Tom Santelli (Taxpayer UNfriendly)

Watchdog Lebanon Home Page Gene Thompson Watchdog Indiana Candidate Rating

Address: 1195 Woodside Court, Zionsville, IN 46077
Phone: (630) 258-7122

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

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

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 and ANSWER: From a business perspective I apply the principals of zero based budgeting: (1) efficient allocation of resources, as it is based on needs and benefits rather than history; (2) drives managers to find cost effective ways to improve operations; (3) detects inflated budgets; (4) increases staff motivation by providing greater initiative and responsibility in decision-making; (5) increases communication and coordination within the organization; (6) identifies and eliminates wasteful and obsolete operations; (7) identifies opportunities for outsourcing; (8) forces cost centers to identify their mission and their relationship to overall goals; (9) helps in identifying areas of wasteful expenditure, and if desired, can also be used for suggesting alternative courses of action.Using the principals of zero based budgeting I have been able to consistently balance budgets.

2. What is an appropriate level of county cash reserves compared to the county’s annual operating budget? BACKGROUND: See ANSWER: I typically do not like to use percentages e.g. 15% or 18%. Effective planning and budgeting helps to define reserves based on projects and spending that maximize taxpayer value. For example if you have a $25MM budget and you have cash reserves of $5MM, then as the revenues grow to $30MM, without effective planning and budgeting some would argue reserves should grow to $6MM. My target would be reserves of $3.75MM. The larger the reserves the higher the opportunity for spending growth and misapplication of funds.

3. Do you support a new county-wide Wheel Tax? BACKGROUND: See and ANSWER: I do not support a regressive tax. Since we pay some of the highest gasoline taxes in the country we should be looking to those and other sources for relief.

4. Do you support an increase in the county-wide Cumulative Capital Development property tax rate? BACKGROUND: See ANSWER: As citizens we are overtaxed and the legislature realized this with the property tax caps making a clear statement. We do not need to incrementally increase any taxes.

5. Do you support a new county-wide Public Safety Local Option Income Tax? BACKGROUND: See ANSWER: This would require adjustments to the LOIT, COIT or CAGIT so the short answer is no.

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: As a business with equipment in multiple states the personal property tax serves as a disincentive to businesses locating in Indiana, as well as reinvestment. The local governments have the option to use this an incentive to bring in business. I would want to ensure a cost benefit analysis.

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: Yes.

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: ANSWER: Yes where this is a new position. Zero based budgeting defines the employment need for managers and their departments for existing positions.

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: We should be, and need to be, going after all resources local, state and federal for infrastructure improvements. In that unincorporated and incorporated areas pay into the pool there needs to be some sharing of costs.

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 ANSWER: Yes, the plan was adopted through a series of public meetings. It should be adhered to.

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, to assure the accountability regarding elected officials. County council meetings should be webcast, as well as, to further include committee and subcommittee meetings. There should then be a mechanism to ask questions, with an appropriate written response, opening up government to all citizens.

12. Should upcoming County Council board appointments be announced ahead of time so interested citizens can apply? BACKGROUND: See ANSWER: Yes, to assure the best interested and qualified selection available.

13. Should the County Council have the same attorney as the City of Lebanon? ANSWER: In practice no. It presents the appearance of, if not an actual conflict of interest. Who is the client? The City of Lebanon or The County Council? Where there are economies of scale and specialized practice (saving tax payer dollars) this could be considered.

14. Should the Mapleview Rest Home remain open? BACKGROUND: See ANSWER: I would have to study this further before I can comment.

15. Should there be a tax-supported Boone County Animal Shelter? ANSWER: No this is an independently supported 501 3C and should not be tax supported. They more often than not become inhumane shelters, always in need of more taxes. I support a self-funded Humane Shelter that could contract with municipalities to shelter and handle strays and problem animal situations within that municipality's boundaries for a fee by contract with that municipality. This saves a municipality employees fees, operational fees and capital expenditures for facilities to animal problems.  The best shelters are funded by trusts, donations, educational programs and adoption fees that keep them independent. 

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: Like yourself I am very interested in the future of our community, from a number of perspectives, including our financial strength, budgeting, how we spend our tax dollars, taxes, transportation, infrastructure, education, economic and business development, our business environment, as well as how we differentiate and promote our community. I believe through teamwork we can set the future course of Boone County. I would like to see us move to number 1 from a number of perspectives, including safety, transportation, economic growth, education, infrastructure, health and wellness. Experienced leadership, solid business ethics and character are important in this election. My experience includes corporate planning, economic development, research, development and engineering, planning and budgeting, training and corporate public affairs. I am eager to use my business and educational background on the Boone County Council, together we can bring new and important perspectives to our county government. My education includes a Bachelor of Science and Business Undergraduate Degrees, and an MBA in Finance and Operations Research. I have an extensive background in agricultural research, business development, and farming as well.


Campaign Contributions: January 1, 2014, through April 11, 2014

As detailed in the spreadsheet below, Candidate Santelli is self-funding 33% of his campaign. He has received no itemized contributions from business interests anticipating special consideration.

Tom Santelli For County Council

Campaign Contributions

January 1, 2014, through April 11, 2014

(Compiled April 24, 2014)

SOURCE: Report of Receipts and Expenditures available in the Boone County Clerk's office on April 21, 2014.

a. January 1 Cash On Hand


b. Itemized Contributions


c. Unitemized Contributions


d. Subtotal Contributions (b+c)


e. Total Cash Available (a+d)


f. Subtotal Expenditures


i. April 11 Cash On Hand (e-f)



Boone County Individuals





Wendy Brant


Mar 7


Charles Eaton


Feb 19


Thomas R. Santelli




(candidate loans)



Out-Of-County Individuals






Political Action Committees









Business Type

Avalon Gallery


Mar 31


jewelry store

Madeira Partners LP

Boston, MA



hedge fund



Other Organizations




Business Type



$796.00 to Capitol Promotions, Glenside, PA

Watchdog Lebanon Home Page Gene Thompson Watchdog Indiana Candidate Rating

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