Saturday, July 28, 2007
After the Township Assessor's and County Auditor's department calculated New Albany's assessed property value and submitted it to the Department of Local Government Finance, the state ordered the city to reduce the budget it approved last fall, a document based in part on projections of net worth.
City Controller Kay Garry stated: New Albany has operated this year on a $16,414,975 general fund. The state ordered a $589,095 cut at 3.6 percent to $15,825,880.
Source: New Albany Tribune: June 14, 2007
The 2007 City of New Albany Budget Estimate TO SPEND is:
2007 Other Funds Listed:
Source: Department of Local Government Finance
Freedom of Speech would like to ask:
Why won't Controller Garry suggest that the $589,095 cuts on the general fund be made rather than dipping into the Rainy Day Fund?
We have to do everything we can to hold down our property taxes. When those new higher tax bills arrive in the mail, there will be alot of angry taxpayers.
Watch your mailbox! Our tax bills may be mailed out soon.
Garry's first option was to use the Rainy-Day Fund and the River Boat Fund to cover cost. The 2nd option would be to make no cuts to a budget Garry called "bare-bones" and would use solely Rainy Day Fund money to plug the general fund gap.
Source: New Albany Tribune - July 20, 2007
So let's look at these two options:
General Fund 2007 Budget cuts.Ordered to remove $589,095.00 from 2007 Budget.
$100,000 - Election Expenses out of Riverboat instead of General Fund
$135,000 - Rent on Building out of Riverboat instead of General Fund
Garry stated:I have been through all budgets in General Fund. Following are only suggestions:
Mayor's Office - remove $2,000 ($1,000 out of travel and $1,000 out of Training)
Controller's Office - remove $3,000 from Computer Consultant
Clerk's Office - cannot see any cuts
Council - possibly $5,000 from Contractual
Attorney - Possibly $5,000 out of Contractual (legal)
Board of Works - This year we can move $5,000 out of Unemployment
Animal Shelter - $15,000 out of Salaries - has been working 1/2 year without one employee. If hired before end of year would not use all of appropriations.
Weights and Measures - No cuts
Building Commission - $5,000 out of Salaries
Plan Commission - $5,000 out of Salaries
Police - $1,000 out of contract legal, $1,000 out of travel (can't see cutting anymore because shortfall in insurance and will need to do transfers from other lines)
Fire - No cuts
Communication - No cuts
Police Merit - No cuts
Fairview and West Haven - No cuts
$307,095 remaining to be cut
Move $307,095 remain expenses of the Board of Works into the Rainy Day Fund. There is $1.9 million in Rainy Day Fund. The council would have to do additional appropriation to use the $307,095 as none of the $1.9 is appropriated.
General Fund 2007 Cuts
No cuts in current budget
Move $455,419 out of Board of Works Budget into Rainy Day Fund.
Move total Controller's Budget $133,676 from General Fund into Rainy Day Fund
This is the $589,095 ordered cuts
Source: Kay Garry City Controller
Freedom of Speech believes for every problem there is a solution!
We have been crunching numbers with our Economic Advisor for over a week now.
Freedom of Speech came up with our own option:
2007 Budgets by Departments:
City Clerks Office..............$76,273
Board of Works................$974,244
Weight & Measure............$34,828
2007 Department cuts:
Since our mayor is suppose to lead by example. Here's how our cuts work:
Mayor's Office: cut 5% of all salaries and cut 10% off Office Budget.Return all board salaries.
Controller Office: cut 5% of all salaries and cut 10% off Office Budget.
City Clerks Office: cut 5% of all salaries and cut 10% off Office Budget. Return money that city clerk is being paid for sitting on a board during working hours. We believe this is called double dipping!
Council: Cut 10% off council's Budget.
City Attorney: Cut 10% of your salary and cut 10% off Department Budget. Give 20% of commission back to the citizens that you collected on our Sewer Bonds and Scribner Bonds.
Board of Works: cut 10% of all salaries and cut 20% off entire Department Budget.
