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January 23, 2019

Quoth The Raven, "Forevermore?"
How to spend the windfall of racino money pouring into Shelby County is an important issue that should be of utmost concern to all citizens. Millions of dollars in monthly racino revenues began flowing into local government treasuries in 2008. Much of it has already been spent by our local officials despite early pleas from area residents calling for public forums to discuss how best to allocate the money. The City of Shelbyville can't tell you how the racino money was spent during the first year because it was deposited into the city's general fund and used for 'normal city expenses' according to a city official. That's disturbing, especially since my 10-year old grandson has already learned how to manage his birthday money. Fortunately, the state legislature required local governments to establish separate funds for racino money in July 2009. So, in theory, we can now track the money.

Recently, elected officials from both Shelby County and the City of Shelbyville announced separate, but eerily similar, proposals on how to spend the money. Both government entities have chosen to spend most of the slot money on undefined economic development projects. Is that a coincidence? It's interesting to point out that neither government proposal considers 'not spending' the money to be an option.

If you haven't been following this particular money trail, I encourage you to start doing so. An excellent place to start is with the following three-part newspaper series about the financial impact of Indiana Live! Casino on Shelby County government and two subsequent news stories that report on passage of the spending proposal guidelines by the city and county. The articles are full of information and crammed with quotes from elected officials. Quotes always makes me giddy.

County Sitting On Millions

Friday, March 12, 2010 (first in a series) by AJ Colley - The Shelbyville News

If Shelby County won big with the creation of Indiana Live! Casino, most people might not know it.

Since the casino opened in its temporary form in June 2008, Shelby County and its communities have received nearly $10 million in gambling revenues. So far, millions haven't been spent, and no finalized plans are in place for how government bodies should spend the money.

Shelbyville City Council member Kim Owens said it's a good problem for the city and county to have - trying to figure out how to spend extra money coming into the community.

"For us not to realize that would be foolish," Owens said. "We have to be very aware of the impact of  these funds."

Shelbyville Clerk-Treasurer Rod Meyerholtz said other communities in Indiana are struggling financially.

"It's good that we can deal with something like this," he said. "We're very fortunate."

Racino communities, under Indiana law, have some flexibility for using their racino revenues. The law classifies the money as a miscellaneous expense. Also under the law, racinos like Indiana Live! are required to pay the cities, towns and counties where they are located 3 percent of their adjusted gross receipts. Those payments can stop once the casino hits $8 million paid in a fiscal year.

Money is distributed to Shelby County, Shelbyville, Morristown, Fairland, Edinburgh and St. Paul, with the amount based on the number of residents tied to each area. In the February 2010 payment of racino funds, for example, the county received nearly 55 percent of the money, while Shelbyville received nearly 41 percent and Morristown received about 2.6 percent.

County makes tentative plans

Elected officials have used some of the money. The county council has voted to spend roughly 52 percent of what it's received so far, according to numbers provided by the Shelby County auditor. The county began receiving racino revenue payments in July 2008.

So far, the most expensive project approved is $1.15 million for Purdue University to build an equine hospital in the county. The university is fundraising for a large portion of the project.

County officials also used $500,000 to balance the 2010 county budget, in light of revenue shortfalls on the state level, County Auditor Amy Glackman said. Every school system in Shelby County received a payment for technology upgrades as well, totaling $344,100 for all four.

Other ways the county used the money include laptop computers for the Shelby County Sheriff's Department, a new server for a county building and a parking lot. County council members gave $220,000 to the Shelby County Development Corp. to invest in a sewer project when Harley-Davidson was considering locating to the northwest portion of the county. Only a few hundred dollars of it was spent, and then Harley chose another site. It's unclear whether the remaining money would go to a sewer district that has been proposed for the same area.

Glackman has no vote in how money is spent but said she agrees with how the county council has doled out the money so far.

"I don't see that they're spending it carelessly at all," she said.

