Where They Stand: Josh Turner

What experience do you have that makes you most qualified to be a county council member?

No experience as a government official. Has always been interested in politics. In Johnson County, the population of millennials, it’s their responsibility now to start leading. Wants to represent the new generation of Republicans and the community as a whole.

What are the top three issues facing the county, and how would you address them?

The county doesn’t have a homeless shelter. Believes there should be one. Wants to address transportation issues, such as road improvements. Wants to get White River Township ready for Interstate 69, because it’s coming. We are in a time of economic prosperity in Johnson County, so we need to incentivize local businesses for locating in Johnson County, as well as businesses that stay in the county.

What is the role of a county council member? What will be your goals if elected?

The county council’s job is to allocate funds and deal with the budget. Would like to work toward making Johnson County a more prosperous place.

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? How would they be paid for?

Would like county offices set up in White River Township where residents can stop by to share issues, express opinions and voice concerns. The area needs to have public forums more often. Politicians and elected officials need to know what the people are saying and be more open, especially in that area because it’s not a town or a city. We are the only governing body that area has.

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?

Firm believer of taking tax dollars and putting them back into where they came from. More taxes on the purchase of wheels, or tires or a fuel tax can be used to fix the roads with money from the people who are using them.

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?

Supports the tax. Wants to put money back into county-wide tourism. As a county, tourism needs to be promoted and events in the county, such as WAMM Fest in Greenwood, need to be highlighted in that promotion.

Do you believe the county needs any new taxes? If so, what and what would it pay for?

Would not support. Believes the county could add consumption taxes, though. There are numerous options similar to a food and beverage tax.

Do any changes need to be made to the county’s staffing levels? If so, what should be changed? And why?

Would support cutting or consolidating positions to save money. Doesn’t want to have to put someone in a position where they can’t pay bills due to a cut back, but when a position becomes vacant, we need to re-evaluate and consider options, such as combining that position with another.

In past years, the county has faced a shortfall between what is planned to be spent on services and what is collected in taxes. What, if anything, can be cut? And why?

If there is an agency or program not producing results it was planned for or asked to produce, we need to cut it. But he wouldn’t cut public safety, for example.

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?

If we could pursue a better campaign to implement a tax to add or build onto the jail, is all for that. Public safety is an issue we can’t afford to ignore.

The county is planning a new community corrections facility. How will additional expenses, such as staffing and operating costs, be paid for?

Criminal justice is one big issue. We can’t say correctional facility and jail crowding are unrelated. We need to set out and find and provide funding for both issues.

Counties are set to get millions when the state releases some of the money set aside from the income tax. How should Johnson County spend that money?

Is interested in providing a homeless shelter in Johnson County. But the other needs, such as jail crowding and roads, are important and could use funding. We need to budget as much as we can to maximize the use of those dollars.

State law allows counties to enact local option income taxes specifically for public safety. That tax would apply to all of Johnson County and would need to be approved by the county council. Would you be in favor of enacting that tax to aid public safety? Why or why not?

Doesn’t want to raise taxes but won’t be tied to that promise if it’s an issue of public safety. Would support enacting the tax for the safety of a community.

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Corey Elliot is a reporter at the Daily Journal. He can be reached at celliot@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2719.