Brian Buchanan (Taxpayer UNfriendly)
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E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
2016 County Council Voting Record
Voted YES to approve a 50% Local Income Tax increase that is twice what is needed for the Boone County Sheriff 2016 Business Plan – AND much of the excessive Local Income Tax increase will NOT be used to pay for new and necessary spending by other county police and fire departments: see http://www.finplaneducation.net/sheriff_business_plan.htm.
Campaign Contributions: January 1, 2016, through April 8, 2016
Candidate Buchanan had no cash on hand on January 1. He received $6,607.59 in itemized contributions and $297.00 in unitemized contributions. There were $3,406.43 in itemized expenditures and $109.56 in unitemized expenditures. The April 8 cash on hand was $3,388.60. Contributions from the candidate, his immediate family, and his family business totaled $5,707.59 (83 percent of his total contributions).
Watchdog Indiana County Council Candidate Questions - 2016 Primary Election
1. What will be your public service priorities if you are elected to the Boone County Council? ANSWER: (1) Listen to the taxpayers. (2) Ensure efficient spending of taxpayer dollars. (3) Promote economic growth to spread the tax base. (4) Provide needed resources to public safety. (5) Ensure infrastructure is maintained at a high level. (6) Share how and why tax dollars are being spent. To go along with the priorities mentioned above, here is a list of action items: road / infrastructure funding, public safety / drugs, and economic development. These action items were determined after meeting with over 60 elected officials, business leaders, and community servants in Boone County over the past 2 months.
2. Is the county spending enough of its available resources to maintain and improve the county roads in the unincorporated areas of the county? BACKGROUND: The 2013-15 State Budget made better use of the existing state Gasoline Tax and state Sales Tax revenues from gasoline purchases to significantly increase Boone County transportation funding. State revenues deposited into the Boone County Motor Vehicle Highway and Local Road & Street funds increased 38 percent from $2,900,956 in 2013 to $4,016,363 in 2015. However, only $2,888,947 was spent from the 2015 Boone County Motor Vehicle Highway and Local Road & Street funds – $1,127,416 was unspent and added to the cash reserves (the December 31, 2015, cash balances in the Boone County Motor Vehicle Highway and Local Road & Street funds totaled $2,933,169). ANSWER: Before I give my final answer on this issue, I want to become more educated on why we spend what we do. However, any prudent business keeps a set amount in reserves for a rainy day. The county must operate the same way as you never know when we might have an economic downturn, receive lower than predicted tax revenue, or don’t have the funds to pay bills. I would rather be forward thinking and plan for unexpected issues, than be caught off guard and not have required funds for government to operate. What the exact right amount to spend needs to be should constantly be evaluated by the County Council.
3. Do you support a new county-wide Wheel Tax? BACKGROUND: Indiana Senate Bill 67 passed by the Indiana General Assembly this year will increase funding for 2016 to the Boone County government units by a total of $13,044,770. A one-time additional distribution from the state’s county option income tax (COIT) trust account will provide $4,106,918 in additional county government revenue this year, at least 75% of which must be used exclusively by the Boone County Highway Department for local road construction, maintenance, and repair. In addition, Indiana House Bill 1001 passed by the Indiana General Assembly this year created a state Local Road and Bridge Matching Grant Fund, which will provide matching dollar-for-dollar grants to a county or municipality that allocates certain revenues for the purpose of increasing the capacity of local roads and bridges. ANSWER: A county-wide wheel tax certainly has merit and deserves more discussion and debate. I believe 2/3 of Indiana counties have a wheel tax. However, before I would vote to implement, three criteria would need to be met: (1) I need to be assured we are spending all tax dollars as efficiently as possible, (2) We have minimized wasteful spending, (3) ALL other options to properly fund roads have been exhausted…..this includes evaluating all county budget items, exploring cash reserves, possibly looking at grant opportunities, etc. I am hopeful we can find alternative funding, but am not ready to take any ideas off the table.
4. What is an appropriate level of county cash reserves compared to the county’s annual operating budget? BACKGROUND: The August 11, 2010, Boone County Comprehensive Financial Plan prepared by H. J. Umbaugh & Associates (a PDF version can be E-mailed on request) targets 15% as a prudent level of end-of-the-year Boone County government cash balances compared to annual operating funds disbursements. ANSWER: As stated above, any well run and prudent business keeps a set amount in reserves. I don’t know what the proper amount is without more study, but 15% seems reasonable. Again, the required reserve amount needs to be discussed annually among the County Council.
