April 16, 2008
Two seats on the Crawford County Board of Commissioners are up for election this year, Districts 2 and 3. In the District 2 Democratic Primary, two-term incumbent Randy Gilmore is opposed by David L. Sillings, a former commissioner whom Gilmore defeated in the 2000 primary. Republican Wayne Carothers is the only candidate in the GOP primary. In the District 3 race, Democrat James Schultz is unopposed in his party's primary election. No Republican filed for the GOP primary. Although commissioners have districts, they are voted on countywide.
*Randy Gilmore (D)
Address: 8786 W. S.R. 64 Birdseye, IN
Spouse: Linda Gilmore
Children: Eric Gilmore, Dale Gilmore, Annette Zehr
Occupation: Commissioner, semi-retired log home builder
School and year graduated: GED
Additional education: No additional formal education. Just a lifetime of experience in farming and construction (road construction and building).
Political affiliation: Democrat
Previous political experience: Eight years as commissioner
Duties of position sought: Commissioners are the legislative body for the county. Some of the duties are maintaining county property, auditing claims, calling for bids for services, road and bridge maintenance, preparing budgets, especially county highway, and making appointments to boards.
Why are you seeking the office?: Once you start doing something and you get projects going, you want to just keep pushing them. I like working with people. I get a lot of good out of standing up for the county and the taxpayers, especially in circumstances like the state trying to buy large acreage in the county, then refusing to pay property taxes.
What qualifies you for the office?: The main thing is being ready and willing to work hard for the benefit of the taxpayers and the county, and remembering that I'm also a taxpayer. Being able to compromise and work on tough situations. Road building experience.
What do you consider top issues in the campaign?: Property taxes. I'm worried about this new property tax bill. It has some loop holes in it where they can still raise our taxes. But I really like the 1-percent cap. Now, if we can keep the Department of Local Government Finance (who is controlled by the governor) from continually raising the assessment on our homes as they have done in the past and will continue to do. This was proven at our meeting with the Department of Local Government at which they listened to absolutely nothing we said or commented on.
Do you favor the actions taken by the county to reduce spending (i.e. personnel cuts in courthouse offices)?: I hate to see anyone lose their job, but it's something that must be done. We have to balance our budget. I believe strongly in balanced budgets. We have to in our personal lives, so should the county. Now, if we could make the state and especially federal government balance theirs.
Should the county highway department have a detailed public plan on how its blacktop monies are spent, including a prioritization of the roads?: Yes, that would be OK. In district No. 2 I'm still mostly repaving roads that were already blacktop and getting in bad condition. In deciding which road to pave, I just pave the one that's in the worst condition. We can set up a plan to follow. We might have to vary from the plan if some road deteriorates faster, which sometimes happens depending on the harshness of winter weather.
Should the county have a detailed public plan on how its infrastructure monies are spent, specifically with regards to bridges?: We have a cumulative capital development fund. It isn't big enough for large bridges like the two at Milltown or the railroad bridge at Taswell. For those, we have to apply for grants from federal and state agencies. Then, we work with the council for our part of the funding. The cumulative capital development funds are used for small bridges.
What actions should the county, specifically the county commissioners, take to promote and foster economic development?: Work with economic development and redevelopment board in trying to get more businesses to locate in Crawford County. Help our county residents with starting up businesses. We have a revolving loan fund that can help them. These are grant monies we've applied for and received. Also, work with tourism.
Do you support the Milltown bridge project? Why or why not?: Yes, I certainly do. I still wish we could build it on the old railroad bridge right of way, but that is too expensive. I hope the bridge project downtown next to the old bridge will work for everyone. There were some very difficult decisions made on this project. Now that the bridge on the west side of Milltown needs repaired or rebuilt, I also support that project. This is a very long bridge and will be very expensive. We'll need lots of help from state and federal agencies on this one. We'll just have to keep working at it. It might be made less expensive by shortening the bridge and using more fill dirt on the west end.
