Jay Schaumberg (Taxpayer Friendly)
Watchdog Lebanon Home Page
Address: 7254 N. 225 W., Lebanon, IN 46052
Phone: (765) 482-9700 x 301
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: No. It is unacceptable over a multi-year period of time for expenditures to exceed revenues. Because the natural flow of income and expenses do not always perfectly align with each other, it is possible that in a given year expenses might exceed income just because of the timing of when planned or unforeseen expenses come due. But over a multi-year period, it is unacceptable that expenses exceed revenues. Boone County has been in this situation for at least the past 4 years, where we have had to dip into our reserve funds to match expenses, and this cannot and will not continue. Spending must not exceed revenues.
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: In the ideal economic model, cash reserves should be adequate to cover unexpected shortfalls in revenue or additions in expenses. Prudent foresight and planning allows us to more accurately predict this number, but it will always be a moving target. The state recommends 12.5% for the state, but that might not be an appropriate number for Boone County. It certainly represents at least a minimum. We have experienced a significant decrease in revenues recently, and fortunately had a significantly large cash reserve on which to draw. But as revenues are projected to increase because of the economy and real estate values increasing, I do not believe that we will need to continue a 30+% cash reserve as long as we keep spending in check. I also believe that there should be an accountability/rationalization for why we keep the reserves that we do.
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 do not support a county wheel tax. I believe that a wheel tax is a bad idea because of two primary reasons: It is regressive and it is unnecessary. Boone County is one of the few counties that have rejected implementation of this tax, and I will work to keep it that way.
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 do not support an increase in the CCD tax rate. There are adequate funds currently to cover the needs.
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 support the funding of public safety from the county budget, but I do not support a county-wide Public Safety Local Option Income Tax. The way this particular proposed tax is structured would require a hand-in-hand reduction of other tax rates, resulting in effectively the same revenue to the county. But in addition to this proposed tax not creating additional revenue, it would restrict the county’s latitude as to where monies could be spent.
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: While this both a County Council and Tax Council decision, I am generally not in favor of a sweeping elimination of this tax. Here’s where my personal preferences as a private business owner is in dissonance with my position as a steward of Boone County. This tax is a nuisance to business owners, it penalizes investment in new equipment and inventory, etc. But the reality is that it actually doesn’t amount to a significant tax burden for me as a small business, but cumulatively it represents an important revenue to the County. Sweeping elimination of it would require additional revenues to be generated from somewhere else and at this point without a specific proposal for alternate revenues, it would be irresponsible to eliminate it in one broad sweep. I am against the elimination of this tax.
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: Same as #6 above.
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: Unless the county is experiencing an economic stress or is in a hiring freeze, I believe that any county department head should have the latitude to replace staff in their department as allowed and supported by their department budget. I do not believe that they should be required to obtain County Council approval to do so, I believe that this approval was tacitly implied in the approval of the original 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: Whether we live within a city limit or in unincorporated areas, we all pay tax to support our roads, and I do not see a problem with the county considering requests for road assistance either inside or outside of incorporated areas.
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: The Boone County Area Comprehensive Plan is a good road map for future growth that balances development with our agricultural heritage. But the Comprehensive Plan is a guide, it is not a zoning ordinance, and therefore the Comprehensive Plan in and of itself has no power to stop unwanted development. There are current possibilities for undesirable development to take place in our agriculture district that would be outside the power of the county or the APC to stop.
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: Absolutely. Elected officials are accountable to their constituency, and there is no reason why voting records are not public records. I have heard it suggested and agree wholeheartedly that we should make audio recordings of Council meetings available on the Boone County Website for anyone to download as mpeg or podcast.
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, appointments should be announced ahead of time, preferably one quarter ahead, so the county is given the benefit to recruit the most qualified and talented persons to fill available positions.
13. Should the County Council have the same attorney as the City of Lebanon? ANSWER: It is probably not the best public policy to have the County Council and Commissioners represented by same council.
14. Should the Mapleview Rest Home remain open? BACKGROUND: See http://www.finplaneducation.net/boone_county_mapleview.htm. ANSWER: The Mapleview Board of directors are the ones who are in the best position to make recommendations as to the future of the Mapleview Rest Home. The County Council should rely heavily on the recommendations of the Mapleview Board as to how to best care for the current Mapleview residents.
15. Should there be a tax-supported Boone County Animal Shelter? ANSWER: I do not believe that there should be a tax-supported Boone County Animal Shelter. The County Council has provided funds in the past to the local Humane Society, and should consider contributions to this worthy cause in the future, but it should remain a predominantly privately funded and privately run entity. Private Not-For-Profit enterprise and a passionate volunteer base is a better prescription for success for this type of entity. Count me in.
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: I am privileged to live in a land where any citizen can run for public office. I am a 22 year resident of Boone County, married father of 3 grown children and two grandchildren. My wife and I own a 23-year-old small business based in Lebanon that provides technology to the manufacturing industry. I have experience in running a business, managing employees, negotiating contracts, and mediating disputes. I am familiar with current computer technology but think I can also still run a slide rule. My wife and I run our household on a budget and believe that government should also do likewise. We have been members of Traders Point Christian Church and are active in foreign missions. I enjoy watersports, motorsports, music, and beekeeping. Thanks for the opportunity to present my viewpoints, I would request your vote if you feel that my views also reflect yours.
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