So that’s an affirmative?

Councilman Mike Karickhoff, R-At Large, came to Monday’s Kokomo Common Council meeting with the objective of trying to get someone from the city administration to answer one question: Will the administration seek an appropriation (basically the council’s permission) before spending economic development income tax dollars?

City attorney Jon Mayes’ answer (seen below) was somewhat less than clear, however.

Before reading the transcript of the exchange, a little context is needed. There is a big difference between asking for an appropriation (which the council must pass on three readings, as a new city ordinance), and merely filing a piece of paper called the “Capital Improvement Plan” with the Howard County Auditor’s Office every two years.

The mayor and the council agree the plan must be filed, but still disagree as to whether state law requires annual appropriations of EDIT dollars.

According to the Indiana State Board of Accounts, the capital improvement plan is supposed to accurately reflect what the administration will actually spend on various projects, but the last plan filed by the McKillip administration, in 2004, contained only broad spending categories, not individual projects. And council members are still trying to figure out whether the city stuck to the spending parameters contained in that plan.

So far, council members have said they won’t appropriate any more EDIT money until they know exactly what the mayor will spend the money on. Whether the two parties are at an impasse on that issue depends on who you ask.

Transcript from Dec. 11 council meeting

Question: What is the administration’s plan as far as EDIT spending?

MAYES: We are committed to working with the council going forward, we are committed to working with them on getting projects done. That is the plan, and that’s what we’re planning to stick to, and that’s what we hope the council is also willing to commit to.

KARICKHOFF: So you will be bringing — before any money is spent — you will appear before us and get appropriations before the money is spent?

MAYES: And I think we’ve already seen how we’ve worked together, in the most recent ordinance that’s before the council on third reading, and that’s exactly what we’re planning to do going forward.

KARICKHOFF: You’re very good, Mr. Mayes. The question is ... let me phrase it in a yes or no ... let me phrase it in a yes or no ... Is it the administration’s intent to get an appropriation from the council prior to spending EDIT funds? Yes or no? It’s just that simple. Are you going to get an appropriation before you spend the money? That’s the core question. We’re willing to work with you, we’ve got appropriations [which] went through for pending bills. We’ve honored that part of the meeting. I just want to know in the future ... are we gonna have that ... Is that going to take place?

MAYES: It, umm, that is my understanding ... um, it is reappropriation, appropriation, yes that is my understanding that we are going to be taking these projects, just like [they] were done in the past with the capital improvement plan before the council, and we’re going to give the council that information, and ...

KARICKHOFF: Go ahead ... the capital improvement plan has to be much more detailed ...

MAYES: And that’s something that I think the council is seeing with the most recent attempt for a two-year capital improvement plan. I think it was the prior, uh, it’s been tabled now ... but the prior ordinance where it’s the new capital improvement plan and the new EDIT spending ... it was more detailed, and it’s something that we are also working on.

KARICKHOFF: Was that a yes?

MAYES: Yeah, I believe I answered your question, yes.

KARICKHOFF: Yes. OK, it was affirmative.

Running for office

Mike Kennedy, who recently announced his resignation as chairman of the Howard County Democratic Party, is making plans to seek election to the Kokomo Common Council.

Kennedy’s resignation takes place on Dec. 21 when party officials will gather to elect his replacement.

Kennedy said this past week that he will seek an at-large seat on the Kokomo Common Council in the 2007 election. He served on the council in an at-large seat from 1991 through 1995. He didn’t seek re-election because he ran for mayor in 1995.

The current at-large members of the council are Republicans Mike Karickhoff and Tom Harrison and Democrat Greg Goodnight. Harrison and Karickhoff are expected to seek re-election to the council and Goodnight is reported to be considering a run for the Democratic Party nomination for Kokomo mayor.

An emotional farewell

When the Howard County Council meets for the first time in 2007, a presence that has been there for the past 24 years will be missing.

Republican Dwight Singer decided not to seek a seventh term on the council this year and lost a bid to Democrat Dave Trine for a seat on the Board of County Commissioners.

Singer attended his last meeting as a council member on Tuesday and received a standing ovation from those attending the meeting for his years of service.

“I’m overwhelmed,” Singer said. “It will be tough to step aside. I’m a people person.”

Singer said he enjoyed his tenure on the council and worked hard to serve the citizens of Howard County.

“I hope to serve again in the future, God willing,” Singer said of a possible future political campaign.

At his request, Singer made the motion to adjourn the meeting.

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