TIPTON COUNTY COUNCIL AT LARGE

Candidate name: James Ashley (R)

Work/elected experience: Seven-plus years as a county council member and current council president. Past member of the Tipton County Economic Development Commission and former member of the Tipton County Plan Commission. Former member of the Tipton County Board of Zoning Appeals. Self employed general building contractor since 1981.

Age: 64

Family: Wife Nancy and children by marriage Kelli Mcgregor and Brad Vanosdol

What new programs or projects, if any, would you implement if elected as Tipton County Council at Large?

As the fiscal body for the county, the council is responsible for approval and management of the budgets for the various departments. As such, the council has limited ability to “initiate programs or projects”. However, council membership is involved and participates with other boards and commissions that affect programs within the county. I am fully supportive of a number of current initiatives, such as expansion/improvement of our trail system, development surrounding the 28/31 corridor and, in general, programs that will enhance the property tax base of the county.

What is the biggest issue currently facing Tipton County, and what would you do to address it?

Like many small, rural counties, population decline, and particularly the loss of young families from the community, is a threat to all taxpayers. The county is currently losing a number of households due to improvement along US 31. And, those households have little opportunity to re-settle in Tipton County due to lack of available housing. I believe that we can preserve the agricultural heritage of the county, all the while, focusing development in those areas best served by existing services. I am committed to cooperation and involvement in those initiatives that make financial sense for the county. Not all ideas are good ideas, not all business expansions are a good fit for Tipton County. I will use my 40-plus years of managing my own small business, as well as experience on various county boards, to guide my decision making as Tipton County moves forward.

Candidate name: Brad Nichols (R)

Work/elected experience: I am a licensed funeral director and part owner at Young-Nichols Funeral Home in Tipton. I was first elected in 1996 to serve as county coroner and again in 2000, 2012 and 2016. I was twice elected to County Council in 2004 and 2008.

What new programs or projects, if any, would you implement if elected as Tipton County Council At Large?

The county council is the fiscal body for the county. While it would be unusual for the council to implement a project from inception, I would be in support of actions that would enhance our community. Finding funds to help make our community a better place to live, work and raise a family would be a task for the council.

What is the biggest issue currently facing Tipton County, and what would you do to address it?

There are several key issues facing our community. Quality of life issues for residents, housing and transportation, to name a few. I would like to see quality of life issues addressed. What would make our community more attractive as a place for families to put down roots? Tipton County should focus on the aspects and projects that would promote quality improvements. The community should also be proud of what we have and showcase the amenities that make Tipton County a wonderful community.

Candidate name: Kirk Retherford (R)

Work/elected experience: Employed with Hartley Grain for over 30 years and currently serves as the CFO. I have served on the Board of Directors of Encompass Credit Union for the past 12 years. I’ve also served on the Tipton County Fair Board for six years and was elected as both Treasurer and President during my tenure. I was a former Treasurer of the Tipton Girl’s Softball League and also a former Church Treasurer. I am the owner/operator of small farming operation in Tipton County.

Age: 58

Family: Married to April for 31 years. We have four children, Katie, Nathan, Noah and Riley and three grandchildren, Evan, Ellie and Emma.

What new programs or projects, if any, would you implement if elected as Tipton County Council at Large?

Personally, I think attracting new families to the community should be a priority. Some ideas are the expansion to the trail system and attracting new businesses to the area that offer competitive wages. We should focus on promoting our strengths, such as our schools and sports programs, our beautiful park and library, the community theatre group and the many free concerts and other community events. In addition, we should continue to support the Boy’s and Girl’s Club and other youth opportunities, such as 4-H and help with the creation of an animal shelter. We need to continue to support the development of the highway 28 and 31 area. We must also continue to work with INDOT for another interchange in Tipton County on the ongoing highway 31 project.

What is the biggest issue currently facing Tipton County, and what would you do to address it?

Most importantly, we should focus on holding the tax rates down while delivering services and trying to finance future projects. Our county tax is within the top ten in the state. In comparison to other counties within the same bracket, we fall short on amenities to offer to the citizens. Since the County Council is responsible for developing the yearly budgets, the taxpayer’s money needs to be used wisely. It is crucial to remember that this money belongs to the citizens, and they deserve to know where their money is being spent and how it will help the community. There is no room for waste or frivolous expenditures. I believe that in the past there have been some decisions made that were not in the taxpayer’s best interest. This needs to stop. The decisions that are made today, truly do affect the taxpayer’s tomorrow.

Candidate name: Chase Meyncke (D)

Work/elected experience: A 2005 graduate of Purdue University and lifelong resident of Tipton county, I am currently serving on the Madison Township Advisory Board and Tipton County Fair Board.

Age: 37

Family: Wife Jackie & daughter Jersie

What new programs or projects, if any, would you implement if elected as Tipton County Council at Large?

My main goal would be listening to and representing the people in the community. Keeping in mind the sole focus of the council is to keep a balanced budget within the county, I would like to see potential investment and growth within the entire community. I’d like to facilitate the development of a community in which young families would be proud to call home and raise their children in a safe environment.

What is the biggest issue currently facing Tipton County, and what would you do to address it?

If elected, my primary focus would be working with the commissioners to keep a balanced budget. With COVID-19 affecting income-based taxes, that could become an increasingly difficult task in the foreseeable future.

Candidate name: Linda Smeltzer (D)

Work/elected experience: I retired after 26 years from Indian Heights Elementary school after working in the kitchen and serving as head cook. I worked at Brumbaugh’s Flower Shop for five years. I’ve served on the Sharpsville Town Council for over 20 years. I, along with Sharpsville’s citizens, helped develop and implement our town Zoning Board that I also serve on. I have also served on the Tipton County Solid Waste Board for over 15 years. I have worked on events held in our town to improve our park and save our historical gym.

Age: 73

Family: Husband Don, retired from Chrysler Corp after 36 years. We have three adult children and three grandchildren, all who have graduated from Tri-Central Jr/Sr. High School.

What new programs or projects, if any, would you implement if elected as Tipton County Council at Large?

I would help to further any projects or programs that have already been implemented and would continue building on any programs or projects that are just getting off the ground. I don’t mind rolling up my sleeves and getting down in the dirt if it is for the betterment of our community. I like to be involved in all aspects of any project I take on, from getting down in the ditch when Sharpsville has had a water leak, learning about Sharpsville’s sewer systems and anything it takes to gain vital knowledge of the issues facing our communities. If I were elected, I would take time and work with those in our communities to learn what issues and concerns were most pertinent before I would consider implementing any new programs or projects, so I would know our focus was in the right places and meeting the right needs in our communities.

What is the biggest issue currently facing Tipton County, and what would you do to address it?

I think some of the biggest issues facing Tipton County are the need for affordable homes for new families and senior citizens and the growth of business and industry within the county. Focusing on these issues would bring growth and prosperity for the county and our schools. These two issues go hand in hand, because bringing in more business and industry would provide more tax revenue to put toward affordable housing. I would be honored to help move our beautiful county forward if elected. Thank you for your time and interest.

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