Monday, January 30, 2017

DC Redevelopment Commission Executive Session and Meeting

Executive Session & Meeting

The Dearborn County Redevelopment Commission 
has called an Executive Session for 
Thursday, February 2, 2017 at 8:00 a.m.
A public meeting will take place at 8:20 a.m.

The Executive Session has been called for the purpose of discussing strategy with the respect to the purchase or lease of real property by the governing body up to the time a contract or option to purchase or lease is executed by the parties.
This is classified confidential by state and federal statutes.  
IC 5-14-1.5-6.1(b) (2) (D)

These meetings will take place at the
Dearborn County Administration Building, 
3rd Floor Commissioner’s Room,
215 B West High Street,

Lawrenceburg, IN  47025

Friday, January 27, 2017

26 January 2017 Dearborn County Redevelopment Meeting Notes

26 January 2017 Dearborn County Redevelopment Meeting Notes

Present: Jim Deaton, Chairman, Dave Deddens, Jim Helms, John Rahe, Alan Goodman.
ABSENT:Jamie Graf (non- voting school board member)

Also present: Terri Randall, county administrator and economic development director, Sue Hayden, minute taker, Gayle Pennington, Auditor and DCRC treasurer.
ABSENT: Andrea Ewan, attorney
These notes are from several verified sources as I was unable to attend this meeting.
Reorganization Meeting:
Election of Officers- Jim Deaton President, Dave Deddens Vice President, and Jim Helms Secretary
Meeting Times- Every other month on the third Thursday. March will be changed probably due to public hearing- see notes below.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES- Dec 8 minutes approved
paid- $245 for Randall’s membership to IEDA as she gets important information there.
paid$100 for Alan Goodman’s bond renewal
paid $35 for pop studio for website hosting
paid $4900 to Banning Engineering out of West Harrison TIF for the Old US 52 Corridor project
Paid $15,000 (2 months at $7500 each) to KMK ( Keating Meeting and Klekamp) out of the Visioning Grant and Randall states that Lawrenceburg is aware of this.This is for consulting for the new EDI (Economic Development Initiative) Group. This is a group of private investors. [NOTE: What exactly does DCRC get out of this? It seems like a lot of money monthly and there should be some reports of something from this consultant in evidence supporting their fees.]
Financial Balances for the DCRC accounts as of fall settlement per Pennington:
Cash in Fund 9531- $355,138.01
Fund 4932 ( Commission match) $500,000
Growth and Development Fund $500,000
Fund 4301 Washington Township TIF $239,094.15
Fund 4302 St. Leon Kelso Township TIF $177,620.68
Fund 4304 West Harrison TIF $66,898.39
Fund 4305 Whitewater Mills TIF $19,312.21
Fund 9146 Regional Strategic Visioning Plan $178,000

NEW BUSINESS:Resolution of DCRC Approving an Amendment to the Declaratory Resolution and Economic Development Plan for the West Aurora Economic Development Area- approved
Read Title VI statement at this point- by Deaton- forgot it at beginning of meeting.

