Welcome to IN53, the blog about local government in Monroe County, Indiana. The purpose of this blog is to share information, documents, and thoughts about local government here, with a particular emphasis on financial issues — taxation, budgets and appropriations, and economic development. I intend to be relatively light on the editorializing in my posts, emphasizing education over argument — but I can’t promise to be completely unbiased.
I have been thinking about creating this blog for a long time, in response to the many questions about local government finance that I receive from constituents (I have been serving on the Monroe County Council as an at-large representative since 2009). I also take great inspiration from two really great blogs – the Indiana Law Blog and Pin The Tail (created by former Monroe County Council member Sophia Travis).
But what finally gave me the kick in the pants to move forward was when I noticed that the Herald Times finally put its local government blog, GovTracker, out of its misery recently. That blog was originally created to allow the HT to distribute news briefs, meeting agendas, source documents, and other content about local government that might not be broadly interesting enough, or too long and detailed, or too fast-breaking to warrant a story in the paper. I thought that that was a great premise, and was sorry that it never really took off as much as I would have liked. Presumably the financial commitment to authoring content for the site did not generate a sufficient return for the HT. Having no such mandate to generate a profit, I thought that I would give the concept a try.
Some of the topics I plan to write about include: property taxes, Convention Center expansion and a possible food and beverage tax, TIF districts, tax abatements, local government budgets, revenue challenges, the criminal justice system, and transportation (especially non-motorized transportation).
Of course, although I understand that some of the topics I will be posting about have a rather narrow focus, I want the blog to be interesting. So if there are questions or issues, dear readers, that you would like to see discussed in this blog, please let me know.