Category Archives: Uncategorized

Nashville – Human Rights Commission

The second reading of the draft will be at the council’s next meeting on May 19, 2022

WHEREAS the Town of Nashville recognizes the need for a Human Rights Commission to address issues of bias, discrimination, and prejudice in the community, which has been documented by comments and complaints in the community, by personal testimony, and by reported cases

Terms: 

    • Bias.  a personal and sometimes unreasoned judgment 
    • Discrimination. unfair treatment of a person or group on the basis of prejudice;
    • The definition of prejudice includes “harm caused by the adverse preconceptions of others.”   Webster’s New World College Dictionary states that: “
    • The definition of bigotry is prejudice and the state of being intolerant” and
    • bigot  is a person who is prejudiced, or intolerant of those who are different.”   Reference: OneLook Dictionary.

Ordinance 2022-03 Human Rights Commission Ordinance 

    • PDF. Ordinance 2022-03 Humans Rights Commission Ordinance draft 4-25-2022
      • WHEREAS the Town of Nashville recognizes the need for a Human Rights Commission to address issues of bias, discrimination, and prejudice in the community, which has been documented by comments and complaints in the community, by personal testimony, and by reported cases and;

May 5, 2022Human rights commission closer to forming, second reading set for this month

  • The Indiana Civil Rights Commission Annual Report of 2020 showed that 8,581 reports were made to the state office. Of those reports, 784 were drafted into complaints and of those complaints 282 were from Region 9, which includes Brown County.
  • Should an individual face discrimination, they have the ability to inform the Human Rights Commission, who will then direct the individual to appropriate resources provided by the state.
  • The committee stated in their recommendation a record of “bias and discrimination” has been documented by the newspaper and by comments and complaints taken at the Visitors Center along with personal testimony by shop owners, students and delivery drivers. A need was also documented based on comments taken from more than 100 people who participated in the Nashville Solidarity Rally in 2020.

Feb 3, 2022. Town council continues talks of human rights commission, role in county by Abigail Youmans  February 3, 2022. Nashville Town Council may soon have a partner in establishing a countywide Human Rights Commission.

Nov 30, 2021. Town council continues talks of human rights commission, role in county by Abigail Youmans – February 3, 2022. Nashville Town Council may soon have a partner in establishing a countywide Human Rights Commission.

Jan 27, 2021. Town council OKs human rights advisory committee. The Nashville Town Council is accepting applications through Feb. 17 to form a group of five people to study “the need, function, structure and scope of a Human Rights Commission.”

The council voted 4-1 last week to form a temporary citizens advisory committee on this topic, which will report to the town council after a three-month period with its findings.

 

Council – District 4 Kemp – For the Record

If elected, I promise you, the community members, that I will do everything within my power to focus my time and energy on educating myself on the cost of Brown County government.”

County Council – Roles and Responsibilities

ELECTION 2022: Republican wins primary race for open council seat

    • Republican Jim Kemp was announced the winner of that race on primary election night with 349 votes cast for him. his website www.jimkemp.com
    • The District 4 seat was held by longtime council member Arthur “Art” Knight for 22 years before he decided to not seek re-election.  … The financial powers of a county are placed in the county council, which serves as a check on the board of commissioners and board of finance. The county council has fiscal control over all county officers, boards and commissions and appropriates funds used by the county and its officers.

    • In that process it became crystal clear in his mind why he’s running: to ensure that the county pays attention to not just every dollar, but “every dime” that is spent of taxpayer money.

      “If we don’t pay attention to every dime we spend every year, what’s going to happen is you’re going to watch those property tax rates increase,” he said. “We’ve got to keep a lid on expenses. We’ve gotta go in and forecast that out and take a hard look. … We’ve got to live within our means.”

      Starting now, Kemp said he has to go in and do research about topics like housing density.   RELEVANCE ???????

