Madison mayoral candidates — Republican Bob Courtney and Democrat Julie Berry — last weekend took on some of the issues in this mayoral election in separate sessions with The Madison Courier. The sessions were taped by WKMNews, but the video responses will be posted on www. madisoncourier.com

Both candidates ­were given a list of paper with the same questions and asked to respond in as close to three minutes as possible. They were taped separately but in the same studio setting.

Their answers appear in print in today’s issue of the Courier and are on www.madisoncourier.com to be watched in video. In addition, the Courier is posting the audio responses as well for anyone who just wants to listen.

These are the questions that were given to the candidates:

1. What are the top initiatives you would undertake to spur job growth and economic development?

2. What are the top initiatives you would take to reduce crimes driven by drug users and trafficking, such as theft and property?

3. What would you do to try to create an environment that encourages Madison’s young people to remain in the community?

4. About half of Madison’s population lives downtown, yet there has been no grocery downtown for almost two years. What do you plan to do about that?

5. At some point in the next 18 months, Madison is likely reach the point where it takes in S.R. 56 from Hanover Hill and through Madison on Main Street as part of its network to maintain. Would you make changes in the roadway through downtown? Where will the city obtain the increased funds for maintenance?

6. Much concern has been expressed publicly that the number of homeless people in Madison is increasing. Do you believe that to be true? What will you do to care for those now homeless and to try to make sure the numbers do not increase?

7. Your choice (Each candidate was given three minutes to discuss any topic of choice)

Included in this package is a list of all the candidates on the Nov. 5 ballot as well as a list of the voting precincts and their locations.


Bob Courtney was Jefferson County Republican Party chair when he announced his candidacy, but resigned that party position soon after.

Courtney, who grew up in downtown Madison, also was president of the City of Madison’s Board of Zoning Appeals and a member of the Lide White Memorial Boys & Girls Club Board of Directors, the Madison Area Chamber of Commerce and Friends of Main Street Program. At the death of former Mayor Damon Welch, Courtney was appointed by the Republican Party to fill out Welch’s unexpired term.

He is a 1981 graduate of Madison Consolidated High School, earned a bachelor’s degree in finance from Ball State University, a graduate degree at the University of Delaware and earned additional advanced accounting degrees from Indiana University Southeast. He is formally licensed as a certified public accountant.

Courtney said he retired from Boston Financial Investment Management where he originated more than $5 billion in investment capital for affordable housing and historic preservation.

Courtney said his campaign will focus on three primary strategies: “Our Community Safety, Our Economic Opportunity, and Our Quality of Life.”

“I have traveled across the country in my professional career forging partnerships with private developers, investors, and local governments to bring capital investment to their communities, construct affordable housing, and promote economic development using historic, low-income, and new markets tax credits.”

Courtney’s wife, Tammy, is an intensive care nurse at King’s Daughters Hospital. They have two children, Miles, 28, of Madison, and Lindsay, 25, of Savannah, Georgia.

“Growing up in downtown Madison on North Walnut Street as the son of a truck driver and stay-at-home mother, I learned the value of hard work,” Courtney said. “This work ethic along with the mentorship of several people along the way has inspired me to believe that anything is possible if we believe in ourselves, set goals, do the work necessary to attain them, and aspire to inspire others through collaboration and thoughtful strategies.

Julie Berry announced her candidacy July, 16, 2018, the first mayoral candidate to make an official announcement.

She is a Madison resident, served on the Jefferson County Commission for three terms and was Special Projects Administrator for Madison in the 1980s.

“Following the abrupt closure of the Marble Hill Nuclear Plant, it was necessary to work hard on industrial development. I was part of teams that attracted Arvin Sango, Madison Precision Products and Century Tube industrial plants to Madison. I understand how to network, promote, and seal deals for our community,” Berry said in a news release. “I think it is time to bring in bold ideas, methods, and action to ensure our city’s growth and sustainable future.”

Berry, a Democrat, was the first female County Commissioner in Jefferson County. In 2014, she lost the State Senate District 45 race to incumbent Republican Jim Smith in what was a Republican landslide in the state.

