Geoff McKim, Democratic Candidate for County Council, will be holding a Campaign Kick-Off Event at the Monroe County Courthouse starting at 12PM on Monday, February 25, 2008. McKim will present his policy initiatives for the next County Council, including: an energy-efficiency plan for County Government, support for a diverse economy based on local business, and the creation of a County-wide stormwater utility to protect our water supply. McKim will also be available for questions. All are invited to attend.
Geoff McKim previously announced his intention to run for the Monroe County Council, at-large in the Democratic Primary in May, 2008. "Monroe County is an amazing place to live and raise a family. Its balance of rural beauty and urban and cultural amenities is unique in Indiana," McKim says. "I want to make sure that what makes this place special is still there for my child when he grows up."
McKim believes that there are some concrete choices that we can and must make locally, both in the policies that Monroe County government pursues, and the day-to-day practices of local government that will make a long-term difference in the well-being of citizens in our community. "We have to live today as though tomorrow matters. We need to consider the long-term costs of our individual and collective actions."
The Monroe County Council is the fiscal body of the county, and is responsible for appropriating funds for core county governmental functions, like the criminal justice system and County highways and bridges. "County government runs on a very lean budget," McKim says. "Most taxpayers don't realize that County government makes up only about 21% of their property tax bill yet provides most of the critical services that they depend upon. With the state poised to restructure County government, we are going to have to be flexible and creative in addressing the persistent problems that we face."
McKim plans to focus on a few key issues that can be meaningfully addressed in a four-year term: building a more resource-efficient County government, supporting a diverse local economy, creating a County-wide stormwater utility.
McKim thinks that we should set the standard for a modern government that is in itself more energy-efficient, generates less waste, and costs less to operate. This means using more efficient vehicles for County functions and downsizing the non-safety-related fleet overall, enforcing annual fuel usage cuts through departmental budgets, building only LEED-certified buildings, encouraging work-arrangements that reduce the need for automobile trips, and including energy-efficiency requirements in all procurement activities." The development of a new community corrections facility provides the County with a unique opportunity to demonstrate leadership in resource-efficiency. This reduction in resource consumption will pay dividends, both in a cleaner environment and in a leaner and more cost-effective government operation."
Nothing is more vital to the well-being of Monroe County citizens than a robust economy. With the imminent departure of GE, we've just had a sharp and painful reminder of the dangers of overdependence on a single industry. Rather than pursuing the growth-oriented economic development activities of the past -- more roads and more handouts to large companies -- Monroe County Government needs to support a climate that encourages small businesses in diverse industries to thrive- a climate that includes fiscal discipline, an educated workforce, and a clean environment. "Carefully-targeted tax abatements with strong accountability are an important tool," McKim says, "as are existing partnerships with organizations that support the creation and development of small businesses." We particularly need to foster the development of small businesses that bring money into the community from outside.
McKim also calls for the creation of a County-wide stormwater utility to protect the long-term viability of our water supply. A stormwater utility would allow the County to address unfunded State mandates regarding stormwater quality and environmental compliance without resorting to property taxes. The utility would allow the County to shift the burden of paying for water-quality measures onto the developers that add to the problem and take burden off of the rest of the taxpayers: "this would be better for our lakes and streams, better for our water supply, better for the taxpayers."
Geoff McKim is a program manager and e-government consultant at TSC in Bloomington, where he works with the National Park Service to improve its efficiency at over 250 parks around the country. He lives in eastern Monroe County, with his wife, Amy Cornell, and their 9 year-old son, Grayson. McKim looks forward to the opportunity to address some longstanding issues and to preserve what is unique about Monroe County: "There will be many challenges - but with a spirit of optimism, collaboration, and fiscal discipline, we can better serve the needs of the county for now and for future citizens."
For more information
McKim for County Council.