Watchdog Lebanon

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Watchdog Lebanon was founded by Aaron Smith on November 14, 2001.
Aaron's home address is 2625 Countryside Drive, Lebanon, IN 46052 and his phone number is 765-891-1439.

Watchdog Indiana LogoWatchdog Lebanon provides information about the revenues, spending, and long-term debt assumption of the local and county governments in Boone County. An online community is established where Boone County Hoosiers work together to help control government growth. This volunteer effort is non-party, non-connected, and non-profit. 

Watchdog Lebanon is an advocate for good government that focuses on the local tax burden of Boone County working families.

"The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, ... who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat." - Theodore Roosevelt

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Immediate action needed!
06/11/2014:
Please ACT NOW and advise our County Commissioners to vote NO on June 16 against Ordinance No. 2014-03 that would allow an unneeded 166% increase in the county’s Cumulative Capital Development (CCD) property tax rate. You can use the following contact information to let your County Commissioner public servants know what you think:
Marc Applegate – Phone 317-769-6991 and E-mail marc.applegate@gmail.com
Don Lawson – Phone 765-436-7405 and E-mail dlawson@frontiernet.net
Jeff Wolfe – Phone 765-482-7560 and E-mail wolfe.jeff@comcast.net

Our County Commissioners will hold a public hearing at 9:00 AM on Monday June 16 for their Ordinance No. 2014-03 that would allow the Boone County Council to increase the county’s CCD property tax rate by 166% from $0.0125 to $0.0333. After the public hearing, our County Commissioners will vote on Ordinance No. 2014-03. The county’s CCD property tax rate will not increase if our County Commissioners cast a Taxpayer Friendly NO vote on Ordinance No. 2014-03.

A County Commissioner who votes NO against the unneeded CCD property tax rate increase in Ordinance No. 2014-03 is Taxpayer Friendly. A County Commissioner who votes YES is Taxpayer UNfriendly. Concerned Boone County Hoosiers will hold our County Commissioners accountable for their vote in upcoming elections.

Did You Know?
06/11/2014:
There they go again – or, more specifically, there she goes again! Boone County Council Member Marcia Wilhoite has once again instigated what appears to be her annual crusade to unnecessarily increase the property tax burden on those Boone County working families who can least afford it.

Our Boone County Commissioners will vote June 16 on their Ordinance No. 2014-03 that would allow the Boone County Council to increase the county’s Cumulative Capital Development (CCD) property tax rate by 166% from $0.0125 to $0.0333. There is absolutely no need to increase the county’s CCD property tax rate.

Indiana Code 36-9-14.5 ALLOWED, but not REQUIRED, Boone County to adopt a 2014 budget for its CCD Fund of $830,080 in total spending for the county needs listed next. (Source: Go to the “Indiana Gateway for Local Government Units” at https://gateway.ifionline.org/ - Click on “Report Builder” - Click on “Budgets” - Click on “Line-Item Budget Estimate” - Under “County” select “Boone” - Under “Year” select “2014” - Under “Unit Type” select “County” - Under “Unit” select “Boone County” - Under “Fund” select “2391 – Cumulative Capital Development”  Click on “View Report”)
$254,630 Courthouse/Annex Repairs and Maintenance
$196,450 Information Technology Equipment
$185,000 Jail Building
$180,000 Sheriff’s Vehicles
$  14,000 Bullet Proof Vests
$830,080 TOTAL

In response to a petition from Boone County taxpayers last year, the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance (DLGF) disapproved a CCD property tax rate increase: see http://www.finplaneducation.net/county_ccd_tax.htm. The DLGF disapproval resulted in a 2014 Certified Levy for the county’s CCD Fund of 488,671. (Note: The CCD Fund Certified Levies for prior years were $511,582 in 2010; $505,868 in 2011; $508,460 in 2012; and $482,097 in 2013.) (Source: Go to the “Indiana Gateway for Local Government Units” at https://gateway.ifionline.org/ - Click on “Report Builder” - Click on “Budgets” - Click on “Certified Budget, Levy, Rate” - Under “County” select “Boone” - Under “Unit Type” select “County” - Under “Unit Name” select “Boone County” - Click on “View Report”)

