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Alumbaugh talks second term

SPEECH: Mayor Jess Alumbaugh congratulates his political party and administration for a successful bid for a second term Tuesday night at the Democratic Party election results event.

Staff report

Looking forward to his second term as mayor of Marion, Jess Alumbaugh said he is going to continue to improve the city’s finances with help from his administration.

Alumbaugh outpaced mayoral election runner-up David Homer by 1,356 votes, more than doubling Homer’s totals and bringing in seven times the amount of votes former Mayor Bill Henry received Tuesday night.

He attributed his success to the team he’s grown over the past four years and their hard work along with his party’s efforts to campaign leading up to Election Day.

“I think people trust me – that’s what I heard as I was walking the neighborhoods and from my team. They said, ‘They just trust you Jess, and they think your heart’s in the right place,’” Alumbaugh said in an interview following his re-election. “I hope, for the next four years, I don’t let them down.”

Alumbaugh said Marion Controller Julie Flores deserves credit for her help decreasing the insurance fund deficit from $4.2 million in 2015 to approximately $1 million this year.

“We’ve made large strides, but we’ve got to just keep working and we will continue to get healthier financially,” he said. “It’s not a sprint. It’s a marathon. We didn’t get in this situation financially overnight. We aren’t going to get out of it overnight, but we are trending in the right direction.”

He said his understanding of how property tax caps affect city finances will also help him and his team.

“We are the largest rural community in the state of Indiana. We will never have a surplus of money to pursue dreams like we’d like, so let’s take care of the basics,” he said.

Bringing down the debt is a legacy Alumbaugh wants to leave, he says, adding that he campaigned on a platform to return focus to doing the basics right, like roads and utilities, before he’d begin work on projects that require issuing debt.

Focusing on obtaining grant money is a way Alumbaugh hopes to get projects done while paying down debt, and he said he wants to continue to work with non-profits so Marion moves toward the future unified.

“Some of our non-profits can access money that I cannot access,” he said. “So moving forward we will try to do more of that. It’s one of the things I’m most proud of today… The non-profits are uniting, and they used to be silos.”

Alumbaugh said he also wants to make sure the Democratic Party continues to grow its efforts to remain active politically in Marion.

Although Paul Funches lost his race for Marion Common Council District 3, Alumbaugh said he is going to try to find a place for him to continue his public service.

“I’m going to try and plug in everyone who ran for office because this was a different group,” he said, calling Torri Williams, who lost her campaign for an at-large seat by less than two dozen votes, a leader in the movement. “This was special.”

For a full list of 2019 Election Day results, see page A6.