Monday, January 29, 2007


About 3 years ago a man name James Garner promised New Albany citizens a new kind of leadership and a new city government, and boy, was he right about that!

He had a so called "plan" to fix our problems.

Just to refresh your memory these are a few of his campaign promises:

* Complete the long-overdue renovation of the city's sewers and set up a cost efficient program to maintain them.

* Work with the City Council to resolve New Albany's existing problems and get our city government back on track.

* Establish and maintain a realistic budget with better management and controls.

* Make sure tax dollars are spent efficiently.

And you sir, don't need to think we have forgotten not one of your so called yadda, yadda, yadda "bull shit" campaign promises.

If you are taxpayers like us, you have to be getting sick and tired of Jimmy the Politician and all his so-called SMOKE AND MIRROR plans.

And then he is only looking out for the GOOD OLE BOYS and his CRONIES...And not us taxpayers!

Not only does his respective "plans" not work nor make sense, they are cruel in the fact that they give taxpayers false hope of things actually getting done.

Many taxpayers do not understand to this day, how Jimmy can push to raise sewer rates one minute and the next minute push to give himself and city employees a raise!

Is this fair to us taxpayers?

He sure "sold the voters" on his pie in the sky solutions to all of our problems during his 2003 election.

And believe me they won't make the same mistake twice!

We will be discussing Mayor Garner's public views, other campaign promises and bad mistakes over the next SEVERAL weeks.

So before we start let's look at Jimmy the Politician.

In case any of you didn't know, a typical politician's primary job is NOT to serve the people who elect him. His primary job is to get himself elected or re-elected.

Second job is to reward all those contributors that gave $$$ to help him get elected.

Look who contributed to Jimmy's '03 Campaign, and look where they're at now. And then tell us deals were not cut!

Case in point: David White former controller

Do you wonder who owns the company that prints our in-house sewer bills?

Well let me tell you! It's a close family member of David White. The name of the company is L & D MailMasters.

Are these political favors?


* Merle Harl
Appointed New Albany Chief of Police...Campaign Donation: $250.00

* Greg Fifer Law Office
Appointed Sewer Board Attorney: Greg Fifer...Campaign Donation: $600.00

* Summit Springs Development
Pat & Pam Kelly...Campaign Donation: $700.00

* Scribner Place Architect - Wayne Estopinal...Campaign Donation: $500.00

* Jeannie Unruh - MAC Construction - sewer repairs and etc...Campaign Donation: $500.00

* Jorge-Lanz - of Jacobi, Toemes, Lanz
Worked for Daisy Lane Road upgrade and Redevelopment Projects...Campaign Donation: $500.00

* FMSM Engineers - Stormwater Plan...Campaign Donation: $500.00

* Gregory Management LLC. - Slum Lord...$1,400.00

Several City Employees:

* Sam Lahanis - Babysitter for EMC...Campaign Donation: $250.00

* Pat Link - Employee Mayor's Office - She screens all calls to our mayor...Campaign Donation: $350.00

* Sandy Boofter - Asst. Controller...Campaign Donation: $250.00

* Michael Lawrence - Police Officer...Campaign Donation: $350.00

Source: Form CFA-4 Report of Receipts of a Committee to Elect James Garner Mayor. Dated 1/14/04 Total pages 1-23

Is Jimmy the Politician who is paid over $50,000 a year salary, plus perks worth spending $123,139.04 in contributions to win his '03 Election.

He thinks so!

Source: CFA-4 Summary Sheet signed by James Garner Jan. 14, 2004

Welcome to the Super Bowl of New Albany Politics '07!

Sunday, January 28, 2007


Please join us at

Melba Loyd's

Retirement Party!

Tuesday, February 23rd
3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

City County Building
County Council Assembly Room

Please RSVP at 948-5470


If you would like to contribute to Melba's retirement gift, please send Deborah Carlton at the Extension Office. Make checks to "Purdue CES Education Fund"

Freedom of Speech would like to wish Mrs. Melba all the best in her retirement.
A very special friend and co-worker...You will truly be missed!

