Good morning to all of you fine people. Much to be grateful today as the Polar Vortex train has left the station. Good riddance, say we!
On to more pressing news. Mayor Dennis Tyler announced he would not run for mayor of Muncie again. However, it has not stopped him from keeping his beloved dream of a city-run EMS program alive. It appears Dennis Tyler will do as much damage to this city and county as he can before we say “Adios Amigo” come December 31, 2019.
But, you never know if the FBI will come knocking on his door. After all, he was privy to the meetings where the elite of City Government schemed to cover Craig Nichols’ crimes. Tyler was an eye-witness, a willing participant in protecting Nichols’ rear.
Exactly how is Dennis Tyler going to pay for his dream? Why it’s simple. Rumor has it he will be tapping into the $400,000 Center Township pays the city for Muncie fire protection. What, say ye? Center Township is one of the many taxings entities the City of Muncie supports with property taxes. (Check your bill.) So, we’re assisting Center Township with city property taxes to provide fire service.
Kay Walker, Center Township Trustee on board with Mayor Tyler? Is she earmarking the $400,000 for the city-run EMS when a perfectly good DCEMS is already paid with Delaware County taxes? How will the MFD budget make up the $400,000 decrease in funds? Talk about double taxation. We will be paying for not one but two emergency medical services.
Does this stink to high heavens, or what? Is it not a typical shell game of shuffling funds from here to there? You bet it is. Don’t think for one moment Tyler’s last-ditch effort is anything less than a political move and one which causes serious harm to the City and County.
The funding Center Township receives to pay for Muncie fire protection is from Muncie property taxes. We shift money to Center Township and then Center Township pays the City of Muncie. Tyler claims concern for the city in reference to being double dipped (the concern is feigned, of course). Center Township is owned by Democrats for years. Delaware County is controlled by Republicans and this explains Tyler’s motive in a nutshell. Politics before People. Always has been with this crowd.
(On a side note: this makes for a good argument to abolish township governments. It really is just another layer of bureaucracy.)
Let’s just walk down memory lane.
In 2010 Muncie was facing a financial crisis. Firemen were to be laid-off and other cuts were needed just to keep the city afloat. The previous mayor Sharon McShurley and Kay Walker came to an agreement. This is it in a nutshell:
- The move to apply for the grant was tied to Center Township turning its firefighting force over to the city, and in turn, paying Muncie $250,000 a year through 2011 and then $400,000 a year after that for fire protection. Earlier news articles said the city would save $750,000 over the next two years and then $700,000 thereafter because of the Center Township agreement and concessions from the fire union.
Star Press 5-5-10
Dennis Tyler took office on January 1st, 2012. With this office came an inheritance from the previous administration…a goodly sum of $8 million earmarked by McShurley to cover MFD when the SAFER grant expired. For three years Mayor Tyler claimed enough money to support public services and would not pass LOIT.
That all changed in August 2015 when he and city council proposed the LOIT tax at the highest rate. No one seemed to remember how or when the $8 million was spent. The officials didn’t just pass one tax, they increased the EDIT tax, too. A 43% increase in income taxes was passed in a mere 14 days.
Today we have Mayor Tyler working to resurrect the city-run EMS. We’re hoping the FBI picks him up before he can create additional damage to the city and the county. The legacy of Mayor Tyler will continue long after he is gone. Don’t think for a moment the city will go unscathed. It’s going to be painful to fix this topsy turvy ship.
We decided to provide a small pictorial timeline of Dennis Tyler. We’ll begin with State Representative Tyler hightailing it to Urbana, IL. A failed attempt to shut down Indiana government. Then as now, he avoided the people. Every time Tyler is placed on the hot seat he disappears. And Urbana was no exception. This is where the phrase “Tyler is vacationing in Urbana” began. You may hear it said when Tyler refuses to speak or be interviewed by the press.
Next, we see candidate Tyler asking for your vote. He won by approximately 7,000 votes. 1,000 more votes than McShurley received in 2011 and in 2007.