[Note: It would seem reasonable for the Randall to have this many items listed on the agenda so that the public has advance notice of what might be discussed.]
Terri Randall- Kaiser Pickles had property in the TIF and now have some outside the TIF so they needed to get the new facility at the old D&S Machine Shop in a TIF to get the incentives promised to them. They are adding two new parcels to the Washington Township AKA West Aurora TIF to accomplish this. The 2nd parcel is by Aurora Casket- some ??acres. There will be public hearings and the Plan Commission holds the first one of these at their Feb 28th meeting. County Commissioners will adopt a resolution from the PC meeting.  She hopes to get this all done by the end of March. Deddens asked about Labor Issues with Aurora Casket’s sale. No report from Randall on that as she said not much is known. DCRC can have their hearing no sooner than March 26 per notes from Umbaugh. Randall suggested an evening meeting for the public to be able to attend. She is considering the 29th and 30th of March for DCRC meetings on the redone West Aurora AKA Washington Township TIF. 
Rahe brought up the junkyard in the Randall Avenue Industrial Park again. they are still working with Planning Office enforcement. Considering negotiating with the owner for abetter spot for his businesslike Rack property in back. Some members thought that might also be an issue with other business owners there. Randall said they could get grants for brownfield cleanup as there could be oil spills from stored vehicles there. [NOTE: This is an INDUSTRIAL park so one might expect a different look than a BUSINESS park???] Randall said they should reach out to McCormack at Planning office to see where enforcement is on this. Only take a couple DCRC members so as not to violate open door laws. Randall will schedule meeting with Deaton and Rahe and herself with them probably. Deaton said that the owner has so much pressure on him right now- this might relieve him. Randall noted he was getting older too… Rahe and Deaton noted the owner lives near the park so they could meet with him.
Randall sent a letter to the owner of Kaiser Pickles for a ribbon cutting ceremony and to review a recent incentive offer. State Dept of Ag- Ted McKinney wants to work with them on their product also. 
Randall sent a check and offer for the sign property to the owner of that with a Monday deadline. Be prepared for NO and getting the check back. Deaton -If she comes back with counter offer- we should consider it.Otherwise option 2 to get other property for the sign and have the park businesses pay for the signage. Road front property with an office for Rack may be an option too. 
Skally’s got appraisals back and they match the bank loan request. Two banks courting them. [NOTE: It may take 2 banks to cover the loan amount spending on their size.] They should be closing soon and ready to start building in March.
Randall talked to Tom Stone on 13.4 acres in West Harrison TIF. DCRC hired Banning Engineering for $4900 to do the study because of their experience with Duke Energy- and you wanted to know what it would cost to develop that property and how much TIF would get from it. There were 2 alternatives. One had a 165,000 sq ft building with another 35,000sq ft one for almost $2million.with access off Harrison Brookville Road. There is nearly $500,000 in fill and asphalt to access it. 2nd alternative with 4 buildings of about 43,000 sq ft each ad a 35,000 sq ft additional one. This would create more of a business park- and get smaller businesses. Spreads the risk over 4 companies. They noted a road built by “others” would be cheaper. [NOTE:Who are the others?] Randall not sure that a warehouse is highest and best use for this land. TIF Revenue would be better for Council. Randall said Tom Stone has been “very patient and very kind.” Wants to include 3 family members so will meet early next week with them.She stressed that Stone Family is NOT to expect DCRC to do anything with them until Skally’s is done. They can’t do anything until TIF bonds are done etc. [NOTE: Is Maxwell involved as they are using Skally’s bond revenues???] 
More discussion on having Andrea Ewan be there, some $250,000 difference in the two alternative projects. May find a “creative way” to get the improvements done. Deaton noted that if the county owns the land there is no tax income stream. 
Randall said site improvements are where it’s at. I-74 Group talks about these properties and the PORT of IN. We will see a lot of people coming in and we have no spec buildings. Shovel ready sites should be focus and goal. Go all in and get it ready and then do it. We don’t make all the investments. Just some to attract other investors and developers to come in. Then the EDI is forming. 
Randall - No new info on the port- but she understands the project better. Most important is that a private investor bought AEP land and invested millions with no incentives. He said they know our community is a gold mine. Ports of IN has first rights on the property. If no port then the new owner has a plan B- as they are a huge company that develops all over the world. [NOTE: The incentive for this company is the potential payoff on their investment. Note who has first rights.]
Lawrenceburg is getting rid of the rocks on the levee and building a park. 
REDI asked Randall to speak at their March meeting on the PORT. The phone is going to start ringing… People are asking about properties that were previously on our website and she had no answers for that. The private sector has raised a lot of money for economic development. [NOTE: Is this our new version of the same old EDI?]
Rahe said that at the meeting the timeline looked like 3 years to get the AEP plant cleaned up. The state via INDOT is looking at road access issues for it. Randall - they can’t send the trucks thru Lawrenceburg so may have to build another bridge across Tanners Creek. These buyers knew the costs coming in. 
Rahe asked about Tom Schneider’s statement that Lawrenceburg had special bonding abilities. Randall said yes- that funds are there in a bond bank set up. The county can use that bond bank. So we can grow for jobs for all citizens. Lawrenceburg is somewhat landlocked now. 
Deaton noted that a Cincinnati Council person said they wanted Lynch on OKI as they want a relationship with us due to our development opportunities. 
Randall said a lot hinges on Skally’s getting off the ground. Deddens asked about Batesville’s spec building- are there any uses? Randall said she talked to them- no one in the building yet- but people look and the go build in the area. It takes 3 years to fill a spec building. Public Private partners built it. They are glad they built it, but it is not filled.  
Christine Brauer Mueller

Lawrenceburg Township

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

AGENDA Jan 26 DC Redevelopment Commission Meeting

January 26, 2017
9:00 a.m., 3rd Floor Commissioners Room
County Administration Building
215 B West High Street, Lawrenceburg, Indiana


  1. Call to order

  1. Election of Officers

  1. Discussion of Meeting Dates & Time

  1. Approval of Minutes
December 8, 2016 Meeting 

  1. Claims & Financials
1.  Approval of Claims
- General Fund
- TIF Fund
- Visioning Grant Fund

2.  Review of Financials

  1. Unfinished Business

  1. New Business
  1. Economic Development Officer’s Report

  1. Attorney’s Report
  1. Other Business

  1. Adjournment

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

24 January 2017 Dearborn County Council Meeting

 24 January 2017 Dearborn County Council Meeting Notes
Present: Liz Morris, President, Dennis Kraus. Sr., Dan Lansing, Charlie Keyes, Ryan Brandt, Alan Goodman, and Bill Ullrich. 
Also present: Gayle Pennington, Auditor and Terri Randall, Administrator
Liz Morris- Moment of prayer for Ryan Brandt’s father who passed away.
Title VI statement also was read by Morris as required by law.
Election of President and Vice President-  Liz Morris President and Ryan Brandt Vice President
Appointment of Boards and Board Seats:
Plan Commission (Dan Lansing)
Convention, Visitors and Tourism (Ryan Brandt)
Community Corrections (Liz Morris)
Juvenile Advisory Board (Liz Morris)
SIRPC (Dennis Kraus)
Southeastern Regional Development (Dennis Kraus)- no longer in existence- so this will be removed
Solid Waste (Allen Goodman)
Personnel Advisory Committee-(Dennis Kraus & Liz Morris)
Community Mental Health (Allen Goodman)
Emergency Management Advisory (Bill Ullrich as president’s alternate)
Redevelopment Commission (Allen Goodman)
OKI Board of Directors (Liz Morris)

