Posted on

Council

Council Council

Nine Democrats are seeking their party’s nomination for three at-large seats on the Harrison County Council. (The four district seats will be up for election in two years.) The top three Democrat vote-getters on May 6 will face the Republicans in the November General Election. The seven-member council is responsible for setting budgets presented by the county commissioners and appropriating additional funds throughout the year as necessary for all county officers, boards and commissions.
Democrats
Kyle Byrne

Address: Corydon
Spouse: Brandie (Koons) Byrne
Children: Kylie, 3, and Kellsie, 1-1/2 months
Occupation: Network engineer, Louisville Metro Government
School and year graduated: North Harrison High School, 1997
Additional education: While in the military, I attended Computer Networking Technical School. I’m scheduled to finish my Computer Management Information Systems Bachelor’s Degree in December 2008.
Political affiliation: Democrat
Previous political experience: This is my first time running for public office.
Duties of position sought: County council is responsible for listening to departments, schools and county citizens’ needs to appropriate the funding to keep the community a positive place to work and live.
Why are you seeking the office? I am running for Harrison County Council because I would like to see our community expand and grow into a self-sustainable community economically, educationally and environmentally. I grew up in Ramsey and went to school at North Harrison. It disheartens me to see our school systems go through the contract challenges that they have endured. If elected, it is one of my goals to ensure the school systems get the resources they need to make our schools the best in the state. South Harrison schools have been very successful with the free school book program, and I would like to see all our school systems be able to provide the same program. Our community has been starved of technology such as high-speed Internet for too long. Even though Verizon has provided these services to areas of the county, there are still a lot of areas that don’t have it. We need to make our community desirable to people moving into our county. By providing high-speed Internet to the community, providing a government that pools resources and eliminates spending waste and providing public safety are major steps in improving infrastructures to make our community self-sustainable. Our fire and police departments are very important to our community, and I believe that we are very fortunate to have those who risk their lives everyday, serving our county, by providing them the resources and training to protect us will increase response times during emergencies and reduce crime. Finally, Harrison County is plentiful with farmland, forestry and waterways. We need to provide a balance in the ecosystems, by supporting our farmland industries and natural resources such as parks, creeks, rivers and forest land which house our wildlife.
What qualifies you for the office? My working experience in the Air Force and Louisville Metro Government serving the public. During the time I spent in the military, I have learned how to ‘do more with less.’ While working on projects with Metro Louisville, I have been able to come up with different solutions that get the job done within the budget.
What do you consider top issues in the campaign? Property taxes have become a major issue for citizens of Harrison County, which have caused hardships for many people, including our senior citizens which are on fixed incomes.
What do you think Harrison County officials should be doing in preparation of Kentucky expanding its gaming industry? It looks like Kentucky’s initiative to getting casino gambling is on the down slope, since it failed on March 27; however, we need to continue making investments in our community that will make it more desirable for visitors to come to the county to live, visit, raise families and spend money which will increase revenue for the county and local businesses.
Do you favor overtime pay or compensation time for county employees? Why? Our county employees work really hard to provide services to our community and, if the county employees work overtime, they should be compensated for their time. However, if I’m elected to county council, it is my goal to provide county departments appropriate manning to provide the services, so overtime is limited.
What actions should the county, specifically the county council, take to promote and foster economic development? Increasing technology and improving education are the starting point to bringing businesses to Harrison County. I believe this will help bring better paying jobs to Harrison County.
How can county government be improved for the taxpayers? I believe the county government can be improved through the use of technology to better serve the taxpayers, by providing online services. I also think that our county could use an anonymous tip line for crime reporting and prevention. By making our community self-sustainable, it helps ensure these taxes are not increased. Police and fire technologies are becoming outdated and unusable, and we need to provide the proper tools for them to be able to protect us from harm’s way. I would like to see a community conversations meeting held monthly in alternating locations of the county where the public can voice their concerns, opinions and questions with the different county departments.
