Modernization

2013 in review-Muncie Politics

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The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.  I am humbled and very grateful for your support.  Thank you very much!  Hope 2014 is even better.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 8,800 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

57 countries have visited the blog. Mostly from the United States, Canada and the UK.

The most widely read and shared post of 2013 was 6.5 Million dollar question with 235 views.

The busiest day of the year was November 6th with238 views. The most popular post that day was The $6.5 million question – Muncie Community Schools referendum-update.

Your most commented on post in 2013 was Seeking full-time Donkey Whisperers in Delaware County. Steady employment.

Again, a very big thank you to all the readers and visitors.  I can’t stress enough how humbled and grateful I am to you all.  Never expected this when I first began Muncie Politics, which really started from a pure desire to publish some type of record for posterity’s sake.  It was fun, too.

We are fortunate enough to have the tools available, for a minimal cost or even free.    Even more blessed to live where we can voice our thoughts unfettered.

Happy 2014 to all!  Wishing you all peace, health and prosperity.

Detroit’s One Man Show – George Will

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Detroit’s One Man Show – George Will

I read with interest George Will’s current column on Detroit’s plight and couldn’t mistake the parallels to Delaware County.   Although Delaware County’s financial problems are minuscule compared to Motor City, the resemblance is striking.

In March, Detroit’s City Council agreed to 21 stipulations needed for reform.  The city council ignored it.

In June,  Delaware County was handed a $25,000 study with suggestions to bring the budget in line with revenue streams.  It has been largely ignored.  One item in the study was acted on,  a move towards additional taxes.  Fortunately, that was shut down quickly.

Detroit is also in a pickle with their pensions.  Delaware County has never really gotten a handle on the sheriff’s pensions.

Detroit has bonds, so does Delaware County.  We owe.  Will’s column touches on the cost of those bonds should Detroit’s creditors receive pennies on the dollar.  It’s possible that future bond issuances may come to municipalities at a higher financial cost.

Detroit has layers of bureaucracy, so does Delaware County.  Delaware County, has a population of 120,000 or the size of an average city.  Last year voters  soundly rejected an attempt to reorganize the county, decrease the layers of government.  A campaign of misinformation by both party headquarters was amazing in and of itself.  The current mayor donated $5,000.00 out of his campaign coffer to help defeat  modernization.  His position would have been eliminated.  $5,000 from donors is a small price to pay to retain $72,000 salary plus benefits and control over millions of dollars.

Kevyn Orr, appointed to oversee Detroit’s bankruptcy observed “the fact that people had gotten used to the city like this — people were tolerating the abnormal.”

So goes, Delaware County.

I would like to believe the voters would refuse to allow the county to continue in this financial decay, yet every council member retained their positions.  One exception, Commissioner Todd Donati was ousted from office, but quickly hired by the City of Muncie.  Within months of his appointment, he has indebted the city close to $10 million dollars.    When you vote, you’re are not just voting for the person.  You are also giving the elected official the power to place people in positions to oversee millions of dollars in spending.

Is it like this everywhere?  Possibly.  Our neighboring county, Henry, advertises  their appointments and interested parties must submit resumes.    Take that procedure for what it’s worth.

Public Question and Delaware County 2012 Ballot

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Public question: Shall Delaware County, Indiana and City of Muncie, Indiana, reorganize as a single political subdivision?

Supporting consolidation and modernization, vote Yes.

So, here we are at the brink of voting for reorganization and modernization in our county.  After nearly five years, it’s on the ballot.

You might be asking, why do I support consolidation?  I believe it will usher in a smaller and more transparent government.  Currently, there are 47 separate taxing entities in the county.  Most can’t recite even four.  I can’t.  Nevertheless, we have on the table a plan for reorganization.

To give you a little background.  The reorganization began in 2007, when a group of citizens garnered over 2200 signatures to get the ball rolling.  From there it was voted up, voted down, board disbanded and new appointments made, until the finished plan was completed in 2010.  From there it sat gathering dust for nearly a year, as neither Muncie City Council or Delaware County Commissioners bothered to meet and modify the plan.  One wonders if they even read the plan.   I know members of City Council were asked their thoughts on the reorganization, and they sat  looking blankly at the citizen.  Where’s the Democrat handlers when you need them?

