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Terre Haute City Common Council, At Large

Term length: 4 yearsDuties: The legislative body (City Common Council) may pass ordinances, orders, resolutions, and motions for the government of the city, the control of the city’s property and finances, and the appropriation of money. The legislative body may, by ordinance, make loans of money and issue bonds for the purpose of refunding those loans. The loans may be made only for the purpose of procuring money to be used in the exercise of the powers of the city or for the payment of city debts. The legislative body may investigate the departments, officers, and employees of the city; and hire or contract attorneys and legal research assistants. The city legislative body shall, by ordinance, fix the annual compensation of all elected city offices and approve the compensation set by the city executive (the mayor) for each appointive officer, deputy, and other employee of the city. After reviewing the budget report from the fiscal officer, the legislative body shall prepare an ordinance fixing the rate of taxation for the ensuing budget year and an ordinance making appropriations for the estimated department budgets and other city purposes during the ensuing budget year. The legislative body, in the appropriation ordinance, may reduce any estimated item from the figure submitted in the report of the fiscal officer, but it may increase an item only if the executive recommends an increase.Salary: $14,165.84Incumbents: George Azar, Curtis DeBaun IV, Don Morris

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    George J. Azar

  • Candidate picture

    Tammy Boland

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    Curtis A. DeBaun IV

  • Steven B. Niece

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    James Dale Rodenberger

Biographical Information

What, in your view, is the next necessary step for the city’s finances and why?

Various projects have been proposed related to local economic development (including but not limited to a casino, convention center, downtown planning, riverfront development). Please describe your vision for economic development in Terre Haute, including how any or all of these projects fit into your plan.

What measures, if any, would you propose to increase the quality of life in our community and/or to ensure that quality of life reaches all community members?

What do you see as the order of priorities for new and improved infrastructure in our community, and how do you propose each of those be funded?

What is your philosophy as to subsidizing business and industry, e.g. tax increment districts, tax abatements, public/private partnerships, development bonding, etc.?

