WTS Greenwood city council district 6 Thom Hord

What are your top three priorities and how will you address them?

Top priority over next four years would be to help fire, police departments find a way to increase each by 10 people. Hire three police and two firefighters first year, next do two police and three firefighters and continue. Is important we get caught up to a reasonable number per capita. Create master plan and make sure city adheres to what needs to be done. Create infrastructure for the masses that will be coming here due to low tax rate, great services and amenities. Build and create new businesses on east side and bolster businesses along Interstate 65 corridor, not just at Main Street, but also County Line Road where it has been empty for a while and then Worthsville Road.

Does the city need to hire any new employees? If so, in what departments? And how should that be paid for?

Police and fire are understaffed. Other departments are understaffed, too. Kudos to department managers for making it work. Be creative in figures to get new police and firefighters hired and trained. Find ways to do it without raising taxes to pay for their salaries. Done great job of balancing budget over past few years. Believe can find ways to get them hired.

Should Greenwood annex more land? What areas and when? Should the city annex without the landowner’s consent?

If it is possible to annex the right way, is in favor of it. Never in favor of annexing without consent. Voted one down when landowners didn’t want to be part of city. If someone doesn’t want to be part of city, then we shouldn’t push it down their throats.

What is a conflict of interest for a city council member? What is a conflict of interest for someone you appoint? How would you avoid conflicts of interest or the appearance of one?

Conflict of interest for a council member is directly doing business with the city, other than what elected to do. If owned business, trying to be part of bidding process, is some conflict of interest there. Should remove selves from the vote and not have anything to do with it.

What will you do to attract new business, industry and higher-paying jobs to Greenwood? Where should the city focus its economic growth, and why?

Along I-65 and the three interchanges in the city, should be concentrating on growth out there. Some pockets in the city need to be cleaned up and can be viable business options. When businesses look at coming to a city, look at all the amenities. Greenwood made great strides in parks, trails, aquatic center, infrastructure. Continue to work on those and will help draw businesses.

Are you in favor of giving grants, leases and cash incentives or buying buildings for companies in order to entice them to locate in the city? Why or why not? How would you hold them accountable for the investment and job creation they promise?

Greenwood has learned a lesson in the past few years on grants and buildings for businesses coming to area. Was a price we paid and learned a valuable lesson on how things need to be done next time. If business comes to us, should look at all options to bring them here. To be competitive, have to be able to offer incentives to businesses. Has to be some sort of penalty if business does not meet requirements, such as jobs, employees, wages. When they don’t meet those, those incentives ought to start coming off.

The city collects tax dollars in tax-increment financing or TIF districts, which are traditionally set aside for infrastructure and economic development projects. Recently, that money has been spent on a new city pool and Interstate 65 exit. Do you agree with how that money has been spent? How should the city be spending its TIF money in the future?

Absolutely agrees on how money has been spent. Two great examples. Aquatic center was built by TIF funds, and there was some opposition, people thought city would raise taxes in order to build it. If someone never wanted to use the center, would not pay for it. TIF can only be used to enhance the TIF district. We thought the aquatic center would enhance the entire city. People go to other shops and amenities when they come to aquatic center. Same for using money at new interchange. It can get people in and out of the city faster. Easy access is important for visitors, if they can’t, they won’t come back.

Greenwood expanded its TIF district to include more of the east side and downtown, despite opposition from schools and the library. Should the city further expand its TIF districts, capturing more tax dollars from new development? Why or why not? And where should they be expanded?

Is on a case-by-case basis. Have to look at what area would be encompassed by TIF district and is impacted. Schools have put up fight against TIF. City has put together programs to allow schools to request funds from city to offset money they have lost.

The city is beginning to spend TIF money on improvements at the Greenwood Municipal Airport. Should TIF money be spent at the airport? And if so, what projects are the priority?

Airport is a major priority. Money used at the airport is vital. Is the closest airport to downtown Indianapolis. Greenwood has become a hotspot for people to fly into. Money will enhance hangars, office. Big events, like the Final Four or Super Bowl, bring planes in, they buy fuel, find a place to stay and fly out. Airport is vital to total impact of Greenwood.

Other local governments, including the library and schools, have said they will request money from the TIF districts for their own projects. Should the city spend that money on local government projects? Why or why not? What should be the priority?

Should be allowed to offer a suggestion or come to us with needs, and we see if that fits the city’s needs, and how can we work together to make it happen. Not every request should be or can be granted, but should have the right to come to us and ask for funds. Schools, libraries, etc. are part of what people look at when come to city.

The city spent millions in TIF money on a failed biotech startup, Elona Biotechnologies, which folded after not getting added funding and FDA approval for an insulin drug. Should the city have gotten involved in helping a startup company? And what lessons can be learned from this?