Thursday, January 25, 2007


Why is the City of New Albany not following Indiana Law?

The major principals of accounting:

* Records shall be kept in full compliance with all legal requirements

* Accounting shall be based on a separation of funds

* Distinction with respect to character of expenditure shall be maintained

* The uniform classification of accounts shall be used in budgeting, accounting and reporting

* The records shall be kept on either a single-entry cash basis or double-entry modified accruel basis

* Budgetary control of receipts and disbursements shall be established

Unexpended balances of appropriations, for other than encumbrances by contract or purchase order, shall lapse at the close of each year

Separation of Funds:

The system provides for separation of accounts by funds in order to comply with statutory requirements and generally accepted accounting principles.

Utility fund accounts showing only receipts, disbursements and balances will be carried on the records of the clerk-treasurer.

Separate records prescribed or approved by the State Board of Accounts will be maintained for water, wastewater, electric, and gas utilities following the Uniform System of Accounts for each utility publishing by the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners.

Bank Accounts:

It has been our policy to recommend only a minimum number of bank accounts in order to avoid unnecessary bookeeping and possible errors in charging warrants to bank accounts. So long as an ordinance does not require the keeping of a separate bank account, funds should be consolidated into as few accounts as possible.

A single bank account should be provided for all city or town funds, if required by ordinance or regulation. Some bond ordinances and federal regulations require separate bank accounts for various funds and must be followed. Funds of other entities held by the city or town=$ fiscal officer must be accounted for in separate bank accounts.

Expenses and receipts shall be recorded only when cash is disbursed or received. The shortcomings of this method are minimized by supporting subsidiary records.

Freedom of Speech would like to ask why after 3 years in office, the Garner Administration still continues to making the same accounting mistakes?

Oh yell, we remember's Regina's fault!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


January 2007
Time: 5:15 AM

Dear Freedom of Speech,

At or about 5:15 am I woke up to hear sirens going off and my dog barking and howling at the sirens. After going out side and quieting my dog down and making my dog get in his dog house I came back inside to hear someone knocking on my front door.

Officer Travis Jones and his partner were at my front door. I answered the door and he told me they had a complaint that my dog was barking. I told him yes he had been barking just like the rest of the dogs in the neighborhood were because of the sirens and that I had addressed the problem by going out and putting him in the dog house.

He told me my dog had been barking all day long? And that he could write me a citation. I told him my dog had not been barking all day long? And that he could write me a citation. I told him my dog had not been barking all day long it's 5:00 in the morning and this is the first time you have been out here how could he have been barking all day??? and that if he wanted to write me a citation go right ahead.

At this point I was standing with my storm door open about two feet and his partner jerked the door out of my hand and opened it up like he was going to grab me or try to step into my house. I told him don't grab my door and hold it wide open your letting all of my heat out.

At this point officer Jones in a very loud and aggressive manor told me to just keep my F***ing dog quiet. I told him that he could not talk to me that way, or try to bully me, that I had my two daughters sleeping in the living room and he had woke both of them up with his loud, hostle and vulgar language.

I told the officer have a nice night and shut my screen door. Officer Jones had started down my steps he turned around and came back to the door going "what did u say what did u say" in a threatening manor. I told him I said have a nice night and shut my door. Then I had to try and explain to my daughters that everything was ok and that no not all police officers act like that or use that kind of language.

This is not the first time I have been witness to police officers acting in this manner and this problem needs to be addressed. Not only does it show their lack of training in dealing with situations like this it also gives the whole department a bad name.

I called to talk to the watch commander Eric Higdon and he basically told me that I must have been acting hostile to his officers and that they had been called there to deal with a problem. I told him I understood why they were their but trying to bully me (grabbing my door out of my hand) or using vulgar language in front of my 11 year old and 7 year old girls (Just keep your F***ing dog quiet) was not the way to handle it.