City, Morristown spending generally

The city began receiving gaming revenues in July 2008, and until July 2009, they were placed into the city's general fund. In July 2009, the state legislature forced local government entities to create a separate fund for racino money.

Up until July, it's hard to track the money from the city.

"It was part of the general fund income," Meyerholtz said.

The city didn't treat the money as any different than other revenue streams for the general fund. Money went to normal city expenses, including salaries and benefits for employees. Meyerholtz said it allowed the city to keep tax rates down for residents.

Since the separate fund was created by Shelbyville, the city hasn't spent any of the racino money. Including the February payment to the city, $1.78 million sits unspent in the bank.

After the county and city, Morristown collects the biggest sum of racino revenues, according to the February racino tax payment information. In 2009, Morristown received $176,555, Clerk-Treasurer Tom Reber said.

"Last year, we had to use quite a bit of money to keep our license branch operating in the black," he said.

The town began helping keep the branch open in October 2008, spending roughly $5,000 for it in 2008 and $30,000 in 2009, Reber said. It closed Sept. 4. Now, the town is using racino revenues to cover unemployment costs for the people who worked at the branch. Reber said that can cost $2,800 to $3,000 per month.

Morristown has also purchased a firetruck and bought two lots of land for $6,000 to avoid a costly street project.

"As far as the firetruck goes, that's a very, very needed thing, and we have no choice but to fund the unemployment," Reber said.

Although Edinburgh doesn't get a large piece of the racino money - it's received just more than $6,000 since July 2008 - the town is happy to use it. Clerk-Treasurer Jackie Smith said the money is spent on general operating expenses for the town.

"It helps offset the tax rate," Smith said. "It's money we don't have to raise through property tax."

Although it's not a lot of money, Smith said every dollar helps.

"We're sure glad to be getting it," she said.

Fairland startup issues costly

Fairland is perhaps a different case.

"I'm very grateful for what we get," Clerk-Treasurer Christine Brinson said.

Fairland Town Council President Rick Daily said he's glad as well.

But Daily, and others in the community, he said, wish the situation was different. Fairland residents need only travel a few hundred feet out of town at night to see the bright lights of Indiana Live! in their neighborhood. The casino is located in a tax increment financing district annexed by Shelbyville, which means property taxes aren't flowing to the Northwestern Consolidated Schools like they could be, Daily said.

Although northwestern Shelby County is an area of scattered residents, Daily said the school system ties them all together. Residents wish their prized schools were benefiting from the casino and also wish the tax burden could have been alleviated by the property's taxes.

"They're not happy about any of this," Daily said of residents.

Fairland's re-incorporation has created a unique situation with racino revenues. The town didn't begin receiving revenue checks until August, Brinson said. It was delayed in receiving various tax distributions after a town census stalled. Fairland borrowed $30,000 from the county for operating expenses in the meantime, which it plans to pay back through its future racino revenues.

Fairland borrowed an additional $25,000 from the county to pay Wessler Engineering to do preliminary work for a potential new sewer district in the area.

Coming tomorrow

Although millions of dollars are waiting to be spent by most government units in Shelby County, millions more in revenues could be coming. Officials are beginning to formulate plans for how to spend the money in the future.

Already, the County Council has proposed a resolution that could dictate how money is spent, and a similar resolution is in the works for Shelbyville City Council.

Towns in the county receive less of the money but have general ideas of how racino money could benefit their residents in coming years.

Despite the ideas and early plans, officials remain cautious with the money. They say they know it might not be around forever.

By the numbers

Total amount of racino revenues distributed to local entities in Shelby County from Indiana Live! Casino.

2008: $2,434,148

2009: $6,338,887

2010: $1,055,453

Total: $9,828,488

(Content copyright 2010 - The Shelbyville News)

County, City Voting On Revenue Use This Week

Saturday, March 13, 2010 (second in a series) by AJ Colley - The Shelbyville News

As millions of dollars filter into Shelby County from Indiana Live!, government officials are hoping to cement guidelines on how to spend the money.