Other comments: I spent eight years in the Air Force after high school, where I learned to live by three core values that I still live by: Integrity first, Service before self and Excellence in all we do. The professional experience I’ve gained by working for U.S. Air Force, IBM and Louisville Metro Government has contributed to my decision to run for county council as I believe that a successful community is led by people that know how to listen, build strong teams, collaborate and compromise, and are willing to make difficult decisions. I served my country and, with the opportunity, I want to serve my county. I want to serve the people of Harrison County.
Contact information for voters: 267-4008 or e-mail [email protected]
Joseph N. Cox Jr.
Address: Elizabeth
Spouse: Rebecca L. Cox
Children: James C. Cox, Christina McKim
Occupation: Slot host at Caesars Indiana
School and year graduated: GED
Additional education: 1 year at University of Louisville
Political affiliation: Democrat
Previous political experiences:
Duties of position sought: Oversees and administers the county budget; approves the county budget; establishes the salaries for county officers and employees; and authorizes spending to certain departments for specific purposes.
Why are you seeking the office? Since 1974 to 2007, our property taxes increased approximately 600 percent. Since 1998 to 2007, county spending has increased by 90.2 percent while inflation rate was only 24.7 percent. I plan to get the county spending and taxes under control.
What qualifies you for the office? I qualify by just being a concerned citizen of Harrison County. Since 1975, I have resided in Harrison County and have watched it grow. I have kept up with the political issues and the growth of the county.
What do you consider top issues in the campaign? Property taxes, county spending, use of boat funds and road conditions. Boat funds cannot replace our property taxes but can and should be used to reduce the county debts which would reduce our tax rates.
What do you think Harrison County officials should be doing in preparation of Kentucky expanding its gaming industry? I would use the boat money to get the county out of debt, suspend all major projects until the debts are gone, stop making unnecessary purchases, only purchase what is needed, not wanted, stop acting like a kid in a candy store with a fist full of money.
Do you favor overtime pay or compensation time for county employees? Why? Compensation. From past experience, I have seen some creative overtime. Compensation versus overtime would save the county money and would eliminate creative overtime.
What actions should the county, specifically the county council, take to promote and foster economic development? We have offered companies incentives in the past and continue to do so. I would suggest a more rigorous campaign to let more companies know of our resources available to them.
What one major change needs to be made in the work of the county council? Why? I think the council needs to be more in touch with the people or entities that are requesting funds. Go out and investigate, see the books, check the work. This may help control the amount of funds requested versus the amount needed, if any.
How can county government be improved for the taxpayers? We have a Web site for Harrison County but it is lacking on information. We need to improve the site so everyone can have access to review all the minutes of the council and commissioners’ meetings and other meetings that have an effect on our tax structures and budget.
Other comments: I won by losing in the Third District Commissioner race in 2006. All my campaign issues have been used. I hope that if I lose again, I will win. Let all who are running and all that are in take note. Wake up and smell the coffee brewing.
Contact information for voters: [email protected]
Richard Gerdon
Address: Corydon
Spouse: Rilla Gilham Gerdon
Children: Brian Gerdon, 27, married, and Kevin Gerdon, 24, married with two children
Occupation: (former to present) Manager and part owner of Nelson’s Firestone in Corydon; Gerdon Auto Sales; currently asset manager at Community First Bank
School and year graduated: 1977 graduate of Corydon Central High School
Additional education: The most important kind: the experiences of life.
Political affiliation: Democrat
Previous political experience: None
Duties of position sought: Budgeting and allocating funds after listening to the needs and concerns of our constituents.
Why are you seeking the office? I have lived and worked in Harrison County all my life, owned a business here, raised a family here and want to be involved in seeing the county move forward. I would like to contribute something to that process.
What qualifies you for the office? I can identify with the majority of taxpayers concerning the challenges and struggles they face regarding property taxes, job opportunities, rising fuel costs, etc. My job gives me a unique perspective on the overall landscape of life in Harrison County. I often have to think outside the box to find creative solutions. My job gives me opportunities to be involved in community activities. I am a good listener, but more importantly, I am a good problem solver. I believe my business experience and people skills would be an asset on the council.
