Brown County Governance – Govt and Non-Govt

Governance  – Government and Non-Government

There is only one incorporated town in the county and that is Nashville.

The Helmsburg Community Development Corporation (510c3) is a non-government citizen-led group created to help improve the quality of life within Helmsburg (village/hamlet).  Citizens created their own economic plan and economic development area.  A great example of what other unincorporated communities within the county can accomplish.    History and timeline.

List of Government Units with the authority to tax – / Governance
 Are taxes trending up or down?

Brown County Government  / Commissioners and County Council

Brown County Townships / Township Trustee and Board

  • Hamblen
  • Jackson
  • Van Buren
  • Washington

Nashville Civil Town / Town Council

Brown County School Corporation / School Board

Brown County Public Library / Library Board

Hamblen Township Fire Protection District – District Board

Brown County Solid Waste District – District Board

Cordry-Sweetwater Conservancy District – District Board

Lake Lemon Conservancy District – District Board

Reference: Department of Local Governments Finance (DLGF )

Government Entities that  can Charge for Costs of Services: 

  • Regional Sewer Districts (RSDs).  Can mandate sewer hooks and establish monthly rates.
    • Gnaw Bone
    • Helmsburg
    • Brown County
    • Nashville – not listed as an RSD but has the power to set rates and costs for services within the town.

Conservatory District – Cordry-Sweetwater

Oct 27, 2020. BCD:  Lakes board OK’s new assessment amount by Suzannah Couch CORDRY-SWEETWATER — Cordry-Sweetwater residents will notice an additional number on their tax bills next year after the conservancy district’s board of directors

Oct 6, 2020. BCD Lakes board reduces assessment amount: Residents sought to work on changes with county By Suzannah Couch .  CORDRY-SWEETWATER — The Cordry-Sweetwater Conservancy District Board of Directors has decided not to charge residents more than $900 a year for each lot …

Sep 23, 2020. BCD.  What’s it worth to live in the lakes area? Conservancy district board explores assessment…  Suzannah Couch.  CORDRY-SWEETWATER — More than 150 residents attended a conservancy district board meeting last week to express concerns about an assessment that could have …

Facebook Page: Cordry-Sweetwater Conservancy District 

Critical Thinking – Arguments, Fallacies, Rhetoric

“Critical thinking is the process of reaching a decision or judgment by analyzing, evaluating, and reasoning with facts and data presented.”

Book Excerpts:  T. Edward Damer. Attacking Faulty Reasoning: A Practical Guide to Fallacy-Free Arguments, 7th Edition”, Boston, MA

A system for building a “good argument.”

Five criteria of a good argument: These five categories deal with:

  1.  the structural demands of a well-formed argument,
  2.  the relevance of the argument’s premises,
  3.  the acceptability of the argument’s premises,
  4.  the sufficiency  of the relevant and acceptable premises to support the conclusion of the argument, and
  5. the effectiveness of the argument’s rebuttal to blunt the force of the strongest criticisms against the argument or the position it supports.


  • “A fallacy is broadly defined as an error in logic and also to a mistaken or false belief.”
  • ” A fallacy is a violation of one or more of the five criteria of a good argument.”

Fallacies are categorized by the criterion of a good argument that they violate.  The sixty named fallacies treated in the book are organized in Chapters 5 through 9 by the criterion violated, with one chapter devoted to each criterion. An extended discussion of each fallacy explains and illustrates exactly how the fallacy violates the criterion in question.

Common Critical Thinking Fallacies. Critical thinking is the process of reaching a decision or judgment by analyzing, evaluating, and reasoning with facts and data presented. However, nobody is thinking critically 100% of the time. Logical reasoning can be prone to fallacies. … A fallacy is an error in reasoning. When there is a fallacy in the reasoning, conclusions are less credible and can be deemed invalid.

