Muncie City Council

FYI: Muncie City Council changes meeting dates

Posted on

Screen Shot 2017-12-10 at 2.52.38 PM

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.

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:
Advertisements

Muncie City Council and EMS

Posted on

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…

Posted on Updated on

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

***********

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…

 

 

 

From Gearbox to Madjax – history tells a story

Posted on Updated on

Muncie City Seal copy
City of Muncie Government Seal

Sometimes the best way to see the future is to dig up the past.

Larry Riley predicted the outcome of Gearbox now Madjax.  His column appeared in the local paper on January 30, 2016.  One community member claimed Riley was biased in this column, although Riley did provide compelling arguments.

the organization has no revenue stream, no signed tenants, no record of accomplishment Source: Gearbox vs Greenspace Muncie Star Press 1-30-16

Sustainable Muncie hasn’t been around as an organization long enough yet to file its first required annual financial report, having been organized only in December of 2014. Source: Gearbox vs Greenspace Muncie Star Press 1-30-16

Another minus to Gearbox is the cost: $1 million, now guaranteed by the city (if Sustainable Muncie can’t make existing or future loan payments this year, then the city’s money kicks in, but the organization is to pay back the city by the end of this year … how?) Source: Gearbox vs Greenspace Muncie Star Press 1-30-16

So involved was Mayor Dennis Tyler no other ideas could be considered.  In fact, he was silent about another proposal,  Tom Bracken’s greenspace.  Which makes one wonder why he dismissed other ideas and put Gearbox to the feasibility test.  Or Bracken’s proposal for that matter.   Mayor Tyler brought only one idea to the public.

And that’s the end of that.

Let’s look at what has transpired since Riley’s column.  At the time, City council passed an ordinance backing $1 million to be paid back by the end of 2016.

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.

http://www.thestarpress.com/story/news/local/2016/01/04/city-council-split-1m-gearbox-loan/78135796/

We know for a fact the money was not paid back.

“The city has not issued any money as it related to this line of credit,” officials replied through city human resources director Sarah Beach last week. Donati, who is also a Sustainable Muncie board member, told TheStar Press that the board was “trying to decide what direction we want to go with” the funding for Madjax, including the original $1 million line of credit. “Eventually, something will have to be done with it. … It’s totally Sustainable Muncie’s responsibility to pay that back and they’re looking at how to get that done.”   Source: Star Press June 6, 2017

After resignations, Madjax plans the way forward

Two months after this article appeared in the paper, the citizens of Muncie were looking at a $4.5 million dollar bond.    The bond was passed with the promise of no property taxes and a training program.  But, in June, Donati and Tyler were already considering bonding for this project, we just didn’t know about it.

Interesting to note:  The City Council had little financial information in 2016 and just a smidgeon more in 2017 yet, they still voted a big fat YES in both instances.

Let’s recap:

  • January 2016 Muncie City Council voted to loan Gearbox $1 million with no financial information
  • December 2016 Loan not paid
  • June 2017 Donati said it was Sustainable Muncie’s responsibility to pay back the money
  • August 2017 Notice for public hearing on $4.5 million bond published
  • August 2017 Muncie City Council learned of Sustainable Muncie’s debt
  • August 2017 Donati said $200,000 has been set aside by Muncie Redevelopment Commission & others  for $348,000 annual bond debt repayment (Muncie Redevelopment Commission & others)
  • August 2017 Muncie City Council voted to introduce the ordinance
  • September 2017 Public Hearing for Madjax – Sustainable Muncie
  • September 2017 Muncie City Council voted to approve the bond

Madjax was not able to pay the interest-free loan in 2016 or make any payments in 2017.  Muncie Redevelopment has set aside $200,000 to guarantee the 2018 bond payment.

This is the transparent government of Mayor Dennis Tyler.  But I digress…

 

Updated: Muncie Debt & TIF

Posted on

Muncie, INYou may be interested in looking at the City of Muncie’s total debt as of 9-29-17.  For your reading pleasure see links below on the TIF obligations.  As you can see, TIF revenues (property tax dollars) hold a large share of the debt repayment.

Recently Muncie City Council added $4.5 million in debt and Mayor Dennis Tyler is wanting to bond another $3.5 million for Muncie Community Schools.  $8 million additional debt in less than one month.  Chew on it, baby.

The sad part is the TIF revenue is real property tax dollars.  The reason why TIF districts are so popular amongst government units is simple.  The money collected in the districts can be spent any which way.  Even a $4.5 million bond claiming it is for training purposes for a cash-strapped start-up company.  One in which the mayor and his appointed president of the Redevelopment Commission (MRC) sit on the board.  Go figure.

That’s all, folks!  See y’all soon.

Muncie City Total Debt 9-29-17

TIF Debt 9-28-17

City has another lawsuit

Posted on Updated on

MC900439169

Bracken sues city over $4.5-million

Bracken emphasizes the lack of transparency on this project.  This administration has been anything but transparent.

Not the end

 

MC900439169