Smith won the race 54 percent to Berry’s 46 percent. Berry, a Madison resident, won Jefferson County with 53 percent of the vote and captured Scott County, but lost in Switzerland, Clark and Jackson counties.

Berry has been married for 33 years to Pat Berry. She is the mother of two children and grandmother of two. She is a graduate of Ball State University and the National Development Council Economic Development Professional Course Program. She has worked the past 10 years as Senior Marketing Executive for Midwestern Engineers Inc.

“I will bring my perspective as a mother, a local government official, and a private sector businessperson to this important job. I will listen carefully to make sure I represent the values and concerns of my community.

“I was chosen by my fellow elected officials to chair the Region 9 Indiana Homeland Security District Plan Oversight Committee, and have experience with Workforce Development, Emergency Management Services, Enhanced 911 Services, and various community development efforts. I am committed to Madison,” said Berry.


What are the top initiatives you would undertake to spur job growth and economic development?

Berry

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“Well first of all, I would say that we have an excellent family of businesses in Jefferson County. We’re blessed to have that. We have some homegrown people that have invested and expanded and particularly impressive, have used buildings — dinosaur buildings if you will — that have been long unused on Madison’s hilltop, and some also in downtown Madison. That’s a good base to build upon. My top initiatives would be several. I’m very interested in that 20-acre-plus hilltop lot on Michigan Road that has become a buy-sell-trade forum or semis and RVs and I’m pretty sure I saw a drug deal go down at when I was at Subway recently. We need to try to attract a mixed use development there and I’m hoping that job creation will be a part of that, as well as possibly some housing and some retail businesses. It’s high on the list. I also want to work closely with our family of businesses that I talked about first and see what their needs are and the City of Madison should do everything they can to be helpful to them. I’d like to work hard to get the wage rate up; our median household income lags that of the state of Indiana and we need to make sure that we attract and retain jobs that pay a living wage — a wage that you can raise families on. And lastly — and this may be a little bit out of the box — but I’m interested in helping with economic development through more daycare options, particularly for shift work. It’s a real problem, as I’ve talked to business owners, and I’ve looked into some grants that can provide either on-site or off-site daycare options for shift work. And I don’t think that we can run a daycare, definitely not, but I think that we can be helpful in the formation of the same. As a former Jefferson County commissioner, I will work closely also with Jefferson County. The city and the county are not working together now on economic development. I’ll work closely with the schools; I’ll be a (mayor) that goes to school board meetings. And I’ll work with anybody that can increase and improve the economic development in Madison, Indiana.”

Courtney

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“The top initiatives that I would undertake in order to spur job growth and economic development have been laid out in my platform that’s been for public consumption all year long. I was the only candidate to actually publish a comprehensive platform that focused on three pillars: community safety, economic opportunity and quality of life initiatives. As it relates to economic development and spurring job growth in our community, the pillar of that is economic opportunity. I’ll make the distinction there that I want to make sure that our public policy and our economic development efforts reach through to our community in a way that it increases wages and household income. The first thing that I’m going to do is create an office of economic development, and that is designed to better focus our resources. Currently our economic development activity predominantly is outsourced to a third party, and I want to make sure that we’re doing all that we can to attract capital and improve wages, deploy public funds, so economic development will be moved to the mayor’s office, and then underneath that umbrella will be the lead economic development officer, working with our redevelopment commission, our economic development committee, as well as our building and city planning departments. The whole focus there is to be more proactive and less reactive as well make sure that we’re cultivating opportunities that are going to benefit the City of Madison to the maximum extent possible.”

