Voters have their choice of two of four candidates when they cast their ballots for the Seymour City Council at-large seats on Tuesday.
They are incumbents Democrat Lloyd Hudson and Republican Darrin Boas and political newcomers Republican Kendra Zumhingst and independent Shawn Malone.
All four candidates have different opinions on what issues the city needs to spend the most time and money on now and in the future.
Boas, who was chosen by a caucus in January to fill a vacancy, said the three biggest areas of concern are the city’s growth, improving its infrastructure and supporting local industry by possibly offering tax incentives to those who move and work here.
“We do a great job with tax credits and abatements, but all of those savings the companies realize are eaten up due to turnover and overtime,” he said. “Once the city comes to terms with growth, we will have to look at some type of tax credits, either property or income, for people who move to Seymour and gain employment.”
Zumhingst said the biggest challenges to overcome are funding, attracting new businesses to Seymour and people’s negative perceptions of the city.
“We’re always going to be expected to do more with less,” she said of funding city services.
By annexing more residential areas into the city and having more open communication and dialogue between city leaders and residents, however, Zumhingst said the city can make strides to a better future.
“I am actively involved in my community and believe that this is the next step to be able to bridge the gap from young leadership in the community to be able to work on implementing the ideas that will get Seymour where it could be in 2025,” she said of her decision to run for office.
Hudson, who has served on the council for more than 20 years, agreed one of the city’s main needs is to increase its physical size through annexation, which could lead to the creation of additional affordable housing, he said.
Other needs include improving street conditions and building an overpass near U.S. 50 over the Louisville & Indiana Railroad to help with traffic congestion, he said. But funding for an overpass would have to come from the railroad and federal and state grants, he said.
“I love Seymour,” he said. “I believe I can make a positive impact on our city’s future.”
Concerns about the railroad, especially the increased number of trains that will be traveling through the city at faster speeds once a $90 million upgrade is complete in a few years, also tops Malone’s list of issues the city must address. That is followed by budgets, funding and vision.
“We have to make investments here, and we have to maintain our city, but we also have to do so in a fiscal manner,” he said.
As a small-business owner, Malone said he understands how budgets work and will use his experience to help guide the city.
He believes Seymour can be a greater place to live, work and play than it already is, he said.
“We need people in office who have a vision for the future and for what our citizens want,” he said. “I have been a part of several projects to help make the community better, and I plan on using this vision to help make Seymour better.”
For Boas, being involved in local government is a way to give back to the community, he said.
“My family has been in Jackson County for seven generations, so I feel a sense of ownership in the area,” he said. “I want to make sure we are making the right decisions for the future so our community will continue to prosper and be a place our children would want to live and raise a family.”
Malone said his involvement in the city has continued to grow over the years, and running for office is the next step.
“I love our city and enjoy doing things to help our city,” he said. “I need to do more. I have invested my time, passion and money here, and I want to see Seymour grow to be the thriving community that I know it can be. We are not all the way there, but we are on the brink. We have a lot of investments here, and if we play things smart, we can build this community up even further.”