Citizen Board Appointments- all 3 reappointed below
PTA BOA (Bill Hartwell)
Alcohol Beverage (Glen Huismann)
OKI (Mark McCormack) 

PAWS- Sandy Carley- Annual Report- tabled until a later date as it wasn’t ready yet. 
Jason Sullivan - received approval for a grant for EMA that they do annually that he has to apply for by March 1. No county monies are involved.
Judge Humphrey- called earlier-  adults who have no POA or next of kin- has a grant that will help with them- no county monies involved. He brought it to Council attention as a courtesy to get approval to pursue it. Approved.
Jason Sullivan EMA and Jared Teaney 911- presented-  RAVE offers a unique product to offer as SMART 911 service. It’s available in many areas and you can have citizens sign up for it and they can provide info and data to 911 from their phone when they call in. Morris said that families can use it for autistic children that might wander off for example. is where you can enter your personal profile. It is private but only shared when you call 911. No charge to citizens, but the county has to pay to have the software here in the county. You can call in form landlines or cells. They have been in existence for 12 years. Colleges use this system. Notifications go out multi-modally. Anecdotes given as examples of uses for this service. They can help market it to the public. People can sign up for alerts also. APP known as RAVE panic button that is available on phones. This is useful for schools. Price tag is $3350 for initial set up. Annual contract is $20,000. This does more than Rapid Notify. And it costs more as a result. This is an unlimited messaging package.This can come out of the state 911 budget. County has to ask for it. They are going to see how this gets covered. No approval tonight. They will have to come back with that info. It would be important to get people signed up for the alerts per Morris. 
Discussion of Weather Warning Sirens- Morris asked Jason Sullivan about using RAVE and Smart 911 to use instead. $5-10,000 per year on siren- about $370/siren to maintain and keep our 36 sirens. New ones cost $900,000 to replace all of them. Oldest one is 1979 and needs to be replaced in Dillsboro. These were originally purchased with funds they Jaycees raised. This old one sounds and doesn’t rotate. Sullivan says you need redundancy in this system. He hasn’t heard anyone except Council talking about removing the sirens. Morris wants him to find out how many of IN 92 counties have sirens. About $24000 to replace a siren. 
ADMINISTRATOR- Terri Randall-  Told Council that there was an outcry about the sirens when it came up last fall. Hoped to have more input from them in this. Some people were panic stricken about it. She said the Commissioners would like to make a recommendation to Council about it. They are also in favor of SMART 911 and RAVE that was presented.
Randall passed out update info on the Courthouse project. here was an executive summary. Project timeline is proceeding well. They will need another $2 million drawdown in February and will last until May.Occupancy is set for early 2018. Items cost more in some cases and less in others but there were some significant savings with value engineering. They do change orders with the architect and Maxwell. ADA was changed with Humphrey and the director of juvenile area as being less needed so they will use the other entrance when ADA is needed for them. Gravity feed sewer system was able to be used and a pump eliminated. Some costs were added such as transformer which had to be increased in size. The IT work is more costly than anticipated. Morris asked about increasing parking for tax payment time in May. Building should be enclosed by April 2017. How much higher was the steel than the estimate- asked by Dennis Kraus. $500,000 additional was given for that. Randall will have to check that. 
Park Board- Morris said they cannot act on their requests for improvements.
Auditor- Gayle Pennington- Minutes from November 22, 2016 were approved. We are in budget review- and our DLGF rep left so now we are in the last 3 to be reviewed. Should be in by mid February. Next meeting for Council will be Feb 28th at 6:30 PM per Liz Morris. Additionals are already advertised per Pennington. 
Charlie Keyes- wants to have Council consider health insurance for employees after they retire. Discussion centered on costs, funding etc. Pennington will check COBRA costs and also see if they can pay the county rate after they retire. No sense of urgency- but look into it a bit. 
Park Board Appointment- Question by Chris Mueller-on the one  appointment made in November. It had come to my attention that Judge Humphrey needed a Democrat for his 2nd appointment and the Council did also. Council had appointed Jim RedElk again at their November meeting on the recommendation of Terry Stephens per Liz Morris. I showed Council all the voting records of the 5 Park Board members. None of them voted Democrat in any elections going back several years. Only the ex-officio member from County Extension- Mike Hornbach had voted Democrat and only in the last primary. The law states that the board has to be politically balanced. Council was advised that there were at least two Democrats who are thinking of serving on that board. No decision was made- but Council has been advised on record that there is proof that the board is not “legal” by  the state code rules and that Judge Humphrey has left his position unfilled until he can do so legally. Council may decide to get together with the Park Board to resolve this dilemma.
Meeting adjourned at approximately 8 PM
Christine Brauer Mueller

