Dennis Carpenter first publicly announced his intentions to run again as a member of the Jasper County Board of Supervisors in a less than 45 second speech at the March meeting of the county’s Republican Party.
Carpenter’s was by far the shortest speech in a meeting that featured more than a dozen candidates speaking. A lot of candidates tend to take advantage of speaking opportunities, but this type of decision falls in line with his views on politics in general and his new campaign slogan:
“It’s about representing the people of Jasper County and not running for the next election.”
If re-elected, Carpenter would be entering his third term as a supervisor and second consecutive term.
“I have been blessed to have been given the opportunity to represent the people of Jasper County since 2011 (beginning of his second term),” Carpenter said. “Many things have been accomplished in Jasper County government that has reduced the costs of running county government.
“Jasper County is managed conservatively, and the last four budgets reflect how well conservatism works when practiced. The state auditor’s report reflects how well Jasper County managed its resources, during the 2013 fiscal year.”
Carpenter cited how the FY13 report showed Jasper County cut operational expenses by 9 percent from FY12 and it collected 4 percent less in revenue than in FY12.
In addition, he pointed out that property taxes have remained flat for the last four years.
“Jasper County is managed like a business — as efficiently as possible — the elected officials, department heads and employees are always looking for ways to reduce the cost of operating county government,” Carpenter said. “Jasper County has a great team of employees, who help with reducing the cost of county government.”
Some of the ways he listed the county has trimmed expenses during his time on the board include: installing a geothermal heating and cooling system at the Jasper County Courthouse; having energy efficient windows placed on the courthouse; installing a new internet based phone system, which he said saves between $20,000 to $30,000 annually.
Carpenter added that the county tries to finds ways to save money by dividing an outgoing employees job duties towards a current county employee if possible.
“Since 2009, eight positions have been eliminated by people retiring or quitting and they were not replaced. That savings is $464,102 per year,” Carpenter said.
He also cited that the supervisors haven’t accepted a pay raise since 2008, and that no current member of the board has ever taken a pay raise during their respective tenures on the board.
He also said the county refinanced its debt twice, which will result in a $761,000 savings over a 10 year period.
Besides financial savings, Carpenter said he is proud of the job this board has done in maintaining the courthouse — the Jasper County Historical Building Preservation Society helped them secure a $561,000 tax credit from the State of Iowa to offset all the work done on it since 2001.
He said he is also happy to have been a part of establishing the Jasper County Emergency Operations Command Center, which is located at the former National Guard Armory in Newton.
“If a disaster should occur, the emergency personnel will operate out of this building,” Carpenter said. “The building is classified as a green building and prior to the county getting it, the State of Iowa had done $1 million worth of work on the site.”
Carpenter said he is grateful to have been given the opportunity to serve Jasper County’s citizens in the past and would enjoy the opportunity to continue serving them as a county supervisor.
“I just enjoy helping people. When they’ve got a problem, I represent them and I go help solve it. I love what I do,” Carpenter said.
Senior staff writer Ty Rushing may be contacted at (641) 792-3121, ext. 426, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.