Dax Norton (Taxpayer UNfriendly)

Watchdog Lebanon Home Page

Phone: 317-769-6055
E-mail: electdaxnorton2016@gmail.com  

Campaign Contributions: January 1, 2016, through April 8, 2016

Candidate Norton had no contributions and no expenditures, and no cash on hand on April 8. 


Watchdog Indiana County Council Candidate Questions - 2016 Primary Election

1. What will be your public service priorities if you are elected to the Boone County Council? ANSWER: 
A. Servant leadership: Focus on the 2 Rs.
    1) Respect – Respect the concerns and guidance of the citizens.
    2) Responsiveness – Respond within 12 hours to each concern or word of advice.
B. Fiscal Responsibility
    1) Update/review the county’s comprehensive financial plan/ fiscal policy and review the policies for the following:
        a) Fees and charges
        b) Debt issuance and management
        c) Balancing the operating budget (understanding that there will be times when an unbalanced budget must be adopted
        d) Cash reserve days
        e) End of year cash reserve for each fund (% of budgeted amount to be left unspent – I suggest 11-15%)
        f) Contingency Planning
C. Enhanced Public Safety – Provide the Sheriff with the funding necessary to keep the residents safe and combat the drug epidemic
D. Infrastructure investment (ditches, highways, bridges, etc.) for economic development (with production agriculture playing the role of the county’s most prominent economic development driver).
    1) Use the new PASER report to prioritize highway projects and the use of MVH and COIT funds
E. Smart Planning
    1) Update the county comprehensive plan (2009 was the last update)
    2) Review and update the county zoning standards (Unified Development Ordinance)
F. Economic Development Support (Economic development will increase AV and provide a mechanism to provide more public services without raising taxes or placing a burden on the agricultural community and those taxpayers that live on fixed incomes)
    1) Continue supporting the efforts of the Boone EDC
    2) Develop Incentive application standards
    3) Update the county economic development strategic plan
G. Develop a capital improvement plan (5, 10 and 25 years)
H. Maintain the physical plant (Courthouse, Highway Department, Jail, etc.)
I. Work with private partners to develop a county park system (the Farm Heritage Trail)

2. Is the county spending enough of its available resources to maintain and improve the county roads in the unincorporated areas of the county? BACKGROUND: The 2013-15 State Budget made better use of the existing state Gasoline Tax and state Sales Tax revenues from gasoline purchases to significantly increase Boone County transportation funding. State revenues deposited into the Boone County Motor Vehicle Highway and Local Road & Street funds increased 38 percent from $2,900,956 in 2013 to $4,016,363 in 2015. However, only $2,888,947 was spent from the 2015 Boone County Motor Vehicle Highway and Local Road & Street funds – $1,127,416 was unspent and added to the cash reserves (the December 31, 2015, cash balances in the Boone County Motor Vehicle Highway and Local Road & Street funds totaled $2,933,169). ANSWER: I believe that the addition of Craig Parks as the County Highway engineer will help the county prioritize MVH and LRS spending. There is nothing detrimental with building up our MVH/LRS cash reserves to be used for major, long term capital spending projects, but we must not build up a reserve for future capital at the expense of present day needs.

3. Do you support a new county-wide Wheel Tax? BACKGROUND: Indiana Senate Bill 67 passed by the Indiana General Assembly this year will increase funding for 2016 to the Boone County government units by a total of $13,044,770. A one-time additional distribution from the state’s county option income tax (COIT) trust account will provide $4,106,918 in additional county government revenue this year, at least 75% of which must be used exclusively by the Boone County Highway Department for local road construction, maintenance, and repair. In addition, Indiana House Bill 1001 passed by the Indiana General Assembly this year created a state Local Road and Bridge Matching Grant Fund, which will provide matching dollar-for-dollar grants to a county or municipality that allocates certain revenues for the purpose of increasing the capacity of local roads and bridges. ANSWER: We are facing a county highway infrastructure crisis, and the MVH fund will not provide enough revenue to perform basic maintenance and build the new infrastructure necessary to carry increased traffic due to growth and economic development. Growth in population will increase the fund but not nearly enough to provide adequate support to fund all of the suggested maintenance listed in the PASER report. I do support a wheel tax, but I believe the policy that sets the "fee" must consider those that are on fixed incomes or do not earn a living wage. The $25 fee could be a burden for those on fixed incomes and low income residents.

