Council Obfuscapalooza, Part Two: McLaughlin votes “no” and “yes” on identical TIF resolutions, and Price abuses a sausage patty.


This is the second installment of my notes from last night’s council conclave, or as we like to think of it, the coverage you don’t get from newspapers.


R-09-20 Resolution of the City of New Albany Approving an Amendatory Declaratory Resolution and Economic Development Plan of the Redevelopment Commission Of the City of New Albany, Indiana, and Approving An Order of the New Albany City Plan Commission (State Street Parking Garage TIF)

Carl Malysz: This is about folding the Coyle automotive property into the existing State Street TIF so action can be taken (and some bills paid) toward potential future uses. Many discussions already are under way with county and city officials and various boards, etc., about making this area the future governmental complex. Yes, he identifies the property as something “we want to acquire.”

Coffey: Does the resolution include a “million bucks” for acquisition?

Malysz: No, it would still have to be negotiated, and any such move vetted in the future.

Coffey and Diane Benedetti now exchange accusations about who didn’t call the other back. Benedetti seems to be trying to call Coffey out for being “for” this while on redevelopment, and now “against” it after Coffey realized it might actually be good for the city.

Coffey: Says he got “out of it” after it quit being about a flat, clean property.

Coffey: Heck, the Coyles themselves will do the environmental remediation study cheaper than Redevelopment can do it.

Malasz: That’s nice, but maybe we’d prefer professionals to do it for a few dollars more.

Note here that every time Coffey speaks, he is doing so out of turn because as the council’s president, he is supposed to pass the gavel to the vice president before taking part in a discussion. Again tonight, the other council members will tolerate it this, presumably under the only defense they have for their own behavior: We got elected, and you didn’t. Also, know that Benedetti is the council’s vice-president.

Malysz: New facts are relevant. The Coyles indicated a renegotiation of sales terms after it became evident there are brownfield concerns. They might do the clean-up to facilitate the sale; this conversation is still going on. There is a meeting with the Coyles and the governmental committee next week.

Steve Price: “It’s yeralls desire to sit the city services building at the Coyle site?”

Malysz: Well, recall that the idea for the project came to the mayor from members of the city council. It did not originate at City Hall, although most involved feel it’s a good idea for every conceivable government official to be part of the thinking process. In fact, when Coffey was still on Redevelopment – back when he was for acquisition – he suggested that redevelopment had the money to pursue it.

Price: John “Rosenburger” … said … my question is … “have you looked at the cost effectiveness” of the project … Gonder is still for it if it gets torn down first?
It is Rosenbarger. Steve seems to feel that he has no obligation to extend courtesy to people by prouncing names correctly. That’s simply buffoonish. I’m not exaggerating when trying to convey Price’s streams of consciousness. They’re genuinely hard to transcribe. Insensibility often is that way.

Malysz: To reiterate, Coffey was the one responsible for Redevelopment’s decision to use TIF money.

Malysz and Benedetti now agree aloud that Coffey was for it, and Coffey violates council protocol by arguing with them, wagging his finger, and trying to bully all those within earshot.

Messer: (Exasperated) We’re actually not considering any of these things. We’re considering an inclusion within an expanded TIF zone no matter what ends up happening there I the future, right?

Gonder: Whomsoever acquires the property will put money back into TIF, right?

Malysz: If cleaned up, or “cleared,” or the buildings are reused, the site increases in value and money goes into the TIF zone.

Gonder: So it isn’t a domino falling for inevitable city ownership?

Price: Our TIFS are too large, and we have too many of them.

Messer: We have them because “TIF areas … keep money in house” for schools and such.

Price: But Indy says we have too many TIFS! Other cities laughed at New Albany, according to saintly former councilman Schmidt, who jsed to attend all them meetings up north.

They may have been laughing at the Max Patkin signaling, Steve.

Malysz: That argument is false. We have numbers to prove it.

Price does not ask to see numbers he doesn’t understand.

Benedetti: At the instructional workshop we attended, the state man said we need to increase our TIF areas and finalize them before they are soon ended.

Coffey: He said, if we’re going to expand it, now’s the time. Doesn’t mean we have to do it.

