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Miller failed Brownsburg

March 22, 2014
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IBJ Letters To The Editor

I am writing to express my disappointment with state Sen. Pete Miller’s sponsorship and shepherding of Senate Bill 118 through the legislative process. The bill guts the tax increment finance district Brownsburg relies heavily on to fund current and future infrastructure.

Brownsburg residents and appointed and elected officials lobbied Miller to change the bill. He was made aware of the severe ramifications to our community.

A week before the vote, I met with him to discuss the bill. While we disagreed on several issues, we concurred on what Miller described as “valid concerns,” and that the legislation needed to be changed. The final bill contained none of those.

Many, myself included, simply asked for a pause to study the issue over the summer and fix the problems.

Miller’s colleagues even attempted to warn him of the ramifications to Brownsburg. During the debate, Sen. John Broden, who represents the South Bend area, read a list of communities that would see their ability to improve infrastructure impacted. Among them was Brownsburg.

Miller did see fit to exempt one community from the devastating effects of SB 118: downtown Indianapolis. This means Avon (which also relies heavily on TIF dollars to fund infrastructure) and Brownsburg will be at an immense disadvantage when it comes to building a climate to attract first-class businesses, jobs and amenities.

In IBJ, Miller cited the exemption because downtown Indy was an economic-development engine and shared revenue with local government entities. In our meeting, I made clear that not only would TIF account for nearly $1 billion of new assessed value with the completion of the Ronald Reagan Parkway, but that we also have an agreement to share dollars with other entities.

The agreement even earned praise from Brownsburg Community School Corp. Superintendent Dr. Jim Snapp at the March redevelopment commission meeting.

What makes the harm to Brownsburg and Avon even worse is when your own senator has done the harm, is fully aware, and appears indifferent, as was evident when Miller told one Brownsburg constituent via Twitter, “Such is life when balancing conflicting interests of constituents on a complex issue.”

Residents and business owners of Avon and Brownsburg deserve to know what “conflicting interests” Miller was referencing.

Which leads us to the “constituents” he alluded to. Who in Avon or Brownsburg urged the passage of this bill, and which of them was so insistent the downtown Indy exemption be included?

Rob Kendall, Brownsburg Town Council member

Brownsburg Redevelopment Commission member

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  • Sounds similiar to the annexation issue
    How are the conflicting interests in this story any different to the Town of Brownsburgs annexation of areas where the residents have clearly asked not to be included in the annexation? A town annexing areas that have asked not to be annexed? What is the difference? The difference this time is it increases the towns revenue of course. We did not ask to be annexed yet with conflicting interests ( town wanting more money) and the citizens guess what the town council voted for? Such is life eh?
  • Conflict of Interest?
    Mr. Kendall brings up a very valid question for Sen. Miller. While legislators often have to balance conflicts when a proposed bill may have both positive and negative consequences for his/her myriad of constituents, that legislator has to use his/her best judgment to make a decision. But, in a case such as this, where all the entities which Sen. Miller represents stand to be negatively impacted by a proposed bill, and actively voiced opposition to said bill, what exactly are the "conflicting interests" that cause him to vote for it? Mr. Miller, the people who elected you to office deserve an answer.

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  1. Hiking blocks to an office after fighting traffic is not logical. Having office buildings around the loop, 465 and in cities in surrounding counties is logical. In other words, counties around Indianapolis need office buildings like Keystone, Meridian, Michigan Road/College Park and then no need to go downtown. Financial, legal, professional businesses don't need the downtown when Carmel, Fishers, North Indy are building their own central office buildings close to the professionals. The more Hamilton, Boone county attract professionals, the less downtown is relevant. Highrises have no meaning if they don't have adequate parking for professionals and clients. Great for show, but not exactly downtown Chicago, no lakefront, no river to speak of, and no view from highrises of lake Michigan and the magnificent mile. Indianapolis has no view.

  2. "The car count, THE SERIES, THE RACING, THE RATINGS, THE ATTENDANCE< AND THE MANAGEMENT, EVERY season is sub-par." ______________ You're welcome!

  3. that it actually looked a lot like Sato v Franchitti @Houston. And judging from Dario's marble mouthed presentation providing "color", I'd say that he still suffers from his Dallara inflicted head injury._______Considering that the Formula E cars weren't going that quickly at that exact moment, that was impressive air time. But I guess we shouldn't be surprised, as Dallara is the only car builder that needs an FAA certification for their cars. But flying Dallaras aren't new. Just ask Dan Wheldon.

  4. Does anyone know how and where I can get involved and included?

  5. While the data supporting the success of educating our preschoolers is significant, the method of reaching this age group should be multi-faceted. Getting business involved in support of early childhood education is needed. But the ways for businesses to be involved are not just giving money to programs and services. Corporations and businesses educating their own workforce in the importance of sending a child to kindergarten prepared to learn is an alternative way that needs to be addressed. Helping parents prepare their children for school and be involved is a proven method for success. However, many parents are not sure how to help their children. The public is often led to think that preschool education happens only in schools, daycare, or learning centers but parents and other family members along with pediatricians, librarians, museums, etc. are valuable resources in educating our youngsters. When parents are informed through work lunch hour workshops in educating a young child, website exposure to exceptional teaching ideas that illustrate how to encourage learning for fun, media input, and directed community focus on early childhood that is when a difference will be seen. As a society we all need to look outside the normal paths of educating and reaching preschoolers. It is when methods of involving the most important adult in a child's life - a parent, that real success in educating our future workers will occur. The website www.ifnotyouwho.org is free and illustrates activities that are research-based, easy to follow and fun! Businesses should be encouraging their workers to tackle this issue and this website makes it easy for parents to be involved. The focus of preschool education should be to inspire all the adults in a preschooler's life to be aware of what they can do to prepare a child for their future life. Fortunately we now know best practices to prepare a child for a successful start to school. Is the business community ready to be involved in educating preschoolers when it becomes more than a donation but a challenge to their own workers?

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