Additional Information – Rhetoric – Dr. Mark Foreman. Rhetoric and rhetorical devices can subtly impede critical thinking.   “Keywords:”

  • Rhetoric – “the art of persuasive writing and speaking. The purpose is to persuade others to adopt a belief.”
  • Rhetorical Force. “The attempt to persuade someone to adopt a belief based on the psychological or emotive responses one has toward the idea.”
  • Common Rhetorical Devices – Euphisms and Dysphemisms, Weaselers, Downplayers, Stereotypes, Innuendo, Loaded Question, Ridicule/Sarcasm, Hyperbole,  Proof Surrogates,

2020 County Elections – Voting for a candidate (s)

I’m an independent that leans conservative and I am not involved with the local republican party.

I do regularly attend government meetings and post notes from the meetings on the Facebook Group Brown County  Matters and in opinion columns in the Brown County Democrat. I also share what I learn in posts at Independent Voters of Brown County IN.

I also volunteer with the Brown County Leader Network that supports a planning, fact, and process based approach for guiding improvement.

Status Quo?  In Brown County, my observations are that if you have an idea and know the right people, you can get government support and funding for your project.  A problem with this approach is that pushing a solution without making the case as to “the scope and extent of the problem” can result in pushback and lack of community support. But given the monopoly on political power within the county, this pushback can be ignored and supported by appointments to boards and commissions of people that will behave as expected – no surprises. This leads to the non-selection of people that question policy and fewer people volunteering to serve. This then contributes to the perception that things are controlled by the “Same Ten People” (STP).  The sad part is that individuals that volunteer and spend an inordinate amount of time on what they think is (and it might be) a good project, are applying processes and working within a system that might not produce the best results and receiving the positive recognition from the community that they deserve.

The Democratic Candidates for County Commissioner and Council have identified their 2020 platform. One of their  points  was calling for the dissoluton of the Brown County Regional Sewer District (BCRSD) Board and a counter-response.

The Republican candidates have not published their platofrm which may imply their support for the status quo as described above.

Given the political divisiveness within America at the national level, what effect might this have on COUNTY (local) elections? Will there be more straight-ticket voting or more scrutiny of the positions of individual candidates regardless of party affiliation? Higher or lower voter turnout? More non-votes (leave selection blank) for one or more candidates?

(I will be posting a comparison of 2020 election results results with past years).

College Free Speech Rankings

2020 College Free Speech Rankings Reveal Crisis on Campus By Nathan Harden
September 29, 2020

RealClearEducation developed the College Free Speech Rankings in partnership with the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), a leading advocacy group for free speech and academic freedom.

Still, even Chicago has plenty of room for improvement. It won the top spot with an overall score of only 64.19 out of a possible 100 on the scale developed for these rankings. That shows just how poorly most other schools are doing.



APL 5000 Session 2 Speaking the Truth and Case Study

Tim Clark reply: Case Study Session 2

On strategy, despite your personal apologetic (in my case Christian Political Apologetic), as this case study points out, each situation or opportunity is different which reinforces the importance of the Truth provided by a common Christian worldview (message) and reinforcement of that Truth as represented by the attributes of the messenger.

As I referenced in the reply to Speaking the Truth Prompt, Ravi Zacharias identifies that a worldview has four elements: meaning, morality, and destiny. He further states that a worldview can be validated by applying three tests for truth: logical consistency, empirical adequacy, and experiential relevance. He reinforces that “When a worldview is submitted to these tests, the Christian message is utterly unique and meets the demand for truth.”[1]

Like any good Father, Mikos loves his brother. He believes that the “crystal” offers some value in helping his brother heal. He also believes that “all roads lead to heaven.”  Mikos also indicates that he is open to listening to other (Christian) views.  Given Mikos’ Greek Orthodox background, might also be helpful to do a little research with the goals of starting with a foundation that could then be used to compare and contrast to Christianity.

Convincing Mikos that there is a living God and that belief and prayer would have more value than “a crystal” may help lead him to the Truth. I think you would need to be prepared to answer the question that assuming his brother was not a believer, where would he end up if he dies.

