ELECTION _ Matt Nicholson

The city recently shot down a proposal to annex three areas. What are your thoughts on annexation? Should the city be promoting growth this way? How will the city pay for the additional costs of that growth? Are there other areas you think could be good to bring into the city?

Annexation is a part of growth. Before any area is annexed it needs, first, to be studied to see what services can be provided to the citizens of that area, and second, it needs to be viewed as what the area adds to the city. Can police, fire, sewer and trash services be added efficiently? Will the area generate enough added revenue to help offset the cost of services?

The city has been experiencing several years of increasing costs for health insurance because of large claims from employees. The mayor has said that drastic measures may have to be taken to help curb the problem. How would you propose the city tackle this problem? Should the city continue to offer health insurance or should employees be responsible for getting their own health care?

I believe the city should offer health insurance like most major employers do. The employees may need to pick up a different portion than they currently do. Defining a way to tackle this problem isn’t easy without more information to review.

Seymour’s streets are showing the effects of yet another bad winter and many are in desperate need of work. The city has very limited funding available for road work. Do you believe the city needs to increase the amount of money it spends on road maintenance? How do you propose the city do that? Which roads should be addressed first?

Roads need to be a priority. They also need to be ranked based on traffic and how bad they are. We need to improve road quality, and if more funding is required to do it then we must find the funds.

How important do you feel it is for Seymour to establish a network of walking and biking trails throughout the city? A lot of time has gone into developing a trails committee and plan, but a lot of money is needed to put the plan in place. How should the trails be funded?

Quality of life can be drastically improved for all with a trail network. Having started on the bike lane project in 2013 and then on the trails committee in 2014, I strongly support the efforts of Seymour on the topic. I do, however, believe it should be done both properly and responsibly. The existing bike lanes were funded by private donations from area business and individuals. I believe the trails system should also be done the same way. Columbus has an established parks foundation that does major funding efforts for their trails system and the parks in general. I believe Seymour needs one as well. The park foundation could hold fundraisers for the trails and other projects.

What should the city be doing to revitalize the downtown and bring businesses to all the empty storefronts along the U.S. 50 corridor? What do you feel the city needs more of?

The city needs to have ordinances in place to encourage growth. We have several organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce, Visitors Center, Main Street, and now 2025 that should all be working on the same page. City officials need to foster an atmosphere of cooperation between organizations, business owners, the city, and individuals.

What other projects/issues do you think city officials need to address?

Since before my time, Seymour has struggled with options for our youth ages 14 to 21. I would like to see our parks become a place for everyone young and old and am open to any ideas that would improve them. We have historically been a traditional sports area, and I would love to see us explore alternative sports options like the Schurman-Grubb Memorial skate park, Frisbee golf, dodge ball, kickball or whatever ideas might be viable. One idea that was recently mentioned was a water trail along the White River. Seymour isn’t far from access points that could lead to added tourism to our area. I believe we need to truly investigate, not immediately dismiss them as unimportant.

Why did you decide to run for city council?

Having been involved in various projects over the years, I believe it is time for me to step up to the next level. It is time for my generation to step forward and take on leadership roles. We need to start leading with an eye on the future while we have a guiding hand available from the past when needed. I don’t have any one project that made me want to run. I do have a desire to see Seymour become a place my kids want to stay and raise a family of their own.

Matt Nicholson

Name: Matt Nicholson

Age: 37

Profession: Small Business owner and Executive Director of READ Jackson County/Plaza Latina

Background: I have lived in Seymour my entire life. I have an Associate degree from Ivy Tech Community College in Computer Sciences. From 1993 to 2003 I worked for Bikers World where my boss encouraged me to be a part of my community by getting involved in various projects and organizations. I helped found the Jackson County Bicycle Club in 2000 and have been involved with the now named Schurman-Grubb Memorial Skatepark since 1996.

Church membership/clubs or organizations: Redeemer Luthern Church, Jackson County Bicycle Club, Seymour Skatepark Association, Kidsfest Committee member, Day of Caring Committee, former READ Jackson County/Plaza Latina Board member, League Director and Coach for Seymour Youth League, Seymour Trails Committee, and Seymour Bike Lane Committee, Reins for Recovery volunteer.

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January Rutherford is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. She can be reached at jrutherford@tribtown.com or 812-523-7069.