Municipal Service Benefit Units

An Opinion By Jan Bergemann 
President, Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.

Published November 8, 2011


Marion County was always known as the "HOME OF THE GOOD OL' BOYS." Just lately the Legislative Delegation of Marion County got an earful from the residents [ AG asked to examine developer problem ] about “egregious and maybe even criminal” conduct by some developers.


In my Op-Ed headlined "MSBU -- THE NEWEST TRICK TO FLEECE HOMEOWNERS" I discussed the issues of Municipal Service Benefit Units. It's not actually the backdoor way to additionally tax homeowners, it's the methods used by the county to squeeze the money out of these homeowners that I have a serious problem with.  Honesty? I think some of our government officials have even a serious problem spelling this word!


I absolutely can not understand why Myra Tedder, Director of MSTU/Assessments for Marion County, demands the Majestic Oaks Homeowners' Association to spend $500 on a vote, a vote that had only the purpose of getting a "feeling of the homeowners in the community" -- an explanation given AFTER the official result of the vote turned out to be not to the liking of these government officials. Don't forget: The vote was clearly not marked as a poll or a survey.


Unhappy with the outcome of the petition vote, Myra Tedder just removed the votes of the homeowners of Section 4 -- many of these owners voted NO -- and came up with a now positive result, thus clearly manipulating the outcome of the vote. This was the clear statement made -- in writing -- before the vote took place: "THE TABULATION OF THE PETITION WILL BE BASED ON 50% + 1 OF THE AFFECTED LANDOWNERS THAT RESPOND IN FAVOR". When the vote of the owners failed to get the result Myra Tedder had hoped for, she just played with the numbers to get the result she wanted.


Commissioner Kathy Bryant brought half the county staff -- it looked that way -- as support to a meeting between her and some homeowners that had demanded a meeting to discuss the manipulated vote. The outcome of the discussion in short words: "The county officials claimed that they can create the MSBU anyway, don't need the approval of the homeowners."


If that's the case, why waste the $500 for a useless vote, stirring up the emotions of the homeowners that feel manipulated -- and lied to?


Funny enough, three days after the meeting between Commissioner Bryant and some of the Majestic Oaks homeowners, an ANONYMOUS FLYER was distributed in Majestic Oaks. According to witnesses, the Fishers -- homeowners in Majestic Oaks -- were seen distributing this flyer, a flyer that is a clear attempt to manipulate the opinion of the owners, using again statements that are factually wrong.


There is not only this one case where things went terribly wrong with similar road projects. "Marion County commissioners have set aside $1.6 million to pay claims for lawsuits related to road projects challenged as illegal in ongoing lawsuits." Imagine how many roads could be resurfaced if procedures were followed and citizens were not taken for fools?

Here is my suggestion for Marion County citizens: Vote for the right county commissioners! 


Since you can't fire the government workers that make a mess out of things and flat out lie to the homeowners, please vote for the county commissioners that publicly state their willingness to fire government workers when they mislead taxpaying citizens.


Just because our government officials can't deal with budget shortfalls in a bad economy, they should not risk the financial welfare of taxpayers.