Lawrenceburg Township

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Tuesday, January 24, 2017
6:30 p.m., Commissioners Room
County Administration Building
215 B West High Street, Lawrenceburg, Indiana



Election of President and Vice President
Appointment of Boards and Board Seats
Plan Commission (Dan Lansing)
Convention, Visitors and Tourism (Ryan Brandt)
Community Corrections (Liz Morris)
Juvenile Advisory Board (Liz Morris)
SIRPC (Dennis Kraus)
Southeastern Regional Development (Dennis Kraus)
Solid Waste (Allen Goodman)
Personnel Advisory Committee (Dennis Kraus & Allen Goodman)
Community Mental Health (Charlie Keyes)
Emergency Management Advisory (Bill Ullrich as president’s alternate)
Redevelopment Commission (Allen Goodman)
OKI Board of Directors (Liz Morris)

Citizen Board Appointments
PTA BOA (Bill Hartwell)
Alcohol Beverage (Glen Huismann)
OKI (Mark McCormack)
  1. PAWS – Sandy Carly 
Annual Report

  1. Discussion of Weather Warning Sirens

  1. AUDITOR – Gayle Pennington
Minutes from November 22, 2016


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

January 18, 2017 Dearborn County Commissioners Meeting Notes

January 18, 2017 Dearborn County Commissioners Meeting Notes

Present: Shane McHenry, President, Art Little, and Kevin Lynch

Also present: Gayle Pennington, Auditor, Andy Baudendistel, Attorney, and Terri Randall, Administrator

Baudendistel read the Title VI statement as required by law.

SERCC SE Regional Community Corrections Appointment of Board Members- 4 year terms.Public Defender-Michael Sarappata, Victims’s Advocate- Karen Ernst, School Adm Matt Probst- Ivy Tech, Mental Health Adm.CMHC Tom Talbot,  Lay person- Honorable W Gregory Coy,Lay person-  Mario Todd - all approved.
New appointments: Steve Bradley- Probation officer
Rick Craig to Lay person seat.
Sheriff Glen Potts Ohio County
Ron Spurlock - Ohio County Consultant- non- voting
Gayle Pennington Auditor Consultant- non- voting
Terri Randall Consultant- non- voting


Bid Contracts - Maxwell Construction- presented by Kris from Maxwell - Bid Packages 11-18 for a some items that were not bid back in June. Dec 1st at 1 PM these were opened. County Attorney was present at the bid opening and reviewed al documents.
#11- Net Connect Technologies- $77,000.00 Approved
#12- Midwest Data- IT Equipment and Info $37,000.00 Approved
#13 and #15- HND Systems - video and card access systems- $97,450.00 Approved
#14 # 18 Security Automation Systems- $72,265- Approved
#16 Justice AVC- Video Arraignment $40,655.54- approved.
#17 bid- but decided not to do that outside but cover it inside the system. 
Progress on steel deck welding to be able to pour concrete on Tuesday. Building enclosed hopefully in April. Framer coming in after concrete decks being poured. Wet winter and some really cold weather slowed productivity at times. 
Randall has been attending their construction meetings with Eric Hartman. Having issues getting big steel beams in the basement. Phenomenal cooperation. Lots of RFI Requests for info from the manager of the construction work and architects. Kris said - Sometimes the low bid process can n=be shaky but it worked out here.

RAVE Mobile Safety Agreement- EMA Director Jason Sullivan and 911 Director Jared Teaney- Sullivan presented- Teaney was not present - want to pursue SMART 911- and ask permission to go to council for approval. $20,400 annual fee plus $3350 setup fee. Approved to go to Council. They like RAVE- is a lot more user friendly. Rapid Notify is being changed to this. Baudendistel to review the agreement also. Approve dot go to Council. 

911 Board Appointment for EMS Position- Randall said at the last EMS alliance meeting- Misty Russell elected to replace Ed Opp who retired.Approved.

Litter Update- Celeste Calvitto- gave a pat on back to Molly from Recycling Center- she has gotten to every school with outreach. Snow hid the litter and now the litter is exposed again. Need a regular plan to cover these areas- will review at the next litter meeting. A lot of the main roads leading into the county are a problem. McHenry also praised Molly from seeing her work at their Recycling Meeting each month 

Interlocal agreement with Lawrenceburg and EMS Contracts- Baudendistel said Del Weldon said he was planning to get them signed from Lawrenceburg. They have not arrived yet per Randall.Tabled until Baudendistel can get with Weldon.  