Letter to the Editor: County council candidate makes promise to voters

    • If elected, I promise you, the community members, that I will do everything within my power to focus my time and energy on educating myself on the cost of Brown County government. This approach will allow the county to leverage my skill sets so we can educate ourselves on the current county government’s financial picture. Then we can work together to ask better questions and to make better decisions that will lead us to a sustainable long-term financial future.

School Tax Increase (Referendum)

bc schools

May 9, 2022. Facebook -BC Schools Facebook Announcement of Referendum.

May 10, 2022. Facebook – Shared at Brown County Matters

You are invited to join us for three community meetings held by your Brown County Schools to provide you with information about the proposed operating referendum.

Save the Dates: May 31, June 7,June 14 =  6:00 pm at the Brown County Schools ESC! Your input is important before any considerations are made of our next steps together.

Nov 19,2021.  School board approved budget for next year, enrollment count shows decrease by 

    • Last month the Brown County School Board of Trustees approved a budget that is expected to not result in an increase to property taxpayers.

      The budget will not increase property taxes despite the district recently taking out an $8 million loan for upgrades at the high school and a continued decline in student
      enrollment.

BC School Enrollment 2008 - 2022

    • “You are adamant about a consistent tax rate. Our tax rate is little bit over 68 cents and when this budget for 2022 is worked by the state in December, if the assessed values do not change by the county auditor, your tax rate is going to be 68 cents or lower,” Harris said.

      The tax rate will remain consistent even though the school district is set to see an
      increase in their funding due to an increase in the county’s assessed value.

      “Your tax rates will be where they are at now or lower,” Harris said.

      The assessed value for 2022 is $1,577,093,559. The assessed value that was submitted for budgets last year was $1,441,800,140, according to Smith.

      The AV came in extremely high. Brown County property values are up, up,up,”
      Harris said at the Oct. 14 meeting.

    • A three year capital projects plan is also submitted each year where a district has to indicate what items they intend to buy that will be more than $10,000, Harris said.

Dec 1, 2021School board to approve CRC 2022 budget this week By  Suzannah Couch.  A penny of a 8 cent referendum voters approved in 2016 funds 50 percent of the CRC’s budget. The referendum is estimated to bring $137,000 in revenue next year, which is about the same as this year, Pagnard said.

March 28, 2017. Surprise on school tax cost: Ballot wording means taxpayers will see 2 referendum levies this year

Last May, voters approved adding 8 cents per $100 of assessed value to the property tax rate. The new money would total about $1 million a year for seven years.

That was the second referendum voters had approved for the school district. The first, passed in 2010, was at a 1-cent rate that directly funded the CRC. Voters approved it for seven years.

May 4, 2016Brown County Schools referendum passes.  Brown County Schools will be allowed to add 8 cents per $100 of assessed value to the property tax rate. Voters approved the school district’s…

Roads and Bridges

Updated: May 7, 2022

county highway department seal Roads and Bridges. The condition of roads and bridges probably gets the most complaints in social media commenting. The highway superintendent briefs the Commissioners at every meeting (two a month). Occasionally, a citizen or two will provide a complaint at the meetings and rarely gets a satisfying response.

Commissioners praise the work that is and has been done and the “record number” of miles of road that have been paved under their leadership. It’s an Endless Loop: “We’re doing great” vs the ‘Roads are terrible.” 

A SOLUTION? Demand a Comprehensive Asset Management Plan for Roads and Bridges that identifies priorities (paving and repair) and the type of work being done to include the schedule. The status of the plan can then be briefed at the commissioner meetings and posted online.  The condition and status of all the roads and bridges can also be made available as a layer on the County GIS Map.

Planning and Assessment Examples – other counties in the US:

Highway Department – Brown County Indiana

Inventory and Condition – All County Roads. 20200211-pavement-inventory-and-condition (PASER) Pavement Surface Evaluation and Rating (Wikipedia)

PASER Rating

Purdue University

Local Technical Assistance Program (LTAP)

Indiana Local Roads – An Asset Management Guide for Cities Towns

For paved roads (PASER scores range from 1 to 10 with a 10 representing a pavement in excellent condition):

    • » PASER ratings of 8, 9, or 10 indicate that little or no maintenance is needed.
    • » PASER ratings of 5, 6, or 7 indicate that some preventive maintenance and patching might be needed.
    • » PASER ratings of 4 or lower indicate that rehabilitation or reconstruction might be needed.