“So part of my initiative of bringing economic development into the mayor’s office ¬≠— again, so that we can be more synergetic and more focused in our efforts — I will also be hiring and including under that department an outreach coordinator position with a focus on addiction recovery and adult education. I’ll talk more about why that’s important later when we deal with some of the issues on crime, substance abuse and homelessness. But the other things that I want to emphasize, too, is that we’re going to be more targeted. We’re going to have targeted redevelopment areas on the hilltop and downtown. Even though the City of Madison is not part of any specific opportunity zones, for example, we’re going to create our own so that we can be more targeted both for redevelopment and new development on the hilltop and downtown. I want to make sure we’re leveraging the economic drivers. You know, Madison in a unique community, we’re not located on the interstate, but there’s a lot of activity happening around us. We are members of the Southern Indiana Regional Development Authority, and I want to make sure we’re capturing job opportunities, job growth for example, that are within commuting distance from us. And then lastly, we’re going to implement a City of Madison “buy local” purchasing policy. I want to make sure that a lot of the things that we do from a city initiative incorporates and includes our local businesses who are hiring, investing here, paying taxes — we should do things that are in mind with them so we can support the businesses that are supporting our community.”

About half of Madison’s population lives downtown, yet there has been no grocery downtown for almost two years. What do you plan to do about that?

Berry

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“I think we are a victim of a rapidly changing grocery market. One thing that we do have going for us that I think Kroger and Walmart — and I’m not sure about Aldi’s — but our grocery stores on the hill do offer pickups that you can do online and possibly are moving into delivery, as some other places are. However, I would like to say that I think it is a top priority. I am one that despite those options of pickup or delivery I like to take a look at my own produce — squeeze the cantalopes if you will and all those things — and I think that the people of downtown Madison deserve that option. I’m actively seeking an energetic person, entrepreneur to take this on. I do think the City of Madison should assist with incentives to help that happen. I am taking a hard look at formerly blighted properties and I’ll give you an example, Madison used to have grocery stores downtown on many of our corners. That was a while back and the market in the business industry has changed quite a bit. I’m even taking a look at that former property on West Main Street that I am old enough to remember as the Piggly Wiggly grocery store that my grandmother Dattilo used to take me to. She’d go to Piggly Wiggly for certain things and she’d go to Dave’s Shur-Way on the hill for meat, always. I’m hoping that we can work with our farmers market, our Madison co-op for beef production and meat that’s currently on the hilltop and I’m hopeful that a young entrepreneur that wants to work hard will take this on and possibly partner with existing grocery stores elsewhere. I’ve talked to people in counties that surround us and people I know throughout the state who are in the grocery industry. It’s an industry that you’ve got to work really hard at and I believe that we have the hard workers in Madison who can make that happen. We have the need, we have a niche and I think we’re going to find that person to do that and I will work tirelessly on it.”

Courtney

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“It’s no secret that over the course of the past three years downtown Madison has not had a grocery store. And although prior administrations have tackled this problem in other ways, we need to make sure we are more focused than ever to bring a downtown grocery store to the City of Madison. Downtown’s population represents probably about a third of our community. We cannot have our seniors and our low income people in particular, forced to spend significant resources commuting up on the hilltop for their grocery needs, and particularly while we are encouraging downtown’s active lifestyle, we need to make sure we have all the infrastructure necessary to accommodate that population, whether it be a senior who is moving here, a retiree, active lifestyle person and young adults, regardless of your demographics or socioeconomic backgrounds.

“Doing what is necessary to develop a grocery store in downtown Madison is one of the No. 1 priorities for me. I believe it’s going to take a different approach. We can’t sit back and wait for an operator to decide to come to Madison. We have to be more proactive and put together an incentive plan that requires probably money from our TIF (Tax Increment Financing) program, grant dollars, abatements, infrastrucure improvements and again create a true partnership. One of the things you can expect from a Bob Courtney administration is that we will be proactive. We will not wait for things to happen. We will be making sure that we understand what the community needs are and those will become our highest priority. There’s no doubt in my mind that when we’re sitting here talking this time next year that the Courtney administration will have a grocery store. Madison already has fruits and vegetables that we can get downtown, you can already get staples and milk, but we don’t have a full-service grocery store. I believe that within the year, with the right amount of incentives, we can attact an operator — an experienced operator — to put something new, nice and necessary for downtown Madison. It may be different than what we’ve experienced before, but it’s definitely needed and it’s a highest priority for me for downtown Madison.”

