Two candidates for Edinburgh clerk-treasurer want more organized record keeping and a better balanced budget.
Clerk-Treasurer Scott Finley faces a challenge by Jackie Burton, a retired employee of the town of Edinburgh who worked in the utility office for 32 years.
Finley has served as clerk-treasurer since 2013, when he was appointed to replace Jackie Smith, who retired. The clerk-treasurer, who is paid a salary of $48,000 per year, is in charge of paying the town’s bills and employee salaries and keeping track of town records.
Finley and Burton, who are both independents, say they are both qualified for the job. After nearly three years, Finley said, he knows about how local government runs and understands the clerk-treasurer’s role. Burton retired five years ago but has done billing for the town and served as the backup in charge of the town’s payroll. So the duties of the position wouldn’t be new to her, she said.
Both want to have better record keeping and make better use of the town’s website so that town records and ordinances are easier for the public to get.
Finley wants the town to be transparent and allow residents to be more involved.
Burton wants to give residents an option to pay their water and trash bills online. The two are both focused on the town’s budget.
The town loses about $500,000 of its tax dollars to tax caps per year, according to the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance.
Those caps limit property tax bills to a percentage of the property’s total value — 1 percent for homes, 2 percent for rental properties and farmland and 3 percent for businesses.
Finley said he wants to find other funding sources and to look for items to cut out of the budget, but that is difficult to do without taking away services the town provides for residents. He said he wants to make cuts in order to be able to spend money in other areas, such as to promote new development, without taking away services, such as leaf removal.
“It’s hard to cut our budget without eliminating services to residents,” he said.
Finley said he wants a more balanced budget where the town is budgeting what it will use.
Burton also said she wants the town to have a balanced budget. She wants to see better investment and use of town money to fund projects and improvements throughout Edinburgh, she said.
New development in Edinburgh, such as new businesses in the town’s industrial park, would generate more revenue from tax dollars, she said.
“I know we have lost a lot of tax revenues from businesses closing, and it was devastating for a lot of residents who lost their jobs,” Burton said. “I would like to be a part of bringing new business to our town. I love Edinburgh, and I want to see it prosper and grow. I just want to see tax dollars spent wisely and in the right places.”
Burton also said she wants to maintain the level of service but knows of areas where the town could spend less.
In order to bring in those new businesses and development, she wants to seek grants and spend tax dollars on improvements around town, such as roads or new buildings. In order to do that, she said, the town needs to cut back on equipment purchases, such as vehicles, where she feels the town spends too much.
Name: Jackie Burton
Family: Husband, Fred; and two daughters, Angela and Michelle
Education: Columbus High School and Indiana Business College
Political experience: Ran for clerk-treasurer and was defeated by then-Clerk-Treasurer Jackie Smith
Name: Scott Finley
Occupation: Clerk-treasurer, Edinburgh
Education: Edinburgh Community High School, Indiana University-Purdue University-Columbus
Political experience: Appointed clerk-treasurer after Jackie Smith retired
About the job
Represents: The town of Edinburgh
Duties: Prepare and manage town budgets, assist with town payroll and manage all financial records. Clerk-treasurer is also in charge of keeping all ordinances, resolutions and minutes from town meetings.
Pay: $48,000 per year
Term: 4 years