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Hoosier Harvest Cookbook
 
2010 election coverage
 
Assessor candidate announcements

RHONDA HARDIN KELP (D)

No announcement published as of 4/27/10.

DONNA KELP LUTES (R)

The past four years have been emotional for Donna Kelp Lutes.

Actually, it’s been more years than that.

Lutes spent 20 years as Brown County assessor. The job, for her, was about more than sifting through property records and values and taxes. It was about maintaining local roots – hers and others’.

Lutes took a personal interest in some locals’ property plights – especially after the state-mandated reassessment.

"When people would come in, crying, I’d cry with them," she said.

She went so far as to attend state hearings with some taxpayers seeking adjustments.

"I don’t think you can find one taxpayer out there who can say I didn’t try to help," she said.

Having spent the past four years working as a real estate agent, commuting and trying to make ends meet, she sees both sides of the coin even better.

"I’m a whole lot more understanding," she said. "I look at things different now."

Lutes is a lifelong Brown Countian whose family’s roots run deep. The abandoned village of Kelp, now a part of Brown County State Park, was named after her family.

Lutes’ first job out of high school was at the old Nashville State Bank. She worked a while in the town water/sewer department, too. She’s a member of the Lions Club and has volunteered with the Agency on Aging, senior center and American Cancer Society.

She intends to stay here, and continue raising her children here.

"I’m ready to step in and take over, and start off new," she said, of re-entering the assessor’s office.

"Steve Gore stepped into a nightmare. … He’s done a great job. Has worked very hard and diligently, to help get things caught up," she said. "Hopefully, we are on track, and I will help us stay on track."

Lutes is still a Level 2 certified appraiser. And even though the county contracts a company to go out in the field and calculate property values, Lutes says she can help with that, especially if the value is disputed.

"I feel like I’m there as an advocate for taxpayers," she said.

Though Lutes has enjoyed the change of pace and the experience she’s picked up working as a full-time real estate agent, she says she’s ready for a return to the courthouse.

"I love that job," she said. "Even though it is political, and we have to run for office every four years, and people think we’re crazy for that, I’m back," she said.

"I know how to do it, and I think I know how to do it well."

Lutes welcomes feedback at (812) 340-1094.

— Written by Sara Clifford, with the assistance of Donna Kelp Lutes

MARI MILLER (R)

The past seven years of Mari Miller’s job as auditor have been, to say the least, challenging.

But, she’s seeking the job of Brown County assessor, in a continued effort to correct problems with property reassessment and delayed tax billings.

For the past seven years, Miller has worked with the assessor’s and treasurer’s offices to get the county caught up.

Having that experience, she says, is helpful in maintaining accuracy in property records.

As auditor, Miller can spend days tracking the owner history and tax status of a property.

"The big challenge is cleaning up all the exemptions, releasing mortgages, dropping homesteads …" Miller said. "Daily, people bring problems and errors to our attention."

As assessor, she’d be responsible for maintaining and updating those property records.

The process has also been improved since the auditor’s, assessor’s and treasurer’s office received new software that links their work on the same data – software with which she’s already familiar.

"The assessor also has more to do now because of sales disclosure data that the state started a couple of years ago," Miller said – data like sales price, that county assessors must enter into a state database.

Miller likes to be involved in running her office, and strives to be accessible to anyone who has questions.

If elected, she intends to sit in with current Assessor Steve Gore and learn what he’s done to help get the county back on track with its records and tax billing.

"I think Assessor Steve Gore has done an absolutely wonderful job," Miller said. "He’s put so much work into cleaning everything up and making the records accurate and keeping up with the appeals, that if he hadn’t have done that, I don’t think I’d want to run."

Miller, a Brown County resident for 18 years, comes from a long line of public servants. Her grandfather was a police officer and mayor of her hometown. Her mother worked in court offices. Her brother recently retired from a career in the Army.

Miller’s first job out of high school was as a police dispatcher.