5. Do you support a new county-wide Public Safety Local Option Income Tax? BACKGROUND: See page 77 of the Fiscal Year 2015 Indiana Handbook of Taxes, Revenues, and Appropriations at https://iga.in.gov/static-documents/f/9/4/0/f9407ace/2015%20Tax%20Handbook%20WEBPAGE.pdf. ANSWER: We MUST make sure public safety is properly funded. In meetings with several Boone County law enforcement officials, some law enforcement agencies are either seriously under staffed or are currently taking money from other budget lines to support public safety. Public safety is a pillar of a strong community. If we want to attract new residents, promote economic growth, and retain current businesses, then public safety must be funded at the proper level. If the following criteria were met, I would support a Public Safety tax: (1) I need to be assured we are spending all tax dollars as efficiently as possible, (2) We have minimized wasteful spending, (3) ALL other options to properly fund public safety have been exhausted…..this includes evaluating all county budget items, exploring cash reserves, possibly looking at grant opportunities, etc.
6. Should property tax rate increases be avoided to (a) protect lower income Boone County residents with homes assessed below the 1% property tax cap from tax increases and (2) lessen Boone County units of government budget losses to property tax caps? ANSWER: Yes, we need to try and avoid property tax increases. This will require creative solutions and frugal budgeting.
7. Should better use be made of the request for proposals (RFP) process to select county government service providers? ANSWER: I am looking forward to learning more about the county RFP process and how it works. Generally speaking, it is a very healthy process for all businesses and government agencies to use a robust RFP when bidding projects.
8. Is the Boone County Area Comprehensive Plan a good road map for future growth that also preserves agriculture as an economic development industry? BACKGROUND: See http://www.boonecounty.in.gov/Default.aspx?tabid=65. ANSWER: I have only studied the plan for a brief time, so I want to reserve judgment as to the validity of the plan. However, it was developed in 2009 and a lot has changed in Boone County over the past 7 years. I think at a minimum, the plan needs to be evaluated every 2 years to make sure we are on the right track and implement changes as needed. Coming from an agricultural background I am passionate about preserving agriculture, but also feel strongly that economic growth is essential. We can accomplish both.
9. How can the actions and decisions of the Boone County Council be more open and transparent to the public? BACKGROUND: Good examples of how to provide open and transparent local government can be found on the Town of Whitestown web site at http://www.whitestown.in.gov/. ANSWER: We must be transparent with all levels of government. When individuals are uninformed about the facts, they will develop their own assumptions and opinions. Many individuals get frustrated with government because they don’t understand how and why their money is being spent. I’m sure there are many things we can do to help with more transparency, but a few specific items we need to implement would be audio recordings of all County Council meetings to be posted online, and further utilize social media.
10. Should the individual votes of Boone County Council members be recorded in meeting minutes so the members can be held accountable for their public policy decisions? ANSWER: Yes, transparency is very important.
11. Should upcoming Boone County Council board appointments be announced ahead of time so interested citizens can apply? ANSWER: Yes.
12. Who is your current employer, and would service on the Boone County Council possibly create significant conflicts related to your employment? ANSWER: I work with the family transportation and logistics business, Buchanan Hauling and Rigging, Inc. The company is headquartered in Ft. Wayne, IN with offices in Indianapolis, IN and Houston, TX. The business operates over 300 tractor / trailers and a logistics management division equally as large in 48 states, Mexico, and Canada. My primary responsibilities include sales management and customer development. I see no conflicts with serving on the Boone County Council.
13. What is your campaign phone number, E-mail address, and website (or other online presence)? ANSWER: 317-919-2025, firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com, www.votebuchanan.com, www.facebook.com/votebuchanan
14. Do you wish to make some additional comments about your candidacy? ANSWER: I am running for Boone County Council because my family and I love the community, we plan on living here the rest of our lives, and I want to help shape the future and have a positive impact on our local community. I look forward to serving the residents of Boone County on the County Council. If you have additional questions, comments, or concerns, please contact me.
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This page was last updated on 10/11/16.