Why did you decide to run for office?
I’m running for office because I have ideas to offer the city and voters need a choice. My opponent has been in office for 20-plus years, and it’s time for someone new.
What are the three biggest issues the city faces now and in the future? And how would you help address those issues.
The city’s 2016 budget is $18 million and it owes $42 million in principal alone. After 20 years, we’ll have paid $66 million back when you include interest. Right now, the city is paying over $1 million in interest per year. The budget labels it “Debt Service.” Think of it this way. You, as an individual, make $18,000 a year and you owe $42,000 on a credit card. How do you plan to pay it back? You still have rent or a house payment, utilities and food to buy. The city is no different. The city has policemen, firemen, public works employees, etc. and the income is dependent on the tax rate and the citizens and businesses paying in their real estate taxes and our payroll taxes. So now, (1), we need to stop the spending and borrowing. (2) We need a real plan to get the debt paid off and (3) we need to look through every budgeted line item to find extra dollars to pay against the debt.
The railroad has been a big topic for the city as improvements are being made to the rail infrastructure for more, heavier and faster trains. Are you in favor of a second railroad overpass? Why? How should the city pay for it?
The railroad will take care of itself. The city has no say in what the railroad does. A second overpass would be great, but according to the October 23 Tribune article “Overpass Infrastructure Plan,” this will cost $31.7 million. This issue has to be put on the back burner. We will probably find out a second overpass is not needed as bad as we think once the trains get up to speed.
There has been recent progress on downtown revitalization, but many agree more needs to be done. What do you feel the city can and should be doing to improve our downtown? How much, financially, should the city be involved in revitalizing the downtown?
The City of Seymour can only create interest in revitalizing downtown by keeping up the streets, sidewalks and lights. Appearance means a lot to a potential business owner. The actual revitalization is up to whomever wants to set up a business downtown. Who do you know that wants to start a business? Tell them to look downtown. Encourage them to look downtown. Give them city hall’s phone number 812-522-2040. City hall can tell you who owns the buildings and then, either buy it or rent it. We, the people of Seymour, can help our own downtown by helping to “sell” it.
Employee health insurance is one of the biggest costs for the city. Do you feel there is any way the city can help curb those costs? What ways would you suggest?
As of yet, I haven’t looked at the actual health insurance policy. I do know of money that can make up the shortfall we have now, and I intend to talk to the council members about this after I am elected.
A recent study of the city’s parks and recreation facilities showed the potential need for more soccer and baseball/softball fields and an indoor recreation facility along with a system of multipurpose trails. Do you think these amenities are needed in Seymour? Why? How much should the city be willing to invest in these projects?
These extracurricular facilities will be a nice enhancement to our community. There is a group of people who are working toward this goal already. You can visit their website, indianahci.org/seymour and learn more about it. This will require private funding. If you really want it, get in touch with their organization and help raise the funds to get it. When this project comes to fruition, the city may be able to offer some support in the maintenance of it.
Many people complain about the condition of city streets and roads. Do you feel the city is spending enough money on this work? If not, how do you propose the city raise more money to do this?
Second Street is to be repaved next spring. Other streets either need it now or will in the future. We should not borrow any more money, but pay as we go, one street at a time. Please remember, the city cannot “raise” money for projects. The state must approve your projected budget and the approved budget then sets the tax rate. So to “raise” money, you have to raise real estate taxes.
Education: graduated from Seymour High School.
Occupation: I am a manager of Dan’s Cycle Sales and have been employed there for the last 41 years.
Family: married to Kevin Riordan for 35 years and we have two children, Haley and Kyle.
Memberships: Donald Winn FOP Lodge.