Finally, Linda Gregory spoke and defined the plan perfectly.  She would as she spent time explaining the plan to citizens at her monthly meetings.

But today, we have a wealth of misinformation being circulated by those that have never even bothered to read the plan.  You ask how I know this?  I’ve been out and about listening to people explain why they are voting No.  So, I wonder, are these elected people ignorant of the plan or does their agenda include spreading as much false information as possible?  Don’t know.  Either way, it does the citizens a disservice.

To make it fun, let’s discuss some of the things being said.

“Public safety is in danger and we won’t have a sheriff.”  No, public safety won’t change.  Muncie will still have MPD and the County will still have Sheriff Department   The sheriff position is in the constitution, so this position is here to stay.

“Dennis Tyler will control the county.”  No, the mayor position will be eliminated and Dennis Tyler isn’t qualified to be the county executive.

“Your taxes will go up.”   That may be a possibility and really has nothing to do with reorganization.  Remember, your property is capped, so you do have a level of insurance.

“They just want to get rid of the elected officials.”  I’m not sure who “they” may be.  Consider this, the reorganization began in 2007 and there has been a turn over of elected officials.  Realizing the comment lacked credibility, it was continued to single out along-time city council member.  Yep, we spend all our time on modernization and consolidation to rid ourselves of Mary Jo Barton?

Some of the reasons are comical, as the Barton one, some are serious accusations with no basis in fact.  I would suggest you read the plan, if you haven’t already and decide for yourself.

I’ll leave you with this opinion piece from the local newspaper.

Learning from Nashville Experience

Vote Yes For Reorganization

Somewhere over the rainbow…

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Coming up Wednesday May 30, 2012, there will be a special meeting of Delaware County Council.  Some of the topics and decisions to be had will be, returning the pay and hours back for the county workers,  bond issues and amending the salary ordinance.

Some of you may remember last fall when Delaware County  voted to close the County Building on Friday and decrease the pay by three hours as a cost saving measure.  I haven’t heard the savings and one wonders if the county has suddenly found itself solvent since last year. Read the rest of this entry »

Will Old Acquaintances Be Forgotten….

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Happy Old Year, Delaware County!  Behold, all things new are now all things old.

Most of us have read George Orwell’s famous novel 1984.  A fictional and futuristic book full of manipulation, one party control and from where the term Big Brother became a household name.  The story’s main character, Winston, holds a position  in the Ministry of History and his duty is to rewrite according to the Party.  Winston decides to keep a diary of historical fact.

Another key character is O’Brien, a powerful Party member.

Winston is summoned to  O’Brien’s beautiful apartment where Winston is convinced by O’Brien he is part of the Brotherhood and is working to overthrow the Party.

Unfortunately, Winston is arrested by the Thought Police and O’Brien spends months brainwashing the poor guy.

Winston is separated from his true love, Julia, and while he is being indoctrinated into the Party he finally snaps and gives her over to O’Brien. This was goal of O’Brien and the Party all along.  When Winston is finally reunited with Julia he is void of feeling for her.  He has completely given his life, mind, soul to Big Brother and the Party.

As is characteristic of all great novels written circa 1934, there is always a moral to the story.

So, you may be wondering what Mr. Orwell’s novel has to do with 2012 and the progress of our Nation, State, County and City.  Although George’s ideas seemed a little extreme, all extremists have a measure of truth.

Let’s take a look at Delaware County for example.

Of course, we aren’t actually living in Big Brotherville, for now, we still have the First Amendment and I would suggest you read it again if you have forgotten it.

A progressive move that makes Mr. Orwell’s Party characterization similar in nature to Delaware County, is the appointing of board members.  Appointments to the county fair board was required to be evenly distributed among the parties.  Since this didn’t happen, the next best thing is to just change the ordinance to fit the appointments.

This is progressive thinking, folks.  (Sorry there is no link.  The county link takes you to the EDIT fund ordinance.)

In the city of Muncie, we’re clipping right along.  How can you not vote for someone who worked so hard to get screens and bulletin boards in his work place?  The assurance Mayor Elect Tyler was able to work across party lines can’t be any more clear than this:

Asked if he expected to name any Republican department heads, Tyler laughed a little and said, “I doubt it. We have more than enough qualified Democrats.”

