O.K. So what if the election were held today. If you feel so inclined, cast your vote. Or not. Please remember this is not an actual vote, it is only an exercise or a poll, as it were. If we have the time, we may add the other races. Have fun! Leave a comment if you feel so inclined.
The day has finally come. The day Muncie City Council will vote on the Layne Crest neighborhood.
The room was packed full of people and I wish it was packed every month. That being said…..
Linda Gregory asked the minutes of November 1st meeting be amended to include a breakdown of Marshal’s budget cuts.
Mary Jo Barton presented Sam Marshal and Mike King each a plaque for their service on Muncie common council.
Ordinance 39-11 was first on the agenda. This is the rezoning of what has commonly been called Layne Crest.
Mr. Sam Marshall, president said he would allow one spokesperson from each side to speak.
The attorney for Campus Crest spoke first. Mr. Shockley had a compelling argument. He had drawings, studies, petitions and everything in between. He presented for nearly 30 minutes. When he finished, Sam Marshall changed his tune and said he would allow 15 people to speak at three minutes each for the neighborhood.
I would say approximately nine or ten people spoke. However, there were citizens allowed to speak not in favor of the citizens of the Layne Crest edition. In my humble opinion, Marshall should had gaveled the speakers and reminded them the purpose of the last half of the meeting. This was the time for the citizens to represent their views. How can a group of people who care for their neighborhood even begin to compete with an attorney experienced in presenting an argument, let alone the commercial drawings and promises of a better Muncie?
I’ll cut to the chase. The ordinance was passed.
Voting for the ordinance:
Voting against the ordinance:
Voting to abstain:
Alison Quirk read a prepared speech, which gave some an indication of how she might vote.
Linda Gregory said she agonized over the decision, even lost sleep. She spent time reading the ordinance, the planning commission recommendation and the zoning board’s decision.
Mark Conatser gave his opinion why this should pass.
Jerry Dishman, who was elected to represent this area of Muncie, said not a word.
I didn’t stay for the rest of the meeting. I will be surprised if Ordinance 41-11 for the approving of additional appropriations for the budget year of 2011 will be approved. This includes the $1,000 bonus for the employees. I believe the employees of Muncie have done an excellent job under some of the most gruelling and trying circumstance, and haven’t received a raise some in four or more years. Some may say they are not deserving. I may say that, myself, if I hadn’t seen the extraordinary work they produced.
Good night, Muncie.
Muncie City Council Votes for Rezoning Star Press 12-5-11
Just how much gets accomplished when the local elected officials work together?
Using the Modernization/Consolidation as one recent example. City Council voted yes on the resolution in April ’08. In July of that same year, some members of the city council felt they had been excluded (Did they not read it before voting?). So, they held a special meeting, rescinded the original resolution and appointed their own to the committee. One council person voted yes on his own nomination.
Then in November ’08 the ordinance was tabled. Nearly a year after the first ordinance was approved, the council finally said yes and the planning began. For another full year the reorganization committee met. The public and elected officials were invited.
Once the plan was completed and given to both city council members and county commissioners, it sat idle with no movement for almost 11 months until the governing bodies hired a firm for $70,000 to assess the financial aspect. Delaware County and Muncie City took nearly three years to come to a consensus. Compare to Yorktown and Mount Peasant’s one year of planning.
Or our neighbors on the southwest corner of the state where Vanderburgh County Commissioners , spent just five months meeting and discussing their consolidation with Evansville.