Randall brought up the other EMS contracts at this point. Wanted to get them signed earlier in the year. Aurora, Bright, Dillsboro, Greendale,  Manchester, Moores Hill, Sunman. All are $40,000 for 2 units except Manchester for $20,000 for one unit. Still waiting on their audits. Homeland Security has a pilot program- online and they are considering using it to get the new volunteers certified. They do practicals in Noblesville 8 times during the training. St Leon hasn’t brought their contract in yet. Concerns about them not transporting. All above signed and approved except St Leon and Lawrenceburg are tabled. 

Juvenile Center Doctor and Nurse Agreements- Baudendistel said no substantial changes and no problem with it. Dr. Samantha Wood- $11,133/year. approved. Ron Phillips nurse- $12,742/year approved. Randall will pend these until they get the insurance and Workers Comp documents added.  

Verification of Nepotism Certification for Compliance with IC 36-1-20.2-16- from state board of accounts. Approved. 

ADMINISTRATOR- Terri Randall- nothing more

AUDITOR- Gayle Pennington- claims and Dec 20th and Jan 3rd minutes- approved. Covered bridge certification for Guilford Bridge approved.  

ATTORNEY- Andy Baudendistel- John Rumsey from Ohio County Council passed away last week from cancer. 

Lynch- attended Governors state of the state address. Great- reaffirmed the port for SE Indiana. thinks we will see a lot happening in the next 4 years. Great time to be a Hoosier.

Little- agreed with Kevin. Recuperating on antibiotics for bronchitis and is not contagious. 

McHenry- Optimistic- hoping we become a nation united. Went to a ball game with his kids and one step closer to tournament. He appreciates the diverse board and that they get to Indy when he can’t.  l little unnerving to see his mom out there in the audience..,



Meeting Adjourned at 6:50 PM

Christine Brauer Mueller

Lawrenceburg Township

Friday, January 13, 2017

Agenda WEDNESDAY Jan 18th Commissioners Meeting

WEDNESDAY January 18, 2017 
6:00 p.m., Commissioners Room
County Administration Building
215 B West High Street, Lawrenceburg, Indiana



1. SERCC – Appointment of Board Members

1.  Bid Contracts – Maxwell Construction

2.  Rave Mobile Safety Agreement – EMA Dir.,Jason Sullivan & 911 Dir., Jared Teaney

3.  911 Board Appointment for EMS Position

4.  Litter Update – Celeste Calvitto

5.  Interlocal with Lawrenceburg and EMS Contracts 

6.  Juvenile Center Doctor and Nurse Agreements

7.  Verification of Nepotism Certification for Compliance with IC 36-1-20.2-16


VII. AUDITOR – Gayle Pennington
1.  Claims/Minutes
VIII. ATTORNEY – Andy Baudendistel




County Park Board NEEDS 2 Democrats

County Park Board Needs Two Democrats

Two years ago County Council was advised of the law regarding politically balancing the Park Board. They have two appointees and the two cannot be of the same political party. The pertinent section of the Indiana Code is:

c) A county board shall be appointed as follows:(1) Two (2) members shall be appointed by the judge of the circuit court.(2) One (1) member shall be appointed by the county executive.(3) Two (2) members shall be appointed by the county fiscal body.The members appointed under subdivisions (1), (2), and (3) shall be appointed on the basis of their interest in and knowledge of parks and recreation, but no more than one (1) member appointed under subdivisions (1) and (3) may be affiliated with the same political party. ( IC 36-10-3-4c)
Council's appointees are both Republicans as shown by their voting records in the primaries. 

Commissioners get one appointment so it can be of either party. 

The judge of the circuit court gets the other 2 appointments. Judge Humphrey rescinded the appointment of his 2nd appointee upon learning that he was of the same party as his first appointee (Republican) in order to bring  the board into compliance with state code. That board position remains unfilled at this time. So a Democrat is needed to fill that spot. Contact Judge Humphey's office for that at 812-537-8865 or 215 West High Street, Lawrenceburg IN 47025.

Council is to make their appointment at their meeting January 24, 2017. In order to comply with the law, they will also need to find a Democrat for that appointment. Contact Liz Morris President of Council at or 812-637-0522.

The Park Board needs two Democrats to fill these spots and balance their board politically. For more information on the County Parks check the Jan 9, 2017 Register

and the Park Board's website at

If you are interested, you can also email Park Board President Doug Burger at or one of the other board members listed on the park board’s new web site located at There you also can find out more about the county parks. 

Current members of the Dearborn County Parks Board are:
Doug Burger, Terry Stephens, Jim Red Elk, Steve Walker, and Mike Hornbach (County Extension).

We Have Met the Enemy and He Is Us— Officially

“Economic development corporations are in the business of doling out taxpayer money to private business. The public should be privy to the process and decision-making involved in these entities.”

We Have Met the Enemy and He Is Us— Officially

published with permission from IPR- Indiana Policy Review 
Local government has turned on us. You could watch it happen from a news desk. It was rather sudden actually. One day we were dealing with hard-pressed public servants doing their best in the impossible job of squaring public-policy circles. The next day we were facing mandarins (to use our friend Tom Huston’s characterization), expert at maximizing tax revenue and ducking accountability.

