- Special Sections
- Public Notices
By VINCE LUECKE
PERRY COUNTY – As Tuesday’s primary election draws near, the four Democrats vying to either retain or win district seats on the county council are discussing an in-the-works comprehensive county plan, a new hospital under construction and a local budget still impacted by losses in property-tax dollars.
The primary races for the District 2 and District 3 council seats on the Democrat ballot are the only local ones contested Tuesday.
There are, however, contested Republican races for state Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives.
In the race for the District 2 council seat, incumbent Stan Goffinet is seeking another term but faces a challenge from fellow Democrat Danny Bolin. In the District 3 race, Chet Mathena is vying for re-election but faces a challenge from John Taylor.
All four candidates responded to questionnaires provided by the News.
Goffinet, 68, is completing his first term on the council for District 2. He is a retired self-employed computer system analyst and programmer. He and his wife, Cheryl, live in the 2700 block of Tell Street in Tell City and have two sons.
Goffinet has also worked at Tell City Chair Co., Welborn Hospital in Evansville and at positions in North Carolina, Alabama and Florida.
Asked about his accomplishments on the council, Goffinet pointed to his support of the county’s new jail project and the new hospital. Since in office, he has not missed a county council meeting, he said, and attended many commissioner meetings as well. He is serving as council president this year and has been active with the Indiana County Council Association.
Goffinet said he has also worked with the county’s auditor to classify transfers of funds and additional appropriations by general ledger number. This, he said, “enhances the ability to track the items in our budget book.” That effort, he added, is part of a larger goal of his to promote transparency in county government.
Pressing issues in the coming four years, Goffinet said, include bridge and road repairs, balancing the county’s budget due to circuit-breaker reductions in property-tax revenue, ensuring sufficient ambulance coverage for northern areas of the county and implementing the county’s new comprehensive plan. He also wants to promote growth by attracting companies into the area.
He said there are jobs available locally, but the county must ensure there are workers qualified to fill them.
“We have 300-plus jobs available but we need expertise to fill them,” Goffinet said, adding that programs in the public schools and Ivy Tech are being implemented.
Goffinet said the county has a major transportation asset in the Interstate 64-Indiana 37 corridor.
“We need to explore ways to put infrastructure in place and promote growth,” he said.
Goffinet said his financial budgeting and accounting background has been and will continue to be an asset when making budget decisions and said he will give the council position “my full-time attention.” He also pledges to work with other council members to help resolve pending issues and offer suggestions. He will also keep an eye on county tax dollars.
“I will work to hold the line on spending and eliminate wasteful spending,” he said. “I will work in the best interest of Perry County taxpayers and my time to the council will not stop when the meetings are over.”
Goffinet also said he will not need county-provided health insurance, which will save the county approximately $12,000 per year.
Bolin, 64, has been a professional self-employed photographer since 1994 and works with his wife, April. They live at Ninth and Franklin streets in Tell City and the couple have five children. A former editor of the News, Bolin was editor and general manager of two international magazines and a partner in an advertising agency.
As for his reasons for seeking elected office, Bolin said he has been increasingly involved in several community groups, including those in tourism and preserving local history.
“The more I get involved in county capacities, the more I care about its future,” he said.
Bolin is vice president of the Perry County Museum, a board member of the Perry County Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Shubael Little Pioneer Village and a member of the Friends of Perry County Railroad group and Bethel Baptist Church.
Bolin said expanding the presence of emergency-medical services in northern areas of the county and implementing a new comprehensive plan are among the objectives the council will need to address.
“The obvious answer to parts of the ambulance issue is a calm sit-down to discuss all aspects of proposals and concerns involving the hospital board, county officials and key ambulance employees,” he said. “The comprehensive (plan), which has been proposed and approved, can be extremely important to our growth, by leading to the expansion of our (Interstate) 64-(Indiana) 37 corridor and needed utilities to make it enticing for growth in northern Perry County. The comprehensive (plan) will also help strengthen city and industrial visions, plus affording grant opportunities that can only be pursued by being included in the (plan),” he said.
Bolin said the last comprehensive plan was completed in the early 1990s, which makes this one even more important to make sure the concentration is on its implementation. Completion of the new jail and hospital will be huge boosts to the county image, he said.
Bolin said major cuts in the county budget have had to be made in the past few years and he hopes those reductions have eliminated the need for future cuts. “With all things considered, it is the council’s duty to remain fiscally responsible,” he said.
