MUNCIE, Ind. — New Muncie Mayor-Elect Dan Ridenour currently holds the seat for District 2 on the city council. His win Tuesday night sends Muncie in a new direction, where the GOP is the majority for the first time in since 1979.
“In 2016, I could see that there were some changes that needed to be made at the top. I put in some ordinances that didn’t get approved,” said Ridenour.
Since 2016, Ridenour has served as the city council member for District 2. He says in that position, it didn’t feel like he could make a difference, and there were other issues that were clear.
“Some of the things that were pretty clear is the bidding processes weren’t being utilized properly, and the end result of that is we’ve had a number of very embarrassing investigations that have occurred in Muncie, and I just want those to stop,” said Ridenour.
Federal investigations, FBI raids and lawsuits all happened under Mayor Dennis Tyler’s administration, some including Tyler himself, city employees and the police department. Ridenour says these actions are an “embarrassment.”
“As far as the police department, most of the officers are outstanding, and there’s a few that need to be disciplined, and those activities are happening behind the scenes. It’s coming. My hope is that it happens relatively quick. In the other departments, it’s the same thing. There are investigations going on,” said Ridenour.
He says he can’t change the past, but many believe he’s the change in leadership Muncie needs for the future.
Moving forward, he has two immediate missions he hopes will create more trust and transparency within this newly elected government.
“Number one, make sure that everybody has access to those documents in the beginning, and I think that’s the only way you’re going to build trust, is to treat everybody equally. Number two, we are going to have a monthly session with the public at various neighborhood associations,” said Ridenour.
Another issue at hand is the 2020 budget that has yet to be passed. Right now, they’re expected to use funds from the 2019 budget until they reach a solution for next year.
“But where there were changes that like are important for people to know about, the 2020 budget only had $37,000 budgeted for local streets,” said Ridenour.
The 2019 budget had over a million dollars for local streets.
He added that some accounts still remain negative 55 days before he takes office in January. He said on Monday, he asked the city controller, Kevin Nemyer, to give him an update. Several accounts are still negative.
“It’s certainly my concern, which I am asking all the departments and the boards and the council and the mayor not to sign any new deals, no new transactions,” said Ridenour.