•        Deuteronomy 4:31: “(For the LORD your God is a merciful God), He will not forsake you.”

•        Psalm 36:5: “Your mercy, O LORD, is in the heavens; Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.”

1.     Give an example of an apologetic dialogue with Mikos that involves at least one apologetic method and some distinct use of Scripture that would possibly speak to Mikos and his worldview.

Tanya Walker in her article, “But … What About other Religions” (McDowell, Apologetics, 273), addresses Mikos’ belief “that everyone gets to go to heaven and that God is like a welcoming Grandpa that would never refuse anyone’s request to come into His kingdom.” Walker identifies the opportunity to address three general themes: An Error of Logic, Concerns of Character, A question of Destination and the Uniqueness of Jesus Christ:

  • Error of Logic – “All roads lead to God.”  Belief caused by a lack of knowledge or logic.
  • Concerns of Character: Credibility of the “messenger” importance of conveying the message in context of Truth, Content, and Manner.  In this case, a prior relationship (friendship) and discussion indicate this criterion may not be an issue. Walker reinforces the importance of listening to the question and questioner and giving the individual the respect of our attention.
  • Destination and Uniqueness of Jesus Christ.  This is supported by historical facts and evidence.  Strobel’s “The Case for Christ”, identifies numerous categories of proof. Evidence includes eyewitness, documentary, corroborating, rebuttal, scientific, psychological, circumstantial, and fingerprint. (Strobel, 14-16).

1.a. Distinct use of Scripture: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 NIV)

Regarding a specific “Dialogue,” I would draft a script (talking points) of different options that I could use depending on the direction of the conversation and the condition of the brother.

2.   Give at least seven scriptures that would be helpful and understandable to Mikos in this situation.  

The scriptures I provided would help support a theme that there is a one true Living God that loves him and offers comfort and support.  The opportunity is converting Mikos to a belief in Christianity and also being prepared to provide comfort in the event his brother dies. Potential relevant scriptures:

1. Trust in the Lord with all your heart; And do not lean on your own understanding.

2. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;  I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10 NIV)

3. John 14:6 (NIV) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

4. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18 NIV)

5. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. (Matthew 5:4 NIV)

6. “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest”. (Mathew 11:28 NIV)

7. “.. cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you;  He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.” (Psalm 55:22 NIV)

8. “… casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” ( 1Peter 5:7 NIV)

9. “When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You.” (Psalm 56:3 NIV)

10. “I sought the Lord, and He answered me, And delivered me from all my fears.”  (Psalm 34:4, NIV)

11. “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 NIV)

3. Explain why apologetic methods are fortified by a biblical basis.

 Apologetics methods reinforce the truth of the message and the credibility of the messenger.  Methods offer a variety of strategies to make the case and advocate for belief in Biblical Faith. Douglas Groothus in his book “Christian Apologetics,” references how The Federalist Papers supported the case for the Constitution. (Groothus, 2011, 23)

Tim Clark – Speaking the Truth – Initial Post

In addressing the prompt – Speaking the Truth, I think of the need to address the question: “Do I and my apologetic (worldview) speak the truth in word and deed?”

Ravi Zacharias identifies that a worldview has four elements: meaning, morality, and destiny. He further states that a worldview can be validated by applying three tests for truth: logical consistency, empirical adequacy, and experiential relevance. He reinforces that “When a worldview is submitted to these tests, the Christian message is utterly unique and meets the demand for truth.”[1]

A test of individual (messenger) effectiveness on the application of a personal apologetic (worldview) reinforced by our instructor is to “have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.” (I Cor. 9:22).  “An ambitious goal but you have the rest of your life 🙂 God bless your efforts for His glory! “

“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
(1 Thessalonians 5:11 ESV).

