Monday, July 26, 2010

Oh! Politically Connected!

I was thinking about the Hoosier Tradewinds tax abatement when it finally hit me: Hoosier Tradewinds is run by Andy Cook and his brother!

Big deal? Andy Cook is the mayor of Westfield.

Shame on the County Council for granting this tax abatement. My position is that tax abatements are wrong regardless of political connection. But to grant to a political figure, of the same party of all of the Council members? That's ridiculous in the audacity.

Thanks to Councilors Rick McKinney and Steven Schwartz for voting against this tax abatement.

Friday, July 23, 2010

More Information Needed

I was thinking about the tax abatements given by the County Council, and kept going back to the only one that had any opposition- the one for Hoosier Tradewinds.

It struck me as interesting that Councilor Rick McKinney was one of the two in opposition. Going back a few years, McKinney was the only County Councilor who opposed the 1% food & beverage taxes to support Lucas Oil Stadium in Marion County. He earned my respect with that vote.

So, when McKinney opposes and the majority passes, it starts to not pass the smell test. I want to look into this more, to see what it's all about.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Tax Abatements?

The minutes of the most recent County Council meeting show two things happened made me wonder how each could happen in the same meeting.

1. Auditor Dawn Coverdale discussed a forecast of tax receipts being down 8.9% over one year.
2. Tax Abatements were approved for four business properties.

I've never been a fan of tax abatements. Government shouldn't pick a select group of favorites to get a discounted rate or even have their taxes eliminated, while others pay the full load. Offer a competitive, low rate, and business will want to come to you. Abate their taxes, and they may want to leave you when the abatement period ends.

But, this when tax receipts are down? It's as if the Councilors who voted for the abatements were sleeping through Coverdale's earlier presentation.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Budget Struggles

It has been interesting to see the County Council and County Commissioners struggle to get the budget beast under control. In my opinion, they are doing many of the things that need to be done, looking for costs to cut, and beginning to require that spending be justified. Link: Minutes of May 18 joint meeting of Hamilton County Council & County Commissioners.

That's all well and good, but Libertarian candidates for County offices had been saying that these bodies should be doing this when they ran in 2002. How much better off in terms of fiscal health would our County be if some of them were elected then, and the belt tightening had begun when tax receipts were up? A great deal better.

While I see provisions to reduce overtime, and even consideration to reduce the work week, I did not see any evidence that staff sizes have been reduced. Especially as the County has seen a curtailment in growth, it cannot be possible that as many regulators and inspectors are needed now as when growth was astronomical. More staff cutting can, and should, be done.

Thursday, July 1, 2010


Thanks for visiting my blog! Allow me to introduce myself...

I am Mike Kole, a 6-year resident of Fishers, in the Sublest Farms neighborhood. I live here with my wife of seven years, Ame, and my children Isabel, 5, and Ethan, who will be two in November.

My work is as a Right-of-Way Agent. In this capacity, I acquire land rights for utilitiy companies. For the past several years, the bulk of my work has been for AT&T, some of it in Fishers and Central Indiana, much of it in the outer reaches of the state, like Evansville, Mishawaka, or Hammond. I've also acquired land for AT&T in Illinois, Michigan, and Ohio.

One thing I really like about the work is the voluntary nature of the proposals I make to property owners. I do not take work that employs eminent domain power. If a property owner agrees to the deal, it is on the strength of my presentation and what is offered. When I complete a deal, I walk away with several satisfied parties, not with winners and losers. The property owner is happy to make some money; the utility is happy to gain rights to the land; and, the neighbors see improvements or upgrades to their services.

In personal life, I enjoy gardening, playing ice hockey, and of course, politics.

This is my second run for office. In 2006, I was the Libertarian Party's candidate for Indiana Secretary of State. I did not win election, but my campaign was important to my party. My vote percentage was high enough to ensure continued ballot access through this year for every Libertarian candidate across Indiana.

Although I enjoyed running an active campaign in 2006, and travelled across the state- 30,000 miles on the car to prove it- I'm even happier running a local campaign, where I can knock on doors and actually talk with the voters personally. So, don't be surprised if I knock on your door to ask for your vote this Summer or Fall!