Six vie for three county council seats

Six names will be on the general election ballot for the Jackson County Council at-large race.

The top three vote-getters in the Nov. 8 election will begin their service with the council at the beginning of 2017.

John Nolting of Brownstown, Ann Cain of Seymour and Dave Hall of Norman received the most votes among the six Republican candidates in the May primary.

Kathy Schafstall of Seymour and Steve Ritter of Norman were the only two Democrats in the primary election, while Democrat Jack “Andy” Fountain of Brownstown filed his candidacy in June.

The seven-member county council has the ultimate decision-making power regarding fiscal affairs. It has the authority to determine policy and set priorities for the allocation and expenditure of county funds. The other four members each represent a county district.

This year in Jackson County, each council member’s salary is $6,910.44.

Of the six candidates, Fountain is the only one with previous council experience. He served three terms from 1999 to 2010.

“I have served on several other boards and am familiar with budgets and what it takes to make them balance,” said Fountain, who works for an insurance agency. “In my 12 years of prior experience on the county council, I learned how county government finances work and the budget process.”

Ritter has experience with politics through his service on the Owen Township Advisory Board. He also was a school board member for Brownstown Central Community School Corp. from 1988 to 1996, but those members are appointed, not elected.

He currently is the director of facilities for North Lawrence Community Schools in Bedford.

“I have extensive experience with budgets at the school, where I have been for 15 years,” Ritter said. “I worked for a major construction company, Rogers Group, before I retired and came here and dealt with budgets.”

Schafstall is a political newcomer. She is a grounds supervisor at Schneck Medical Center in Seymour.

“My experience in setting budgets comes from helping on the family farm, 12 years with Schneck Medical Center, 15 years managing my own landscaping business and my time on the Jackson County Water Board,” Schafstall said.

Nolting is in his fourth year on the Brownstown Town Council, where he serves as president.

“I worked over 40 years managing supermarkets, which taught me how to manage personnel and budgeting,” Nolting said. “I have learned how to set budgets and work within those budgets. These past four years serving on the Brownstown Town Council have taught me a lot how local government works and the needs of the taxpayer.”

Cain is new to politics but said her 10 years as a small business owner, where she handled budgets and accounts receivable and payable, will help if she is elected to the council. She currently is a real estate broker with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Indiana Realty in Seymour.

Hall’s political experience includes serving on the Owen Township Advisory Board.

“I have been an independent crop insurance agent and bail bondsman in Jackson County for the past 15 years,” he said. “Managing my business without debt has taught me to set a budget and spend within my means.”

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Zach Spicer is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at zspicer@tribtown.com or 812-523-7080.