SP 11-28-11

For District 34 State Representative,  the Party precinct committee members chose Mike White over Lewis Coulter.  The only surprise  was that Mike White was even considered for the position.    Mike believes his work as a ’60’s activist will serve Delaware county well in Indianapolis.  He certainly has the look for it.

The City and County elected officials have their own consolidation going on.

Can’t find qualified Democrats in the city to fill  administration’s slots?  Let’s branch out to the county and pull from their pool of employees.  If the best of the best is being recruited to work for the city, where does that leave the county?

As we live precariously in the past, a letter to the editor imploring Mayor Elect Dennis Tyler to bring back Ron Bonham.  Certainly, the city can afford to pay an additional $140,000 to keep Prairie Creek reservoir open.  And why stop there, as soon as possible, let’s get Mr. Bonham back into the Commissioner’s seat.  We can always use a new sewer system.

The position has been filled, and it wasn’t with Ron Bonham.  Maybe now, he can finally retire in peace.

Of course, I hope most of you understand this is written in jest.  Nevertheless, we are totally represented by one party sect in the City, most of the County and State.  I hope you realize that every person appointed to positions of power and to boards are deeply vested in this same party.  Come January 1st, they own the good, the bad and the ugly.

If Mr. Orwell was alive today, perhaps he could write a sequel to 1984.  The perfect title?  2012.

Civic Manners, 2012 Election, Consolidation, Good Old Boys Club and 911

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A guest column by German Cruz titled “Vulgarity in our civil affairs”gets to the heart of what ails Delaware County.  As always, Mr. Cruz is elegant in his presentation of local events.  His words, no matter how majestic, no matter how true, will undoubtedly fall on deaf ears and blinded eyes.  

After the 2010 primary votes were tallied, the  local Democrat party ended the evening in a loss.   A clean sweep  by Team Democrat candidates found the Democrat Headquarters’ supported candidates not making it out of the gate. 

With the physical ejection of the media,  and the public forums lit up with the disdain for the winning candidates, one wonders…does it really matter if it is a victory or a defeat?  Vulgarity is displayed regardless if it is a win or lose election.

Then as now, there was no apology given to the press or the citizens for their behavior…there is no need, the actions are justified and even supported.

Now, before you say this is something new and civility and ethics have reigned supreme long before Lee Hamilton spoke at Minnetrista, I would like to take you back a decade when newly elected Republican Joe Russel introduced a code of ethics to the county council.

New council President Joe Russell proposed the code of ethics, which included pledges to represent the interests of taxpayers and ‘not use my service on county council for my own personal advantage or for the advantage of my friends or supporters.’

 Veteran council Democrat Todd Donati was more critical in his assessment.

‘I think it was uncalled for,’ Donati said. ‘All of us know what our job is; we don’t need it restated by some Republican thinking.’

SP 1-4-2001

As much as I would love to claim ethics and civility as Republican thinking, it would be in vain.   Ethics and civility is more an individual characteristic, and those which practice it in their personal lives normally carry it into the political arena.   They align themselves with others of like mind.  In the past four  years, having been introduced to several Democrat and Republican  political figures, it’s encouraging to find  ethics and civility isn’t just talk.  We need to support this these types of candidates and elected officials.  All parties.

Now, more than ever before, the people are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless, and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness, and corruption. If it be intelligent, brave, and pure, it is because the people demand these high qualities to represent them in the national legislature.  ]f the next centennial does not find us a great nation … it will be because those who represent the enterprise, the culture, and the morality of the nation do not aid in controlling the political forces.  James A. Garfield

Moving on to another opinion piece,  Larry Riley’s regular column begins to address the 2012 election.  Specifically, the county race in Circuit Court 2.  Running with the Team Democrat is Kim Dowling which has been campaigning since the 2011 primary.  She will be one to watch.  Don Dunnuck, currently the county commissioner and a long-standing Democrat insider, has announced his intentions to run.  Mike Quirk, Democrat Party chair, announced his sister will seek the same office as Dowling and Dunnuck.    It’s still early, but Kim Dowling is the best of the three.

