Speak Out Loud NA

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Sewer Talks Solved Nothing

Don't forget tonight's Special Council Session called for 6PM to vote on the Sewer Rate increase proposal.

It sure wasn't a surprise at last Wednesday's special Public Hearing meeting when the portion of the proceedings that got out of hand and brought down the gavel (haphazardly wielded by CM Blevins), turned out to be the Public Officials speaking time. They went at each other with a ferociousness that revealed all the frustrations and mistrusts that are perculating just under the surface of this administration's relationship with members of the sitting City Council.
Apparently, the quickly scrambled meetings that were questionably assembled prior to the Public Hearing, as well as the assortment of private meetings that obviously occurred between certain folks to strike deals for votes, were not enough to bring a consensus for the specially called Council meeting voting opportunity immediately following the Public Hearing.
Unceremoniously, after all the hoopla and all 8,9,10,15, or however many (let's just say: too many) sets of numbers that were miraculously made available to Council when the Sewer Board can't get their own financials to be able to pay submitted claims, everything was tabled. But, only until the next Special Meeting, called for on Wednesday, August 30th, to have the second and third reading of a resolution to get millions of dollars back into the sewer fund by any means possible.
Currently, the Council Members are reviewing 3 options presented just prior to the Public Hearing, and they have asked for additional options from Fifer and Umbaugh that would reduce the rate increase to zero.
Many Council Members favor using TIF funds as well, which are available. The jail bond reserve fund of $3.3 million that is being refunded to the city is also available for use, but some want to use a significant portion to "bail out" the Street Department that is now losing an additional $300K per year in the last 2 years, due mostly to the decision to privatize Sanitation services.
I must agree with CM Coffey when he suggested that before we throw good money at a bad situation, we find out exactly WHY the Street Department is suddenly losing so much money. In my opinion, it seems just too convenient for it not to be related to 'creative financing'.
The Street Department is on its way to privatization no matter how much money we throw at it. The sooner CM's Blevins and Crump realize this, the better off we'll be.
I also applaud CM Price's stand that it's foolosh to borrow money to get out of debt. It simply creates new debt. His comments refer to a $2 million SRF Loan for sewer works that is showing up as recieved by New Albany this month. However was this money is NOT showing up in the financial scenarios handed to Council? After speaking with CM Price, he explained that this $2 million "Loan" is only a possibility that is being considered by the administration to solve the funds shortfall crisis, and the money has NOT been received by the City.
Also, CM Schmidt prepared and presented a very do-able plan for solving all these problems, and we hope the other Council Members give those numbers serious consideration when debating their stance on where all this needed money will be coming from, and what is fair and best for the citizens of New Albany.
Easily the most outrageous and insulting statement of the evening, made by the administration "Suits", was the warning they continued to issue to Council about, "...using too much available EDIT funds will result in having nothing left for any other projects for the next 15-17 years."!!!
Well, I for one would like to know just what numbers they have REALLY plugged in for use on the Scribner FIASCO for the next 17 years. After all, the adopted resolution allows for use of up to $400K in EDIT funds (we'll try to post the resolution in full or link), and we all know costs are continuing to rise on the construction due to financing difficulties (?!) by the YMCA (ha!).
Then, there is another little matter that no one is talking about, and that would be the brilliant suggestion that the YMCA obtain their needed financing through the Redevelopment Commission by getting a loan of (you guessed it) EDIT funds, based on classifying them as an "Industrial" development. GIMME A BREAK!!!
Correction: The YMCA financing assistance proposed by the Redevelopment Commission does not include any use of EDIT funds. This was a misunderstanding on my part.
No EDIT funds available for other projects would be a direct result of the determination of this administration to protect getting the Scribner Place done, costs be damned! Too many people are counting on the financial windfalls to be made.
Still, they will use scare tactics to deter the Council from using sufficient EDIT dollars to offset the millions of dollars owed BACK to the sewer fund from monies that have been mis-spent under this administration and others.
They have approached this $5 million September Bond payment as though it has popped up unexpectedly and now demands swift, strategic manuvering of other available funds, including rate increases, to cover costs that were supposed to have already been covered according to documents we've reviewed from the current and previous Councils Resolutions.
Keeping up with inflationary cost increases is another matter altogether, and they know it. Using that argument as a justification for this 11th hour push for 3 consecutive rate increases is only a smoke screen for what's really behind it all.
Finally, I want to personally thank everyone who stood up in front of that Council and spoke out loud about the way this situation of "missing money", or as the administration would have it: "shortage of funds", in the Sewage Utility is being presented and dealt with. Everyone is calling for nothing less than honesty, accountability, and capability in our City government.
The BEST solution heard Wednesday night was the suggestion that the current Sewer Board be dissolved, and the Council take over all matters of the Sewer Utility until such time as the current problems are resolved, or until the next incoming administration can demonstrate the ability to effectively manage the resources and operations of a seperate Sewer Board.
After all, if we are now in a position of considering hiring a "Sewer Manager", then what does that say about the capabilities of those who are currently running things?

