Nora Powell

The Rant…

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Thomas Jefferson No constitution defies our concience

This is going to be a rant.  A full-fledged rant.  Most of it centers around the state of the city and how we feel about a city-run EMS and even an elected official or two.  It may be all over the map, who knows?  Let’s begin.

In 2015 Mayor Tyler decided to repair Fire Station 1 on Jackson & Madison.   Two bids were submitted.  S.A. Boyce for $98,700 and Mayor Tyler and Muncie Board of Public Works favorite company Walls and Ceilings came in at $99,000.  The bid went to Boyce.   The cost was $100,000 and the city taxpayers and grant money paid the bill.

In 2017, Mayor Tyler decided to reopen the station for use.  Everyone applauded his decision.   The neighborhood and downtown could now be fully protected.  Mayor Sharon McShurley had closed the station due to budget constraints, fireman lay-offs and the building wasn’t structurally sound.    Closing the station created quite a firestorm and Nora Powell led the charge.   We were all going to die.

So for $180,000, Tyler was able to open the station for business once again.  In the November 2, 2017 article “Fire Trucks to move downtown again”, Chief Eddie Bell was quoted as saying this will cut down response time and would be good for downtown and the Courtyard hotel.

Not so fast, Jack.

At the August 5, 2019 city council meeting during Chief Bell and  Councilperson Moore’s not so friendly dialog, Chief Bell spilled the beans.  Firestation 1 has not been a working station.  It never opened as a fully staffed, fully functioning firefighting station.   The reason per Bell was the city didn’t have the money to staff it.  WHAT?  This station is just sitting there just as it did in 2009?

Chief Bell, Mayor Tyler and likely the chair of the Finance Committee, Councilperson Nora Powell had to know the station was just sitting there looking pretty.

The non-staffed station didn’t appear to upset Powell as it did in 2009.  She is fond of the current mayor.  But it did matter to her when it closed.  You would find her at city meetings badgering the previous mayor on such things as LOIT and the SAFER Grant.  Powell would show up, with several laid-off firemen disrupting Chat with the Mayor meetings.   The June ’09 meeting became so contentious it ended 90 minutes early.  You see, Powell accused McShurley of not being transparent about raising income taxes.  However, McShurley had authored a guest column that same month stating she was not inclined to raise income taxes.  I’m sure that Powell read the column. (Larry Riley and Nick Werner both penned articles on the meeting.)

Common Thoughts = Double Trouble

At the May 2019 council meeting, a citizen, Audie Barber, asked a simple question.  “Where are the finance committee meeting minutes?”   Cool as a cucumber Council person Powell stared at Barber.  After the meeting, she was escorted to her car by two MPD officers.  The police report stated Powell was visibly shaken after seeing Barber in the parking lot.  So what upset her?  Did she receive texts, emails, phone calls from Barber that led her to believe he was a danger to her?  Did she file a report he was harassing her?   However, her step-son, a police officer,  did run an illegal check on Barber.

What goes around comes around.

Here’s the breakdown.  We have a fire station where tax dollars were allocated to make it fully functional,  The kicker is, there was no money to man it.    A council member feeling threatened by the same actions she employed as a citizen.    Drama.

  • Lame-duck Mayor who is pursuing a city-based EMS. Guaranteed to provide fewer services and end some county jobs. (Based upon his history as mayor.)
  • A mayor who was handed $8 million earmarked for MFD once the SAFER grant ended.  Gone.
  • 2015 he passed a 43% income tax to fund MFD when he had the money once.
  • Prairie Creek once self-sustaining running in the negative.
  • A building commissioner funneling monies to his companies with the blessing of Mayor Tyler.
  • City properties are overgrown with no money to mow.
  • Breaking ordinances like the Wheel Tax ordinance.  Submitting paving plans months after the deadline (as written).

Here’s a forgotten fact.  In 2009 the Delaware County government became majority Democrat and immediately went to war with the Republican mayor.  If it wasn’t the restructuring of the 911 board, making it a political football, it was the county working to take over animal control.  And on and on it went.

When the city finally got their treasured Democrat mayor, he immediately handed over 911 monies to the county.  Although, Tyler claimed there was nothing he could do about 911 since McShurley signed the ordinance in December 2011 and he took office January 1, 2012.   This was just not true.  He should know since he was a State Representative for six years.   One person does not a bill make.  Both the county commissioners and the county council signed off on Tuesday, Jan 2, 2012, and City Council called a special meeting on that Friday.  They signed off, too.  16 elected officials all Democrats except for three or possibly four Republicans and he couldn’t do anything?

He planned on handing over the millions held in escrow from the start.  The city and county were under 214 Democrat control.  The night Tyler won, the County Democrats were planning on how to spend the 911 money.

True to form when the county became Republican, Mayor Tyler repeated the same as his friend and former Commissioner Todd Donati.

