Mayor McShurley

Saturday ramblings: The till is running short.

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cash register

If you have been following the City of  Muncie’s financials, a shorted till will be of no surprise.  If not, you may find your paycheck missing a few pennies as the rush to fill the cash register gets underway.  Yes, folks, the LOIT has entered the minds of our elected officials.  L-O-I-T (Local Option Income Tax) if passed by the City of Muncie, digs into the pocketbooks of every working stiff in Delaware County.  I believed it was just a matter of time before it was introduced and approved.

I’m not going to spend much time discussing the merits or pitfalls of LOIT today.  Instead, I am offering two articles  and an opinion piece for your reading pleasure.

The first article is the introduction of the tax, setting the tone.  The second, a recap of the first and lastly a column by a local journalist (saved the best for last).  Perhaps after reading, you’ll get a better understanding.

Mayor seeks local income tax increase

Still unknowns in new tax plan

No, no, no to LOIT, er, yes to LOIT

Here’s a side note: A few months ago I crossed paths with columnist Larry Riley and the chit-chat soon turned to the SAFER grant.  I asked if he knew the status.  Nope.

Next question, if the grant is not renewed, how would the shortfall be met?  Larry responded (much to what he penned) – Mayor Tyler stated there would be enough money to cover the fire department.

The previous mayor, McShurley, was asked the question in 2011 and her answer much the same.  If the SAFER grant did not come through, there would still be money to maintain the fire department.  Then she said good-bye and left the city with over $7 million operating balance.

The real kicker is after Mayor Tyler said the property tax revenue was down and the LOIT tax is needed for fire safety and to shore up the coffers of Economic Development Tax Revenue (EDIT) he proposed an additional amount of spending nearing $50 million.

City riverfront canal project: $48M

Here’s the short of it all.

1.) Mayor Tyler – the city would have enough money for the fire department.  Never a word to the contrary.

2.) Mayor Tyler – the tax revenue is down and will need to pass LOIT to maintain the fire department and EDIT funding.

3.) Mayor Tyler – reveals the $48 million canal project.

Chew on it a while…

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A new roof, City Hall and other incidentals

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city hall circa 2008

In the summer of 2013, the City of Muncie embarked on two projects.  One was Prairie Creek Reservoir bathhouse and the other remodeling of City Hall.  At the city council meeting the bond issuance was voted on (a yes vote, no surprise) and the bond debt was $4,000,000.00.

We heard from city grant writers of the private donations for PCR, unfortunately, it had to be mums the word on donors.  I watched from the sidelines of the citizens gallery as council woman Mary Jo Barton shook her head in disbelief at the condition of City Hall.

True to form, she most likely forgot the requests for money for upkeep and repairs.  Forgot about the information of the leaking roof or curled up carpeting.  Forgot she consistently voted no for any repair money. Imagine for a moment if the roof had been repaired when needed, could have avoided $600.000 expense.  Sadly, we will never know the true cost of a roof repair.  There was no need to pursue it.  Council said NO.

I can’t tell you the exact date City Hall was built, but it was during the Carey administration.  For decades, no money was allocated for maintenance on the building.  When the previous mayor requested funds, you can imagine all the comments on the newspaper forum.  One even said there was no need to budget, as it was a newer building.  Mayor McShurley was crazy to ask the council for money.  Indeed she was.

However, all buildings, even 25 year old ones, require general maintenance now and then.  The point is, citizens were aware of the roof leaking as far back as circa 2010, but a person with over 20 years as a sitting council person did not?

So we fast forward to 2014 and find that not only did we pay for new landscaping to replace maturing and beautiful plants, we get to replace the roof at a tune of $600,000.00.

The metal roof, which is supposed to have a 50 year warranty, is approximately 25 years old.  Half the life span of metal roofs and a little better than an asphalt shingled one.  President of Muncie Economic Development, the one who presented the bond to the city council, said the roof was improperly installed and the warranty has been voided.  Mayor Tyler has been reported to blame the previous administration for not allocating funds.  So, there you have it.

According to Todd Donati, since the roof was improperly installed, there is no warranty recourse.  Once again, the taxpayers are on the hook, financing less than stellar craftsmanship.  We had the sting of the Justice Center and the Gawd awful construction, in which we saw cost overruns, additional bonding, lawsuits, etc.   The Justice Center was so poorly designed, it actually is an ineffective building for its intending purpose.

Of course, who could forget the Royerton Sewer System fiasco, another shoddy government project in which parts had to be replaced.  Once again at the taxpayers expense.  Time does not allow for listing all the mismanagements of these projects.