Animal Shelter: No cuts
Weights & Measure: No cuts
Plan Commission: cut 10% of all salaries and cut 15% off entire Department budget.
Building Commissioner: cut 5% of all salaries and cut 10% off Department Budget.
Police Department: cut 10% off entire Department budget.
Police Merit: No cuts
Fire Department: cut 10% off entire Department budget.
Communications: cut 5% off entire Department budget.
Fairview: cut 5% off entire Department budget.
West Haven: No cuts
Freedom of Speech would like to say: Our current administration has known for over 3 1/2 years, extreme growth in healthcare costs and pension obligations combined with contractually mandated salary increases are forcing deep cuts in other parts of the budget. The growth in healthcare, pensions, contractual obligations and fuel continues to exceed the budget growth allowed by state law and, if not dealt with, will soon force cuts in vital services like police and fire protection (which represent 82.7% of our budget).
The council now can decide to further cut or add to the budget but it is our hope they will provide us taxpayers with much needed relief.
The miscellaneous spending "is unfortunately symbolic of the attitude of some council members, that they really have no intention of changing the way they operate, and have no appreciation for the crisis the city is under, and are not responding to it."
"They don't get it. They simply don't understand what it means to be frugal."
A successful group of people are ones who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks that others throw at him and her.
Friday, July 20, 2007
at the Broad Ripple Canal
Saturday July 28, 2007 at 11:00am
Meet on the Broad Ripple Canal Path & Central Avenue. Bring your Tax Assessments! Tea bag of assessments will be dunked in canal.
Join in on the Hoosiers For Fair Taxation Revolution!
Freedom of Speech,
To the property taxpayers of New Albany.The people of Indiana have been heard, but we're not done talking. While we applaud Mitch Daniel's efforts to lesson the immediate impact of our governments' fiscal irresponsibility, we need to make plain our demand that Indiana government no longer tax personal property.
And while we accept our duty to pay for just, responsible and governed government, we will no longer tolerate profligate spending that benfits only the elite few.
So in the spirit of responsible protest, and as an active petition for redress of grievances, we're pitching our tax bills into the canal.
The People will be heard. From now on.
Hoosiers For Honesty in Government
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Will New Albany be next?
We urge our Governor to call for a special session of the Indiana General Assembly to provide immediate property tax relief for all Hoosiers who are suffering with massive tax bills statewide. In addition, we recommend the Commission look for long-term solutions to Indiana's complex property tax system.
You hit the nail right on the head Mitch...and we quote: "Daniels correctly identifies the root cause of the rising property tax burden: "local spending."
Source: Indianapolis Star
Freedom of Speech would like to say if you think your property assessment were high wait until you get your 2006 property tax bill!
Shelia Pullen, a township assessor in Kokomo, said residential taxpayers in her area were "being penalized with higher tax rates because of the (tax abatement) credits that businesses receive and the properties that are exempt from taxation."
Will all of New Albany tax abatement's come back to haunt us?
Bravo to all our Council members who voted to not use our Rainy Day Fund. Let's have some courage and make those cuts.
Freedom of Speech also believes our Council members should review the proposed budgets and have the courage to make the cuts. If the council does not make the cuts, then, we taxpayers will have to foot the bill.
If our tax bills go as high as Marion County, are we also going to have to hold a protest march at the City-County Building?
Indianapolis protesters are calling their march the "Indiana Tea Party".
The taxpayers deserve accountability
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
"We have made exciting progress since last September, and nearly $5 million in construction is now underway in New Albany and Jeffersonville," Valla Ann Bolovschak, who is Governor Mitch Daniels' appointee to the Ohio River Greenway Commission. Valla Ann states that this initiative by Governor Daniels will begin to unite our state's disconnected routes and put every Hoosier within 15 minutes of a trail."
This week Congressman Baron Hill toured the Greenway project with Valla Ann and other commission members. Baron stated that this is such a vitally important project for this region,"
Congressman Hill states "He is committed to obtaining the $2,100,000 in federal funding which was requested earlier this year."