What do you consider top issues in the campaign? Having the county in good financial position should we lose the riverboat revenue and seeing more riverboat revenue put toward lowering the school debt to lower property taxes.
What do you think Harrison County officials should be doing in preparation of Kentucky expanding its gaming industry? I am not nearly as concerned about Kentucky’s gaming expansion as I am about the state of Indiana stepping in to claim our riverboat revenue. They tried several years ago and failed, but I am certain it’s just a matter of time before they are successful. I want to see the county increase its Contingency Fund (rainy day fund) and invest those dollars in high yield, guaranteed AAA bonds. We could use the money earned from these bonds to supplement some of the loss of the riverboat revenue if it does get taken away.
Do you favor overtime pay or compensation time for county employees? Why? I believe if county employees are required to work overtime due to emergency situations or deadlines, they should have their choice of overtime or comp time. In all other situations, I favor comp time to discourage inefficiency.
What actions should the county, specifically the county council, take to promote and foster economic development? I believe other agencies are responsible for promoting and fostering economic development. However the council should make every effort to have all of the infrastructure (land, utilities, roads, sewers) in place. With the economic downturn and outsourcing of jobs, I feel that opportunities for industry coming in will be very minimal. Therefore, I would like to concentrate on attracting smaller businesses.
What one major change needs to be made in the work of the county council? Why? By never serving on the council, I’m not aware of any one thing that needs change. I do know that working together as a team with the council, commissioners, elected officials and county departments will always produce a much better outcome for everyone involved.
How can county government be improved for the taxpayers? I would like to see the General Fund increased by conservative spending and interest income through better investment of the riverboat money. The more we have in the General Fund, the lower our tax rate is.
Other comments: If I have a campaign slogan, it is ‘No nonsense, just good common sense.’
Contact information for voters: 736-1139; [email protected]
Steve Haggard
Address: Corydon
Spouse: Terri Haggard
Children: Dawn, Aaron, Sarah, Michael; 3 grandchildren
Occupation: Livestock broker; auctioneer; real estate agent
School and year graduated: Corydon Central H.S., 1968
Additional education: College, 2 years
Political affiliation: Democrat
Previous political experience: County Council, 4 years; County Commissioner, 4 years; Democrat Party Chair, 4 years
Duties of position sought: Supervise and manage the county budget; listen to the proposals of the commissioners; and assist in the allocation of county monies.
Why are you seeking office? I am a lifelong resident of Harrison County. My children grew up in this county, and currently I have grandchildren growing up here. I feel I have a responsibility to give back to the county and have a duty to help ensure a good, bright future for our young people.
What qualifies you for the office? My experience serving in many organizations throughout the county, along with my previous four years (one year as chairman) on the county council and four years (four years as chairman) on the County Board of Commissioners has given me eight years of education in running county government after being voted into office. The past eight years have given me fresh perspective regarding the social and economic changes this county has experienced and will continue to deal with in the future. It is a privilege to serve in county government, and I would appreciate the chance to utilize my experience and education in assisting the county to stay on the right track.
What do you consider top issues in the campaign? I think top issues in the campaign are: 1) the Kentucky gaming industry’s effect on Harrison County’s riverboat monies; 2) money allocated to maintain all county roads ‘ maintenance also covers widening and proper drainage; 3) working closely with the commissioners to bring new industry into the county for much needed jobs.
What do you think Harrison County officials should be doing in preparation of Kentucky expanding its gaming Industry? This issue may not come back up for another year or two in Kentucky. My primary concern is with the state of Indiana’s position after the elections. The boat money may diminish, as time goes by, due to what Indiana requires running state government. The state seems to never have enough sources of revenue, so they ‘rob Peter to pay Paul.’ The county needs to be even more diligent in managing and budgeting the county monies to ensure that the roads are taken care of along with the proper funding of all other ongoing projects that have been implemented.
Do you favor overtime pay or compensation time for county employees? Why? I feel that there should be a choice of either one or the other at the discretion of the employer and the employee. Every situation is different, and there may be times when an employer needs to be flexible.
