- Michael Cooper Staff Writer
Four New Carlisle residents are vying for three open seats on the city council, including one incumbent who was appointed to the council earlier this year.
Two current city council members — Rick Lowrey and John Krabacher — aren’t running for re-election this year.
Council member Aaron Leighty is running for election for the first time after being appointed to the council in January to replace newly elected Clark County Commissioner Lowell McGlothin.
The other candidates include political newcomers Ronald Cobb, William Cook and Chris Shamy.
The seven-member city council oversees a total budget of about $5.9 million with a general fund budget of about $1.4 million. It has more than 100 full-time, part-time and seasonal employees, including firefighters.
City council members serve four-year terms and earn about $4,800 annually.
All four candidates believe the most important issue facing New Carlisle is the possible loss of $1 million in local income taxes from an upcoming ballot initiative that would give a 100 percent credit to residents who work in a different city and pay taxes there. It’s on the Nov. 7 ballot as Issue 4.
Here’s a look at the four candidates running for council.
Cobb, 65, a first-time candidate and retired heavy machine operator, is a longtime resident of New Carlisle. He’s running for council because he wants to bring the government back to the people.
Current officials don’t care what the people want, he said, but rather what they want. The role of government is for elected officials to listen the residents who pay their salary, Cobb said. His goal to build trust with residents.
“People need to have more say,” Cobb said. “We don’t have a lot of people come to council meetings and that’s because they don’t really get to say what they want to say.”
If Issue 4 were to pass, it would have huge ramifications for the city, Cobb said, including loss of businesses and population.
Cobb fought to bring deputies back to New Carlisle a few years ago, he said. He would advocate for cutting other jobs before any cutting law enforcement, Cobb said.
“I hate to see people laid off but we can’t keep a full staff at City Hall and we can’t keep City Hall open 40 hours per week (if Issue 4 passes),” he said.
Cook, 78, is a retired firefighter and Clark County Sheriff’s Deputy who served one term in office in the 1970s. He was encouraged to run again due to his active participation at council meeting and his previous participation in community pride groups and charter review committees, Cook said. He also served on several police and fire levy committees, he said.
“I decided to run hoping some new change in personnel on the council could get us into a newer mode and more people involved with council,” Cook said.
If elected, Cook said he would follow the city manager’s plans to make cuts if Issue 4 passes. The city may have to go back on the ballot to replace the lost revenue if the income tax change is approved, Cook said.
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“Council’s hands are basically going to be tied,” he said.
The city doesn’t have a lot of industrial space or large population to entice developers to bring jobs to New Carlisle, Cook said.
“We don’t really have enough to offer a major plant that would give us some type of cushion or employment that would bring the taxes up that quick,” he said. “This would be a monumental task.”
Leighty, 31, is currently a member of the New Carlisle City Council. He was appointed to former member Lowell McGlothin’s seat earlier this year. Leighty is running for council as a voice for the younger families in the city, he said.
“It gives perspective, someone who represents what’s important to help families come to the city and stay,” Leighty said.
The passage of Issue 4 likely would lead to a loss of 75 percent of the city’s law enforcement officers, he said.
Council members would have to learn how to manage the city with less resources if the income tax change is approved, Leighty said, and it would limit New Carlisle’s efforts to grow.
“It’s going to affect everybody,” Leighty said. “We have to come up with a game plan of how to police ourselves and see what takes priority in order to keep the city running efficiently.”
Leighty previously owned a local business and has multiple rental properties, he said. He wants the city to stay progressive to help residents want to stay in New Carlisle, Leighty said.
“If the town does well, we all benefit from it,” he said.
Shamy, a 47-year-old restaurant manager and U.S. Army veteran, is a first-time candidate who has lived in New Carlisle for the last 12 years. He’s running to bring fiscal responsibility back to the city council, he said.
“A lot of the things we face in New Carlisle are from careless spending in the past,” he said. “I will rebuild neighborhoods, infrastructure and restore confidence in local government with rational and realistic goals that are attainable.”
If Issue 4 passes, the city would have to cut back maintenance, snow removal and salt treatment on roads, he said. If elected, Shamy said he would seek input from residents on what cuts would have to be made.
“This is something the town has never faced before,” he said.
Shamy is against raises for current employees because the money should be spent on other projects, such as fixing streets and local water towers.
“The streets are really bad,” Shamy said.