I will be sending a copy of this to the Mayor. If that does not get this problem addressed then I will be sending a copy to the media and see if they would like to run the story.

Thank you for taking the time to read my email concerning our problem.

My wife and I read Freedom of Speech all of the time and we appreciate what you are doing for our community.

Thanks again,

Sunday, January 21, 2007


It is better to be feared
than loved, if you
cannot be both

Niccolo Machiavelli

Saturday, January 20, 2007


The Mayor and City Council should work together to immediately set up a New Albany "Emergency Fund" for the care and safety of New Albany citizens.

If any explosion or other tragedy happen in New Albany like Brooks, Kentucky how could they care for our citizens?

The Rainy Day Fund was used to pay for the city budget shortfall.

The Emergency Fund could pay for evacuation and for removal of hazards.

Freedom of Speech contacted the Federal Railroad Adminstration this week for more answers.

Did you know:

In 2006 there were 2,361 derailments

* 46% causes for derailments "tracks"

* 28% Human error

* 13% Equipment

* 12% Misc.

* 1% Signal

Source: Federal Railroad Adminstration

CSX Corp. spokesman Gary Sease stated that the train, which derailed and exploded had four locomotives and 80 cars and was headed to Louisville from Birmingham, Ala. And was scheduled to pass thru New Albany.

Could a derailment happen on 15th Street?

Just ask the business owners and citizens living along the railroad tracks. They think so!

Since several citizens along 15th Street have not gotten the response they needed from Mayor Garner's office about their concerns.

They then contacted Councilman Steve Price and made him aware of their many concerns. Councilman Price then contacted private citizen Valla Ann Bolovschak who works closely with the railroad companies and DOT.

She met with Councilman Price, several citizens and business owners along 15th Street about the condition of the tracks, streets, wires, pvc pipes and safety issues.

Valla Ann then contacted the DOT in Indianapolis. Within a matter of days DOT and Miss Bolovschak were walking the 15th Street tracks.

Thanks to Councilman Price, Valla Ann Bolovschak for helping the citizens along 15th Street, there are safety issues DOT will be addressing and fixing in the upcoming weeks.

The recent derailment has raised new questions about the condition of infrastructure on 15th Street.

Could New Albany be next?

Friday, January 19, 2007


The common council is both the city's legislative body and its fiscal body. Members of the common council (Often referred to as the city council) are part-time elected officicials who serve for a term of four years; they are not subject to term limits and may run for re-election as often as they wish.

As individual council members, they do not possess significant statutory powers.

As the city's legislative body, however, the council exercises many of the powers given cities through the passage of ordinances and appropriation of monies (IC 36-4-6-18). The council fixes the annual salaries of all elected officials of the city, which may not be changed in the year for which they are fixed, or reduced below the previous year's level (IC 36-4-7-2).

It has authority to reduce, but not to increase, any other items in the city budget as submitted by the mayor for its approval (IC 36-4-7-7).

A council member must have been a resident of the district from which he or she is elected, if any, for at least six month's before the election, and must have been a resident of the city for at least one year before the election IC 3-8-1-27).

If the council member ceases to be a resident of the city or a resident of the district from which the council member was elected, the council member forfeits his or her office (IC 36-4-6-2).

Thursday, January 18, 2007


Once again a African-American person is using their race to explain their inappropriate actions.

* Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin;

* Hiring should favor the best qualified applicant for the position of New Albany Fireman

As a white male I feel I have been discriminated against.

Up until thursday nights Council Meeting I thought the test was based on intelligence instead of race.

I guess I was wrong!

After Mayor Garner stated that African-Americans can't past the test, the standards need to be lowered.

So much for equal opportunity!

Mr. Mayor are you dealing the RACE CARD "from the bottom of the deck."

Ask yourself Chief Toran are you yourself a leader when you publicly show favoritism of one race over another?

You Sir, Mayor Garner staged a real performance at last thursdays Council Meeting. Looking forward to your next smoke a mirror show.

And you thought "RACE CARD" was just a METAPHOR...PLATINUM, Too!