VANDERBURGH COMMISSIONERS VOTE FOR MERGER: Vanderburgh County Commissioners have taken one of the final steps needed to place a question on merging city and county governments before for the voters next year (Gootee, Evansville Courier & Press). During their meeting Tuesday night, Commissioners Marsha Abell and Lloyd Winnecke supported the resolution which enables a referendum in November 2012, while Commissioner Stephen Melcher voted against it. Now for the plan officials have spent the last five months discussing to get onto the ballot, the Evansville City Council must approve the exact same resolution as the commissioners. The City Council is scheduled to vote on the proposal Sept. 26. Melcher’s lone dissenting vote came as no surprise after his own proposal adding a so-called voter threshold died without a vote after neither Abell or Winnekce seconded it. Under a threshold, city voters and those who live outside city limits would have had to give separate majority approval for the two governments to merge. The proposal being considered requires a simple countywide majority from voters at the polls for the new government structure to take effect in January 2015.
The City of Evansville passed the ordinance on September 26, 2011.
The March 2011 Common Council meeting saw no discussion on the modernization. With the meeting about to adjourn after 15 minutes, a man approached the council. His question was valid. “What are your thoughts about the consolidation?” Silence, until the citizen prodded for an answer. Alison Quirk said we would hear the city council’s thoughts at the public meeting. Council woman, Linda Gregory, spoke to the issue. Marshall said he thought Gregory was on the reorganization committee. He can read a plan about a woman’s daycare idea, but knows nothing about the consolidation committee?
Here is an excerpt from a letter to the editor on that meeting:
“It made me wonder whether council members had seriously studied the proposal. Had council members actively engaged their constituents about the proposal? Were council members waiting to receive a script to follow or to be informed how to vote before they spoke?”
Linda Gregory had studied the issues and complexities of government reorganization. Linda Gregory had discussed reorganization with her constituents at her monthly meetings. Linda Gregory did not wait for the party leadership to tell her what to think or how vote or when to speak or not speak. And Linda Gregory shared her ideas with the audience.
Friends, words and deeds tell us much about ourselves and the candidates we elect. So does silence.” Muncie Star Press April 21, 2011.
After three years of voting it up, voting it down, public hearing, no discussion, not reading the finished plan, and paying $70,000 for a “fiscal study” only to come up with two changes. The 67% voting threshold, a political move designed to lessen your vote, and protecting the public defenders.
This is what happens when the elected officials currently in office “work together”. Nothing gets done and it ends up costing the citizens.
Folks, this is not good government. It is Muncie City Council government.
The September 18th edition of the Muncie Star Press newspaper featured an opinion piece written by local columnist, Larry Riley. In his column he addressed the complaint about Mayor of Muncie, Sharon McShurley, and her inability to get along with others.
You will most often hear this on local cyber bulletin boards. When one takes the time to speak to this issue and begin to cite examples of the many groups, organizations and people the Mayor has worked with over the three plus years of her administration, the usual comeback is something like this “They are scared of her.”
Other times in casual conversation, I have been asked what my thoughts are about the Mayor’s inability to work with others. Basically, I speak to the same issues found in Riley’s column.
I am not sure how many of you have had the pleasure to meet our Mayor or listen to her speak, but certainly she doesn’t strike fear in the hearts of those which have come in contact with her.
One of the biggest pet peeves of those which perpetrate this and various other pieces of silly misinformation, is the success of Prairie Creek reservoir. For some unknown reason, this gets under their skin. For the life of me, I can’t understand why. Who in their right mind would find fault in a park which cost the city $140,000.00 additional taxes in 2007, to a park which netted revenue of $130,000 in 2010?
Those which followed the cost of the park from previous years, understand this only happened with careful planning, successful grant writing and placing the best qualified people in key positions to get it done. Others would argue she put the fear of God into them.
After attending nearly every Mayor’s Chat for the past few years, I don’t get the sense the department heads are chewing their nails from fear of the Mayor. Mostly, you will find a relaxed, friendly and inviting atmosphere.
