This space is for voicing opinions and I would like to voice mine. It concerns the Republican candidate running for a seat on the Hillsboro Town Board and the contents of his platform.
He thinks our utility bills are too high and this is his way to solve that problem. If elected, he wants to return his pay back to the town feeling that would help lower the bills. Since he rarely attends board meetings, he is apparently not aware of the only two ways he could do that. All three board members would have to agree to do the same, however, they would still be responsible for the state and local taxes. If they would not agree, he would have to take his check, minus all taxes, cash it and write a personal check back to the town.
Since he seldom attends meetings, he is probably not aware that for the past 15-20 years, the board has refused to accept a pay increase at budget time and the small amount they receive would not be felt for at least 8-10 years, but it is a noble gesture.
Another item this candidate is probably not aware of is that the State of Indiana will not allow a public utility to run in the red, which was the reason for the last increase in utility bills. He is also probably not aware that prior to the last increase, the board passed a resolution that instead of the raise that the State of Indiana told them to do, they divided it into three phases so as not to burden the people with such a large increase and they also specified that if the utility got back in the black and had accumulated enough in reserves, that the last increase could be reversed.
Our son recently moved back to this area from a small town in northern Indiana. This town has no water system and no weekly trash pickup. They were forced by the state to put in a sewer system and now their bills, with no water and no trash pickup are running around $80 per month. This candidate should be happy with our rates and be glad he does not live in that town.
Our bills got out of hand as our water and sewer systems are 20-25 years old now and repairs must be fixed when things break or wear out. We also are receiving constant new rules and regulations that are state mandated that we have to follow and when you realize we only have around 250 water meters in town, anyone should be able to do the math.
This candidate also talks about getting more grants. The present and past boards have done an excellent job on procuring grants, however, most grants come with a percentage of money that has to be paid back, which is another reason we were running in the red. Hillsboro has received grants for water and a new water tower, sewer, sidewalks, street repairs, etc.
As for the Democratic candidate, the board was approached as to another grant for repairs to surface drainage and after hearing what the percentage of the town would be, he quickly rejected it and so did the other board members since it would require another huge increase in utility bills.
As to the Republican candidate wanting to seek a non-profit status for Hillsboro, that is a can of worms that should never be opened.
This is my opinion based on the fact that I served two terms on the board and was part of several of the things I wrote about above. At his point I would say, please vote wisely on Election Day.
Gordon W. Foster