April 4, 2018 at 5:30 p.m.

Five race for GOP spots on County Council ballot

By HSJ Online [email protected]

In Tuesday's primary election, five Republicans will be vying for the three at-large Bartholomew County Council seats on the November ballot.

Incumbent Republicans Bill Lentz, Jim Reed and Evelyn Strietelmeier Pence will be competing against Matt Miller and Mike Lovelace for the open seats.

We asked the candidates to talk about what needs the county should be addressing in the Hope area.

  • Lentz said:

    "Not only is it tough in large metropolitan areas in the county, it is even tougher in small towns," Lentz said. "It is hard to keep people in small towns. You need growth. In the past, we have certainly tried to watch Hope through the sheriff's department. We gave Hope a real shot in the arm with the EDIT tax in 2008 and they have certainly been using that. Hope has been very good for themselves too with infrastructure, roads. The county can certainly touch that. Without additional taxes that we would raise, that a small part would go to Hope, it is hard to throw money exactly in their coffers, you would just have to help with services such as roads and police protection."

  • Lovelace said:

    "I think number one has to be public safety," Lovelace said. "Make sure that since it is about 15 miles from downtown Columbus, I think you have really be cognizant of the fact that we have to have good public safety. I don't know much about the Hope Volunteer Fire Department but we have to work closely with them to help them if they need help up there. It is just quite a ways from Columbus and it needs all the support they can get.

  • Miller said:

    "There are no needs that I know of at this moment," Miller said. "Hope is a town. Hope has its own police department. As far as Hope, we work closely -- the sheriff's department -- works closely with the Hope Police Department. I have done that for several years having been employed by the sheriff's department and still working there. I know that first hand. I continue to work hand-in-hand with the Hope Police Department.

    "As far as other things, I think it is on an as-needed basis. I think it is something that has to be looked at. What are the benefits of doing that for the county? I think it is an as-needed basis. If Hope comes to us-- Hope Town Council -- comes to us and asks for something, we can take a look at it. But I can't give you a straight, across-the-board answer to that question. They are an independent town. They have their own police department. They have their own Town Council."

  • Reed said:

    "They have got two major road constructions up in there," Reed said. "As far as the county, I don't know that there is more that we can do, since it an incorporated city and they have their own boards and everything.

    "...I know they don't want to lose their identity to the county. That's why they have their own school corporation. When they voted to build that new building, it really hurt the taxpayers in Flat Rock-Hawcreek."

  • Strietelmeier-Pence said

    "Hope is such a neat area," Strietelmeier-Pence said. "Everyone that goes up there, they feel like they have sort of stepped back in time a little bit. Hope is working. They have got some restaurants and they are expanding. Every time I go up, I see new things. I think with the (Columbus-area) Visitors Center maybe they can promote that. Because, it is a very neat area and they enjoy being the quaint area of the county. It is just a place where I think more people need to go up and visit. They have a good school, good parks. It is just unique."

    Bartholomew County Democrats will have three candidates on the ballot for the three at-large seats on the council: Gaby Cheek, Pam Clark and Lynne Fleming. As there are three open seats, all would appear on the fall ballot automatically, however, Cheek said last week that she had reconsidered and will likely be removing her name from the ballot. She cited concerns about the time commitment the position would take.[[In-content Ad]]
  • HOPE