The Greenway's eastern most beginning is in the City of Jeffersonville next to Jeffboat. Valla Ann says although Jeffersonville's riverfront is the most developed of the three communities that make up the Greenway, the addition of improved access will allow pedestrians and bicyclists recreational opportunities that do not exist now.
"The Greenway plan features a multi use path close to the river, and at some points, at the river's edge."
This will allow for public access and provide renovated dock space.
Valla Ann also says the existing Terraced Lawn at the foot of Spring Street will be improved with a pathway and additional lighting. The path will be connected to a landing at the base of the Big Four Bridge and will provide direct access to Louisville.
Bolovschak says, the New Albany section of the Greenway Corridor will begin at the City's eastern edge at Silver Creek and the Kentuckian River Trail-the K and I Bridge and Big Four Bridge loop-ends in New Albany and will allow pedestrians and cyclists access to the Louisville River walk.
Freedom of Speech would like to thank Valla Ann Bolovschak for her recent update and progress report on the Ohio River Greenway project. The citizens of New Albany appreciate all the hard work, long hours and dedication Valla Ann has put into making this project move forward.
Our thanks also goes out to Congressman Baron Hill for his strong support of our Greenway project.
Friday, July 13, 2007
Assets of the governmental unit may not be used in a manner unrelated to the functions and purposes of the governmental unit.
Whenever an item or other asset owned by the political subdivision is entrusted to an officer or employee, to be used at times outside the normal work time for business purposes, such as a cellular phone, or vehicle, a log should be maintained which clearly shows the business use.
Source: State Board of Accounts Chapter 7
Freedom of Speech would like to know what part of this law do the city employees not understand. The 2006 State Audit states that records for use of city equipment should be kept.
The city employees are in violation of state laws if they do not keep records on use of city equipment.
Which department and who were the employees of those 10 cars in violation of Indiana State law?
Better no law than laws not enforced~Ronald Reagan
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Monday evening July 9th , the New Albany Floyd County School Board unanimously named Mrs. Rebecca Gardenour it's new president. With fined leadership skills intact, Gardenour moved upto becoming the NAFC School Board Trustee President.
Mrs. Gardenour, whose term runs from July 1, 2004 to June 30, 2008, served as Vice-President for the last year.
Gardenour also confirmed the nomination and selection of Neal Smith as new Vice President, and Trisha Badger Byrd as secretary. Mr. Smith served as the secretary for the past year and Trisha Badger Byrd served as a member.
School Board President Gardenour stated: Both Smith and Byrd have been very instrumental to policy and proceedings over the past year.
Mrs. Gardenour, who frequently works with children in Floyd County, has a zest for education and a passion for children, children are her top priority! In fact, she was recently sworn in by New Albany's Judge Terry Cody as a "child advocate." She has proven to be a fervent supporter of public education, teachers and all facets of the NAFC School Corporation.
Source: Dave Rarick
Freedom of Speech would like to also say it is clear that Mrs. Rebecca Gardenour is completely dedicated and rest assured that Gardenour will be advocating for programs and policies that enhance the promise of our education system and the future of our children.
Congratulations to our newly elected School Board President Mrs. Gardenour, Vice President Neal Smith and new Secretary Trisha Badger Byrd.
The aim of education should be to teach us rather how to think, than what we think - rather to improve our minds, so as to enable us to think for ourselves.
Sunday, July 08, 2007
"To Serve and Protect?
Is the New Albany Police Chief using a recent tragedy to get what he wants?
A sad day in New Albany!
How could the New Albany Police Chief use a recent killing of a Floyd County Deputy Sheriff as an excuse to get more perks for his Police Department?
Our hearts and sympathy go out to the families of the Floyd County Sheriff's Department. We are sad that our New Albany Police Department is using that tragedy to get what they want.