If you are interested in modernization and consolidation, Riley’s column is spot on.  A good read.

Moving on to the lead story, Tyler: No ‘good old boys club”, Mayor-elect Dennis Tyler promises Muncie will not be lead by the “good old boys”. 

 O.K. 

 But, what is far more interesting is his comments on the 911 lawsuit.  This lawsuit alleges the city has been over charged for 911 services by the county for at least a decade.  The suit cites an interlocal agreement from 1987 which spells out the costs the city is obligated to pay. 

Outgoing mayor, Sharon McShurley, believed the city should not bear the majority of expenses, and the county said we should. 

Mayor-elect Dennis Tyler and Democrats seemed a little more than perturbed the public was eyeing the 911 lawsuit with suspicion.  And why not? 

Immediately after Tyler’s win, the paper reported Delaware County council members talking about how they would spend the money.  The attorney for the county, Mike Quirk, which is also the Democrat party chair, and rumored to become the city’s attorney, said he wanted to spare the city the cost of a lawsuit.  Commissioner Todd Donati wants it gone, too.

These are all people very closely aligned to Tyler.  With all of this, it would be hard not to view it with suspicion.

And the county which is millions of dollars in debt, needs the money. 

It will barely make a dent.

Vulgarity in our civic affairs Star Press 11-27-11

Next year’s politics offer even more Star Press 11-27-11

Tyler: No ‘good old boys club” Star Press 11-27-11

911 dispute delayed again Star Press 11-29-11

A word on consolidation

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 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.

In Larry Riley’s column Sunday(11-20-11) he mentions a brief conversation with Delaware County Commissioner Todd Donati.  

Dismissively waiving his hand, Donati grinned and suggested, “We don’t need to vote on consolidation.”

The allusion would be to the referendum next November on completely reorganizing Muncie and Delaware County into one political unit, something Donati and fellow Democrats do not want to see

With both City and County under the control of one political party, the consolidation as alluded by President Donati will be one that will not include the voters or citizens of Delaware County.  In fact, the vote has already been tainted by the 67% threshold.

As with the proposed animal control in 2010, which combined services, it was not in the best interest of the city residents.  E911 is another interlocal agreement which has been fuzzy for at least a decade.  One that has not been favorable to…city residents.  I believe the law suit should go to the finish line.  If the city is favored, we can be assured the truth has been revealed.  If the city doesn’t prevail, we can be assured the truth has been revealed.  Let’s dispel any doubts and go into the new administration with a clean slate.

Can Delaware county do it?  Your guess is as good as mine.

Where the county imagines possibilities

Animal Control-What’s it all about?

Update: Muncie During Mayor McShurley’s Administration

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A few weeks ago a blog entry titled “Not Getting Along With Anybody” I promised to expound on some of my favorite things.  Well, time has certainly flown by, so don’t believe it will be done before November 8th!

What I will offer you, is the original list of 45 things which happened during her administration updated with additional events.   Information on the Madison Street Project (#38) is at the end of this post.

I have always supported Sharon McShurley.  After doing this research and pulling together the information, I gained a new appreciation for the Administration, Department Heads and City Employees.  Folks, this is a real team of people, dedicated, hardworking and willing to move our city forward even under the most trying times.  This is my THANK YOU!  You have all been great!

Let’s keep our city moving forward, as you can see it has been progressing.  Don’t allow the naysayers to tell you different. 

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

7. Brevini

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)

14. MAP

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 (Contracts for 39 more buildings including deconstruction awarded October 2011)

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(see below for more detail)

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

46. Sidewalk on Madison and Washington replaced

47. Park improvements to McCulloch Park, parking, playground equipment and updated basketball court

48. 2011 will end with a financial reserve

49. Mayor McShurley invited to speak at Progress Rail’s open house

50. Submitted a 2012 budget which includes staffing public safety at current levels

51. Creating a Parks Program Director (possible by combining two park jobs)

52. Downtown master plan initiated (Muncie Action Plan driven)

53. Proposed bonus for employees (city employees and department heads have helped make the city run more efficiently, this will be a minimal amount from the reserve) Contrary to popular belief this was addressed last summer at a Mayor’s Chat.