Since Indiana Live! opened its temporary facility in June 2008, Shelby County and its city and towns have received $9.8 million in racino revenues. Millions of it remain unspent, and opinions vary on the best use for it. Monday and Tuesday, two proposed plans on racino spending guidelines will be heard by government bodies.

The Shelbyville City Council will consider a resolution Monday that calls for directing 60 percent of racino money for economic development, 15 percent for redevelopment and capital projects, 7-1/2 percent for non-safety vehicles, 7-1/2 percent for streets, 5 percent for a reserve fund and 5 percent for the Blue River Community Foundation.

City council member Jeff Sponsel said he's been trying to set down racino spending guidelines for three years. He said he wanted something in place before Indiana Live! opened its doors.

"If we're not investing that wisely in our future, then we're not behaving responsibly as elected officials," Sponsel said.

City wants more jobs

Many people have suggested the money be used to pay bills that would come out of the city's annual budget, Sponsel said. He said that's not the most responsible way to spend it.

"If you can't balance your budget without the racino money, then you probably can't balance your budget with it," he said. "It's an easy cop-out to say that we need it to pay bills and pay salaries."

Having racino money makes Shelbyville ineligible for certain grants, Sponsel said. That makes it even more important for the city to carefully spend the money, he said.

City officials emphasized the importance of using the money for economic development as a way to lure businesses to the area. Sponsel said cities no longer have to use a tax abatement as the only negotiating chip to bring a business and its jobs to town.

City council member Kim Owens said she agrees with the need to devote some of the money to economic development. She said it could be what stops Shelbyville from finishing in second place when companies consider locating in the city.

"This might give us more leverage with some of these development opportunities that come our way," Owens said.

Mayor Scott Furgeson said it's rare for a city the size of Shelbyville to devote such a large amount of money to economic development, but he said he supports it.

"It's good to do, and it's an important part (of the proposed resolution)," he said. "It really shows the outside world, I think, that we're serious about economic development."

Although under the proposed city plan, the money doesn't directly lower taxes for residents, city council members and Furgeson said it still reduces the tax burden.

Difficult financial times and the restructuring of property taxes have forced Shelbyville to constrain its budget, Furgeson said. Now, the city can afford to do projects without relying so heavily on tax dollars.

County officials weigh votes carefully

The Shelby County Council also has been considering its own resolution, which is in some ways similar to the city's.

Council President Terry Smith presented the resolution at the Feb. 16 meeting, and it's on the agenda for a vote at Tuesday night's meeting. Council members said at the earlier meeting that they weren't ready to vote.

Smith's proposal calls for using 80 percent of racino revenues for capital improvements and economic development, 15 percent for the general fund and 5 percent for the Blue River Community Foundation. While council members debated some details of the proposal, many appeared supportive of devoting a large percentage of racino money to economic development.

The council has approved using racino money to pay for several school projects, but the approvals have always been 4-3 split votes. Some officials say the money shouldn't be given to school systems, as they are taxing entities capable of raising money on their own. Others supported the projects because they were one-time costs, to upgrade technology. That technology, some said, is key to economic development because it creates a more capable work force.

While Shelby County commissioners don't vote to disperse racino money, Commissioners President Tony Newton also said he would like the money to be used on economic development. But Newton has several other ideas for the money.

"I think it needs to be spent on one-time capital improvement projects," he said.

Newton said it would also be useful to have racino money to devote to deteriorating bridges and streets.

"I'd like to see some of it come back to the highway department to help with the roads and things like that," he said.

Towns focus on residents' needs

Tom Reber, clerk-treasurer for Morristown, said he also thinks racino money should be put toward one-time expenses.

Reber said money should be used wisely in the future, and Morristown needs to find ways to use racino revenues to help the community.

