Matt Gentry (Taxpayer UNfriendly)

Watchdog Indiana Home Page Watchdog Lebanon Home Page Matt Gentry 2015 Campaign Receipts & Expenditures Harold "Huck" Lewis Candidate Rating

Address: 1203 N. Meridian Street, Lebanon, IN 46052
Phone: (765) 336-0311

2016 Mayor Record

Signed (did NOT veto) the ordinance to approve a county-wide 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

2015 County Council Voting Record

Voted YES to approve the 2016 budget that lowered the Boone County portion of the 2016 Certified Property Tax Rate by 4.41 percent to 0.2168 from the 2015 Rate of 0.2268. This Property Tax Rate reduction is Taxpayer Friendly because most lower income Boone County residents whose homes are assessed below the 1% property tax cap will get some property tax relief – and Boone County units of government will lose less of their budgets to property tax caps.

Watchdog Indiana Lebanon Mayor Candidate Questions - 2015 Primary Election

Question #1: Will you support involuntary Lebanon annexation attempts, or will you only support city annexations where every property owner agrees to be annexed? Background: On November 26, 2012, the Lebanon Mayor lead the Lebanon City Council to pass an ordinance on first reading involuntarily annexing 8,270 acres in Center and Worth townships. On January 28, 2013, the Lebanon City Council amended the involuntary annexation ordinance to reduce the annexation area to 1,350 acres in Worth Township. The Lebanon Mayor and Lebanon City Council now appear to have abandoned this involuntary annexation attempt. For details see Answer: Has not responded. RECORD: None.

Question #2: Should the Lebanon Comprehensive Plan be consistent with the Boone County Comprehensive Plan where farm land adjacent to the city is preserved for the agricultural uses that protect our rural quality of life? Background: See the Lebanon Interchange Land Use Plan at Answer: Has not responded. RECORD: None.

Question #3: Is the willingness of the Lebanon Mayor and Lebanon City Council to award numerous 10-year tax abatements good public policy? Please include in your answer if there are any circumstances where you will support a future tax abatement for a company that does not promise to create a significant number of new jobs that pay a living wage of at least $15 an hour. Background: See the Boone County Tax Abatements at Answer: Has not responded. RECORD (April 18, 2015, "Economic Plan" Release): We need leaders who understand the importance of spurring economic activity based in the reality of America's knowledge economy. Lebanon will have a bright future if we can develop our potential and nurture an educational environment to close the skills gap and foster opportunities for today and for the next generation. Focus on attracting high-paying jobs based in the knowledge economy sectors of Life Sciences and Technology. Focus on high-paying and long-term jobs in the growing sectors of Agri-Science, Advanced Manufacturing, and Logistics. Work with Legislators, Educators, and Community Leaders to Secure a State Higher Education Institution Satellite or Community College Partner in the Downtown Core of Lebanon that focuses training on life sciences and the knowledge economy. Cooperate with a downtown higher education institution and the county to develop a downtown core parking garage solution. Create an Entrepreneurial Incubator to Encourage Start-Up Business Development in the Downtown Core of Lebanon by providing much needed meeting space and office areas for the job-creating small businesses of the next generation. Continue to encourage and guide the Vincennes University facility to support advanced manufacturing education and training. Sharpen our focus on existing small business owners to help them grow and create more jobs. Hold businesses who receive incentives accountable long-term and ensure that commitments to employees and taxpayers are met. Develop business relationships with a shared vision for development that is not wholly reliant on incentives or tax abatements. Increase transparency of the financial impact of tax abatements on citizens. Encourage citizen input on tax abatement decisions. Measure success of tax abatements based on the average hourly wage for non-management employees and percentage of employees that are Lebanon residents, not solely by the number of jobs created. Elect leaders who understand the knowledge economy to develop relationships with and recruit business leaders in growing industries. Make the city a safe and desirable place to locate a new business or grow an existing business.

Question #4: Are there any circumstances where you would consider including more companies within the Lebanon Tax Increment Financing District? Background: See Lebanon Business Park 2014 Property Taxes at Answer: Has not responded. RECORD: None.

Question #5: How will you better manage the Lebanon city budget to control the city property tax rate that has steadily increased 57.13% from 54.44 cents in 2009 to 85.54 cents today (when inflation has only increased 10.50%)? Background: See Lebanon 2015 City Budget at Answer: Has not responded. RECORD (March 24, 2015, Press Release): There would be an end to the practice of city contracts in Lebanon being awarded without an open bidding process. While our current process at city hall may not be technically illegal, the way our current administration does business in awarding contracts is vulnerable to abuse and demands reform. As Lebanon’s Mayor, I will also work to engage local business on projects with our city. I will stop the practice of Pay-to-Play by ending the unethical process of awarding campaign donors with contracts for city projects. I will also create a Lebanon City Ethics Committee and provide all city employees with ethics training. RECORD (April 10, 2015, Press Release): Lebanon should implement a policy of no pay increases for elected officials during the term they were elected - if you are hired by voters to do a job on Election Day, the rate as of the day you are elected should suffice. The City of Lebanon and Boone County should be looking to share costs on equipment or services wherever and whenever possible in the interest of all taxpayers.