For bridges (NBI ratings range from 0 to 9, with a 9 representing a bridge in Excellent condition):

    • » NBI ratings of 8 or 9 indicate that little or no maintenance is needed.
    • » NBI ratings of 5, 6, or 7 indicate that some routine or capital preventive maintenance
      work might be needed to restore the integrity and serviceability of the bridge.
    • » NBI ratings of 4 or lower indicate that structural improvements, such as rehabilitation or replacement, are needed.

2022 Cum Cap Tax Rate Increase

Cumulative Capital (Cum Cap) Development Rate Increase

reeves cum cap increase

May 2, 2022. BCM Facebook Post. Delay in getting the remonstrance petition.

April 28, 2022. BCM Facebook Post. 

    • FACT: The rate was voluntarily increased which results in collecting additional tax revenue.
    • Per commissioner Pittman: “This is not a new tax. It is actually not really an increase to where it was before it started this bumping down. It is taking it back up to where it was. You will pay a little more next year than you do this year. But it is not a new tax”

April 26, 2022. Commissioners vote to reestablish cumulative capital development rate Last week the Brown County Commissioners voted to approve the first step of a possible increase of less than $6 to property tax bills for the average property.

April 19, 2022. Commissioners set to vote on reestablishing cumulative capital development rate this week This week the Brown County Commissioners are expected to vote on the first step of a possible increase of less than $6 to property tax bills for the average property starting next week.

March 24, 2022. BCM Facebook Post: Timeline and Supporting Documentation

2021. Attempt to raise the tax rate failed due to not meeting required deadlines.

May 21, 2021. Cumulative capital development tax rate change delayed.   The tax rate for the county’s cumulative capital development fund will not increase next year after a legal notice was not advertised in time.

April 21, 2021. Commissioners plan to reestablish cumulative capital property tax  The Brown County Commissioners are set to vote this week on the first step of a possible increase of less than $2 to property…

Elections,Policy, Culture

BCLN Concept Slide 2

Updated: May 6, 2022

2022 County Elections. Democrats choosing a Republican ballot in the primary contributed to the upset victory by Ron Sanders over Diana Biddle in the primary for Commissioner, District 2.  Sanders lost by around 500 votes in the last primary and won by more than 200 votes in this primary.

This change in the primary – if it can be successfully sustained, provides needed competition. Anyone that votes in two primaries for the same party is also eligible to run as a candidate. Given the county voted for Trump in 2016 and 2020 and the effects of the current administration on our economy, culture, and security, unlikely the county will turn “blue” anytime soon.

Sanders will face Stephanie Kritzer (D) and possibly an independent (s) in the general election.  The core leadership in the local Republican party has also been reported to be attempting to recruit an independent candidate to run against Sanders. This indicates that like previous successful candidates that were not endorsed by the core leadership, if elected in the general, Sanders may face challenges from the local party.  I am not aware that the party or Diana Biddle has congratulated Sanders on his primary victory and will support him in the general.

The action by the core leadership to include undermining their own candidates, contribute to a culture of Fear in the county to “go along to get along” or “else” risk real or perceived retaliation such as “canceling.”   This leads to the selection of elected and appointed officials that rarely if ever challenge the status quo and do what is right on behalf of all citizens and not just the special interests.

A one-party monopoly on political power always leads to an abuse of power and corruption of the system. The effect is that individuals working in the system lose the ability to tell right from wrong. Some even delude themselves that they can improve the system through their individual capabilities.  When you put good people in a bad system, the system wins most if not all of the time. It is up to the voters to change the system.  Methods and tools that can be applied to support this aim are provided through the Brown County Leader Network.