Mr. Mayor you state you want a big man to carry "your butt" out of a fire.

Citizens want fireman smart enough to find our address, and save our families and property in a fire. Is this to much to ask for?

Freedom of Speech feels that Fire Chief Toran owes City Council President Larry Kochert an oplogy "in public" for his rude and obnoxious behavior.

And shame on you "Jimmy" for trying to make this a race issue!

You want to talk about rumors? How about facts! Jimmy you promised the Fire Dept. if they supported you in 2004 you would "not hire" Fire Chief Toran!

And Chief Toran would you like to discuss domestic violence?

We think it's very unfair that some people seem to have Race Cards while others don't appear to be dealing with a full deck.

Perhaps it's time that everyone in the Garner's Administration comes clean and shows their cards. Let's find out what these Race Cards are, who has them, and how they got them.

This is nothing more than a political ploy to get African-American votes!

Trump or Joker?

Saturday, January 13, 2007


It is hard to think of any word that has confused more issues than the word "rights." Nowadays, almost anything that anybody wants is called a "right" ~ a magic word that does away with the need for laws, logic or even common sense.

At one time, the concept of taking land for the public good was clear-cut. Everyone understood that the city could wrest property for roads, schools and hospitals and to relieve blight.

Little is considered as sacred as the right to own property.

Now it appears the city is trying to take this right away from some of our citizens.

Don't ever think that this could not ever happen to you!

This is a property owner's worst nightmare:

Over a year or two ago, Ricky and Ruth Case were approached by the Kellys who wanted to build the Summit Springs Development up on Fawcett Hill. They needed part of the property where the Cases live at 310 Captain Frank Road, at the corner of Captain Frank and Fawcett Hill Road.

The Kellys needed part of this property to widen Fawcett Hill Road for their planned Summit Springs Development.

The Kellys suggested to the Cases that they "donate" most of their front yard to the city to widen the road. The Cases refused. The Kellys then suggested that they donate the land to the Kellys who would in turn donate the land to the city. The Cases again refused. The Cases then offered to sell their land and house to the Kellys for $150,000.00. The Kellys refused their offer.

The Cases thought that was the end of the story.

Soon after, they were paid a visit by Pam Badger, the Ordinance Enforcement Officer. There were "complaints" about the property. The Cases stated that Ms. Badger was very nice to them and worked with them to allow time for them to clean up the property. Officer Badger made several visits and was pleased with the cooperation and progress made by the Cases.

It was not long after that the New Albany Building Commissioner paid the Cases a visit and told them that the situation was unacceptable. The Cases explained to the Building Commissioner they had been working with Pam Badger and he stated he did not care. He was Pam Badgers Boss.

The Cases have heard nothing from the building commissioner for almost a year.

On January 15th, the Cases were made aware that their house is on the "unsafe building" list from the city.

They were absolutely shocked!

The Cases have NEVER received any written notice of any kind to inform them of this.

They have been denied any due process whatsoever.

Of note, Mr. Case had surgery almost a year ago and has been on disability since then. He is under a doctor's care and might have to have additional surgery in the near future.

What is even more interesting, another house at 414 Captain Frank is also on the "unsafe building" list. This house was bought by the Kellys in hopes of putting a road down through the property to Captain Frank.

The house had all ready been renovated and has been rented out for the past two years.

Freedom of Speech would like to know why is this house on the "unsafe building" list when it is in quite good condition? Why is the Cases house on the "unsafe building" list without them being given due process?

We also want to ask why are other dilapidated houses in New Albany not on the list?

Are people misusing what the "unsafe building" ordinance is about?

Are people using the "unsafe building" ordinance to harass, threaten and eventually obtain property that they cannot get otherwise?

Shame on "every damn" person involved in this problem on Captain Frank Road!

And you Sir, Mr. Building Commissioner have some explaining to do.

We would like to know when was this property reported as an unsafe building? Who reported this property to the Building Commissioner?