Picture three is Mayor Dennis Tyler with a caption addressing one of his campaign promises “For the People” and the cost of his administration a 43% income tax. Well, the EDIT tax needed to be increased to fund Nichols’ property demolition companies.
Moving on is a meme created when Mayor Tyler first introduced his EMS project. It is meant as humorous satire. Although, there is nothing funny about his proposal.
City Council Meeting
Monday, February 4th, 2019
7:30 PM Muncie City Hall
Let’s begin with the Democrats. As always there seems to be a full slate on the ballot.
Kenneth Davenport: Mr. Davenport is known as the perennial candidate. In other words he runs for every open office including several as mayor and even the sheriff. He doesn’t spend much money on his campaigns. He has received a decent amount of votes at times.
Ralph Smith: Ralph “Jigger” Smith has run for office before, so he isn’t a newbie. Ralph brings to the table integrity and honesty. He has run a clean campaign despite the usual shenanigans. I could get behind Jigger if he wasn’t running for the top spot. What I like about Ralph is his openness. He understands my political preference, and still shows a kind and warm attitude to me. A true gentleman.
Dennis Tyler: Dennis Tyler has been our State Representative since 2006. He inherited the spot after Tiny Adams passed away. He has yet to fill those big shoes, in my opinion. Every election, including his first stab at the mayor’s seat he has touted jobs. Same as every election thereafter. His stint as our representative has been lackluster with no progressive legislation which moved our county into a county of opportunity. Dennis Tyler’s campaign slogan: “Imagine the possibilities when we work together.” Right off the bat, Tyler is presenting a persona of something he is not able to do. When the going got tough at the State House, he didn’t imagine the possibilities of working together, he took off to Urbana to work with the other 37 or so fleebaggers. .
Muncie City Clerk:
John C. Dobelbower: John Dobelbower is a professor at Ball State University. I have only heard Mr. Doebelbower speak a couple of times. He didn’t talk much on the clerk’s office, yet, his organizational skills and willingness to work with people is a plus. I would vote for him over Phyllis Reagon.
Phyllis Reagon: Phyllis Reagon has been the city clerk since 2004. She is running because she likes her job, her experience and the support of her staff. The clerk’s office consists of five employees. Despite the size of her staff, we went for several months without the city council meetings being published on the website. At a city council meeting a citizen brought this to the council’s attention. I would prefer someone who can publish the minutes in a timely manner, and make the agenda available before the meetings. ( I Checked and the May 2nd agenda is on the website.)
Muncie City Court Judge:
Sam Beasley: Sam Beasley received his Juris doctorate in 2010 and has worked as a public defender. He is a partner in the Beasley law firm. Sam seems like a nice person, but he lacks the experience we need in a city judge.
Dianna Bennington: Dianna Bennington has a long history of education and community involvement. Her education includes a Nursing Degree from Ball State in ’96, Masters in Sociology and Counseling Psychology in ’98, Juris Doctorate from Thomas M. Cooley Law School ’03. She has experience in private practice, public defender for the YOC (Youth Opportunity Center). Her experience includes, but is not limited to, Compliance Officer Mutual Bank; Ivy Tech Adjunct Instructor Paralegal Program; Care-A-Lot Homecare General Counsel/Vice President; Registered Nurse Oncology & pediatrics. She was the President of the Board for Action, Inc. where she uncovered and reported the financial mismanagement. Community involvement includes Vice President Board of Directors for ARF, Pro Bono legal aid, member of St. Mary’s Church, Mental Health Board of Directors President and United Way at Work Committee. I hope you will agree, Dianna Bennington is the best candidate to become Muncie City Judge.
City Council District 1:
Marilyn Bennington-Smith: 22 years as a realtor, 10 years as a member of Southside Neighborhood Organization (check the name, this is from memory). Marilyn was instrumental in working with Wal-Mart South on the placement of their signage, She also can be credited with the improvement on Madison Street. She cares about the South Side of Muncie, and like most of us, knows this area can be a jewel for Muncie. She has a degree in accounting, so you know she can look at a budget.
