ANDERSON — Kelly Gaskill says she’s made numerous improvements in the operation of the Madison County treasurer’s office since taking the helm in 2011.
But her Republican challenger in the May 6 primary, Micah Mitchell, doesn’t shy away from criticizing how Gaskill has run the office.
“I believe the honesty and the integrity of that office has been lost,” Mitchell said.
The 44-year-old political novice, a machinist at Crown Equipment in New Castle, said declaring his candidacy was “a last-minute thing,” but it came after a long internal debate. Ultimately, though, Mitchell said he was motivated by a sense of civic duty. “Instead of sitting back and complaining, I want to be part of the solution.”
That choice put Mitchell squarely in the middle of a political feud between Russ Willis, chairman of the Madison County Republican Party, and Mike Gaskill, Kelly Gaskill’s husband.
Mike Gaskill challenged Mitchell’s candidacy with the Madison County Election Board, but later dropped his objections.
Mitchell was particularly critical, for example, about Gaskill’s role in the decertification of Hamer Enterprises, which supplied the tax software Madison County was using when she assumed office. The county now uses a tax software solution provided by South Bend-based Low Associates.
The decision to switch the software — which Kelly Gaskill defends — cost county taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars, Mitchell claims.
Mitchell said he would also be more aggressive in collecting delinquent property taxes, but would also try and make it more convenient for taxpayers.
“There’s a fine line you want to pursue,” he said. “It’s not good for the county to throw everybody out of their house, but I believe you should make it (paying property taxes) as convenient as you can without putting the county in a bind.”
Mitchell said he’s also aware of complaints from people about having to wait in long lines at the treasurer’s office, which he would work to correct.