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Opinion

August 11, 2013

BISHOP: Taxpayers off the hook for $575,000

(Continued)

Throughout the 2012 city elections, in which I ran for city councilman, I challenged the wisdom and legality of spending surplus money that had been borrowed instead of paying it back to the tax payers.

During my research into the matter, I discovered that according to IC 5-1-13-2 “Use of surplus proceeds” there are only two options if the bond is paid back with property taxes. Both options require the surplus money to be paid back and not spent! In my opinion, and the opinion of several attorneys I have consulted with, it would be illegal to spend the money, unless we are willing to stretch the truth, and I am not willing to do that.

After I was elected and took office on Jan. 1, 2012, Mayor Franklin asked me to become a member of the LMBC to oversee the bond. I agreed and was elected to be President of the Board. Since I have been President of LMBC I have talked with several attorneys to confirm my opinion, including Ms. Beesley. I recommended, along with Mayor Franklin’s approval, to the LMBC board a vote to pay back the surplus. On June 7, 2013, the LMBC board voted unanimously to send on to the Common Council for their approval. The City Council Finance Committee met on July 17, 2013, and agreed to send on to the Common Council Aug. 5, 2013. On Aug. 5, 2013, the Common Council voted 7-0 to transfer the $570,000 to the sinking fund. Yes, the actual figure is $570,000 and not $1.1 million. I do not know where that figure came from in 2010.

In effect, that transfer will take the Logansport tax payer off the hook for $570,000. Even though it took over 2.5 years to finally get this money returned to the tax payer, I am extremely pleased that it is finally where it belongs. I would like to thank Mayor Ted Franklin, Clerk Treasurer Carol Sue Hayworth, Superintendent Paul Hartman, Community Development Director Chris Armstrong, Attorney Senator Randy Head and the City Council for assisting me in finally resolving this important issue for the taxpayers of Logansport.

Bob Bishop is president of the Logansport Building Corp. and Logansport City Councilman representing Ward One.

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