54. 30 projects funded by state and federal dollars dormant prior to 2008 were organized (paperwork was sparse)

55. Benchmarked the city to measure city’s progress

56. 2009 Street Department – used mixture of beet juice and salt on ice and snow

57.  City Hall updated landscape to “Dry” landscape.  Less water and less maintenance=less expense.

58. Member of the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns, which meets monthly (see #13)

59. $150,000 grant to implement bike trails at Prairie Creek. 

Madison Street Project

The project entails improving ADA accessibility and installing new traffic signal equipment at the intersections of Madison Street that have signals from Wysor Street south to 29th Street. The upcoming construction will improve Madison’s intersections with Wysor, Washington, Adams, Charles, Kirby, Willard, Ninth, Memorial, 15th and 18th, and remove the signal at 21st street due to lack of need. (Press release 9-13-2011)

People Before Poltics ~ Part One

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Current incumbent, Alison Quirk’s new mailer. quirk flyer 2.

In her mailer it states she learned Muncie moves forward when we all work together.  She is correct.   With a city council filled to the brim with  Democrat party loyalists we haven’t seen much moving forward. (Not including Linda Gregory, as she is the only Democrat which has shown any willingness to work for the people.)

So without much ado,  here is a short list of how they moved the city forward:

  1. It took three years for modernization (2008 to 2011)
  2. A span of 18 months passed with only two budget meetings (2008-2009)
  3. Introduced LOIT (Local Option Income Tax) without addressing the budget (2009)
  4. Never met with department heads (in three years 2008-2011)
  5. Fought against Prairie Creek Reservoir becoming self-sustaining (2008)
  6. Foolishly and haphazardly cut the budget – reducing the animal control to nearly closing and leaving the city in the dark (2009)
  7. Created an illegal rainy day fund (2009)
  8. Over four years to revive the Land & Traffic committee – which hasn’t accomplished much (2011)
  9. Had the opportunity to discuss railroad crossing with Norfolk Southern, and came to the meeting unprepared to ask pertinent questions (2011)
  10. Refused to entertain the possibility of Muncie receiving $4 million dollars (2011)
  11. No incentive to update the ordinances to increase revenue (2008-2011)
  12. Crafted the 2010 budget cuts without the full finance committee’s knowledge – excluding the only Republican finance committee member in the final budget (2009)
  13. Nine months to appoint a finance committee (2011)
  14. Promised a more transparent government/empower the people – never realized (2009)
  15. Supporting an animal control plan which was fiscally unsound (2010)
  16. Paid $35,000 for a late-hour fiscal study on modernization – the plan was completed for nearly a year (2011)
  17. Voted for 67% threshold vote on modernization (2011)
  18. Only two city council members attended Muncie Action Plan meetings (2010)
  19. Asked security to remove a citizen from a public meeting (2008)
  20. Used their position to publicly slander local businesses at city council meeting (2008)
  21. Officials were invited to become involved in the Reorganization by implementing an advisory board and meeting monthly with the Reorganization Committee – City Council didn’t get involved (2008)
  22. Accused the controller of having “hidden” accounts-although the same transfer of funds was done in  prior years (2009)
  23. Quirk said city council will consider an ordinance to allow quarterly accounting of probation fees – no introduction of this ordinance nothing has been done (2009)
  24. Ordinance to amend Residential zoning. Council persons Barton and Murphy had conflicting reports (should have done their homework prior to the meeting) ordinance 54-09 (2009)
  25. Council received update on Muncie Action Plan and invited city council to attend (2010-January) Only two attended.  Later Barton said she couldn’t vote on Muncie Action Plan since  she didn’t know anything about it. (2010)
  26. Council received notification a presentation would be made Feb 9, 2010 to elected official on Muncie Action Plan’s status.  (See #25-Barton didn’t attend)
  27. Council received Notice Muncie Action Plan would be holding meetings on March 16th 2010.  (See #25, #26) Ditto at the June meeting
  28. July 2010 Muncie Action Plan comes before the council in a resolution.  Barton says she can’t vote on something she knows nothing about.  Marshall said he just got the information.  Please note from January to June 2010 meeting dates and time were announced at City Council meetings.  Neither attended. (July 2010)
  29. Barton complains she has listened to taxpayer groups for years complaining – regarding the $300,000 revenue received through Comcast franchise fees of which a Public Access TV Station should be funded (2010)
  30. Franchise fees were placed into the general fund under Canan administration circa 2006.  Marshall asked where the franchise fees go?  Controller says, again ,General Fund.  He should know this as the finance chairperson and 20 years as a city council official (2010)

Alison Quirk’s next paragraph addresses how frustrated we have been.  (See all above for the source of OUR frustration.) 

