John W. Hume (Taxpayer Uncertain)
Watchdog Lebanon Home Page
Address: 11149 W. 450 S., New Ross, IN 47968
Phone: (765) 918-2232
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.
Voted NO against the Key Bank Building purchase. The Boone County Council did not have the condition of the Key Bank Building evaluated by a disinterested professional BEFORE final approval of a $1.85 million bond issue that included a $1.3 million purchase price with just $100,000 for HVAC improvements. A total of $785,000 was identified for needed 2017-2019 Key Bank Building improvements just a few months after the purchase was approved. Spending at least $785,000 for Key Bank Building improvements could take funds away from road repairs and the Sheriff’s Office – possibly triggering the imposition of a regressive Wheel Tax and/or an unneeded Local Income Tax increase. Also, it is questionable that the 44 year-old Key Bank Building will be modern enough to meet “future planning objectives” 20 to 30 years from now. See http://www.finplaneducation.net/key_bank_building.htm.
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 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: Budgeted expenditures should not exceed revenue. In times of unexpected shortfalls, The rainy day fund or other "saving account" funds should be used to make up shortfalls.
2. What is an appropriate level of county cash reserves compared to the county’s annual operating budget? BACKGROUND: See http://www.finplaneducation.net/county_ccd_tax.htm. ANSWER: Cash reserve levels should be adequate to cover revenue shortfall in times of economic downturns. Our recent deep and long recession should be used to determine the levels needed to weather downturns without raising taxes. A look at the county's previous reserves and compare them with our current levels to help determine the proper reserve. A 15-18 % may be an acceptable amount.
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: A wheel tax is unneeded.
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: Without proven needs to increase the CCD rate, it should stand as-is.
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: Public safety is one of a few essential services provided by government. To enact the public safety LOIT another COIT must be established first and be offset by property tax reduction. This seems to be a complicated process. I believe a simple increase in the public safety budget would be simpler without creating new taxes.
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: Yes. I have yet to understand the reasoning behind taxing a business for owning equipment required to run their business. The taxes are simply added to the cost of the product or service the business provides.
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: Same answer as #6. $20,000 in business property seems to be a level that would effect very few businesses.
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: Yes. I would like department heads to justify the needed employee.
9. Should the county help pay for road projects within the municipal limits of the county’s cities and towns, or should county dollars be dedicated to road improvements and maintenance within the unincorporated areas of the county? ANSWER: County road funds should be used to maintain and improve roadways in the unincorporated areas only. The recent expansion of incorporated town boundaries has blurred the authority and responsibilities of county and local governments. Residents in unincorporated areas should not be responsible for improvements and maintenance of incorporated cities and towns.
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: Yes, it should be followed closely! The comprehensive plan was put in place by a large cross section of county residents and many hours spent compiling it's recommendations.
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. Individual votes should be recorded.
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: Yes. The opportunity to serve on appointed board should be given to all interested residents.
13. Should the County Council have the same attorney as the City of Lebanon? ANSWER: No. The county and city should retain separate legal council.
14. Should the Mapleview Rest Home remain open? BACKGROUND: See http://www.finplaneducation.net/boone_county_mapleview.htm. ANSWER: The future of Maple View has many emotional and financial factors to consider. The well being and care of residents must be weighed against what is responsible to taxpayers. I am unable to give educated response at this time.
15. Should there be a tax-supported Boone County Animal Shelter? ANSWER: The Humane Society of Boone County has secured land to build a shelter and has a plan in place to fund the operation in the future. The support needed from the county is ordinances and regulations for animal control and not financial. They are doing a commendable job at present time and I see no reason for the county to intervene.
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: My campaign is about information. We live in an age of communication technology. Interested county residents should be kept up to date of issues facing our county and informed of public meetings and results of those meetings to gain first hand knowledge. Public access to elected officials is important. If elected, I will maintain an internet blog and email list of constituents to keep them informed. I also will promote at a minimum quarterly council meetings held of an evening or a convenient time. I believe all taxpayers should have a voice in how their money in spent. Our county is ever expanding and sometimes "progress" trumps what is best for all, and taxpayers end up shouldering the financial burden of development. I look forward to hearing your concerns.
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This page was last updated on 10/11/16.