Please list and describe 3 reasons you seek this office.
Public Safety – As a significant part of a larger, rapidly growing, metropolitan area, it is critical for Fishers to recognize the potential for crime to increase as it has in neighboring counties. It is paramount for our leadership to provide continued support for public safety.
Education – Fishers is blessed to have a school system that is consistently ranked amongst the best in the state I intend to work with school leadership and state legislators to continue the legacy educational excellence that Fishers has worked so hard to build and that families have come to expect.
Strategic Economic Development Plan – Fishers has experienced phenomenal population growth in recent years. In this continued time of transition, we need to strike a balance by encouraging controlled growth while also boosting private investment and job creation.
As a leader in local government in Fishers what would you change and what would you endeavor to preserve?
I am in favor of continued improvement, reflection and evaluation. I think we are moving in a positive direction and look forward to partnering with the residents, mayor, and fellow council members in raising the bar for Fishers. I think we need to work together on improving our communication with the residents of Fishers, and find creative ways of getting them connected. The Amphitheater is a great example of that.
I believe that we need to maintain the historical fabric of our community and not lose site of the fact that we were established in 1802 by William Connor who built the first trading post here. He was our first entrepreneur, a businessman. That is the common vision of Fishers; a great place to live, a great locale to do business and an even better one to start a new venture.
What is the best method(s) to fund local government and services?
Local government is funded by taxes. A balance of property, income and sales tax is essential not only to properly function as a community but also to promote growth of the community. Creative implementation of usage fees can also contribute to funding. Fishers also utilizes fees on licensing and certain other services.
But, I think we can creatively look for additional ways to increase revenues. We should explore ideas like:
1. Open up to advertising– There is a fine line of how much advertising government agencies should allow. But for years, there has been advertising allowed in many municipalities, especially large cities. Whether it is advertisements in public transportation to advertising in the Train Station.
2. Increase Sales – The government sells a lot of stuff – whether that is hunting licenses, unclaimed property, park passes, transportation tickets. But government does not do a good job marketing their services as well as optimizing the sales process.
For example, local newspapers works really hard to get me to renew my subscription – they send me tons of reminders (paper and email) and also give me option to automatically renew with credit card on file. My state fishing license just expires and I get no reminders, no push to get me to renew. The state could have easily got me to spend more money if they gave me option to renew automatically or reminded me through various channels. I think we can look at the same or similar concept in our City. We need to look for creative ways to market ourselves and enhance the revenue base.
Why do you feel that you are qualified for this office? What is the single best quality that qualifies you as a candidate?
I am very qualified. First, my education as an engineer and my background in finance, has provided me with an unusual combination of being extremely analytical and still needing to think out of the box. I deal with complex financial instruments in a global business community. My single best quality simply is my listening skills. Too often today, most are talking when they should be listening. I want to know what others are feeling, thinking, and doing, and how I can help.
Strained budgets and the need for services is an ongoing balancing act for local government. What will your approach be to the need for services and impact on citizens, business, and property owners?
Local government is funded by taxes. A balance of property, income and sales tax is essential not only to properly function as a community but also to promote growth of the community. Creative implementation of usage fees can also contribute to funding. It is rare that local government does not feel some pinch in its finances. We must be good stewards of the people’s money and the funds they have entrusted us with. Stretching the dollar will by key. Rather than spend unwisely we will look for creative ways to invest in our community so that we can actually see returns on those investments. A measured financial approach to the one I use in my business life is what I would like to see.
How do you plan to approach growth and development in your county to achieve a sustainable community?
Fishers has experienced exponential growth over the past decade. It is exciting to live in a community that has grown and has the potential to grow further. Growth is a great in that it brings many opportunities to the community for culture, jobs, and other amenities. However, growth has to be strategically planned in order not to burden the resident and negatively affect property values. Without a plan in place for the growth, the community could be unfairly burdened. I want to be a part of the process to ensure that we are constantly evaluating the plan and determining our growth factor.
Thriving communities depend on quality infrastructure and an adequate transportation system. How do you plan to meet the current and future needs in your community?
The Northwest district is home to some of the oldest neighborhoods in Fishers. Some neighborhoods in this district are currently facing issues with sewage disposal due to concerns related to aging infrastructure. Other neighborhoods have worked with the City of Fishers to install sewage systems as part of a previous annexation promise by the city to alleviate this problem. I need to make sure that my constituents have the resources available to improve their properties and give the services needed. Fishers has plans in place to address those infrastructure issues.
Transportation because of the growth is a complex issue. The 106th street exchange will help with some the traffic problems on I-69, but is not the only solution. We need to further study the project on Highway 37 and Mass Transportation of Light Rail. I have not decided whether I can support either of those projects without seeing and having a full review of the financial implications; again I would like to understand the return on those investments in infrastructure. I think we can learn from other municipalities and how and if those solutions really did solve the problems – Carmel, next door is a good example, and Seattle is a good example of a light rail system that was installed just a few years ago. We can look to those cities as examples of what to do as well as what not to do.