"In the future, there might be a paving project that needs to be done, (or) helping people with their sidewalks," Reber said.

More generally, Reber said, racino money should be used to enhance the quality of life for residents.

Fairland has a similar sentiment for future use of racino revenues. Clerk-treasurer Christine Brinson said racino revenues should be spent on something that can benefit town residents.

"We have a lot of needs in the town," she said.

Rick Daily, president of the town council, said the racino money is good for projects. Some examples of how the money could be spent in Fairland are for road projects, a dump truck or a firetruck, Daily said.

"We're not spending any money we don't have to," he said. "We need to be very frugal."

All agree: One-time uses only

Many city and county officials said the community should not grow to depend on the money or use it as a crutch, in case it's no longer there.

The racino money shouldn't be used for ongoing expenses such as personnel, Newton said.

"You never know whether that money's going to be there," he said. "That's not guaranteed money."

Shelbyville's Clerk-Treasurer Rod Meyerholtz said racino money should always be spent the year after it's collected. This year, for instance, the city should spend the 2009 racino revenues, and in 2011 the city should spend money collected in 2010.

"The casino may be there another 100 years, it may be there another five, who knows?" Meyerholtz said. "You don't look ahead with casino money."

Fairland town officials agree. Clerk-Treasurer Brinson said she doesn't want to assume the money will be there down the road.

"We don't want to count on this money," she said. Town Council President Daily  said the money shouldn't be used for operating expenses, because it might not be there forever.

Owens said she hopes the jobs and economic development from Indiana Live! continue, but she said there is no promise it will.

"While we hope this arrangement is always the arrangement, there's no guarantee," she said. "The legislature could come in and make changes to dictate those funds."

(Content copyright 2010 - The Shelbyville News)

Others See Casino Funds As Quick Cash

Monday, March 15, 2010 (last in a series) by AJ Colley - The Shelbyville News

As local officials aim to direct racino revenues to bolster economic development, Indiana's other community with a racino is using the money to stay solvent.

Shelbyville's Indiana Live! casino has brought in millions of racino revenues to Shelby County. In Madison County, a racino that opened in Anderson in 2008 brings the community a similar miscellaneous revenue stream. Since Hoosier Park Racing and Casino opened in Anderson in 2008, about $9.94 million in racino revenues has been given to Madison County and its city and town entities, according to information provided by the Madison County auditor.

Comparatively, in just one month shy of the same time period Anderson's racino has been opened, Shelby County's government units have received about $9.8 million in racino revenues.

The similarities stop at the dollar figures.

Shelby County and Shelbyville officials have suggested using a majority of racino revenues for economic development. In Madison County and Anderson, racino revenues are paying for everyday expenses for county and city departments.

"When it first started, they wanted to use it for this, this or this, but we needed the revenue in the general fund," Anderson Controller Karen Carpenter said.

Caps put on property taxes by state lawmakers affected the city's budget, Carpenter said. It left Anderson with no option but to use racino revenues for operating expenses. Currently, the slot machine wagering fee fund in Anderson pays for the expenses for five departments - economic development, municipal development, planning, engineering and information services. The expenses include salaries and benefits for the employees in those departments.

Carpenter said she hasn't heard concerns from people about using the money for operating expenses after Hoosier Park's parent company recently filed for bankruptcy to reorganize its debt. But she said it's a concern in the back of her mind.

Madison County is also using its racino revenues to hold up its general fund, Auditor Kathy Stoops-Wright said.

"We do have a fund set up, if we are ever able to put it in that fund and just use it for projects," Stoops-Wright said.

But for now, Madison County hasn't been able to afford using its racino money in that fashion, she said.

"We are in a very serious financial situation," Stoops-Wright said.

Madison County has used $3.1 million to support its general fund and operating expenses since Hoosier Park opened in mid-2008, according to Stoops-Wright's numbers.

