Finances, especially on a large scale can get complicated but it really boils down to this:
Make more money than you spend, and only spend what’s necessary.
We need to make sure that as a city we’re spending our money wisely but ultimately, the answer to our high taxes is to recruit more businesses to relieve pressure on the residential taxpayer. And, once we get them here, make sure they pay their fair share of taxes. We have been far too generous with our tax abatements and other incentives. Much of that just comes down to the skill level of those doing the negotiating and I’m afraid we’ve been underperforming there for years.
We have our work cut out for us. You will often hear that we don’t want to be another Carmel or Fishers and I agree, we don’t. We must retain our own identity. But I wouldn’t mind having Carmel’s tax base. That city famously has more than 100 Corporate headquarters and that didn’t happen by accident. 25-30 years ago they set out on a strategy to recruit them, zoned and groomed the US 31 corridor and went to work. Today, they are reaping the benefits of that effort. Their city tax rate is 25% lower than ours and they are servicing a much higher debt. I would like, in 25 or 30 years, for our successors to look back with pride and gratitude that we did the hard work now so they can have a better life then.
I was a sales manager for many years. When I first started my reps would constantly come to me and ask for a price break for their customers. Eventually they stopped coming in because my answer was always the same: if you’re haggling over price, you’ve failed to sell the value. I’m afraid that’s where we are in Noblesville. We don’t know how to sell the value so everyone wants to argue over the price. We have a wonderful community here with a strong workforce, a beautiful downtown, solid infrastructure, great highway access and many attractive amenities. We just haven’t done a very good job of selling it to enough prospective businesses.
Sales is a special skill that you only develop by being in the trenches and getting good coaching. We need more and better sales people in city government. I have that experience, I’ve been in the trenches, and I will bring a more entrepreneurial culture to city hall.
I am by far the most qualified mayoral candidate to bring some business sense to our city government. I have more business experience than anyone else running for mayor. I’ve managed departments in large and small corporations. I have run my own business for ten years, gotten to know many of the business owners here in Noblesville. In fact, I already do business with them, on our courthouse square and beyond. I belong to all the chambers of commerce in the county and have for ten years. I am 100% pro-business but I want ALL business to thrive, and for that to happen, everyone needs to feel confident that it’s a level playing field, that we aren’t playing favorites by giving favorable tax treatment to some.
I understand that public private partnerships are the way business is done in most communities these days, and I am not against using economic incentives to bring businesses here and even to have them expand if the market isn’t conducive to expansion for some reason. But we’ve got to reign in the misuse of these incentives when they don’t serve a very specific public purpose.
So the message under my administration will be loud and clear: Noblesville is open for business. We will streamline the process of opening a business here, ensure our impact and development fees are competitive with other communities. We want businesses to come see what we have to offer and, by all means, build your business here.
And, so I am asking for your vote. It’s clear that I’m a different kind of candidate. I am not using the mayor’s office as a stepping stone to further my own career. I chose to live in Noblesville because I saw the potential when I first moved here. I still see the potential and I’m as frustrated as anyone that we can’t seem to reach it. I will seek to flip the current record of high taxes and low achievement to lower taxes and higher achievement.
It can be a bright future but some things need to change. I’m the best candidate to bring about that change and I ask for your vote on May 7.