Corey Kutz (Taxpayer UNfriendly)
Watchdog Indiana Home Page Watchdog Lebanon Home Page Lana M. Kruse Candidate Rating
Address: 722 N. Meridian Street, Lebanon, IN 46052
2016 City Council Record
Voted YES 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 http://www.finplaneducation.net/sheriff_business_plan.htm.
Watchdog Indiana Lebanon City Council 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 http://www.finplaneducation.net/lebanon_worth_annexation.htm. Answer: Annexations have become a popular outlet by cities within Indiana to extend the tax base, however, in Lebanon we must be conscious of the agricultural effect. Unanimous agreement is not a viable solution in any decision, including annexation, so in that regard I don't believe that would be a possibility. Annexations will be carefully considered and the voice of those affected will be heard. Future annexations should take careful consideration of agriculture and upholding the future of farming families in our community. 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 http://www.finplaneducation.net/lebanon_interchange_plan.htm. Answer: Lebanon is facing very important decisions on growth, and agriculture continues to be a very important part of life in central Indiana. Farm land should be preserved to the extent possible. 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 http://www.finplaneducation.net/county_tax_abatements.htm. Answer: Assigning and arbitrary number like $15 an hour doesn't make sense to me. Supply in the job market currently exceeds demand which can be solved either by increasing demand or decreasing supply. The decision has been made at the federal level to lower supply side by subsidizing with programs like extended unemployment. The right answer is to increase demand by driving economic growth. There are many studies that show abatements do not deliver the intended growth, however in a competitive market cities are forced to make tough decisions. Blanket 10-year abatements are not the answer. Good policy will include staggered abatements based upon needs of the city as well as diversification of current portfolio. RECORD: None.
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 http://www.finplaneducation.net/lbp_property_taxes.htm. Answer: Not currently. 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 http://www.finplaneducation.net/lebanon_2015_budget.htm. Answer: Comparison to inflation indicates we only want to maintain the services conducted in 2009. The economic downturn of 2008 taught everyone we have to strengthen our balance sheets. Previous questions lead me to believe that Watchdog is pro-employee yet for the budget recommends only part-time employees be added to save on benefits expense (Source: http://www.finplaneducation.net/lebanon_2015_budget.htm suggestions 2 and 3 of budget reduction). This is the very question that faces each private sector company on a daily basis and is ridiculed often. City budget can not grow at a rate equal to inflation if additional services are to be rendered. Is 57% too much of an increase in 5 years? Most likely the answer is yes, but we also must consider the park pool debt service is added as well as the rainy day savings fund. I believe there has to be an expansion period in government spending, the key is to have that be a finite period of expansion then reduce the rate of expanding budgets. I think we are within a couple of years of plateauing in government spending, which will bring the tax rates back to a suitable growth rate. RECORD: None.
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 http://www.finplaneducation.net/lebanon_sr39bridge_gateway.htm, Lebanon Indianapolis Avenue “Gateway” Project at http://www.finplaneducation.net/lebanon_indyave_gateway.htm, and Herman B Wells Community Conference Center at http://www.finplaneducation.net/wells_conference_center.htm. Answer: For Lebanon to be successful we must spend both on existing needs as well as wants. Lebanon is at a critical period in our growth cycle and we must come together to create a cohesive vision for the city. We have boards, committees, and commissions working on projects that overlap but never come together to plan. Why spend the money on a sign at state road 39 (love it or hate it) and then make Indianapolis Avenue the gateway to our city? Where on the bike proposal do we connect a prospective high-value home sub-division? Why spend the money to create a community conference center and then not market the space for a revenue stream? All of these items have created a level of controversy for our city and yet none compliment each other in the vision of Lebanon. RECORD: None.
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 http://www.finplaneducation.net/lebanon_park_pool.htm. Answer: Yes. 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: No. RECORD: None.
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: While I don't support public comment at each meeting I do believe it only makes sense to have resources available to citizens. Pertinent documents should be posted online as timely as possible, including before any public hearings. Also minutes should be posted in a timely fashion for review by those unable to attend. It should also be a requirement for each elected official to have contact information posted for the public and response to those inquiries should be timely. Connectivity has allowed us to be a button click away from information, it should also allow us to be that close to our elected officials. RECORD: None.
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: Citizens interested in public service should always feel welcome to serve if their intention is to be actively involved. Serving on multiple boards can create a sharing of ideas between units, which I see as a positive move. City employees should be appointed to boards if it makes sense. RECORD: None.
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 http://www.finplaneducation.net/huck_lewis_2014.htm. Answer: Campaign contributions will be accepted from anyone willing. If elected, it will be my duty to serve my constituents, not campaign contributors. RECORD:
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: I have said a number of times that Lebanon is in an extremely exciting point in the creation of its legacy. It is time for a fresh start, a time that creates a cohesive vision of the city. The citizens of Lebanon deserve a well thought out growth plan that addresses not only the commercial aspect of town, but also our residential needs. We owe it to the youth of our community to make this city great for years to come. I want my kids not only to enjoy their experience growing up here, but also to settle down in this great city. Together we can achieve greatness, but it is going to take hard work and tough decision making. RECORD: None.
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This page was last updated on 10/12/16 .