What actions should the county, specifically the county council, take to promote and foster economic development? We must actively seek new industry, promoting the assets our county has to offer, recruiting new companies and employers. I was serving on the council when the riverboat first came into this county. We were told then to carefully manage that money, promote jobs and industry, as one day the boat money would dry up. We need industry in place, generating revenue to replace diminished boat funds. The job loss has been devastating to the county tax base. We need to provide more jobs for Harrison County residents, strengthen the tax base and reduce the property tax burden on our citizens.
What one major change needs to be made in the work of the county council? Why? We need to work with the commissioners to actively seek new industry and bring new jobs and more revenue into the county. Residents need local jobs; the cost of transportation outside of the county is unaffordable for a large majority of our taxpayers. Our children and our grandchildren currently have no future to build on here. They commute or physically move to further their education in order to have a decent job. Once they complete their education, they continue a costly commute or end up unable to move back to the county they grew up in because of their jobs. The young people are our future; without them our county has no future. The investment in our young people goes hand in hand with economic development.
How can county government be improved for the taxpayers? I feel that county officials need to be more accessible to answer questions and phone calls from the taxpayers and county information should be readily available to all. County officials work for the county, therefore they work for the taxpayers and should be more ‘customer service oriented.’ In this age of automation, every place you call you deal with talking to machines or computers. People like to talk to real people, not the constant barrage of automation. We need to treat people with respect and consideration, and promote a good attitude. The people of Harrison County are the untapped treasure that will help county government do a better job. I believe that the best way to encourage people to get involved is to take government to them and listen to their ideas. I will endeavor to hold meetings across the county in the local communities on a quarterly basis.
Contact information for voters: 366-3532; www.haggardforcouncil.com; [email protected]
Joy Kirchgessner
Address: Corydon
Spouse: Mike Kirchgessner
Occupation: D.E. Brown Inc. Insurance
School and year graduated: Corydon Central High School, 1976
Additional education: Vincennes University
Political affiliation: Democrat
Previous political experience: West Harrison precinct committeewoman
Duties of position sought: The county council oversees and administers the county budget.
Why are you seeking the office? I think the residents of Harrison County should have more information and input on the county budget.
What qualifies you for the office? I’m a lifetime resident of Harrison County. I’ve worked and been a business owner in Harrison County for over 20 years.
What do you consider top issues in the campaign? There are many issues and new ones develop every year.
What do you think Harrison County officials should be doing in preparation of Kentucky expanding its gaming industry? We are all going to have to watch our budget even more closely.
Do you favor overtime pay or compensation time for county employees? Why? That would be determined case by case.
What actions should the county, specifically the county council, take to promote and foster economic development? The county council needs to do what they can within their capacity.
What one major change needs to be made in the work of the county council? Why? The residents of Harrison County should have more information as to why some decisions are made. More questions asked; more details given.
How can county government be improved for the taxpayers? Again, more access to information.
Contact information for voters: 738-8860
Robert (Bob) Harrison Morris
Address: New Salisbury
Spouse: Virginia (Purcell) Morris
Children: Christopher Morris, Melissa Czolgosz and Sarah Morris
Occupation: Journeyman meat cutter, Kroger Co., 34 years
School and year graduated: North Harrison High School, 1973
Political affiliation: Democrat
Previous political experience: North Harrison School Board of Trustees, 8 years, 1994-2002, Jackson Township seat
Duties of position sought: County council sets the rate of taxation for the county; appropriates funds to be paid from the county treasury; adopts annual budget; fixes salaries of county employees, among other duties.
Why are you seeking the office? After serving on my local school board for eight years, I consider my running for county council the next step in my community service that I would like to do.
What qualifies you for the office? My experience as a school board member allowed me to work with a variety of individuals, the community, administrators, contractors, faculty and students. The position also provided much experience in working with large budgets.
What do you consider top issues in the campaign? Attracting more industry in the county for better jobs; to assure the state does not take away our riverboat revenue; and keeping our local county government officials that Gov. Daniels wants to eliminate.