Boone County will use its ample cash reserves to make up the expected $341,409 difference this year between the $830,080 adopted CCD budget and the $488,671 in certified CCD property tax revenues. The Boone County June 30, 2013, Certified Cash Balance of $14,229,636 was a whopping 89.3% of the Boone County 2014 Total Certified Budget of $15,929,961. As a point of reference, the June 30, 2013, Certified Cash Balance for all counties was 49.7% of the 2014 Total Certified Budget for all counties. The Boone County Certified June 30 Cash Balance as a percent of the next year’s Boone County Total Certified Budget for each of the past three years has been no less than 1.74 times greater than the percentage for all counties. Further proof that Boone County has ample cash reserves is that the county’s June 30, 2013, Certified Cash Balance increased $228,568 from a year earlier. (Source: Go to the “Indiana Gateway for Local Government Units” at https://gateway.ifionline.org/ - Click on “Report Builder” - Click on “Budgets” - Click on “Cash Balance as a Percent of Budget” - Under “Unit Type” select “County” - Under “Year” select “2014” then “2013” and then “2012” - Click on “View Report”)

Listed next are the December 31, 2013, Cash & Investments Balance in those Boone County funds that can be used to pay the county expenses currently allocated just to the CCD Fund. (Source: Go to the “Indiana Gateway for Local Government Units” at https://gateway.ifionline.org/ - Click on “Report Builder” - Click on “Annual Financial Reports” - Click on “Cash and Investments” - Under “County” select “Boone” - Under “Year” select “2013” - Under “Unit Type” select “County” - Under “Unit” select “Boone County” - Click on “View Report”)
$ 3,143,568 County General Fund
$    427,679 Cumulative Capital Development Fund
$    365,696 Food & Beverage Tax Fund 
$ 3,804,596 Rainy Day Fund 
$ 2,433,230 Economic Development Fund
$    610,781 CCD Investment Fund
$10,785,550 TOTAL

Boone County had a total $10,785,550 cash balance available on December 31, 2013, to meet this year’s anticipated $341,409 CCD Fund shortfall. In other words, if a $2,400,000 cash balance is retained in the Rainy Day Fund, the resulting $8,385,550 cash balance is almost 25 times more than what is needed to meet this year’s $341,409 CCD Fund shortfall. Combined with the CCD revenues that the county will continue to receive WITHOUT a CCD property tax rate increase, Boone County has ample cash reserves for the foreseeable future to cover the spending needs currently assigned to the CCD Fund.

There is some indication that the Boone County Council wants to use the CCD Fund to pay $600,000 in renovation expenses for the new Washington Street county office building. Excess CCD revenues from prior years have been put in a CCD Investment Fund that barely earned just one-tenth of one percent in interest last year. The $610,781 CCD Investment Fund should be cashed in to pay for any Washington Street renovations before the CCD property tax rate is increased.

Finally, because of the 1% homeowner property tax cap, businesses, farmers, many apartment renters, and lower income Boone County families outside Zionsville would pay the unneeded CCD property tax increase. Because their homes are already at the 1% property tax cap, most higher income Zionsville families would NOT pay the proposed CCD property tax increase.

Lebanon schools have 43.6% of its students who qualify for free or reduced price lunches because their families are lower income – 36.4% of Western Boone and 39.7% of Sheridan students also qualify for free or reduced price lunches. Only 5.4% of Zionsville students have families whose incomes are low enough to get free or reduced price lunches. Unnecessarily increasing the property tax burden on those Boone County working families who can least afford it at a time when the county has ample cash reserves is such poor public policy that it can be accurately identified as fiscal immorality.

  City of Lebanon Interchange Land Use Plan
Detailed information about the Interchange Plan can be found online at http://www.finplaneducation.net/lebanon_interchange_plan.htm

All Lebanon and Boone County residents concerned about Lebanon's I-65 and State Road 39 Interchange Land Use Plan are encouraged to sign the "PETITION REQUEST TO LEBANON MAYOR HUCK LEWIS." Please send an E-mail to taxless3@comcast.net to obtain a copy of the Petition.

