ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF THE VANDERBURGH COUNTY
1. Spearheaded the defeat of the April 8, 2003 seven-year, $70 million "emergency" tax increase referendum put before the public by the Evansville-Vanderburgh School Corporation (E-VSC) Ė savings of $70 million in foregone tax increases.
2. Instrumental in the cancellation of the North Side Waste Water Treatment Plant savings of $67 million in bonding authority by the City
3. Testified during budget deliberations during the consideration of the 2004 city budget hearings in an effort to extend the terms of the Victory Theater bond for the creation of new exhibits at Mesker Zoo. Bonding increase was ultimately limited to only $5 million.
4. Closely monitored all school board proceedings throughout calendar years 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 to present.
5. Bus Replacement Fund:
7. Testified at numerous County Council meetings regarding tax abatements. Our actions have saved taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars in foregone tax abatements by influencing the council to reduce the number of years for which they are awarded.
8. Participated in round-table discussions pertaining to the development of a scoring system for tax abatement qualifications developed by members of the County Council, the business community, organized labor and local developers.
9. Petitioned E-VSC budget and proposed tax increases for fiscal years 2004 through the present. Various members of VCTA have testified at tax levy increase hearings held by the Department of Local Government Finance and provided documentation to support their concerns.
10. Members have established and maintained contact with state officials at the Department of Local Government Finance, the Attorney Generalís office, the Governorís office and officials with the State Board of Accounts.
11. Several VCTA members participated in a three-hour luncheon meeting with Dr. Linda Reccio, consultant with MGT of America, when the organization was compiling an efficiency study of the E-VSC.
12. Uncovered structural damage during construction at the new Southern Indiana Careers and Technical Center. Our efforts forced the architects and engineers to make public the preliminary draft of a $38,000 engineering consultantís report which had been withheld from the public and the School Board from March until December, 2005.
13. VCTA board member, Frank Nagy, in conjunction with the Indiana Civil Liberties Union, successfully challenged the $20 activities fee assessed to parents of E-VSC students during the 2002-03 and 2003-04 school year.. After a lengthy appeals process, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled the activity fee unconstitutional under Indiana law and remanded the case to the lower court. The E-VSC was subsequently ordered by a local judge to make refunds of the fee and some $367,000 was refunded to the parents of E-VSC students.
14. Participated in the 2006 School Board election debate, having two of the organizationís members, Andy Easley and Frankie Niedhammer, running for school board seats. The organization endorsed four candidates and made $200 donations to their respective campaigns. One endorsed candidate, Chris Kiefer, was re-elected.
15. During the campaign, one VCTA School Board candidate, Frankie Niedhammer, hand delivered a letter to Governor Mitch Daniels suggesting that the E-VSC buy-down some $7.5 million in unused funds of the $50 million bond issued for the Southwestern Indiana Career and Technical Center. Governor Daniels forwarded the information to the DLGF, which suggested to Interim superintendent Robert Yeager that they buy back $7.5 million of the bonds and reduce the debt load on taxpayers. The E-VSC board of trustees approved of the buy-down of the bond, saving taxpayers an estimated $12 million in principal and interest payments over the next 17 years.
16. VCTA members have written many letters to the editor of the Courier & Press regarding the current residential property tax controversy throughout the state of Indiana. VCTA President David Coker has urged Governor Mitch Daniels to appoint a "Blue Ribbon" Commission to examine the entire revenue structure of the state in an effort to deliver real and lasting property tax relief to residential property taxpayers. On August 14, 2007, at the beginning of their budget hearings, the Vanderburgh County Council unanimously passed a resolution endorsing the idea.
17. Organization members closely monitor City and County Council budget hearings when possible.
18. VCTA members have attempted to make contact and have been contacted by local taxpayer groups in other areas of Indiana. Several members participated in "Black Sunday" Rally in Indianapolis on Sunday August 15, 2007.