Hurry FBI, we can’t take much more and we certainly can’t afford their self-serving and greedy actions any longer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Long & Winding Road

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The long and winding road
That leads to your door
Will never disappear
I’ve seen that road before
It always leads me here
Lead me to your door

We’re back.  Not going to lie, it has been a journey the past few months.  Life happens and we must travel the long, winding road at times.  We’ve been watching the city, the elections, the candidates, the weather and it’s been interesting, to say the least.

Now that we have the niceties out of the way, let’s get down to business.

The City of Muncie is out of control.  Shocking, we know.  If it’s not Mayor Tyler’s city council giving him the nod for nearly eight years, it’s the board of public works approving the purchase of ambulances.  Before the deal was even sealed, the city lined up an EMS director.

Dear people, don’t be fooled with Mayor Dennis Tyler’s feigned concern for the “underserved” of this city.  He had ample time to address the “underserved” and did nothing much, in fact, he never even considered it until a few weeks ago.    He held the position of state representative for six years.  Again, where was his concern?

Tyler has never been one to be proactive, rather he would be considered reactive at least when it comes to serving his constituents.  Do you know when he was proactive?  When he was in the back room of 214 Walnut St.  Also known as Democrat Headquarters.  Talk about designing an elaborate scheme to funnel tax dollars into the pockets of the elite.

After the 4th of July, the campaign season will kick into high gear.  You will hear promises, see plenty of smiles, handshakes.  In fact, you may even see city council members actually looking as if they are working for you.

Here’s what we have, incumbents all have records.  How did they vote?  Did they spend the past seven years voting straight down 214 party lines?  Suddenly, they are giving volume to your voice, or so it seems.  Are they really?  What will they be doing come January 1st, 2020?  Will, there still be a place for them at the 214 dinner table?   Probably.

You can be certain Tyler and Company had a plan in 2011 and it was executed fairly well.  We believe all the things we are seeing today is also a plan.  No, Mr. Tyler won’t be on the ballot but he and his cohorts will still be guarding their territory, make no mistake about it.    They must have their own sitting on the council and in the top seat.

Voters! Wake-up and smell the stench.

 

Muncie in the news. Channel 8

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Hello.  As you probably know there are lots of things going on in the City of Muncie.  We’re still waiting for Mayor Tyler to release the cost of the attorney fees.   In case you missed Channel 8 news report check the link below:

Wish TV Muncie – is Muncie breaking the law?

FYI: Muncie City Council changes meeting dates

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On December 8th, 2017 received information  Muncie City Council changed the date of the January 2018 meeting.   Originally scheduled for January 8th it will be held on January 1st New Year’s Day.

Muncie City Council has never held meetings on holidays.  Councilperson Doug Marshall said he was informed by the city attorney (not sure which one) having the meeting on January 8 was in violation of  City Code 32.33.

Sec. 32.33. Time and place for regular meetings.
The first regular meeting of the council shall be
held on the first Monday in January after the
general election of the members-elect of the council,
at 7:30 p.m. as provided by IC 18-1-3-2. All
regular meetings shall be held on the first Monday
evening of each month at 7:30 p.m. and may
be adjourned at the pleasure of the council. Adjourned
meetings shall have all the force and
effect of regular meetings. Meetings shall be held
in the council chamber, unless otherwise determined
by the president and designated on the
agenda.
(Code 1968, § 31.14; Ord. No. 620-80, 10-10-80)
It appears this code is decades old.  Checked Indiana Code IC 18-1-3-2 and came up with zero information.  Basically, City Council has been in violation for probably as long as the City Code has been on the books.  Take for example in 2017 three times, 2016 two times, 2015 one time, 2014 two times.   When a holiday falls on the first Monday of the month, Council moved the meeting.  Sometimes the holiday fell on a Sunday as the with the  July 2010 meeting being held on July 12, although the first Monday of the month was July 5th.
The City of Muncie is so desperate to pass the EMS ordinance quickly, they dug around until they could find something to justify the date change.  E.G.: 40-year-old city code which hasn’t been followed.   Well, until now.
Screen Shot 2015-10-30 at 4.36.56 PMYou’ll recall in 2015 Mayor Tyler and City Council introduced and passed a 43% income tax in 14 days.  It was needed to keep 16 firefighters on the payroll.

As proposed by Tyler, the city would enact a public safety LOIT of 0.25 percent — generating more than $1.5 million a year — and an 0.2 EDIT increase, which would generate more than $1.5 million.

The revenue would go into the city’s general fund, where a portion of it would go to offset another funding loss: The federal SAFER grant, which has in recent years covered the cost of 32 Muncie firefighters, will be cut in half beginning next year, Tyler said. Source: Mayor seeks local income tax increase  Star Press 9-1-15

The city was “just notified” that it will receive $2.1 million in SAFER grant funding for two years that begin in February 2016, Tyler said. That’s only enough to pay for 16 of 32 firefighters, he said.