Campaign (Public) Email Address
Campaign Phone (812) 243-0209
Education Graduate in Elementary Education from Indiana State University.
Occupational history and current position Owner and Operator of The Saratoga Restaurant and Azar's Catering
I believe that the current City Council has been on the right track in trying to control the City Finances. We have asked and received numerous financial records that allow us to adequately assess our needs. It is my opinion that we need to continue with these steps. I am hopeful that the administration (both current and future) will be as transparent as possible so that the City Council can best decide what is needed and what is not, as well as keeping our taxpayers informed as to the City's financial condition.
With the announcement of the Casino, Convention Center, Riverfront Development, it is my hope that the combination of these projects will create an positive attitude about the direction of our City. Although nothing is for certain, I believe that, with the help of our city leaders, these projects will encourage other's to locate in our City, thus creating jobs, a larger tax base, and a community that will be a star in the State of Indiana.
We must make every effor to support the Arts, Theatre, Universities, Religious and Educational Institutions, Law enforcement, etc. in order to create a safe and "fun" atmosphere that will attract people and encourage them to settle in our City.
I would hope that through private and government investment and co-operation we can begin seeing our streets, sidewalks, alleys etc. improved in areas that have been neglected for far too long. It is obvious that most of the infrastructure problems that a community faces is one that can't be solved over night. It will take time and money, as well as engagement by our citizens and elected offcials.
The subsidizing of business and industry by the use of TIF, Tax abatements etc had become widely used by almost all Cities and Towns. I do not believe ALL businesses and industry should be granted some of these incentives. If an area is "blighted" and in need of re-vitilazation then, by all means the use of these is proper. There are areas that will expand with or without these incentives. It is our responsibility as a Council to try and make the best decision possible on a case-by-case basis. To give out abatements "carte-blanche" is not something I am in favor of. I do however believe that if we are to be competitive with other communities and attract the kind of businesses that will increase our tax base, and quality of life, then that is what these incentives should be used for.
Campaign (Public) Email Address
Campaign Phone (812) 841-4423
Twitter @TAMMY4TH
Education Shakamak HIgh School Graduate IN EMTB
Occupational history and current position 20 year employee of Eli Lilly/Elanco; currently serving on the Leadership Team/Supervision Digital Audio Disc Corporation; Shakamak school bus driver,
Other public or political offices held, and when None
Other past candidacy for public office None
As a first time candidate new to the complex management of city finances, I believe in long term strategic planning as a means to make improvements not only to the city budget but to all things that directly impact the overall fiscal health of Terre Haute. City finances cannot simply be viewed as reductions to the bottom line; cutting of services or shared resources. I hope we can work with the private sector developing opportunities to attract sustainable business and industry growth. The short term fixes will not be what sustains our community, a collaborative and long term vision for fiscal responsibility should be our primary goal. Blighted property is an example of an issue that creates significant economic drain to our city. We can do better and need to be focused on this effort.
Any project/opportunity to develop should be viewed as a positive for our community. Whether or not the casino becomes a Terre Haute venture will be determined by the State Legislature. Pending approval of Terre Haute location, the citizens of Vigo County will make the final decision via a 2020 referendum. I will make the best decision for our community based on the results of the referendum. I would love to see an amended version of the bill, with specific dollars directed back to Vigo County for our school corporation and infrastructure improvements. All these projects have the potential to put people to work which leads to economic development. We have a strong labor influence in our community, Universities and Colleges graduating some of the best and brightest potential residents. I’m optimistic but think we also need to look for diverse and alternate workforce opportunities (business and industry) independent of tourism to boost economic development.
I would like to implement a Government appointed Citizen group, independent of elected leaders to propose a Community Vision plan. Our citizens are our most important resource and should play a role in establishing the direction of our city. Their concerns and day to day experiences are what impact their individual quality of life. They are concerned about neighborhood safety, code enforcement, lighting, programs for youth, quality education, infrastructure, opportunities for home ownership and earning a living wage. They have a vision and their voice needs to be heard. Our neighborhoods are diverse but connected in the goals they hope to achieve. Blighted, abandoned and vacant properties are a constant economic drain on the city budget. Lower property values result in lower tax revenues, requiring repeated Code inspections and repeated interventions by city resources. We can do better!
Again, long term strategic planning focusing on the locations in our city that have been most neglected. Many communities are successfully making infrastructure improvements which we could possibly duplicate. As a newcomer to the city’s financial planning I hope to partner with those communities to seek alternate possibilities for funding. I’m excited to see several concerned citizen groups focusing on neighborhood improvements. They are planning and executing clean-up projects that go far beyond picking up trash. I hope to build those relationships, networking neighborhoods for engaged and cross functional projects. I also hope to work with the Code enforcement division, looking for ways to improve their presence in our community. The return on investment will be immediately visible.
I am not opposed to the use of TIF, tax abatement or development bonding. Incentives such as these are often the deciding factor businesses and industries use when determining locations. Occasionally there are grant dollars available to supplement public/private partnerships; we must capitalize on these opportunities. We cannot be complacent when it comes to oversight and scrutiny of these incentives. All the agreed upon conditions must be monitored thoroughly during the time the subsidy is effect. A focused process should exist and consequences for failure to comply with the terms of the agreement enforced. I want to ensure practice of currently established policies to review compliance which will promote transparency and accountability for those benefiting from the subsidy.
Campaign (Public) Email Address
Campaign Phone (812) 223-1456
Education Indiana State University BS, MS in history.
Occupational history and current position Realtor at Century 21, High School Teacher at Gibault Children's Services.
This current city council began to tackle our city's struggling financial situation at the beginning of the current term. Through careful budgeting we have turned this situation around. Our finances have improved each of the last three years, and look to continue to do so.

