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.
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
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.
- 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…
Mayor Tyler of the City of Muncie is disputing the split with the former chief of police and the city.
The Mayor provided a statement to the local newspaper unsigned, no city letterhead and delivered by an attorney. What’s that all about? Who issues a public statement like this?
Read it here:
The City of Muncie is toying with a registry for rental properties. Currently, they are looking at a $5.00 fee. How long do you think it will stay at $5.00?
The ordinance is being introduced on Monday (12-5) at Muncie City Hall – 7:30 PM.
Meanwhile, the citizens of the city paying the attorney fees for a lawsuit against several city employees, under an FBI investigation and has lost or is losing two State grants.
Just last year the Mayor and City Council passed a 43% income tax in 14 days. The director of Muncie Redevelopment Commission tried to get an ordinance introduced and passed to give his condo property a tax abatement.
And get this…the Mayor is upset with a company who managed the city pool because the business owner is not providing the city with the company’s financials. The city is on the hook for $96,000.00. Under normal circumstances, you would consider this good government. Watching out for tax dollars, right? Except it is not the case for this administration.
This has been the murkiest and crony oriented government this city has ever seen.
Notice is hereby given to taxpayers of MUNCIE CIVIL CITY, Delaware County, Indiana that the proper officers of Muncie Civil City will conduct a public hearing on the year 2017 budget. Following this meeting, any ten or more taxpayers may object to a budget, tax rate, or tax levy by filing an objection petition with the proper officers of Muncie Civil City not more than seven days after the hearing. The objection petition must identify the provisions of the budget, tax rate, or tax levy to which taxpayers object. If a petition is filed, Muncie Civil City shall adopt with the budget a finding concerning the objections in the petition and testimony presented. Following the aforementioned hearing, the proper officers of Muncie Civil City will meet to adopt the following budget:
Muncie Sanitary District Public Forum – Rate Increases-
When: Thursday, July 7th, 2016
Time: 10:30 AM
Where: Muncie City Hall
In case you missed it, there is a public meeting scheduled for July 7 that many might not be aware. This public forum begins at 10:30 a.m. at Muncie City Hall. The purpose of the meeting is to let property owners, ratepayers and other interested parties be heard in reference to current and proposed Muncie Sanitary District rates. The published figures recommended by the Muncie Sanitary District include some sizable increases in charges going forward including a 50 percent increase in the stormwater rates.
The resolution was introduced at the June 23 board of MSD commissioner’s meeting. The Star Press printed the meeting notice in the paper the next morning, which is how I learned of the rate increases.
All interested parties should attend.
Muncie City Councilperson Dan Ridenour
Check out the latest on the City of Muncie’s demolitions. This is a second in a series of columns Larry Riley has written. The first had four properties which were vacant, yet the City Building Commissioner’s company demolished four buildings. There was no demolition permit attached. The properties had been empty lots for years. Several people commented on the article confirming the lots were vacant, too.
In the second article, Mayor Tyler said it was a mistake and gave the correct addresses which weren’t close to the ones on the original invoices. Not to mention, the cost of the demolitions were much higher than others by private companies. Oh, wait, the building commissioner’s company is a private company. Pardon me.
Oh, and there is no Conflict of Interest Muncie 2015 on file with the State of Indiana. Craig Nichols’ company is not there. Class D felony for not filing. I’m sure this missing conflict of interest forms will surface. Probably in the desk of the former city clerk as she more than likely just forgot to file with the State.
And, and…the City of Muncie received $4 million from the State of Indiana who received millions from the Federal government for the demolition of blighted properties. Nothing has been done with that money and it’s been a few years. Probably the building commissioner’s company is way too busy tearing down vacant lots to take on any new city contracts.
This is about enough excitement one can handle for a Saturday evening in this fair city.
Until next time…..
Walking down memory lane
Let’s take a walk down memory lane. 2013 was the year when MCS planned to stop bus service unless the referendum was passed. The Democrat Party held a press conference in support of the $45 million tax increase. At that time, Democrat Headquarters property was tax exempt. This property would be exempt from paying the tax. I’m not sure if they pay a voluntary PILOT (Payment In Lieu Of Property Taxes), it does seem if there is so much concern for safety, they would gladly pay PILOT.
Plans, plans and more plans
Muncie Community Schools claimed they were working with the City of Muncie on a plan to get children back and forth to school safely. At the public hearing in December 2013 before the Indiana Department of Education, no one from the City of Muncie presented any plan. In fact, not one representative from the city spoke on any plan. A member of the IDOE board asked if there was a plan. The answer was no. No fiscal plan and no safety plan.
Income tax increase
Fast forward to September 1st, 2015 when Mayor Tyler announced the LOIT tax would be passed. 43% increase in income taxes for employees all over Delaware County. Muncie was denied renewal of the SAFER grant and although the Mayor assured the public the city had enough money to continue public safety, we didn’t. Hence, the passing of the tax in 14 days.
The 2016 City budget had been crafted in August 2015. Neither the Mayor or Muncie City Council ever mentioned the possibility funds would be short. Leading citizens to believe public safety monies were available in the budget. Mayor Tyler presented the LOIT tax, and I suppose the lack of funds which no one seemed to notice may have been justified. Still, if safety is foremost in the Mayor’s mind, he certainly didn’t seem to be monitoring it closely.
The Great Debate – Safety
The big debate now is if the Muncie Community Schools should be closed or delayed because of weather. It shows up every winter season. Yet, MCS has a history of no delays and seldom closes. The winters of 2014 & 2015 were certainly out of the norm. Extreme weather conditions warranted the closing of schools, businesses and canceling of events.
Mayor Tyler did not miss the opportunity to weigh in through his Twitter account.
Words vs. Actions
This brings me to aligning words with actions. While the Mayor feels compelled to criticize Muncie Comunity Schools, he seems to be oblivious to the children, teenagers and adults which are forced to walk in the streets because the City of Muncie doesn’t enforce the ordinance of snow removal from sidewalks.
Certainly, it is a difficult ordinance to enforce. Yet, not that difficult it seems. Last year, a property owner was clearing the sidewalks of his property. The ordinance police showed up and wanted to levy a fine against the owner for complying with the city ordinance. As it goes, the citizen had blown some snow into a street which had not yet been plowed. Police were called and nothing came of it. To my knowledge, no one from the city addressed the incident.
Yet all around the vicinity were sidewalks that had not been cleared. Go figure…
Speed limits and stop signs
The City of Muncie is busy lowering speed limits on streets and installing stop signs in obscure locations, they can’t seem to come up with a safety plan or a way to enforce their own ordinances.
If safety is a concern, might one suggest the Mayor use some of the tax dollars he increased to make our sidewalks safe to walk on in the winter months? Not sure how safe Memorial or Tillotson is for foot traffic, especially in the early morning and evening hours.
All this just to say, align their words with actions. So, I’ll leave you with an op-ed cleverly written and laced with humor: