Jim Hundley (Taxpayer Uncertain)
Watchdog Lebanon Home Page
Address: 3101 E. St. Rd. 47, Lebanon, IN 46052
Phone: (317) 919-2078
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: The County should live within their means.
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: Standard business practice is to endeavor to have 25% cushion for operating.
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 think the county should explore every cut possible to not raise taxes.
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 think the county should explore every cut possible to not raise taxes.
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 think the county should explore every cut possible to not raise 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: I think the county should explore every cut possible to not raise taxes. However revenue lost by statute needs to be replaced, or services will have to be cut.
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: I think the county should explore every cut possible to not raise taxes. However revenue lost by statute needs to be replaced, or services will have to be cut.
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 would refer back to state statutes, elected officials are empowered to hire the candidate of their choice, when it is in their budget.
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: The county should be responsible for county roads.
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: As with all guidelines, these are not set in stone, and may need to be updated in the future to reflect the needs of the county at that time.
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.
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, whenever possible.
13. Should the County Council have the same attorney as the City of Lebanon? ANSWER: I don’t believe this falls under the jurisdiction of the council. This would be a commissioner question.
14. Should the Mapleview Rest Home remain open? BACKGROUND: See http://www.finplaneducation.net/boone_county_mapleview.htm. ANSWER: I think this home has done a lot of good in the county in its history. I would prefer to leave it open as long as it can stay on budget.
15. Should there be a tax-supported Boone County Animal Shelter? ANSWER: Best left in the private sector.
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 email is email@example.com
Watchdog Indiana County Council Candidate Questions - 2012 Primary Election
1. Will you vote to impose a regressive Wheel Tax in Boone County? BACKGROUND: See http://www.finplaneducation.net/wheel_tax_.htm. ANSWER: Did not respond.
2. Will you urge our Indiana General Assembly public servants to pass legislation that makes better use of our Indiana Gasoline Tax dollars? BACKGROUND: See http://www.finplaneducation.net/gas_tax_reform.htm. ANSWER: Did not respond.
3. Would you have voted Yes for the Boone
County Council to send the August 31, 2011, letter to the Boone County
department heads and elected officials requiring them to cut an additional 5%
from their 2012 general fund budget because of revenue shortfalls? BACKGROUND:
The Boone County Council voted 4-2 to send the following August 31, 2011, letter
(indicated in ITALICS):
Boone County Department Heads and Elected Officials,
First and foremost, let us express our gratitude for your efforts in confronting our county’s serious financial situation. The thoughtfulness and professionalism displayed throughout last week’s budget hearings, despite the stressful and sometimes arduous process, were a credit to your offices and to our community as a whole. The council applauds your efforts and appreciates all the work you and your staffs have done to plan for the upcoming year.
Unfortunately, the county faces such a dramatic decline in revenue that the cuts made last week are still insufficient to balance our budget. County revenue has fallen more than $4.7 Million over the past two years. Through your efforts and those of your staff to find efficiencies, to make do with less and to identify alternative sources for funding outside the county’s general fund, by week’s end over $2.2 Million had been trimmed from the submitted budget requests. But this still leaves the total of requested expenses more than $2.5 Million over the county’s anticipated income.
To help close this gap, the Council voted Friday to require that each department review its budget and cut an additional five percent (5%) from the general fund budget reviewed by the Council. Because the projections for county revenue in the coming years show a continuing decline, you should not anticipate these funding cuts being restored next year but rather consider them as permanent reductions in funding. The Council recognizes, regretfully, that in many departments these cuts can only be achieved by reducing expenditures on personnel. While we have worked to protect our employees as this budget crisis has approached, the grim fiscal reality may mean that the county workforce will have to be trimmed. The Council also recognizes that achieving this further five percent will be extremely difficult, particularly for some smaller departments, and such extreme cases will be reviewed as necessary.
These additional cuts, painful as they will be, will still leave the county far short of a balanced budget. Last year the Council shifted roughly $1.85 Million of the general fund budget to the Rainy Day Fund to help cover the 2011 shortfall, and the Council plans to draw on the Rainy Day Fund again for 2012. However, this course cannot be sustained indefinitely, and without significant, permanent cuts or significant increases in revenue, our reserves will be exhausted in just a few years. For longer-term planning purposes, further reductions of an additional five percent should be anticipated for 2013 and beyond.
We ask that you have your revised budgets – including these additional 5% cuts from the General Fund – submitted to the Auditor’s office by the end of business on Friday, September 9th. The Council expects to discuss the issue further at its regular meeting on September 13, and likely at the joint meeting with the County Commissioners in the first week of October. One or more additional meetings to discuss and review these measures may also be forthcoming, as we continue to work together to address this very difficult and complex predicament.
Thank you for your service,
ANSWER: Did not respond.
4. Would you have voted Yes for the August 9, 2011, Boone County Council motion stating, "If a full-time position is vacated an offer of employment to fill the position shall not be extended until approval from the County Council."? BACKGROUND: The Boone County Council failed to pass this motion by a 3-3 vote. ANSWER: Did not respond.
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