By David Slone
AKRON — DeLynn Geiger likes solving problems, being a voice of reason and serving his community.
As a way to continue serving Kosciusko County, the conservative Republican officially announced Wednesday he will be running in 2024 for one of the three county council at-large seats.
“I’ve always served the county. It’ll be 50 years in April. I started Geiger Excavating in ’74. (I’ve) been serving the business community and the county, and that’s who I am. I like serving people and I like solving problems and that’s some of my strengths and I still do that today,” Geiger said in an interview at The Grounded Coffee House in Akron. “Being on county council, my strengths would just fit.”
Geiger said he would like to share his strengths with the people of Kosciusko County.
There are three at-large seats on the council. Currently, they are filled by Sue Ann Mitchell, Joni Truex and Kathy Groninger and all three of the women’s terms end Dec. 31, 2024.
Terms of the other four council members don’t expire until the end of 2026.
Rachael Rhoades announced Nov. 16 she was running for a council at-large seat.
Geiger has attended a number of council meetings so far and he said he could apply his skills toward any issue that would come up before the council.
“With my track record over the years, I understand infrastructure, I work with a lot of departments in the county and have over the years. I work with architects and engineers now, and I’m noted and referred to as a voice of reason,” he stated, which is why he said he’s often brought into meetings. “Just to be able to help them make better decisions on how they are spending their money. I do that with Warsaw Schools, up at Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s … Purdue University, I work with them at Fort Wayne. I work with Huntington University. I work with a lot of the departments in the county and I work with a lot of the towns in the county.”
He said he works with a lot of people who rely on his years of experience and his agenda is for the benefit of the people of Kosciusko County.
One thing that Geiger said appealed to him about serving on the county council is that all the county departments have to go before the council at one time or another for the council’s approval.
“So you’re basically overseeing (the distribution of) tax dollars, and I’m very conservative and have been and I have a track record of being a strong entrepreneur in the county and people know that. And it’s in all phases, it’s not just in one area,” he said.
As an example of the many experiences he’s had, Geiger said he built up Geiger Excavating, runs Geiger Trenchless Solutions (GTS) now, has several properties, owns farms and he and his wife Lori own and operate The Grounded Coffee House.
“My first love is for the people of Kosciusko County and serving them with my years of experience,” he said. Because of the major decisions the county council makes that affects a lot of people, Geiger said a council person should have a lot of experience. The council also is distributing the taxpayers’ funds. “So that’s my strengths, and that’s why I get called in on different meetings and serve on different committees, and that’s why they often refer to me as a voice of reason.”
He also said he’s an innovator and comes up with a lot of ideas for his industry.
There are seven people who serve on the county council, each with their own unique personality and ways of looking at issues. Geiger said one of his strengths is getting along with different people.
“Everybody has a view. Everybody has an opinion. So you try to bring out the strengths on everybody and what they’re trying to do, what they’re trying to accomplish and then you try to bring all of that together so that you get everybody on the right page. And then when it’s all done, they’ll come to me and say, ‘Thank you.’ I get that to happen a lot,” he said.
Costs of everything from eggs to wood to road materials have increased over the last several years due at least in part to inflation. Geiger said another one of his strengths is dealing with rising costs.
“I come with a conservative approach and that’s the reason why – whether it be at Purdue or Saint Mary’s – I’ll come up with ways of how can you accomplish this project but still do it the most cost-effective way and not spend money you don’t need to be spending. That’s one of my strengths that I’m able to bring to the table, and that’s why I said you throw things at me and I’ll come up with a plan,” he said.
Even with dealing with inflation, Geiger said there are ways to get around that because he’s very conservative and innovative.
From time to time, the county council is requested to approve tax abatements. Asked for his opinion on tax abatements generally, Geiger responded, “As long as I look at the books and I see how that can be done but still allow us to be functioning and doing a good job for the rest of the taxpayers, then that’s fine.”
In making a decision on tax abatements, he said the council has to look at what the company requesting the tax abatement is doing in the community, how many jobs they are providing and creating, etc. “What you’re doing is giving them a break to a certain point, yet at the same time as long as we can keep functioning over here, we look at the whole, then it’s not like I have a strong opinion of ‘No, no,’ we need to balance that,” Geiger stated.
He grew up in Churubusco and spent two years in the medical field. He came to Warsaw in 1969 and graduated from Grace College with a teaching degree. In 1974, he started up Geiger Excavating.
Geiger has the coffee shop, several properties and three different farms now. He also owns GTS.
“That’s the nature of me. I’ve always been about serving people,” he said.
Summarizing himself up, Geiger said, “I’m definitely conservative. A strong entrepreneur and I have some practical business practices. I’m very conservative with dollars, not only for my own company but also for other companies. I show them ways of how to be able to get the most for their dollar, and that’s the reason I feel like I would be a good candidate for county council because that’s what you’re working with. You’re working with all those dollars and helping them to make sure they’re spent wisely.”