District 3 position has trio seeking seat



 

 

Three Republicans are seeking their party’s nomination for the Wabash County Commissioner’s District 3 seat.

Incumbent Barry Eppley is being challenged by Tyler Niccum and Barry Stroup for the nomination in the May 7 Primary Election. As of now, the winner is unchallenged in the fall General Election.

The Paper reached out to the three candidates with a series of questions. They were asked to respond in 75 words or less. Their answers will appear in rotating alphabetical order.

Why are you running for County Commissioner?

Eppley: I respectfully ask the voters of Wabash County to reelect me as Wabash County Commissioner District 3. Experience gained as a farmer and county commissioner has given me ability and insight to be best suited to conduct the business of the county during the next four years. Items I would continue working on: As the jail opens and begins operation, work will continue to close the project. Continue to serve landowners on the drainage board.

 

 

Niccum: Running for County Commissioner stems from my extensive experience at the Wabash Street Department, with two decades in this role, I’ve developed a profound understanding of our community’s infrastructure needs and mastered budget management. I helped lead the South Wabash Street Project for our Stellar Community, overseeing the reconstruction of sidewalks, drainage systems, and roadways. My commitment to serving the community and leveraging my expertise for the betterment of Wabash county.

Stroup: During my 8 years as the Fire Chief of the Wabash City Fire Department, I became more aware of the issues facing our county. In my final 2 years, I decided I had a choice to make. I either learn to accept what I felt was a lack of transparent and proactive governance or decide to attempt to change it.

What is the most pressing issue in Wabash County, and what do you plan to do to try to alleviate the issue?

Niccum: The most pressing issue in Wabash County is depopulation. To address this, my plan is to focus on attracting new companies and businesses to Wabash County. By fostering a welcoming environment for businesses, we can create job opportunities, stimulate economic growth, and provide incentives for people to stay or want to move to Wabash County. This approach will not only help alleviate depopulation but enhance the economic well-being and liveliness of our community. Top of Form

Stroup: I believe our most pressing issue is affordable housing for a viable workforce. Without a viable workforce we cannot fill the jobs available or attract more industry to our community. The zoning of much of the land available for development of housing prohibits this from happening without extreme difficulty. I will attempt to streamline the process to rezone land for residential development.

Eppley: The pressure to spend more money has been increasing in recent years. The effort to control that increase n spending is the most pressing issue. The current inflationary period is the biggest culprit leading to pressure to spend more. Just as each household and business is struggling, facing higher costs for goods and services, the county is working to deliver services to the community in spite of the increased costs.

What do you see as the most pressing needs for infrastructure or capital projects in the county?

Stroup: The most pressing need for infrastructure/capital projects is a proactive plan to maintain what we have. Our county has been reactive for too long. We can no longer wait until it is “have to” and overspend on the project. By being proactive, we can have a schedule to replace/repair at a lower cost. One upcoming issue with infrastructure is the jail building currently being vacated and what the county will do with it.

Eppley: Continued participation in state and federal grants and programs for road and bridge inspection and maintenance will be necessary to supplement local funds to maintain these items.

Niccum: The most pressing needs for infrastructure or capital projects in the county include bridges, improvements to the Health Department facilities, upgrades to our County Highway system, and enhancements to roadways. These areas require focused attention and investment to ensure the safety, efficiency, and overall quality of life for residents and businesses in our county.

What can the county do to try to lower the tax rates residents pay?

Eppley: In order to reduce the tax burden on Wabash County taxpayers, efforts to grow population and incrase tax base by encouraging investment in new and existing assets need to continue.

Niccum: One strategy the county can adopt to help lower tax rates for Wabash residents is by increasing the population and enticing younger individuals to stay or return from college. This can be achieved by creating more employment opportunities through partnerships with local businesses, fostering a supportive environment for startups and entrepreneurs. By expanding the tax base through population growth and economic development, the county can potentially reduce the tax burden on residents.

Stroup: This is a difficult, chicken vs. egg, question. We need to attract more people to our communities and county. With more people, the tax burden is spread among more individuals. The other side of this coin is getting people to move here when the rates are high. The increases we have seen in our property taxes are due to increases in home values and could potentially decrease if the market changes.

Background.

Niccum: I was born and raised in Wabash County. I hold a bachelor’s in business marketing and currently working at Metal Source, LLC. As a member of the Center Court Cares Board, we support families in need. My wife, Amber Niccum, manages Med-Surg at Parkview Wabash Hospital. We have three children Makayla, Brayden, and Sydney, all Wabash City school graduates, and an 18-month-old grandson that makes our family proud.

Stroup: My wife, Christa, and I have lived most of our lives in Wabash County, and our 3 children and 9 grandchildren live here. I graduated from Southwood Jr. Sr. High School in 1982. I joined the Wabash City Fire Department in 1988 after spending 3 years with Noble Twp. Fire Department as a volunteer. I held leadership positions at the fire department for 30 years, culminating in Fire Chief for the final 8 years.

Eppley: Christian, husband, father and brand new father-in-law. Southwood and Purdue graduate. Farmer and county commissioner. Past SWCD Supervisor and county appointment to Wabash City Plan Commission.

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