While there is reason for optimism, we still have work ahead of us. I would like us to be in a position in which we could eliminate all short term borrowing within the next couple of years.
Terre Haute is a city of great potential. Our downtown area has been improving over the last few years. We need to find ways in which we can encourage business to locate downtown, in order to see that it continues to grow. We are a fortunate community in that we have a river. Riverfront development will play an important role in the growth of our city. It is my hope that RiverFront Lofts will act as a catalyst for further development along the river. Bringing both a convention center and a casino to Terre Haute could serve as an economic boost.
The quality of life issue is tied to our neighborhood blight problem, and solving this problem should be a top priority. A serious discussion should occur about the funding of additional code enforcement officers. I am in favor of potentially doubling the current amount. The city should have more city cleanup days, in which dumpsters will be placed throughout the city. We must look to other communities who have dealt with this issue themselves, and emulate their successes while learning from what they did wrong. An example would be considering Mayor Pete Buttigieg's 1,000 Houses in 1,000 Days initiative in South Bend.
I was excited to see the completion of the Margaret Ave. overpass last year, and look forward to future overpass projects. A new police station is badly needed. After taking office, I took a tour of the current police station and realized quickly it was not a suitable building. Like other communities in Indiana, our roads are in rough shape. We need to be sure that we are allocating resources necessary to maintain our roads.
Subsidizing business and industry must be considered carefully, and on a case by case basis. A tax abatement is a tool we have that allows us to compete with surrounding cities for business and industry. It is important that we take consider a number of factors in deciding on granting an abatement. We use a scoring system as a guide. We review each of these abatements every year in order to determine if they are in compliance or not. If the abatement is not in compliance, we as a council will call a hearing to further determine what action to be taken.
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Campaign (Public) Email Address
Twitter @Jdrodenberger
Education A graduate of Terre Haute South Vigo High School Attended Ivy Tech Community College and Harrison College
Occupational history and current position I have worked numerous jobs over the years. Including restaurants to Manufacturing. I understand what it's like to work a real job. I currently work as the manager of operations for a transportation company.
Other public or political offices held, and when Never held office before.
Other past candidacy for public office First time running for political office.
I think we really need to look at the city's budget. I feel that we're not spending the money of the tax payers wisely. I feel we're able to cut taxes that it would be easier for businesses to grow. It would also make it seem more attractive community for people to move to.
I think it's important to us to bring as much opportunities of the city as possible. As far as the casino goes, it can add much-needed in come to the city. Most of the projects that are being planned are generally good ideas. Although, I think that private business would be better at an acting these programs. When it comes to the convention center, I think we need to take our time. The politicians currently in power have money burning a hole in their pocket. I think we have plenty of space and some of the older stores that are closed in the mall. We should propose a public-private partnership with the ownership of the mall to create a Convention Center. I think we need to loosen regulations on small businesses and people to earn income on their own. Small-business is the backbone of the US economy.
I think that we should roll back a lot of our zoning regulations. All they are doing are creating income inequality and economically segregating people. By reducing zoning we can make our city more walkable and more attractive to newcomers, as well as making life better for our citizens in general. By loosening some of these regulations we will also decrease the cost of opening a business and developing land. By lowering the cost of housing, increase density and make for a more diverse City.
All of our infrastructure is a major priority. It's hard to rank what's more important , how do you choose between Transportation, Water, and Power. We should always be continuously improving our infrastructure. The city needs to continue to update all of its utilities, and other infrastructure. Most of that infrastructure is being operated by utility companies. In my opinion, the best way to fund that would be to offer low-interest or no-interest loans to the utility companies.
I'm all for lowering taxes. Although, I'm not for corporate welfare. If we lower our taxes in general, we wouldn't need to subsidize businesses to come here. The city should definitely engage in more public-private Partnerships. Most government bureaucracies tend to run in efficiently. A well-run business monitored by interested parties should be able to take care of most problems. Development of our city shouldn't be put on the backs of taxpayers.