mayor joe thallemerI just read an opinion letter in the Times-Union characterizing my candidacy as an establishment candidate.

The jist of the letter was that the establishment candidates don’t care about the average citizen, runaway spending, tax hikes, and quality of place initiatives.   The insinuation couldn’t be more distorted.

The focus of my administration has always been for the betterment of the entire community.  Keeping our tax rate down as some of the lowest in the state!  All of our citizens benefit from low taxes. 

Runaway spending is a convenient term that is easy to throw around in an election year but very difficult to back up in a growing community that requires essential spending to meet the needs of our citizens. 

Spending forty million dollars to repair and expand a failing and at capacity waste-water system is a critical essential service that cannot be ignored.  Mr. Shoemaker wanted to take more time to study the situation.  Doing so would have put millions of dollars of savings at risk and jeopardized the health and safety of all of our citizens as our plant operated at 99% capacity last year.  Crumbling infrastructure and a system at capacity is a real-life problem that Mr. Shoemaker chose to ignore for a political posture… I don’t think that is the type of leadership our community would benefit from.  

Taking decisive action, the “rate increase” funded this most necessary project while keeping our average citizens’ wastewater bills below that of the state average.  Our administration worked very hard to keep the increase manageable for the average citizen.  I asked Ron to be a part of the rate committee so that he would understand what we were faced with.  He declined.  He would rather criticize the rate increase as a means for political gain rather than deal with the real issue of health and safety for all of our citizens.  Did we like raising rates? Of course not.  But the project will propel us into the future for the next 20 years at residential rates below those of average Hoosier households and ensure the safety and health of our citizens by improving this most essential service.  Good for all citizens of Warsaw!

Finally, the author was not happy with the Alleyway improvement project.  The Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority feature our project as a model quality of place project funded totally by donations and a grant.  Other than the time of our assistant city planner, there were no city funds used in this project.  Many have enjoyed the downtown enhancement and a follow-up project creating a small gathering plaza on the courthouse lawn is following the same funding model as the Alley.  These projects are designed for all citizens to enjoy.  And they do!

Do we make mistakes?  Of course we make mistakes.  We own up to them and work for better government. I take offense to the insinuation that city leadership is hand-picked by the establishment creating complacency from uninterrupted power?   Every one of these men were elected multiple times.  I know how dedicated my predecessors were and how hard they worked for the benefit of the entire community.  I am not sure that my opponent has exhibited any more than a constantly negative view of my service without offering any constructive ideas to continue to move the city forward.

I ask you to consider the leadership choice you will have in May. Positive, honest, and hard working.  Good for Warsaw!  I will continue to work for the betterment of the entire community as I have for 23 years of service.  I ask you if my opponent can say the same thing.