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August 11, 2013

BISHOP: Taxpayers off the hook for $575,000

On Dec. 6, 2010, I attended a city council meeting in which Resolution 2010-35 was discussed. The purpose of the resolution was to amend the lease agreement between the city of Logansport and the Logansport Municipal Building Corporation (LMBC) to allow the expansion of the Ivy Tech infrastructure project to extend work on 18th Street to Broadway instead of the original Main Street limit. The Resolution was approved 6-1.

During the comments from citizens, I proposed the $1.1 million, which was allegedly surplus from the project, to be applied to the balance of the debt. I quote the minutes: “Bob Bishop questioned the wisdom of spending the money and not applying it to the balance. It was explained that those who buy bonds expect a return on their investment, explained by Bond Attorney Sue Beesley. Ms. Beesley advised the council to commit the money to avoid potential financial penalties.”

At the same meeting, former LEDF director stated the following in the minutes: “Economic Development Director Skip Kuker wants to tap into the portion of the $4 million not used in the Ivy Tech project, which came in under budget by $1.1 million. He said the remaining bond money could be turned into about $5 million through state and federal funding that requires a 20 percent match.”

The minutes do not reflect the fact that I asked Ms. Beesley, while sitting in the back of council chambers, if there was any way the money could be paid back and she said yes it could. When Mayor Fincher asked for any further comments, I again stood and asked to allow Ms. Beesley to finish her statement about paying the money back. When Ms. Beesley was recalled, she was cut off before she was allowed to give the council the option of returning the surplus bond money. Council decided to meet on how to spend the money at a later date.

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