Doug Marshall: Son of outgoing City Council member Sam Marshall, his involvement with the community is limited. He worked with the Southside Band and union activities. Current;y, his platform consists of opening the Mock Fire Station for the safety of the children, whatever that means. My fear is that Doug Marshall is as far removed from what the citizens need for our community as his father. Prior to his latest platform, when asked what his platform was he commented “Come to one of my events and find out.” I give a double thumbs down for Doug Marshall.
City Council District 3:
Mary Jo Barton: Not much needs to be said about Mary Jo Barton. She has been a sitting member on the council since 1995. She is not involved in her district at all. Was not impressed when Thomas Park received a sizeable donation for renovations, wanted to spend $30,000 for fireworks to make $2,000. Consistently ridicules the citizens, the mayor, the community director, the chief of police and local business owners. She once commented that some don’t like her style of leadership. My opinion is she has no leadership ability as when she spent the good part of 2008 trying to make Prairie Creek fail. Let’s make Mary Jo a historical figure and vote her out of office.
Todd Smekens: I have known Todd for nearly two years, maybe more. I believe he is a better candidate than Mary Jo Barton. Before Todd ran for office, he was not impressed with the Ross Center and believed it should be funded by the community. He has since come to find Ross Center as an asset to the neighborhood. Partnering with outside sources for funding, Todd posted on his Facebook page he hoped he would get elected so he could continue his work with Ross Center. Even if not elected, he can still be involved and I hope his passion will continue regardless if he is a city council member.
City Council District 5:
Jerry Dishman: I am slightly confused about his campaign signs “Fighting for your property rights”. I like Jerry as a person but believe he has voted down party lines more often than than supporting the citizens. He did not support LOIT and for that I am grateful. However, he voted to not stop the annexation of Halteman Village and with a nudge from Barton, he asked to change his vote. Which he did. That vote washed away $100,00 in legal fees and future tax dollars. Mr. Dishman. like most of the council members didn’t understand the annexation, although the veteran council members voted for it in 2007, had not been involved in MAP or understood the modernization effort.
City Council District 6:
Julias Anderson: Previously elected on Muncie Community School Board. Community activist. Appointed to Muncie City Council following the resignation of Monte Murphy.
Richard Ivy: “I understand the concerns of my district and community, bringing conflict resolution experience, with the ability to maximize limited resources, for a more cooperative board,” he said (Muncie Star Press)
Harold Mason: Mr. Mason retired from 911 and has been involved in the community. I personally like Harold as he seems like a genuine person and cares for his community. So, if I lived in District 6 and was inclined to vote Democrat, he would be my pick.
Linda Gregory: Linda’s campaign slogan “Go Gregory” is simple yet describes Linda to a “T”. You will find Linda going all over the city. She attends many meetings, and is one of the most informed council members we have currently. In 2010 Linda was chosen by the Committee for Integrity Enhancement to receive the Delaware County Personal Integrity Award, actively involved in the Buley Center and the Whitely Community, nominated and runner-up for Star Press Person of the Year. Donates hand-made items and her actions above her words shows the committment she has to our city. Go Gregory!
Ty Morton: Local businessman, bartender and sometimes substitute teacher. Morton began his campaign running with the Team Democrats and later with the Democrat Headquarters. In an article published by the Start Press “It’s time to stop talking about unity, and do something about it,” Morton wrote in a letter on the issue. Morton is articulate which aids in lending credibility to his comments. Careful examination of his views will find they are far from facts. With his assessment of the 2010 budget issues, his double taxation myth, the raiding of the primaries and the confusion he presented on who can vote in the primary totally ignored the law. All designed to provoke unrest within the community. Ty does not take well to being challenged. I believe Ty Morton will be bad for our city. He like Marshall gets “two thumbs down”.