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


The links in this posting have been repaired and now are working.
Sorry for any inconvenience.


"...upon the petition of twenty-five (25) interested taxpayers showing that effective local relief has not and cannot be obtained after due effort, shall make the inquiries, tests, examinations, and investigations that may be necessary to determine whether:
(1) any public contract has been regularly and lawfully executed and performed; or (2) any public work, building, or structure has been or is being performed, built, or constructed in accordance with the terms and provisions of the contract, and in compliance with the plans and specifications, if any."

To
Click HERE:

Meanwhile, today the phones have been ringing off the walls for many taxpayer advocates and Council Members, after word got out that a deal has been struck and decisions have been made about the Sewer rate increase request.
We have serious concerns regarding the legality of these meetings that led to the "deal" that was struck, and the status of the public meeting scheduled for this coming Wednesday, August 24th, when members of the public were to have an opportunity to address the Council.
It is still very important that everyone show up for this meeting on the 24th, as this is time for citizens to express their views and opinions regarding the situation surrounding the Sewer Utility and its oversight and management.
However, we have learned that the five (5) options that were presented to Council this past Thursday evening, and which were supposed to be made available for public scrutiny, have now been reduced to three options, none of which match any of the 5 original options.
Now, we have to ask, why and how they will be presenting three options if indeed the decison has already been made and the deal has been struck.
Furthermore, how does this turn of events affect the actual legality of the mandated published public notice since the agenda items no longer match the advertised legal?
Again, we find ourselves being blindsided by closed door meetings that just may violate the "Sunshine Laws" that were designed to prevent such deal-making from taking place 'behind the scenes', or anywhere else removed from public scrutiny. Especially when the issue concerns taxpayer monies.
There are many more questions concerning the events that have surrounded this scramble for money to replace funds that were mis-spent.

Another citizen also advised us of another site that has been found that provides information concerning funds that have been dispersed from the State Treasurer's office to Floyd County and New Albany.
It is made available be State Treasurer Tim Berry in Floyd County.
For a full listing click HERE
The most intresting piece of information we found here is a notation that the City of New Albany issued SRF Bonds for a Wastewater Loan in the amount of $2 million dated August, 2006.
This begs the question:
Has the City recieved another $2 million loan for our sewers witout telling us, or Council members that this money has come into the city?

Suffice it to say that many members of our community are more than a little concerned about how this situation with the missing funds from the sewer department is going to be resolved.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

NAPP Report

Here is the main posting we promised to bring up from the comments section.
We will also bring the follow-up reports and comments into the comments of this posting in order to keep everything together.

Our only hope is to get as much of the REAL information out to as many of the general citizens as we can and let them decide for themselves what to make out of the whole mess, and who seems to be part and parcel of it all.
It remains to be seen how our elected officials will handle all this information.

New Albany Potty Police Member said...
We have posted the following on New Albany Today's Blog as a thank you to Maury.

"Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. In the past Maury, whenever bonds and other rates issues arose, you and another were the ones which asked the "right" questions. Because you and the other Council member always asked the correct questions from different financial consultants, we have always felt like you had a grasp on the money situation.

We have now researched and found the other documents needed for further analysis.

When we told Mayor Garner these monies seemed to be missing, he asked us to give him a two month time-frame in order for him to check with the Attorney who was in charge at the time, Keith Henderson, and see if he had done what he needed to do. The Mayor then told us the Attorney had done what he needed to do, but couldn't explain where the monies were and shrugged when asked how he was going to pay it back.