So, today, we can add the City Hall roof to the list.   Or can we?  Has anybody seen the reports and the costs associated with the replacement or repair of this roof.  Not really.

An excerpt from Muncie City Council June 2014 meeting minutes:

Committee Reports: Barton asks if he (Energy Systems Group) did repair the roof.  Koons stated they have provided several options to the Building Commissioner and it wasn’t part of the agreement.

It appears the only option considered is a complete tear-off and an additional $600,000.  If you are interested in the other options, get in touch with the Building Commissioner.

Muncie City Council minutes 6-14 roof info (PDF)

City Hall/PCR bond information (PDF)

 

Saturday Ramblings ~ Double standards and Hypocrisy

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The greatest rationale to become a Leftie is immunity from the rules they impose on the rest of us. The sanctioning of the double standards and hypocrisy. Andrew Breitbart

MC900439169

Lately, I have been feeling slightly disenchanted with the state of human events.  Actually, it has been brewing for some time.  So, when I came across this quote which exemplifies my feelings, I filed it away for later use.  Today is the day.

In Sunday’s paper (6-30-13), current city council member, Nora Powell had a letter published.  The gist was she came back from vacation to find not one, but two articles  in the paper where she was mentioned.

 Recently, my family returned from vacation to discover we’d been mentioned in two of Larry Riley’s opinion columns.

The first instance of a double homestead, and the second  a correction to the first article.  She wasn’t really the focus of  either column, only a mention.  Nevertheless, she felt compelled to clear her name possibly recalling the firestorm this created back in ’09 when the former mayor, a former council member and current council member all were found with double homestead credits.  However, only one person was targeted while the two council members basically went unscathed.  It’s the double standard in all her glory.

Which lead me to another time when she didn’t feel compelled to clear her name.  It was the 2011 election.  Nora filed her candidacy with “Evans” as her middle name.  With the ballots printed she was moved to the top seat on the ballot.    The name that moved her to that number one spot  on the ballot, Nora “Evans” Powell was mysteriously absent in this letter .  No doubt, it will be back next election.  We’ll see.

Many people felt the local Democrat party was giving Powell an edge.  Marilyn Bennington-Smith filed her candidacy with her maiden name hyphenated and since she wasn’t a Democrat  party insider she had to get an attorney to represent her.  Ask yourself if this isn’t a classic case of double standards.

Powell’s letter took me back a few years to another elected official which came back from an economic junket  in Japan.  I respect former mayor, Sharon McShurley’s need to be private, yet this is a crucial point of this blog entry.  The double-standard.   The moment the McShurley’s plane took off, the rumors hit the runway.  Filthy, vile, disgusting ranging from abortions to alcohol abuse to something as mild as her resignation.  Imagine had Ms. Powell come back from her vacation to face 1/1000 of what she and others contributed in just a short four years.

One would hope that Powell has gotten a small taste of what it’s like and perhaps even those which helped the rumors blossom would think twice next time.  I doubt it, though.  Because in their eyes, the actions over a series of years are acceptable, and if it should happen to them it becomes the Cardinal Sin.   Imagine if we critiqued Powell using the same standards (rumors, lies and innuendos)?   Of course, we don’t because it was just to vulgar to recreate.

Double standard and hypocrisy is the breakfast of self-appointed champions of all things vile.

I’m going to take you back to the Arizona shootings.  If you will recall, the media and leftist libs were calling for Sarah Palin to apologize.  Why?  Did she pull the trigger, and there was no indication she ever crossed the path with Jared L. Loughner,  In fact he never even attended one Tea Party meeting.  It mattered not.  Yet rogue ex-cop Chris Dorner prior to his killing spree wrote a manifesto in which he praised Pier Morgan.  Morgan tweeted this:

piers morgan and chris dorner

Is Piers Morgan responsible for Dorner’s actions?  The answer is obvious.  No.   Any thinking person would agree.  However, when you live by the double standard, your ability to think clearly and reason correctly is seriously impaired.   If their standards were compared to alcohol levels, it would be 20 times over the stupid level.

After defending my views on the 2nd Amendment someone called me a supporter of murderers and criminals.  One would wonder what he thinks of the author, James Madison.   Never mind…

An article on former Governor Mitch Daniels, a local poster (although missing in action for months) had commented  he hoped Governor Daniels had a heart attack and died.    Texas State Senator Donna Campbell received emails “hoping you get raped” “hope your daughter gets raped” and so on and so forth.  An article about Mia Love saw comments she was an Aunt Tom, a house n______. Dr. Ben Carson is a pawn and n_______.

