Julius Anderson

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:
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Muncie City Council -EMS ordinance (video available)

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Hi Friends,

You can view the video of the city council at:

Citizens for Good Government – Delaware County Facebook page.

https://www.facebook.com/pg/citizensforgoodgovernment/posts/?ref=page_internal

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 morning ramblings: Early voting begins

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voting imageFor those of you voters living in the City of Muncie, there doesn’t seem to be much to draw you to the polls.  In the majority of seats, there is just one Democrat running and no Republican.  The exceptions are as follows:

District 2: The Republican ballot is incumbent Mark Conatser and Dan Ridenour.  The Democrat ticket is Todd Smekens.

District 6: Democrat ballot is incumbent Julius Anderson and Richard Ivy.

At-Large candidates include three incumbents, Linda Gregory, Nora Powell and Alison Quirk.  Three hopefuls Philip Gonzales, Marwin Strong and Robert York.   This may be the hottest race – you can only vote for three and only vote if you select a Democrat ballot.  Remember, just because someone appears on the ballot and you don’t want to cast a vote for that person, you are not obligated to do so.

You might be asking, where is Brad Polk?  Well, he’s still here, sitting in District 4.  Brad has no one running against him.  Not on the Republican ticket nor on the Democrat ticket.  In other words, Polk has already won the primary election.

I told you, the ballot is sparse.

“If you are unable to vote in person on Election Day you have the option to vote in person before Election Day at the County Building, 100 W. Main. The election room on the 1st floor. Absentee voting begins 29 days before Election day from 8:00am to 4:30pm and ends at noon the day before the election.” LWV Delaware County

Meeting of Land and Traffic Part 3 ~ Choo! Choo!

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 Well, folks, we now have our third meeting of Muncie Land & Traffic committee behind us. 

You may remember the first meeting was canceled because the committee forgot to post a public notice.  The second meeting allowed no public input as the Land & Traffic committee’s goal was to get their questions in order and prepare a guest list for the next meeting.  Last night was the third meeting. 

Forgive me if I seem just a little testy, a little short-tempered and little angry.  How stupid is it folks, to not invite the railroad to a public meeting on….the railroad?  I am trying to figure out what is going through the minds of the Land and Traffic committee.  Obviously, not much.

If you had attended what could only be called an “organizational meeting”, you would have noticed the chairperson, Mr. Julius Anderson, had taken on the responsibility of contacting various representatives which would offer valuable input into the closings of these railroad crossings.  The list was short, but concise.  The guest list included, Board of Public Works, Police, Fire, EMS and Norfolk-Southern Railroad

You may have noticed at the second meeting of Land & Traffic most of the questions and the conversation centered around Norfolk Railroad.  Chairperson Anderson, Jerry Dishman, Alison Quirk, Mary Jo Barton and Mark Conatser all came to the consensus the railroad was the important factor. 

At last night’s meeting, Julius Anderson announced he didn’t want to invite the railroad, so he didn’t.  I don’t know about anybody else, but I find it truly amazing he decided to not invite the representative from Norfolk Southern Railroad.

 “I know the railroad wouldn’t have acted on their own,” said Anderson, adding that someone in the administration must have signed off on the closings.

So, how does he KNOW this? 

At the July common council meeting, with a representative from Norfolk in our midst, Mr. Anderson asked no questions of substance.   He had done no homework.  In fact, he and the others didn’t even show any interest at the prospect of our city gaining $4 million dollars.  In fact, does any of the city council know we received $1.1 million for railroad improvements?  Probably not.

Jerry Dishman asked if there was any documentation.  Like documentation would really matter.  They don’t read anything.  What is so hard about taking the initiative to do some research on this issue, or any issue concerning the city?

Let’s recap:

  • First meeting canceled – no notice
  • Second meeting – disorganized
  • Third meeting – no RR representative

So, either this was a planned political stunt, which would make their Democrats pledge to run a clean campaign 9-9-11  null and void.  Or it was sloppy and lazy governing, which would make them poor representatives of our city.  Or we may have heard how closing these crossings could benefit our city, and that would never do.

Regardless if it is one or all three, this is bad for Muncie City and bad news for her citizens.

All this, and we don’t even have an ordinance on the table.

Tempers flare as crossings mystery goes unsolved 

Hear the Train

Choo Choo Part 1

Choo Choo Part 2

Had enough?

Vote informed!