In a recent TV news statement, the New Albany Police Chief Harl said: he was now allowing his police staff to use city-owned cars to go anywhere. He felt this improved safety in New Albany.
Source: Fox News
It could improve safety IF the police cars were in New Albany.
Question: How can a New Albany police officer protect New Albany citizens if he is in Salem, Indiana, or-miles out of town in other counties?
Ask yourself this question : How much faster could have the NAPD had been able to reach Officer White and Officer Denzinger if our officers would have been patrolling our City of New Albany instead of being scattered through out the various counties?
We are paying for there salaries and there vehicles. Again it is documented that a big percentage of the city budget goes to the New Albany Police Department.
Should taxpayers not get the service that we pay for...Chief Harl?
What will citizens do if we have a train derailment on 15th street and our city is blocked from both directions?
Freedom of Speech feels the time is right for a thorough and comprehensive review of the take home car policy. It's time to take another look into how the police department polices itself."
It seems to us that if a department does not like our council's laws, they decide to say the hell with it. And...do what they want.
Are we wrong Chief Harl?
So--It is time to bring the New Albany police and their cars back home to New Albany. We could be much safer if the New Albany police cars were in New Albany... Do you agree taxpayers?
We also heard Chief Harl discuss policy on take-home cars.
Source: Fox News
After weeks of trying to obtain this so called policy. We would like to show you the taxpayers what Chief Harl does not want you to see or read.
And you taxpayers will be as outraged as we are.
New Albany Police Department
24-HR Patrol Program
F. Violation of Departmental Rules & Regulations
1. If an Officer is suspended for violation of any departmental rule or regulation it will be grounds for revocation of the vehicle at the discretion of the Chief of Police
Colonel Charles L. Miller
Chief of Police
New Albany Police Department
24 Hour Patrol Program
A. Department Vehicle Operation
11. No officer issued a 24-hour vehicle will drive his vehicle on days he has been suspended or is off due to sickness.
a. A day in regards to suspension is considered from 12 midnight to 12 midnight the date of suspension.
b. A day in regards to sickness is considered from 12 midnight to 12 midnight on dates of sickness when the Officers is scheduled off.
c. A day in regards to sickness is considered the 16 hours following the last scheduled tour of duty during the date an Officer has taken off sick.
Note: If you're to sick to work, you're to sick to drive a 24-hour vehicle the same day!
Colonel Charles L. Miller
Chief of Police
The purpose of the 24 Hr Patrol Program is to convey a sense of Police presence in our community. The best deterrent for the prevention of crime is a highly visible & mobilized force.
The Officers using this program will present a professional appearance and attitude while both on & off duty.
Officers shall not use the vehicles in any manner to cause embarrassment or discredit to the Police Department.
To insure this the following rules & procedures must be followed.
The use of a 24-Hr vehicle is to be considered a privilege, not an employee benefit, and shall be subject to revocation at the discretion of the Chief of Police.
A. Department vehicle Operation
1. Vehicles will only be driven by the officer assigned. Any other temporary operator must have authority from the Chief of Police, Assistant Chief, or Major.
2. When driving the vehicle off-duty the police radio will be turned on, carry a firearm (authorized & qualified), and carry Police ID at all times.
3. No one shall operate an assigned Police vehicle outside the confinement of city limits of New Albany, EXCEPT:
a. If the Officer lives in Floyd County they may drive their assigned unit to and from work.
b. If the Officer lives in Floyd County they may drive to and from home when coming to the city on personal business.
c. In the performance of their duty or when authorized by the Commanding Officer.
4. Police vehicles may be used for private off-duty use following the guidelines below.
. No passengers be transported other than a parent, spouse child, or step-child, brother and sister, or a person being transported by reason of the officer acting in the line of duty and in the scope of his employment (for example, transporting an arrested person).
b. Officers are responsible for the conduct of any passengers
c. Officers are prohibited from making Emergency (Code 3) while the vehicle is occupied by passengers, except in the interest of protecting life such as taking an injured person to the hospital.
