Zionsville Town Council Candidates speak out at forum

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Moderator Mark Minner (right) reads questions to town council candidates at a forum on April 9. (Photo by Ann Marie Shambaugh)

Moderator Mark Minner (right) reads questions to town council candidates at a forum on April 9. (Photo by Ann Marie Shambaugh)

By Ann Marie Shambaugh

Thirteen candidates running for Zionsville Town Council seats and the clerk-treasurer position attended a forum held April 9. The candidates met with voters and answered questions read by moderator Mark Minner, radio play-by-play announcer for Butler University men’s basketball and a Zionsville resident.

The following summarizes statements from each candidate.

Clerk-Treasurer

Amy Lacy

Lacy believes that her 10 years as deputy clerk make her familiar with all aspects of the duties of the clerk-treasurer. She expects the responsibilities of the clerk-treasurer to increase as the town grows, and she said the town needs updated technology to efficiently handle the additional workload. She sees the position as being the “face of Zionsville.”

Candace Ulmer

As a former Union Township trustee, Ulmer said she has experience with many of the responsibilities of a clerk-treasurer. She wants to see updated technology, including the ability to accept credit card payments for services. Because municipalities are forced to do things a certain way by statute, she believes many tasks could be done more efficiently by updating old statutes.

Town Council At-Large (two positions on ballot)

Jeff Papa

Incumbent Papa said that the town has turned down several projects because they weren’t a good fit, and he’s proud of how the council has brought the right types of development to help Zionsville maintain its charm. He believes that the town needs to focus on infrastructure projects that were delayed as the council worked to balance the budget without cutting employees or services.

Susana Suarez

Incumbent Suarez said the town needs to continue building partnerships with other entities to attract appropriate growth and maintain a balance between commercial, residential and agricultural areas. She believes the town needs to continue investing in its infrastructure and its people to maintain success.

District 1

Bryan Traylor 

Running unopposed, Traylor believes the town is heading in the right direction, but he’d like to make it easier for small businesses to locate here. He is proud of Zionsville’s charm and believes it is a destination town. He would like to maintain the town’s reputation for generations to come.

District 2

Brett Ashton

Ashton believes the town needs to continue diversifying its tax base by making Zionsville an attractive place for businesses to relocate. Developments must be considered on a case-by-case basis, he said, to ensure appropriate economic growth. He believes increased tax revenue from businesses will also help the town address its traffic concerns.

Kevin Spees

Spees, a lifelong Zionsville resident, would like to see the town continue to develop its major corridors along I-65 and US-421. He would like to see the town become a shopping destination that it once was, and he’d like the town to reconsider an I-865 interchange at Cooper Road if the opportunity comes up again.

District 3

Tom Schuler

Incumbent Schuler applauded the current town council for bringing in several new businesses in recent years. He would like to see the town’s daytime workforce growth continue to expand, which he said will help the town’s small businesses. He believes the town is already taking steps to alleviate traffic problems, including the future installation of its first roundabout.

David J. Boggs

Boggs believes the town’s growth should continue responsibly through a mixture of development. He said the roads are “not up to standard” and would like to see Zionsville pursue stronger partnerships with neighboring communities to enhance shared roads.

District 4

Elizabeth Hopper

Incumbent Hopper said the town should continue diversifying its tax base and pointed to several success stories in recent years to show progress. She also stated that incoming projects must be an appropriate fit for the town and that they must continue to pay road impact fees to help with traffic in the immediate area.

Andrew Auersch

Auersch said key issues facing the town are the diversification of the tax base, space for commercial development and balancing growth with maintaining a top-notch education system. He said that the Salty Cowboy is the town’s only destination spot and he would like to see Zionsville become more of a destination as a whole. He also said he’s in favor of expanding Cooper Road before reconsidering an I-865 interchange.

District 5

Joshua Garrett

Garrett, a founder of MOBI, said Zionsville has a shortage of places for businesses to relocate, and he’s worried that the town could lose new businesses to Carmel or Indianapolis if a plan is not put in place. He believes that additional tax revenue from business growth could help the town address many of its traffic issues.

Bret G. Brewer

Brewer would like to use his expertise as the only Indiana CPA qualified to value businesses to help local businesses thrive and grow. He said the improving economy in recent years has put the town in a good position for growth.

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