Lee Strobel’s presentation in Session 1 of the six different evangelical styles helps to provide some context and support for being more effective.  In my case, my style includes more of a heavy emphasis on the intellectual and testimonial attributes, but I have also applied the others – direct, relational, invitational, and servant when the situation warranted.

Sean McDowell, in his book “A New Kind of Apologist reinforces the needed attributes of being humble, relational, studious, and a practitioner. (McDowell, 2016, 15-16).  My advocacy is for a Christian Political Apologetic that McDowell introduced in his book in an article by Jennifer A. Mathews titled: “A Christian Political Apologetic: Why, What, and How.” (McDowell, 2016, 167).

The test of “Truth” can be assessed not only by the message (respective apologetic and worldview) but also on the attributes of the messenger.

My approach to a Christian Political Apologetic is to leverage the interdependencies among Christianity, Quality Management, and Citizenship. The foundation for this approach can be summarized as follows:

  • God created the world (heaven and earth) (Genesis 1:1). Variation is one of the laws of nature that states that everyone and everything is unique: one of a kind. 
  • Variation is the difference between the ideal (perfection) and the actual situation. [2]  God created variation and expects us to reduce it. – be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Mathew 5:48 NIV). The Bible provides the moral code and Jesus the example on the application of this code.
  • Variation either gets better (more needs are met) or it gets worse (the effects on people of unmet needs). In addition to logic and reason, I may need to heavily reinforce this point within context of the Bible:
    • “To him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin” (James 4:17  ESV).
    •  Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:24-30). Reinforces that leveraging resources is “better” than doing nothing which is “worse.”
    •  Deeds can lead to heaven (better) or hell (worse).

It is generally accepted within the quality profession, that the closer a product or service is to the ideal (optimum, nominal), the higher the quality and lower the costs. This concept is referred to as the Taguchi loss function.[3] More information on the quality profession and industry provided by the American Society for Quality).[4]

The U.S. Founding Fathers were influenced by Judeo-Christian teaching and principles and designed a system of government that could be continually improved in pursuit of “a more perfect Union.”

From the Quality Management and Citizenship perspective, I wrote a book[5] – published in 1999 by the American Society for Quality, that made the case as to the relevance of the association between Quality and Citizenship. I wrote dozens of articles on the topic and presented numerous workshops and seminars. I also provided countless posts on social media on the topic.  In the book, the Christian perspective was implied as opposed to stated and includes numerous examples that ranged from personal to the national.

With Jesus’s guidance, I am confident that I can make the case that a Christian Political Apologetic and worldview that leverages the interdependencies of Christianity, Quality Management and Citizenship represents Truth.


[1] Ravi Zacharias, “Ravi Zacharias: Four Criteria for a Coherent Worldview,” January 23, 2019, YouTube video, 4:39, Ravi Zacharias, “Think Again,” RZIM,

[2] American Society for Quality: What is the Law of Variation. .

[3] Wikipedia: Taguchi Loss Function.

[4] American Society for Quality.

[5] Timothy J. Clark, Success Through Quality: Support Guide for the Journey to Continuous Improvement, Milwaukee: ASQ Press, 1999.

Stephen Fowler 
RE: Tim Clark – Speaking the Truth – Initial Post


Everything you write fascinates and challenges me.  I am eager to continue to learn from you.

I am particularly interested in your comments on Variation.  From a professional standpoint these seem to be ideas that have been proven over time.  Therefore, I am interested in learning how they work in sharing our faith.  In particular, one comment you made was ” Deeds can lead to heaven (better) or hell (worse).”  I would love to have you elaborate on that more.  I have believed for a long time that I am saved to heaven by grace only.  That implies that I cannot do enough good things to get to heaven without grace.  I do understand that James speaks to the fact that faith without works is dead and I have always interpreted that to be a test of whether or not I had real faith, not a test of whether I could do enough good things to get to heaven.  Am I misunderstanding your comment and if so please advise.  If not, I would love to hear your thoughts so I can ponder on them.

