linda gregory

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:

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 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…

 

 

 

Jobs, Living Wage Jobs and other tales

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Muncie City Seal copy
City of Muncie Government upside-down

 

Madjax gets city money

Mayor Dennis Tyler is finally realizing his decade of campaign promises:  “Jobs, Living Wage Jobs.  Begining in 2006 and every campaign thereafter, Dennis Tyler promised jobs.  Not just jobs but Living Wage Jobs.

With a mere $4.5 million dollars of tax dollars (most of what came from his tax increase of 2015) Tyler is going to do what Muncie Community School and Ivy Tech can’t do.  He is going to provide job training.

Yes, folks, that’s correct.  Job training.

The best part and you can’t miss the financial genius behind it, the $4.5 money will pay off the $1 million debt owed from the revolving loan the city set up for Madjax..  So, it’s not a total boondoggle.    We get our $1 million back and they get out of debt with more money to spend.

I know we can all be happy, knowing our tax dollars are going into a training program.  Ivy Tech should just close their doors.

While the six Democrat council members, Mayor Tyler and Todd Donati put their collective minds together to find a selling point on this bond…they came up with JOB TRAINING.    Funny, we never so much as heard of job training….

You know Powell thinks we’re stupid because she made an effort to let the press know how she “struggled” with the decision.

The EDIT revenue carried over from 2015  was $189,470.54.  The first year of tax revenue from the 2015 tax increase Muncie received $4,165,848.25.  The city of Muncie dispersed $4,216,934.69  and ended with a balance of $138,384.10 for 2016.     The city of Muncie spent more EDIT monies than they took in and tapped into the 2015 balance.   In other words, if Muncie continues with this type of EDIT spending, and there is every indication they will, they will need to go to their second and third sources.

I would suggest the council members who voted yes keep an eye not only on EDIT spending but the financials of Madjax in the event we have to pay the bond payments.  And further, monitor the job training program and provide updates.


Citizens: Don’t hesitate to contact your representative for information.  They own it as the fiscal body of the City of Money.  Please stay involved.

Update on Madjax – City Council to vote Monday

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Muncie City Seal copy
City of Muncie Government Seal

Three quotes from the newspaper best explain the public’s complaint against the Muncie Redevelopment Commission and the City of Muncie’s request for $4.5 million dollars in financial support of Madjax.

“These much-needed revenues, which should be used for essential city services, will be diverted to subsidize this project that is not for the public utility and benefit.” Tom Bracken (remonstrance)

Gregory said this week that the project was “a non-profit that has too little history to make it viable for the 23 years of the bond’s life.”

Ridenour said that Tyler is “within his scope” to use EDIT funds for the building. “The project has some merit but I would prefer to see it occur over time so that it is self-supporting.” Remonstrance, question Muncie Star Press 9-8-17

Indeed, our tax dollars should go to provide essential city services.   The city is at the highest tax levy we have ever seen.  Mayor Tyler and Muncie City Council passed LOIT and increased EDIT tax in 2015 at the highest percentages.    Currently, the city is paying attorney fees and we have no idea of the financial cost.    Yet, according to a previous article, Madjax will use a portion of this bond to pay off their debt liabilities.

According to a previous article, Madjax will use a portion of the bond to pay off their debt liabilities.  Should Madjax fail to have enough revenue, then city tax dollars will pick up the shortage.  Certainly, this is not a financially sound move for the city tax payers.

Nora Powell resigned from the board because it is a conflict of interest.  Last we heard, Todd Donati sits on the board of Sustainable Muncie and is the Economic Development Director.  Would this not be a conflict of interest?

A remonstrance has been filed

Nora Powell Muncie City Council resigned from Madjax board citing conflict of interest

Linda Gregory Muncie City Council cited lack of requested information

Madjax assets $2.4 million (includes building at $2.4 million)

Madjax debt $1.7 million

Revenue for 2017 $168,817

In 2016 the City of Muncie earmarked a loan for $1 million for what then was known as Gearbox.   Tyler told The Star Press he wanted to loan $1 million in EDIT revenue to the group rather than just give it to Sustainable Muncie to create an obligation to be repaid. The loan is supposed to be repaid by the end of 2016. City council split on Gearbox loan

Interested in Muncie and MSD end of year debt? Got it!

When Madjax first came on the scene it sounded pretty cool.  This was before board members resigned, and the city offered to support with tax dollars.

Just a reminder, the City of Muncie passed an increase in taxes EDIT and LOIT in 2015, effective January 1, 2016.

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Stop gambling with our money.

 

Muncie City Council Meeting

Muncie City Hall

Monday September 11th

7:30 PM

 

Delaware County Primary – A Scary Tale

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Finally, Indiana has been on the list of States to watch during this primary season.  Crazy, huh?  Trump and Sanders cleaned up and we can expect heated debates all the way to November.

Here in Delaware County ,we saw some movement, an increase in voter turnout.  Somewhere around 34%.    The Republican ticket saw more votes than the Democrat ticket.  And a relatively unknown candidate which never campaigned won the highest vote count and ousted a long-time sitting official.

We’re used to “ringer” candidates appearing on the ballot.  You can spot them immediately.  Mostly, it’s the brainchild of the local Democrat party.   How do you spot a “ringer” also known as a “ghost” candidate?

First to qualify to be a ringer candidate on the Democrat ticket, there needs to be someone running who is despised by the local Dem leadership.

Second, the ringer candidate will alway appear  before the unsupported candidate.

Third, the ringer candidate will not campaign, send out literature, rarely if ever have  any signs.  The ringer will not respond to any debate requests,  phone calls from the paper, and not well known in the community.

Fourth, the ringer will have a sparse campaign finance report.