“We have to cover the cost of 16 firefighters,” Tyler said. The department has 110 firefighters. Source: Muncie Star Press 8-31-15

Fast forward to December 2017 council meeting and the city revealed it had the money for the 16 firefighters without the LOIT revenue.  The LOIT revenue will be used for start-up costs for the city-run EMS.  Amazing.
  There is no rush for this service as we have Delaware County Emergency Services (DCEMS) and it has been serving faithfully for 40 years.
If you would like to contact Muncie City Council members you will find their addresses  and contact information here:

Muncie City Council and EMS

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Muncie City Seal copy
City of Muncie Government Seal

City Council had their regular meeting.

Can you believe the council (all but three) voted for an ordinance with no information and no line item in the budget?

So many people spoke and I have to say, every one of them had some worthy piece of information to bring to the table.  Proud of those people who did their homework.  Citizens are paying attention.

One man said he email all of the members and only three responded.  I don’t think Peters has an email, or she didn’t have one last time I contacted my representative.  He did get back to me, though.

This is exactly like how city council used to be.  They didn’t listen then and they are not listening now.  “Bye, bye, Miss American Pie…..

I hope people remember this and the fight to have our voices heard at election time.

Bad streets, FBI investigation, arrest, lack of transparency, the high cost of attorney fees (if would could get that information), city parks and spending $6.5 million for a start-up idea.  Can it get any worse?  And the audits…anything left out?  Probably.

Saturday ramblings…

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Update:  2017 not yet over.  Muncie changing EMS ordinance to clear the way to use the revenue for more than EMS.  Read the article!

 

Removing spending limits – EMS ordinance

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Muncie local government is so out of control.  With the debt rising, investigations, lawsuits, public hearings, arrest one just can’t seem to catch their breath.

Bracken vs. City of Muncie public hearing was held on 11-29-17 in Noblesville, Indiana.  Mayor Tyler taking the stand and under oath not recalling details of events.  Yes, it is all about Madjax.

Todd Donati was called to testify and now people are looking at the State’s audit reports of the Muncie Redevelopment Commission (MRC) for 2014 and 2015.  It will curl your hair when you read it.  The scary part is Muncie’s debt including principal, interest is nearly $74 million.

Michael Hicks testified and put into question the City’s economic development efforts.  City Councilman Dan Ridenour testified the information he received in the lawsuit differed from the information he received at the time the bond was approved.

Moving on.  A few months ago Mayor Tyler wanted the city to have it’s own EMS.  Currently, we have a county EMS.  Then he changed his mind no EMS.   Now he is actively working on a city-run EMS.  This will be a disaster.  And it’s self-serving not for the good of the community.  City or County.  Muncie was fortunate to receive federal funding for the Muncie Fire Department.  When Tyler took office in 2012 there was $8 million from the previous mayor to fund the MFD.  But, when the grant was not renewed, Mayor Tyler had no money so he passed a 43% income tax in 14 days.  Well, that didn’t draw enough money, so he wants to have a city-run EMS to keep the 16 firemen employed.

Let’s just briefly (if that’s possible) review 2017.

  • Building Commissioner Craig Nichols arrested and charged with 34 felonies.
  • Damaging financial audits of the city.
  • FBI investigation.
  • Chief of Police resigns and files a lawsuit against the city.
  • Prairie Creek reservoir substantially over budget.
  • Muncie Fire Department facing layoff
  • City acquires private property claims it was to keep the neighbourhood from deteriorating.  Mayor and two council members live in this neighbourhood.
  • The city takes over the financial records of Muncie Redevelopment after the audits.   City controller resigns.
  • Mayor Tyler and Todd Donati claim they weren’t on the board of Sustainable Muncie when the city decided to financial support with tax dollars.  (Bracken’s lawsuit said they were.)
  • Councilperson Nora Powell resigns from Sustainable Muncie’s board when Councilperson Linda Gregory said it may be a conflict of interest.  The city attorney concurred.
  • Tom Bracken sues the City of Muncie, Muncie Redevelopment and Muncie City Council.  Courts will rule in January.
  • The city of Muncie attempts to require Tom Bracken to put up a $4.5 million bond citing his lawsuit could hinder Sustainable Muncie (a/k/a MadJax) ability to get leases.
  • City refuses to release attorney fees related to the FBI investigation.   Issued public statement by city spokesperson Sarah Beach.
  • Mayor Tyler said the city has always been transparent and Beach’s statement was not accurate.  (Note: the fees still haven’t been made public.)
  • Founding members of Sustainable Muncie (a/k/a MadJax) resign citing the direction has changed.
  • Rumored the FBI is taking some interest in Sustainable Muncie.  Has not been confirmed. (Update:  Michael Hicks testimony 11-29-17 hearing.)
  • EMS
  • Delaware County has given the city over 200 properties and none have been put back on the tax rolls.  Delaware County stopped the practice.

There was a whole lot of shaking going on prior to good old 2017.  That’s for another time.  Look for a rundown on the SBOA audits and more…