Maurice Heitzman Takes Aim at Public Subsidies

3.12.14

Mayor candidate takes issue with town council's funding of downtown projects

Maurice Heitzman is a design engineer by trade.  He's worked on a number of public projects, including highways and Clark County Indiana's efforts to redesign an old military facility.  Now, Maurice Heitzman has designs on becoming the first mayor of Fishers.

His involvement in local and civic affairs spans many years.  He was involved in a committee on the future of Fishers form of government as far back as 1998.  He has a long history of support for the Boy Scouts.

The number one issue for Heitzman is public safety.  He believes the new city needs to reduce fire department response times.  He praises our public safety employees in Fishers but would move to add two additional fire stations while planning for even more stations as the city looks to deal with increased population in the future.  He would name a Public Safety Director for the new city to oversee the fire and police departments.

Education is second on Heitzman's issue list.  He understands the school board has primary responsibility for running the local school system.  As mayor, he would seek to increase the support the city would provide local schools.  

Issue number three is economic development, and this is where he believes  most members of the current town council have given away too much to the private sector for downtown development projects.  Heitzman is very critical of the town council's use of Tax Increment Financing (TIF) districts to finance the most recent downtown projects.   He claims the Nickel Plate and Yeager downtown projects alone will cost each resident of Fishers $280, and that does not include the value of the public land donated.  It also does not include the most recent projects announced by the town such as the new train station.  It was his understanding that the municipal complex was to be used for government buildings and green space.  He believes the most recent projects contradict the original intent of that area.   His ideas for downtown development would center around upgrading the older buildings still in place in the downtown area.  Heitzman also wants to pursue a thematic approach to developing specific industries in Fishers, such as bio-sciences.

His decision-making model would be one of listening to all points of view before making a major decision.   He believes any decision he makes as mayor should be based on facts. 

Heitzman is a big fan of mass transit, either light rail or bus rapid transit.  He would expand the current express buses between downtown Indy and Fishers to include bus travel to and from other northern suburbs, such as Carmel, Westfield and Zionsville.

After spending some time with Maurice Heitzman, it is clear to me that he analyzes issues much like any engineer, but looking carefully at the facts and making a careful decision.  He is careful in his analysis, but firmly believes he's on the right side of the issues. 

In his final pitch to be the first mayor of Fishers, Heitzman emphasizes he does not carry the political "baggage" of having served as a town council member or town manager.  He believes he has the experience to become the mayor of Fishers.  Voters will decide on May 6th.