Nora Evans Powell: I don’t believe Nora will have the ability to place her personal feelings below the concerns of the citizens of Muncie. She was on the Community Action Committee (CAC) which disbanded shortly after it began. The description said it was a non-partisan group of citizens, but the make-up of the members and those that were cited for their input told another story. Nora was outraged the current mayor would place the fireman in danger should they be housed at the Center Township fire station. However, the rage diminished considerable when Kay Walker became her campaign manager. Kay Walker is the Center Township Trustee which was in charge of the Center Twp. Fire Department. Another thing which is upsetting is the use of her middle name “Evans” on the ballot. This moves her to the number one spot. The clerk said he reviewed the marriage licenses and birth records of the candidates. Sure, it’s not illegal, but it’s not ethical, either. Powell has sided with just about every decision the city council has made except for the Halteman/Brewington annexation. She, like so many of us knew, this would insure additional tax revenue and her hope was keeping the MFD fully staffed.
Alison Quirk: Alison Quirk is asking you for a third term as your representative. Let’s look at the history. At the 2007 forum she said she would look at public safety and work with the mayor. She has done neither. In April ’09 at a city council meeting she promised a more transparent government and a program to educate the citizens. She broke it down as Education, Empowerment and Action. Like her comments at the 2007 forum, this never materialized either. The April ’09 was a defining moment as the purchase of firetrucks were on the agenda. Instead of telling the citizens, the council and the mayor she was working with Commissioner Donati to secure funds from the Morrison Road TIF, she allowed the department heads and Mayor to present their case. How many hours were invested in locating the truck and getting the finance all because none knew of her plans. The same with the animal control proposal of combining services with the county. When it came to hammering out the budget, Alison Quirk, Mike King and Mike Whited of the Muncie Fire Department and county resident met privately. Alison Quirk intoduced LOIT at it’s highest percentage before she met with the department heads.
On the Republican ticket, only two races are contested.
District 4 is between Brad Polk and Scott O’Dell. This should be a non-issue as incumbent Polk is by far the best candidate. O’Dell hasn’t done much campaigning.
District 5 has two newcomers, Big Jim Arnold and Tom Reeve. Jim has the knowledge and expertise to make a fine city council member. You may have seen Jim at the City Council and other government meetings or had the opportunity to read his letters to the editor. You will find more information on both candidates in the blog under Candidates Websites.
All-in-all the Republican party has really out done themselves this election with some pretty awesome candidates.
Blog entries related to April 6, 2009:
My disclaimer:These political views are solely my own. They are not representative of any for-profit, non-profit, political, non-political organizations, or any organized or unorganized group in Delaware County or Indiana or the other 49 States
Victor Whitehead is a true success story.
Moved to archives – no longer available for viewing.
Month after month Mayor McShurley was hounded at every Chat With The Mayor on when she was going to apply for the SAFER Grant. Even when the grant was not open for applications, it was the same song and dance.
We were told by the supporters of the grant there would be no cost, and we found that to not be entirely true. There is a cost. Muncie must have the front money and then be reimbursed. It could take months to get paid by the Federal Government. The Federal Government could find we are in violation and yank the funds. The grant could require payback of monies or even be blacklisted from grants.
Back in June 2009, a plan was brought to the eyes of the public. A group of citizens formed the Community Action Committee or CAC. This group put together a plan to keep Muncie Fire Department at its current level. The first item listed is a consolidation of Center Township Fire Department to include the building and the equipment. What wasn’t include was the ten paid firefighters and the 40 odd volunteers. They were out.
The CAC proposal included other items, but for this topic we will stick with Center Township.
In the proposal, Center Township would pay Muncie $300,000 a year until the trucks were paid off and thereafter $400,000. A copy was presented to Center Township Trustee, Kay Walker.
By the time the proposal was presented it was too late to realize any savings and the MFD experienced the first lay-off in the history of Muncie.
November came and still the question lingered on would the Mayor apply? There was much rumbling among the supporters of the grant. The deadline to apply was extended until January. FInally, Kay Walker came to the table. The agreement she made with the City was very close to what mirrored the CAC proposal she received in June, 2009.
With this as a main turning point, the Mayor and Walker came to an agreement.
The Star Press reported it as breaking news on January 15th, 2010 and followed up with articles all saying the the same thing.
