Three Republicans and three Democrats are facing off for three at-large seats on the Noble County Council Tuesday.
The Republicans are Joy Y. LeCount of Wawaka, Wayne Targgart of Kendallville and Michael C. Toles of Kendallville.
The Democrats are Jerry Jansen of Kendallville, John Marsh of Kimmell and Brian H. Stump of Kimmell.
John Marsh is the only candidate who did not return a questionnaire, which is why there are no responses from him.
What are the biggest issues facing Noble County and how would you address them?
Brian Stump: I don’t see it as one problem but several. I think the roads should be high on the list of money allocated and as a farmer I’m most interested in keeping the ditches fixed which again means money. Also keeping the wages up so as to attract qualified workers and down the road needing more space for the courts and more office space. Possibly aligning the space we have now. Having said this, I realize the budget is greatly affected by what the state mandates. So we need to get along with the monies we have to work with.
Jerry Jansen: The uncertain future fiscal picture is my biggest concern. There is a good possibility that the Indiana circuit breaker legislation could be devastating, within the next few years, to many local governmental organizations trying to provide basic needs for our neighbors and friends.
Better communication and moving toward the ‘High Performance Government’ (http://www.hpgnetwork.com/) model that includes coordinating the many talents of our personnel in combination with county resources could be the way of addressing future economic issues. Educating elected officials as well as department heads in the area of staff development would be helpful. All county employees, including elected officials, need to learn these methods of maximizing resources in order to ensure a quality future for Noble County.
Michael C. Toles: Noble County, like many other counties, has faced a dwindling tax income and a significant reduction in budgets as a result of the economic and state mandated cuts.
Ultimately, as a member of the County Council, I would scrutinize what services are essential to meet those demands while being fiscally prudent to maintain county operations. The council must remain fiscally lean, encourage innovative initiatives geared toward reducing duplicated services and waste, and support a participative format allowing for the collective input by department heads and employees.
Wayne L. Targgart: I want to help attract new industry and business to Noble County and help current industry and business to grow and expand. I will consider requests for tax abatements very thoroughly before granting as to what their track record has been or might be. I want the taxpayers to get the most out of their tax dollars. I will be fair, honest and act with good judgment on all decisions.
Joy Y. LeCount: Noble County, like every other governmental entity in Indiana, is faced with being required to do more with less. The current economic downturn has impacted property values, which in turn impacts property tax. When people are not working, income taxes are reduced. Implementation of the state-imposed graduated property tax system has also affected local government income — and shifted the tax burden from one type of property to another. Additionally, there has been impact on local governments as a result of the tax cap. County government is also required to meet state and federal mandates — most of which do not come with a funding source.
Meanwhile, costs associated with doing business have increased significantly. County Councils are being required to determine which county services to fund and which ones to cut or eliminate completely.