We can't deal with a shrug, Maury.

Thank you, again."

Now, tonight at the Budget Hearings, the other $270,000.00 pledged is still not reflected on their budget sheets nor was it brought up in the meeting. There is one more meeting where we hope we can resolve at least getting the money NOW starting to go the right direction; seems to be difficult because that EDIT seems to be pledged out, and there's fines for not using it correctly and it is just one big can of worms.

We were told at the Sewer Board today that the citizen who spoke at a City Council meeting about EMC still owing the City (US) for the truck ordered and not authorized HAS NOT YET been paid. We had been told it was...but the citizen was correct in that it had not. EMC was given until the next meeting to come up with a check.

Even though they put a collar on the manhole out at Meiers, evidently it didn't work, because they went back out and put a 20 foot high collar and said that seems to be holding. Of course, we haven't had any rain to prove that piece of information, yet.

Because of the overflows in mini-Basin 35, developments by certain developers are being told the lines can't handle the new development already authorized to come in. We maintain the "magic pen" was passed around in the sewer board and the developer was told this line could handle the sewage, but alas... Now Clark Dietz, OUR Engineer is doing studies for that area, number one is suppoose to be to see how to clear up the problems there. We do not feel their job is to see what is to be done so these developers can add more on top of us. We are tired of paying for the Developers. We want an impact fee. We pay 5-1 just to get one sewer credit and the Developer is paying a 1-1. We're tiiirrreeed.

Now you have told us Meiers somehow didn't get a bill; nor did Applebees; nor did some car wash out that way; we're truly interested in whether Beef O'Grady's did. We would find it hard to imagine one of the co-owners, John Kraft, wouldn't have been aware he wasn't getting a sewer bill.

There is no documentation of lines being laid under the Overton administration. EMC was also instructed to get together with Clark-Dietz and Donohue and come up with a "certified" document as to same. Seems the EPA investigator may have talked with Mr. Solomon, who has nothing but OUR RESPECT (and Mr. Utz).

They still can't figure out with Jennys Lane is still having SSO's.
Not sure on that spelling...please forgive.

A new SSO popped up on Charlestown Road, we think out by St. Joe's, which is impacting a development on the shelf.

Now, with Umbaugh's 2004 figures showing the $270,000 for the Bonds, along with their $270,000 figures from 2002 showing the pledges of EDIT to the inner-city, we may be able to get these monies back where they belong -- in the sewers.

There's more...we were well'ed on what happened at the State meeting on the SRF monies -- well, if the Council does this, well, blah, blah, blah.

We simply wish people, well it seems to only be certain people, would realize these EDIT moneys have to be returned and repaid and put in the fund where they need to go. We do not need a rate increase because of their incompetency. We simply need to fix the inner-city sewers with the original EDIT funds which were pledged in 1997 and 2002 and more in 2004, then you can build your field of dreams. Unfortunately, this has been on the burner a lot longer than the Y or Scribner. It's definitely not our fault; we are waiting for the EPA to lay the blame.

And, please, ratepayers, please don't forget the past 2 (TWO) years in lost revenue. HOW IN THE HEY DO YOU LOSE TWO YEARS WORTH OF REVENUE, and you really want us to pay for that TOO? Come on.

Mayor Garner, we can only say this to you, personally. It's not an attack, simply a dialogue.

Do you remember the sewer board meeting when we asked you if you were aware you could go to jail over this whole blankety thing? Do you remember your reaction? You threw your hands up in the air, put your head down on the desk, and then looked at us and told us you didn't sign up for that. Then, Fifer came into the room. When you asked Fifer "do you know what so and so just said to me...", are you aware that Fifer didn't tell you we were wrong. He WELL'ED you. You didn't notice, and we are sorry. We did notice.

Again, thank you Mr. Solomon and Mr. Utz for your work and diligence and honesty.

There is so much more, but I'm out of breath. One thing about blogs, it's bring back writing. However you may write. A lot of articles have appeared where people "just don't write letters" anymore. This is a blessing in disguise.

Disperse the information with a push of a button. So, here goes...