The county's ambulance service's finances have improved, but some say there is room for more improvement. Should the county consider hiring a full-lime director or contracting the service to an outside entity?: I would never vote to contract the ambulance service to an outside company. How can a contractor operate the service cheaper than we can without cutting the services? The people of the county should be up in arms if services are cut, and I'll certainly be with them. The federal and state governments are privatizing services and that always costs more in the long run. The private companies are going to make a profit, so it naturally will cost more.
Have the existing commissioners done a good job? Explain: I hope we have. We've tried to. We worked with Economic Development to get high-speed Internet towers built in Crawford County. Also, by building towers with economic development money, we got a contract with an Internet company that they would furnish the equipment for the homes for free, which saves home owners $200 or more for hook-ups. We've worked hard along with the council toward paying off the new courthouse early, saving several dollars in interest. It's not paid off yet, but we're making progress. If a grant can be obtained to help the county in any way, it gets applied for. Any problems that come to our attention, we try to help if at all possible.
Other: Let's all work together for Crawford County.
Contact information for voters: 1-812-685-2295
David L. Sillings (D)
Address: 303 S. Court St., English, IN
Children: Three; grandchildren: four
Occupation: Dubois REC meter tech/lineman with 30 years of service
School and year graduated: English High School 1968
Additional education: Trade school
Political affiliation: Democrat
Previous political experience: English Town Council, Crawford County Council, Crawford County commissioner
Duties of position sought?: Commissioner District No. 2 — Improvement of infrastructures. Remain in a set budget. Help people in the county to try and create a better and safer way of life.
Why are you seeking the office?: To try and help make a difference in Crawford County.
What qualifies you for the office?: Experience and I don't like to make haste decisions.
What do you consider top issues in the campaign?: Economic stability of the county.
Do you favor the actions taken by the county to reduce spending?: No comment at this time.
Should the county highway department have a detailed public plan on how its blacktop monies are spent, including a prioritization of the roads?: Yes. This is one of the responsibilities of the commissioners to insure that roads get prepared for blacking. Including proper drainage and right of way.
Should the county have a detailed public plan on how its infrastructure monies are spent, specifically with regards to bridges?: Yes.
What actions should the county, specifically the county commissioners, take to promote and foster economic development?: Search out every avenue available for the county.
Do you support the Milltown bridge project?: Yes. Safety issues should be the first thing.
The county's ambulance service's finances have improved, but some say there is room for more improvement. Should the county consider hiring a full-time director or contracting the service to an outside entity?: These possibilities should be looked over with care and caution. I think there is always room for improvements.
Have the existing commissioners done a good job? Explain: No comment.
Contact information for voters: (Did not answer.)
Wayne Carothers (R)
Address: 610 S. Hickory Court, English, IN
Spouse: Tarra Carothers
Children: Daughter, Brianna
Occupation: Insurance agent and operate part-time home-based tax preparation and accounting business
School and year graduated: Crawford County Junior-Senior High School 1981
Additional education: A.S business administration, Vincennes University 1985; Bachelor of Science business, Indiana University 1988
Political affiliation: Republican
Previous political experience: Clerk-Treasurer Town of English 1999 to present
Duties of position sought: Administration of county business as prescribed in Indiana Code, including supervising county property, authorizing claims against the county; supervise maintenance of county roads, etc.
Why are you seeking the office?: I have been fortunate to be able to work in the community I live. I know that most residents of Crawford County do not get that luxury and I have always tried to dedicate as much time as I can to help promote and foster the development of the county. I believe I can offer some additional insight and ways to assist the county to become more fiscally responsible.
What qualifies you for the office?: I understand the working of government legislation and finance. I believe I have done a good job as the English clerk-treasurer (although not always popular among the council and employees) and want what is best for the county and would like to see it become a sound business unit, and I believe I can offer that to the county residents. I have volunteered with a number of organizations within the county and have listened and been responsive to the concerns of the community. I enjoy working with budgets and finances and I look forward to the challenge of cost-cutting measures to help the county.