A “label” for a political party can be nothing more than a fascade to accumulate , and abuse power. Power is corruptiing and can be more powerful than any drug. Not too difficult to identify the addicted by their behavior – bullying, retaliation, name calling, use of fear, decisions that benefit the few at the expense of the many.  Antidotes include are transparency and a balance of power.

Evidence of the political agenda that benefits the special interests includes those that personally benefit from development. This includes advocacy for strategies to expand sewers to areas without evidence of need such as in Bean Blossom. Other strategies include increasing the cost of government through actions that support a “Spend, Tax and Borrow “ policy.  This along with inflated land and home values leads to higher taxes that contribute to a higher cost of living. The higher cost of living contributes to gentrification. Genetrificam is the situation where those residents in the low to moderate income level (53.1% of our population) are replaced by the more affluent.

The Sleeping Giant?  Ironically, the majority (80+% percenters) that are financing the cost of government are choosing to remain silent or ignorant, represent the proverbial “sleeping giant”.  An economic analysis by Ball State University identified Brown County as a “bedroom community” with tourism. Another phrase could be those that choose country living and accept the occasional disruptions caused by tourism.

The majority of taxable income (over 80%) is derived from residents that choose “country living” but derive their income from sources outside the county. This includes residents that commute outside the county for the higher-paying jobs (or can work from home), and those that chose to retire to Brown County.  The county is primarily funded by income and property tax.  The county now relies on increases in property tax and borrowing to fund the cost of government services.  To reinforce, the economic engine for Brown County IS NOT TOURISM.

    • The State is funded by Income and Sales tax. The state subsidizes the tourims industry by allowing a 5% innkeepers tax that has to be used to support more tourism.  Tourism benefits the State and business owners – many of whom do not live in the county and pay income tax.  Unlike residents whose propoerty can be assessed ever year and are subject to higher propoerty taxes, tourism businesses are assesed less frequently. The requirment for assessments is at least once every four years.

Unwanted and needed development, higher cost of living,  and over-tourism that disrupt “country living” can lead to significant economic and cultural change.  Andy Rogers reinforced this point” : “We don’t need to be slick and highly commercial. We need to be more country. Country is what we sell…. We need to maintain that. Once you destroy that, it won’t come back.”

In 2019, 7,126 residents reported adjusted gross (taxable) income of $425 million dollars. A study in 2017 by Rockport Analytics identified that tourism accounted for 636 jobs and $12.2 million in wages and proprietor income.  The average weekly wage in Brown County is lowest in the State.

BCRSD Meeting April 26, 2022

abe martin sage of brown county hoosierindianacom

Brown County Regional Sewer District (BCRSD) Board Meeting April 26, 2022. 6:00 pm.

o. Motivation. The priority for the BCRSD has been Bean Blossom with the aim to support development – a want. The “need” for expanded service in the Bean Blossom expanded area is based on speculation as to the age of systems and lack of records. There is no documented evidence of failing systems that justify the estimated $30 million dollar investment by taxpayers.  Residents within 300 feet of a line can be forced to hook up and pay the monthly fee.  The BCRSD has stated they need 190 easements from landowners.  Note the BCRSD was not able to acquire land to support a plant in Bean Blossom.

    • The desire to expand sewer service was initiated by Commissioner Biddle’s family  (over 15 years ago) and Commissioner Biddle and other special interests continue to support Bean Blossom as a priority.

o. County Wastewater Strategic Plan to include “Water Study.”   Board expected to approve the draft at their May 10, 2022 meeting.  A webinar to explain the plan at several sites is tentatively scheduled for May 26, 2022.  The documents are expected to be posted to their website as well.

