What’s happening in our city?

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mouse trap & money

Dear Readers,

Thanks for hanging with us while we took a short sabbatical.

We’ll be recapping the latest fiscal events in a few days and offer suggestions for cutting the budget.    Might even dig into the history annals and bring a few good quotes to make you laugh.

See ya soon,

Muncie Politics


Saturday morning ramblings – TIF info available

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mouse trap & money

‘Morning to the good people of Indiana.  Been a long time since the last Saturday rambling was posted.  It certainly isn’t for lack of subject matter, plenty of fodder to write on.  Time’s a wasting, so let’s get to the down and dirties.

For those seeking further information about your local Tax Increment Financing (TIF) you will find a wealth of data on the Indiana Transparency Portal.  Here you can find revenues, expenditures, assessed valuation, businesses and a whole bunch more.

Say what you will about our State, placing this data in the hands of the public is an awesome step on the part of our government.

At the onset of the portal, it was clumsy, hard to navigate and limited information.  Responding to public input, the site has come a long way.

Take a gander.

Indiana Transparency Portal

Delaware County TIF

More Delaware County TIF

Even More Delaware County TIF


Tuesday Tidbits: More on TIF districts and employment opportunities

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TIF Districts, two job openings in Delaware County all rolled into one opinion column.  Nice transition.

Larry Riley Sure look like regular budget use of TIF

Saturday ramblings: Looking @ HB 1018

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House Bill 1018
Introduced House Bill (H)

Authored by Rep. Robert Cherry.


Tax increment financing. Provides that if a redevelopment commission adopts a declaratory resolution or amendment after June 30, 2015, that establishes, renews, or expands an allocation provision or area, the base assessed value used to determine the amount of allocated tax proceeds for the redevelopment district must be increased each year so that the incremental assessed value is 50% of the incremental assessed value in the allocation area without the increase. Provides that for the allocation area in Marion County that is identified as the Consolidated Allocation Area, the expiration date for the allocation area is June 30, 2026, or the last date of any obligations that are outstanding on July 1, 2016, whichever is later.

Follow HB2018

Fiscal impact statement

You may be asking why the dislike of Tax Increment Financing.  Used properly, it has the potential for economic impact.  Unfortunately, too many Redevelopment Commissions have abused the funds. Read the rest of this entry »

Saturday ramblings: How to manage a hotel

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But we need to acknowledge the extent to which we’re banking, literally, on the success of the development now that the city of Muncie is the primary financial investor in the project — to the tune of $30 million. Larry Riley –  Muncie goes all-in on hotel Star Press

Riley’s column took me off guard because there was no warning. Certainly borrowing $30 million is newsworthy. Yet, the paper didn’t report on Muncie City Council’s vote. With the additional borrowing, the grand total of debt accrued since June 2013 has reached $55 million.  I’m sure there is more, good luck in researching it, though.

An on-line commenter said it shouldn’t have been a shock. He had presented over the summer to City Council regarding the bond. I went to the City of Muncie’s website to review city council’s minutes. Unfortunately, the last minutes posted – June 2014.  Muncie Redevelopment Commission minutes most current is 2010, too.

He went on to post the financing was a done deal, just taking longer than expected.   And if the financing didn’t go through, the City of Muncie would own the hotel property. Initially we were told the private financing was a done deal. Ground was broken and no mention of the financing problems, no mention city would be the sole financer. How can we be assured of something proving to be unstable financing? We simply can’t. Read the rest of this entry »

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.

A Vat Full of Bull

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Every since Mayor Dennis Tyler hired Todd Donati to spend city tax dollars, we have been writing checks left and right.  For those of you that aren’t familiar with Mr. Donati, he was the county commissioner from 2009 to 2012.  Despite his campaign of how well the county is doing, he left it in deplorable financial shape.

Sitting through Muncie City Council meeting as Todd Donati danced his way through nearly $10 million dollars of bond issuance.  Yes, it only took six months to rack up that much debt under the direction of Todd Donati, the master of economic development.

It’s like watching reruns of a bad program.  Donati standing before a different council, asking for a yes vote, and right down party lines, yes, yes, yes, yes….As Delaware County Commissioner, he stood before the council asking for a yes vote.  As president of county council, he asked for a yes vote.  The more things change, the more they stay the same.

The first bond  of the season, a mere $5 million is needed to build a parking garage.  Muncie will be the proud owner of 89 parking spaces.  Mr. Donati is expecting a revenue stream of $250,000 a year from the 89 prime parking spots located conveniently in the middle of an apartment complex.

According to Donati, this will create 693 jobs.  That’s what he said.

Second bond of $4 million will cover everything from the Prairie Creek bathhouse, to streetscape and City Hall remodel.    Originally, it was $5 million, but thanks to some nifty grants (we don’t know how much or from whom) we have brought it down to what Donati would call a reasonable debt.  Although, as a county resident, he won’t be obligated to pay this debt.  Heck, as a county resident, he didn’t mind running up debt…so what the hey.

Brad Polk asked Todd about the streetlights and if there was a possibility those lights could be used.  Polk was referring to the solar-powered lights purchased in ’09.  Donati said they were all in use.

A little background on the lights, if I may.

VAT, a manufacturer of solar-powered lights sold us a slew of these precious gems.  They were placed strategically throughout the county.  One little glitch.  The lights don’t work.  Along with the lights, we were promised 100+ jobs and a wind vane.  Yes sir, this was going to put us on the map as the green capital of Indiana.  And it only cost us $1.9 million dollars.  No jobs and no wind vane, either.  Last I heard, someone (us) will be paying $29,000 to fix the lights.

Delaware County, A Modern Day Fairy Tale

But wait, there is more.  We had the unforgivable loan of $350,000 to the trucking company.  We were led to believe the loan came from the redevelopment funds (still our tax dollars).  Yet, Donati came before county council asking for a bond approval.   And not only that, he asked for a suspension of the rules.  In other words, he wanted the bond passed now.  The county needed that bond passed to make the New World software payment.  Don’t ask, it is just to complicated to follow the money.

After the 2010 election, the $7 million dollar bond came up for a vote.  Part of that money was for the county plaza.  It’s economic development, dontcha know.  Nobody had seen the plans until Donati went to his office to get the blue prints.  Desoto got some sewer money.  An exchange between Quakenbush and Donati about the  Desoto sewer system and Royerton led to Donati saying the county had been helping Royerton customers for two years.  That would not be true, but what’s a little whopper when it comes to $7 million buck-a-roos?

$7 million and a sewer

Just last week at the Muncie Redevelopment Commission meeting,  questions on how much money was available  in the checking account.  All eyes looked at the director of MRC, Todd Donati.  Nobody really knew the answer and the paper didn’t follow-up on the balance.  That’s o.k.    The City is planning on moving stone pillars, storing the pillars and restoring before they find a final resting place at some city park.  After the pillars are removed, the basement underneath must be filled in.

So, you can see why it’s important our tax dollars be spent on moving pillars instead of, say, paving streets.  After all, Donati did build a county building plaza, and then promptly shut down the county building one day a week.  Lack of funds, you know.  And despite the plaza being funded with economic tax dollars, it generated not one penny in revenue.

In case you are wondering, Muncie Redevelopment is funded by your tax dollars.  They can spend it anyway they please, and even if they can’t they still will.

Back in the 80’s the county bought a boatload of Bull Computers.  These computers were as useless as the streetlights.  Both were kept in storage, courtesy of the tax payer’s dime.

A Vat full of Bull.