David Rodgers (Taxpayer UNfriendly)

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Phone: (765) 676-9262 
E-mail: drodgers@ilines.net

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 YES to approve 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.

2014 County Council Voting Record

Voted YES to increase the 2015 property tax rate by 6.56 percent. Because almost all of the of the homes in Zionsville are already taxed to the property tax caps threshold, very few of the high-income Zionsville residents will pay the 2015 property tax increase. It is Taxpayer UNfriendly that Boone County businesses, farmers, and low-income residents outside Zionsville will pay a property tax increase because the County Council did not have the political will to cut their ample 2014 total certified budget by just 3.62 percent.

2013 County Council Voting Record

Two votes were taken by the Boone County Council to pass an unneeded Cumulative Capital Development (CCD) property tax rate increase that was ultimately disapproved by the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance because, "The County has neither explained nor justified why an increase to the Fund's tax rate is necessary despite the County's existing cash balances." The first vote was taken on July 9 when the Council passed a motion with a 4-3 roll call vote that would enable the county’s Pay 2014 CCD property tax rate to be increased by 160% from $0.0127 to $0.0330. The second vote was taken on October 8 when the Council passed a motion with 5 voice votes to approve CCD spending in the 2014 budget that would increase the county’s Pay 2014 CCD property tax rate by 67% from $0.0127 to $0.0212. David Rodgers cast a Taxpayer Friendly No vote to increase the CCD property tax rate during the July 9 Boone County Council meeting. David did not vote on the motion that would have increased the CCD property tax rate at the October 8 Boone County Council meeting. The CCD property tax votes cast by David Rodgers are identified as Taxpayer Friendly. 

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: David Rodgers recently provided the following response to a constituent: "Thanks for your inquiry. I’ve noticed quite an uptick in interest in the wheel tax issue lately, though it has never been raised by a member of the County Council in the 3+ years I have served as a member. I hope you’ll forgive me not giving a clear-cut answer to your first question, but I believe this issue, as with so many issues of real importance at every level of government, is more complex than a yes or no answer can justly address. Property taxes cannot, by statute, be used directly to fund road maintenance; using county option income tax revenue or other sources such as the food and beverage tax are really our only other local option. Our highway department receives the majority of its funding from the state gasoline tax, with other smaller state-collected taxes (like excise taxes) contributing a much smaller portion. For the 2012 budget year Boone County Highway anticipates revenue from those state-controlled sources to be slightly lower than what was received in 1999, even with maintenance costs up more than 300% in many cases. I have never been a supporter of the wheel tax, and I do not foresee that changing. I agree that it is a regressive tax, though with proper structuring of the fees – and I really do see it as a user fee – that issue can be somewhat alleviated. If the funding solution is left up to us at the county level, though, I would much prefer other levy solutions. Most important to me is that enacting a wheel tax simply would not solve the problems the county faces in funding road maintenance. When I last looked into the issue enough to make some estimates, the county’s portion of revenue (the majority would be divided among the county’s municipalities) from enacting a wheel tax with fees short of the maximum rate would only be in the range of $500,000 annually. While that amount is certainly nothing to sneeze at, it would fall far, far short of covering the current shortfall needed simply to maintain our roads in their current condition. It simply does not seem to me to be worth the trouble – the political difficulty, the regressive nature of the tax, the issues with collection and distribution through the BMV, etc. – to enact a wheel tax for such a relatively small boost to road maintenance funding. With all that said, I would never unequivocally rule out any revenue option should circumstances change. There may come a time when other options have been exhausted. I could also foresee the possibility of the municipalities of the county banding together to demand the wheel tax be adopted; I don’t believe that entirely unreasonable, as a majority of the revenue would be divided amongst them, though the difficulties I listed above would still apply. I also support the proposal being advocated by Lebanon’s Mayor Huck Lewis in the state legislature which would give the municipalities more direct input on any wheel tax decision."

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: David Rodgers recently provided the following response to a constituent: "Your second question I can, in fact, answer unequivocally: yes! Since before joining the Council, I have consistently encouraged our state legislators to remove funding for the State Police entirely from the gas tax revenue and instead support it solely from the state’s general fund. I made this point again just last weekend at the Legislative Breakfast held in Lebanon. Representative Jeff Thompson indicated that he felt the prospects for doing so in next year’s state budget were better than they have been for some time, but others did not seem so positive. I will continue to push for that move, though even that will not entirely solve our funding shortfalls. In the long term, revenue from the gas tax will continue to decline overall as we as a society move to more fuel efficient vehicles and away from fossil fuels in general. One option I have found increasingly attractive is funding part of the highway department’s budget through the food and beverage tax. I believe the Council intends to follow my recommendation to fund the ongoing lease of new trucks and possibly graders from this fund beginning with the 2013 budget cycle. I hope these answers explain my views adequately. I apologize for their length. Again, this is a very complex issue, which will not be going away any time soon. I do not foresee a wheel tax being introduced in Boone County in the reasonable future, no do I have any intention of supporting it. But one thing I have learned in my time in local government is that circumstances beyond our local control can sometimes require us to take actions we would not choose. If you are interested in learning more about the council’s decisions, I invite you to visit my website: http://rodgersforcouncil.blogspot.com. I have posted my personal notes from each Council meeting since taking office, as well as a few other items on related topics. It is neither fancy nor exciting, but I hope it keeps people informed of what we’re up to. If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me."

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: David Rodgers voted Yes for the August 31, 2011, Boone County Council 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.

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: David Rogers voted Yes for the August 9, 2011, Boone County Council motion requiring County Council approval for an offer of employment to fill a vacated full-time position.

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This page was last updated on 10/11/16.