That being said, I have put together a short list of some of the things which have occurred under this administration. I hope to expound on my favorite success stories later. But for now, I will leave you to ponder some of my favorite things, then you won’t feel so bad…
1. HUD funds restored/off federal monitoring list
2. Prairie Creek self-sustaining-major improvements
3. Canan Commons
4. Tuhey Pool
5. Progressive Rail
6. Indiana Stamping
8. Hamilton County officials & Mayor meet with Senator Bayh to retain 700 jobs
9. Wheel Tax spent wisely
10. Ivy Tech Downtown
11. Brought city through major budget crisis without raising taxes
12. Building Commission-self-sustaining
13. Presented before legislatures as representative of IACT (Indiana Association of Cities and Towns)
15. Implementation of HPG (High Performance Government paid with a grant)
16. Vetoed 67% threshold vote on Consolidation
17. Invited on economic development investment venture, paid for by private funds
18. Energy Grant –replace traffic lights, heating cooling high-efficiency unit
19. 3 year street painting (nothing done prior to 2007)
20. Blight tackled
21. Governor Arts Walk
22. Muncie Police Department software upgrade, partnering with Ball State on crime mapping
23. Cable Commission active again/working to provide private funding for PAC and create an account to deposit the funds
24. Improved snow removal
25. One of three cities nationally to win “Green City Award”
26. U.S. Attorney, Joe Hogsett, toured Muncie giving “high marks” for building deconstruction program
27. White River Blvd. paved more for less
28. Paving of several streets, including Mock, 18th, 12th, Centennial, Tillotson, Bethel, Willard, Main, Jackson (list is not exhaustive)
29. Walk of Fame Heekin Park
30. Paved Tillotson Fire station parking lot
31. Restored Deputy Fire Chief position
32. Completed Muncie Parks Five Year Plan
33. Completed inventory on City of Muncie owned properties (found properties forgotten)
34. Improved City website
35. Engaging citizens in volunteerism (MAP & government)
36. Vetoed City Council’s animal control ordinance giving all city assets to a county facing severe financial problems
37. Working on design to eliminate congestion at Chadam & Clara lane vicinity
38. Madison Street Signal light project to begin in 2012
39. Received funds to improve railroad crossings through downtown
40. Monthly meetings with citizens (Chat with the Mayor)
41. Appointing qualified and experienced department heads
42. Madison intersections 26 & 29th upgraded
43. City administration not requesting line of credit to meet budget
44. Whiteley Community Council and administration working together on neighborhood fire station (this station will receive remodeling and Buley Center a grant)
45. Gift of $30,000 from Muncie Endurathon for PCR playground equipment
On September 12, a public hearing at 6:00 PM on Ordinance 38-11 Budget and Tax Rates. There is nothing to really to be said about the public hearing.
Some highlights you can expect at the city council meeting will include Ordinance 24-11 amending Ordinance 20-08 Meijers-Menard annexation.
Ordinance 17-11 vacate 9th & 10th Streets at railroad tracks. Now, this one is really interesting. If you will recall, a meeting to discuss the closing of these streets was canceled due to no official public notification. A second meeting was held and this one was just to get the invite list together for the public meeting to be held on September 14th.
In July the ordinance was tabled, in August there was an attempt to bring it back on the table by Linda Gregory. That didn’t happen. Yet, the Land & Traffic committee is holding a public meeting on an ordinance that hasn’t even been introduced. You have got to love the peculiarities of how the city council operates. I would imagine this ordinance will be introduced Monday night. Finally.
Another interesting thing. The superintendent of Public Works, contacted Julius Anderson and asked if Anderson could forward the questions the city council wanted answered on the closing. Unfortunately, Anderson didn’t have the questions as he said the recording equipment was broken. No it wasn’t. Anderson suggested he contact a member of Citizens of Delaware County for Good Government and see if someone had a copy.
Friday, the Democrat Headquarters’s supported candidates held a press conference and pledged a clean campaign. Democrats pledge to run a clean campaign 9-9-11.
The signers of the pledge (not to be confused with the signers of the Declaration of Independence) although this could become a historical document:
Mary Jo Barton
Yep, it’s an election year in Muncie, Indiana.