The Petition reads as follows: "The signature(s) of the concerned citizen(s) on this petition verify a request to have the 1,000 Acres of unincorporated Center Township farmland removed from the proposed City of Lebanon I-65 and State Road 39 Interchange Land Use Plan. Some of the reasons for this request include the following: (1) the industrial and single family residential land uses included in the Interchange Plan for the 1,000 Acres conflict with the Boone County Area Comprehensive Plan that preserves agricultural uses until the year 2030, (2) the Boone County Zoning Ordinance as administered by the Area Plan Commission satisfactorily protects the 1,000 Acres from "spot zoning" changes without the Interchange Plan, (3) the 1,500 acres in the Interchange Plan study area that are already within the Lebanon city limits are sufficient for Lebanon’s commercial and industrial development the next twenty years without the 1,000 Acres in unincorporated Center Township, (4) Lebanon has plenty of empty buildings and space in the Lebanon Business Park for business development without the 1,000 Acres, (5) inclusion of the 1,000 Acres in the Interchange Plan might defeat in court a land owners remonstrance against a future involuntary Lebanon annexation, (6) it would be more likely for eminent domain to be imposed to forcibly obtain the rights-of-way needed for the proposed Interchange Plan infrastructure, (7) the rural quality of life that so many Boone County residents enjoy and cherish would be maintained."

The City of Lebanon Interchange Land Use Plan “outlines the City’s short- to long-term plan for improvement, development, and growth” for a study area whose northeast boundary is I-65, west boundary is SR 39, and south boundary is County Road 250 South.” The Interchange Plan is presented as a “foundation for future decision-making regarding land use and infrastructure development and transportation circulation.” The Interchange Plan study area is about 2,500 acres, with 1,500 acres within the City limits and 1,000 acres outside the City within unincorporated Center Township. Agricultural land in the Interchange Plan study area today totals 2,190 acres and is “actively used by a select number of owners that have held the properties for several generations.” None of this farm land is preserved because the Interchange Plan provides, “Growth within the study area is desired to be in the form of mid- to high-end residential, business, office, retail, technology, research, light industry, or a combination of these forms.” 

The proposed Interchange Plan also stipulates: (a) “The cost of the recommended infrastructure is intended to be shared by Lebanon as well as the developer” and (b) “All infrastructure developments will defray development costs associated with private developments and make the study area more attractive for private investment, as well as reduce the risk and time for development.” The cost estimates for the nine categories of Interchange Plan infrastructure subject to taxpayer and utility ratepayer subsidies are summarized as follows:
$ 26.614 million for 3.9 miles of 4- lane Arterial Roads
$   8.019 million for 2.5 miles of 2-lane Collector Roads
$ 26.584 million for 5.3 miles of 3-lane Roads
$   8.743 million for 6.1 miles of Water Main Lines
$   1.767 million for 5.8 miles of Sanitary Sewer Trunk Lines
$   2.486 million for 2 Sanitary Lift Stations
$   4.200 million for an Electric Transmission Line
$   1.910 million for an Electric Substation
$ 28.802 million for the Lebanon I-65 Corridor Master Drainage Plan
$109.125 million TOTAL Subject to Taxpayer and Utility Ratepayer Subsidies

To put the $109,125,000 total Interchange Plan infrastructure subject to taxpayer and utility ratepayer subsidies in perspective, the total 2014 City of Lebanon budget certified by the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance is $12,762,558. Mayor Lewis expresses his municipal growth philosophy in the City of Lebanon April 2014 Newsletter when he states, “Many entities are reluctant to locate in Lebanon without being ‘offered’ something.” Lebanon and Boone County working families cannot afford the mayor’s desired quid pro quo for the Interchange Plan infrastructure.

Some aspects of the Interchange Plan might be a reasonable road map for orderly development the next few decades. However, the Interchange Plan provisions that call for the $109.125 million estimated cost of the recommended infrastructure to be shared by Lebanon taxpayers and utility ratepayers are Taxpayer UNfriendly and would rapidly erode our rural quality of life while creating the potential for eminent domain abuses. Also, the Interchange Plan does not preserve Center Township farmland as provided for in the Boone County Area Comprehensive Plan. The Interchange Plan should be tabled by the Lebanon Plan Commission unless and until (1) all Interchange Plan references are removed that relate to infrastructure cost sharing by taxpayers and utility ratepayers and (2) the 1,000 Acres of Center Township farmland are removed from the Interchange Plan's study area.

  The Lebanon Watch
"The best defense against usurpatory government is an assertive citizenry."
William F. Buckley, Jr.

It is time for everyday Lebanon residents to assert that our elected and appointed local government officials must stop increasing taxes and utility rates on existing residents to subsidize speculative development that does not pay for itself. One way to accomplish this goal is for concerned Lebanon residents to “watch” our thirty-four Lebanon and Boone County government bodies that are responsible for the oversight of our tax dollars and utility rates. 

