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Retired businessman Ray Gill on Thursday filed the necessary paperwork with the Adams County Clerk of Courts office to become the Democrat Party's candidate for the position of mayor of Berne.
His candidacy sets up a general election race against Republican Bill McKean, who filed his paperwork earlier this month. Incumbent Mayor John Minch, a Democrat, will not seek re-election.
Gill retired in 1999 after serving in numerous executive business positions, with 38 years of business management experience in national sales, international sales and marketing. He was chairman of a national trade association and president and CEO of one unspecified corporation.
Gill has served on the board of directors of a bank, a hospital, several businesses and his church. He was also named in 2003 as a member and chairman of the first-ever Berne Storm Water Utility Management Board.
"I am committed to serving the citizens of Berne on a full-time basis," Gill said in announcing his candidacy, "because the needs of our community deserve nothing less. Our future focus must be in continuing to address the Indiana Department of Environmental Management mandates on infrastructure improvements."
Gill said his focus as mayor would also be on the exploration of additional annexation opportunities "to lessen the tax burdens on our citizens," and the implementation of an economic development strategy.
"We are surrounded by too many vacant retail and commercial properties, where lost tax revenues continue to place additional economic demands on our citizens. As a community, we have the ability to rise above these challenges and collectively achieve those things that will add to our quality of life in Berne," Gill said.
A Korean War veteran who attended Ball State University, Gill returned to Berne after his retirement in 1999. In 2003 he was asked by former Berne Mayor Blaine Fulton to help form the first Storm Water Utility Board in Berne. The board was created "to address the many problems in our infrastructure that were identified by IDEM," said Gill. "These problems were ignored until finally IDEM imposed a building ban on the city of Berne in 2003."
That ban was lifted during the first term of current Mayor John Minch. According to Gill, "this is just one example of why it is crucial that Berne keep looking forward to the future rather than going back to the past."
Gill and his wife Marlene were married in Berne in 1959. They have one daughter and four grandchildren.