The closing of the racino is always a concern to the community, Stoops-Wright said, though the recent bankruptcy filing puts it fresher in people's minds. If Hoosier Park ever closed, the loss of racino revenue would be a hard hit, but Stoops-Wright said the community would also suffer because of the job losses.

"If they would close the doors today, we would be in big trouble," she said.

Anderson Mayor Kris Ockomon remains more optimistic, and said only people who don't understand the bankruptcy would say Hoosier Park faces any real threat of closing.

"I feel very confident that they're not going away," Ockomon said.

Like Madison County, Ockomon said he and others in Anderson had bigger plans for racino revenues, before the economy began to slip.

"We had planned initially to use the money for a scholarship program, copied after Hammond, Indiana," he said.

Ockomon said the Hammond program was based off using casino revenues.

Several communities in Indiana have been working with casino revenues for years, though rules and amounts of money vary significantly. Compared to land-based racinos in Shelby County and Madison County, riverboat communities in the state can filter many more millions into their communities in some cases.

In Northwest Indiana, which is dotted with riverboats along the Lake Michigan shore, the General Assembly and Gov. Mitch Daniels created the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority.

According to the RDA's state-run Web site, East Chicago, Gary, Hammond and Lake County each invest $3.5 million per year in casino revenue for the RDA. The state invests a portion of money, and Porter County gives non-casino revenues to the project, since it has no casino.

The legislature has designated that the money be used for the expansion of the Gary Chicago Airport, extension of the South Shore commuter rail line, redevelopment of the Lake Michigan shoreline and investment in the Regional Bus Authority. It can also go toward other economic development efforts.

An entirely different situation can be found in the far southern part of the state. Evidence of revenues from the riverboat casino in Lawrenceburg are evident throughout the community, according to multiple archive stories from The Register in Dearborn County.

An October 2009 story in the Toledo Free Press newspaper includes a quote from Lawrenceburg Mayor Bill Cunningham, listing the numerous projects the city has been able to do as a result of the casino.

"We have built new swimming pools, splash parks, a skateboard park, a community center, firehouse, remodeled the police station, funded a library, funded an expansion of the hospital, new storm drains, a new water-treatment plant, a new $22 million bridge ... I could go on and on," Cunningham told the Free Press. "We built a new parking garage. The hospital has an MRI for cancer detection; there are only two of them in the country, and the city paid for it. We have our own utility companies, gas, water and electric. Every nonprofit in the area shares in the money. Development grants are shared. We host free festivals and concerts; Willie Nelson was here last week. Graduating seniors who go to college and maintain a grade-point average get about $1,800 a year. We put money away for health coverage for our workers. We don't have school levies. All of this has been done without raising taxes."

(Content copyright 2010 - The Shelbyville News)

City OKs Racino 'Map'

Tuesday, March 16, 2010 by Ron Hamilton - The Shelbyville News

City officials Monday night made a strong statement supporting the use of racino money for local economic development.

By a 5-2 vote, members of the Shelbyville Common Council passed a resolution allocating 60 percent of the fund to economic development and 15 percent to the redevelopment and capital building fund.

According to the resolution - called a road map and general statement of purpose by several members of the council - 7.5 percent of slot-machine wagering fee revenues would be diverted to both non-safety vehicles - such as snow plows and garbage trucks - and streets, while another 5 percent each would go to a reserve fund and to the Blue River Community Foundation.

The two who voted against the resolution, council members Brian Asher and Val Phares, both said they favored the great majority of the resolution, but they wanted it tweaked a bit with amendments to provide for more immediate needs.

"I'm totally in favor of using this money for economic development," Asher said. "But I don't see why we have to separate economic development from economic redevelopment. I also realize there are people and projects who need this money immediately, and they can't wait another two years down the road until the money becomes available through the foundation."

Council member Jeff Sponsel was adamant that the two economic development funds remain separate. He said city officials have worked hard over the last several years distinguishing between development and redevelopment.