    • The plan was funded with a grant from ROI.  Total amount was $118,000. The county contribution was 13,800.
    • The plan introduces the concept of “cluster systems” that could be shared by several homes as opposed to a central plant.

o. Lake Lemon Environmental Cooperative (501c3). Russ Herndon represented the co-op. He reinforced that the Lake Lemon area does have evidence of failing systems, support by residences, and a larger number of homes (over double) than Bean Blossom

o. Water Quality. I expect that water samples will identify human-caused e-coli possibly due to failing septic systems. The number of systems that may be contributing to the problem will be unknown at this time.  Forcing as many residents on sewers WILL NOT SOLVE the e-coli problem in our creeks.  This is a statewide issue –  more info at BCM – Facebook Post on the topic

    • The “speculation” by the Brown County Regional Sewer District (BCRSD) and other proponents of Development through the expansion of sewers, has been on the allegations that we have a large number of failed septic systems in the Bean Blossom area that may be adding to the E-Coli level in our streams. The motive is to help justify a $30 million dollar expansion of sewers using federal and state taxpayer money. No other options to address the possibility of a large number of “failing systems” have been identified.

      In a recent report, “the major cause” of E-coli IS NOT due to the possibility of failed septic system – it’s agricultural runoff from industries that are in compliance with federal and state laws and regulations. “IDEM said combined sewer overflows, untreated stormwater and wastewater that discharges to nearby streams, rivers and other water bodies were the largest sources of E. coli bacteria, one of the impairments cited to the EPA.”

Mar 24, 2022. Report: Nearly Three Quarters of Indiana’s Waterways are Too Polluted for Safe Recreation

District 2 Commissioners’ Election

Updated April 27, 2022

biddle election ad IMG_2603

“Houston” – oops – Brown Countians – Do we have a problem? In a political advertisement (paid for by the candidate) in the April 20, 2022, Democrat, Commissioner Biddle (aka Diana “McDonald” Biddle) claimed she is the “First and Only full-time Commissioner to serve Brown County.”  The other commissioners are Jerry Pittman (President) and Chuck Braden (Vice-President).

Do we need “a full-time commissioner” or someone that needs to work full time to meet the needs of a part-time position? Despite what candidate Biddle considers full-time, we have two other commissioners. Further, the county also uses expensive consultants and advisors to provide the needed expertise and services. What are the contributions of the other two commissioners?

Do claims of individual accomplishments for group efforts where the facts do not support the level of individual contribution, undermine a candidate’s credibility?  Does it also undermine and diminish the contributions of others – including the other commissioners, volunteers, and government personnel?

Alleged accomplishments include taking credit for receiving the funding from state and federal policies related to broadband, federal stimulus, covid-related grants, and highway funding.

Another advertisement in the April 26, 2022 edition of the Democrat repeats the overstated accomplishments (ambulance contract for example).

biddle April 26 2022 democrat

In the case of the Brown County Music Center (BCMC), despite a commitment by candidate Biddle and the other elected officials that county taxpayer money would not be used to fund the BCMC, she personally engineered- without the knowledge of the council, a $239,000 subsidy – some of which included rent. No itemized list of what taxpayers received was ever provided.

    • Brown County Democrat. GUEST OPINION: What’s been happening with your county’s finances by Kevin Fleming.  Includes the details regarding the lack of transparency and oversight of Commissioner Biddle’s actions regarding the $239,000 “Rent” payment to the BCMC. Commissioner Biddle also serves on the Music Center’s management group.
      • “I asked commissioner Biddle if the payment amount also included insurance premiums as indicated in the MOU. Her answer was that “It’s for any expenditures the music center might need it for.” That describes the $239,000 payment unequivocally as a subsidy for the music center, not a rent payment.”
I encourage voters to ask for documentation that supports candidate Biddle’s claims of accomplishments. One source would be the minutes from commissioner’s meetings. Articles in the Democrat would be another source but too often repeat the claims being made without the factual back-up.

Individual Hubris and Abuse of Power. Political advertising and promotions are expected to influence “perceptions.” They also can overstate or grossly exaggerate individual accomplishments and capabilities. It is a fact of human nature that some individuals seek power, power is addicting, and always corrupts to the detriment of those being served. The vote is the one way to support “term limits” to help avoid the unnecessary accumulation and abuse of power.

Compensation and Benefits. The commissioner is a part-time position that pays around $17,000 (2021). This compensation does not include the value of the county health insurance benefit that was voted in and is available to the council as well as commissioners.