What do you think Harrison County officials should be doing in preparation of Kentucky expanding its gaming industry? We can’t control what the state of Kentucky does, but I think for now, they cannot bring it before the voters for at least two more years.
Do you favor overtime pay or compensation time for county employees? Why? I favor overtime pay with limitations, such as the sheriff’s and highway departments. Comp time is an accounting problem to keep track of; it may cost more in a paper trail than any savings.
What actions should the county, specifically the county council, take to promote and foster economic development? Work with Chamber of Commerce to foster new industry to want to come to Harrison County.
What one major change needs to be made in the work of the county council? Why? I think the council runs smoother now than in the past. The one thing that I would change is to rank requests for funds to be appropriated.
How can county government be improved for the taxpayers? (Did not answer)
Other comments: Member of United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 227 in Louisville, Chief Union Steward ‘ Kroger Grantline Road, delegate for the Southern Indiana labor board, member of Corydon Moose Lodge 2493, former president NHHS Band Boosters, member of the Harrison County Democrat Central Committee.
Contact information for voters: 347-2342; [email protected]
Carol Johnson Smith
Address: Corydon
Spouse: Divorced
Children: Neal Joseph Smith, 29, and Travis Lee Smith, 27
Occupation: UAW employee of Ford Motor Co.
School and year graduated: North Harrison High School, 1976
Additional education: Associate Degree in general studies, Indiana University Southeast
Political affiliation: Democrat
Previous political experience: Recording Secretary UAW CAP council from 1996-2000
Duties of position sought: County council controls the financial powers of the county and serves as a check on the county commissioners. The council fixes the rate of taxation for county purposes and appropriates all the funds for county officers, boards and commissions.
Why are you seeking the office? I have been a community activist for the past 12 years, traveling from Indianapolis to Frankfort, Ky., and many cities in between, talking with elected officials in an effort to convince them to work in the best interest of the most people. I have now decided to concentrate more effort to Harrison County, my home; seeking office as a possible way to improve the outcome of my efforts.
What qualifies you for the office? My desire, dedication and commitment to work hard for the best interests of the community. I have been doing this for many years, as a citizen, but now believe that more can be accomplished as an elected official.
What do you consider top issues in the campaign? The top issue is to address the economic and financial crisis in the nation which manifests itself in every section of the country, including Harrison County. Right now, the most obvious and immediate is the foreclosure crisis. Councils and state officials across the nation are passing resolutions that call on Congress to act. One council (Philadelphia) is not waiting; they have frozen foreclosures.
What do you think Harrison County officials should be doing in preparation of Kentucky expanding its gaming industry? One thing I would like to see is support from officials in forming a Citizen’s Advisory Board or similar group. The county is not utilizing our most precious resource: the people. So very many people today don’t even vote. If we can get more people involved in communicating with elected officials and each other, countless number of ideas would come forth to address important issues, including what to do about Kentucky’s gaming possibilities.
Do you favor overtime pay or compensation time for county employees? Why? Personally, I favor overtime pay, but if it were possible for employees to choose, I would support that option. As a single mother, I can understand possible situations where comp time might be preferable under certain circumstances at certain times.
What actions should the county, specifically the county council, take to promote and foster economic development? Join other councils across the nation in sending resolutions to Congress demanding support for a national recovery program to return this country to our historic mission for progress; think big ideas. Real grassroot work for change begins with councils, which can and should be involved. We have a vital component of this possibility in the unused vacant Tower motor building. This could be retooled to make any of thousands of components needed to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure.
What major change needs to be made in the work of the county council? Why? There needs to be more openness, more transparent meetings. We need an inviting atmosphere to bring more of the citizens into discussions. Encourage people to be part of the solutions. New blood brings with it new ideas especially important in getting young people involved.
How can county government be improved for the taxpayers? The No. 1 way to improvement for the taxpayer is to increase the tax base; that is not higher taxes, but more, and especially better, paying (living wage) jobs. So job creation is the priority. Also, the idea of a Citizens Group to explore ways for improvement to be given to county government.
