Three seats on the five-person New Carlisle Town Council are up for election on Tuesday, November 5.
The New Carlisle Business and Community Association recently sponsored a "Meet the Candidates" night where each candidate made their case to be one of the top three vote-getters on Election Day.
Below is a summary of what each candidate outlined as their vision for the town:
Lawrence W. Brown - Republican
Larry Brown has been a resident of New Carlisle since 1989 and was a member of the New Carlisle Police Department for 20 years.
Brown believes it is time for a more aggressive style of leadership from the town council.
“We have a lot of things going on around us that our town elected officials haven’t inserted us into as they should have,” Brown said.
“These things are immediately on our doorstep and affect absolutely every aspect of our lives and the properties we own, the air we breathe, the water we drink,” Brown said. “The county has put the future of all of that in the hands of professional solicitors and developers.”
Brown has spent the last five years at the American Legion Post 297 in New Carlisle, helping transform the post that was once in disrepair and significant debt.
"We turned it around, and the Legion is serving the veteran community, and the community as a whole, as it should," Brown said.
Jerry Colanese - Republican
Jerry Colanese was a teacher in the New Prairie United School Corporation for 33 years and is now a substitute bus driver. Colanese has run a corn detasseling business for over 35 years and currently has a tomato harvesting business as well. He has coached well over 100 little league football and baseball teams over the years.
Colanese felt compelled to run for the council after attending the fire territory meetings this spring.
"I just don't like what I see," Colanese said, while noting his family ties to the volunteer fire department.
"I'm not buying what I was told in that fire station, that we can put another million dollars into a fire territory on top of the million that we're already spending," Colanese said. "We just simply can't afford it."
Colanese would rather invest in cross training police officers, EMS, or town employees as support to cover the gaps in fire coverage.
"The other issue I see is the industry, and that I don't see it being a good thing for us," Colanese said.
Referring to a previous meeting at the library, Colanese said people from all over the state came to warn of the negative impacts of the industrial development.
"It must be pretty bad, so I think we need to investigate," Colanese said.
Dan Caruso - Democrat
Dan Caruso moved to New Carlisle in 2003 and retired from the postal service in 2016. He was traveling the country visiting friends and family, when the issue of economic development in the farmland east of town caught his attention.
"People with probably nefarious intentions want to take control of this land and away from the farmers," Caruso said. "Knowing something about water structure, it would be very easy to contaminate our water supply in the aquifer that is so rich through this area."
Caruso recognized out that all five candidates are wary of the potential development.
"We think the growth should be blended in with the community," Caruso said, pointing to I/N Tek, Tejas Tubular, and the St. Joseph Energy Center as examples of industry that fits in fairly well.
Caruso is involved with the Open Space and Agriculture Alliance and stated current town council members have conveyed to county officials that New Carlisle wants this development. He cited the constant truck traffic in Elwood, Illinois, as an example of his fears for the community.
"We need to change our direction," Caruso said. "I did not intend to get involved on this level, but I was concerned if I didn't get involved now this could deteriorate even further."
Dave L. Doll - Democrat
Dave Doll was born in a small town in northeastern Indiana and moved to New Carlisle 36 years ago. He retired after 30 years with the Indiana State Police in 2011. He currently serves on the library board, cemetery board, and with the Lions Club.
One of the primary reasons Doll decided to run is representation. He recalled the tenure of former council president Carolyn Higgins.
"She would always say 'is this in the best interest of the taxpayers?' or 'is this money actually going to be spent in a wise way?'" Doll said. "I have not heard that in the last four years."
Doll is firmly against the Indiana Enterprise Center (IEC). He acknowledged that the town will need to grow, however he expressed a preference for the growth to occur downtown as opposed to taking up farmland.
A member of the fire territory exploratory committee, Doll believed there was no other option but to form the territory. However, he was not in favor of the ultimate cost to the taxpayers.
"Instead of taxing our schools, the library, and you and I this gargantuan amount, we could have gotten what we needed and based our taxes on that, rather than trying to get all we could get," Doll said of the final appropriations.
Doll also criticized the lack of transparency he feels the council has displayed over the last four years.
"It's almost like they've slid everything under the table until they were ready to pass it," he said.
Doll promised to ask a lot of questions and do background on his decisions as a council member, citing his experience on the exploratory committee. Doll made calls to find out how other fire territories determined their funding.
In his past experience dealing with department budgets, Doll has an expectation that going over budget comes with consequences. But he does not believe that to be the case in town.
"The last four years, there's one department in town that's gone over the budget. The last year was $30,000," he said. "I want to get it to where we spend what we've got and if we don't need it, we don't spend it."
Jordon Budreau - Republican
Jordon Budreau is the only incumbent seeking re-election. He was originally elected to the council in 2015.
Budreau echoed Caruso's sentiment that the candidates agree on many issues, so the choice will be difficult for voters.
"I felt like for the last three years on the town council, I've been on my own little island pushing the way I wanted to go until I had somebody join my team, Marcy (Kauffman)," Budreau said of his fellow council member who was elected last year.
"The county is a bully to us," Budreau said. "We need to take a bigger stand as a town against the IEC."
Budreau was the first candidate to bring up the topic of rental homes.
"I live on Front Street, which is like rental heaven out there. I think rentals should be governed every single year," Budreau said that council's previous rental discussions were taken off the floor and he's not sure why. He advocates for stronger code enforcement on rentals to improve the safety conditions for residents.
Budreau noted he was one of two council members to vote against the fire territory, believing the budget grew far beyond what was necessary.
Touting his successful effort to get council meetings moved to a more convenient time for public attendance, Budreau listed several more ideas for transparency for the town. Among those were town emails for each council member and an interactive website to report issues to the Town Hall. He also voiced support for online utility bill pay and tracking.
Dan Vermillion - Democrat
Vice President Dan Vermillion will appear on the ballot, however is not seeking re-election. Vermillion qualified for the general election in the Democratic Caucus held earlier this year, but he was unable to withdraw his name from the ballot once deciding not to pursue another term. If Vermillion were to be among the top three in votes, he would resign his seat.
"It has been my pleasure to serve the citizens of New Carlisle for the last four years. A lot has been accomplished with much more to do. I wish the new council only the best with much success," Vermillion said.