Alec Baldwin tweets George Stark (a British reporter) is a toxic queen and he wants to shove his foot up Starks’ backside, and then he made a sexual reference.  Anderson Cooper got wind of it and said had it been a conservative it would be virile in minutes.  It’s all quiet on the homefront.

anderson cooper tweet alec baldwin

While the lefties are stomping the grounds with their outrage, real or perceived (mostly perceived) against any conservative, be that conservative white, black, Hispanic, male, female, straight or not, they are  certainly silent when one of their own commits the thing they say they hate.    Which leads me back to Andrew Breitbart’s brilliant quote:

The greatest rationale to become a Leftie is immunity from the rules they impose on the rest of us. The sanctioning of the double standards and hypocrisy. Andrew Breitbart

MC900439169

Do you know what time it is? It’s Wheel Tax Time!

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At the county council meeting on Tuesday, April 23, 2013, the wheel tax again came up for introduction   The three year sunset clause is expected to expire in December, and the county must have the wheel tax approved and shipped off to the State of Indiana by July 1st.    As can be expected, it is getting a wave of comments, ideas and criticism.

Do we need it?  Probably.  Do we feel we are getting our money’s worth?  Nope.  Is there any transparency as promised in 2009?  Hardly.  It’s as murky as a swamp.   The big discussion is the sunset clause.  The tax may have passed unanimously had this been in the ordnance up for adoption.   It was removed.  After all, even a smidgen of transparency is better than none

Council person Mike Jones posted on the local newspaper:

Frankly I’m not inherently opposed to a sunset clause, but feel it does nothing to enhance or detract from County Councils ability to implement or rescind the tax at any point in time. The requirement both on the city and county remain to submit paving plans are intact in the ordinance by April 1st of each year. If at anytime the Council determines that the Highway Garage is not performing as it should or other monies become available, the wheel tax can be rescinded at any time. “

Wheel tax still controversial April 24, 2013 Muncie Star Press

If it doesn’t add or detract, than what’s the problem?  Include it and move on.  The people want it. Read the rest of this entry »

Tyler and the Case of the Two Lawsuits

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Balancing precariously at 300 N. High St. stands the Scales of Justice. From the third floor of Muncie City Hall, the mayor looks over his subjects and cries… “Let justice prevail!”

Currently, Mayor Dennis Tyler, is embattled in two lawsuits. Perhaps, embattled is much too harsh. Nevertheless, Mr. Tyler is being looked at by the justice system and scrutinized by some of the citizens.

Lawsuit No. 1:

The first lawsuit has been initiated by Beverly Bilbrey which claims as State Representative, Dennis Tyler, promised to help secure her social security benefits and failed. Bilbrey said she contacted Dennis while he was representing Indiana District 34 and Mr. Tyler claims he never spoke with her. It’s a case of he said, she said.

Is it really? Read the rest of this entry »

Parks & Recreation, Good Old Boys and $76,000.00

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Now that the little matter of the $7.5 million dollar budget has been cleared up, it’s time to turn our attention to the recreational season. 

Yes, folks, summer is just around the corner and it will be time to get the piers out at Prairie Creek,  Tuhey Pool open and Canan Commons off the ground and ready for outdoor fun.

But, that’s not all.  Muncie City was awarded $150,000.00 in grant money to build a mountain bike trail and eventually extend the trail from  Cardinal Greenway to Prairie Creek campgrounds.   This will be interesting to watch and view the progress.  Let’s hope the weather holds out and we can get it completed in a timely manner and within cost. Read the rest of this entry »

Mayor Sharon McShurley’s last Chat with the Mayor ~ Video and Pictures

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One door closes and another door opens.

December 15th marked the last evening for Chat with the Mayor.  Bittersweet.

Mayor Mac began the chat as usual providing information on different areas of the city.  She introduced the department heads.  

It was in essence, a state of the city address in condensed form. .

Thank you Mayor Sharon McShurely.  You have been a wonderful mayor for our city.

Special thanks to the department heads.  You have all been great.

So without much ado, here is the video of the last Chat.

Mayor’s Chat December 15, 2011.

Thank you to the department heads and employees of the City of Muncie 

Meeting with Other Leaders _ City of Muncie, Indiana

Mayor’s Photos in the Community

 Awards and Ribbon Cuttings _ City of Muncie, Indiana