If you attend a local government meeting (or watch it on TV) and discover something that is noteworthy, please send a report of the meeting to Watchdog Indiana at taxless3@comcast.net or call Aaron Smith at 765-891-1439. The Lebanon Watch Report web pages for our various government bodies and their public policy decisions can be accessed through the Watchdog Lebanon Topics Index below.  

The meetings scheduled by our local government bodies between now and October 1, 2014 (together with detailed information about meeting locations, contacts, and websites) can be found online at http://www.finplaneducation.net/lebanon_watch_meetings.htm.

 

Lebanon Topics Index

Consumer Price Index
Family Meals Tax: Lebanon Food and Beverage Tax.
Greater Lebanon Community Vision Committee
Huck Lewis Campaign Contributions History
Lebanon Candidate Information:
2011 Lebanon Candidates (Lebanon Clerk Treasurer).
2007 Lebanon Candidates (November 6, 2007, Lebanon Mayor General Election).
2003-2005 Lebanon City Council Voting Record.
2002-03 Lebanon Candidates (November 4, 2003, Lebanon Mayor and City Council General Election; November 5, 2002, Boone County Council District 3 General Election; May 7,2002, Boone County Commissioner District 1 Republican Primary).
Lebanon City Expenditures Per Capita
Lebanon City Finances
Lebanon Community School Corporation Education Outcomes Comparison: Schools with Boone County Students.
Lebanon Eminent Domain Coercions
Lebanon "Gateways" - Indianapolis Avenue Project
Lebanon "Gateways" - SR 39 Bridge Project
Lebanon Growth Projections
Lebanon Hot Pond
Lebanon I-65 Corridor Annexation
Lebanon I-65 Corridor Master Drainage Plan
Lebanon Interchange Land Use Plan
Lebanon Memorial Park Swimming Pool
Lebanon Memory Hall Flats
Lebanon Municipal Building
Lebanon Property Tax Comparison: Residential and Farm.
Lebanon Property Taxes
Lebanon Public Library Expansion
Lebanon Public Library Expenditures Per Capita
Lebanon Public Library Taxpayer Friendly Action Plan
Lebanon Redevelopment Commission
Lebanon Schools 2010 Referendum
Lebanon Schools Expenditures Per Capita & Student
Lebanon Schools Finances
Lebanon Schools Property Tax History
Lebanon Storm Water Management Board
Lebanon Transportation Funding Increases
Lebanon Utilities - 2010 Operating Efficiency Analysis
Lebanon Utilities - 2012 Electric Rate Increase
Lebanon Utilities - Fire Hydrants Analysis
Lebanon Utilities - Telecommunications Division Profitability
Lebanon Utilities - Wastewater (Sanitary Sewer) Backup Prevention
Lebanon Utilities - Wastewater (Sanitary Sewer) Financial Analysis 
Lebanon Utilities - Wastewater (Sanitary Sewer) Treatment Plant Operation
Lebanon Utilities - Water Financial Analysis
Lebanon Watch Government Meetings Schedule
Lebanon Worth Annexation
Lebanon's FAILED "Vision"
Petition and Remonstrance
Population Data: City Of Lebanon; Center Township; Boone County; State Of Indiana.
Public Access Laws
Related Sites: Boone County Area Plan Commission; Boone County Chamber of Commerce; Boone County Community Network; Boone County Economic Development Corporation; Boone County E-mail Directory; Boone County Farm Bureau, Boone County Republicans; Boone REMC; Lebanon (City Of), Indiana; Lebanon Community School Corporation; Lebanon Community Vision Committee.

 