As an elected official, what would you do to retain, expand and attract business in order to increase jobs and income?
Fishers has several tools that are presently being employed including TIFs and tax abatement programs. Having recently used these tools on several projects, I think it might be is time to step back and let the market do more dictating, though remaining flexible enough to recognize that there are situations where these tools are still potentially useful. I see it as a bit of a mixed bag going forward to attract businesses; a little help from government if needed and a lot of letting the market work on its own. I really believe that public – private partnerships have been proven effective. I think the recent adrenaline of inputs has been good, and the kick start should start to push the market forward.
What quality of life factors are most important to you and how do you plan to impact there factors if elected?
Fishers has been noted in national publications as one of the safest communities in the Nation; we should be very proud of that. As a parent, the most important quality of life to me is the safety of my family. Fishers needs to maintain safe neighborhoods and parks to allow citizens to experience the community. Providing safety is the number one priority of government. If elected to City Council, I pledge to assist with any endeavor that will promote continued safety in the Fishers.
How would you describe the state of your community’s neighborhoods and housing? What issues need to be addressed and what would you propose?
Fishers is a desirable place to live and raise a family. Living in one of the older districts in Fishers, neighbors are starting to see that sewage and sidewalks and such need to be updated. In some cases, there are grants that are available for the address some issues with the older Fishers neighborhoods. These grants need to be applied for and utilized to assist the neighborhoods. I also think we can be creative to keep our City beautiful. I would love to see an adoption program, where individuals or businesses adopt a street, neighborhood, and keep it clean, free from debris and take personal ownership and responsibility.
What are the biggest challenges regarding crime and public safety in your community and how do you plan to address them?
Growth of the community and the increasing crime rate in neighboring counties is might begin to burden the Fishers police and fire departments. Having a City Council that continues to work with these departments to strategically plan the growth and to fund the departments accordingly is essential to maintain safe neighborhoods.
What is your position on the regional mass transit bill currently in the Indiana General Assembly? Do you think public tax payer dollars should be a part of the funding stream?
This bill has passed the Indiana General Assembly. The legislature has allowed for voter referendums. The taxpayers should be allowed a referendum to express their opinion on the bill. This referendum needs to be specific in regards to the sources of funding for the new mass transit. Voters need to be aware of the tax implications of the mass transit bill. Depending on the business community’s contributions, municipalities may have to make up for any shortages. This could translate to increased taxes for voters. Digesting this issue to determine the positive and negatives as well as committing to listening to residents must be done before decisions. Evaluating the experience of cities like Seattle can provide great insight.
What do your internal polling results and/or meetings with voters tell you are the most important issues regarding Fishers town Government?
The education, safety and growth of the community are the topics which voters have been discussing as I campaign. Committing to listening, engaging and addressing is the most important issue to me.
What is the first thing you intend to do, if elected?
Get a good night’s sleep! Just joking. I have some homework to do quite honestly. So the first think I will do is better familiarize myself with the present agenda of the counsel; then begin tacking the task of fully understanding the budget and all of its financial implications.
The Fishers Town Government Academy (TGA) has been typified as ‘an excellent educational resource for its citizens and a ‘crash c-course’ in what local government really does. Do you share that view? Would you like to see the program continue?
I support the Town Government Academy. I view this as a way to get community members involved in local government. It promotes communication and encourages input on issues facing Fishers. Given that Fishers is officially a city rather than a town, I would propose the name changed to Fishers City Government Academy.
What challenges and/or opportunities do you foresee as Fishers makes the transition from Town Government to City Government?
Fishers City Council will be moving from an executive role to legislative role and Mayor Fadness will be filling the executive role. Job descriptions and responsibilities need to be redefined and clearly outlined. As a legislator for the new City, I view my responsibility as a sort of financial consultant. The Council will focus the majority of its energy being good stewards of the people’s money. In moving forward, I believe respecting and working as a team is imperative.
What strategies do you have to work with the new mayor and the school board?
I plan to work with the Mayor and the school board to make sure that Fishers and HSE continues to be one of the premier school systems in the state.
What plans do you have to make Fishers a world class city?
Fishers is already there! Maintaining quality education, economic development, and safety within our community are the keys to being a world class city.
How would you reach out to voters?
I am currently engaging with voters via telephone, email and meeting with them. When elected, I expect to continue to engage with voters.
What is my role as a Council member
To be a team player and to represent my constituents and all of Fishers to the best of my ability.
What is the single most important issue
The foremost role of local government is to protect and serve the residents. Working with Police, Fire and Public Works to provide these fundamental services is the single most important issue.
What is your view on downtown development
I have had concerns with the speed of the development and growth. However, as a community we must move forward and not stagnate. We need to take a breath to understand the new dynamics that have been created.
Why are you running for this office?
Why I ran – I felt compelled to step up and serve the community. I am thrilled and humbled by the fact that I am a candidate for City Council. My connections with the citizens of Fishers combined and enthusiasm to approach the opportunities presented to Fishers is the reason that ran for office.