What do you consider top issues in the campaign?: Spending and dwindling tax revenues. Spending must be curtailed at all levels. We have to he innovative in our cost-cutting matters, it might be saving as little as 15 cents on paper clips, but these are the types of things we need to look at. Every little bit adds up. The new property tax legislation passed by the General Assembly is welcome news to taxpayers. As a county unit, we must tighten ourselves in order to keep our tax rates at a minimum, while not cutting too many services. It will be a challenge.
Do you favor the actions taken by the county to reduce spending (I.e. personnel cuts in courthouse offices)?: To some extent. The committee really did not have enough time to offer any more recommendations than it did. In order to fully understand the problem, we need to know when our deficit spending first occurred and what led to this (i.e. was it just recent, two or three years ago, what occurred, was it reduced funding, additional costs, too much overhead, etc.) Once we identify this then you can attempt to solve the problem so that it will not come back again. The Town of English was deficit spending in the late '90s and we had to identify the situation and fix the short-term solution but correct the problem causing the deficit spending in order that continued deficit spending did not occur.
Should the county highway department have a detailed public plan on how its blacktop monies are spent, including a prioritization of the roads?: Most definitely. It only makes sense that this would work like a business plan and each road in the inventory needs to be addressed and prioritized according to condition, traffic count, accessibility and hazard. A plan is a road map and will be subject to constant change as conditions, such as inclement weather that may warrant update on a regular basis. The key here is to keep this at the forefront and not develop one and not review it until later. It should be reviewed and updated frequently.
Should the county have a detailed public plan on how its infrastructure monies are spent, specifically with regards to bridges?: Yes, being the county receives all the monies for bridges, a plan should be at the least discussed and provided to all the county's units (schools towns, townships, etc). Again this plan, because of limited funds, is subject to change frequently and must be updated when occurrences happen or projects warrant the necessity to change.
What actions should the county, specifically the county commissioners, take to promote and foster economic development?: Communication, cooperation and continuity among all the various governmental units and groups within the county. Specifically, the Tourism Bureau, PLAY, Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development and others, each has a vital role and each should be aware and have working knowledge of what each is doing. We need to educate and take stock in what we have. In order to grow and prosper, we must identify and be proud of what we have, promote and even exploit it. All these organizations working together can have such a positive impact to maintain and attract new development.
Do you support the Milltown bridge project? Why or why not?: Milltown has needed a new bridge for many years. Ideally, it would have been best to construct it out of the flood zone, but the current costs have apparently prohibited this. It still is a priority and is vital to Milltown and its residents. We should not delay this any longer as costs will only continue to rise. I do believe that the town should be allowed to keep the old bridge if it is willing to accept all liabilities of ownership and maintenance, as long as it does not pose an immediate threat to the new bridge structure.
The county's ambulance service's finances have improved, but some say there is room for more improvement. Should the county consider hiring a full-time director or contracting the service to an outside entity?: I do not favor contracting the ambulance to an outside entity. I believe we can operate an efficient and more caring service ourselves. A full-time director could he ideal; however, depending upon duties and costs, another option would he to hire a billing representative to handle the billing and collections. This position would more than pay for itself and could free up more time for a director/EMT to attend to the emergency duties and keeping the medical supplies in stock. The bottom line, we have to bill in a timely and efficient manner, follow up on those billings timely, not two or three years down the road. We have to have the equipment and the means in which to follow up and to negotiate with the insurance companies and PPO networks.
Have the existing commissioners done a good job? Explain: I believe the current commissioners and all county governmental units are doing the best they can with the limited resources we have. There is always room for improvement. The next step may be the hardest. We have to begin thinking "outside the box", yet provide quality services and caring concerns that the public should receive. What once may have worked is not going to be par for the course any longer and new ideas will need to be discussed and explored. This with less funding and a tightening budgets.
Contact: 338-2355 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
*James E. Schultz (D)
Address: 1892 E. Denton Road, English, IN
Spouse: Donna J. Schultz
Children: Two sons, Kirk, 25 and Kris, 21
Occupation: Elementary educator. I have taught fifth grade at Marengo Elementary School 28 years; one year at Leavenworth Elementary.