I do not mean to challenge your view on this just to better understand the context and hopefully together we can both learn something.

Timothy Clark 
RE: Tim Clark – Speaking the Truth – Initial Post

 Hi Steve, appreciate the feedback.

Sharing the quality perspective in a Christian forum is new to me. I’ve been focusing more on the quality and political aspect and I appreciate your questions.

On your statement: “I have believed for a long time that I am saved to heaven by grace only. That implies that I cannot do enough good things to get to heaven without grace.”

The basic premise: Only God is perfect; man is imperfect and expected by God to utilize our unique potential and capabilities that help improve the lives of our fellow man. Given variation, we are all unique, one of a kind, and provided with a unique purpose, plan, potential and god-given capabilities. We have the “choice” as to whether or not we develop these capabilities and apply them in doing the right things that only we can do with God’s grace and guidance.

Consequently, continual improvement is a moral imperative. Not applying our collective talents and unique capabilities have a cost on people and society that are not benefiting from these gifts. Doesn’t the Christian church have a responsibility to help people discover their purpose and share their gifts and god’s plan for them to include being a better citizen?

On the Taguchi loss function, this just covers the cost to society of imperfect products and services. It does not cover the cost to society of products and services that are never developed because more people at not applying more of their full potential.

In his book When Jesus Came to Harvard, Making Moral Choices Today, Harvey Cox reinforces the “better or worse” theme regarding moral choices:   “…there has been an emerging convergence of the two ways of thinking that includes the consequences of action and inaction. …We can now do great evil without intending to. What we need today is more awareness, a wider recognition of how vast systems we are caught up in can do terrible things and how we can contribute to evil without even being conscious of it.”

I think the current divisiveness, violence, and chaos in the country provides a pretty good illustration of our failure as citizens to demand the application of  better methods – thus the need for a Christian based Political Apologetic.


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2021 County Budget

Post Budget Approval.


Dec 18, 2020County gets nearly $500K for COVID-related expenses  y

BCM Facebook Post by Tim J. Clark   County Counci Council Meeting. Dec 28, 2020, 6:30 pm via Zoom.
  • Considerations of the $239,000 funding request for the Music Center was postponed until next month. Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) were developed by Commissioner Biddle with the Music Center for “renting space” to county offices.
  • These MOUs were not previously shared with the Council nor were projected financial requirements with renting space discussed at the Budget Hearings. Further, there were no invoices provided that identified the detail related to the specific rental charges. For example, which office, what is the justification for meetings (as opposed to a zoom meeting), when were the meetings, and for how long? On space for the clinic, wasn’t grant money received to pay for expenses like labor and rental space?
  • The intent for the “rental agreement” was to address space concerns related to Covid and provide the Music Center with a source of revenue to cover operating expenses and pay back the $150K loan from the county that was used to make the interest payments on the mortgage. The county received $490K from the CARES Act funding to reimburse county taxpayers for the extra expenses associated with Covid – this was primarily labor costs. Commissioner Biddle has identified her interest to leverage the Cares act reimbursement to subsidize (bailout) the Music Center. The council is responsible for reviewing and approving all budgets. Better management of the revenue from the innkeepers tax would prevent the need for county taxpayers to subsidize this venue.
  • Given unanimous approval by the commissioners and council to approve this venue (without an independent study on the feasibility and risks), it should be interesting to see how the revenue shortfalls for the Music Center will be addressed.
  • If there are shortfalls, a documented/legal “loan” from the county would be preferable to a taxpayer-funded subsidy (bailout). A loan could be paid back with revenue from the innkeepers tax. If/when the venue is sold to the private sector, conditions of the sale should include paying back any outstanding loans to taxpayers
  • Before the Music Center, 90%+ the revenue from the innkeepers tax went to the CVB to market tourism and pay for the visitors center. Their percent has been reduced but the first priority for the revenue is the Music Center. CVB needs other sources of revenue — this could come from tourism business owners or the Town of Nashville. Likely all the businesses have their own social media related marketing efforts.