Her personal interests include music (she once aspired to be an opera singer), reading, gardening and spending time with her family, which includes husband Mike and twin daughters.

— Written by Sara Clifford, with the assistance of Mari Miller

  • December 20
    Live band at dance barn
    6 p.m. Mike's Dance Barn, 2277 State Road 46 West
  • December 20
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive (fairgrounds)
  • December 20
    Dave Miller at Abe Martin Lodge
    5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Abe Martin Lodge, Brown County State Park
  • December 20
    'Gone Girl' at the Playhouse
    1 p.m., 4 p.m., 7 p.m. BC Playhouse, 70 S. Van Buren St.
  • December 20
    Railroad museum features model Christmas trains
    1 to 7 p.m. BC RR Museum, 18 W. Three Story Hill Road, Fruitdale
  • December 21
    'Gone Girl' at the Playhouse
    1 p.m., 4 p.m., 7 p.m. BC Playhouse, 70 S. Van Buren St.
  • December 21
    Railroad museum features model Christmas trains´╗┐
    1 to 7 p.m. BC RR Museum, 18 W. Three Story Hill Road, Fruitdale
  • December 23
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive (fairgrounds)
  • December 23
    Open 12-step meetings in New Bellsville area
    6 to 7 p.m. Harmony Baptist Church, 3999 Mt. Liberty Road, New Bellesville
  • December 24
    Nashville government offices CLOSED
  • December 24
    Christmas Eve Communion service at Becks Grove church
    7 p.m. Becks Grove Christian Church, 8009 Becks Grove Road
  • December 24
    Candlelight service at Helmsburg church Christmas Eve
    7 p.m. Brown County Community Church, 2370 Main St., Helmsburg
  • December 24
    Candlelight service set for Christmas Eve
    6:30 p.m. Country Gospel Music Church, 5181 State Road 46 East
  • December 24
    Cordry church hosts candlelight service Christmas Eve
    7 p.m. Church of the Lakes, 8844 Nineveh Road
  • December 25
    Government Offices CLOSED
  • December 26
    Bingo
    6 p.m. Fruitdale Fire Station, 5200 State Road 135 North, Bean Blossom
  • December 26
    Brown County Government Offices CLOSED
  • December 26
    'Interstellar' at the Playhouse
    4 p.m., 7 p.m. BC Playhouse, 70 S. Van Buren St.
  • December 27
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive (fairgrounds)
  • December 27
    Dave Miller at Abe Martin Lodge
    5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Abe Martin Lodge, Brown County State Park
  • December 27
    'Interstellar' at the Playhouse
    4 p.m., 7 p.m. BC Playhouse, 70 S. Van Buren St.
  • December 27
    Live band at dance barn
    7:30 p.m. Mike's Dance Barn, 2277 State Road 46 West
  • December 28
    'Interstellar' at the Playhouse
    4 p.m., 7 p.m. BC Playhouse, 70 S. Van Buren St.
  • December 29
    Jackson Township Board
    7 p.m. Jackson Township Board, Trustee's Office, 5765 Carmel Ridge Road
  • December 30
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive (fairgrounds)
  • December 31
    Live band at the Playhouse
    8 p.m. BC Playhouse, 70 S. Van Buren St.
  • January 2
    Bingo
    6 p.m. Fruitdale Fire Station, 5200 State Road 135 North, Bean Blossom
  • January 8
    Go Club meeting Thursdays
    3:30 to 5 p.m. Brown County Public Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • January 10
    Free community breakfast at Sprunica church
    8 to 10 a.m. Sprunica Baptist Church, 3902 Sprunica Road
  • January 14
    Jeff Foster at Hobnob restaurant
    6 to 8 p.m. Hobnob, 17 W. Main St.
  • December 7
    Jeff Foster at Hobnob restaurant
    6 to 8 p.m. Hobnob, 17 W. Main St.