John W. Hamilton (Taxpayer Friendly)
Watchdog Lebanon Home Page
Address: 108 E. Elm St., Jamestown, IN 46147
Phone: (317) 432-6022
Watchdog Indiana County Council Candidate Questions - 2014 Primary Election
1. Should annual county expenditures exceed annual county revenues? BACKGROUND: See http://www.finplaneducation.net/county_financial_analysis.htm and http://www.finplaneducation.net/county_expendiitures_comparison.htm. ANSWER: Counties should never allow spending to outpace revenue. Just like its citizens a county needs to live within its means.
2. What is an appropriate level of county cash reserves compared to the countyís annual operating budget? BACKGROUND: See http://www.finplaneducation.net/county_ccd_tax.htm. ANSWER: I think a 15% cash reserve is more than enough to maintain in reserve. Our county has actually done a pretty good job maintaining its reserves and should look towards spending cuts first before dipping into current reserves.
3. Do you support a new county-wide Wheel Tax? BACKGROUND: See http://www.finplaneducation.net/wheel_tax_.htm and http://www.finplaneducation.net/transportation_funding_increases.htm. ANSWER: I am not in favor of seeing the county impose a county-wide wheel tax. It is my belief that sufficient funds exist for the county to provide adequate repairs and improvements.
4. Do you support an increase in the county-wide Cumulative Capital Development property tax rate? BACKGROUND: See http://www.finplaneducation.net/county_ccd_tax.htm. ANSWER: I do not support any tax rate increase that unfairly targets lower income property owners while sparing others above the median value.
5. Do you support a new county-wide Public Safety Local Option Income Tax? BACKGROUND: See http://www.in.gov/dlgf/files/Local_Option_Income_Tax_Fact_Sheet.pdf. ANSWER: I do not at this time support adopting the Public Safety Local Option Income Tax. I feel the county currently has adequate reserves to meet its needs. This tax is simply an end round effort to replace property tax increases and needs to be seen as such.
6. Do you support the elimination of the business personal property tax for any new business equipment? BACKGROUND: Effective July 1, 2015, the county income tax council (which includes county council members) is allowed by the recently passed Indiana Senate Enrolled Act 1 to adopt an ordinance to exempt from property taxation any new business personal property that is located in the county. ANSWER: I do not support any elimination of current business taxes. The elimination of these taxes falls directly back on the taxpayers/homeowners to pick up the shortfall. While the elimination of business taxes seems to be the new hot ticket to enticing businesses to relocate here, I believe we can get more creative in landing solid manufacturing and or white collar businesses without putting a burden on the residents of Boone County.
7. Do you support the elimination of the business personal property tax for any business with less than $20,000 worth of equipment and machinery? BACKGROUND: Starting with the Pay 2017 property tax year, the county income tax council (which includes county council members) is allowed by the recently passed Indiana Senate Enrolled Act 1 to adopt an ordinance providing that if the acquisition cost of a taxpayer's business personal property is less than $20,000: (a) the taxpayer is not required to file a personal property return for the taxpayer's business personal property; and (b) the taxpayer's business personal property is exempt from taxation. ANSWER: This is a positive means to help support small business and should result in a minor cost to the county. The problem still lies in the fact that any offset must be made up by the residents of our county or county reserves. Without strict budget cuts earmarked to coincide with this loss, this will be a detriment to our county as a whole.
8. Should county department heads and elected officials obtain approval from the County Council before making offers of employment to fill full-time employment vacancies? BACKGROUND: http://www.finplaneducation.net/boone_county_employment.htm. ANSWER: I believe County Council approval should be sought in all full time hiring.
9. Should the county help pay for road projects within the municipal limits of the countyís cities and towns, or should county dollars be dedicated to road improvements and maintenance within the unincorporated areas of the county? ANSWER: Where County roads cross through cities and towns the county will always have some responsibility in maintaining roads. Cities and Towns need to bear a larger responsibility toward road projects that solely benefit them. County funds need to be better allocated to speed up improving the large number of gravel or unimproved roads we still have.
10. 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 think the Boone County Comprehensive Plan as written is a great road map for our future. I believe it sets out to strike a balance between growth and needs. The bigger challenge we face is making sure that the plan is followed as growth continues.
11. Should the individual votes of County Council members be recorded in meeting minutes so the members can be held accountable for their public policy decisions? ANSWER: Yes, votes made by all council members should be recorded as a means of informing the residents of Boone County where their council members stand.
12. Should upcoming County Council board appointments be announced ahead of time so interested citizens can apply? BACKGROUND: See http://www.finplaneducation.net/county_appointed_boards.htm. ANSWER: I think it is not only important to announce these openings prior to making any appointments, I think it mandatory for a more diverse selection of board members. While some boards have mandatory requirements of who can or canít be on them, more effort needs to be made to get a better cross section of members than we currently have.
13. Should the County Council have the same attorney as the City of Lebanon? ANSWER: No. I believe such a situation will cause a conflict of interest and ultimately cost more in any dealings between the 2 entities.
14. Should the Mapleview Rest Home remain open? BACKGROUND: See http://www.finplaneducation.net/boone_county_mapleview.htm. ANSWER: I think it is important to maintain the Mapleview Rest Home for as long as financially and feasibly possible. It is a mainstay of our county and gives residents a local and familiar setting. That said, with changes in funding and technology, more modern private facilities will ultimately make County Homes like Mapleview obsolete. The bigger question will be what the county plans to do with the facility should they close it. Until this is decided it will remain a burden to taxpayers.
15. Should there be a tax-supported Boone County Animal Shelter? ANSWER: I believe there is a great need for a County Animal Shelter. To often animals are simply dropped off on county roads creating a hazard and leaving the animals in a inhumane environment forcing them to fend for themselves. I believe a proper shelter teamed with the Non-Profit Boone County Humane society would help properly serve and educate our countyís animals and owners.
16. 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: I am running for Boone County Council District 2 because I could see a much needed change in our County Council was due. I felt this was a perfect time to breathe some new life and ideas into our Council. I believe my knowledge of business and civics will provide me with a good base for making proper choices for our county. "Our County". That is really what serving on this council is all about. We may all come from different walks of life and occupations, but when it comes right down to it, our wants and needs for our future and our neighborhoods are all the same.
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This page was last updated on 04/06/14.