By KEN ALEXANDRE
OK. I may have lied. Last month I said spring was here and it has snowed twice since. I also thought Purdue would make a run in the NCAAs and they fell flat (but I still love my alma mater unconditionally). For those new to the area, it’s life in central Indiana.
Before getting into my article, I wanted to do a quick update on my son who joined the Marines, as I often get asked about him. He injured himself during boot camp and had to heal and wait for Charlie Company to come by to join. He is healthy and back with the other rookies and said in his last letter that the most fun he had was jousting with the pugil sticks. At 6-foot-2, I’m sure he has a reach advantage. It was nice to hear it. To all the families with loved ones in the military, I salute your sacrifice.
The April Hamilton County Council meeting was not unlike others. Government inefficiencies were out in the open. Money budgeted for use by departments and even grants received by the county must be allocated to expenditures, regardless of the amount. This takes up the lion’s share of every meeting, so if you log on and wonder why we seem to be “spending” hundreds of thousands of dollars, understand that it’s most likely money that’s already budgeted. It is not without recalling that an executive must approve a business expense before a check is issued. My favorite this month was the additional $0.50 credit for professional drug testing services in court.
Claire Lane, an urban ecologist with the Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD), shared some work they’ve been collaborating with our Geographic Information System (GIS) team to help monitor the invasive species in our communities and an upcoming initiative during the county’s second annual Invading Species Awareness Week.
County residents are urged to “stock up to fight invasive species” by participating in the #InvasivesBucketChallenge. Five-gallon buckets are available from the SWCD and other partners for residents to use in their invasive species control efforts. After you fill your bucket with invasive species, take a photo and post it on social media using the hashtag #InvasivesBucketChallenge and tag @hcinvasives for a chance to win prizes. Tag your friends and neighbors to encourage them to participate as well. You can learn more at hcinvasives.org.
One topic you’ve heard me talk about before in these articles is the need for more interest in serving our community. At our March meeting, the Board asked me to create a nomination for nomination to help provide a fair platform for consideration of candidates for public library board membership. of Hamilton East. With the help of our Information System Services (ISS) team, we have created a fillable form to accompany a board position information packet. This was extremely successful in capturing the results and the Council asked me to work with the Auditor’s office and the ISS team to create these packages for each position and make them available on the County Council’s webpage. This has been a long time coming and will create efficiencies not only for the Council, but also for members of our community who want to serve. Hope it comes out this summer.
Finally, I was interviewed last month by Bloomberg, as were many county leaders. People across the country are apparently wondering how we can continue to succeed even during mini-recessions. Almost everyone said that the collaborative and forward-thinking leadership of our community has led us in the right direction. You can call it Republican leadership, or you can say community-driven.
I tend to believe that local control and problem solving is a fundamental tenet of good government and is nonpartisan. Hamilton County has had a series of leaders who have stayed true to this message, and that is why our business communities are thriving. Strong financial management and investments in our communities have made us the envy of the country, but we have issues to address, such as the cost of living and, as a corollary, the labor shortage exacerbated by a system of ineffective immigration and the departure of baby boomers from the labor force after COVID. We are trying to combat this in part with automation and the creation of a Hamilton County Career Center, but expect this to be an ongoing conversation.
If you are interested in any of the above mentioned items, please contact me or any county council member. As always, I am grateful to the Hamilton County Reporter for posting my council updates, and a special thank you to you, the readers and residents of Hamilton County, for reading it and participating in the discussion. . Our county is better thanks to all of you. I welcome your questions to [email protected].
Ken Alexander is serving his first term on Hamilton County Council, representing District 4, which includes Adams and Washington Townships, and part of Clay Township. He is currently vice-president of the county council.