It’s time to tell the local politicians to LET THE PEOPLE DECIDE!!
The Delaware County Commissioners and the Muncie City Council will have a joint Public Hearing on their AMENDED Reorganization Plan on:
Tuesday, June 14, 2011 @ 6:00 pm
Commissioners Courtroom, Room 309
Delaware County Building, Muncie, IN
In February 2008, over 2,200 local registered voters and citizens petitioned the local governments to reorganize and modernize Muncie and Delaware County. A bipartisan committee of 8 very dedicated local citizens appointed by our local governing bodies worked extremely hard for well over a year to craft a very progressive and comprehensive Muncie-Delaware County Plan of Reorganization . This effort would move Muncie and Delaware County out of the 19th century and into the 21st century reducing layers of bureaucracy, consolidating and unifying the local governing authority and public services to represent everyone equitably and efficiently. No more double dinging the taxpayers through multiple layers of government, no more taxation without representation by a COIT Council controlled by the Muncie City Council and many other antiquated and expensive concerns could be addressed in this reorganization.
For nearly a year, the County Commissioners and Muncie City Council allowed this Plan to gather dust as it sat on their desks wholly ignored until the statutory deadline forced their hands. At the midnight hour, a 2-person “committee” comprised of Todd Donati and Sam Marshall, who never had an open meeting to discuss or reveal their intentions, and after throwing $70,000.00 of taxpayer money at a financial impact study in an attempt to provide themselves “cover”, simultaneously sabotaged the future public referendum on this initiative by amending the plan to require a 2/3’s (66.67%) Supermajority approval at the polls in November 2012.
This folks, speaks volumes to the agenda of our County elected officials and the 5 members of the City Council that supported this amendment to the Reorganization Plan. After being forced by a citizen-driven initiative to seriously consider broad sweeping changes to our archaic local governments, our elected officials have now shown their true colors in a last ditch desperate measure to deny the citizenry and sustain the status quo. This ought to infuriate any voting citizen who believes and participates in our democratic processes.
To make matters even worse, our illustrious elected officials have strategically orchestrated this subversive maneuver in such a manner as to occur at the very last possible moment in the statutory timeline so as to minimize, if not nullify, the public’s response. Thanks to our local legislative bodies, there will be ONLY ONE OPPORTUNITY to speak out against this Supermajority requirement and that will be at the meeting on Tuesday, June 14th at 6:00 pm in the Commissioner’s Courtroom, Room 309, County Building in Muncie.
PLEASE REMEMBER THIS!!..
IT DOESN’T REQUIRE A “SUPERMAJORITY VOTE” TO ELECT AN INDIVIDUAL TO A POLITICAL OFFICE!…
IT DOESN’T REQUIRE A “SUPERMAJORITY VOTE” FOR A LEGISLATIVE BODY TO ADOPT LEGISLATION (INCLUDING THESE OBSCENE AMENDMENTS TO OUR REORGANIZATION PLAN)!….
IT DIDN’T REQUIRE A “SUPERMAJORITY VOTE” TO ELIMINATE INDIANA’S TOWNSHIP ASSESSORS!….
IT DIDN’T REQUIRE A “SUPERMAJORITY VOTE” TO RECENTLY CHANGE OUR STATE CONSTITUTION TO INCLUDE PROPERTY TAX CAPS!….
IT WON’T REQUIRE A “SUPERMAJORITY VOTE” TO CONSIDER INDIANA’S MARRIAGE AMENDMENT TO OUR STATE CONSTITUTION….
IT DANG-GONE WELL SHOULDN’T REQUIRE A “SUPERMAJORITY VOTE” FOR MUNCIE AND DELAWARE COUNTY CITIZENS TO DECIDE ON OUR FUTURE (NOT THE SELF-SERVING “PROFESSIONAL” LOCAL POLITICIANS) WHEN IT COMES TO HOW WE CHOOSE TO BE GOVERNED….
