Candidates for next Tuesday’s municipal election in Crothersville responded to questions posed by the Crothersville Times. Local voters will be electing three town council representatives and a clerk-treasurer.
Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. and all Crothersville voters will cast their ballot at the Crothersville-Vernon Township Fire Station.
Republican Danieta Gullett-Foster, is 45 years old and is married to Ron Foster. They are the parents of three adult daughters and a granddaughter. She works in management.
Karen Mains, an incumbent Democrat candidate for town council is 68 years old and has been a Crothersville resident for nearly 50 years. She has four adult children, Amy (Robert) Cottingham, Kimberly Mains, Chris (Savannah) Mains, and Heather Smith. She worked for the Scott County Sheriff’s Department for 18 years.
Derrick Minton, 28, is a Republican candidate for town council. He and his wife, Krista, are the parents of two sons, Wyatt, 2, and Easton, 1. Minton is employed at Versatech, and is a Lieutenant on the Crothersville-Vernon Township Volunteer Fire Department.
Republican Ardell Mitchell, 48, is seeking re-election to a second term on the town council where he as served as Town Council President the past four years. He is married to Dianna and father of five children, Shanda, Justin, Tyler, Brittany and Jon. He graduated from Crothersville High School and attended Purdue University. He is employed as a Senior Project Manager with Harmon Construction, Inc. in North Vernon.
Lenvel ‘Butch’ Robinson, 65, is a Democrat town council candidate. He is married to Glenda and they have four adult daughters and six grandchildren. He recently retired after 30 years of service as a construction supervisor for a company in Columbus.
Rex Allen Robinson Jr., 30, is a Democrat candidate for town council and is a life-long resident of Jackson County. He works at AK Tube in Columbus and has been a reserve officer with the Crothersville Police Department since November 2005.
Incumbent Democrat Nalona Bush is seeking re-election as clerk-treasurer. She previously worked for Med-Aid Ambulance Service as a billing clerk for five counties, and as a clerk and bookkeeper for the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, and for the past 12 years has served as Clerk-Treasurer for the Town of Crothersville. She served on the town’s a Sesquicentennial Committee and was a coordinator for Katie’s Playground.
Republican Michele Teipen, 50, is seeking the office of clerk-treasurer; she has been married to Roger Teipen for 28 years. They are the parents of two sons, Justin (Stacey) Teipen and Josh (Stacie) Teipen, and have a grandson. For the past seven years she has worked as a jailer at the Scott County Sheriff’s Department.
What motivated you to seek election to town office?
Gullett-Foster: My motivation to seek election was my dad. I started going to all the town meetings a few years ago, when I’d come home I’d talk about what happened, what I liked, what I disagreed with and how I’d do it differently. My dad told me, “If you don’t like what they are doing, run and do it yourself.” My family has been a part of Crothersville for many generations and will be for many generations to come. I want it to be a place to be proud of, a place where future generations want to stay and raise families and grow old.
Mains: I want to, along with the other council members, seek solutions to the various problems facing the town and to continue the positive accomplishments of the past years.
Minton: My main motivation for running for town counsel is because I would like to see some changes in this community. This year instead of sitting around wanting changes to happen I’ve decided to take it upon myself to help get these changes accomplished. I believe this action is more effective than sitting on the side lines while watching and complaining.
Mitchell: I feel I have worked hard to benefit the community and my retaining a seat on the council will continue to provide benefit for Crothersville. I have always enjoyed public service and so long as I have time to participate, being on the council is where I can best provide help.
L. Robinson: I’m motivated to run for town council because I think I can help make a difference in the town, on various projects to save money, and to better communicate with people through my past experience.
R. Robinson: My decision to run for Crothersville Town Council is to become more involved in the community that I live in.
Bush: I have had the honor of serving the Town of Crothersville for the past 12 years as clerk-treasurer. I love working with the public. I have enjoyed helping people with their problems regardless of their political views. I have been instrumental with the Town in receiving several grants. Those include new water and sewer lines, two home improvement grants and a new Fire Station. My dream is for a new Town Hall that is convenient with a drive through window and drop off for the handicapped and elderly. We have an Outstanding Fire Station and Police Station and I would like to see a new Town Hall equal to them.
Teipen: My roots run deep in Crothersville. I was born and raised here and have raised my family here. I am proud to call Crothersville home. The timing is right for me to become involved in my community and would be honored to serve my town as clerk-treasurer.
What do you feel is the Crothersville community’s image and perception of our town?
Gullett-Foster: I hear a lot of negativity about Crothersville, some things I agree with, some I don’t. I want people to feel that Crothersville is home and that their opinions matter. I want the input of the residents, I want them to feel welcome to be a part of the workings of the town and feel that they will be heard.
Mains: The community, in general, has a positive image of the town because of its excellent school system, our fire department is the finest in the area, the expansion of industry in the past few years and the general willingness of the citizens to become involved in the betterment of the community.
Minton: I feel it is generally a peaceful small knit community with people willing to help a neighbor who is in need. I also feel that it is a community that has a lot of potential room for growth and prosperity. The biggest perception is our town doesn’t have enough law enforcement to accommodate the criminal activities.
