Engelberth, Hurst on ballot for 4th district seat



JASPER — In Adrian Engelberth’s opinion, the City of Jasper needs to put more focus on its infrastructure.

From his research and conversations with Ball State University Economist Michael Hicks, Engelberth said, he learned that for rural communities to grow, the quality of their schools must be top priority. Second comes infrastructure, and third comes quality of life.

To him, it seems Jasper has put quality of life first. That’s part of why he decided to challenge incumbent Dave Hurst for the District 4 council seat this November. Engelberth will appear on the republican ticket; Hurst on the democratic ticket.

Engelberth also decided to run because he sees a disconnect between what the people in his district ­— the Holy Family area — think and what the city government is saying.

“I’ve been talking to people who disagree with what’s happening, and the government thinks its great,” Engelberth said. “There’s a disconnect.”

One place that disconnect is most obvious to Engelberth is in conversations about the walking trail the city is building on the north side. It’s meant to be part of a trail that will encompass the entire city, but Engelberth said the people in his district don’t expect the trail to come past their neighborhoods.

“The people there can’t safely walk to the riverfront, even though they’re so close,” Engelberth said. “The city could address that.”

Hurst has also heard that people aren’t thrilled about the walking trail on the north side, but he’s encouraging them to wait and see the final product.

“I think people will enjoy it once it’s finished,” he said.

He also said he could see a walking trail along South Newton Street and in other areas on the south side of the city in the future, it just might be a few years.

Both candidates shared concerns about the city’s tax increment financing and tax abatement programs. Hurst said that when he ran four years ago, one of his goals was to revamp those programs since he felt they were too generous and he said he’s seen some changes in how the city handles those programs.

“I think it’s a good program now, but we want to keep an eye on it as we go along,” he said.

Engelberth wants to see it further reformed. He said he’s been researching how such programs are supposed to work and thinks the large TIF district on the city’s south side needs to be shrunk.

“If they’re not bonding off it, it [needs to] be outside the TIF,” Engelberth said.

Having more property outside the TIF district would put property back in play for property taxes that benefit both the county and the schools, Engelberth said, which would then give both those entities opportunities for growth, which is key from a regional perspective. He also wants to see the city lessen its property tax levy to free up funds for the schools. He knows of several people who have hit the state’s property tax cap, causing taxing entities to lose funds.

Both candidates are excited to see current projects wrap up and are excited to continue to move the city forward. For the future, Hurst said he’d like to see upgrades to the Jasper City Pool and continued maintenance at the Schroeder Sports Complex. He’d like to see the Courthouse Square revamped as well.

Engelberth wants the city to shift focus from quality-of-life projects to bettering the infrastructure and to prepare for when the proposed Mid-States Corridor is built. Specifically, he wants to see the stormwater issues throughout the city solved and several intersections reworked, especially the intersection of 15th and Newton streets and the intersection of Third and Newton streets.

Hurst and his wife, Suzanne (Knies), have two children, Emily Jarrett of Carmel and Alex Hurst of Jasper, and five grandchildren. He is a member of the American Legion, The Moose Lodge, the Knights of Columbus and St. Joseph Catholic Church.

Engelberth and his wife, Angela, have three children — Elizabeth, 16, Ethan, 13, and Ewan, 11. Engelberth is an engineer at Kimball Office and is active statewide with Destination Imagination. He is assistant scout master for Troop 185 and a member of the Dubois County Leadership Academy board and the Dubois Rural Broadband Committee. He used to organize the Freedom Makers of Dubois County.

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