Let’s examine quickly three proposals/plans.  One would be the animal control proposal.  The second would be the modernization/consolidation plan and the third is Muncie Action Plan (MAP).

In December 2008 Jerry Dishman chides a citizen for commissioning a study on county-wide animal control    Calling it a waste of money and accusing the citizen of not “knowing what she is doing”.  Jerry Dishman voted to commission a fiscal study on consolidation.  Does he or city council know what they are doing?

I don’t believe it was proper for Vice President Alison Quirk to chide the mayor, council members or the citizens because we didn’t “review” their proposal to partner with Delaware County on animal control.   We did review it, and the proposal was bad news for the citizen and taxpayers of Muncie, Indiana.  Apparently the City Council wasn’t aware of the county’s lack of revenue or looming financial crisis.  We were and this is one of the many reasons citizens did not support their plan.  We felt it was reckless to enter into a parnership, relinquish our assets, and pay a fee and taxes to an entitiy whch was broke and lacked any successful animal control.

The Modernization Plan was in the works for three years.  City council never attended meetings, and there were plenty.  The finished consolidation plan sat for nearly a year and the cover wasn’t even cracked by the council.  City council commissioned a study for $35,000 at the final hour.  City council should have been looking at the plan and making decisions.   Vandenburgh County and Evansville took just five months and 51% threshold vote, compared to Delaware County’s three years and 67% vote threshold. 

Linda Gregory was involved from the start, Polk and Conatser voted yes.

Muncie Action Plan – A citizen based, community oriented plan for our city.  One full year of articles and meetings held all over the city at various dates and times.  From January to June 2010 notice of meetings and invitations for the city council to get involved at every council meeting.  Yet, as we saw, Mary Jo Barton could not vote for the resolution in July 2010 because she didn’t know anything about it.  Marshall, like wise knew nothing and said he wanted to meet with his constituents. One wonders what the results of his follow-up showed.  He never shared it at any subsequent city council meetings.

That’s it for the evening, friends.  I hope you will consider this information and vote informed.  Muncie can not continue with this type of governing.  Not anymore.

  • Mary Jo Barton – 16 years
  • Jerry Dishman – 4 years
  • Alison Quirk – 8 years

Had enough?

Vote Informed.

Muncie Animal Control

Why Muncie Need New Chief Financial Officers

Frustration and Politics Before People

An Example of Working Together

Muncie City Council: Frustration and Politics Before People

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In council woman and current at-large candidate. Alison Quirk’s recent political mailer she says it hs been frustrating for all of us.  Yes, Ms. Quirk, especially for the people of Muncie, Indiana.

The October 3rd, 2011 City Council meeting was filled with frustrated city residents.   Last month Ordinance 34-11 was introduced to amend zoning ordinance from  residential zoning to  variety business zoning for property located on Nebo Rd. 

For those not familiar with the area, it is where Meijer’s is located.  What a stink they made about how a strip club could be built on this property.  The stink stemmed from a casual comment from the nearby church.  It wasn’t even an issue.  Let’s forget the other three corners are zoned variety business, too.

I considered it a no-brainer last month, and a silly attempt by the council to show concern for the residents.  However, it did pass last night.  Duh.

Ordinance 36-11 was replacing chapter 76 addressing abandoned vehicles.  The new ordinance mirrors the state law and allows for a non-reverting fund.  In other words, the money generated from these vehicles would go into a fund to only be used in this area.  Dan Gibson, city attorney explained this fund could go for expenditures and perhaps even hiring personnel.  Well, that perked up Mary Jo Barton’s ears.  Hiring?  She seemed ill-informed on non-reverting funds, although it has been a staple of government for years.  Attorney Gibson explained the non-reverting fund and how it iw would be some time before any personnel hiring could be done.  I hope that Mary Jo Barton would realize this would be a self-funded position if revenue materialized.  I fear she didn’t.

