HANCOCK COUNTY – A candidate who has served as a county elected official for nearly 35 years is seeking four more.
Republican Mary Noe is running for reelection for Hancock County Council District 2, which is made up of Buck Creek Township, McCordsville and a small part of Center Township. She faces Democrat Frank Rock Jr. in the upcoming general election.
Noe began her political career in 1988 when she was caucused onto the county council to finish three years on a term left by a vacancy. She then won a second term. After that, she was elected to Vernon Township assessor, back when some of the county’s townships had their own assessors. Noe then got elected to county assessor, a post she held until 2018, when she got elected back onto the county council.
“I feel like I bring knowledge to the table,” she said, noting her experience working with property assessments, tax breaks and other matters that come before the council.
During her most recent term, she created an application for developers and businesses seeking tax abatements from the county that officials use to determine whether to grant or deny the incentives.
“Prior to that, the abatements were just kind of someone standing there giving an overview of what their intent was,” Noe said. “Where now we have an application form that requires them to answer four pages of questions that we have to have in hand 10 days prior to our meeting, so we can really sit and look at and study the project, and then have our questions ready so we’re not trying to come up with those questions on the fly.”
If reelected, securing funding for road work is at the top of her list of goals, particularly in her development-heavy district that’s drawn multiple warehouses over the past several years.
“I want to see the west side get back to some kind of normalcy for the people that live there,” she said. “I understand growing pains, but I’m really ready for that to come to an end, and get finished and just be normal again.”
When considering financial incentives for large industrial projects, Noe said each one stands on their own merits. She added it’s important to her to know if a project is being built for a specific owner or on speculation, which has been much more prevalent. The latter makes it difficult to determine what kinds of wages can be expected for the jobs created by the development, she noted.
Hancock County’s low unemployment rate also weighs on her as she contemplates those decisions. The county’s jobless figure was 2.9% for July, according to the latest estimates from the Indiana Department of Workforce Development.
“How many jobs do we need to be chasing at this point?” she said. “When’s enough enough?”
Talk of landowners banding together with the help of a Chicago developer to market thousands of acres for a large manufacturing project in Buck Creek Township has been at the front of Noe’s mind lately as well. It’s also deepened considerations for access to I-70 to and from CR 200W.
“This megasite, this interstate interchange, to me, is a huge project,” she said. “We really need to take our time with deciding if that’s what we want our side of the county over on the west side to be. It’s not just the interchange, it’s what’s going to come with the interchange. It’s definitely going to remove all the rural-living aspect from Buck Creek Township.”