"I think it's important to set aside some money specifically for certain blighted areas that need redevelopment, like the Wellman site," Sponsel said.

Asher suggested designating half of the reserve fund - or 2.5 percent - for immediate relief, and Val Phares agreed, noting that there are people in the community who need help now.

"If this resolution represents only guidelines, then it's worthless," Phares said. "I was hoping we'd be voting on more specific uses of this money. I want to vote on specific ways that we can help the people in this community."

Sponsel replied that the resolution should be "a strong statement to the world that we have cash and want to make a difference." He said the resolution could be amended or tweaked later.

"It's important that we make a united statement that the city and the county are beginning to move together toward economic development," he said, referring to the fact that the county council is scheduled to take up the matter in tonight's meeting.

Mayor Scott Furgeson, who has no vote in the council, reminded city officials as well as the more than a dozen in attendance that it was "only a resolution."

"You can pass another resolution at your next meeting," he said. "It doesn't change the fact that all of the money still has to be appropriated by the council. These are just guidelines."

Council member Kim Owens agreed. She said the resolution was a "road map with plenty of flexibility." Council member David Phares said he was in favor of the resolution as long as the Blue River Community Foundation was the only agency handling relief and charity donations. He has said in the past that he doesn't like the idea of representatives of dozens of social service agencies and charities lining up at each meeting to ask the council for racino funding.

Also Monday night, council members unanimously agreed to retain tax abatement benefits for Shelbyville Paint and Wallpaper, 235 E. Broadway St., after the business was found to be in continued compliance with the terms of the original agreement in 2000.

Shelbyville Paint and Wallpaper is owned and operated by Ray Wetnight and does business as Parrish Partners LLC. Wetnight said his company is in the eighth year of the 10-year tax abatement for $800,000, which it used to construct the present commercial building in 2000. He told city officials Monday his company moved into the building and opened for business in March 2001.

Wetnight also said the business currently employs one part-time and eight full-time workers earning a total of $318,000 in annual salaries, and pays $244,000 to an additional 19 subcontracted workers each year.

Before adjournment, the council passed an ordinance at the request of county commissioners so the county can increase available parking space, changing the zoning of six parcels of land near the Shelby County Courthouse from single-family and two-family residential to general business. The parcels, located at 212 W. Taylor St. and 403, 407, 411, 415 and 421 S. Tompkins St., were purchased by the county last year and the various structures on them demolished.

(Cintent copyright 2010 - The Shelbyville News)

County OKs Racino Divvies

Wednesday, March 17, 2010 by AJ Colley - The Shelbyville News

Shelby County Council will devote 80 percent of its racino revenues to economic development, the council decided as part of a resolution Tuesday night.

The council approved in a 6-1 vote the resolution, which would also direct 15 percent of its slot-machine wagering-fee revenues to the county's general fund and 5 percent to the Blue River Community Foundation. Council member Margaret Brunk voted against the motion. The council also approved a portion of racino funds for a Blue River Career Center program.

Council President Terry Smith, who drafted the resolution, said he was happy the council took the first step in deciding how the money is spent.

"We still have a lot of work to do on it," he said.

Smith explained to council members before the resolution was approved that the next steps would include creating more specific budgets that correspond to the percentages. He also said the council would need to create and pass a resolution detailing what types of projects it would want the Blue River Community Foundation money to cover. Smith said the resolution could include putting county council members on the board voting on the projects.

Council members and members of the Shelby County Development Corp. spoke Tuesday night to clear up confusion that the 80 percent would be given to SCDC.

"Economic development is a very large term," said Dan Theobald, executive director of SCDC.

Theobald told council members he was pleased with the resolution and said other counties in Indiana would like to be doing something similar.

Chris King, SCDC president, said the resolution makes a clear statement that Shelby County is serious about economic development.

But not everyone supported the resolution Tuesday night.