Other comments: I believe in the can-do attitude. In this respect, referring to the people, the citizens, as merely ‘taxpayers’ does a disservice to all. It reduces one’s identity where main purpose is paying taxes. Return the people to the status of citizens and get them involved in their own best interests. The ideas and innovations will follow.
Contact information for voters: 968-4046 or [email protected]
Chris Timberlake
Address: Crandall
Spouse: Julie (Bliss) Timberlake
Children: Ben, 3
Occupation: Web Design/Pagination, O’Bannon Publishing Co.
School and year graduated: University of Kentucky, 1986, B.A. telecommunications; Corydon Central High School, 1982
Political affiliation: Democrat
Previous political experience: Completing first term on the Harrison County Council
Duties of position sought: Council is the fiscal arm of county government, responsible for its annual budget. We also meet twice monthly to consider any other monetary issues that may arise and be sent to the council from the commissioners.
Why are you seeking the office? I enjoy the work and my involvement in the process of county government.
What qualifies you for the office? I’m in my fourth year on the job and would like to apply that experience to another four-year term.
What do you consider top issues in the campaign? I think a lot of people have property taxes on their mind, and it’s good to see the state finally taking some corrective measures in that respect. What the state put this county through last year was really unfortunate and very frustrating. It seemed like every time we thought we were in compliance with what they were asking, they moved the finish line on us, but I was glad to see it settled before the end of the year so that our schools didn’t have to borrow more money, placing even more of a burden on our taxpayers.
What do you think Harrison County officials should be doing in preparation of Kentucky expanding its gaming industry? To an extent, that’s being done already with the county’s Community Fund long ago established with the Harrison County Community Foundation. That account has grown to nearly $29 million and receives now 75 percent of Caesars’ monthly deposit at HCCF. I’m very mindful that every time a new request comes along that this riverboat windfall is only temporary. The great unknown is just how ‘temporary.’ Five more years, 25 years, 50 years? We’re investing the money as best we can, and while Kentucky’s casino efforts may eventually cut into the revenue we get from the riverboat, I have confidence that our casino will be able to compete. Caesars has made a great, great investment here.
Do you favor overtime pay or compensation time for county employees? If it’s necessary, I would have to say overtime because everything I’ve heard about comp time is that it’s a bookkeeping nightmare.
What actions should the county council take to promote and foster economic development? High-speed Internet availability is one thing that comes to mind. I think, in some respects, we’ve promoted economic development with investment in a new hospital, some road projects, Lifelong Learning and our annual investment in the county’s school systems. We’re currently investing $500,000 each year in economic development more or less, it seems, just to stay in the game. Hopefully when the national economy turns around, we’ll be able to capitalize. Otherwise, we may have to change our way of thinking in terms of the types of businesses we’re trying to attract. Maybe think about and pursue some 21st century avenues of economic development.
What one major change needs to be made in the work of the county council? Getting a handle on additionals.
How can county government be improved for the taxpayers? I think it would be helpful to cross-train some of our employees throughout government so that they can help out in different departments when help is needed. I think this would be a money-saving, more efficient approach to conducting the county’s business.
Other comments: I’ve always tried to approach my work on the council with a level head, a good ear and a fair mind and will continue to do so.
Contact information for voters: 366-4151
C. Todd Uhl
Address: Corydon
Spouse: Lisa Crecelius Uhl
Children: Ashley Uhl, 21, and Abbigail Uhl, 16
Occupation: Currently, I own and operate Northwood Knoll Farm, where our family raises a herd of 40 purebred cows. I owned Uhl Truck Sales until April of 2006, when I sold it to my brother-in-law and partner, Mike Shireman.
School and year graduated: North Harrison High School, Class of 1979
Additional education: Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Northwood University in Midland, Mich., Class of 1983
Political affiliation: Democrat
Previous political experience: I’m a newcomer to the political experience.
Duties of position sought: To provide for Harrison County a balanced budget while working with the citizens, agencies and commissioners to provide the necessary services and infrastructure of a successful county.