The out-of-control health insurance spending was first addressed in 2016/2017 by the previous auditor. The county has recently selected a new vendor and supplier that has finally reduced costs. The leadership in the schools successfully addressed their rising costs and budget deficits in 2017. Their change has resulted in documented savings.

Ambulance Contract.  Commissioners signed an agreement with Columbus Regional. Costs exceeded budget (2018-2021) to the total amount estimated at over 300K which included an overlap because of the effective date of the new contract.  An extra million (Capital Improvement Loan) was borrowed to help cover the expenses and the new contract is with IU Health.

    • Apr 14, 2021. County contracts with different ambulance provider
      • The county had a net-zero contract with CRH, which meant CRH billed the county for any ambulance costs not covered by health insurance. For 2019, the county paid more than $600,000. The commissioners budgeted $515,000 for 2020 to pay the contract for 2019. Making up that difference required the county to find more money
      • Biddle said last week that the $540,000 annual payment to IU Health Lifeline was saving the county around $200,000. …. “That is a fixed number. We don’t have to guess on what it might be. We can plug that number in and then we don’t have to come up with any more money,” she said.
      • “Savings.”  Similar to Health Insurance, the county was overpaying for services.
    • Feb 17, 2021.  COUNTY NEWS: Ambulance contract update 
    • July 7, 2019. COUNTY NEWS: More money needed to pay ambulance contract
      • The total bill for ambulance service in 2018 was $547,540. Biddle said she paid CRH $440,196. On July 15, the council was asked to approve transferring $107,344 to pay the remainder of the contract.
      • Biddle said the increase is a result of a change in the Medicaid billing reimbursement. “There was a loophole in some new rule that was created with Medicaid that allowed them to get a larger reimbursement. They closed that loophole,” Biddle said.  Source (documentation) supporting this statement? What was required in the contract?

Quality of Decision-Making. I have routinely attended commissioner meetings for years. This “full-time” status has supported decisions that lead to higher costs and poorer quality. Too often, it appears decisions are made before the issues are discussed at a meeting. Input and questions from citizens are ignored.

The operating principle reinforced by candidate Biddle is “Spend, Tax, Borrow.”   The indirect effects of a “full-time” commissioner can result in the hands-off approach embraced by the other two commissioners that with few exceptions, just go along with her decisions without question or debate. Does she feel she has to work “full-time” because the other two are not capable of contributing to the workload?

Commissioner Meetings. Commissioners’ meetings are longer than necessary and key issues that lead to decisions too often lack the documentation to support the decision. Meetings are recorded but any supporting detail (if available) is not available on the website. The School Board offers a good example for conducting meetings in a professional manner and decisions are supported with facts and data. Unlike the county, information regarding policy changes and spending are discussed in previous meetings and questions “are” addressed by those knowledgeable of the issues.

County Gentrification? Development through the expansion of sewers (unneeded in many if not most cases), is a priority of the core of the local republican party and their candidates including candidate Biddle.  Development can benefit the few at the expense of the many. A higher cost of living due to unneeded sewer hook-up fees and monthly bills contribute to gentrification where those in the low to moderate income levels are replaced by the more affluent citizens.

Transparency and Decision-Making. A deliberate lack of transparency and embracing an ignorance-based decision-making strategy supports the agenda of the few at the expense of the many. Such an approach is believed to offer plausible deniability when decisions result in bad outcomes.

Honesty and Integrity. Statements made by the commissioners can rarely be taken at face value. Commissioners rely on anecdotes, assumptions, hearsay, and lack of facts and data as a basis for too many of their decisions.  A recent example of this approach was represented at the meeting where the Brown County Regional Sewer District (BCRSD) was granted $300,000 without a project plan. In 2018, the BCRSD was granted $270,000 of taxpayer funds to support a new sewer plant in Bean Blossom. They spent $220,000 and was not able to acquire land. They now have another 300K which was approved by the commissioners and council without a project plan, discussion, or identification of risks.

