Reporter Annie Goeller interviewed candidates for Johnson County commissioner on a wide range of issues. Use these pages as a guide to help you make your voting decision.
ABOUT THE CANDIDATE
Name: Daniel Hardcastle
Political experience: State delegate for about 12 years
Family: Wife, Betty Jean; three children; 11 grandchildren
Memberships: Blue Lodge, Scottish Rite, Sahara Grotto, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 481
ABOUT THE OFFICE
County commissioner District 3
Represents: White River, Pleasant and Clark townships
Duties: Oversee daily operations of county offices, approve county ordinances and development and oversee employee benefits and rules
Pay: $23,095 per year
Term: Four years
What about your background or experience makes you the most qualified candidate to serve as Johnson County commissioner?
Went through an apprenticeship as an electrician. Has a background in blueprint reading, experience in road work and construction. Been in that line of work for 32 years.
What is the top issue facing Johnson County? How will you address it?
Recently, several construction projects have been proposed across the county, including a new Franklin library branch and a new pool in Greenwood. More projects will be coming. Likes seeing those new projects, because they would put people back to work.
What is the role of a county commissioner? What role does a commissioner play in the day-to-day functions of the county?
One of the commissioners’ main roles is to oversee projects and make sure taxpayers are getting their money’s worth on the projects. Commissioners make sure the money is there when the county signs off to do a project.
The person who currently fills this office works at the county almost full time. Would you continue that practice? Is that necessary?
Doesn’t think that is necessary. Commissioners work part-time, typically 10 to 12 hours per week. Based on the pay commissioners get, that is probably about right. If the job is full-time, he may not be able to do it.
Under the current process, the commissioners would make a key vote on the future of White River Township and whether it should become its own town. Do you support forming a town of Center Grove? Why or why not? How should the most populated area of the county receive its government services?
Does not support making Center Grove a town because he thinks it will raise the taxes on everyone. Doesn’t think there is enough community support to make the area into a town. The money that has to be paid to have it done is the kicker. Doesn’t have a good answer on how the area should receive services.
How should the county make additional budget cuts? Would you support laying off county employees or offering another early retirement to help balance budget shortfalls?
Layoffs will end people’s jobs. Does not support laying people off in the current economy, but that may be necessary to do.
The county was recently approved to get a new court in 2015. How should the expenses of this court, estimated to be about $250,000 per year, be paid for?
Hasn’t investigated that yet. Does not have a good answer.
Voters turned down an expansion of the county jail, but overcrowding is still a problem. What should be done to address jail overcrowding? Do you support a jail expansion?
Supports a jail expansion. The county can’t let people out who are doing wrong. Have to expand it, whether you want to or not. Must protect the public.
A committee of county officials is discussing a new or renovated facility for the community corrections building, which mainly houses offenders on work release. Do you believe this program should be expanded? Why or why not?
Likes the idea of a work release program if it really helps a person learn that working will benefit them, and they learn to work instead of committing crimes. Thinks that would be a good idea.
Are you in favor of an income tax increase to pay for county services? Do you favor increasing the county income tax or any other tax? Why or why not?
Tax increases are going to happen. Is concerned the federal income tax will increase. Isn’t sure if he would support a local income tax increase. Isn’t sure what the county would need to increase it for. Commissioners work part-time, so it isn’t going to be used to increase their pay.
Do you support the wheel tax? If not, how else should road work be funded?
Road work has to be funded because the county has to keep up with work that is needed. The county might have to raise taxes to continue upgrading roads, especially all the new roundabouts.
What parts of county government could be consolidated, eliminated or privatized to save money?
Is concerned about what will happen when some government services are privatized, such as the Hoosier Lottery. Is not sure about privatizing any local services.
Should Johnson County Park remain open and paid for by taxpayers at its current level? Why or why not?
Would like parks funding stay at the current levels. People that go to the parks really appreciate them. Johnson County has one of few handicap-accessible parks in the state at Independence Park. Rents a park shelter a couple times a year for family gatherings. Would like to see the rates stay about the same. The county needs to keep funding parks to keep them going.
What should the county do with the land left after the houses in the flood buyout are torn down? Right now, the county has asked neighboring landowners to help maintain the properties. How will maintaining that land be paid for long-term?
Went through the flood, and had to repair one room, but insurance wouldn’t cover it. Doesn’t know how the county will pay for the properties, and doesn’t have a good answer for that.