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June 20, 2018

12/28/2008 9:34:00 PM
Can O' Worms #7
Gimme an "F"! Gimme a "U"! Gimme an "FU"!

Dee Bonner


Many of you have made it known that you no longer subscribe to the local newspaper. I know. I understand that's your choice. However, since you are loyal readers of this site, I feel duty-bound to occasionally share certain newspaper articles with you. Like the following article that reports on Mayor Furgeson/Ferguson's accomplishments and disappointments during 2008 (in his own words).

Of course, the first thing you are likely to notice is the spelling of the Mayor's surname in the article. Notice how it alternates between Furgeson and Ferguson. Probably another darned Spell Check problem, don't you imagine?

Once upon a time, I had difficulty remembering how to spell the mayor's name correctly. But a few year's ago, Mayor Furgeson shared a little mnemonic device with me and I've remembered the correct spelling of his name ever since. That was the day the mayor visited the newspaper office and shouted "F-U, BONNER! F-U!"

Anyway, the final two paragraphs of the following newspaper article address the mayor's current position on the Criminal Justice Center and his plan to purchase the First Christian Church. Since regular readers know this is one of my ongoing issues, I feel compelled to editorialize about the mayor's statement.

Editorial Comment: The mayor should not be waiting for county officials to tell the city how much they will be charging for "rent" at the jail once the jail bond is paid off next year.

Instead, the mayor should be actively involved in drafting the city's agreement for ongoing occupancy in the facility. There is no "rent" now, nor should there be any "rent" going forward. The current agreement calls for both sides to replace the current agreement with a new agreement. The current agreement merely provides for an allocation of shared space and expenses to ensure that the city is paying their fair share of occupancy costs. Just like they are currently doing.

In addition, the current agreement urges both parties to consider contingencies on how each party would allocate the costs of any future expansions that might affect the city's portion of the building. There is no requirement in the current agreement that mandates or suggests a need for the city to pay "rent" to the county. The City of Shelbyville received their portion of space in the Criminal Justice Center in exchange for, and in consideration of, the city's multimillion dollar contribution of EDIT funds.

There are many individuals in both the city and county who were involved in drafting the original occupancy agreement or recall the circumstances surrounding the joint occupancy at the new jail. Why so silent? If you think I have a mistaken recollection, please let me know.

Anyway, here's the Mayor's newspaper article:

Ferguson Hopeful After '08 Transition

The Shelbyville News

Saturday, December 27, 2008

As Shelbyville Mayor Scott Furgeson looks back on 2008, he sees many accomplishments, as well as some concerns and a few disappointments. On the plus side, he is proud that his administration was able to keep next year's budget down to only 1 percent higher than last year's expenditures.

"It started out more than 8 percent higher, but we were able to get it down by mid-December," he said. "Several of our department heads, especially the parks, police and fire departments, made a lot of cuts and concessions."

He's also very proud that the soccer fields and softball diamonds were opened at the new Blue River Memorial Park. He said quality-of-life issues are important.

"I'm excited about our $500,000 grant that we received to refurbish and upgrade our downtown," he said. "All of these things will prove to be tremendous assets to our community."

Ferguson said the casino opening in late spring was a "shot in the arm" for the Shelbyville community, coming at a time when there is a considerable downturn in the economy.

"My hope is that future casino revenues will help the city meet budget needs," he said. "I know some people don't like gambling or the casino, but that revenue will be coming at a time when House Bill 1001 will be cutting property tax rates back from 1-1/2 percent to 1 percent by 2010. If we didn't have that extra source of revenue, it could make it very tough on us. We still may have to cut another $600,000 out of our 2010 budget."

The mayor continues to take great pride in Shelbyville's 20-year sister-city relationship with Kambara, Japan, which was later annexed to Shizuoka City. Shelby County is home to eight companies with Japanese ties, and those companies employ hundreds of local workers.

"The exchange visits back and forth help us to maintain good relations with the Japanese," he said. "It helps us maintain the work force we have and gives us an edge when we're recruiting new businesses here."