Question #6: Do you believe that local Lebanon tax dollars and utility payments should be better spent on existing needs rather than build-it-and-they-will-come wants? Please include in your answer whether you support or oppose the spending on the following projects: (a) $1.710 million from the city for the “decorative” State Road 39 bridge panels over I-65, (b) $3.469 million from the city and $8.193 million from the state for the Indianapolis Avenue roundabouts, and (c) $500,000 from the city and $824,790 from the school corporation for the conference center at Lebanon High School. Background: See Lebanon SR 39 Bridge “Gateway” Project at, Lebanon Indianapolis Avenue “Gateway” Project at, and Herman B Wells Community Conference Center at Answer: Has not responded. RECORD (April 10, 2015, Press Release): When it comes to Lebanon's spending habits, I believe we can do better. Spending our resources on decorative bridge panels and unnecessary roundabouts is costing us money and doing little to spur job growth or economic development. It's time we had a commonsense approach to spending. Implement a disciplined plan to meet Lebanon's operating and infrastructure needs. Projects should not be done on an ad hoc basis. City leaders can meet current and future needs while saving taxpayer dollars by having a long-term strategic plan. Use committed and talented local citizens to study and develop city initiatives. Our citizens, collaborating about what we need and what we don’t, will ensure citizen engagement and support to address our opportunities and challenges.  Currently, Lebanon is too reliant on out-of-town consultants operating only on a profit motive

Question #7: Will you oppose circumventing state law by artificially dividing up future city capital projects to prevent concerned Lebanon citizens from initiating the petition and remonstrance process? Background: The Lebanon Mayor and Lebanon City Council divided the new $4.520 million Memorial Park swimming pool into two less costly projects so the petition and remonstrance process could not be initiated to avoid the unneeded property tax increases that were imposed through 2028 – see Answer: Has not responded. RECORD: None.

Question #8: Do you support the imposition of a Boone County Wheel Tax? Background: State law allows city and town councils to initiate a county-wide Wheel Tax. Like any action taken by the Lebanon City Council, the Lebanon Mayor can veto a Wheel Tax that is passed by the City Council and it would take a two-thirds vote of all the City Council members to override the Mayor’s veto (see Indiana Code 36-4-6-16). Answer: Has not responded. RECORD (April 30, 2015, The Lebanon Reporter): "He is, however, adamantly opposed to raising money for roads by adopting the Local Option Highway User Tax - commonly known as the 'wheel tax.' The LOHUT includes an excise surtax and a wheel tax; both must be adopted. Many other counties have found ways to raise money without a wheel tax, Gentry said."

Question #9: Do you think Lebanon city government should be more open to citizen input? Please include in your answer if you support any of the following open government reforms: (a) allow public comment at every Lebanon City Council meeting, (b) allow public comment at all Lebanon board and commission meetings, (c) post all meeting agendas online with links to pertinent documents, and (d) post all meeting minutes online. Answer: Has not responded. RECORD (March 24, 2015, Press Release): I want to increase transparency at city hall by implementing a program that mandates all Lebanon city meetings are streamed live online, archived, and that every meeting also allows for community dialogue on matters before the city council before votes are cast. The city has a responsibility to ensure that taxpayers know how their tax dollars are being used and that citizens have an opportunity to provide feedback.

Question #10: Should all citizens interested in public service on a city board or commission be given the opportunity to apply, should the same person serve on multiple city boards and commissions (unless required to do so by Indiana Code), and should city employees be appointed to city boards and commissions? Answer: Has not responded. RECORD (March 26, 2015, E-mail exchange with a Lebanon voter): A city employees sitting on a city board or commission is absolutely a conflict of interest because someone that is paid by the city is beholden to the Mayor for employment. I would as Mayor try to engage a diverse group of people and encourage them to apply for positions on city boards and commissions.

Question #11: Will you accept campaign contributions from businesses, business political action committees, and business employees who benefit – or hope to benefit – from Lebanon government contracts, development subsidies, and tax abatements? Background: See Friends of Huck Lewis 2014 Campaign Receipts and Expenditures at Answer: Has not responded. RECORD (March 24, 2015, Press Release): As mayor I will not accept campaign contributions from contractors, engineers, consultants or law firms that do business with the city. RECORD ( Candidate Gentry had $26,887.99 in total contributions, of which $20,480 (or 76%) came from contributors outside Boone County. The top three sources of candidate Gentry's contributions were (1) $9,375 (or 35%) from 29 present and past Republican members of the Indiana House of Representatives, (2) $5,500 (or 20%) from the Midwest Communications Group that provides targeted collateral materials for political campaigns, and (3) $5,387.99 (or 20%) from the candidate and his family. Candidate Gentry kept his pledge to not accept campaign contributions from contractors, engineers, consultants or law firms that do business with the city. 

Question #12: Do you wish to make some additional comments about your candidacy? Do you have a campaign phone number and E-mail address? Do you have a website? Answer: Has not responded. RECORD: Candidate Gentry has been a member of the Boone County Council since January 2015.

Watchdog Indiana Home Page Watchdog Lebanon Home Page Matt Gentry 2015 Campaign Receipts & Expenditures Harold "Huck" Lewis Candidate Rating

This page was last updated on 10/12/16 .