Incumbent Democrat Michael Fincher faces two challengers, Republican Ted Franklin and independent Seger Mathew, in the race for Logansport mayor.
What do you see as the issues in this campaign?
Fincher: The first issue is the same as in every election! The budget, and how to offer our citizens of Logansport the same level of services that our citizens believe they deserve and have grown to expect.
Revenues have been reduced dramatically, over the last two years, due to the property tax reforms handed down by the Indiana General Assembly. The recession has also played a big part in the dilemma.
People cannot pay their property taxes on time because of layoffs and downsizing of companies and their return to work has been hampered by the slow recovery. The cost to the city of workman’s comp, health insurance for the employees, fuel, equipment and replacement parts continue to rise, creating additional stress on the budgets.
Even though we have raised the contribution by employees on their health insurance, raised the deductibles the employees pay for their insurance, raised the threshold of liability to the city and given no raises two out of the last four years. We have reduced staff in the parks and cemetery through attrition, combined offices to reduce costs and reduced fire department staff.
Upgrading our community’s perception is another issue. How can we expect new business to locate here if when they drive through town there is grass that needs mowed, houses in need of painting or leveling, windows boarded up just because it is cheaper than leaving the glass windows in place. If you were a business looking for a place to locate, would you invest in a community that doesn’t have pride in itself?
Another issue is education of our workforce and increasing the percentage of students who graduate from high school. This issue has little to do with the mayors’ office but it is a problem for the entire community to be aware of. A workforce that is willing to continually re-educate themselves will be the community that business will gravitate to. That is why it is so important to keep Ivy Tech filled to capacity and keep Trine University located in Logansport.
If we can put the things I write about into action we will not have to worry about businesses locating here, we won’t be able to keep them out.
Franklin: The No. 1 issue in this campaign is job creation. It’s time for our city to have a mayor who’s focused on creating jobs, keeping the jobs we have and making Logansport a place where businesses want to relocate. As your mayor, I will make it my No. 1 priority to create a positive environment for job growth in our city and get people in Logansport back to work.
I believe we can grow our local economy by highlighting our current strengths as an agri-business community. I will also work with local business leaders to bring new businesses willing to invest in Logansport by providing tax incentives and utility rates that make us competitive with other cities around the Midwest.
We must also address the increase in crime and gang activity if we want Logansport to be a prosperous city where businesses and family want to invest and grow.
Our city needs a mayor who will give law enforcement officials the tools they need to pursue criminals. As mayor I will work with the Cass County sheriff and prosecutor to make sure violent offenders have no safe havens outside of city limits and are punished to the fullest extent of the law.
Our children deserve safer streets and it’s time for a mayor who will make protecting our community from crime a priority.
Mathew: Logansport's main issue is poverty. A significant number of residents in Logansport are economically poor. As a city, we have to create opportunities for our poor to work towards a higher quality of life.
In the next four years, we have to lay the foundation for the solutions to our problems. We must prevent our city from dying. To decrease local poverty, we must:
• Create more volunteer tutoring programs for both parents and the students. Parents must know how to do their children’s homework in order to help their kids succeed in school.
• Give our youth something to do. Without guidance and direction, our young people's energy many times is spent in mischief. It is our responsibility to guide our kids into directing their energy towards positive outlets.
• Have a mayor who knows the education system and is ready to work with our schools to improve the success of the students.
• Begin to ask ourselves what this city needs and then create opportunities for new businesses to meet that need. New businesses equal new jobs.
• Be able to attact new business opportunities through networking and marketing. One citizen's idea was to have a “marketing director/city manager” who can “sell” Logansport to new businesses and potential residents.
• Have a plan to renovate our historic homes and tear down the unsafe/unsavable homes. We have hundreds of vacant houses in our city.
• Increase our sense of responsibility as citizens of this city. Many of the things that make Logansport look “run-down” can be solved by citizens through new volunteer opportunities. For example, the city/Sherwin Williams/Home Depot could sponsor a graffiti cleanup day. They provide the paint/supplies and the citizens could work together to cover or clean the graffiti off of every place they find it.
Why should voters choose you?
Fincher: I believe I have the experience, knowledge, determination and vision it will take to continue bringing Logansport into the 21st century.
Franklin: As a community and business leader, I possess the experience, knowledge and energy to serve as mayor of Logansport.
I have been a small business owner for 20 years operating Universal Fire Extinguisher. Most recently, I rehabilitated the former Cass County Children’s Home into an assisted living facility, creating nine new jobs. I spent 10 years in production and manufacturing at Wilson Foods and Exide Battery, and 25 years as a firefighter/first responder. I served 12 years as a member of Logansport’s City Council, including eight years as finance chairman.
I grew up Logansport and have spent my entire life here. My wife, Teresa, and I raised our three children here. I am proud to call our community home, and I believe our best days are still ahead.
I am dedicated to attracting new jobs to our city and growing the small businesses already here. Current and future generations should have an opportunity to live in a safe, thriving and prosperous Logansport. Please cast your vote for me, Ted Franklin on Nov. 8.
Mathew: The mayor should be a leader of the people. He should be the “face of the city.” As mayor, I will make Logansport better. I am creative and intelligent. I graduated with high honors from college. I am personable and sincere.
I am young enough to have the energy to tackle these issues, yet old enough to make sound decisions based in wisdom.
I ask you to vote for new ideas and creative solutions to help Logansport be a better place to live for each of us.