• Bill Raines

Small Towns and Cities Do Not Have the Political Clout for their Infrastructure Needs

Editorial - INDIANAPOLIS – MAY 25, 2022 - Officials in the Indiana State Budget Committee today released an updated revenue report anticipating an additional $1 billion in unexpected funds. The May numbers will have the state surplus totaling $6.1 billion or more by July 1st.


City of Mitchell will start looking at addressing the city's storm water issues in June - A proposal to raise stormwater fees are being considered


While the Indiana Tax revenues from property taxes, fuel taxes, and other revenue streams keep flowing into the state coffers. Many Hoosier taxpayers are being hard hit with inflation and with the Indiana's need to raise additional taxes and revenues.


Locally, in Lawrence County the property tax bills were the first hit in May, and with inflation increases Hoosiers are getting hit yet a again in the wallet.


Republicans like to tout trickle down economics, but in times like these the $125 we received in tax credits is laughable.


The Republican mantra of less government, less taxes and less spending is about as laughable as the Democrats policy of lets spend money on everything.


No matter how you look at it though they are critical needs in every Indiana city and town.


You do not have to go very far to find out that those needs are concerning in small towns like Oolitic, Indiana and Mitchell, Indiana.


Indiana gas tax continues to climb with inflation. The state Republicans voted to raise the tax back in 2017 raising over $1 Billion in state revenues


Oolitic has been battling storm/water, water and sewer issues for several years. Finally, after battling budget issues, and other political red tape this year two areas of Oolitic stormwater issues are going to be addressed.


This includes the area of 6th and Oak, and Hall and Mathias Streets.


In June 2019 Bill Kendall former town president, allowed residents to bring photos, videos of storm damage from excessive stormwater. The residents was dealing with those issues for over seven years.


Resident Joyce Nicholson, at the time told the council she has dealt with these issues for 43 years, long before any kind of major storm has hit.


Over several years the Town of Oolitic have been battling water line breaks, storm water issues and needed upgrades at it Sewage Treatment Plant - State officials do not spend very much money toward projects in small Indiana town or cities like Oolitic or Mitchell


Jon Broglin, current town council member along with Oolitic's street department supervisor Zac Bell created a list of priorities within the town that needed addressed. Out of that list over 100 locations or issues needed addressed.


The town has hired a Bynum Fanyo & Associates to identify a similar list and to help the town obtain grant funding for upgrades to its water treatment plant.


The City of Mitchell will start addressing the stormwater issue as more housing projects are underway. The town residents have been very reluctant in raising storm water fees.


There are plans in the works for a residential TIF district to address the City of Mitchell's housing needs.


However, revenue streams for the smaller towns, and the burden placed on its residents have kept many of the projects at bay. For example, in 2019 there were 10 areas of the town of Oolitic needed addressed. That list was reduced to the only two, getting ready to be unertaken.


Both Oolitic and Mitchell do not have the political clout in Indianapolis to start proposing these types of projects. In fact, many of the city's own issues were addressed by Hoosier Uplands a non-profit organization headquartered in the city of Mitchell.


Those projects included sidewalks and other infrastructure needs.


With a large amount of surplus dollars being hoarded by the state, the question will be when will the state start releasing those funds to much needed projects?


Note: This is an editorial on the $6.1 billion in surplus money while cash strapped towns and cities are needing infrastructure needs addressed.


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