NEWTON COUNTY — There is just one countywide contested race in Newton County for the upcoming Nov. 3 General Election — Newton County Council (At Large).

For Newton County Council, there are four candidates running for three positions. Voters can vote for up to three people on the ballot, which features Republicans Abbey Rossiter, Mick Vanderwall, and Matt Gibson along with Democrat Teri Pasierb.

Each candidate for County Council was sent a questionnaire, the following are their responses (unedited).

County Council At Large (Vote for Three)

Abbey Rossiter (R)

Why are you running for elected office?

If given the opportunity to serve four more years, I am looking forward to putting the knowledge I have learned to great use to make sure the county’s funds are being used in the most responsible way.

What do you think is the best way to use landfill tipping fees for the county?

I’d like to see landfill tipping fees get back to what they were intended for and be used to supplement the county’s revenue in ways that not only protect our residents but also put the county in a great position to thrive in the future. I want to make certain our first responders are equipped for their safety and health and to help them take care of the safety of our residents. I want to shift the focus back on where we can responsibly utilize tipping fees to benefit our townships, towns and constituents as a whole, for example — helping Newton County Community Services, and Veterans Services. I would also like to see the county put forth more effort on how we can better prepare for the future of our county.

If elected what will be your top priorities in office?

My top priorities would be:

Take care of our first responders.

Protecting the interests of our county residents.

Being wise with how and where we are doing our spending.

Moving forward with the countywide broadband project for high quality internet that would help our businesses (present and future), schools and residents.

Any other comments?

I’d like to say how thankful I am that I have had this chance to serve our county as a councilmember and would like the opportunity to serve four more years.

Mick Vanderwall (R)

Why are you running for elected office?

I am running for Newton County Council because I want to keep the spending of the taxpayers money to a reasonable level. I’m aware that there is a large amount of money that comes from the landfill tipping fees. As a taxpayer, I want to make sure that we, as a Council, don’t spend our way into a burden for all taxpayers.

What do you think is the best way to use landfill tipping fees for the county?

Tipping fees are a great benefit to our county. I prefer to spend the money to benefit the entire county. There are some great causes that can utilize our money that may not benefit the entire base, so those are things that I take into consideration.

If elected what will be your top priorities in office?

My top priority is using the county’s money wisely. I don’t have an agenda to try to push through other than keeping taxes as low as possible.

Matthew V. Gibson (R)

Why are you running for elected Office?

Since Graduating from Valparaiso University in 1999, with a Bachelor of Arts Degree majoring in Political Science, I have always had a keen interest in political office. Following my Graduation from College I previously held the office of Newton County Commissioner serving 4 years. In those four year I was able to help facilitate the construction of the Government Center in Morocco. This facility was able to bring most all our county service offices together under one roof. This made county government much more efficient and it made it easier for our residents to get the information, county permits and other much needed county services all at one location near the center of our county. Seeing the change that could occur and seeing how that change could benefit our county was gratifying to me and it remains my number one goal as a Newton County resident and hopefully as an elected official to continue to better the lives our residents. While Commissioner, I was able work across party lines with our Sheriff, Council and other Commissioners to bring bipartisan solutions to our county.

What do you think is the best way to use of landfill tipping fees for the county?

While Commissioner we saw substantial growth of the current landfill and I was part of many negotiations with landfill management and other Commissioners and Councilmen and women to secure what we hoped would be a long and prosperous agreement for Newton County residents. As I negotiated then, and as I would today, my single focus was the health and safety of Newton County residents. On one hand we have an exceptionally large landfill that poses a significant amount of risks that must be weighed with every decision you make regarding additional landfill zoning or expansion or changes to their existing plan or footprint. On the other hand, we have a very rural county with an extremely limited tax base. We have over 35,000 acres of parks and recreation land that do not contribute to our tax base. We have several rural fire departments that have a limited amount of revenue to protect our resident’s property and our industries. Before the landfill we had decaying roads, aged highway improvement equipment. We had one ambulance service. We had a handful of squad cars and a small police staff to cover a large county. Our rural cemeteries where overgrown and not maintained. Looking at the risks the landfill would potentially pose, the county was going to be stuck with the landfill (no matter our personal opinion) due to zoning that already existed. The Commissioners decided the best course of action was to negotiate for tipping fee due to Newton County in good faith the landfill and IDEM would insure the safe operation of landfill. By doing this Newton County would be able to receive revenue that would ease the tax burden on Newton County residents while providing a better way of life for them. With that, I would be in favor of the continued use of landfill funds to provide better roads, infrastructure to attract business or improve current infrastructure to meet resident’s needs. I am in favor of the distribution of funds that go to townships and towns for them to be used in each community as they see needed. My vote 20 years ago was to make sure landfill fees made life better and a safer for our residents and my view has not changed on that issue at all.

