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?
I felt the annexation should have at least passed the first reading, so it could be opened up to the public for discussion. Yes, the annexation would have caused the city to incur some additional debt, but it would have resulted in a positive cash flow for the general fund from day one, due to the influx of property and income taxes from those areas. I do think it is a sensible way for the city to grow. Our factories are not expanding and adding investment for the city not to grow the employee base. Other areas to bring in the city? No thoughts at this time. It is something I would need to research and look at as a case-by-case basis.
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?
As is the case with every company/municipality out there, employee contributions will have to be adjusted. The city must work with our health care provider to incentify healthy lifestyles. There should definitely be a tobacco surcharge on the insurance if employees or their spouses use tobacco products. Perhaps even a multi-tier program, those employees who maintain a healthy BMI, blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar would have preferred (lower) rates. Should we consider partnering with a local factory or the school system that have their own health care clinic? In my mind, it should be an absolute last resort of dropping insurance for employees and their families.
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?
The city definitely has some road issues, and has been tackling some of the projects internally for cost savings (bridge on west Second Street over the VonFange ditch, St. Louis Avenue.) This is a great option when it makes sense, but the city may have to consider a bond issue to get all the areas covered. Freeman Field has some serious road crumbling issues that will have to be addressed sooner than later.
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?
Anything to get people active is a great thing. I think the committee working this project is off on the right foot — seeking corporate sponsors, grants, etc. I am sure there will be occasions where the city can help with resources, providing some labor, transportation, mulch, etc.
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?
I think the city is doing a lot of things right, and the new challenge with lower gas prices, people don’t mind driving to Columbus, Indy or Louisville. We will just have to continue promoting “home-grown” businesses and help support them through tax breaks for revitalizing properties and support them though downtown events. I wish I had an answer for the Highway 50 corridor, but I know our low unemployment is not helping bring more dining options to town, because it is so hard to get and keep good employees.
What other projects/issues do you think city officials need to address?
Affordable housing, blighted neighborhoods, keeping college grads local, they are our future.
Why did you decide to run for city council?
I decided to run because I like to learn, and I want to have a positive impact on my community, and I am proud of the city I was born and raised in.
Profession: Branch Manager, AVI Foodsystems
Background: 7½ years at AVI as Branch manager, 4½ years as Sales Manager. Coca Cola Columbus, 12 years in management at Kroger. Graduate IU School of Business, degree in accounting. Active in student government, president of my dormitory.
Church/organizations: Member of St. Ambrose Catholic Church, chairman, building and grounds committee.