Resident Joseph Guy said it worried him that the council was devoting 80 percent to economic development. He said local entities keep putting money toward economic development, but nothing changes. Instead, he said money should go toward immediate needs, like giving current companies incentives to hire more employees.

Resident Craig Larkey urged the council to get more public input. He also said the council was moving too quickly on the resolution. Smith explained the resolution originally came up in December and was discussed at last month's council meeting.

Another resident stood up to say it blew his mind that council members weren't willing to help local schools, as they struggle financially and cut teachers.

Brunk, who voted against the resolution, said one of her concerns is the 5 percent directed to the Blue River Community Foundation. The money would be used as an investment. Blue River would keep the principle investment, and interest earned on it would be dispersed to community organizations.

Brunk said the county is capable of managing and investing the money on its own, and she worried about not having control over the principle investment given to the foundation.

Council member Tony Titus said he initially had concerns about the resolution but learned more about it and ended up supporting it. Initially, he worried the 80 percent would be directed to SCDC. Then, he realized that wasn't the case.

"You could cover a lot of area with that economic development," Titus said.

Titus also said he was put at ease when he realized a committee could be formed to help direct the community foundation on how to spend the money, and he said the council could cap the racino contributions given to the foundation.

Council Vice President Linda Sanders said she supported the resolution.

"It's really hard to get your hands around it, but we're doing our best and we have to start somewhere," she said.

After debate over how much education is tied to economic development, the council approved giving $160,000 to Blue River Career Center for an advanced manufacturing course. Representatives from the career center said the money would be used to purchase equipment, and the school would pay for teachers. The original presentation about the program was given at the council's January meeting. The allocation of money was approved in a 5-2 vote. Sanders and Smith voted against it.

(Content copyright 2010 - The Shelbyville News)

Reader Comments

Posted: Monday, March 22, 2010
Article comment by: Going Quacky in S'ville

"Economic development" will mean whatever the Powers Who Are in this town say it will mean.

I agree with you on all counts, Ducky. Sit back and watch this city and county waste millions right before our eyes!

Posted: Monday, March 22, 2010
Article comment by: Just Ducky

Didn’t our blind faith city leaders learn anything from the Harley fiasco? Sure, great, swell, let’s throw some more money (actually lots & lots or you could say millions & millions) at our city Economic Development. I think that most all of our leaders either are told by the almighty what to do and how to vote or have their own personal agenda such as maybe the purchase of a church? Can anyone say Amen? Well, our city leaders are and their thoughts on “what is best for us” is just damn scary! We should all start praying if we can still afford it.

Every little whim and pet project will start to fall under Economic Development. More flowers on the circle, Economic Development, Buy another tent and tables for Fat Fridays, Economic Development, (wait a minute those days may be over, where is all that equipment the city bought for that?) Trips to Japan, Economic Development, Golf outings, economic Development, Bright Orange shirts for local parades, Economic Development, More expensive SUV’s for the Police Dept., Economic Development, the list could go on forever and don’t kid yourself it will! We need this, we need that! Everyone shout at once ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT!

What if we throw lots and lots of money just to get played again like with Harley? What then, will they say “Well we gave it a good try” “Oh well, at least it wasn’t tax money we wasted, just extra money from the Racino funds” “Better luck next time” If we build it, they will come? If we spend it, they will come? Huh?

I can’t wait to see the headlines on the Shelbyville News regarding the purchase of the “Church”. The paper seems to be the best cheerleader for the city. Even when the city messes up, there is never any real coverage. Why has there been no follow up about the deal with the county and the Jail lease agreement? Boy, it sure has taken Mr. Mayor a very long time to redraft something that was written with the exact language he asked for! He certainly seems to have something up his short little sleeves. The county gave the city everything he asked for but alas, that just wasn’t good enough because now he has lost his reason to buy his church. Get ready folks, all this Economic Development is going to cost us more than we ever realized!

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