Dec 2, 2020County council rescinds budgets, re-approves after error found

Oct 20, 2020, County Council Meeting.   No surprises. The state allows counties to accept an increase in taxes as a result of a calculation referred to as the Growth Quotient. This year it is around $130K  and was approved by the Council. The increase will be shared by property owners.

  • County employees received a 3% cost of living increase.
  • The budget accommodates an increase associated with ambulance service and employees’ health insurance costs.
  • Facebook Post – BCM
    • Commentary: This is the third year I sat through the budget process. With the exception of the consultants and attorneys that work within the system, I do not think there is a citizen in the county – if not Indiana (including our county elected officials) that could explain the financial report, taxes, property assessment, appraisal, and budget processes. Note that by law, We the People are responsible for the performance of the system and lack the knowledge to provide the needed oversight. You can delegate accountability to an elected official but not responsibility. A solution could include a Go Fund Me campaign to developed a needed citizen guide.


Nov 10, 2020. County budget approved; slight tax increase included By

Sep 22, 2020.  Council moves $500,000 to pay health insurance for rest of year By 

Unlike the Schools, the county has an expensive and high-risk plan that routinely exceeds budget projections. In 2019, it was $650,000 over and in 2018 $700,000.

Sep 1, 2020. BCD. County adjusts budget requests for 2021; forecast revenue drops around 5 percent By

Aug 21, 2020. Brown County Matters – Notes from the hearings.

County Council – Budget Hearings Aug 17-19, 2020 – Notes.

o. Potential GOOD News – Projected costs expected to be less than projected revenue by roughly 147K at this point. Kudos to the Offices and Departments that provide in the words of the county consultant, “reasonable and workable” budgets. State and federal grant money also helped to supplement lost revenue due to Covid.

o. Near Final Budget for 2021. This will occur in October which provides the needed time to confirm overall assessed property values, revenue projections from the state and feds (grant money), and county costs. The State also builds in a “growth” related increase (3-4% range?). The county can opt to decline this increase that generally results in passing on modest increases in tax rates. Note also that the council’s “budget” determines the extent of any property tax increases..

o. Music Center / Convention Visitors Commission (CVC). The bank is requiring that the Music Center retain 50%of the revenue from the innkeeper’s tax to help ensure the venue can meet interests and principal payments. The county “loaned” the center up to $150K from the motor vehicle fund to cover interest payments and it is expected that interest only payments will continue through the first quarter of next year.

o. Music Center / Convention Visitors Commission (CVC). The bank is requiring that the Music Center retain 50%of the revenue from the innkeeper’s tax to help ensure the venue can meet interests and principal payments. The county “loaned” the center up to $150K from the motor vehicle highway fund to cover interest payments. It is expected that interest-only payments will continue through the first quarter of next year.cision-making.

o. Music Center / Convention Visitors Commission (CVC). The bank is requiring that the Music Center retain 50%of the revenue from the innkeepers tax to help ensure the venue can meet interests and principal payments. The county “loaned” the center up to $150K from the motor vehicle highway fund to cover interest payments. It is expected that interest-only payments will continue through the first quarter of next year.

o. Note that by Statute (
IC 6-9-14), the council is responsible for reviewing and approving the CVC budget which in the past has basically consisted of the CVC identifying the amount of revenue expected and that will be spent (generally, all of it). This hands-off approach contributed to the council not requiring a hold-back of revenue to cover mortgage payments vice the bank having to step-in. Before the Music Center, over 90% of the revenue was transferred to the Convention Visitors Bureau (CVB) (a non-profit) that was responsible for marketing and promoting tourism.

o. Music Center – County Meetings. I may have been the only citizen that attended all three sessions. No waiting in line and a wide range of seating choices. 🙂 Suzannah Couch from the Democrat also attended all the sessions – looking forward to reading about her perspective.