- The move to apply for the grant was tied to Center Township turning its firefighting force over to the city, and in turn paying Muncie $250,000 a year through 2011 and then $400,000 a year after that for fire protection. Earlier news articles said the city would save $750,000 over the next two years and then $700,000 thereafter because of the Center Township agreement and concessions from the fire union.5-5-10
- “As part of a pending agreement, Center Township would agree to dismantle its fire department and pay the city $250,000 a year for fire protection in unincorporated areas.
Beginning in 2012 the township would begin paying $400,000.” 1-15-10
- “Perhaps of even greater significance, Center Township agreed to dismantle its fire department and pay Muncie for fire protection — $250,000 a year through 2011 and then $400,000 a year thereafter. “1-19-10
We should have paid a little more attention to the one word which as of today, has shed a light on the agreement.
The word for today is “Pending“.
You see, it appears that there was no agreement in writing, no legal document to seal the deal. Making this a verbal agreement and nothing more. I believe everyone thought it was a done deal, even some which were involved in the CAC before it was disbanded.
July 16, 2010, the newspaper reports that Kay Walker is no longer interested in the original verbal agreement and instead lists some very contradictory reasons. Now, Walker wants the agreement to go only until 2011, the year the current mayoral term ends. Second, she is concerned about the firetrucks and the payment.
Seven months to the day, and this is the first we hear of her concerns. Odd she would stay silent for so long.
Here is what was quoted in today’s paper.
- “Walker said that’s not the case. The township is still making payments on the equipment, she said.
- “”They can’t keep the equipment,”” the trustee said. “That’s Center Township’s equipment.””
Muncie can not afford to take on the debt of their trucks, which is why the lower yearly payments were considered. Muncie City is part of Center Township. Our tax bills show a line item of how much the city pays to the twp. In effect, Muncie has helped pay for the trucks.
The real kick to all of this is why after seven months has Walker suddenly come forward with this change of heart? If this was given to her in a proposal in June ’09, and again discussed in January ’10, why on July 16th, 2010 is this become an issue?
It’s a wash, it will always be a wash. Let Kay Walker and Center Township keep their fire department intact, and let Chief Burcham, the MFD and Mayor McShurley go back to the drawing board. Working with Walker will be a waste of time and energy. Move on.
The Mayor did her part, in good faith negotiated an agreement, filed the grant and it was awarded. Now, Walker has changed her mind. That is definitely her prerogative, since we are not legally bound to any agreement.
Let’s remove CTR Twp. from the mix and quit wasting time with a dead-end agreement.
And if you see Kay Walker on the street, ask her why it took seven months for her to come forward when it should have been addressed much earlier than one month before the MFD was to return back to work.
Oh, yes, don’t forget it is an election year. What political plan does she and Democrat Headquarters have up their sleeve on this one?
Voter her out of office. And remember if she should set her sights on the Mayor seat, look for an increase in taxes to fund what we can not afford. She will embrace LOIT, not as a much-needed revenue for the citizens of Muncie, but for her pet projects.
Mark my words.
We have no news on whether Muncie will be awarded the SAFER grant.
What we do have is a column in today’s paper (4-4-10) by Larry Riley. According to Mr. Riley, the City Council will introduce a resolution asking Mike Pence, Evan Bayh and Dick Lugar to put in “a good word” for us. Don’t forget, this is the same council which voted in another “resolution” condemning Mike Pence for his stand on earmarked funds. The council said it was on behalf of the citizens of Muncie. If my memory serves me right, Conatster, Gregory and Polk voted against it.
Anderson is already slated to receive $609,000 in grant money.
Mr. Riley states the grant application had some odd numbers. Apparently, the total amount of people serviced by Muncie Fire Department is 119,000. This is the total population for Delaware County.
In addition, it looks as if the MFD is wanting to expand their borders and include the residents of the county. There is also a question of the amount of fire hydrants. Nothing new in Riley’s article about Kay Walker, Center Township Trustee, wanting to close their fire station. She campaigned on it.
The LOIT is not going away, folks. It was included as a creative way to retain the firefighters after the grant money runs out. I guess we can understand why Vice President Alison Quirk has refused to table it. That is a whole ‘nother story.
So, I would suggest you pick up a copy of today’s paper and read the column in its entirety. I believe it is an eye-opener.