Nobody covers Brown County like The Democrat Buy PDF| Advertise| Contact Us
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

Obituaries
See Full List »

George D. Higgins, 86, New Whiteland
  Father of Iris (Mike) Gindling of Spearsville

Dorothy B. Hash, 97, Columbus
  Mother of Richard Collins and John Collins, both of Brown County

Stephen Wesley Spicer, 69, Nashville
  Husband of Mary Jane Spicer (Eilar)

  • March 29
    'Big Hero 6' at the Playhouse
    4 p.m., 7 p.m. BC Playhouse, 70 S. Van Buren St.
  • March 29
    Mountain bike benefit to aid cheer fund
    noon to 2:30 p.m. Explore Brown County, 2620 Valley Branch Road
  • March 30
    Registration deadline for gardening soils workshop
    Extension Office, 802 Memorial Drive at the fairgrounds
  • March 31
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive (fairgrounds)
  • March 31
    Nashville Development Review Commission
    6 p.m. Town Hall, 200 Commercial St.
  • March 31
    Representative's staff to conduct local office hours
    10 a.m. to noon County Office Building, 201 N. Locust Lane
  • March 31
    Open 12-step meeting in New Bellsville area
    8 p.m. Harmony Baptist Church, 3999 Mt. Liberty Road, New Bellesville
  • April 1
    Jeff Foster at Hobnob restaurant
    6 to 8 p.m. Hobnob, 17 W. Main St.
  • April 1
    Brown County Schools Board of Trustees retreat
    10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Parkview Church of the Nazarene, 1750 State Road 46 East
  • April 1
    BC Emergency Management Advisory Council
    8 a.m. Ambulance Base, 53 State Road 46 East
  • April 1
    Brown County SWCD
    6:30 p.m. SWCD Office, 802 Memorial Drive at the fairgrounds
  • April 1
    BC Commissioners
    6 p.m. County Office Building, 201 N. Locust Lane
  • April 2
    Rotary Club
    7:15 a.m. Artist Colony Inn, 105 S. Van Buren St.
  • April 2
    Go Club meeting Thursday
    3:30 to 5 p.m. Brown County Public Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • April 2
    Brown County Schools Board of Trustees
    6:30 p.m. BC Intermediate School, 260 School House Lane
  • April 2
    WRAPS
    7 to 9 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • April 2
    Gospel jam & sing at Gnaw Bone church
    6:30 p.m. Country Gospel Music Church, 5181 State Road 46 East
  • April 2
    CSCD Ecology Commission
    7 p.m. CSLOA Clubhouse, 8751 Nineveh Road
  • April 3
    Nashville/Brown County Government Offices CLOSED
  • April 3
    Bingo
    5 p.m. Fruitdale Fire Station, 5200 State Road 135 North, Bean Blossom
  • April 4
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive (fairgrounds)
  • April 4
    Dave Miller at Abe Martin Lodge
    7:30 p.m. Brown County State Park, State Road 46 East
  • April 4
    Carnival and egg hunt at Hamblen Township Fire Department
    9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Hamblen Township Volunteer Fire Department, 5612 Gatesville Road
  • April 4
    Egg hunt at grocery store
    11 a.m. Brown County IGA, 30 Hawthorne Dr.
  • April 4
    Egg hunt at Deer Run Park
    1 p.m. Deer Run Park
  • April 4
    Egg hunt at assisted living facility
    2 p.m. BC Health & Living Community, 55 E. Willow St.
  • April 5
    Church events slated for Easter Sunday
    .m. Brown County Community Church, 2370 Main St., Helmsburg
  • April 6
    Gnaw Bone Sewage District
    5:30 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • April 7
    Euchre
    6 p.m. Sycamore Valley Center, 746 Memorial Drive (fairgrounds)
  • April 7
    Open 12-step meeting in New Bellsville area
    8 p.m. Harmony Baptist Church, 3999 Mt. Liberty Road, New Bellesville
  • April 7
    Bean Blossom Sewer Board
    7:30 p.m. County Office Building, 201 N. Locust Lane
  • April 7
    CSCD Building Commission
    7 p.m. CSLOA Clubhouse, 8751 Nineveh Road
  • April 7
    Nashville Redevelopment Commission
    4:30 p.m. Town Hall, 200 Commercial St.
  • April 8
    Jeff Foster at Hobnob restaurant
    6 to 8 p.m. Hobnob, 17 W. Main St.
  • April 8
    CRC Steering Committee
    6:30 p.m. CRC, 246 E. Main St.
  • April 9
    Go Club at the library Thursdays
    3:30 to 5 p.m. Brown County Public Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • April 9
    Local Coordinating Council
    10 a.m. Comm. Corrections Office, Suite B, lower level of Veterans Hall, 902 Deer Run Lane,
  • April 9
    Gospel jam & sing at Gnaw Bone church
    6:30 p.m. Country Gospel Music Church, 5181 State Road 46 East
  • April 9
    BC photography club
    7 to 9 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • April 9
    BC Convention & Visitors Commission
    8:30 a.m. County Office Building, 201 N. Locust Lane
  • April 10
    Bingo
    5 p.m. Fruitdale Fire Station, 5200 State Road 135 North.
  • April 10
    BC photography club
    7 to 9 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • April 11
    Free community breakfast at Sprunica church
    8 to 10 a.m. Sprunica Baptist Church, 3902 Sprunica Road
  • April 11
    Dave Miller at Abe Martin Lodge
    7:30 p.m. Brown County State Park, State Road 46 East
  • April 12
    Mother’s Cupboard Soup Bowl benefit planned
    5 to 7 p.m. The Seasons Lodge, 560 State Road 46 East
  • April 16
    WRAPS
    7 to 9 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • April 16
    Local history and heritage presented at the library
    6:30 p.m. Library, 205 N. Locust Lane
  • April 17
    Bingo
    6 p.m. Fruitdale Fire Station, 5200 State Road 135 North, Bean Blossom
  • April 18
    Dave Miller at Abe Martin Lodge
    5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Abe Martin Lodge, Brown County State Park
  • April 18
    Rock & mineral club
    6 p.m. Extension Office, 802 Memorial Drive at the fairgrounds
  • April 24
    Wildflower foray slated at historic site
    TC Steele State Historic Site, 4220 T.C. Steele Road, Belmont
  • April 25
    Wildflower foray slated at historic site
    TC Steele State Historic Site, 4220 T.C. Steele Road, Belmont
  • April 26
    County history center dedication slated
    2 p.m. Brown County History Center, 90 E. Gould
  • April 26
    Wildflower foray slated at historic site
    TC Steele State Historic Site, 4220 T.C. Steele Road, Belmont