5. Officers operating a Police vehicle will obey all traffic laws and take extra care not to draw attention or discredit the department.
6. No officer while on-duty shall have anyone ride without expressed permission from the Chief of Police, Assistant Chief, Major, or Commanding Officer and a WAIVER SIGNED.
7. Whenever an Officer is involved in an accident off-duty he will immediately inform the radio dispatcher of the situation and have an accident report made. The report will be made by the Commanding Officer on duty at the time.
8. Police vehicles will not be used in any other type of EMPLOYMENT or DRIVEN TO & FROM SUCH EMPLOYMENT without the consent of the Chief of Police.
* So Chief Harl you are telling us taxpayers we have to pay the gas, insurance, tires and maintenance so our Police Officers can work a second job?
9. Except in the performance of duty, the vehicle will not be parked or left unattended on any parking lot in front of or NEAR TAVERNS or LIQUOR STORES or any other place which may cause discredit to the department.
10. No alcoholic beverages will be transported in the vehicle except in the performance of duty. Officers will not drive a vehicle when they have been drinking alcoholic beverages or they expect to do so.
B. Maintenance and care of Department Vehicles:
1. The officer assigned a vehicle will be responsible to see that the proper maintenance is maintained.
2. Schedule any work to be done with the city garage. No one without authority of the Chief of Police, Assistant Chief, or Major Will be allowed to work on police vehicles.
3. Officers will keep maintenance records and turn in a monthly report to the Major.
4. No equipment will be installed or carried in the vehicle without authority of the Chief of Police, Assistant Chief, or Major.
5. No animals will be transported in the vehicle unless the unit is designated as an official K-9 unit.
6. The officer assigned the vehicle will be responsible to keep it clean inside & out as often as possible.
C. Personal Appearance
1. Full Uniform
a. At no time will only part of the uniform be worn. When an officer operates his vehicle off-duty in uniform, he/she shall be in full uniform, of the season, the same as if he was on-duty.
2. Civilian Dress
a. When operating a police vehicle off-duty officers civilian dress will be neat & clean. Sport clothes will be allowed, but the main trunk of the body shall be clothed.
D. Police Activities
1. When an occasion arises that an officer must become involved in a police activity off-duty, he shall notify the radio dispatcher immediately, giving his unit number, location, and all pertinent information, and take whatever action necessary to resolve the situation.
2. When an occasion arises that an Officer must become involved in a police activity off-duty and has his family or other passengers in the vehicle he will take whatever steps necessary to insure their full and complete safety.
3. The officers involved in this program will make necessary reports of incidents that he handles off-duty. In cases of a serious nature standby until the on-duty officer arrives and he will be responsible to make the reports.
4. A LOG BOOK will be keep in each unit and a monthly activity report turned into the Major.
5. The above activities off-duty are required as a condition for having the use of a 24-HR Patrol Vehicle. It is not to be considered extra duty or call in duty, therefore it is not eligible for call in pay.
E. Violation of Procedures
1. Any violation of these procedures set forth in these rules and regulations shall be subject to disciplinary action and/or revocation of the vehicle.
Signature & Rank
Chief of Police
Source: Karen Davis
Public Access Counselor
Freedom of Speech would like to say: we don't think the "City" is taking into account the wear and tear,mileage on the vehicle, tires, oil changes and the liability issue. Do family members have to sign a waiver as well?
Capt. Bailey would you email Freedom of Speech a copy of this so called 20 year rule to back up your so called "claim" in regards to the amount of gas officers are required to purchase.
Based on our research and information obtained the only ordinances on the books are: 32.15 and 32.40 Residency Requirements dated 1/4/82 & an Adopted Procedure of 12/18/84.
Source: City Ordinances
Well first of all, 20 years ago the price of gas was $0.95- $0.97 per gallon and today the average price of gas is about $2.84 per gallon. The use of a 24 Hr vehicle should be a privilege, not an employee benefit.
How can Chief Harl truly justify tax dollars being used to pay for a Police Officers 2nd job?