Sometimes the act of placing a “ghost” on the ballot does exactly what it was intended to do.  Other times, it fails.  Take for instance the ’08 primary when the Democrats successfully ousted incumbent John H. Brooke using a ringer candidate.  Other candidates made it through the “ghosting” as we saw with Sue Errington in ’12 and Linda Gregory in ’15.  The practice has been applied to several other elections.

In 2010, the Democrats upped their ante by getting ghost candidates to run on the Republican ticket.  As far as we can tell, this was a first.

Polling places haunted?

If you are up to reading the scary ghost story of 2016, please check out Larry Riley’s column.

A quick look at primary surprises.

 

 

Saturday rambling: Filing for election

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voting imageThe deadline for filing ended on Friday.  One surprise, Democrat James King filed on the Republican ticket.  He switched parties and the Republican chair, Will Statom, gave the blessing.  Last year, Stephen Smith with a record of Democrat voting, asked to be placed on the Republican ballot for mayor.  Will Statom said no.

Not surprising is a candidate, Traci Allbee, who has been a fixture in past elections.  She has no intention of campaigning or even serving the public.  Her sole purpose is to garner votes in hopes to keep a candidate the party despises from making it through the primaries.

Every election, it’s the same old song and dance.  Most are what we call “ringers” or “ghost candidates”.  To keep things interesting, the tactics are changed slightly.  Like the 2010 primaries when the Democrats filled the Republican spots with their very own candidates.

Delaware County Voting Polls Are Haunted! (click here)

The Republicans beat the Democrats at their own game by filling nearly every spot with their candidates.  “Foul!” the DHQ cried.  That’s funny, I don’t care who you are.

In 2011, Nora Powell filed with her maiden name and showed on the ballot as Nora “Evans” Powell.  Again in 2015, she pulled out her maiden name to be listed at the top of the ballot, reverting back to Powell after the elections.

So, you say?

2011 saw another candidate who filed with her maiden name.  Unfortunately, not being  chosen by the DHQ elite, she was subjected to all manner of scrutinization.   Nora was not held to the same standard.

Of course, Powell is not a “ringer” candidate by any means.  Just one who hopes to cash in on the 7% of voters known to select the first name on the ballot.  2015 saw “ghost” candidates in an unsuccessful effort to unseat the popular Linda Gregory.

Let’s go back to 2008 when the Democrats were successful in removing an elected official by placing a “ringer” on the ballot.   Bilbrey comes before Brooke.  Bilbrey received 6,000 votes and never campaigned.  DHQ was successful in getting Brooke out and their man Dunnuck in by employing the “ghost candidate” ungolden rule.  Sidenote:  Bilbrey later sued Mayor Dennis Tyler.  Don’t know the outcome.

In addition, just a few months prior to the November ’08 election, the Democrat Headquarters went on a campaign to get Vote Centers instituted.  The Republicans were not against Vote Centers.  Just the timing and the implementation was close to the election date.

Democrats, of course, making it a political football claiming it was an effort to suppress the vote.  Funny thing, after the election, with a Democrat Clerk and a Democrat-controlled election board, they never made any move to implement Vote Centers again.

Democrats as well as Republican are successful in inciting emotional outrage where none exists as well as claiming the Voter ID law limits voters.  You need an ID to cash a check.  Surely an election should fall under the same scrutiny.  Based on unknown candidate Bilbrey’s 6,000 votes, not sure elections and its process all that important.

Simply put, placing fake candidates on the ballot is a covert manipulation of your vote.  Sincerely hope people recognize it as such and just say no.

Gotta go…see you all when I see you all…

Elections & Paving…this is a quickie

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As some of you know, we just finished our 2015 Municipal primary.  I know, I know, there was an election and no one came.  We saw a turnout of 8%.   It’s no surprise to any of us.  The ballot filled with Democrats and no contenders.  Except for the At-Large seats.

Speaking of the At-Large seat, six contenders for the three available seats.  Nora Powell drug out her maiden name again for this election.  She hasn’t used the Evans name since she got married.  As soon as she ran for office, pulled it out and presto! She’s first on the ballot as Nora Evans Powell.

Another candidate named Philip Gonzales showed up as #2.  He didn’t campaign, avoided the press and not even a free Facebook presence.  He’s what can commonly be called a ringer or a ghost candidate.  It’s very simple, really.  Placed on the ballot with the intent to steal votes..  A party that was filled to the brim with their best of their best.  They just can’t keep their paws out of manipulating the elections.

Phil received 439 votes or slightly less that 5%.  Next in line on the ballot was Linda Gregory coming in third place.  The hopes of Democrat Headquarters to unseat Linda by placing Phillip as #2 didn’t pan out.  Still, it’s a little unnerving to think over four hundred voters gave the false candidate a vote.  This has been going on since the beginning of time.  You would think it would sink in.

The paper reported Todd Donati is bonding out another $1 million.  As soon as the information is updated, will post the amortization schedule.

The local newspaper is full of good news.  $600,000 will be used to pave a busy street.  No one should be in disagreement on paving roads.  The street was in the works for a complete makeover to include sidewalks, a bike and walking path, street lights.  A few years ago the City of Muncie painted the decorative globes making evening lighting impossible.  So they tried again and now we have different colored streetlight globes with a hint of the Christmas colors all year long.

I doubt the City has the money for the makeover considering it is borrowing from the Muncie Redevelopment Commission.  In effect, we are borrowing from ourselves and paying interest for the privilege of borrowing from ourselves.

Will leave you with this excerpt from the Muncie Star newspaper:

The MRC’s approval of $600,000 to fund the contract meant that wheel tax proceeds and other funds usually spent on street paving could be used elsewhere.

Let’s hope the “using elsewhere” means using Wheel Tax, Street & Road taxes for their intended use.  Paving.