Needs to be looked at more carefully than in the past. Elona happened prior to this council. Have learned from that mistake. Was something new the city embarked on and has learned from. Will again help businesses come to our city, but things will be in place so city not left holding bag when company does not make it.

Would you support any tax increase? If legislators give local governments the option to adopt new taxes, what taxes would you support and why?

Would not support any tax increases, just to have an increase. There are times when you have to look at ways to raise funds, but would not look to tax increase.

Greenwood wants to get the state to allow the city to charge a 1 percent food and beverage tax when people dine out to help pay for police, fire, ambulance and parks expenses. Do you support this new tax? Why or why not?

Supports the tax. It is a tax used in every county outside of ours. Very rarely feel 1 percent. Go across County Line Road, every restaurant has 1 percent more than we do, using it to fund many projects. Allows us to get funds, progress toward other goals.

What area of the city is a top priority to develop or redevelop? What should be done? And how should it be paid for?

Still pockets of city that need cleaned up, fixed up. Some need to be taken down and start all over. Concentrate heavily along I-65 now, a lot of land out there, places for businesses to come. Like to concentrate on that area, especially County Line Road, where we haven’t had as much success with getting business to stay. Growth on north side of County Line Road will jump to south side.

Recently, the city council has had multiple discussions about development along Emerson Avenue. What’s your vision for that area? What, if any, developments should be barred there?

Is part of industrial development, and we have tried to keep that type of development on east side of I-65. Businesses up and down Emerson Avenue are different than industrial. Need to try to keep the tractor-trailer traffic off there, and keep offices, medical buildings, etc. Would like to see a more medical section there for city, keep industrial side along I-65.

The development plan around the new Worthsville Road interchange calls for mostly homes, with some office or industrial space along the east side of the interstate. What do you think this new entrance to the city should look like? Should any types of development be prohibited?

Development will be considered on case-by-case basis. Along each interchange, as soon as you get off interstate, should reflect what city is about. Should have similar feel, first impression should be: “What a wonderful place to be.” Should be what we look at for development. Interchange at Worthsville will be unique, but still needs that welcoming picture.

More than 30 facades could be renovated in a $1.2 million project aimed at launching downtown revitalization. Do you support the city spending money on that project? Why or why not?

Downtown Greenwood is unique. In downtown Franklin, saw the difference of what it has to offer. Streets are wider, sidewalks, beautification of square, courthouse, restaurants, coffee shops, are all where you get that hometown feel. Greenwood has smaller section of downtown, fewer buildings. To put money into facades of buildings, without a commitment from building owners to do something inside, doesn’t do a lot other than make it appear to be more than it is. Old Town Greenwood will not be the destination for shopping because Greenwood has the mall up the street. Greenwood has great opportunity downtown to have some places people pop into, such as restaurants.

The city has also discussed an overall revitalization plan downtown, which would add new trails, a park and traffic improvements, such as making streets one-way and adding roundabouts. What projects do you think need to happen downtown? And how should they be paid for?

Roundabout is not something we can study without a traffic study. Doesn’t know how it needs to work. Streets are narrow. Walking downtown, parking along streets, not viable because streets so narrow. Other projects, such as parks, can be an avenue to revitalize downtown into what it can be. People using trails, visiting parks and shops downtown can be a part of it — where people can get a coffee or Danish. Master plan has to be specific in order to be achieved.

Do you support a mass transit plan to bring high-speed buses to Greenwood? Why or why not? How should that service be paid for?

Not sure on transit. In the past, have had bus system take people downtown. What has been proposed looks like a viable option. Not sure how it would be paid for, still in exploratory phase. Any way to get people downtown, or from downtown to Greenwood, is a way to create fun, safe mode of transportation for people who don’t have transportation, want to carpool or just want to take a trip to downtown.

Development of new industrial buildings, such as warehouses and manufacturing centers, has been slow in recent years, and the city is running out of options for interested companies. The city has discussed building a shell building. Do you think the city should be involved in this development? Why or why not?

Knows a little about shell building process. When businesses are looking, can have shell building as option. Not sure it is right for city to put up money for that now. Is intrigued by idea. Been successful elsewhere, and others have sat empty for years.

The city has recently begun developing new trails and planning for future trail projects. Where do you think more trails are needed? And how should they be paid for?

Thinks trails are absolutely needed, viable part of city. Trails used even in winter, people out walking, families out riding bikes. City and parks department have worked together on funding, and grants are out there to help with trails. Some funds through programming as well. Need to look at all options. Need to get all trails connected, from east to west side, looking at trail under U.S. 31, connecting to new aquatic center.

Annie Goeller is managing editor of the Daily Journal. She can be reached at agoeller@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2718.