Much concern has been expressed publicly that the number of homeless people in Madison is increasing. Do you believe that to be true? What will you do to care for those now homeless and to try to make sure the numbers do not increase?

Berry

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“I believe that our homelessness in Madison has increased and I think there are a number of factors for it. I would look at our substance abuse, a growing problem, as a factor and I think that contributes to homelessness. The closing of the Victoria Inn contributed particularly downtown. And I’m concerned maybe the most for the children who are caught up in this and are victims of neglect and worse. I would like to point out that the City Madison is addressing it in a form through valiant work by some of our not-for-profit agencies like the Salvation Army, our very strong churches, the Boys & Girls Club — places like that that open up options for people when it gets too hot or too cold so that they don’t you know lose their lives. I got a call last night from a friend in Madison because I hosted a community conversation on homelessness in July of this year at Fireman’s Park and this person was at that community conversation — we had over a hundred people on an extremely hot night — but people really care about this and it was an opportunity to exchange ideas and suggestions for that. It’s become a public safety issue, it’s become a public health issue and at that community conversation meeting where we had a panel of a police officer, someone who runs runs a homeless shelter in Jeffersonville and a former homeless person who had worked her way to self-sufficiency as well as representatives of our Salvation Army. This person was there and reached out to me last night because we had a homeless person that was able to get a bed in Ohio County near us that needed transportation. We were able to get that worked out and so that person was given a bed. The homeless shelter in Jeffersonville tells us that they take 30 to 35 people a year from Madison because we don’t have a homeless shelter. I’d like to be clear that I don’t think the city has the funds or the know-how to build a homeless shelter. I don’t rule that out for someone else to do but I don’t think that the City of Madison can take that on as our regular responsibility. I think that we can be of help in helping to support the local not-for-profits that are already working on the topic right now and I think that we can try very hard to obtain nearby recovery options for those impacted by substance abuse that want to work toward their recovery and find a place for their children while they’re getting through that. But I would like to say that part of the reason of our homeless problwm is a state and national effort to close mental health hospitals — we’re a mental health desert here in Jefferson County; we have once certified mental health professional for every like 1,500 people, we’ve been designated as a mental health desert, and the state and national policies of closing mental health beds and facilities have trickled down to the local areas. We’re not the only one with this problem and contributed greatly to our problem of homelessness. I’ll work on it tirelessly because I think about it a lot and we do have many people in our community that care very much.

Courtney

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“Much concern has been expressed relative to the topic of homelessness in our community. While I agree that we have people who are in unfortunate situations, and I can tell you having spent my 25-year career in developing housing across the country targeting unfortunate populations, low income individuals, homeless, special needs, it’s really unfortunate that those individuals do not have a permanent roof over their heads. A stable home environment, stable roof for example, stable living quarters is the one thing that I think everybody deserves. It’s the one thing we need to be making sure that we are addressing for our communities. We need to help those in need and also those who are willing to help themselves.

Do we have a major homeless problem? The answer is I don’t know. I’ve committed over the course of my campaign — whether it’s dealing with this issue, dealing with economic development, dealing with city finances — to be the mayor that will make the decisions based upon data. The evidence will drive our results, and these will be data-driven results. I did mention earlier that my economic development platform is going to include an outreach coordinator position that will focus on addiction recovery and adult education. And that’s an important factor so that we can create sustainable recovery options for those who are in special needs situations. I’ve also had significant conversations with the director of Indiana Department of Health on how we can bring more mental health resources to our community. I’m confident we can do that. There are several programs available through Indiana and through the federal government that the City of Madison is not taking advantage of yet, such as the student loan repayment program for mental health professionals. We are a federally-designated health professional shortage area, so we will find solutions. Getting back to homelessness, we need to make sure we have the data. The data will drive what our efforts are. And I’ve indicated that we will have an outreach coordinator position in my administration and one thing we hasn’t been done is coordination with all our non-profits that provide invaluable services to our community and for all our residents who are in need. Once we understand the problem better, we can create positive outcomes that will drive down the issue of homelessness. It will also reduce poverty and the other things that we want to do — the things that are sustainable. What we need are sustainable solutions. Permament supported housing if necessary, capitalizing on our relationships and partnerships with our community non-profits. And we also need to do those things that create job opportunities and mental health treatment if necessary. I’m committed to addressing this problem but it’s going to take data to find real solutions. We will be proactive in everything we do, not reactive.”

