Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

June 12, 2013

DAVID THARP: Playing politics on safety


— Howard County government is overrun with officials who ignore the fact that the city of Kokomo is in the county, and that Kokomo taxpayers are also Howard County taxpayers.

Perhaps this is because county government is dominated by Republicans and has contempt for the city, which has Democratic leadership. Or perhaps it is just a groupthink mentality they adopt after getting elected.

Either way, it is both an insult and a financial injury to the citizens of Howard County, who live inside the city of Kokomo. It stings even more when the elected officials doing the forgetting are supposed to represent Kokomo residents. Which brings us to Commissioner Tyler Moore.

Commissioner Moore is elected from District 2, which encompasses all of Center Township, of which 98 percent overlaps the city of Kokomo. It is the most populated commissioner district, which includes more than 68 percent of the population and 99 percent of the businesses in Howard County.

In a recent news article, Moore stated that every municipality in Howard County, except Kokomo, should be covered by county dispatch contributions and that Kokomo residents should have to pay twice — once as a county resident and once as a city resident. Why should Kokomo taxpayers pay twice? Is it because they have a Democratic mayor? Is it because the city council has a Democratic majority? Why is Moore playing partisan politics with the safety of his constituents?

Commissioner Moore, when are you going to start representing the businesses and people in District 2?

The new dispatch proposal put forth by the city of Kokomo is forward-looking. The city council vote to restart the dispatch negotiations was bipartisan, unanimous, and it was the first step in crafting a long-term, equitable and efficient dispatch agreement.

Commissioner Moore should be a bit more honest and open with his constituents and tell the public the truth. More than 70 percent of property taxes and 80 percent of Howard County 911 money comes from the taxpayers of Kokomo. Every resident and business in the city pays these taxes, yet Moore personally threatened all of them that he would force them to pay more for dispatch and “go back to the system used before the merger.” Those were his words, not mine.

With conduct like this, I wouldn’t be too surprised if Commissioner Moore planned on charging and taxing Kokomo residents exclusively to pay for the other county services they already support with their tax dollars. What’s next, a special tax for Kokomo residents only when they visit the county clerk’s office?

Tyler Moore needs to do his job and represent the interests of the majority of people and taxpayers in Howard County and be their voice. Unfortunately, the only thing Commissioner Moore seems interested in lately is furthering his ongoing conflict of interest with Commissioner Wyman (or Developer Wyman, or Realtor Wyman, or whichever version of Paul Wyman shows up), so that Paul will continue to send vast amounts of title work to Moore Title and Escrow.

Tyler Moore can keep forgetting about his constituents, but you can be sure they won’t forget about his failure to look out for them.

David Tharp is chairman of the Howard County Democratic Party. Contact him at davidlewis.tharp@gmail.com.