On Nov. 5, citizens of Muncie will take to the polls to determine the next mayor of Muncie and other elected city government positions.
With current Mayor Dennis Tyler leaving office after eight years in the position, the 2019 election will see three candidates vying to take his place — Terry Whitt Bailey (D), Dan Ridenour (R) and Steve Smith (L).
The Daily News sat down with the three mayoral candidates and asked them questions about the relationship between Ball State and Muncie, the Ball State-Muncie Community Schools (MCS) partnership and the future of the city:
Dan Ridenour (R):
Ridenour serves as the councilperson for City Council District 2 and works as associate vice president for regional retail lending with MutualBank in Muncie.
RELATED: Meet Muncie's mayoral candidate: Steve Smith
Ball State and Muncie:
In order to address the divide between Ball State and Muncie, Ridenour said he would institute a 10-year infrastructure plan instead of the two-year plan that currently exists so mayors that follow him have a better understanding of the plan when they take office.
While fixing roads and paving sidewalks in itself won’t solve the problem, Ridenour said, “When you don't know what you're doing, you're never going to get there.”
“I think you have to have a long-term strategy on what you're trying to achieve, and that helps improve results,” he said.
On the subject of the Village, Ridenour said there is a need to educate the public about places to park to take advantage of the businesses and activities offered.
“It's good for us if [the Village is] vibrant because that means that's an increased tax base,” Ridenour said. “It's good for the city to take advantage of those services.”
RELATED: Meet Muncie's mayoral candidate: Terry Whitt Bailey
Muncie Community Schools:
Ridenour said what Ball State and President Geoffrey Mearns put together “is going to help Muncie have a vibrant, innovative school system.”
Instead of coming in and making changes directly, he said, he likes that Ball State “engaged the community” through multiple sessions.
“I think that type of public input is very important as you try and move forward rather than Ball State just choosing, ‘Here's what we're going to do because we think it's best,’” he said.
As mayor, Ridenour said he would look into how Tax Increment Financing (TIF) districts are used “because that pulls revenue out of the school system.”
“I want to use my finance background to try and look at ways to where we can release some of those funds so that we can have more funding go into the schools, to the general fund and to the library here locally,” he said.
Looking to the future:
“I am looking for Muncie to refind itself,” Ridenour said.
With improved communication under his administration, Ridenour said, “Everyone is going to say, ‘We know what’s going on in Muncie’ when it comes to the work of the city government, city council and mayor.
“The communication is going to flow back and forth,” Ridenour said. “Will it slow down the government? Probably. But is that the right thing? I think it is.”
Contact Rohith Rao with comments at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @RaoReports.