What are the top initiatives you would take to reduce crimes driven by drug users and trafficking, such as theft and property?

Berry

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“Substance abuse is the No. 1 issue that I see for the City of Madison and one of the reasons I’m running for mayor. I see that our jail is completely overcrowded and I have brought up the idea of helping with a quarter house, which would be the first step between the jail and a halfway house, so that we can get some of the people that are under the substance abuse scurge into recovery if they want to be and they are willing to work at getting off it. I do feel like things we could do would have to do with public safety and Madison Police Department. They have reinstituted foot and bicycle patrols and I think that’s helping. I’m hearing anecdotal incidents of that helping already. I think it’s a good move and I would build upon it. I also have obtained about five or six common nuisance ordinances from around the state that would comply with Indiana laws but also would be applicable here. An airtight common nuisance ordinance could help with blighted properties and properties where our public safety personnel are called repeatedly to arrest or take care of all kinds of drug related abuses. What would happen would be that the owners of those facilities would be fined to cover the costs of those public services. I think it should be a deterrent and they might start policing themselves which would be ideal. The Victoria Inn in Madison was a perfect example of how this could happen and I was unfortunate enough to grow up across the street from an apartment complex owned by the same family, and so I can relate somewhat to what some of the people in that area went through. It took too long to close it and and I think an airtight common nuisance ordinance would have sped that process along and we have to enforce the ordinances that we have. Also, things I would do to address this is the Madison Police Department has a rapid turnover rate. It’s become something of a revolving door. We train officers at the police academy, etcetera, and then they leave to go someplace else where they can make more money or have a better working environment or for various reasons. So, I think that we need to establish comparable or better salaries for the places that are around us and I have a plan to do that in my public safety plan. And also work on everything we can do to increase moral, equipment and training opportunities for the dedicated officers that we do have and build on that.”

Courtney

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“What I want to make sure that we’re doing to address crime — and community safety is the hallmark or cornerstone of my platform. We have published our platform from the very beginning and that was designed through lots of conversations with our community, our law enforcement, residents in the neighborhood, businesses, investors and other elected leaders and community leaders — making sure we have a safe community is paramount. That drives everything else. It will drive the quality of life, it will drive investment in our community, it drives the quality of place for example, tourism and so forth. So we need to make sure that first and foremost that we have a safe community. We’re going to use data to guide our initiatives. What I have proposed from the very beginning is a few things: One, we need to make sure we reduce the amount of turnover with Madison Police Department. I propose that we re-evaluate the salary and reward structure with Madison Police Department so that we’re competitive with areas surrounding the City of Madison. I propose that we start with increasing salaries and wages by 10%. I mentioned we’re going to use data to drive our efforts — we’re going to incorporate resources such as computer-aided dispatch systems for example and more structure on the reporting side so we know where our problems are and the types of problems we’re having. Based on the information that I have collected so far, it appears that our crime rate is up about 14%. That’s based on the statistics that the Madison Police Department has provided me. We do know that a lot of that is drug related and we’re going to be taking steps to include more deterent action and we’re going to assertively combat substance abuse issues. One of the things we’re going to do there is really evaluate our role with the Jefferson County Drug Task Force. We’ll make sure we’re working collaboratively with the Indiana State Police, the sheriff’s department, Hanover Police Department and other law enforcement agencies within our community. I want to make Madison the safest place to live, work, raise a family and visit and we’re only going to be able to accomplish those goals through active policing and community engagement. I’m very pleased to see that our community engagement is increasing. Several community watch groups in our neighborhoods have started and also the city of Madison police just recently published a new tip line that each shift commander, for example, will have access to that anybody calling with an immediate and urgent tip can do so anonymously and the police department can react to that very quickly. The last thing is safe ways to get around town — better lighting and better sidewalks — we can’t have our children and our seniors walking in the streets for example. We need to make that sure we have passable and safe, visible sidewalks and areas for our community to walk around.”