Meeting of Land & Traffic Part 2 ~ Choo, Choo, Choo

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Things are rolling down the track. With the second meeting of Land & Traffic since 2007 under our wheels, you may be asking “What the heck was this meeting about, anyway?”

I can fully understand why they chose this to be a venue without public input, as it was obvious they hadn’t a clue on the issue before them or what they were supposed to be doing. So, I am going to recap as best as possible on what happened.

The full committee was there, Mary Jo Barton, Jerry Dishman, Julius Anderson, Alison Quirk and Mark Conatser.

The committee’s goal was to discuss the ordinance 17-11 which is to close the tracks permantly on 9th & 10th Streets. It wasn’t about the quiet zone. Julius Anderson was the facilitator of the meeting.

Mary Jo Barton began the meeting by saying the neighbors don’t want it closed. She said she found paperwork on when it first started. She believes it began with David Dominick wanting more parking for the convention center. Mary Jo Barton said the plan was quickly shut down by the council.

I was trying to picture the convention center and the proximity of 9th and 10th streets. There must be a link to connect the two…somewhere.

When asked what year this took place, she shuffled through some papers and said she didn’t know. Why she didn’t have the articles or a synopsis available is strange. Mary Jo Barton said the railroad can’t close down the tracks.

Conster said he believed the railroad could, and I tend to agree with him. He had spoken to someone at Norfolk Southern a few years ago when he tried to address the trains stopping on the tracks in his neighborhood.

Mary Jo Barton said it was up to the city and not the railroad to close the crossings.

A link to Railroad-Highway Grade Crossing Handbook – Revised Second Edition August 2007 outlines the procedures for railroad crossings. I want to be upfront, I don’t know if this is current, but it is a read, nevertheless, on the questions of who is responsible for closing the crossings.

Alison Quirk said this is an ordinance to vacate a public street. (Something the city council has done several times.) She said the purpose of the meeting was to determine who to invite to the public meeting in September. Mary Jo Barton reiterated it was to vacate/permanetly close the streets.

Allison Quirk stated the purpose of the meeting was to put our (committee) concerns in writing. She had no opinion, just wants to make an informed decision. Then she began to list the questions/statements. Not sure if I got them all, but here is what I believe she asked.

1. Why two crossing next to each other?

2. Who is responsible for maintenance?

3. Who determined 9th & 10th Streets closed?

4. There is an agreement and wants to know who has a copy of it?

5. She wants input from Police, Fire, and EMS.

6. What is the signage if the streets are closed?

7. What is the community impact?

8. What will the closing look like? (Drawings/rendering of the closings.)

9. Impact on businesses.

10. Who assumes liability?

Now, we are getting to the crux of the matter. She heard the railroad would compensate the city. What is the amount of money, how could it be used and would the money be appropriated by city council. (I thought they appropriated the money now.) What is the estimated cost for ongoing maintenance?

Mary Jo Barton said she believed it would be $4,000-$10,000 per year. I am just going to have to take her word for it, and that makes me uneasy. (Stole that line, but it is fitting in this case.)

Jerry Dishman asked some questions. More like a recap of Quirk’s list.

Conaster had no questions.

Jerry Dishman said the sound of the engine was as loud as the horn. (Huh?) Financial was his biggest concern. (Sure it is Jerry, which is why they paid $35,000 for a fiscal study on the consolidation plan after having it for nearly a year.)

Mary Jo Barton said she didn’t understand the vacate verbiage. 16 years on the council and she still doesn’t understand the word vacate.

Dishman thought the railroad would do the maintenance and the city would reimburse.

Quirk said she thought the railroad should be at the next meeting.

Anderson asked what are the codes? Need to talk with the department of transportation.

Barton forgets her question.

Quirk has pictures of the crossings.

Anderson will work with clerk on getting people notified.

Meeting adjourned.

The crossings have been closed for several years, the land & traffic committee hasn’t meet since 2007 and suddenly we have this concern for the public. Nearly four years to consider the impact and nary a word said. It’s an election year.

Don’t be fooled as Alison Quirk said at the 2007 candidate forum when asked if she had to cut the budget she would look at public safety, meet with department heads and work with the mayor. None of which she has done.

Sorry if this is a little jumbled, it’s the best I could do with what little I had to work with.  The spell check stopped working so I had to eyeball it.  We depend on technology for everything! 

Have a great evening, folks.  Sleep tight and know our city is in good hands….(not).