This new-model public official is pitted against what may be the last of the real journalists: Mike Marturello of KPC News, David Penticuff of the Marion Chronicle-Tribune and other outstate newsmen trying to find out what the heck is going on inside those quasi-governmental groups known as regional economic development corporations.

These groups are the rage in local government. Their mission statements claim the high-minded purpose of bringing jobs to Indiana’s small and mid-sized cities. Their structure, though, is similar to a political machine, commingling public and private monies with politically directed outcomes. And their approach to economics seems mercantilists, a 16th-century promise that wealth trickles down from the king or other central authority.

In any case, Marturello, editor of the Herald Republican in Angola, thought his readers would be interested in knowing how the eco-devo group in his region worked. Two months ago he filed a complaint, and earlier this month an opinion by the Indiana’s Public Access Counselor was released that meetings of the Steuben County Economic Development Corp. (SCEDC) should be open to the public.

“Whether the SCEDC should follow Indiana’s access laws has been the subject of debate in Steuben County a number of years, triggered by a query from a member of the public,” Marturello said. “Now that the Public Access Counselor has ruled in favor of public meetings and records, we look forward to providing the SCEDC the same fair, robust coverage we provide the many governmental boards we report on.”

Why do journalists have to ask permission to report news. Why do you suppose these groups want their deliberations private in the first place? Could it be that the process of distributing public money in a leveraged if not contrived manner cannot bear scrutiny? That the process, however intended, now has more to do with political power than economic development? Or, more sympathetically, is the work just so darn important that it cannot be slowed by bringing us dodderers up to speed?

Some pretty smart, business-savvy people want the answer to those questions. Jason Arp, a Fort Wayne councilman and financial expert, is skeptical of the regional economic-development concept. He is being urged to introduce a resolution there calling for open meetings. Penticuff, editor of the Chronicle-Tribune, has had success in that regard in Grant County.

“Economic development corporations are in the business of doling out taxpayer money to private business,” Councilman Arp said after the Steuben County ruling. “The public should be privy to the process and decision-making involved in these entities.”

We must hope that “privy” is being used here as an adjective and not as a noun.
— Craig Ladwig

Date Change for Commissioners Meeting

Date Change for Commissioners Meeting

This serves as notice that the scheduled Dearborn County Commissioner’s meeting set for 
Tuesday, January 17, 2017 at 6:00 pm 
has been changed to 
Wednesday, January 18, 2017 at 6:00 pm

The meeting will still be held at the
 Administration Building,
3rd Floor Commissioners’ Room
215 B West High Street,
Lawrenceburg, IN 47025

Friday, January 06, 2017

Tax Increment Finance For (all of us) Dummies

Tax Increment Finance
For (all of us) Dummies

by Martina Webster

Hoosiers, we just paid our fall property tax installments back in November. Do you know how they were calculated? Where did your government come up with that number? And are property taxes really worse than the alternatives?

The first thing you may not know is your home is assessed based on its market value. Locally, we had an assessor pull up the value on a lot of undervalued properties. When that happens, there’s a couple of things to remember when you get a higher assessment.

First, if it is more than a 5 percent increase, you can challenge the assessor to prove the value. But before you do that, be sure you’re not cutting off your nose to spite your face. If you’d put your house on the market for $200,000 and have posted that value online, don’t be surprised if the assessor calls you out on that. If you or a real estate agent says it’s worth $200,000 when you are putting it on the market, don’t fight the assessor who raised your value from $100,000 to $150,000. You’re still undervalued.

Remember, the state constitution caps your obligation at 1 percent of the assessed value no matter what. So a jump from $100k in value to $150k is a total maximum increase of $500 for the entire year: $1,000 to $1,500. When you factor in your exemptions, it’s probably even less than a $500 increase. Your property taxes are based on the total of all net assessed values of a taxing unit. This means that adjusting some property's assessed values to better reflect actual value could be a good thing. (Put a pin on this thought and we’ll come back to it later.)

The second thing is that the property taxes you pay go to many different units of government. All these different units actually compete for that same maximum cap of 1 percent of your home’s value. These taxing units are governed by individual (elected) boards and do not often coordinate, cooperate or even talk to each other. You may believe you are paying all of your property taxes to the county but it is simply responsible for collecting and disbursing. You can see the various taxing units that your taxes fund at the bottom of your tax bill.

In 1973, the Indiana Legislature passed significant change in Indiana tax law (the Bowen Tax Reform) and capped a taxing unit’s spending. The amount of money required to fund a local government unit from your property taxes is called the levy.  Each year, the Department of Local Government Finance calculates the growth quotient that is applied to the previous year’s maximum levy. The unit is then required to stay under that total amount.

On its face, this sounds like a wonderful limited government idea: Force your local government to live within its means. In reality, they just pushed the burden from property taxes (which are far more locally controlled) to sales and income taxes. These sales and income taxes are controlled at the state level. The state gets to disburse them as it determines.