In a nutshell, whether in favor or opposed to the Plan, Muncie and Delaware County voters are at the threshold of having a once in a lifetime opportunity of HISTORICAL PROPORTIONS. We would like to think (and hope) that you would want to be a part of it. We would also like to think that as Americans, Muncie and Delaware County citizens you would want to have this very important consideration fairly adjudicated by a vote of the people in a manner consistent with the the way we decide upon all our other governing and political issues.
We sincerely hope to see you at the County Building on Tuesday evening…….
Poison Ivy in the fall
Sam Marshall, president of Muncie City Council introduced changes to the Modernization and Consolidation.
Here it is in a nutshell. For this to pass in 2012, there must be a vote of 66 2/3 vote. A majority vote is 51%.
Jim Arnold asked if they would like the same to be applied to them…at the polls.
Another speaker asked if the City Council had the authority to speak for the county on this 66 2/3 vote. The usual him-hawing and finally, I believe it was Marshall, said it had to match the county. I was told, but can’t confirm, the county passed the same tonight.
It is so obvious to any person that has a brain, this was an attempt to destroy the people’s right to vote. Raising the vote to an outrageous 67% is nothing short of self-serving and party line government leadership.
Voting for the 66 2/3 vote was (in alphabetical order):
- Julius Anderson Democrat (up for re-election) District 6
- Mary Jo Barton Democrat (up for re-election) District 3
- Jerry Dishman Democrat (up for re-election) District 5
- Sam Marshall Democrat
- Alison Quirk Democrat (up for re-election) At Large
Voting against the 66 2/3 vote was (in alphabetical order):
- Mark Conatser* Republican (up for re-election) District 2
- Linda Gregory* Democrat (up for re-election) At Large
- Mike King Democrat
- Brad Polk* Republican (up for re-election) District 4
There is no gentle way to say this, these city council members are destroying our city and have shown nothing but lip service on her behalf. It is time to vote them out of office in November. And we need to do the same in 2012 on the county level.
They have been poisoning our city for decades and it has gradually been seeping into our roots. “Round Up” the voters and let’s remove the poison from our city.
*Good city council members.
The total presentation lasted approximately 45 minutes. Commissioner Todd Doanati laid down the ground rules. (Those were his words, not mine.) There was to only be questions from the council members and the attorneys. For the city, Joe Hunter and for the county it was Jack Quirk. (Mike Quirk abruptly resigned.) Missing from the city council was Mary Jo Barton (no surprise, there) and Mark Conatser (big surprise). If memory serves me correctly, Mark & Linda Gregory were the only council members which were familiar with the Modernization and Consolidation proposal. I don’t remember seeing Jerry Dishman.
Mr. Donati made a point to ask the representative from Crowe-Horwath if the company had enough time to do a thorough job on such short notice. The answer was a resounding YES. Mr. Donati just doesn’t get it. He along with the other usual suspects aren’t listening to their constituents. The problem was not the late hour of the study, but their total disregard and lack of interest on an important proposal given to them June 2010.
In 2006 legislation was passes giving local governments the legal right to consolidate. In 2007, neither city or county took the initiative. A group of citizens gathered over 2500 signatures forcing the hand of our elected officials to move on this marvelous tool. From the passage in 2006 we saw the Kernan-Shepard Report with recommendations that would save our state millions of dollars.
In 2008 the voters went to the polls and we consolidated all of the assessors. Saving over $100,000 and creating a more uniform department. As far as I know, not one single citizen has suffered pain from this first step at consolidation. Countless articles have been written, in fact it was even brought up at the League of Women Voters candidate forum in 2007.
The reason I am giving you all this background is simply to let you know the elected officials have let us down by allowing a good proposal to gather dust for nearly one full year. Certainly with all of the budget meetings, a combined budget of nearly 80 million dollars and knowledge of how the city and county are structured, the commissioners and city council should have been able to reasonably assess the proposal. However, because they lacked the will to do so, at the final hour both entities commissioned a study for $70,000.00.