President Sam Marshall was confused about code enforcement.  Didn’t the MPD handle this?  Deb Davis, Chief of Police, spoke to his concerns explaining the police and code enforcement worked together.  Marshall said he thought there was no more code enforcement officers.  The Chief explained to the veteran city council member, and president, the code enforcement was from the Street Department. 

Next on the agenda was Ordinance 37-11 discharging firearms in the city parks.  State law changed in July to allow weapons (guns) in the parks.  The city had to amend the ordinance to what the State of Indiana passed or face hefty fines.  Some cities and town were already being sued.  Jerry Dishman said if he was being attacked, would he not be able to discharge his weapon in a park to protect himself?  First, there has been a ordianance  for decades on discharging weapons in city parks.  Second this new law was in the paper and I believe Mayor Sharon McShurley spoke before the legislatures.  Third shouldn’t the city council be aware of the changes.  It was introduced last month.  Surely, 30 days would be enough time for the council members to get up to snuff and informed.  Apparently not.

The zoning of the Layne Crest area to include 216 apartments was tabled.  Even though the auditorium was packed with residents from this neighborhood.  A spokesperson for the people addressed many issues.  Mr. Sam Marshall said he gave her enough time to speak, and anyone which wanted to address the issue should stay at 1 minute.

Looking back at the spokesperson from Albany which addressed the city council numerous times about animal control, she was allowed to speak as often as she liked.  Never mind she was rude to a council member and said the mayor was lying.  Never mind her town would not be using this animal control.  Any friend of current  Democrat candidate Nora Powell, is a friend of city council.  See a pattern?

Sam Marshal was attentive and considerate of the people opposed to the annexation and said it was the “Right and Moral” thing to do.  Perhaps.  But again, these people didn’t live, vote or pay city property taxes and Layne Crest resident do.  Why does city council continually support legislation and ideas that hurt our city and favor those which don’t pay one penny of taxes to our city?  They can’t vote for the council, so the only other explanation is their pattern of working against our city.

So much for Alison Quirk’s campaign mailer “People before Politics”.  She will continue to search for common ground.  Always searching, and never finding.  It must make her head spin as it did on the Tuhey Pool.

The last ordinance #40-11 was to change the signage on Cardinal and Hawthorne Drives from a yield to a stop.  I am not familiar with this intersection, but a tree is in the line of sight and because of the round-a-bout on Morrison the area is seeing more traffic.  This was Marshall’s shining moment, as Stan Hiatt, contract city engineer approached the council.  He asked Mr. Hiatt “Who told you to do this?” Mr. Hiatt said he didn’t know as it just came across his desk.  Marshall jumped on the opportunity to try to discredit the Mayor, yet again.  “You don’t know who told you?”   What is so interesting, is the city council doesn’t know much and it shows in their lack of progressive movement, but yet Marshall was hoping he could get a dig in on the Mayor.  Gimme a Break, Sam.

Putting aside,the small exchange with Stan Hiatt, shouldn’t this fall under the newly rejuvenated Land and Traffic Committee?  This looks like land and this looks like traffic, to me.  Oh, but since this isn’t high on the radar as a political football, it doesn’t mean much.  Funny, how we can invest so much time in the crossing after nearly four years, but a new issue which should involve this committee draws not much attention. 

Julius Anderson is having another meeting, and this time he will have a representative from the railroad present.  This make it meeting number five.  Nobody from the Land & Traffic Committee offered to drive by the intersections to assess the need for a stop or made any indication they would discuss it with Stan Hiatt afterwards.

I can’t understand why people of Muncie don’t see these council members have done nothing in the past four years except to tear our city down.  I spoke with two people after the meeting which aren’t even city residents and they said it was embarrassing to have these people govern your city.  I concur.

Watch the video.

Correction:  Jerry Dishman didn’t say if “I” was attacked, he said if “somebody” was attacked.  Sorry about that.  This was written from memory and notes early a.m. 

Had enough?

Vote informed.