Why are you seeking the office? I feel that my education and successful business experience and skills have prepared me to serve on county council. Those things, coupled with the recent sale of my business and the fact that my daughters are older and more independent, now provide me with the time to be a dedicated public servant. I want to bring my skills to county government to provide efficient and affordable services to the people of Harrison County.
What qualifies you for the office? First of all, I believe 30 years as a successful businessman in Harrison County qualifies me, in addition to a degree in business administration and experience in a variety of community forums, including: Palmyra Volunteer Fire Dept. (served as assistant chief), Take Charge Committee, Unity Chapel United Methodist Church Finance, Trustee, Communication and Pastor Parish Committees (12 years), 4-H leader (18 years), 4-H Council (6 years/3 years chairman), Extension Board (6 years/3 years chairman) and Harrison County Agricultural Society (fair board/president). All of these experiences have provided me opportunities to hone my leadership, communication, budget and business skills, as well as balance budgets while working with people. I also consider one of my strongest assets to be problem solving amidst adversity.
What do you consider top issues in the campaign? The challenge of keeping taxes as low as possible while providing the necessary services and infrastructure to the people of Harrison County while facing decreasing revenues. I feel I’m ready for the challenge.
What do you think Harrison County officials should be doing in preparation of Kentucky expanding its gaming industry? I feel the need to keep county government as efficient as possible through sound business practices of professional and efficient space planning (county offices), proper maintenance of facilities and equipment, and optimizing purchasing along with continued development of a 5-year and 10-year plan to keep Harrison County fiscally strong.
Do you favor overtime pay or compensation time for county employees? Why? At this time, I don’t feel qualified to answer this question until I have the opportunity to analyze the budget as well as learn the responsibilities of, the concerns of and the demands on county employees.
What actions should the county, specifically the county council, take to promote and foster economic development? We should be a business-friendly county with a priority of supporting existing businesses, as well as offering competitive tax rates while providing the utilities and infrastructure for those businesses looking to relocate.
What one major change needs to be made in the work of the county council? Why? I believe county council is equal to running a multi-faceted business, and, therefore, I believe a period of evaluation is necessary before making major changes. It would first be necessary to gather facts, make assessments, know the business at hand and then determine what changes might be needed.
How can county government be improved for the taxpayer? County government can be improved by implementing sound business practices with an eye on the future and an ear to the present, to ensure that monies spent today are what’s best for the future of Harrison County. By looking at growth patterns, space planning, optimizing purchasing and planning for the future, we will have the resources needed in the future and allow us to keep taxes as low as possible.
Other comments: I’ve been looking forward to this opportunity of having both the business experience and the time to dedicate to serve all of Harrison County. With a last name of Uhl, alphabetically, I’m the last of nine county council at-large candidates on the Democratic ticket, and I’m hoping everyone will save a punch for me on the ballot and allow me to serve our community as a county councilman.
Contact information for voters: e-mail [email protected] or cell phone 734-5065
Republicans
Jim Heitkemper

Address: Elizabeth
Spouse: Sara
Children: 4
Occupation: Home improvement contractor / farmer
School and year graduated: Floyd Central, 1975
Additional education: Classes and seminars regarding business finance, management and investments, leadership training and agribusiness
Political affiliation: Most folks would regard me as a moderate conservative Republican, been that way since we began having children; often I can relate to Libertarian positions.
Previous political experience: District 3 County Commissioner from 2002 through 2006, Northeast Posey Precinct Committeeman for close to 20 years
Duties of position sought: Harrison County Council At-Large
Why are you seeking the office? (Did not answer)
What qualifies you for the office? No one is ever truly qualified to commit spending of other people’s money. It is a very serious concern that I do not take lightly. Yet the needs of the county must be met. That job should go to one who can separate the wants from the needs with a balanced, common-sense approach. I hope you can agree that these qualities served me well, not only as county commissioner, but in my business as well.
