Greencastle City Council At-Large Candidate Questionnaires

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Questions for City Council-at-Large

1. What professional experience do you have that is relevant to the office you seek and what specific skills do you possess that make you qualified for the position? (100 words)

2. What are the two most important unsolved challenges facing Greencastle? Briefly explain how you will approach these challenges. (150 words)

Dave Murray -- Democrat

1. Having been the co-chair of the Business Development Task Force on Greencastle's 2001 Strategic Planning Committee; the first chair of the Greencastle/Putnam County Development Center; a member of the Citizen's Advisory Commission for Industrial Development (CACFID); and the owner of our family business, the National Center for College Costs, I think I understand education and business development. I believe I can help deliver additional educational opportunities for our citizens so they can be part of a 21st century workforce and economy.

2. Given property tax caps and unfunded mandates like the upgrade to our water plant, obviously the city's financial resources will be a central issue. We need people in government who are smart, creative and entrepreneurial. We need all the public/private partnerships and grants we can find to keep Greencastle's momentum going. Our momentum is contagious right now, unlike most small cities of our size. We need to build on that momentum in any way we can.

My second concern is housing. The fact that the new Zinc Mill Apartments were fully leased before the construction was even finished, this hints at the need for more housing, especially market-rate rental units. We also need a larger inventory of family homes. The city needs to be a cheerleader for continued investment in the city, but especially in this way.

Gary Lemon -- Democrat

1. I have worked in Putnam County since 1976 during which time I have been involved with the Putnam County Community Foundation, 100 Men Who Care, the Greencastle/Putnam County Development Center, the Redevelopment Commission, Rotary and other local organizations. I currently serve as chair of the Investment Committee at Lincoln Advisory Trust which has over $70 billion of investments; I am a professor of economics at DePauw. Before coming to Greencastle, I was manager of cash operations, as well as an internal auditor at General Electric in Syracuse, N.Y. I have also authored a book on Investments.

2. The most significant challenge facing the city of Greencastle is continuing the tremendous momentum that has been built during the past decade. Given the influx of dollars that came with the Stellar Grant, keeping this drive going will be challenging for city government. To preserve this positive energy the next city government will need to: (1) apply for additional grants for which we are eligible and which fit our goals; (2) wisely use available tax dollars (3) work to build an educated and skilled workforce (4) continue efforts to attract new business. We are a great community and part of the job of a city councilor is to make sure we tell our story beyond our city, county and state. My experience in the financial world allows me to tell a part of that story and if elected I will focus much of my energy on telling the Greencastle story.

Wally Hinkle -- Republican

1. The experience and skills I gained over my 50 years in the architectural profession have prepared me for a seat on the Greencastle City Council.

On the legislative side, my profession provided me with experience in compliance with and execution of governmental (federal, state, and local) laws, ordinances, regulations, and codes. Working closely with these governmental requirements has given me an understanding of the amendment and revision processes that such mandates undergo on a regular basis. Fiscally speaking, I was responsible for ensuring that each of my projects was designed, constructed and delivered to the client within the pre-determined budget.

2. Two unsolved challenges facing the city of Greencastle are revenue shrinkage and a shortage of local, trained and hirable workers.

Revenue shrinkage has occurred over time because of existing "taxable base" being transferred to "nontaxable base", such as nonprofit organizations, without any plan to replace these with additional taxable entities. This loss of taxable base has created a reduction of revenue for the city and county. To remedy this loss of revenue, the city needs to consider restricting such transfers as well as encouraging the development of our taxable base.

Greencastle also needs draw in more workers to support and grow area businesses. By encouraging the development of affordable housing, including multi-family, in close proximity of existing plants and other business, Greencastle could become a more attractive relocation option for workers. This would help the local businesses secure their employment manpower and the city to increase its population and economy.

Harry Maginity -- Republican

1. Journalist -- as a trained observer and investigative reporter, I promise to be a seeker of truth, transparency and honest government responsive to the entire community, dedicated to un-clique the insider/outsider disparity that evolved during 28 years of one-party control.

Creative Director, Commercial Writer -- business-to-business skills will promote city goals, events and desirable commercial development.

MVP Productions -- job recruitment/training, youth activity and tourism promotion experience have relevancy.

INDOT -- construction of roads/infrastructure: no more sloppy timesets that unnecessarily inconvenience the public, i.e. Vine Street.

Sonshine Inn director -- Bible-based outreach to the disenfranchised. I listen.

2. Streets/Infrastructure: This Democrat-controlled administration focuses on facades and peripherals without significantly addressing deterioration of streets, curbs/sidewalks and deep infrastructure. Yes, twice as many streets are being resurfaced this year -- but it's an election year.

EPA forces us to address water concerns. If you were paying attention, the mayor and council president considered selling the city's utility. Rates would skyrocket, big money would change hands and residents would lose out. No sale!

Regarding streets, surfaces are overpaved while roadbed underneath is crumbling. Regarding water pipes and sewer lines, the next administration should advocate a systematic schedule for replacing remaining 100-year-old infrastructure. Or do we go crisis to crisis? (Who said, "Never waste a crisis"?)

Public Safety: Children walking/biking to Robe Ann, pedestrians crisscrossing Indianapolis Road with its sight-distance problems for motorists --priority concerns.

"Big wheels keep on turning" -- pragmatic look at truck route options.

Mark Hammer -- Republican

1. I have been serving on the Greencastle Common Council since 1995, and I was a board member and president of the Park Board prior to my election to the City Council. I am a certified public accountant with my office currently located at 25 S. Vine Street. During the past 20 years, the city has witnessed many accomplishments and challenges, to which almost all we were able to respond positively. With many new faces in city government next year, I intend to bring these experiences to the next Council, which I anticipate will work together regardless of party affiliation.

2. Recently the possibility of a Community Center came up again. I attended one of the YMCA's sessions and came away hopeful that this issue can be resolved favorable, as we await the YMCA's decision for our community. We have the funding issue solved with the use of Tax Increment Financing. The other major piece of the puzzle is staffing and administering the center, which will hopefully be done by the YMCA. The other issue that has arisen only recently is the operations of the city utilities. I pledge to work to make certain the city continues operating our very modern facilities. However, we need cooperation from government regulators. We also need our water department employees to become certified and then we must retain them. This is an issue that we will need to address through competitive salaries and benefits, as well as proper assignment of duties to those qualified individuals.