmental needs of a child is quite disturbing.

Indiana and other thoughts…

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Indiana is one of the few states which actually has a surplus, for now. That is equal to having $20,000 of disposable income above and beyond your normal salary and expenses. You wouldn’t dare tap into it for a luxury item, not in this day and age.

One only needs to look at other states to fully understand the scope. I will use Michigan as an example. Once a thriving state, it is now facing the biggest budget shortfall in its rich history. Everything is being cut, while all service fees are being raised, and property taxes are so very high. In 2007 the state almost shut its doors, instead it borrowed and taxed causing the state to be the #1 or #2 state to lose the most population per capita in one year. The unemployment rate is 12.6% highest in the nation. Compare Michigan or other states to Indiana and you will certainly find Indiana to be in much better shape.

The Japanse and other investors look for a prudent state to locate their businesses. Not one where they pay so much in taxes, they can’t make a decent living.

One thing is for sure, we must make our state and city and county attractive to new businesses, because eventually the economy will pick up, and the only real solution to uneployment and poverty is a good stable job. We can never stop seeking out investors even with the econonomy in the tank. We must never default on the realtionships we built and are continuing to build, or they will go somewhere else. Plenty of places to choose, it is a very competitive market. We must never loose sight of it.

In 5 or 6 years, we will probably not even give the fire stations a second thought, I doubt it will be the doom and gloom predicted. If Muncie becomes heavily populated again, then we can think about building newer and better stations. Until then, as unfortunate as it may be, they will have to live within the means available just as we have learned and survived.

In my estimation, Gov. Daniels has far surpassed Gov. Graholm of Michigan when it comes to keeping this state afloat