Freedom of Speech will be asking Council President Larry Kochert to have a full investigation of this matter.

Is this the way the Garner Administration treats our taxpayers?

Freedom of Speech fears for anyone else who owns a piece of property not just on Captain Frank Road, but anywhere a politically connected developer is eyeing it.

The description of an unsafe building contained in IC 36-7-9-4 is hereby supplemented to provide minimum standards for building conditions or maintance in the city by adding the following definition:

UNSAFE BUILDING. Any building or structure which has any or all the conditions or defects hereinafter described shall be deemed to be an UNSAFE BUILDING, provided that these conditions or defects exist to the extent that life, health, property or safety of the public or its occupants are endangered.

Building Commissioner Responsibilities
As listed in Ordinance G-04-23

Cleanliness of Premises 150.101
1. Enter premises to determine compliance
2. Determine the Identity & Address of landowner
3. Send written notice by certified mail
4. Have the city remove material & vehicles
5. File a lien against the property with the county recorder for all cost incurred by the city for removal.

Procedure to file a lien on property
1. Building Commissioner to Recorder
2. Recorder to Auditor
3. Auditor to Treasurer
4. Treasurer adds to next tax bill to be mailed

Departments Involved:
Health Dept.
Police Dept.
Fire Dept.
City Attorney
Building Commissioner

To us, our rights are fundamentally important~I would not like to leave them to somebody else, and out of our control.

Thursday, January 11, 2007


I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. That is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.

Martin Luther King Jr.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


City Ordinances are now on the books for the process of removing Unsafe Buildings.

In December of 2005, Councilman Bill Schmidt requested a list of unsafe houses from the Building Commissioner.

Building Commissioner responded that there was "no unsafe" Building List.

In January 2006, Councilman Schmidt reported Building Commissioner response to Council. At the meeting, Mayor Garner went down the hall supposely to the Building Commissioners Office and returned with a box of file folders showing unsafe buildings.

At that time Mayor Garner stated there were about 50 unsafe buildings.

In February 2006, Councilman Schmidt asked again and received a list of unsafe buildings. The Councilman took that list to the Township Assessor's Office and identified the owner's of the listed unsafe buildings.

Now it is January 2007. Last week Councilman Schmidt took the list of unsafe houses and drove around New Albany to see if any of these have been repaired or demolished.

It has been one year and we see no improvement on the unsafe buildings on this list.

We do not want to see a child or adult lose their lives due to a fire in any unsafe building in New Albany.

We would like for the other Council Members, taxpayers, other blogs and all Neighborhood Associations to ride around New Albany and see these unsafe Buildings on this list.


Owner: Thomas Goodman
5830 Grantline Road
Unsafe Property: 640 West 5th St.
Plat #: 7630-044

Owner: Jay Edward Rochner
Unsafe Property: 216 West 7th Street
Plat #: 7670-003

Owner: Michael Beverly Futter
800 E. Main Street
Unsafe Property: 711 West Spring St.
Plat #: 8110-020

Owner: Roger Sutherland
P.O.Box 3361
Clarksville, In. 47129
Unsafe Property: 707 West Spring St.
Plat #: 8110-019

Owner: Roger Sutherland
P.O.Box 3361
Clarksville, In. 47129
Unsafe Property: 709 West Spring St.
Plat # : 8110-028

Owner: Jesse Elder, Jr.
907 Cedar St
New Albany
Unsafe Property: 905 Cedar St.
Platt #: 7720-044

Owner: Ricky & Ruth Case
Unsafe Property: 310 Captain Frank Road
Plat #: 3430-012

Owner: Patrick Kelly
Unsafe Property: 414 Captain Frank Road
Plat #: 3430-009

Owner: Gary & Kathy Jackson
428 West 8th St.
New Albany
Unsafe Property: 822 West Market St.
Plat #: 8570-013

Owner: Donald Seng
Unsafe Property: 903 West Ohio St.
Plat #: 7700-037


Owner: Federal National Mortgage
1 South Wacker St. # 3100
Chicago, Ill. 60606
Unsafe Property: 309-311 E. 10th St.
Plat #: 7160-021