Candidate Biddle’s actions have contributed to a system of corruption that in a moral sense, leads people working in this system to develop an inability to distinguish right from wrong – to recognize truth. The classic example is ignoring the requests for information from the public that require little time to provide but requires intervention from the State to obtain.

Lack of transparency also contributes to corruption. Claims of accomplishments where the facts do not support the level of individual contributions also undermine credibility, confidence and trust in county government and the support of those that contributed to the solutions. On broadband, volunteers and town officials have worked this issue for years and the influx of state and federal money supports the needed access.

Citizens Denied Input at Commissioner Meetings. The ultimate example of a corrupt system is the policy agreed to by all the commissioners and supported by the local Republican party, to not allow citizens to ask questions at their meetings. This policy is being ignored by the citizens.

Satirically speaking, this gag order on citizens does make sense. Why waste time listening to people whose input you are going to ignore anyway? And further, if major decisions can be made before the meetings, why have meetings at all, or elections for that matter? Wouldn’t that be nice?

Roads and Bridges. The status on roads and bridges can be supported through a published plan. Posting this plan and current updates on the highway department website (a new and welcomed improvement) can keep citizens informed of the plan, status, and accomplishments. Additional information explaining how roads are selected for repairs and paving would also be an improvement.

Road and Trail Closing. With little deliberation or research, candidate Biddle led the decision to close the Railroad Crossing on Indian Hill Road without allowing any input from the residents that would be affected. This decision also resulted in closing a portion of the Tecumseh Trail.

The Tecumseh Trail was closed from State Road 45 to the parking area south of Beanblossom Creek.

Overlook – Clear-Cutting. Candidate Biddle’s lack of oversight and leadership also contributed to the clear-cutting at the overlook. She led the successful logging on the west side of the overlook and failed to ensure the same standards were applied on the east side.

Lack of Capital Improvement Planning. The deliberate lack of a capital improvement plan and budget further contributes to waste and poor quality of decision-making.  Such a plan would identify funding requirements for infrastructure repairs and replacements. However, such a plan would identify funding needs that would compete with other projects that she may independently feel is more important. This leads to ensuring we maintain the habit of borrowing the money for infrastructure projects that can also be used to cover operating expenses that have exceeded the budget.

The findings from the recent audit for 2019 and 2020 by the State Board of Accounts (SBOA) is another indicator of systems and processes that do not contribute to the effective and efficient use of tax dollars. Incapable systems can contribute to waste that can exceed 20% of budget.

Power and Monopolies Corrupt. As mentioned previously, it is a fact of human nature that individuals and groups seek power, power is addicting, and always corrupts to the detriment of those being served. A one-party monopoly on political power also contributes to corruption. This monopoly along with name recognition can be enough to guarantee an individual an elected job for life. Monopolies – including political ones, always lead to poor quality of services and higher costs.

In a monopoly, the interest of the few takes precedent over a decision that leads to outcomes where everyone benefits, or at least, is not any worse off in the long-term. This goal can be accomplished through the application of better methods and tools.

Ironically, Commissioners Biddle and Pittman supported applying for a grant that led to the development of the Brown County Leader Network. The BCLN includes methods and tools that support analysis, planning, and better decision-making that can produce higher quality results. Commissioners have expressed no interest in learning more about the proven methods that would support improvement and transparency. The approach supports citizens and not the special interests that are represented by the monopoly.

Primary Vote. The competitive opponent for candidate Biddle in the Republican primary is Ron Sanders. He also opposed her in 2020 and came within 489 votes of winning.

Cross-Over Votes. In Indiana, those that have voted Democrat can ask for a Republican ballot in the primary. If candidate Sanders wins the Republican primary, the general election will be between him and Stephanie i.e., Kritzer (D). The other options can be candidates that run as Independents.

Conclusion.  Do we need someone who believes she must work full-time to accomplish the requirements of a part-time position?  Three competent part-time commissioners are sufficient and if not, better candidates are needed.

