Meet the candidates for Lafayette City Council District 6
Two candidates are running for Lafayette City Council District 2: Democratic incumbent candidate Bob Downing and Republican candidate Perry Barbee.
Bob Downing, 84, is a retired teacher and coach from Lafayette Jeff High School.
Perry Barbee, 56, works as a patient transporter for Franciscan Health.
Editor’s note: Candidate responses were edited for style and grammar, and any numbers used were checked for accuracy. When a statement required more clarification or could not be independently verified, WBAA reached out to candidates before publication. Those instances, and those candidate responses, are noted throughout in editors’ notes.
What are the top concerns that your district’s constituents have shared with you, and what are the issues that you foresee affecting them most in the next two to three years?
Public safety, traffic, and helping the homeless.
· We have opened two positions to help and assist our police with their dealings – arrest and non-arrest situations that involve mental health issues.
· We are offering pay increases for officers which will attract and retain qualified police candidates.
· We have completed and opened a state-of-the-art safety security building to accommodate the citizens of Lafayette. This public building provides services to citizens as well as headquarters and process facility for law enforcement officers and employees.
· Traffic is a concern for all. The traffic commission continually gathers data regarding traffic routes that affect citizens and improving highly traveled routes.
· Maintaining the upgrades to our city parks which includes improved playground equipment, walking trails, dog parks, pickleball courts, swimming pools, and other recreational areas.
Examples: Columbian Park, McCaw Park, Armstrong Park, etc.
Housing has become a major issue in Greater Lafayette – both in terms of the number of affordable units and the conditions of units within the city. What do you believe the council should do, if anything, to address these problems?
· We have upgraded our water and sewer services to allow future construction of housing projects.
· We have approved a housing development to allow residents 55 years and older; rent would be based on their income.
· We continually support Habitat to ensure their mission of providing new homes to qualified residents.
· We work with realtors and builders for their input regarding affordable housing.
· We support numerous housing agencies who represent people in need of housing.
· Our ordinance employees investigate property conditions that do not meet codes; they also notify people in violations. Inspections of properties can be requested by individuals.
· City officials are continually evaluating our direction to help all income groups pertaining to affordable housing.
· Look at improving ordinance guidelines and enforcement when housing rentals become unfit.
The Lebanon LEAP industrial district could pipe as much as 100 million gallons of water per day from Tippecanoe County. What is your perspective on a potential pipeline and what, if anything, do you think should be done about it at the local level?
The Lebanon LEAP water issue is state-mandated and was not decided or negotiated by Lafayette city officials.
I think the state’s decision was made too fast without direct input or studies being completed in the affected areas. It has been noted Lafayette is slightly above the aquifers where the water is being drawn. The city and county officials will need to continually monitor the water consumption in the pipeline and any change in our water areas over time
Another concern is what the quality of the water will be after processing when it is returned to our waterways.
The Greater Lafayette region is moving forward with implementing a climate action plan. What steps do you think the city should be taking to address local environmental concerns, and what is your perspective on the steps recommended in the regional plan?
I support the city’s wide action plan. We recently approved two city solar fields and have several recommendations for future sites.
It is the council’s responsibility to continue to develop and work on a positive action plan to include our city, county, and state to incorporate global changes to improve our climate.
Companies are investing in large-scale developments in the Greater Lafayette area, part of a so-called “hard tech corridor” leading to Indianapolis. Some residents have raised concerns about how rapid growth could change the character of the region. How would you like to see growth throughout the region managed?
Lafayette’s comprehensive studies and inputs indicate these concerns: public safety, expansion of housing, growth of business/manufacturing companies, environmental issues, and increase of population.
The city is constantly adapting to manage the changes that can and could affect the region. There is a collaborative effort among city officials, the Chamber of Commerce, business leaders, environmentalists, and public safety officials regarding the “hard tech corridor” to review how our region can be a leader in these developments and still allow residents to experience the positive side of growth.
The mayor and city council members want to see our city grow that will benefit the citizens of Lafayette.
Editor’s note: WBAA reached out to the candidate to clarify some of his answers. Those responses will published when he responds.