What would you do to try and create an environment that encourages Madison’s young people to remain in the community?

Berry

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“The first thing that I would do is try very hard and work out a data-driven plan to attract IT and analytical jobs. I mentioned earlier that our median household income in Madison lags that of the state of Indiana. So we have to try to get those professional jobs here, as well as partner with Cub Manufacturing and our family of businesses to try to also have skilled labor jobs that people that go through those programs — Ivy Tech Southeast as well — can move into good paying jobs, I feel that’s a priority. I think placemaking is also an issue. We have strong festivals, a great music scene and for young people that want to be here, we have to also increase our walkability, and I think we’re still working on all of those things. Madison is not in bad shape when it comes to placemaking — we’re really in pretty good shape and we have probably Mayor Welch and his administration, and previous administrations, to thank for that. I mentioned the IT and data and analytical jobs; we have to also work on our digital divide, our broadband digital divide. We’re middle of the road, and by that I mean high speed internet. We’re middle of the road, but based on our location, pretty far off the interstate, etcetera, we have to be better than middle of the road. We have to be toward the top, and I think that we can take innovative ways to get there. I’d also like to do something kind of innovative and that is work on an alumni recruitment program. I would like to take some of those people who have already left after college or graduation from a trade school or whatever it might be, and try to remind them how great Madison is and recruit them back here when it’s time to raise their family. Particularly those people that are in those IT, data or analytical jobs so that we might be able to offer housing incentives or other types of incentives for those entrepreneurs and skilled people that want to come back here but perhaps need a nudge to do so. We’ve had a population decrease here since 1970, our population has dropped by close to 1,500 people, and we need to make that a part of our planning for the City of Madison and also badly need to address that median household income figure that lags that of the state.”

Courtney

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“As it relates to doing things that encourage our youth to remain in our community, we really need to be, again, better engaged with our employers and our school systems, and that goes for Ivy Tech Community College, all of our public school systems in the City of Madison — that includes Prince of Peace and the Christian Academy — as well as Southwestern since it does border Madison. And then also Hanover College. We need to be looking at what the needs of our workforce is and workforce development. And we’re already making progress there. The City of Madison under my administration will continue to support initiatives through our school system that support Cub Manufacturing, for example, Cub Engineering and I’m wanting to make sure that we’re partnering with the school system for vocational training and education as well. We need to make sure that we’re not only training manufacturing skill, but technical skill, IT skill sets, creating a recruiting environment for law enforcement, for example, but also the other trades. As it relates to professional occupations, I mentioned earlier that we need to make sure that we’re taking advantage of all of the things that are going on around us. And what that’s going to require is a concerted effort to look at the jobs in the future — what do we need to do to bring our youth home. We know that investing in quality of place and quality of life are meaningful initiatives that will attract our youth to want to work here. We’ll take advantage of those jobs, for example, that might be able to work remotely. But I want to make sure we’re investing in a different type of employment, technology for example, or trying to cultivate healthcare opportunities. So a lot of the things that we’re talking about here is using public policy in a way that we are partnering with our employers and educators, for example, in our community, as well as working with the state through Indiana Economic Development Committee, OCRA, which is the Office of Community and Rural Affairs, and do destination development, job creation, job development, workforce development — there’s so many things that we can do. I have the leadership skills, the resources and the experience from an investment perspective to make sure that we’re leading Madison in the right direction. So not only can we grow our population, we can increase our household income, and start really changing the demographics of our community, where we have to a certain extent seen a decline over the course of the last decade.”