Owner: Howard Stone
33 East 4th St.
New Albany
Unsafe Property: 921 E. 11th St.
Plat #: 6340-009

Owner: James & Rebecca Hunt
Unsafe Property: 2032 McDonald Ave.
Plat #: 4600-015

Owner: J&J Real Estate Investment
Unsafe Property: 117 East Oak St.
Plat #: 8060-013

Owner: PNC National Association
P.O. Box 1093
Northridge, Ca. 91328-1093
Unsafe Property: 910 East 11th St.
Plat #: 6390-004

Owner: Robert Stewart
Unsafe Property: 2029 East Oak St.
Plat #: 7330-017

Owner: Robert Ems
405 South Morrison Road
Apt. 254
Muncie, In. 47304
Unsafe Property: 2225 E. Spring St.
Plat #: 5650-028

Owner: Robert Burns
Unsafe Property: 1519 Elm Street
Plat #: 6860-016

Owner: Samantha Best
Unsafe Property: 2101 Elm St.
Plat #: 5490-020

Owner: David & Linda Franeke
Unsafe Property: 52 E. 18th St.
Plat #: 7200-066

Owner: Kenneth W. & Sherry Brock
Unsafe Property: 1945 E. Elm St.
Plat #: 7350-022

Owner: Olive Hendrick
Unsafe Property: 2529 Broadway
Plat #: 4560-068

Owner: Gregory Properties
14725 North Martin Rd.
New Albany
Unsafe Property: 708 Culbertson Ave.
Plat #: 7240-078

Owner: Gary Housel
2407 Beeler St.
New Albany
Unsafe Property: 1746 Ekin Ave.
Plat #: 7320-025

Owner: Stephen L. Roberts
Unsafe Property: 716 East 11th St.
Plat #: 6830-033

Freedom Of Speech feels the excuse of lack of funds is no excuse for inaction on this problem. To our knowledge, there have been no requests for funding to solve this "unsafe housing" problem.

In fact, Controller Kay Garry has told the Council Members that they could approve a certain amount of dollars to demolish a certain Unsafe Building "IF" the Building Commissioner brought a specfic "Request to the Council."

Now ask yourself taxpayers:

Under Mayor Garner, how many Building Commissioners has the taxpayers paid for training and certification?

Has Building Commissioner Ron Hartman requested funds for Unsafe Buildings?


Freedom of Speech blames Mayor James Garner based on Indiana Law.

NA Confidential - Roger Baylor blames our City Council & Gang of Four based on his opinion.


Freedom of Speech

You forgot one thing NA Confidential - Roger Baylor, Indiana Law over rules your opinion again!

IC 36-4-5-3
States that under Powers and duties, the mayor (James Garner) has the responsibility to:
Sec. 3. The executive (mayor) shall:
(1) enforce the ordinances of the city and the statues of the state;

"Everyone is entitled to their own
opinion, but not their own facts."
-Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Tuesday, January 09, 2007



The purpose of this special revenue fund is to account for transfers of unused and unencumbered funds under IC 36-1-8-5. IC 36-1-8-5 (b) states that whenever the purposes of a tax levy have been fullfilled and an unused and unencumbered balance remains in the fund, the fiscal body of the city or town shall order the balance of the fund to be transferred to the general fund or rainy day fund of the municipality, as provided in IC 36-1-8-5.1, unless a statute provides that it be transferred otherwise. In any fiscal year a city or town may transfer not more then ten percent (10%) of the city or town's annual budget for that fiscal year to the rainy day fund. The fund should be established by ordinance and the ordinance should state the purposes and the sources of funding for the fund (IC 36-1-8-5). Transfers to the rainy day fund must be made after the last day of the year and before March 1 of the subsequent calender year. (IC 36-1-8-5.1)

Supplemental distributions of CAGIT under IC 6-3.5-1.1-21.1, COIT under IC 6-3.5-6-17.3, and EDIT under IC 6-3.5-7-17.3 must also be deposited in the rainy day fund.


