Saturday, August 16, 2014

Hamilton County Democratic Candidates

Voters complain about there not being choices on Hamilton County ballots in general elections.  But there actually ARE quite a number of Democrats running for office, including two statewide candidates who are running for office.  So here is a list of Democratic candidates who will be on the ballot in Hamilton County in the November election.

Shawn Denney, Congress, Fifth District
Beth White, Secretary of State
Mike Claytor, a Carmel resident, State Auditor
Mike Boland, a Fishers resident, State Treasurer
J.D. Ford, Carmel, State Senate District 29
Joe Marcum, Noblesville, State Representative, District 29
Bob Ashley, State Representative, District 32
David Russ, Carmel, State Representative, District 39
Rosemary Dunkle, Carmel, County Council, District 1
Jim Blessing, Carmel, Clay Township Board
Mike Davis, Noblesville Township Trustee
Margaret (Peggy) Russell, Noblesville Township Board
Sheryl (Sherry) Peters, Sheridan Town Council At Large
Kent Nelson, Fishers City Council, Northwest District
Greg Purvis, Fishers City Council, SouthCentral District
Justin Kilgore, Fishers City Council, Southwest District
Maryellen Bein, Fishers City Council, At Large

While not all ballot slots have a Democratic candidate, this is probably the greatest number of Democrats running on the Hamilton County ballot in many years.  It certainly is the first time two county residents have sought statewide office at the same time.  It is also the largest number of Democrats EVER to run for Fishers office, and this is the first Fishers City election.

Nearly all of these candidates have web pages, Facebook pages, or both.  I urge you to look them up and give them your support.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Renee Cox Resigns

Fishers Town Council member Renee Cox today announced that she will resign her seat on the council, citing her job duties which have been taking her out of state since June.  Cox was an unsuccessful candidate to be the first Mayor of Fishers in the May 2014 GOP primary.  She also was the former President of the Fall Creek Township Board.  During the 2012 referendum to change Fishers into a City, Cox was the only Town Council member to support the change to city status.  Cox also opposed the proposed food and beverage sales tax, and the proposal which led to the recent demolition of the Fishers Train Station, positions which brought her under sharp attack by some other members of the Town Council.

Renee's husband David is a former Fayette County GOP chair, and locally was former chair of CityYes. Their home remains in Fishers.

When asked by Hamilton County politics what her future political plans might be, Renee Cox was noncommittal.  Her resignation was first announced on Facebook by Hamilton County Politics, before any other public announcement was published.

Monday, August 11, 2014

New Purvis for Council Blog

I have decided to "spin off" my posts about my campaign for Fishers City Council to a new blog.  That page will be found here:  http://purvisforcouncil.blogspot.com/.  I will have my first posts on there very soon, so please follow it.

Unfortunately, I have been concentrating too much on what is happening in Fishers, and not enough on what is happening in the rest of Hamilton County.  So, I am going to separate them, although I may cross-post from time to time.

So there will be more posts here about other races in and involving Hamilton County, including the two statewide races involving Hamilton County residents - Mike Claytor of Carmel for State Auditor and Mike Boland of Fishers for State Treasurer.  I will also post news about State Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz (a resident of Carmel), and State Senate candidate J.D. Ford, State Rep. candidates David Russ, Joe Marcum, and Bob Ashley, and others.

Let me know what you think!

Greg Purvis

Friday, June 13, 2014

Party First?

Today on one of my Facebook campaign posts, a local Republican posted "Democrats are never the answer."  Apparently she believes that her party affiliation and the party label trumps all other concerns over policy, vision, spending, and all other local issues.

This is just wrong.  And I have noted before that this is wrong.  While I certainly have nothing against party affiliations, and I have mine, there are times that a citizen must break from their party, especially when a particular candidate is just unacceptable.  When your party's candidate goes contrary to your beliefs, do you vote for that candidate anyway?

This has come up many times in Hamilton County.  On the GOP side, many voted for Dan Burton for 3 decades despite a mountain of legitimate concerns over his behavior in Congress.  Voters chose Charlie White for Indiana Secretary of State despite a pending felony investigation, which proved to be a mistake when White was convicted of 6 felonies and removed from office.  (I note those convictions are still on appeal.)  And in 2010, Democrats chose a Tea Party plant as their Congressional candidate over a vastly more-qualified physician, which led me to vote Libertarian for Congress in the fall rather than vote for either the "Democrat", or Dan Burton, whom I considered as corrupt.

I add, not ALL Republicans, nor all Democrats, put party first.  In my own race for Fishers City Council, I have Republican supporters and donors who are troubled by the policies, and especially the spending, of the current administration and Council.  I find myself in the position of advocating policies that are more fiscally responsible than the so-called "fiscal conservatives" on the Fishers Council.

But there are some people who cannot wrap their minds around the concept that it is the ISSUES that matter, not the party label.  And they are of both parties.  And that is sad, and a problem for our community. When it comes to local government, seldom can you identify a "Republican" or "Democrat" position on an issue.  I know I can't.  You just have to make the best and most informed decision you can.  

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Priorities: Apartments or Public Safety

I have often said that Public Safety is "Job #1" for any government, most especially local government.  And yet, the Town of Fishers is borrowing tens of millions of dollars to "redevelop" the downtown space, ignoring prior public input to preserve the character of the area.  These millions are going to developers who cannot build these projects on their own, and who in some cases, are contributors to a certain candidate or group who run the current town administration.