Jeff Gahan: “What’s so attractive about this partial?”

Partial what? Parcel?

Messer: It isn’t what we’re voting on … but okay, it’s over three acres of prime development ground in the middle of the city, and a valuable piece of property, and we want to capture the taxes from whomever goes in there to help other needs down the line.

Coffey: But if it will be a government building, there’s no tax revenue.

Messer: That’s putting the cart before the horse.

The funny thing about this is that if Coffey wants to make sure there’s no city county building there, he should be supporting the resolution, which makes more sense if the property is NOT used for a government building. But it isn’t about the facts with Coffey. It’s about being against those pergessives who are for it.

Benedetti: (Doggedly pursuing the president) Dan, you said at redevelopment to get the Coyle property in a TIF, didn’t you?

Coffey: Never said that. “I find it tiring” that the city and redevelopment “uses taxpayers for studies on private property.”

Benedetti: But you were in agreement!

Coffey: If Coyle brings the property in “free and clear” with no buildings on it … I’m in. If we leave the building to redo it somehow, no, because that’s just “way more expensive.”

McLaughlin: If this is just about expanding the TIF area, why do we keep talking about the building?

Price: Here’s why – I heard Scott Wood tell someone something that indicated that. He was on the phone.

Malysz: The immediate need is to clean up the accounts so that there are TIF funds to finance the acquisition if and when that time comes. We’re not asking for EDIT funds to buy it.

Gonder: State Street TIF boundaries?

Malysz: Sketches it out. Classic downtown area.

Coffey continually violates protocol again to make his point that the building should not be rehabbed, and if there’s any hint that rehabbing is what his enemies desire, then he’s against doing anything at all in the hope that the next hurricane will knock it down and he can pick through the rubble for rags.

Vote taken.

For: Benedetti, Gonder, Messer, Zurschmiede
Against: Price, Coffey, Caesar, McLaughlin, Gahan

Coffey is the deciding vote against, making the tally 5-4.

R-09-21 Resolution of the City of New Albany Approving an Amendatory Declaratory Resolution and Economic Development Plan of the Redevelopment Commission Of the City of New Albany, Indiana, and Approving An Order of the New Albany City Plan Commission (Old Monon Corridor TIF) … Benedetti

Coffey: Wanna describe it, Carl?

Malysz: Well, it’s the same as the one you just voted against, so it will be interesting to see what you do on this one. It is about the city’s desire to rehab the degraded Hoosier Panel property.

Price: Goes off on a tangent about council members sitting or not sitting on various boards. These boards are appointed, they aren’t elected, and they cannot be trusted. If a council person sits on one of them, that council person can not be trusted to bring the information back to council.

It’s a conspiracy, even when directed by himself against himself. TWANG. Price directs a snotty remark to Malysz about the first resolution being defeated, along the lines of nah nah nah nah, and even Coffey is compelled to rebuke his own ventriloquist’s dummy. Price is on edge tonight, spoiling to spoil things.

Benedetti: This one also originated with Coffey when he was on redevelopment.

Copperhead Coffey commences to caterwaul.

Coffey: Why do we want to purchase a property that is corruptefjgkhfkhkdfh …

Sorry, I was taking photos of Coffey while he violated protocol by speaking from the president’s chair. In essence, Coffey says he did what he did then because he had to do it, and now “they’ve” changed everything and he can’t do it.

Malysz: Disputes Coffey’s assertions (made during another violation of protocol) that the EPA has money to spend on remediation.

Vote taken:

For: Benedetti, Gonder, Messer, Zurschmiede, McLaughlin
Against: Price, Coffey, Caesar, Gahan

That’s right – Blevins … oops, I mean McLaughlin … unceremoniously flips, utterly without coherent explanation. That’s a surprise. But wait: The old Hoosier Panel building is in McLaughlin’s own district, and the Coyle building isn’t. Sad. Sad indeed. As with Donnie Blevins before him, McLaughlin apprarently has no core beliefs upon which to derive consistency in his decision making process. Two proposals, same basic argument – one time for it, one time against. Can we really say that he’s been an improvement over King Larry?