Think about it that for a moment. Most state senators and representatives in Indianapolis do not come from your area. They do not know your area’s needs like the you do, and that is bad public policy.


No sooner than the ink had dried on the Bowen property-tax relief bill of 1973 than the ever-big spenders lobbied for a new idea. It came from California, naturally, and the called it Tax Increment Financing (TIF).

In 1975, the Indiana legislature passed legislation allowing TIF districts to be created here. The initial goal was presented as modest: Carve out a section of a town or a city and developing it with TIF so the area would not be stagnant. TIF was supposed to be a way to allow government to spend money to encourage growth in a blighted area without impacting the maximum levy limit.

The interesting thing about these TIF districts is that the taxing units didn’t catch on right away that the tax money coming into the redevelopment commissions was calculatedoutside the maximum levy.

The taxing units themselves are limited on spending by their maximum levy amount. The Department of Local Government Finance calculates the growth quotient each year. That growth quotient is then applied to the unit’s last approved budget, and that’s how you get your unit’s current maximum levy. You may have a lot of growth going on in your area but the growth quotient is calculated at the state level and applied to all units across the state equally.

This maximum levy must then be budgeted among the various functions that that particular local government unit controls. Now, let’s go back to that assessed-value concept that we pinned earlier. The tax-rate formula could be simple but government, perhaps intentionally, has made it difficult to grasp. The tax rate of a government unit is found by taking the unit's levy divided by the total of its net assessed values thus: Tax rate= levy/NAV.

NAV is Net Assessed Values. This is calculated from the total market value of all parcels in a taxing unit’s geography (the Gross Assessed Values) minus exemptions (such as your homestead), credits, abatements, tax-exempt properties (government and religious owned) and finally  —a drum roll here — Tax Increment Financing. The levy stays relatively the same.

Remember, TIF dollars are collected outside those maximum levy calculations. A redevelopment commission, therefore, gets to be a taxing unit that controls its own money without bothering with a pesky maximum limit. This might have been an OK idea when they were used in limited capacities (to fight blight). Now, though, local governments recognize them as the honey pots they are — more money, outside the maximum levy.

For years, politicians have convinced taxpayers that TIF money is not taxpayer’s money; it’s said to be separate and won’t affect you. As a Realtor, I can tell you that it doesaffect you. If an increase in net assessed values of a taxing unit helps lower your tax rate, what does it mean to you if those big shiny new buildings being built inside a TIF district don’t get added to the tax rate equation?

First, just for example, new commercial areas will increase the demand for more police. So a town or city’s police force will have to grow. Unfortunately, the maximum levy won’t be allowed to grow along with it. Your town or city will have to figure out how to fund more police but legally can’t use TIF dollars to do so.  So a bigger slice is taken out of an often already tight pie. Also, those new commercial-industrial buildings are often the highest assessed values in a taxing unit. So, again, you’re taking out assessed value that could help homeowners reduce their tax rates, and those businesses pay up to a 3 percent property tax cap.

In many cases, what they have done is transferred the burden of paying for essential services from the commercial properties to the residential parcels. This will only work until all the residences hit the 1 percent cap. Then I predict that the same politicians who used sleight of hand to move the burden from one taxpayer to another will start screaming that the sky is falling and demand a "fix" to the tax-cap "problem." (You can call me Nostradamus.)

Nobody likes property taxes, largely because we see the actual bill. These taxes, though, are at least determined locally (by a county assessor). They are collected and disbursed locally (by a treasurer) and finally they are controlled locally (by the various elected boards of the taxing units). You have more control over property taxes, TIF permitting, than you do sales and income taxes — the "invisible" taxes you pay every day.

Martina Webster, a Realtor for 18 years, represents District 1 on the Sellersburg Town Council. She wrote this at the request of the Indiana Policy Review Foundation.


A Hike in the Indiana Gas Tax? Who Does the GOP Represent?

A Hike in the Indiana Gas Tax?
Who Does the GOP Represent?

by John Pickerill

As the Indiana General Assembly begins its 2017 session this week, one would assume the Republican-dominated state government would be pushing legislation for a more limited and fiscally responsible government — and one that protects individual liberty, freedom of religion, the right to keep and bear arms, and the sanctity of life. After all, that’s what their 2016 state convention said they stood for.

That would be a bad assumption; the GOP leadership actually intends to increase taxes.

The heart of their legislative agenda is a gasoline tax hike on Hoosiers from 18 cents per gallon to 26 cents per gallon. Why? So they can spend an additional $900 million to $1.2 billion a year to maintain state and local roads and fund new highway projects. They’re also talking about new tolls on state and federal highways and imposing new fees at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

So much for the Republican Party’s promise, “We believe that budgets should be balanced and should reduce spending, rather than increasing taxation.” To add insult to injury, House Speaker Brian Bosma’s agenda is to triple the spending on the new government-funded pre-school pilot program at the same time he says we don’t have enough money to maintain our existing roads and bridges. His counterpart, Senate President Pro Tem David Long, wants to double this pre-K spending. If these Indiana Republican leaders were really the fiscal conservatives they claimed to be on the campaign trail, they would fix the road problem by reducing spending elsewhere to pay for their road funding plan instead of raising taxes.

