John Price (right) is congratulated by Barry Price, who also filed for the District 2 County Council seat.
By FRANK PHILLIPS
The Prices were both believed to be right, but only one could serve.
Both John Price and Barry Price filed requests to be considered for the District 2 seat on the Clay County Council, but there was only one seat open. John was chosen to fulfill the term of Tony Dalton, who had to resign because he moved outside District 2.
John was chosen during a Republican Caucus on Friday night in the Clay County Courthouse Commissioners' Room.
Votes were cast by Republican committeemen. It took two ballots and two speeches by both candidates. Both ballots ended in a 2-2 tie before Chair Jennifer Buell used her prerogative to cast the tie-breaking vote.
The same issues were raised by Republicans to both candidates: Willingness to serve in the future (Andy Thomas and Jennifer Buell agreed an undisclosed County Council-At-Large seat may open soon), taxation and economic development.
John Price owns Community Land and Home Mortgage.
He ran for County Council in the past, but lost by less than 50 votes.
"I would consider it a privilege to get the opportunity to serve on the Council," he said.
Barry Price is the son of Rosemary and the late Robert D. Price. He is a newlywed, married seven months to his wife, Autumn. Barry owns County Line Exhaust and a small farm.
He is a lifelong Clay County resident and worked for Great Dane before going into business for himself. He has also operated a small farm for the past two years.
"I'm willing to do this job to the best of my ability," he said. "I don't know too much about the job, but I'm willing to learn."
Both candidates were willing to serve in another post, should openings occur in the future.
"It's a hard job, campaigning," Barry said. "But, I may consider it."
Honesty was one of the character traits Barry mentioned.
"I'm pretty honest," he said. "I've not had one guy say I cheated him after 10 years in business."
Each candidate was asked to discuss the same topics:
- Economic development
"I want to do everything I can to encourage business," John said. "Some things have been tried, but not pushed far enough" though he did not elaborate.
"Specifically, I don't know," he said.
The tax structure needs to be fair to business and John said he is willing to listen to people's ideas.
John and Barry agreed the I-70/SR 59 junction needs to be developed.
"Water is needed there and it is not there now," John said. "We need to do it as soon as possible, if we can afford it."
Laying a water line to the I-70/SR 59 area has to be the number one priority and "Zoning around the industrial park area might not hurt," Barry said, noting the industry that already operates in Clay County.
- Tax abatement
Tax abatement is the decision of local authorities to limit or eliminate some taxes on a sliding scale, usually for 10 years. The first year, a company may only pay 10 percent of the tax due on a building or a piece of machinery. The second year, the company would pay, perhaps, 20 percent and so forth up to 100 percent after 10 years. Specifics are usually worked out with each company seeking tax abatement.
"Again, we need to encourage business, within reason," John said. "As long as abatements provide more job opportunities, we need to look at it."
"I think it will help attract business," Barry said. "It might not be a bad idea."
"Overall, we're overtaxed, not undertaxed," John said. "But taxes are needed. For example, we needed tax money to build a jail. It had to be done."
The inventory tax should be eliminated, John said, noting that it is being phased out by the State of Indiana.
"It is a crazy thing to pay taxes for what you have in stock that will be gone soon," John said.
"I'm one of the ones who have inventory tax problems," Barry said. "Every quarter I pay taxes. But, when you take out a tax, you have to make up for it somewhere."
Ground rules for the caucus were agreed upon at the beginning of the meeting: Each candidate would have two minutes for opening remarks and then take questions from committeemen for two minutes. The chair (Buell) would only vote in case of a tie.
After the first ballot ended in a tie vote, 44th District Rep. Andy Thomas, R-Brazil, moved to suspend the rules and hear from the candidates a second time.
When the second ballot also ended in a tie, Buell cast the deciding vote for John Price.
Barry Price said before the first ballot was cast, that John Price would be a good Councilman and he would have no hard feelings if John were selected by the caucus.