GOOD WATER

Ferguson said the new water well and treatment facility being constructed three miles northwest of Boggstown by Indiana American Water will prove vital to the growth of the city and the county.

"The new $15 million facility, which should begin operations in next July, will make another 3 million gallons of water available daily," he said. "It will more than double the company's total output of water and help our city grow toward Indianapolis."

The mayor believes the two tax increment finance districts (TIF's) created by the city in 2008 - one on the Wellman property on Progress Road and the other one at the Fairland Exit of Interstate 74 - were positive steps and assure future growth in those areas.

"Even though the Fairland-area TIF was pretty controversial among several of the people who live in that area, it will prove to be a positive thing and help pay for infrastructure and development in that area," he said.

POLITICAL YEAR

Harkening back on the year's main events, he recalled the political and legal wrangling over the controversial election tie for the 4th Ward City Council seat between incumbent Republican Tamara Sullivan and Democrat challenger Val Phares, who eventually won in July by a unanimous decision of the Indiana State Court of Appeals.

"Council meetings were kind of uneasy and tense for me during the first six months of the year," he said. "I liked both candidates and felt they both would do a great job on the city council. A lot of people don't believe this, but once you're in office you're no longer a Democrat or Republican. You do what you think is best for the community and you don't think about political parties."

He noted that the only time during his eight years on the city council that he cast a purely Republican Party political vote was during the city political redistricting in 2000. That same political process, which occurs every ten years during the census, will take place again in 2010, he said.

ECONOMIC DIVERSITY

Listing some of his concerns, the mayor said he believed the city's economy was not diversified enough.

"We're entirely too dependent on the automobile and home construction industries and everybody knows they're in trouble right now," he said. "We have about 2,000 of our employees in three companies - Knauf, Ryobi and PK USA - locked up in those two industries and that scares me."

He added that there is a bad trickle-down effect on the local economy when workers are laid off, because they don't have money to spend at local businesses and restaurants.

"I think the big business chains will suffer the most during these hard economic times," he said. "The small mom-and-pop businesses actually fare better in times like these because they have lower overheads."

NEW BUSINESS

When asked about new businesses locating in the Shelbyville area, the mayor noted that three new businesses are still on track for the Shelbyville area, including the White Castle restaurant scheduled to open on the Wellman property in the spring of 2010; a hotel under construction behind the Shelby County Athletic Club; and another hotel being being built on the old Rumpke property near the Fairland Exit interchange of Interstate 74.

"We're always working hard to attract new retail to the area," he said. "It's a very difficult and very competitive."

The mayor explained that further work on Progress Parkway, the city's transportation loop under construction for more than a year, was being slowed somewhat by decreased state funding. Nearly one-half of the southeastern quarter of the route, from South State Road 9 to Amos Road, should be completed by the fall of 2009, he said. However, he noted there is still no bid date or state money allocated for the other half of the route, so it might not be completely finished until the fall of 2010, the mayor said.

"The problem is, this is a $3 million project and we have to pay 20 percent of it - or $600,000," he said. "We don't know if we're going to have that money, considering the way the economy is going and the changes in property tax revenue and state funding. Also, there's only $6 million in Indiana Department of Transortation project money available in our state district and we're competing with other communities for those dollars."

Furgeson noted he is still waiting for county officials to tell the city how much they will be charging for rent at the jail once the city and county pay off the jail bond next year.

"If the amount is reasonable and affordable, we would prefer to keep our police department in the Criminal Justice Center," he said. "If not, we're still looking into the possibility of purchasing the First Christian Church building across the street from City Hall."



Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, January 2, 2009
Article comment by: Kathy Kelley

As I have mentioned many times before MONEY talks in Shelbyville. Our city officials let money do the talking. So us little PEE ons just get crapped on from them. The mayor is the largest one and he has the legal staff of his talking for him. All part of FURGY's follies!

Posted: Monday, December 29, 2008
Article comment by: Moose E. Lodge, Esq.

Nice to know we have a mayor who exhibits so much class and dignity and such a potty mouth! Real good role modeling for the kids, huh? Also nice to see how the reporter didn't question any of the mayor's pretzel logic.



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