If Republicans merely held true to the principles they say they stand for, this $900 million in cuts would be easy. The talking points:

  • First, all of the sales tax on gasoline should go to road maintenance – not just one-seventh of it but all of it. That’s $400 million that should be dedicated to road funding but instead gets squandered elsewhere in the general fund.
  • Second, if they really believed in economic freedom, Bosma and Long would eliminate the $95 million the state spends on so-called “economic development,” which turns into politicians handing out government favors to those who contribute to certain political campaign committees.
  • Third, they can reduce regulations, and an easy place to start is eliminating the $50 million on the Gaming Commission and Horse Racing Commission, which makes it more difficult every year for not only casinos and race tracks but for philanthropic clubs like the American Legion, VFW, Eagles, Moose Lodge, etc., to operate.
  • Fourth, show the kind of fiscal discipline in the state-funded university system as what the private sector has to deal with in tough times. Get rid of top-heavy bureaucracies, and start by eliminating the $368-million Commission for Higher Learning and transfer its functions to the universities themselves.
  • Next put new construction at universities on hold ($46 million) while we focus on roads. During this same period, have state universities run leaner by reducing their budgets by 15 percent, freeing up $285 million for roads.
  • Lastly, since government-funded student loans are feeding the college student debt bubble it would be prudent to reduce this as well. A 25 percent reduction in these subsidies would free up $90 million. All totaled, these cuts would give Bosma and Long their additional $900 million for roads without raising taxes.
Budgets should be balanced by reducing spending, not by raising taxes. The 2017 legislative session will reveal whether Bosma and Long are the fiscal conservatives they claim to be, or are mere lackeys of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce and their other special-interest campaign contributors. 

John Pickerill, former chairman of the Montgomery County Republican Party, wrote this for the Indiana Policy Review Foundation. A graduate of Purdue University and the Navy Nuclear Propulsion Program, Pickerill retired from the U.S. Navy with the rank of Commander.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

3 January 2017 Dearborn County Commissioners Meeting Notes

3 January 2017 Dearborn County Commissioners Meeting Notes

Present: Shane McHenry, President, Art Little, and Kevin Lynch

Also present: Gayle Pennington, Auditor, Andy Baudendistel, Attorney, and Terri Randall, Administrator

Baudendistel read the Title VI statement as required by law.

Reorganizational Meeting:

Election of Board President- Shane McHenry reappointed as President

Reappointments of Dept. Heads:
Administrator- Terri Randall
Animal Control- Marlene Underwood
Attorney- Andy Baudendistel - McHenry praised Baudendistel’s performance.
Building Inspector- Bill Shelton
Engineer- Todd Listerman
Highway Supervisor- Tim Grieve
Maintenance Supervisor- Eric Hartman
911 and EMA previously addressed- Jared Teaney and Jason Sullivan previously addressed 

Commissioner’s Boards:
Solid Waste and Drainage- all 3 serve on this board
Emergency Management- Shane McHenry
Juvenile Board- Shane McHenry
Personnel Advisory-0 Shane McHenry
Plan Commission- Art Little
Region 9 Workforce- Art Little
SIRPC- Art Little- previously done
OKI- Kevin Lynch- previously done

Citizen Board Reappointments:
Alcohol Beverage- Jim Dole
Cemetery- Chris McHenry
CVTB- Tina Bojack, Marilyn Bower, Charlotte Hasting, reappointed and appointed Tim Doll replacing Ellen Pefect
Health- Gerald Miller, Harban S Gill, MD
DCRSD- (Sewer District) Dennis Folke, Robert Lischkge
SERCC- SE Regional Community Corrections- Entire Board- tabled until Randall gets the entire list.
ADA Coordinator- Terri Randall


Lease Agreement- Bill Black, Jr.- Water Rescue- $1 per year for 3 years - at the EMA Building per Baudendistel. County pays utilities and Water Rescue pays their own insurance. There would need to be a separate agreement if they are going to use county fuel. Approved. 

ADMINISTRATOR- Terri Randall- none - told she was reappointed earlier in the meeting as she wasn’t present for that. 

AUDITOR- Gayle Pennington- Claims approved 

ATTORNEY- Andy Baudendistel- none

Lynch- proud and humbled to be re-elected for 2nd term. Ready to take it on and do the best he can for the residents.
Little- echoed Lynch. Noted they went 10-15 years with 1 term commissioners with the exception of Hughes and?? He liked seeing the building progressing on the annex.
McHenry- we are a good working board with strengths in different areas. We have a few things to clean up. Get proactive instead of reactive.



Meeting Adjourned at 8:47 AM

Christine Brauer Mueller

Lawrenceburg Township