In America (see Constitution), “We the People” are top management and are responsible for improving our system of government.  In addition to new leadership, citizens can support and expect the application of proven methods and tools introduced through the Brown County Leader network (BCLN). The application of the better methods can result in the needed changes to the system and result in outcomes where everyone can benefit and not just the special interests represented by candidate Biddle.

Council Meeting: Apr 18, 2022, ARPA Funded Projects

abe martin sage of brown county hoosierindianacom

Council Meeting. April 18, 2022. 6:30 pm.  With a vote of 4 to 3, the council approved the projects to be funded from the revenue obtained from the American Rescue Plan Act. This includes the sewer projects. Those on the council (Redding, Critser, Knight, Hewett) in favor of these projects believed their responsibility was limited to just supporting what the commissioners approved (rubber stamp) and ensuring proper budgeting and accounting (fiduciary responsibility).

Scott Rudd asked good questions regarding priorities, scope, roles and responsibilities of key stakeholders, and risks that are typically included in a summary of a project plan. This information is important to citizens that are affected by the respective projects. Given a basic understanding of the Constitution, for some council members to believe they have no responsibilities regarding the efficient as well as effective use of taxpayer dollars is interesting.

Gary Huett, president of the council, believed his conversation with the BCRSD regarding the project was sufficient due diligence and took no action to delay the vote to address the concerns expressed by fellow councilmen.

Note that leadership within the local republican party are vocal advocates of development through the expansion of sewers and all the commissioners and council members are representatives of the local party.

Previous Approvals.  In 2018, the council approved 270K to the BCRSD to put a sewer plant in Bean Blossom without asking for or reviewing a project plan. Dave Redding was president of the council at the time.  The council did not provide any oversight regarding how the funds were spent. The BCRSD spent 220K on the project and was not able to acquire land. The BCRSD have also stated they need 190 easements from landowners. Further difficulties in acquiring these easements will likely adversely affect the timeline for the Helmsburg expansion that will also be supporting Lake Lemon residents.

The BCRSD was granted another 300K last night. The expanded Helmsburg plant will be providing service to Bean Blossom. The council was not provided a copy of the BCRSD or HRSD  proposals prior to the meeting nor did they have a chance or show any interest in reviewing the proposal at last night’s meeting. Dave Redding did a cursory review of the BCRSD proposal regarding the timeline and had no interest in discussing it any further. He chose not to run for reelection in 2022.

Background Information

Apr 13, 2022. Requests made for COVID-19 relief aid, commissioners going before council by   Suzannah Couch

    • Brown County Matters – Facebook Post of the Article and comments.  The April 18, 2022 Council Meeting will be an excellent opportunity to witness the county’s decision-making processes for justifying the expenditures of tax money. This will include funding for the Helmsburg sewer project (a need) and the Bean Blossom sewer project (a want). A good question to ask is for the detail that identifies what exactly will be provided to whom, and when. You might also ask if anyone can submit a funding request to the commissioners and council for a few hundred thousand with just a verbal justification that it will be for good things.

Apr 13, 2022. Moving forward: Boards to get COVID-19 relief funds for sewer project after public comments at meetings

    • Brown County Matters – Facebook Post of the Article and comments. I’m disappointed on the quality of the article. The context for this meeting was provided at the March 23 commissioner meeting where citizens refused to be silenced by the commissioners on the topic and challenged the information used to identify a need. The Democrat did not report on the Mar 23 meeting.

2020 Elections

true the voteTrue the Vote  RESTORE AMERICA’S CONFIDENCE IN OUR ELECTORAL PROCESS

18-month, data-driven probe concludes 2020 election was stolen Smartphone pings, video reveal at least 4.8 million fraudulent votes By Art Moore  Published April 15, 2022 at 9:14pm

    • The interview: Catherine Engelbrecht and Gregg Phillips have been engaged in the battle for election integrity for more than a decade, and the day after the contested November 2020 vote, they made a pact.
    • The Trailer for 200 Mules

Analysis and Criticisms of the allegations and film Tangle – Criticisms 2000 Mules