At some point in the next 18 months, Madison is likely to reach the point where it takes in S.R. 56 from Hanover Hill and through Madison on Main Street as part of its network to maintain. Would you make changes in the roadway through downtown? Where will the city obtain the increased funds for maintenance?

Berry

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“I haven’t been a county commissioner since 2012, but I did attend Purdue Road School 12 years in a row which makes me somewhat of — and I say this in jest — a roads scholar. I am concerned about the maintenance involved in taking over State Road 56, Main Street to the top of Hanover Hill to the east end of our city. I’m concerned about the cost involved with that and we probably would look toward Community Crossing funds, which is a program the state of Indiana offers and Madison and Jefferson County have both been successful in obtaining these funds for that. The deal itself was, I believe, a good one because it is giving us new bridge approaches. The Welch administration worked out that deal. I was not in the room so it is not for me to second guess the wisdom of it. But I do understand why it happened. We needed better bridge approaches to help us in our economic development and traffic flow. That’s the reason for it. I know at one time angle parking had been discussed and I heard a lot of concerns from people about that and I believe that it’s been ruled out. Bump-outs were also instituted for a little while — a little cafe-type bump-out where you could sit kind of in the middle of oncoming traffic — and I think people were a little bit anxious about that, and I think that idea has also been discarded, but we do have a master plan that talks about what we can do and I will be looking into that. I am very interested in cooperating with Jefferson County whenever we can and I will give you a couple of instances where we did that before. We have a DuraPatcher at the Jefferson County Highway Department — I believe we have two machines — and I think the City of Madison has one and the county built the tower needed for the contents that you use in that DuraPatcher for longtime patch work and it worked pretty well. I’m going to look for other opportunities like that to cooperate with Jefferson County. And we’ve done this before. The City of Madison and Jefferson County help each other out and I’ll leave two examples. After the tornado in 2011 and 2012, the City of Madison helped the county move debris, ectetera, and helped us get roads open. The City of Madison and Jefferson County have a mutual aide type of agreement and we need to build upon that definitely. It won’t be easy to maintain the 3 or 4 miles of additional roadway the state is going to turn over but it’s going to happen. They’re going to turn it over to the City of Madison sometime early next year. But I think that we have the resources if we put our heads together and get that done at the very best cost to the taxpayer through partnership opportunities, with the state and our surrounding area.”

Courtney

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“Over the course of the last five years the City of Madison entered into an agreement with the Indiana Department of Transportation for a project called the Bridge approach. It was a continuation of a new approach off of the Milton-Madison Bridge that would essentially more safely drive the traffic flow up onto Main Street, Highway 421 and then north into North Madison and then around to the connecting highways. What that entails is a road transfer agreement. The City of Madison will undertake, probably by next summer for example, the acquisition or transfer of 4.5 miles of State Highway 56, which is a four-lane highway that includes several bridges beginning at Jefferson Street, through downtown Madison’s Main Street and up Hanover Hill. What that agreement doesn’t entail, which is something that I wish that it did, is for road upgrades to occur before that transfer happens. One of the things I’ll be doing immediately after being elected is working with INDOT to evaluate that agreement, as well as additional factors that are playing into the bridge approach construction project. It’s a comprehensive project that’s going to take awhile. We need to do our best with regard to gateway improvements as it relates to the bridge approach. But more importantly we’ve got to find the funds in order to upgrade and redevelop — or re-envision — Madison’s Main Street. The good news is we have several organizations that have already been giving some thought to this, but under my leadership we will organize a committee, we will evaluate the best way to control traffic safely and we’ll also look at ways to have this be an economic development opportunity for us, so that we can attract more business, more small business recruitment. And in the past couple of years, Madison has been successful in receiving significant Community Crossings grant funds for road improvements. With my relationship from our state representatives, state senators, all the way up to the Indiana Department of Transportation and to the Governor’s Office, I’ll make sure that Madison is well-represented not only in the negotiation of the remaining agreements that are going to be necessary to effectively transfer the roads that we are talking about, but to make sure we find the funding necessary. But I’ll also be collaborating with Madison Main Street, our Chamber of Commerce, Visit Madison, as well as our economic development apparatuses and local business leaders and community leaders to make sure we have the right buy-in, as well as the right ideas to safely and effectively redevelop Main Street as well as take care of the future costs we are going to incur as part of this road transfer. With regard to finalizing the bridge approach, that work will more safely transfer traffic up to Highway 421, so I’m optimistic that we’ll have a good deal all around for the residents of Madison.”

