Secrecy in the Mt. Tabor Road beak-wetting project? Shane will telex the down-low bunker and get right back with you.

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Regular readers already know the pathetic past record of the city with respect to NA Confidential’s public access requests.

Team Gahan treats them as a joke.

However, the larger issue is one of secrecy — and that’s why the city corporate attorney is keen to deflect the charge before it’s even made.

I didn’t attend last evening’s city council meeting (did the newspaper?), but thanks to Mark Cassidy, we now know that the QRS riverfront property mentioned last week as part of a potential new park site — one that supposedly couldn’t get off the ground until the Horseshoe Foundation’s grant — already belonged to the city.

In fact, it was purchased last year, and not by parks department, which is skint. Rather, it was bought by the sewer utility.

Raise your hand if you knew about any of this.

That’s what I thought. 

The routine is very clear as we enter Year Six of the Chronicles of New Gahania. Planning and decisions are back channel, reserved for the usual suspect engineering and contracting firms, and approved by appointed boards with minimal participation by elected officials. When we hear of them and are asked to contribute “public” input, the plan’s already finished.

And:

The reason why the absurdly named Mt. Tabor Road Restoration and Pedestrian Safety Project keeps hitting “road” blocks is precisely because there have been uncommonly dogged efforts on the part of citizens to contest it, in part owing to information being consciously slowed to a trickle by the city.

This is the reality, and the city’s wounded murmurings are offensive.

New Albany violated public access law three times on Mount Tabor Road requests, by Elizabeth Beilman (Kowloon Hanson-uuuune)

Records delay irks property owners

NEW ALBANY — The city of New Albany has violated the Indiana Access to Public Records Act on at least three occasions in the past year by missing deadlines on records requests made by residents of Mount Tabor Road.

Property owners along the road that is undergoing the city’s restoration project said they weren’t able to get information in enough time to present educated counter-offers to buyers through the process of eminent domain.

Now, the city has filed condemnation against their properties. When the purchase price is negotiated in court, these residents worry they won’t have the facts needed to back their cases, and are unsure what the city’s final plans for the project entail.

“We can’t do a true business agreement without knowing what we’re getting into,” said resident Kelly Feiock, who lives on the corner of Mount Tabor Road and Klerner Lane.

Feiock is one of three property owners along the corridor who have filed complaints with the Indiana Public Access Counselor’s office. In some cases, though not all, the office ruled the city violated the law. One other property owner has not submitted formal complaints but has indicated the city didn’t follow public access law in response to his request.

“I think they could do a better job,” Indiana Public Access Counselor Luke Britt said. “I don’t know the circumstances, either. Are they getting 20 different requests and they let one or two slip?”

City Attorney Shane Gibson in an email statement said he doesn’t believe New Albany has been secretive.

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