Mitchell: I think our image is improving, but over all our young people and outsiders don’t see the potential in Crothersville that I do. Professionally I believe businesses see positive reason’s to consider Crothersville. New ventures like Aisin Chemical and High Fly MX coming to Crothersville in the last year prove our potential. Improvements to our infrastructure will bolster our image as companies consider Crothersville for their business.
L. Robinson: Crothersville’s community perception, it seems, that the town has no room for growth. My opinion is there is always room for growth. I have talked to people who would like to be interested in bringing business to Crothersville and I would hope the community would support them.
R. Robinson: Crothersville has a lot of growth potential in the residential and business sector.
Bush: The Town of Crothersville being a small community where most everyone knows everyone else, I can say I am proud to be a resident of Crothersville. I feel that Crothersville is a very caring community. When something tragically goes wrong, our community comes together. A community of our size often gets looked upon as being behind the times, but nothing could be farther from the truth, we have a nationally recognized school surpassing many in the area of technology and 21st century educational ideas and we have five productive and progressive industries that we are proud to have as partners in our community.
Teipen: Crothersville has had its share of trials and tribulations. While these things have possibly given us a negative image, that everyone should know is that we are a strong community. We are close knit and we look out for our neighbors. We have the potential to work together to reach common goals.
What are the three greatest challenges facing the town and how do you plan on addressing them?
Gullett-Foster: One of the biggest complaints I hear in town is water bills. I think we need to look into all options with our water utility. It may be an option, in the future, to look into selling the utility. Without further research into this option I can’t say it would be what we would want to do, but I do believe we should look at everything that can be done to help the people who live here and pay the bills.
Police presence is also a concern. I would like to see us have the capability to add an officer and to keep building our reserve force. This would mean freeing up money from somewhere to be able to pay another officer. Again, this is something that needs to be researched. But one way would be to sell some of the properties that we no longer use. We have to maintain these properties and insure them, but they are just sitting. I’m sure there are many other ways we could free up money to afford more protection for the town and the people in it.
I would also like to see more consistency, one problem we have is, in my opinion, is that many of our ordinances are out dated or unclear. There has been an effort to start correcting this in the last year or so, but we need more work in this area.
Mains: The three greatest challenges facing the town involve the expansion of the Wastewater Treatment Plant, the repair and maintenance of several of the town’s main streets and improvements to the Bard Street Park. I plan to address these issues by working with the other council members to accomplish these objectives.
Minton: Revenue, Law Enforcement, and Growth.
There is no easy way to solve any of these problems. If we start fresh with the police department and obtain more officers who could help enforce laws, it may clean up our town and could stimulate growth in our population. This would help with revenue for the town and growth. Also cleaning up the abandoned lots and houses around town would help for growth. Hopefully if our little town can start getting cleaned up, some businesses could get started as well. I also want to look into all possible grants we can obtain.
Mitchell: Three greatest challenges:
a. Apathy. It is difficult to get people to attend meetings and participate. We can’t even fill five seats on the Park’s Board from the entire township. All we can do is get the word out and encourage others to participate in our town. The more people pitch and in and do things here, the better off we are.
b. Drainage. We have an adequate drainage Master Plan. We need to start working on creating facilities that allow for positive drainage. This will greatly improve the quality of life and value of property moving forward. I want to address this with small projects, some even done in-house at the down stream end and slowly work our way upstream. In some cases, private property owners will make improvements if there is somewhere to drain the water to. We need to provide this utility.
c. Street funding. Our streets are more and more in disrepair. We are continuing to put band aids on some areas but we need to major money to make sensible long term improvements. We submitting applications for funding assistance now and will continue in the coming year.
L. Robinson: Rebuilding the sewer plant so the State will approve it.
The town workers are working very hard to locate water shutoff valves so when we have a leak they do not have to shut down all the water in town.
Snow removal has improved greatly in the last two years.
R. Robinson: More police coverage is needed and I will work with the board and the Chief of Police.
Address issues of abandon building by contacting the land owners and enforcing current laws to avoid squatters.
Work on a budget with the board and town clerk to allow more man hours for snow removal.
Bush: I think the number one challenge facing the town is the $3.5 million dollar sewer plant upgrade that will be starting shortly. Although we received a grant for $1.4 million dollars of the project, we were forced to borrow the remaining $2.1 million dollars from USDA Rural Development which unfortunately has to be paid back by increasing the water and sewer bills. Which leads to what I feel is the second biggest challenge of maintaining and increasing our inner town family and business property owners in order to have the necessary tax base to support our town services. The third biggest challenge is several town projects that need to be addressed such as, grinding down and re-paving our streets, upgrading and enhancing the Town’s lighting and necessary improvements to community owned property.
Teipen: Funds are always tight. I will keep a firm grasp on my budget and look for areas to create efficiencies. I will run the office of Clerk-Treasurer in a professional manner, I will provide exceptional customer service and I will be available to serve the residents of Crothersville.