4. What is an appropriate level of county cash reserves compared to the county’s annual operating budget? BACKGROUND: The August 11, 2010, Boone County Comprehensive Financial Plan prepared by H. J. Umbaugh & Associates (a PDF version can be E-mailed on request) targets 15% as a prudent level of end-of-the-year Boone County government cash balances compared to annual operating funds disbursements. ANSWER: I am not opposed to 15%.

5. Do you support a new county-wide Public Safety Local Option Income Tax? BACKGROUND: See page 77 of the Fiscal Year 2015 Indiana Handbook of Taxes, Revenues, and Appropriations at https://iga.in.gov/static-documents/f/9/4/0/f9407ace/2015%20Tax%20Handbook%20WEBPAGE.pdf. ANSWER: Yes. Public safety should be our number one priority, and Sheriff Nielsen has proven that he is providing all of the services possible with the little funds that are provided him. I am concerned about the low wage and fixed income taxpayer, so I believe this must be presented to the public multiple times prior to passage in an effort to gather the public’s input and advice. The Sheriff’s Department must be provided with increased revenues to place more officers on the streets, maintain the Jail and combat the drug epidemic. This LOIT will also open up a portion of the general fund budget to enhance the funding for other needed services.

6. Should property tax rate increases be avoided to (a) protect lower income Boone County residents with homes assessed below the 1% property tax cap from tax increases and (2) lessen Boone County units of government budget losses to property tax caps? ANSWER: Yes. If we encourage smart development and follow a sound economic development strategy, we will increase our AV via the attraction of retail, commercial and industrial taxpayers. Controlled growth. This is best plan to broaden the base. This could potentially increase the budget while decreasing the rate. This could work to provide the taxpayer with enhanced services without placing the burden on the residential taxpayer.

7. Should better use be made of the request for proposals (RFP) process to select county government service providers? ANSWER: Yes. A 3 year cycle that is very open and transparent to the public. This should be a formally adopted policy.

8. 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. I believe that it a good document, but comprehensive plans should be a dynamic and can always be improved. The plan is useless if leaders fail to heed the advice of this very important guide. These plans should be reviewed frequently and updated every 3-5 years. It is time to update this plan that was adopted in 2009.

9. How can the actions and decisions of the Boone County Council be more open and transparent to the public? BACKGROUND: Good examples of how to provide open and transparent local government can be found on the Town of Whitestown web site at http://www.whitestown.in.gov/. ANSWER: Has not responded. RECORD:

10. Should the individual votes of Boone County Council members be recorded in meeting minutes so the members can be held accountable for their public policy decisions? ANSWER: Yes. I am very supportive of the roll call vote!

11. Should upcoming Boone County Council board appointments be announced ahead of time so interested citizens can apply? ANSWER: Yes. The website should be updated to include a list of all boards and commissions, a description of the duties of each commission, the vacancies on each commission and a method to apply for those vacancies. Resumes should be gathered and considered for each board or commission vacancy. Vacancies should be listed in the local newspapers.

12. Who is your current employer, and would service on the Boone County Council possibly create significant conflicts related to your employment? ANSWER: I am the Town Manager for the town of Whitestown. The Bounty County Council and Whitestown Town Council do not interact often. The County Council informally gives blessing for the town budget and may from time to time vote to appropriate funds for project within town limits, but I believe there would be little conflict. I would recuse myself willingly should a conflict arise.

13. What is your campaign phone number, E-mail address, and website (or other online presence)? ANSWER: My campaign contact information follows: Email: electdaxnorton2016@gmail.com Phone: (317)-769-6055

14. Do you wish to make some additional comments about your candidacy? ANSWER: I work hard daily to embrace the principles of servant leadership. I would be honored to join this Boone County Council that is well respected and responsive to taxpayer concerns.

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This page was last updated on 04/20/16.