10:43 PM, August 15, 2006

Monday, August 14, 2006

Looking for Answers

There are a lot of folks in this City who think these questions, originally asked by SdamonS on NAC, are very critical to the situation we find ourselves in right now.
Since they've been left hanging over there, unanswered, for almost a week, we figured we would rescue them for a re-post on SOLNA.
We want to get as much information out there as we can about these issues, and provide as many REAL answers as possible (without the political "spin").

Original Post - Tuesday, Aug. 8th, 2006
At 4:34 PM, SDamonS said...
Who pays the EDIT tax (and who does not)? is this a county or city tax? a summary here and a link to more information about it would be great.

Is it true that by passing a rate increase the loan rate will be lowered? Is this guaranteed in writing? Are there other ways to have the rate lowered? perhaps putting $8.3 million dollars immediately into the sewer fund?

Why doesn't the city work to have the sewers reclassified so they are monitored under the same rules as Clarksville or Jeff? (and why was this agreement made in the first place) ..ie as a 'combined system' and not a 'separated system'. That would at least give some more time to come up with a better solution for getting the money that is needed.

Tribune Angers Many (again)

Sunday's "opinion" piece by Tribune Publisher, John Tucker, was without a doubt the most asinine thing I have ever read from a newspaper publisher.
In fact, the "article" (I use the term very loosely) was so absurd that it's difficult to swallow the fact that it was actually printed in something that insists on calling itself a NEWSpaper!
We are not providing a link from here due to the outrage that has been expressed by so many people over this poor, poor choice of publishing. If you haven't read it, consider yourself fortunate. It was a ridiculous piece of satire storytelling so very familiar to anyone who has ever read one of Rogers' rants over at the New Albany Confidential blog .
Mr. Tucker has certainly made no bones about the fact that he has aligned himself with the politically motivated "progressives" in our community. A certain faction of folks who are convinced that their opinions are the only ones in New Albany that actually matter, and who apparently have made it their mission in life to insult, slander, and otherwise bad-mouth CM's Coffey, Price, and Schmidt by any means, and with every opportunity that presents itself.
Thus, not only does everything the Tribune reports from the third floor these days have the progressive spin on it, but the other contents of the paper (I will NOT call it a NEWS-paper) are more and more often displaying the same audacious and insolent attitudes of the progressives.
We feel very strongly that Sunday's article by John Tucker not only was an unnecessary and mean-spirited attack on select Council Members, but it was also so entirely off the mark in terms of the issues facing the citizens and rate-payers of New Albany, that it had absolutely no worth being put in print.
We think it is imperative to express our continued profound disappointment in the Tribune and its publisher, John Tucker.
We feel an apology is owed to CM's Dan Coffey and Steve Price, as well as to the Tribune's remaining readership who were subjected to such a ridiculous piece of storytelling that was passed off as journalism.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


Monday nights council meeting was nothing short of another meltdown for New Ablany's City Council. Passing a proposed rate increase through a first reading "ONLY" gives Garner and Fifer another foot in the door that should have slammed shut a long time ago.
We are in the process of gathering thoughts and opinions, as well as data, from several sources and officials to include in our full posting for Thursday afternoon.
Meanwhile, continue to check the other blogs for relevant discussions and well-posed questions.
There is so much WRONG with the way things are unfolding, that we are having a hard time bringing the information into a shorter version of what could be an entire book about mis-management and incompetance.
So, please be patient as we sort through all sources and all words to get to the real issues at hand.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Scribner Place: Beating A Dead Horse!

It has become painfully obvious that the Scribner Place project has become a complete disaster. With absolutely no help from a dissenting public, the project seems to be dismantling itself right before our eyes.
With the need for re-bids now a certainty, costs are likely to skyrocket given the predictions of most. Plus, any more scaling back of the project will probably buy us another disaster like our infamous Firehouse the Chief is so proud of. So, where does this leave us in terms of enthusiasm and/or confidence in the likelyhood of the Scribner Place project ever becomming a reality?
Let's discuss all the happenings that have surrounded this controversial use of scarce resources of funds, and try to determine if this is just a bad idea gone horribly wrong, or if it's really got a chance of still being worth all they say it will be.
Does anybody believe in Karma?