But this post is mostly NOT about that.  It is about the fact that Fishers' current government has its priorities wrong.

Large sections of Fishers do not have fire hydrants.  Most areas do. Some of the areas without hydrants are unincorporated areas in both Delaware and Fall Creek Townships where the Fishers Fire Department, by paid contract with the townships, has responsibility for fire protection.  You may have seen small red signs on the roadside with a red "1" or "2", which tells firefighters how far away the nearest hydrant is, in miles.  If a fire happens in that area, the FFD has to truck it in, or find another source for water, or pump it a long distance.

Given that current methods of residential construction can lead to a fire spreading VERY quickly, this can be a problem, hydrants or no. The August 2013 Sandstone fire (I am on the Sandstone HOA board) is an example of how fast a fire can spread, with 3 homes destroyed, and several others damaged, and around a million dollars of property damage. Not long ago, in an area of Delaware Township without hydrants, a fire got pretty serious.

Instead of corporate giveaways to friendly developers and contractors, I propose that Fishers invest in expanding the fire hydrant system.  This will give the fine men and women of the Fire Department one of the most important tools they need to effectively fight a fire, quick access to a water supply.  As we continue to expand east, this will become even more vitally important.  And we need to fill in the holes in our current territory where there are no hydrants.

In addition, I think we should study adding a new fire station ASAP in the northeast quadrant of Fall Creek Township.  No current fire station exists in this area, despite growth, especially in the Cyntheanne Road area. There is an ambulance with fire fighters in one of the hospitals, but no fire engine or crew for that area.  Any fire call would require FFD to respond from a distance, or require assistance from another department.

This is one of the most important things we can do as a community.  Public Safety IS Job #1.  Let's have that discussion now, and decide if our priorities lie with building apartments and shops downtown, or with Public Safety.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

20,000 PAGEVIEWS - THANK YOU!

Since I started this blog about 4 years ago, I have posted about all manner of things, from the writings of Thomas Jefferson, to the role of Democrats in Hamilton County, to residency issues of various politicians, but mostly about the political goings-on in my home of Fishers.

Today marks the 20,000th time one of my posts has been read.  That is more than a little humbling.  I have no idea how many regular readers I have, but I know I DO have them, from all walks of life, and all political points of view.  Whether you agree or disagree with my posts, thank you for being concerned enough about local affairs to take my perspective into account.

And suggestions are always welcome, whether I follow those suggestions or not.  And again, to all who read my little blog, thanks.

- Greg Purvis, Fishers, Indiana, February 12, 2014

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

How to Kill Your City's Tax Base

Recently, the Fishers Town Council approved several economic development deals that show both how to do economic development in a positive way, and some other deals that not only do not grow the tax base, but may well put Fishers further in debt.

On February 3, 2014, the Fishers Town Council approved a 2-year tax abatement for Ossip Optometry to relocate its flagship store and operations to two buildings on Crosspoint that were largely vacant. In the first year, Ossip would get a complete property tax abatement, paying no property tax, and in the second year, there would be a 50% abatement.  This deal gets two mostly-vacant and unproductive buildings occupied, but also moves a thriving business to Fishers with their jobs, and room to grow.  This is a great example of exactly how to do economic development.  Fishers pays nothing out of pocket, and gets jobs and a great business, and future property tax income.  A fine IBJ article on this deal is here.

However, at the same meeting, and some other meetings, the Council approved other projects involving land giveaways and tax increment financing (TIFs) that could actually put Fishers further in debt. TIFs work by a government issuing bonds which are repaid by property taxes from the increased value added by the improvement.  In these cases, the revenue generated by the improvements using TIF financing appears to be LESS than the money needed to pay the annual principal and interest on the loans taken out.  This seems to be true even when you take into account Fishers' estimated share of County Option Income Tax (COIT) from the jobs estimated to exist in the new development.

Improvements in TIFs do not add to the general property tax base until the bonds are paid off in 20-30 years.  And in these cases associated with downtown development, not only is Fishers giving away this TIF money, they are contributing land owned by Fishers, either the open space in front of Town Hall where all the trees were cut down, or other land they have bought, such as the former KFC building at 116th and Lantern.

And this is Fishers' "best case" scenario.  If the developments are not successful, then the taxpayers are out even more money.  Many communities have run themselves into financial trouble by overuse of TIF financing. And Fishers has put virtually all land which could be developed into a TIF district, which makes it very, very difficult to grow the tax base.

Fishers is promoting projects which look very pretty on paper.  But we are killing our own tax base in the process, which can lead to grave trouble in the future.  If this makes me more "fiscally conservative" than the people on the council who claim to be "fiscal conservatives" but who are voting for more taxes to support this sort of thing, then I guess I am more fiscally conservative than they are.

There has to be a better way.  And they need someone on the council to say, "Wait just a minute."
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The author of this article, Greg Purvis, is a candidate for Fishers City Council in the 2014 election.  Visit his website at www.GregPurvis.com, or his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/PurvisforFishers. Views expressed are those of Greg Purvis only.  Authorized by Purvis for Fishers Committee.