Goshen News, Goshen, IN

November 1, 2012

DECISION 2012: Six seek Noble County Council at-large seat


THE GOSHEN NEWS

— 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.



Why are you the best candidate for the job?

Brian Stump: I feel best suited for the job because of my experience in operating the farm’s finances.

Jerry Jansen: The past term has allowed me the opportunity to learn about our Noble County. Specifically I have gained a good understanding of the budgets and policies that shape the finances of our county. I believe this knowledge and my first term’s experience can be used over the next four years to allow me to be part of a council that can put policies in place that will be proactive for today’s issues and for planning the future fiscal requirements needed to keep Noble County on sound financial footings.

Michael C. Toles: My law enforcement career with the Indiana State Police has spanned more than 20+ years. My background consists of command and leadership experience as a first line supervisor in both the Enforcement and Criminal Investigation Divisions. The culmination of training, life experiences, and administrative experience as a member of the command staff has provided a solid foundation for me to function in the capacity as a County Council member. My experience working with a multitude of governmental agencies at the federal, state, county and local governmental levels; as well as being involved in many local programs, has provided a solid foundation to apply during my  professional public service obligations.

Wayne L. Targgart: Since I have been in county government in the past, I know several people in the surrounding county governments. I still have contact and knowledge of what they are doing at their county level. I believe with the knowledge and experience I have of county government, I am more than qualified for the position of Noble County Council at large.

Joy Y. LeCount: Previous service in both the executive and fiscal branches of county government have provided a unique perspective from which to make decisions. This experience will be used continue to serve the citizens of Noble County with a conservative approach, always striving to meet real needs in the best possible manner.



THE CANDIDATES

Brian Stump

Home: Kimmell

Age: 54

Education: High school

Related experience: Currently serving on the township advisory board

Occupation: I am a farmer and drive school bus for West Noble

Jerry Jansen    

Home: Kendallville

Age: 56

Education: East Noble High School, Indiana University, National College of Chiropractic

Related experience: Community service: Eagle Scout, past president Kendallville Jaycees, Kendallville Rotary and Noble County United Way

Occupation: Chiropractic physician and licensed acupuncturist

Michael “Mike” C. Toles

Home: Kendallville

Age: 44

Education: 1991 graduate Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs; 1991 graduate of Indiana State Police 49th Recruit Academy; 2006 graduate of the Indiana State Police Leadership and Supervisory School; and 2008 graduate of Northwestern University School of Police Staff and Command.

Related experience: S.T.A.R. (Drug Free Noble County) Board member; Four County Vocational Area Cooperative — Criminal Justice Board member; and past district representative for the Indiana State Police Alliance

Occupation: Sergeant with the Indiana State Police, assigned to the Drug Enforcement Section as the North Zone Command supervisor, supervising detectives assigned to meth suppression, spanning the northern 45 counties of Indiana.

Wayne L. Targgart

Home: Kendallville

Education: I graduated from Wawaka High School and attended Manchester College. I served our country three years in the U.S. Army

Related experience: I served as LaGrange County Commissioner from 1997 to 2000 and during that time I worked closely with the council on the budget. As the president of the commissioners, I attended all council meetings. This experience gives me a great knowledge of what is required of a council member and the operations of a county government.

Work experience: I worked as an insurance agent in Noble and LaGrange counties for over 30 years and as a real estate agent for over 20 years. I officiated basketball, football and baseball as an IHSAA-licensed official for many years.

Occupation: Retired

Joy Y. LeCount

Home: Wawaka

Education: Graduate of Wawaka High School and attended Indiana Central College (now University of Indianapolis)

Related experience: Previously served 12 years on the Noble County Council (1976-1984 and 2005-2008) and am completing a fourth term on the Noble County Board of Commissioners (1985-1996 and 2009 to present)

Occupation: Editor of Albion New Era newspaper