Asked about the best attributes of the county, Bolin said the county is in an advantageous location. “Being located between several major metropolitan cities and having an abundance of tourism, industrial and recreational opportunities gives us an edge over other locations,” he said. “We can always do a better job of getting the word out. I know personally that a targeted public-relations package is in preliminary stages.”
He also pointed to the work of the Perry County College Success Coalition and said he has encouraged all county and city officials to become active in the “effort by local schools and industrial personnel to better prepare our students for post-secondary careers.”
“This issue is extremely important to our job climate. I believe jobs are available in the county but they require skills, skills that the coalition hopes to address in future endeavors,” he said.
He also said the county should give full support to the Perry County Development Corp.
“When you get on the subject of jobs and growth I believe the county should give complete support to the Perry County Development Corp. Efforts by the PCDC directly affect our economic and industrial growth and is a key component to future develop plans,” he said.
Bolin said he will bring new ideas to county government.
“I hope that having achieved a respectable and successful Perry County business makes me a desirable candidate and new county council member. I’m known for thinking outside the box and bringing people together to find solutions and getting the ball rolling,” he said.
Mathena, 75, is a retired teacher from the Tell City-Troy Township School Corp. and previously taught at Perry Central. He later worked as the county’s community-service director.
He and his wife, Linda, have been married 53 years and have three children.
Mathena has been active on the council and served as vice chairman as well as a member of the Perry County Community Corrections Committee. Past activities included service on boards for the American Cancer Society, Perry County Development Corp., Optimist Club, Troy Town Council, Perry County Recycling Management District and Perry County Community Foundation.
As a councilman, he served on the county jail committee. He also served as treasurer of the board for Lincoln Hills Development Corp.
Mathena said he has enjoyed serving on the council as part of a lifetime spent in the county.
“I have enjoyed living and working in Perry County my entire life. I want to continue to contribute to Perry County to the best of my ability,” he said.
Asked to identify issues requiring the county council’s concern, Mathena pointed to the development of the Interstate 64-Indiana 37 corridor, which he said would benefit not only residents of that area of the county, but all of Perry County’s citizens. Secondly, he said education and training high-school students and adults are needed for the modern workforce. “We need to provide the necessary skills for our young people to be employed,” he said. He also pointed to the need for county residents of all income levels to have adequate housing.
“As a councilman, I would provide my support for all efforts toward these goals,” he added.
To make Perry County a better place to live, Mathena said county leaders need to continue to support “our schools, shopping areas and eateries.” He said the Perry County Development Corp. continues to work hard to attract new industry and to help existing companies thrive. The county’s new hospital and jail, he said, are major assets. “I have supported both of these endeavors,” he said.
Mathena said his experience in education as well as his years in public office will continue to serve him and the county council well. “My past experience as an educator working with young people, and my past community involvement should prove very beneficial to the office of county council,” he said.
Taylor, 52, lives with his wife, Laura (Paulin) Taylor on Sagebrush Road. They have one son, Zach. He is self-employed owner-operator of a trucking company and hauls rock and sand under a lease with Materials Transport. His candidacy for the District 3 council seat is his first run for elected public office.
“I would like to make a difference by being involved with the decision making in Perry County,” Taylor said. “The greatest issue is to properly fund all aspects of county government with the limited amount of funds available. If that is possible, and I hope that it is, there are areas that I feel could benefit from additional funding.
Taylor said he wants to ensure the upkeep of infrastructure, including roads and bridges, that are suffering from the toll of harsh weather and lack of routine maintenance due to reduced budgeting. He also pointed out that the county’s sheriff’s deputies are not included in the retirement plan of the county.
“They play a huge part in keeping our county safe and a wonderful place to raise our families,” he said. Taylor said he supports placing a full-time paramedic crew at the north station.
“These are items that do not and will not be done immediately but they deserve attention of the council and the voters they represent,” he said.
Taylor said the qualifications he will bring to elected office include serving the community for the past 34 years with the Anderson Township Fire Department, county emergency-management agency and his church.
“I will listen, and I will do what is best for Perry County,” he said in conclusion.
Early voting will continue through Friday at the courthouse. Hours are 8 a.m. until noon and 1 to 4 p.m. The courthouse will also be open 8 a.m. to noon Saturday for voting as well as from 8 a.m. to noon Monday.
Early voting ends at noon Monday.
Voting at the polls Tuesday runs from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. The county clerk’s office, as well as other courthouse offices, will be closed Tuesday.
However, the clerk’s office staff can be reached at 547-3741 for anyone with election-related questions.
A list of polling locations will be in Monday’s issue.
The courthouse will open after the polls close at 6 p.m. and vote totals will be tabulated and announced by precinct.