* 360 Miscellaneous Revenues

* 361 Interest of Investment

* 390 Other Financing Sources

* 391 Interfund Operating Transfers

* 395 Sale of Investments


The fiscal body should determine by ordinance the use of the fund which could be for any purpose permitted by state statutes for other revenues of the city or town.


The rainy day fund is subject to the same appropriation process as other funds that receive tax money. The Department of Local Government Finance may not reduce the actual or maximum permissible levy of a city or town as a result of a balance on the rainy day fund.

Monday, January 08, 2007


Each city and town that receives tax revenue under IC 4-33-12-6, IC 4-33-13, or an agreement to share a city's or county's part of the tax revenue may establish a riverboat fund. Money in the fund may be used for any legal or corporate purpose of the city or town.

The riverboat fund shall administered by the clerk-treasurer, and the expenses of administering the fund shall be paid from money in the fund. Money in the fund not currently needed to meet the obligations of the fund may be invested in the same manner as other public funds may be invested. Interest that accrues from these investiments shall be deposited in the fund. Money in the fund at the end of a particular fiscal year does not revert to the city or towns general fund.


* 335 State Shared Revenue
335.18 Wagering Tax Distribution

* Local Government Shared Revenue

* 360 Miscellaneous Revenues
361 Interest on Investiments

* 390 Other Financing Sources
395 Sale of Investments


As stated previously, money in the fund may be expended for any purpose permitted by state statutes for other revenues of the city or town.

Sunday, January 07, 2007


Homestead Credits

How the homestead credit works.

For many years, the State of Indiana has favored homeowners by granting homestead credits.

The credit results in a reduction of property tax paid by local homeowners.

Specifically, the credit is a reduction of the tax bill by a certain percent for property that serves as a person’s principal residence.

Does that mean local governments receive less money? Usually, it does not.

Generally, the State makes up the difference from its own treasury. How does it work? From the point of view of local government, the process is invisible. Local governments simply levy their taxes, same as if there were no credit.

Meanwhile, the State sends each County Auditor enough money to cover the credit. The taxpayer pays the net tax bill, the State pays the credit, and the whole levy is sent to the local government.

Sound like a good deal for local government? Generally, it is. Local government levies the tax and receives the revenue, but local property tax payers pay only part of it. The State pays the rest.

There are also some options for local communities to institute additional homestead credits, financed from local option income taxes.

There is only one downside to the State-financed homestead credit, and that is when the State reduces the homestead credit rate.

For 2006, the State is increasing the basic homestead credit rate from 20% to 28%. That is good for 2006, which incidentally happens to be year most Legislators are due for election.

The bad news is, the rate then drops back to 20% in 2007, the year municipal officials are due for election.

The impact of the homestead credit is complicated, and it will be different for each homeowner and locality. At the risk of over-simplifying a complicated process, the basic impact in 2006 and 2007 will be as follows.

Most homeowners pay their property taxes through a mortgage escrow.

They will find the 28% credit in 2006 to be an unexpected windfall. They will have extra money in their escrow accounts, and their current taxes will be lower than before. That means the mortgage companies will make a double reduction in the escrow payment: one reduction will be made to account for the lower tax, and another will be made to account for the excess balance in the account.

Mortgage-payers will be very pleased with their recalculated monthly payments in 2006.

Unfortunately, in 2007 the reverse will happen. The return of the homestead credit from 28% to 20% will seem like a tax increase. Escrow accounts will be under-funded. Mortgage companies will make double increases in escrow accounts: one increase to account for the higher tax and another to account for the insufficient balance in the account.

From the point of view of a homeowner, the tax increase in 2007 may appear to be more than 8%, even though local governments will not receive more money.

2007 also happens to be the year homeowners will feel the effect of assessment “trending.” In the long run, “trending” will smooth out the sudden changes that result from general reassessments.

