JEFFERSONVILLE — At their Monday meeting, Jeffersonville City Council members made it clear that they want more transparency from the Jeffersonville Urban Enterprise Association.
Leading the push was at-large council member Ron Ellis.
"I've only been to one official [JUEA] meeting," Ellis said during the meeting. "At that meeting, there was not a treasurer report given or anything like that. Since our executive director is no longer our treasurer also, I'm sure that our new treasurer will be forthcoming with the information. As a matter of fact, I'm going to make sure that they will be forthcoming with information that the public will be able to digest and that we'll be able to talk about here in our meetings."
Ellis' comments were prompted by an ongoing legal battle between the JUEA and arc, which has plans to construct a $3.5 million mixed-use development at the corner of Market and Spring streets on land formerly owned by the JUEA.
Last week, JUEA's lawyer, Larry Wilder, officially filed paperwork with Clark Circuit Court 2 against Alan Muncy, president of arc, claiming that the sale of the land should be "set aside" because contractual requirements were not met — leaving a key project in Jeffersonville's downtown revival in limbo.
Up to this point in its history, Ellis said the city council has not been well-informed on the activity of the JUEA, at least not to the degree he would like.
"During the time that I've been on city council, I've never gotten a report as to how much money is in the JUEA," Ellis said. "We should not have to ask. That report should be presented to the city council, if not once a month at least more than once a year or more. That's where I stand."
After council member and former JUEA chairperson Dustin White resigned in the fallout from the dispute at the beginning of June, the association appointed new leadership.
Taking over as chairperson is Peggy Hardaway, with Kelley Curran serving as vice-chair and Kate Miller becoming the new treasurer. Moving forward, Ellis hopes the new leaders will be cooperative in making the JUEA's actions more publicly available.
"I'm glad for the reorganization in leadership," Ellis said. "I think we'll see a stronger organization. I'm sorry that we've got to go through the litigation that we have to now, and I really can't comment on that much. We've got some people who are open-minded in the process and are not trying to just run a hidden organization. We'll be having a lot of information forthcoming with all of that."
Though Ellis does not have an official title with the JUEA, he hopes his position on the city council can help steer the association toward transparency.
"My official title is a representative of the city council, which carries a little weight with the [JUEA]," Ellis said. "Especially when you've got citizens from the public there that may not feel that they have the weight because they don't have an organization like the council behind them. I've got the council behind me, so I can maybe be a little more demanding in some areas. Sometimes, I'm outspoken."
Hardaway was present at Monday's meeting but declined to comment.