What do you consider top issues in the campaign? Property tax has been a problem. Time will tell if the recent fixes by the state government will be a lasting cure. Ratcheting spending another. Those problems not withstanding, Harrison County banked heavily on tax abatements to rust-belt industries that left us high and dry after the abatement ran out. None of us are pleased about that. County government needs to have a better method of tracking such equipment abatements to ensure that business will stay in Harrison County. And all of us should be aware that one day we may be forced to go back to a pre-casino budget.
What do you think Harrison County officials should be doing in preparation of Kentucky expanding its gaming industry? To Harrison County’s credit, that was certainly pointed out when the state considered redistribution of gaming monies in 2006. The state could find no fault with how the money was used in Harrison County. And the fact that we share with surrounding counties certainly helped Harrison County’s cause. As far as what Kentucky will do will be anyone’s guess; perhaps they will reason that it is a sad day when government has to resort to legalized gaming in order to finance government’s wants. If the state would have had its way with us in 2006, we in county government realized that all budgets would have had to go back to pre-gaming levels.
Do you favor overtime pay or compensation time for county employees? Why? That is a viable question which has come up before. Much discussion was aired considering snow emergency time for the highway department, especially the supervisor there, and the previous animal control officer who seemed to be out on emergency calls at all hours. To date, I have not heard of a fair way to deal with this delicate issue.
What actions should the county, specifically the county council, take to promote and foster economic development? One sure plus to improve economic development in Harrison County is to be in business yourself. Survival savvy is a definite plus to competing in the global world that has been thrust upon us. Seems to me that agriculture and natural resources strengths are recognized better today than they were perhaps 15 years ago. I am certain that tax abatement requests will continue to come in from time to time. We need to examine each request carefully.
What one major change needs to be made in the work of the county council? Why? Wink and smile, the council needs to have a couple of more Republican folks with a balanced point of view.
How can county government be improved for the taxpayers? Retiring school debt with riverboat money was a good property tax reduction tool that appears to be shelved this year. I would support this tool being put back in service. With the changes coming back from Indianapolis, property taxes will more than likely appear to yo-yo. What I have learned while in county government, most folks are rational and sensible to deal with. However, far too many folks fear government and bringing an issue to light, and whenever they do, some are so worked up that it takes a while for them to reason with you. Honestly, the council and commissioner meeting schedules, I think, are appropriate. Occasionally, someone will suggest that the courthouse have Saturday-’til-noon hours, but that would mean the courthouse would be closed four hours sometime during the week. I hear complaints that the animal shelter should have longer hours. To be honest, these are issues that will be dealt with by the commissioners.
Contact information for voters: [email protected]
Marion Wallace
Address: New Salisbury
Spouse: Jean Wallace
Occupation: Veterans Service Officer for Harrison County, May 2003 – Present
School and year graduated: Graduate of Troy State University with a bachelor’s in resources management, 1992
Political affiliation: Republican
Previous political experience: None
Duties of position sought: The financial powers of counties are placed in the county council which serves as a check on the Board of County Commissioners.
Why are you seeking the office? My education and experience as well as my background will be a major contribution to our county.
What qualifies you for the office? I have attended the majority of the meetings during the past five years, which has given me a much deeper insight into county government matters.
What do you consider top issues in the campaign? To see a more efficient county government and to take a deeper consideration of our county’s finances.
What do you think Harrison County officials should be doing in preparation of Kentucky expanding its gaming industry? To make a more disciplined sense of riverboat money revenue.
Do you favor overtime pay or compensation time for county employees? Why? I feel that overtime pay is in effect now where it is necessary. An efficient running of county offices should not need overtime work except in unanticipated situations.
What actions should the county, specifically the county council, take to promote and foster economic development? I do not see why promoting and fostering economic development is a county council position except to consider funding programs for the continued growth of Harrison County.
What one major change needs to be made in the work of the county council? Why? To keep the county as the major emphasis as a whole rather than to dwell on less significant interests.
How can county government be improved for the taxpayers? To focus on the county government as a whole and to implement a new theory and direction to improve county revenue.
Contact information for voters: [email protected]

LATEST NEWS