Also Capt. Bailey is it not a fact you yourself will be moving from your home in Greenville to Clark County?
Talk about shooting yourself in the foot Officer Wells!
After reading the article Coffey, council are out of line about take home cars by Timothy Wells NAPD Patrolman. You completely made TAXPAYERS CASE even stronger with your own statement:
"I used to live in New Albany, but the current cost of property taxes in Floyd County are unbelievable.
Source: Tribune letter: 7-6-07
So what your saying Officer Wells is: You want to receive the many benfits of Floyd County property tax DOLLARS...but you do not want to pay them?
Is it true Patrolmam Wells that you have been charge with DWI since being a New Albany Police Officer?
Our final thought on this Issue:
And you Sir, Chief Harl have mislead the media and citizens of New Albany. You have taken it upon yourself to use the death of our personal friend Officer Denzinger to try to benefit your department by playing on the emotions of us citizens of New Albany.
Freedom of Speech feels we no longer have confidence in your ability to lead our Police Department. We ask that you "resign" as our Police Chief...
But they do exist...
No one should ever be above the law~not even in New Albany!
Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.
Friday, July 06, 2007
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for allowing me to help you the citizens of New Albany over the last year. I have enjoyed assisting in obtaining and advising you about the Access to Public Records Act, and the Indiana Open Door Laws. As of June 30, 2007, I will no longer be your Public Access Counselor. I am enclosing the following information which I feel will help you in the future.
It has been an honor and a privilege to help Freedom of Speech in obtaining various public records. I wish you the best in your endeavors and hope that you continue educating your readers.
Karen T. Davis
Public Access Counselor
402 West Washington Street W460
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204
Telephone: (317) 233-9435
Fax: (317) 233-3091
Governor Mitch Daniels has appointed Heather Willis Neal as the new public access counselor for the state of Indiana.
Neal, who earned her law degree from the Indiana School of Law-Indianapolis, worked for nearly six years in the Office of the Indiana Secretary of State. She first served as director of business services and general counsel for former Secretary of State Sue Anne Gilroy and then, from 2003-2005, as chief of staff for Secretary of State Todd Rokita. Most recently, she was the executive director of School Choice Indiana, Inc.
Neal earned her undergraduate degree from Franklin College. Her appointment will be effective on July 1 and will expire on June 30, 2011.
Monday, July 02, 2007
Garry states: a recent cash infusion from economic-development tax revenue that was meant to wipe out the Street Department's deficit and pay for a sweeper and yard-waste collection truck the department wants and would cost about $250,000 combined.
The council upheld the state's order of a $347,357 cut to a $1,322,229 budget for 2007, a calculation based on the gas-tax revenue that funds the Street Department.
Source: New Albany Tribune - June 22, 2007
Freedom of Speech would like to ask: Why did the Council agree to cover the 2007 Budget Cuts for Board of Works and Controller's Office, and ignore the $347,357 budget cut in the Street Department?
The previous approval of $800,000 EDIT money was made to cover a deficit in the Street Department. The Street Department should NOT be blamed for that deficit.
For your information Mrs. Garry, the Sanitation Department was privatized and some sanitation staff was moved over to the Street Department. Our Street Department picks up waste that the new "Private Sanitation Company" does not pick up!
So--the Street Department needs funding to pay extra staff and they need funding for repairs and new equipment.
Sure makes sense to us taxpayers!
Does it seem like a fair decision Mrs. Garry when:
1.) you dumb more work on them and then,
2.) cut their budget?
Why don't we just cut the Controllers budget!
Freedom of Speech has a suggestion: "Council needs to review this problem."
Also Mrs. Garry, you are paid by us citizens to look out for taxpayers best interest. To spend our money wisely. What ever happen to creative funding?
You always seem to have money for everything else this administration wants.
Instead, you totally ignore our Street Department problems. Why?
"We might come closer to balancing the Budget if all of us lived closer to the Commandments and the Golden Rule."