For goodness sakes. As many times as the resolution/ordinance has been voted on and voted down and tabled and then voted on again, you would think there would be some interest shown on their part when the proposal was finally completed.
But, I digress.
It was hard to follow the financials without having it in your hands. The cost analysis was on a screen and unless you were sitting very close, it would have been nearly impossible to read it. Still, this is what I gleaned from the presentation. I hesitate to put the numbers out there as I can’t guarantee they are 100% accurate. Still, this is what my notes read.
A side by side study of current tax rates. The company used use this to determine what tax rates would be if the sheriff departments was paid for by the unincorporated cities/towns. All Delaware County pays into this budget now. They used the 2011 budgets for both the city and county, took into account debt and revenue to estimate tax rates/levies. (None of the taxing entities such as the library were considered.) City would pay .68 and Center Township would pay .33 more.. For example, because the city taxes are so high now and Perry Township taxes are so low, they would see an increase.
Mayor Sharon McShurley said if the consolidation of Yorktown and Mount Pleasant went through this will increase the tax rate. The representative said that was correct.
I hope to have the video link to post tomorrow.
Now, some of the candidates asking for our vote were at the scene. Jim Arnold candidate for District 5, Murray Barthomome candidate for Council-at Large, Doug Marshall, and Nora Powell.
That’s all, folks. The public hearing is tomorrow night 6:00 PM at the Horizon Convention Center. Expect a media blitz of solid information from the reorganization Committee.
Just finished watching the City Council meeting for December 6, 2010. Last one of the year, folks. Of course, since it is the same old song and dance, the meetings seem to run together. It’s hard to distinguish January 2010 from December 2010.
Some of the highlights of the meeting. MSD funding two positions for City Hall, apparently something they have been doing for years. That is, until the current city council decided to cut the positions . Since, MSD wouldn’t (or couldn’t) receive any services for the money, they did what any respectable government entity should do. No payments for no services rendered.
Nothing is more amazing to me, then veteran city council members which have been addressing city business for decades, having no idea on how or why or when something concerning Muncie has occurred. Sam Marshall didn’t remember the annexation of parts of Mt. Pleasant, although he voted for it. Neither Mary Jo Barton, Sam Marshall or Alison Quirk seemed to know much about MSD funded positions.
Next on the agenda was the payment of the leases as agreed by members of the city council. You know, as part of the Safer Grant.
Jim Arnold opined in a recent letter to the editor:
” The December City Council business included a request to transfer funds from the Rainy Day Fund to the appropriate account to pay the leases for the Center Township stations through March and April of next year when the leases expire.
Before the nine to zero vote approving the transfer, Mary Jo Barton and Sam Marshall performed the obligatory barrage of accusatory budget questions about where the Center Township Payments went, and implications that the money for the lease payments should have been put into the Rainy Day Fund even though that fund didn’t exist at the time the budget was created.
Let’s recap. The Center Township agreement provided the money to pay the salaries for the 22 recalled firefighters until the SAFER grant money is received from the federal government. Per that City Council approved agreement; the City would honor the lease payments for the two Center Township stations through March and April of 2011. Finally, the budget cuts orchestrated by Sam Marshall reduced the line items for those lease payments to zero to prevent the Mayor from utilizing the CT fire stations beyond the end of the lease.” SP 2-9-10
In December ’08, when the DCHS (Delaware County Humane Society) came before the council to present the animal control ideal, one of the concerns presented by members of the council was if the new proposal would allow AC employees to keep their jobs. 11 months later, the same city council cut the job they were trying to keep.
Who’s on first?
View the City Council meeting in its entiretiy, if you dare.
A specal note: Government meeting videos are brought to you by the Citizens of Delaware County For Property Tax Repeal at no cost to the citizens of Delaware County