However, in the first year, the medicine may be as bad as the disease. Initially, trending itself will cause a one-time shift of tax burden from commercial to residential taxpayers.

The only good news for 2007 is that homeowners will receive an additional $10,000 deduction from their assessed values. For homeowners with moderate-priced homes, a $10,000 deduction may be quite significant.

However, for homeowners with more valuable homes, it is not.

Roughly speaking, a homeowner with a value of $125,000 will find that a $10,000 deduction is worth at least as much as an 8% credit. However, for more valuable homes, the $10,000 deduction may not be enough to offset the loss of the 8% credit.

Meanwhile, the $10,000 deduction is bad news for property tax payers in general.

Unlike the homestead credit, the State does not finance the deduction.

Since there is no free lunch, someone has to make up the cost of the $10,000 deduction. One possibility is for local governments to forego the revenue. In practice, the more likely result will be that local governments will keep their revenues level, and tax rates will increase.

Those who don’t benefit from the $10,000 deduction will simply pay more taxes in 2007.

Freedom of Speech would like to thank Senator Connie Sipes for purveyance the updated information on Indiana Property Tax Trending.

Saturday, January 06, 2007


The citizens of New Albany appreciate that you will take on this difficult task to lead the City Council.

We are glad that you are aware of the many city problems, and have the courage to work towards solutions.

We hope President Kochert you will be addressing taxpayers worries about where their money is going and what projects take precedence with scarce resources requires creativity and doing more with less.

The taxpayers of New Albany expect and must receive the highest standard of accountability from all those in public service. City officers and employees must be independent, impartial and responsible in the performance of their duties.

Good Luck!

You have the support of many New Albany citizens...

Friday, January 05, 2007


Is it true that Mayor Garner's children attend Community Montessori?

Is this a blatant conflict of interest?

What will Jimmy do next when he returns from his cruise and learns that Community Montessori did not get the $25,000 from the city?

What will be his next move?

Who knows!

Monday, January 01, 2007


Deputy Fire Chief Stanley Mason announced they have hired six new recruits.

They are:

Tim Bailey
Michael Cooper
Samuel Heavrin
Eric Mayfield
John McCormick
Ben Fee

Contrary to it's job description, the fireman is not merely confined to putting out fires. New Albany Fireman risk their lives through raging house and commerical fires in choking smoke to save lives and property. And they are also the ones you call when you discover a snake in your kitchen.

A fireman's job is anything but boring. It takes a great deal of courage. Plus the ability to think and react fast under all circumstances.

When disaster takes a break, fireman have to perform less hazardous tasks like vehicle maintance, hydrant checks and educational visits to New Albany schools and community centers.

Now here's some tips on fire prevention from the New Albany Fire Department.

Every home should have at least one working smoke alarm. It's inexpensive protection for you and your family. Install a smoke alarm on every level of your home. A working smoke alarm can double your chances of survival.

Never overload circuits or extension cords. Do not place cords and wires under rugs.

* Portable heaters need their space, Keep anything combustible at least three feet away.

* Keep fire in the fireplace. Use fire screens and have your chimney, cleaned annually. The creosote buildup can ignite a chimney fire that could easily spread.

* Kerosene heaters should be used only where approved by authorites.

Children under five are naturally curious about fire. Many play with matches and lighters. Take the mystery out of fire play by teaching your children that fire is a tool, not a toy.

Practice an escape plan from every room in the house. Caution everyone to stay low to the floor when escaping from fire and never open doors that are hot. Get out then call for help.

With a population of elderly citizens in New Albany. Seniors are especially vulnerable because many live alone and can't respond quickly.

Freedom of Speech would like to say:

New Albany has a shortage of fireman. There will be an additional 8 fireman retiring in 2007. No wonder the overtime is so outrageous. The New Albany Fire Department is under staffed and over worked. Sounds like an administrative problem to us...

Thanks to all the men and women who serve on the New Albany Fire Department!

The New Albany Fire Department is looking for more recruits. Have you got what it takes to become one?