What do New Jersey and Zionsville have in common?
More than you might think.
New Jersey with some 8.7 million people and 566 municipalities prompted Bloomberg News to visit Zionsville Thursday to interview town officials about “reorganization”. There is no land in New Jersey that is not in a municipality of some kind. In 2008, then Gov. Corzine suggested cutting state aid to all municipalities less that 10,000 population to “encourage” mergers to reduce administrative costs. The recent IACT award that Zionsville received, for its efforts in reorganization, caught New Jersey’s Gov. Christie’s eye, hence the Bloomberg News visit and interviews.
So what do Zionsville and New Jersey have in common? The need to reduce the size and cost of government while still delivering services effectively. (We’ve been there and are doing that) The interviews will air on Bloomberg TV on Tuesday, November 8th. Follow me on Twitter @CandaceUlmer and I’ll try to give you the specific time.
We are all sort of used to taxes increasing bit by bit. In fact the only time recently that taxes decreased in Union Twp was at reorganization.
Anyhow, the Town has filed an appeal to allow the Town to increase its taxes more than normal, to the tune of $4.6 million. The budget, including this increase, will be voted on at a “special” meeting of the Council on Halloween night. For more detail, visit www.im4zionsville.com.
The budget is available on the Town website and to view the appeal, click here.
The 90-16 Committee this week funded our first FTE position, and the teacher signed the recall letter. What a great beginning!. Come on folks, let’s get together and help. We need to fund two more positions in the next two weeks. That means 312 donations at $365 on average.
To learn more, visit www.90-16.org.
I am by nature a optimistic and consensus seeking person and it pains me a great deal to be the only one voting in the minority on an issue. Last night I found myself in that position, not once but twice.
First a nine member committee, to basically redo another Transportation Plan, was created last evening. This new committee is to be made up of three members from the Town Council, three members from the Plan Commission and then those six people select three residents to complete the nine member committee. The three Council Land Use Committee members are Councilors Price, Haak, and Swack, essentially village residents. I voted “No” because the Town Council Land Use committee membership does not fairly represent the entire Zionsville area. While competent Councilors, the Council is relying on the Plan Commission to select three representatives to create a more representative committee.
The second “No” vote was to remove the Cooper Road Interchange and Cooper Road Extension from the Transportation Plan update, and THEN do the study for alternative solutions to the area removed. A little backwards to me. This then got into a confusing discussion as to which resolution to vote on and eventually creating yet another resolution that we will look at at the next meeting to see if that is what the Council “passed”.
I know I am in the minority, but fundamental to the reorganization was the adequate representation of the rural area, particularly in regard to land use decisions. Procedurally, my main problem is that when major features of the Transportation Plan are just deleted, without alternatives added in their place, I don’t see the usefulness of the “plan” or the process that created it.
The Transportation Plan will be back before the Town Council on their Monday, June 6th Agenda. Under the Transportation page of this blog, I have posted my thoughts, a time line as to the integral part the Transportation Plan has played in the formation of Zionsville and its current land use along with several supporting documents which on numerous occasions address the concern previous Town Council members had in protecting the area. That did not mean “no”, it meant to provide a Cooper Road Overlay, which unfortunately has never gotten done.
Attached you will find some information on an Amendment to HB 1001 by Senator Luke Kenley. Please read this information and contact Senator Kenley along with the other Senators and Representatives to urge passage of this amendment WITH the vital two tweaks:
1. Please make the bill effective upon passage
2. Please make the bill available to all school corporations that are losing as much as 10% of their tax levies
I would even like to add that School Impact Fee’s be allowed on new home construction upon passage of HB 1001.Sen Luke Kenley’s Amendment to HB 1001
I am concerned that we, the Council, are straying away from some of the basic principles that the Reorganization of Union, Eagle and Zionsville was based on. Central to Reorganization was that the property owners, most likely to be impacted, should have greater representation on boards, commissions and committees to ensure that their voices were heard. Not to overwhelm, but just to be heard.
A lot of District 1 folks live at addresses that sound more like map coordinates than quaint neighborhoods. 1880 South 950 East instead of 12 Rolling Rock Court. In the Council’s quest to diversify Zionsville’s reliance of 97% on residential and rural property for our tax revenue, they continue to deny adequate rural representation. We need more business and commercial development to share the tax burden in Zionsville.
While I am certain they are fair minded, the Council’s Land Use committee lives on Hunt Club Rd, Maxwell Ln and Sycamore St. With something as CRITICAL to Zionsville’s future, both in a fiscal and physical sense I thought we could have done better. I doubt if we are going to create a new technology park or business incubation center on Elm or Mulberry Street.
Here are the links to an about an hour long presentation by Larry DeBoer, a Purdue economist, specializing in Indiana Local Government issues. The conclusion that I drew from the webcast is that indeed our local government will change. This is not only due to the lagging of local government revenues but is compounded with the passage of the Tax Caps. I think that our Town government will have to become smaller and perhaps provide less services as tax revenues continue to shrink. I would be interested in your thoughts as well.
Here are the links -
for the handouts (handy to follow along with) http://bit.ly/fGVW7m
and to watch the presentation http://bit.ly/ekAU3T
There is a link to Larry’s website over on the right, Local Government Finance, lots of interesting stuff there.
Zionsville passed an ordinance which enabled the Town Plan Commission to have the flexibility to consider and accept development plans that don’t quite fit the exact specifications defined in our Zoning Ordinance. For example just the natural terrain features might prohibit a project due to required setbacks from lot boundaries. This enabling ordinance gives the Town the flexibility to consider alternatives.
When an individual PUD is approved it is not a free ticket to the developer to do whatever. The agreed requirements in the plan must be followed and any changes must come before the Plan Commission again. Additionally all PUDs have to also come before the Town Council to be approved as well.
Click here to see the “Dow PUD” that is the first such development plan approved by the Plan Commission. This particular development plan also must be approved by the Town Council.
I will try to post meeting agendas for the Town while the new Town website is under construction. For the agenda (if I have one) click on the meeting name and it should pop up.
Follow me on Twitter (click here) and I will “tweet” you when I post a new agenda. I am told that meeting agendas will be easily available on the new web site.