FLOYD COUNTY — While the road has been a bit bumpy at times, Denise Konkle is proud of the work the Floyd County Council has accomplished in the two years she has served as vice president of the body. She said the council has made great strides balancing county expenses, using fewer proceeds from the hospital sale, and is excited about the opportunity to serve four more years.
"We have done our homework and been able to do the right things," she said. "We put the legacy foundation in place. I think that is where the [hospital sale] money needs to go so we will have it in reserve for future generations. We don't want to use that money to balance the budget."
Konkle, a Republican, is seeking to keep her District 4 seat on the council against Democrat Ashley Hentz, a political newcomer. Hentz said she did not want to participate in this election preview story.
Konkle, 60, is retired from British American Tobacco, and has an accounting degree from IU Southeast. She was appointed by caucus to the council after John Schellenberger was elected to the Floyd County Commissioners in 2016.
She said her experience working with numbers and budgets are qualifications needed to being on the council.
"I think one reason I want to run is my ability to look at numbers and bring a financial skill set to that body," Konkle said. "My ability to bring financial analysis to that body ... that is my reason to continue."
She said the council continues to use fewer hospital sale proceeds to balance the budget, which shows it is moving in the right direction. She said in the past two years that amount has been lowered by about $5 million.
"I think we have only spent what has been necessary so far. We will be spending less of that to balance the budget," she said. "Our revenues have not kept up with our expenses. A lot of counties are dealing with the same problem and a lot is due to the property tax caps. Our county continues to grow and the expenses to run the county continue to go up."
Konkle said several million will be invested into the newly formed county foundation, which will provide yearly interest income. The county currently receives around $3.5 million a year from the $70 million of hospital sale proceeds invested with the Community Foundation of Southern Indiana.
Konkle said the council makes crucial decisions and needs people with financial backgrounds.
"We are dealing with millions of dollars and there are some big decisions that will be made for the county in the next couple of years that will affect generations," she said. "We need strong financial people on the council. I think I have the skill set to help make informed decisions. It takes a lot of homework. I put a lot of time into it. I want to do the right thing and be informed. I spent 38 years doing this kind of work."