From: Cate Hart Hyatt
Recently I attended a candidate forum for the Bartholomew County Council and Commissioner candidates sponsored by Energy Matters and the Sierra Club. The audience was reminded that for far too long our county has suffered from inadequately funded annual budgets to support county-based programs and services. Our local officials have done little to anticipate or account for losses in state funding support, and year after year the county council and commissioners have used the same strategies to balance the budget, strategies such as:
• Forcing county department heads to reduce their budgets, at times through reductions in staff and/or services.
• Delaying, underfunding or refusing to fund facility, vehicle and other equipment needs.
• Increasing the amount county employees pay for their insurance benefits package, while at the same time reducing their benefits and providing little or no cost of living increases.
• Inadequately funding vital services such as IT and public safety.
• Continuing to demand sacrifices year after year, allowing services and infrastructures to erode and destroying county employee morale in order to balance a budget, rather than taking action to increase revenues.
Thinking about this situation, I pose some questions:
- Could it be that this situation results in part from the “contentiousness” (as reported in The Republic) and lack of communication and collaboration between the council and the commissioners?
- Shouldn’t we be willing to pay our fair share and know that our money will be used wisely?
- Doesn’t it seem like time to have a more balanced and forward-thinking council and commission who would get better results? Our current six council and three commission members are all from the same party, some of who have served more than 30 years.
The 2016 Bartholomew County Democratic candidates listed below will work together to address these and other critical issues faced by county government:
• Improve communication and collaboration among members of the council and the commissioners and other stakeholder support to provide a more efficient and effective county government.
• Encourage development of a long-range, comprehensive plan to anticipate and provide quality services throughout the county, as opposed to our current reactionary mode.
• Serve in a nonpartisan manner, committed to making the necessary and difficult decisions required.
It’s time for a change. Our county will benefit when we bring new people with fresh ideas to the table, as opposed to the current “it’s the way we have always done things” attitude. Please vote for these qualified, longtime residents of Bartholomew County:
• Pam Clark, Lynne Fleming and Diane Hawes, Bartholomew County Council at-large.
• Brad Woodcock, District 3 county commissioner.
• Paula K. Rothrock, Bartholomew County coroner.