Council candidates debate county issues

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Candidates for Putnam County Council and Commissioners will debate local issues when the Greencastle League of Women Voters and WGRE-FM hosts a Candidate's Forum for the upcoming primary election from 7-9 p.m. tonight in Watson Forum at DePauw University's Pulliam Center for Contemporary Media.

The purpose of the forum is to provide voters in the Putnam County area the opportunity to hear the candidates for elected office outline and discuss their ideas and issues in a spontaneous framework. It is hoped that the voters will be able to receive an accurate perception of the abilities of all candidates, and thus, make enlightened decisions in the upcoming elections.

The following questionnaire was submitted to the candidates for county council.

Questions for County Council, District 2

1. What are the two most pressing issues facing our county? Please elaborate. (100 words)

2. With the Indiana General Assembly continuing to talk about the elimination of property tax, what alternative funding sources would you propose our legislators pass? (75 words)

3. The County Council deals with county fiscal matters. How are you educating yourself to prepare for this position and the issues you'll be facing? (100 words)

4. Putnam County is planning on updating the county comprehensive plan. Are the current zoning laws adequate? Please explain. (100 words)

Roger Deck, Republican

1. In the past eight years the state has operated in a deficit and the tax payments to the counties have been delayed. This has made the budget control for the counties difficult. With the actions of this year's legislature (major moves, budget controls) the payments should make the controls less difficult. The rescinding of the inventory tax by the state legislation in 2004 caused a major reduction in the amount of monies received, reducing the funds for the counties general fund. This caused the need for the county to increase the county income tax in order to maintain the status quo.

2. If the property tax is to be eliminated the only equitable tax to be implemented would be an increase in the sales tax, value added tax, on all goods purchased in the state. This is the most equitable method of maintaining the status quo.

3. I have attended all county council meetings since my announcement of my candidacy and plan to continue this practice until the end of 2006. This will keep me abreast of the problems and their solutions.

4. The county comprehensive plan is being updated at this time and should be updated continuously not as a wholesale measure every few years. These zoning laws also should be reviewed yearly as no conditions remain station. The intent of the zoning laws was to maintain areas in which certain businesses, housing and industries can and should be maintained. However, the whole of the county is changing daily and the zoning laws should be written to accommodate our growing and changing atmosphere.

Brad Buchanan, Republican

1. A) Roads: Rhetoric-ally speaking, who doesn't think this is an issue?

B) Balanced budget: Budgets are designed to provide for the essential services of government and thereby serve the public interest. Public servants are responsible to design budgets that serve citizens, not place a design upon citizens to serve a budget. A budget, by definition, is balanced with actual revenue (tax collections), anything else is a spending plan, not a budget. As a former councilman, I have a good budget record, efforts once referred to as "The Buchanan Budget." The key to a healthy public budget is a healthy environment for businesses.

2. Property tax punishes the accumulation of wealth and therefore the economic health of our citizenry. Sales tax is the appropriate funding source because it pegs the health of the public sector to that of the private sector (more commerce means more tax generated), and technology allows government to receive revenue instantaneously, by the function key strokes of a cash register, vs. the delayed and costly collection (paid in arrears, high collection costs) of property tax.

3. Using my past experience as a baseline; I'm interviewing people in the Putnam County business sector and the public sector (local, state and federal), to better understand what in public policy, is and isn't working -- it's that simple. Improvement requires change, but not for change's sake. We need only change or eliminate that which isn't working, and not pretend, that new people continuing a particular failed policy is the answer to anything.

4. I feel the zoning is adequate due to the fact we have flexibility built into it, allowing us to use discretion (zoning board and board of appeals, etc). The comprehensive plan must be reviewed on an on-going base due to the fact of an ever changing county. We must make sure we grow wisely while preserving our natural resources and utilize the area for what its best suited. I would like to go into much greater detail but the space is too limited. Anyone that would like to share their ideas or hear more on mine may contact me anytime.

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