Boone County Topics Index

Boone County Appointed Local Government Boards
Boone County Candidate Information:
2016 Boone County Commissioner Candidates: Don Lawson, Jeff Wolfe.
2016 Boone County Council Candidates: Marcia Wilhoite.
2014 Boone County Commissioner Candidates: Marc Applegate, Julia Evinger.
2014 Boone County Council Candidates: Ken P. Campbell, Jon "Chip" Cravens, John W. Hamilton, John W. Hume, Jim Hundley, Steve Jacob, Tom Santelli, Jay Schaumberg, Gene Thompson.
2014 Boone County Superior Court 2 Judge Candidates: Campaign Fundraising.
2014 Center Township Board Candidates: Penny S. Bogan, Larry Hysong, Benjamin "Benjy" Johnson, Tami Richardson, Richard "Dick" Robertson, Jane Ann Taylor, Brent Wheat.
2014 Center Township Trustee Candidates: Randall "Randy" Large, Eric R. Ping, Adam Walker, Robert L. Wirey.
2012 Boone County Candidates (Boone County Council).
2008 Boone County Candidates (Boone County Auditor Primary Election).
2006 Boone County Candidates (Boone County Council General Election).
2004 Boone County Candidates (November 2, 2004, Boone County Commissioners General Election; November 2, 2004, Boone County Council General Election; May 4, 2004, Boone County Commissioners Republican Primary; May 4, 2004, Boone County Council Republican Primary).
2002-03 Boone County Candidates (November 4, 2003, Lebanon Mayor and City Council General Election; November 5, 2002, Boone County Council District 3 General Election; May 7,2002, Boone County Commissioner District 1 Republican Primary).
2002 Boone County Council Voting Record.
Boone County Campaign Contributions History (for selected local candidates within Boone County)
Boone County Council 2014 Budget
Boone County Cumulative Capital Development Property Tax
Boone County Departments & Offices Employment: Compared With Twenty-Six Selected Indiana Counties.
Boone County Disbursements
Boone County Education Outcomes Comparison: Schools with Boone County Students.
Boone County Expenditures Per Capita
Boone County Financial Analysis (Completed by Watchdog Indiana on April 19, 2012).
Boone County Growth Projections
Boone County Highway Department
Boone County I-65 North Overlay District
Overlay District for the Northern Portion of Interstate 65  
I-65 North Overlay Zoning District Document
 
Land Owners Within I-65 North Overlay District
 
Overlay District Questions for I-65 North Corridor Land Owners
I-65 North Overlay District Map
Boone County Local Governments Nepotism
Boone County Mapleview Rest Home
Boone County Park Tax
Boone County Property Taxes
Boone County Sheriff's Office
Boone County Solid Waste Management District
Boone County Tax Increment Financing Districts
Boone County Transportation Funding Increases
Boone County Utilities
Boone County Water Resources
Consumer Price Index
Convention Center
County Option Income Tax (COIT)
Duke Realty (Anson) Project.
Emergency Telephone System (E911) Fee
Jeff Wolfe Campaign Contributions History
Petition and Remonstrance
Population Data: City Of Lebanon; Center Township; Boone County; State Of Indiana.
Public Access Laws
Recount Commission: 2002 Boone County Commissioner District 1.
Related Sites: Boone County Area Plan Commission; Boone County Chamber of Commerce; Boone County Community Network; Boone County Economic Development Corporation; Boone County E-mail Directory; Boone County Farm Bureau, Boone County Republicans; Boone REMC; Lebanon (City Of), Indiana; Lebanon Community School Corporation; Lebanon Community Vision Committee.
Wheel Tax
Worth Township-Whitestown 2012 Reorganization (Approved Plan of Reorganization Town of Whitestown and Worth Township) (defeated by November 6, 2012 referendum).

 

Watchdog Salem LogoYou Can Help.
Listed below are several ways you can help control taxes and spending in Boone County.

Bookmark this website so you can easily visit Watchdog Lebanon often to help learn about cash revenues, cash spending, and long-term debt assumption in the various Boone County governmental units.

Suggest projects for Watchdog Lebanon to adopt. Please send an E-mail if you know of something that needs the attention of Watchdog Lebanon.

Register to vote. Send an E-mail to the Boone County Clerk to request information on how and where to register to vote.

Review the Watchdog Lebanon "Boone County Candidate Information" (see the Watchdog Lebanon Topics Index above) when deciding how to vote in a local Boone County election.

E-mail to the Editor of your local newspaper a letter or opinion article about local cash revenues, cash spending, and long-term debt assumption. Use Letters To The Editor Via E-mail to find the E-mail address of the Editor of your local newspaper.

Use the Local Government Factfinding List to understand and influence the revenues, spending, and long-term debt assumption decisions of your local government.

Watchdog Lebanon summarizes my use of Boone County, Indiana, as a case study to demonstrate how you can work to help control the revenue and spending growth of your local government. Understanding the Fundamental Watchdog Beliefs will help you understand the approach taken in this website. Please send an E-mail telling what you think about Watchdog Lebanon or anything else that comes to mind. Your comments, suggestions, problems, complaints, praise, and opinions are welcome.

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This page was last updated on 09/13/14.