What experience do you have that makes you most qualified to be a county commissioner?
Been in public service 23 years, serving public and public interest as a firefighter. This is a natural progression from protecting people’s property and lives to protecting their rights. “If you don’t raise your hand, you don’t really have a voice.”
What are the top three issues facing the county, and how would you address them?
Tax revenue and the budget are the key issues. A lot of the current politicians look at tax money as some type of mystical money that comes from somewhere outside of people’s pockets. People work hard for this money, and it is not just there for them to spend. He always wants to get his money’s worth, and feels he can do that for the taxpayer.
What is the role of a county commissioner? What will be your goals if elected?
Servant leader. Leads by example, not by a whip. Get as much information before a decision is made so you won’t have to go back and fix things, such as when a road is put in, and then workers have to come back and cut it to put in sewer, when officials should have reached out to others to see if work could all be done at once.
Following every meeting, commissioners meet in executive session, and the notice provided does not follow the law because it doesn’t specify which specific reasons a private session is needed. Would you continue this practice? Why or why not?
Would have to do his homework to see why private sessions are being done. If there is not a legitimate reason, he feels transparency is important. Would have to be a really good reason why that information is being kept from the taxpayers. Otherwise, he sees no reason not to allow the public to see what is going on with their tax money.
Johnson County faces a unique challenge in its unincorporated areas, which range from more rural areas on the south end of the county to a suburban area on the north end. Residents have complained about county ordinances that restrict where people can park in neighborhoods or that allow residents to shoot on their property in the Center Grove area. How can the county make rules and guidelines which will meet the needs of all of those areas? Do any county rules need to be changed? If so, what and why?
Do your homework and try to serve the most good, and not necessarily one special interest. Try to get cooperation, instead of forcing an ordinance on people, try to get their input and cooperation. Sometimes people have good ideas you haven’t thought of. If you allow people to make the decision, they find one they can live with, versus one being forced upon them. Not everyone will be happy, but they can live with it if they have had input.
Growth continues in the unincorporated White River Township area of the county, and residents have long been asking for more amenities, such as parks and trails. What should the county do to address these needs?
Figure out where is best locations, best amenities to have, and make sure to spend taxpayer money wisely. Consider government grants. Would take a lot of input from people in that area, and what they are wanting.
Road funding continues to be an issue for local governments, including the county. Years ago, the county added a wheel tax to help bring in more money for road work, but local officials have continued to say there is a need for more funding. What should the county do to make sure there is enough money to fix, repave and build new roads?
Search for money through state or federal government. When rebuilding, paving, fixing roads, make sure no other work needed. Get the best contractor; sometimes the lowest price may not be the best if you pay a lower price, and then pay more to fix it, make sure it is up to standards.
This year, the county began charging an innkeeper’s tax to bring in money so a local convention, visitor and tourism board can promote local attractions and events. How do you believe that money should be spent? How much involvement do you believe county government should have in overseeing that new entity and how those dollars are spent?
County government should only oversee that the money is not spent fraudulently. People need to be able to say where the money goes. Government should not dictate where money goes, only that it is spent wisely and taxpayers are getting their money’s worth.
Do you believe the county needs any new taxes? If so, what and what would it pay for?
Would have to take time and do research to find out where money is being spent currently. Wants to make sure money is spent wisely. Search for where funds needed, and look to other funding options, using taxpayer money as last resort.
Do any changes need to be made to the county’s staffing levels? If so, what should be changed?
Would have to do research to find out if current staff is adequate, or inadequate. Is there too much staff? County doesn’t need redundancies of people doing the same job.
Jail overcrowding continues to be a concern, especially in light of recent changes in state law on who can be sent to state prisons. What should be done to address overcrowding at the jail? How should it be paid for?
Have to do research, figure out what the real problem is and research alternatives. Would want to get others’ input, what other counties have done to address their issues, see what the state is doing, and possibly petition the state to allow more inmates in. Needs to be fair with the burden, so it is not all on the county. Would have to find out where money would come from, if needed.
The county is planning a new community corrections facility. What would you want to see in that building? And how will additional expenses, such as staffing and operating costs, be paid for?
Community corrections building needs to be as useful as possible. Work release, try to get as much of that as can, since it is benefiting the taxpayers with that labor. Is a good thing to have a natural progression from people incarcerated, who go to community corrections to be re-acclimated into the public, and try to stop people from re-entering the prison system. Counseling, education is all a big part of community corrections. County needs to make sure it is serving its purpose of re-acclimating people. Taxpayer funding is the last resort.