If elected what will be my top priorities in office?

County Council is the fiscal body of our local government. The singular and sole purpose of a council person is to divide the revenue created from tax collection, county fees, and any other revenue due to the county with the exception of landfill fees which is a separate fund that Commissioners also to get to vote on. If the County Council is working properly than every department will submit a budget to the Council to which the Council can approve or deny as submitted. During this budget process each county office both elected and appointed would have the opportunity to negotiate or request funds for many things whether it be new equipment for their department, additional staff, etc. The Council knowing the total amount of funds available and knowing the departments expenses the previous year can choose to suggest amending the departments budget and hopefully come to a compromise that fits the over all county revenue and the needs of the department for the next fiscal year. Now that being said, that is my understanding of how a County Council is to work. However, in past years that has not been how the Council has been functioning. I believe a person is elected to an office by the electors to do a job. As a Councilman I will be in favor of supporting all offices elected or appointed basic fiscal needs on an annual budget. It will not be my job to micromanage another dually elected officials whether I politically agree with them or not. I believe the people will decide in every election who should represent them. As a Councilman I will push to make sure budgets are funded and offices have the means they need to execute their duties. I will support our dully elected Commissioners who are the executive body of our government and are the ones responsible for the daily functions of the county. My opinions on a Councilman’s duties will be in contrast to some of the current Councilman/Councilwomen and I am prepared to have those discussions as the time arrives. Every elected official has a duty to execute their office.

Any other comments?

I have been a lifelong resident of Newton County. I have no plans of leaving our beautiful rural county any time soon. I have two young sons who attend Morocco Elementary and my goal is to make sure Newton County will provide opportunities for these soon to be young men to return home some day to raise their families possibly on our multi-generation family farm. Thank you, Newton County residents, for the opportunity to serve you! God Bless you all!

Terri Pasierb (D)

Why are you running for elected office?

I have always been an advocate of giving to the community in which I live. You will be able to see from the answers to this questionnaire, that I’ve always been involved in the community. I am seeking the office of County Council at Large because I believe I possess the leadership and communication skills to work closely with the governing bodies of Newton County.

What do you think is the best way to use landfill tipping fees for the county?

Based on my understanding of the monies generated from the landfill tipping fees, I feel the proceeds should be used to expand our infrastructure. Our community services should be upgraded and well maintained also.

Newton County should also continue to honor the “Good Neighbor Agreement” put in place between the landfill and the commissioners. This is money that is shared with the towns and townships in Newton County. If you travel around the county, you can see the parks, community centers, baseball fields, fire departments, and many more projects that have been partially and or solely funded with this money.

It is difficult to answer this question without all the documents and information that is given to the county council. But I can assure you I will consider the residents of Newton County, first on my mind when making these decisions.

If elected what will be your top priorities in office?

If I am fortunate enough to be elected to the office of County Council at Large, one of my objectives will to bring more transparency to county government. I also believe we need a system of checks and balances. I plan to bring fresh ideas and energy to the council and to work closely with our county commissioners and other elected officials.

Any other comments?

I am confident as a member of the council; I will serve the community. With my grasp and understanding of our county government, I will be a strong voice for the constituents of Newton County. Some of my past experiences and qualifications in county government include working in the Recorder’s Office, Chief Deputy in the Assessor’s Office, member of the Property Tax Assessments Board of Appeals, member of the Alcohol Beverage Commission, and many years on the Election Board.

In my community, I have served as 4-H Leader, American Legion Auxiliary President, Co-Char of the Mount Ayr Projects Committee, member of the Mount Ayr Tree Board, President, Secretary and Treasurer of the Mount Ayr United Methodist Church, Chairman of the Pastor/Parish Committee, Past President and Treasurer of the Democrat Central Committee. I would considerate a privilege to serve as your advocate for County Council at Large.

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