School and year graduated: Leavenworth High School 1975
Additional education: B.S. elementary education at Indiana University Southeast 1979 and M.S. elementary education at Indiana University Southeast 1982
Political affiliation: Democrat
Previous political experience: One term at District 3 commissioner
Duties of position sought: The county commissioners are responsible for establishing policies and passing ordinances for all county government. They also oversee the county highway, EMS services and work closely with the county council on budget matters.
Why are you seeking the office?: I am seeking re-election to this office because even though much progress has been made, much more can be done to move the county forward in a positive direction. I have made unbiased professional decisions and will continue to be objective in making decisions that affect the taxpayers of Crawford County.
What qualifies you for the office?: My education and experience as an educator have instilled in me a desire to be a lifelong learner, which is a great attribute in any aspect of life. Also, my experience serving on many boards has taught me to work together with people and that sometimes you must compromise in order to do what is best.
What do you consider top issues in the campaign?: The most obvious issue is probably the recommendation made by the budget committee concerning cuts in the budget. Other issues that top the list are the condition of major bridges and bridge inspections in the county, upgrading of the EMS service to the intermediate level and how to make it operate more efficiently, revising protocols for dispatch and finalizing the employee policy and procedures handbook.
Do you favor the actions taken by the county to reduce spending (i.e. personnel cuts in courthouse offices)?: Issues such as the one involving the recent budget cuts at the courthouse are not as simple as being in favor of or opposed to the purchasing of new equipment. These complicated decisions require a lot of thought and prayer for me, especially when people's lives are affected by the outcome. The easy thing would have been to vote against the cuts, but the most prudent decision was made based on what had to be done to balance the county budget. Reluctantly, I did support that action, but lost a lot of sleep in the process.
Should the county highway department have a detailed public plan on how its blacktop monies are spent, including a prioritization of the roads?: Although a detailed plan sounds good on the surface, I'm not sure it would be all that valuable. The monies spent are a matter of public record. These expenditures can be reviewed at the courthouse or highway garage. Usually, the highway superintendent, district foreman and commissioner discuss and prioritize the roads to be resurfaced or chip and sealed. This is done on as as-needs basis in early spring according to the funds available, which becomes that year's plan.
Should the county have a detailed public plan on how its infrastructure monies are spent, specifically with regards to bridge?: Again, a plan sounds good, but the realty is that during my first term as commissioner, most bridge replacements or repairs have been dictated by a must-do policy or close the bridge as in the case of the recent closing of the Milltown bridge. There just isn't enough bridge money to plan beyond what has to be done.
What actions should the county, specifically the county commissioners, take to promote and foster economic development?: Commissioners have a responsibility to promote and foster economic development by working closely with the economic development director to provide incentives and infrastructure for businesses or companies interested in locating here. Attracting new business or industry can help stimulate the economy for local business and provide job opportunities for local residents.
Do you support the Milltown bridge project? Why or why not?: Yes, I do support the Milltown bridge project. The proposed bridge is a two-lane structure which will not have a center pier that can cause debris to hang up and obstruct the flow of the river. Two lanes for traffic should be safer and no center pier should allow water flow during flooding.
The county's ambulance service's finances have improved, but some say there is room for more improvement. Should the county consider hiring a full-time director or contracting the service to an outside entity?: As commissioners, we have an obligation to the taxpayers to examine any and all options to provide the most economic service possible as long as we maintain or improve the quality of that service. Therefore, I believe we should be open minded and research the option of a full-time director or contracting the service.
Have the existing commissioners done a good job? Explain: Yes, I believe the existing commissioners have done a good job. Even though we don't always agree 100 percent, all of us have the county's best interest at heart. This provides for some good healthy discussions on some issues, making each of us more accountable for our decisions when a vote is cast.
Other: I feel honored to have been given the opportunity to serve the voters of Crawford County the past four years and humbly ask for your support in a second term as District 3 commissioner.
Contact information for voters: Cell 1-812-613-0121