A regrettable non-endorsement

I received a letter today (7-31-19) from the Clarksville Fire Political Action Committee thanking me for participating in their interview process but advising me that they will not be endorsing my candidacy. It’s regrettable, but not surprising. I understand there is a group of firefighters who want to replace Chief Brandon Skaggs. I do not support that effort. He has done an exemplary job in my opinion and is moving the department in the right direction.

The Council has also been involved in salary negotiations with firefighters and regrettably cannot meet all of their requests and stay within the budget the state allows for Clarksville. I did vote to create a fire territory in concert with Jeffersonville Township which will allow for a one-time reset of the tax levy allowed for fire services and hopefully allow the town to meet more of their requests. It is easy to promise all sorts of things in a campaign. It is totally another thing to have to live within the town’s budgetary constraints.

River Falls Mall Redevelopment

The Town of Clarksville, through its Redevelopment Commission, has entered into an agreement to purchase a large portion of the River Falls Mall property by this Fall in order to facilitate its redevelopment. Below is a link to the formal press release on the project and some additional background information. Additionally, I am providing a link to Clarksville’s Annual Report on Tax Increment Financing (TIF) as required by Indiana statute. The report outlines the state of Clarksville’s TIF district and explains where its revenue comes from and current and future financial commitments of TIF.

Thank You For Your Support

A big THANK YOU to everyone who came out and supported me in the May primary. My vote total nearly doubled the combined vote totals of both Republican candidates in the 2nd District race.
You have my word that I will continue to be a servant leader representing all residents in Clarksville. To those who didn’t vote for me, I will do my best between now and the General election to win your support.
Clarksville benefits the most with qualified candidates who have experience in town government and a vision for Clarksville’s future that will benefit everyone.
I applaud all candidates who took the initiative to put their name on the ballot and offer to become a servant leader.
Again, thank you for your support. You will soon hear the many plans I have for a great future for Clarksville.

New Fire Territory

Clarksville has joined Jeffersonville Township in creating a Fire Territory to serve both units of government. The action was by unanimous vote of the two governing boards and paves the way to adequately funding fire protection.

Clarksville has dealt with under funding of its fire department over the years because of the maximum tax collection imposed by the Indiana Department of Local Government Financing which established the maximum amount of taxes that could be raised decades ago. In the intervening time, the needs of the town have grown substantially while the tax levy has been limited to around 3 percent growth annually.

The result has been that we have seen a gradual reduction in the ability of the town’s fire department to provide adequate protection. The matter is compounded by the fact that the department is now asked to provide first responder services to back up and, in some cases, in lieu of ambulance service.

Our business districts have grown substantially as has housing. The result is that the department has been stretched to the breaking point and the lives of our firefighters, as well as residents and business customers, have been at growing risk.

Creation of a fire territory allows the town to partner with another unit of government and establish a new base rate that can provide adequate protection in personnel and equipment. The move has the potential to impact property taxes. Residents who are already at the property tax cap will see no increase. Those who are below the cap will see an increase. Residents of Jeffersonville Township outside of the town have paid only 4 cents per $100 of assessed valuation while town residents have paid around 55 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. The fire territory will even out that disparity.

In the end, the increase in fire protection services could reduce insurance rates by giving the town a better fire protection rating.

The unanimous vote of the council shows the determination of the town council to improve safety for our firefighters as well as businesses and residents. We have not taken this action lightly. We realize that because staffing levels of the department are a fraction of levels recommended by national fire safety experts, lives and property have been placed in jeopardy. The move to create the fire territory will help rectify that staffing disparity and allow us to save annually for replacement of fire trucks in order to avoid costly bond issues.

A word of thanks

Democrat Kenny Brown signed up to run in the Clarksville Town Council 2nd District race but withdrew his candidacy on Monday, February 11 to help clear the field for the primary. Not only that, but he has extended an offer to work on my campaign. I want to publicly extend my thanks for his decision which helps present a stronger field in the second district race.

Kenny is related to former Clarksville Town Councilman Don Tetley who has also volunteered to work on my behalf. Their actions show their devotion to the Clark County Democrat Party. I want to extend a public thank you to Don as well for his support.

River Heritage Conservancy is a huge boon

If you missed the recent announcement of plans by the River Heritage Conservancy, I encourage you to take a look at what is planned. As a member of the Clarksville Town Council and Clarksville’s Redevelopment Commission, I am honored to have worked with the Conservancy in helping to facilitate its development plans. This is a huge asset for our entire region!