Your choice

Berry

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“I’m running for mayor of Madison because my skill sets meet the needs of the City of Madison at this time. Right now over one-quarter of the babies born at our local hospital, King’s Daughters’ Hospital, are born to addicted mothers and are therefore addicted themselves at birth. We’ve got a real problem here. We have blessings, talent and challenges in Madison and I would like to work on all of those as the mayor. I am the most qualified candidate for mayor. I have a vision for our city, my career has allowed me to see best and worst practices around the state and the Midwest and I’d like to bring that knowledge to my own community which I care about deeply. Madison’s finest moments have come when we’ve put partisanship aside and worked together. Riverfront development, the attraction of industry and expansion of same, restoration of our courthouse after a terrible fire in 2009, our Stellar designation, our America’s Best Communities designation, we’re at our best when we work together. My private business and my public administration executive experience make me the leader that Madison needs at this time in our history. And Madison has been a place where many historical and great things have happened. We were a leader in the Underground Railroad — one of the most important things during the Civil War and before and after. We’ve had some historical things happen here and some great people here who have been leaders and stepped up like J.F.D. Lanier financing Indiana’s troops in the Civil War when the state of Indiana wouldn’t do so or couldn’t do so. But I do believe that our best days are not behind us. I believe that our best days are straight ahead and I’d really like to ask humbly for your vote on November 5th to lead Madison forward. Thank you.”

Courtney

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“I’ve really appreciated the opportunity to reach out to our community today. I’m Bob Courtney and I’ve been your candidate for Madison’s mayor since last year. Over the course of the past year I’ve met with literally thousands of you to understand what your needs are. And although I’ve been a lifelong resident of Madison and I bring a lifetime of experience in the financial sector to our community, I’m committed to finding solutions to grow our community and make sure that we can be the best it can be. Some of those solutions have already been identified along the way. I believe I’m the most experienced person to lead Madison into the future. I have the best education — finance and accounting. I have professional certification. I’m a former licensed certified public accountant. That brings with me a strong sense of how we budget and find the resources to accomplish our goals and objectives. I also have two securities licenses and in my 25-year career in investment banking, I’ve worked on over $5 billion of deals, negotiating and structuring and finding solutions with non-profits, public housing authorities, government agencies all across the United States and Madison will be my priority.

“I’m a small business owner. My wife and I have been investing in our community for the last 15 years. We started a small business, it’s located here on Main Street. We’ve invested our life’s savings in improving our neighborhoods. I’m a volunteer. I’ve never left my community. Even though I have worked in the financial services sector, I’ve always volunteered whether it be working with United Way, Red Cross, Sheriff’s Merit Board. I was chair of the Madison Board of Zoning Appeals, which gave me keen insight with regard to land use and other ordinances that work well together with all the things we want to do with regard to community safety. I have the relationships that we can bring to Madison to make sure that Madison stays the focal point and we get the resources that we need in order to make the investment that we need to grow our community, improve wages and also invest in our quality of life to attract more population and deal with those things we talked about earlier about making sure that we’re creating job opportunities for our youth. We’re going to participate with what’s going on around us and that’s through our regional development authority and working closely with our state legislators and federal legislators. I’m the only candidate with a detailed platform. At bobcourtneyformayor.com you’ll see my platform with regard to community safety, economic opportunity and quality of life initiatives. Those are my three guiding principles but there are 20 key initiatives under that and I am the only person who has put forth a thoughtful plan on how we will execute and the leadership style we will bring to the City of Madison. Thank you and I appreciate your vote between now and November 5th.”