Voters selected two incumbents to run for Johnson County Council seats in the November election.
Pete Ketchum defeated Jim Ray, who was challenging him for the council’s District 1 seat, which represents all of Clark, Needham, Blue River, Hensley, Nineveh and Union townships and the southern half of White River Township.
Ketchum received 1,545 votes, or about 68 percent of the ballots cast, while Ray received 743 votes, or about 32 percent of the ballots cast.
In the District 3 race, which represents a majority of the northern third of Pleasant Township, incumbent Beth Boyce received 904 votes, or about 60 percent, and defeated challenger Brian Moore, who received 613 votes, or about 40 percent.
Ketchum and Boyce will now appear as the Republican nominations on the November ballot as voters select county council members for the next four years. Right now there are no Democratic challengers, but that could change before the fall election.
Council members make decisions that impact everyone living in the county — including managing the county’s spending on roads, the jail and sheriff’s office and can approve new taxes. Council members are paid $7,950 per year.
Taxes were a significant issue for all four candidates during the primary race.
Ketchum, a lieutenant with the Franklin Police Department, wants the county to not spend more than it’s collecting in taxes. But he also said during the campaign that as costs such as salaries, utilities and equipment rise, the county needs to find new sources of revenue or find ways to cut other costs. Ketchum is running for his first full term, after being selected by a caucus to fill a vacancy on the council in 2011.
This year, Ketchum voted to approve a local innkeeper’s tax, which would be charged on stays at hotels and motels and used to fund tourism marketing. The new tax wasn’t approved, but Ketchum said the innkeeper’s tax would have created more revenue by promoting local businesses, which could attract more visitors.
Ray, a retired engineer and longtime president of the Amity Fire District board, focused his campaign on the county’s need to build savings.
Boyce, who voted against the innkeeper’s tax, said the top issue facing the county is declining revenue because of property tax caps. Boyce, who has served on the council since 2007, is against raising the income tax to help cover operating, public safety and other expenses, and said the county has been able to provide effective services without a tax hike.
She defeated Brian Moore, who had focused his campaign on the need to cut spending.
The county Democratic party has until June 30 to slate candidates to oppose Ketchum and Boyce in the fall election.
How You Voted
County Council District 1
Pete Ketchum 1,545
Jim Ray 743
County Council District 3
Beth Boyce 904
Brian Moore 613