The Town of Clarksville has worked closely with the River Heritage Conservancy to help move this project toward reality. I am proud to have been a small part in bringing this project to our region.

I have filed my paperwork

It is official. I filed my paperwork today seeking re-election to the Clarksville Town Council Second District seat. I look forward to the campaign and to having the opportunity to continue discussions I have had with many of you over the years I have worked as a servant leader.

You have pointed out problems and possibilities and I greatly appreciate the input. Clarksville benefits the most when there is a positive dialogue between town officials and residents. Thanks for your input and I look forward to working with you in the future to make Clarksville a great place in which to live, work and play.

I am proud of the strides we have made since I have served on the Council. I promised to clean up and revitalize Eastern Boulevard, and much has been accomplished there. Later this year you will learn of some exciting developments along the corridor that was once known as Clarksville’s “Miracle Mile.” I think you will be as excited as I am to watch our town grow and prosper.

I will seek re-election to the Clarksville Town Council

John Gilkey
Clarksville Town Council
District 2 Councilman

I am announcing that I will seek re-election to the Clarksville Town Council this year representing the town’s second district which is the area east of Eastern Boulevard from the town boundary on the south to just north of the Kroger complex and west of Blackiston Mill Road. I have started some ambitious projects and want to see them through.

My goal on the Council has been to improve the quality of life in Clarksville, create new jobs and keep taxes as low as possible. I looked at the Eastern Boulevard corridor back in 2011 and saw an area of our town that was sliding backwards. I decided it would be my primary goal. But at the same time, I have worked to improve conditions throughout the entire town. You may represent a specific district, but your responsibility is to the whole town.

Serving on the Town Council requires the ability to work across party lines in order to achieve goals that will benefit the entire community. I am proud to have placed party lines aside and worked with my fellow council members to benefit town residents. Party lines mean very little at the town level. What is important is being able to work with others to attain consensus and get the job done. If anything, I might be a little more conservative that the Republicans on the council.

One of only two Democrats on the Council, I served most of 2018 with the late at-large councilman David Fisher and has served with Fisher’s replacement, named by a caucus of Democratic precinct committeepersons, since that time. Jamie Hunt was selected as Fisher’s replacement in August of this year.

I have worked with the Clarksville Community School Corporation to help create the Renaissance Academy in the development that replaced the former Value City retail store complex. Creation of Gateway Park is one of the things of which I am most proud. That development has given Clarksville a meeting place for major events. I started promoting such a project during my tenure with Clarksville Rotary and am proud to see that the town has carried forward with the project. I also started and have coordinated the town’s Independence Day Concert which held its fourth concert in 2018 to a crowd of more than 400 at the Clarksville High School Auditorium.

I have been involved in developments such as the Strike and Spare amusement center, attraction of Mobile Initiative, a firm promising high paying jobs in the tech field located in a part of the former Lowes building, new businesses in what was once the Value City parking lot and renovation of Ray Lawrence Park which includes an expanded storm water detention pond to help with resolution of flooding problems in its vicinity.

Flooding has been a major concern for the town. To address that issue, I have been involved in the installation of a major storm water mitigation system being installed in parallel with the acquisition of the abandoned CSX rail line presently being converted into a trail system for the town. The Ohio River Greenway connection across Silver Creek has added to the town’s recreational facilities and will become a major asset to the town’s south end development.

Clark’s Landing, as the development is known, will involve redevelopment of the area from the former Colgate Plant to the Ohio River. The town is in early stages of land acquisition and is completing planning and zoning changes necessary for the project.

I also serve on the town’s Redevelopment Commission and have been instrumental in the construction of a new fire station on Stansifer Avenue. That station will significantly enhance fire protection for south end residents. It is the second fire station constructed in my tenure. The first is on Sam Gwin Drive adjacent to the town’s administrative campus.

I represent Clarksville on the Clark-Floyd Counties Convention Bureau Board of Managers and have worked diligently to ensure that agency serves Clarksville in a fashion commensurate to the revenue it receives in hotel taxes from hotels and motels in the town.

I am also proud to have been the council member with oversight of the town’s new wastewater treatment plant. It was a major undertaking and required constant supervision to ensure it was completed on time and on budget. The project was the largest municipal undertaking to date in the town. I look forward to continuing my work to building a better life for the residents of Clarksville.