In 2010, the Carroll County Board of Commissioners was restructured to have each of the commissioners be elected and represent one of five specific districts, giving all sections of the community a voice in county government.
As the current board found out, there are certain issues that may affect one district but not another. For instance, water development is a more prevalent issue in some commissioner districts than in others that don't struggle to have water. Agricultural land preservation, while spread around the county, is more focused in areas with large swaths of land and not in areas with a lot of development or poor soil.
We asked all 20 of the candidates for the board of commissioners: What is one issue, specific to your district, that you would like to address if elected to office?
Here are the responses from the candidates who chose to answer the question:
Cynthia L. Foley, Republican: Chose not to answer the question.
Robin Bartlett Frazier, Republican, incumbent: Water and waste water costs are too high. There are renewable energy improvements that can save costs and generate revenue that should be explored. We need to continue to push back through coordination against unscientific, untested, unaffordable regulations and policies that particularly effect water costs and farming operations. It's working.
Tina Mawhinney, Republican: If elected the issues that need to be addressed are the low new teacher salaries and the low pay to the county police force.
Jackie Jones, Democrat: Taneytown is growing into a larger residential area. We'll need assistance in planning. Manchester has started to improve it's area into a small village as well. Taneytown needs to keep the large trucks from having to use downtown. I'd like to see the planned by-pass come back as the downtown is becoming a back-up during rush hours.
Stephen Albert Wantz, Republican: Reaching out to the constituents in District 1 and repairing a lack of communication and what many believe is current poor focused leadership procedures. This is the most common complaint I hear. There are five fire companies in District 1 which in most cases are the hub of the respective communities, and also many schools in which to be visible. It would be my intent to hold a series of town hall meetings at various times throughout the year in these venues to find out the concerns of the citizens in these districts. Open communication leads to smart partnerships which in turn will be instrumental in moving our county forward, as we govern those issues which are being sidelined with personal agendas. We must address issues now and for our future generations.
Brian K. DiMaggio, Republican: There are several I would like to work on, but I believe repairing the roads in our district is the greatest need we have at this time. This past winter has destroyed many of them. The resulting pot holes and deteriorated black top are causing unsafe conditions and damaging our vehicles. I will fight for our district to have these roads repaired quickly and properly. Some of our current commissioners have forgotten their responsibility to take care of their own district's needs, as they have become too preoccupied with involving themselves in the affairs of our School Board; often hosting meetings all over the county to assist with their agendas. If elected, I will not continue the practice of hosting meetings in other commissioner's districts. Instead, I will focus my efforts on the real needs of the citizens my own District.
William Niner, Republican: The people's accessibility to their County Commissioner. It really sucks when you elect someone and you cannot get in touch with them. Citizens can always call me on my personal cell phone at (443)536-1408. I want to ensure I have convenient hours for citizens and in fact I will go to the citizens to work with them. If people do not have accessibility to their County Commissioner it is hard to work on the issues that effect the county such as lower taxes, education, 2nd Amendment gun rights, a safer community and solutions for our small businesses and family farms.
C. Richard Weaver, Republican: I would like to see the under capacity high schools in my district used as a satellite program to expand the Carroll Career and Tech Center. This would provide opportunities to more students, who find themselves unable to participate in Career and Tech Center programs because of lack of classroom space.
Mae Alexander, Unaffiliated: Chose not to answer the question.
Dennis Frazier, Republican: We need to find and recycle water. Right now in district 3 we are waiting to hear back from the MDE to see if we have enough water to allow the opening of one more restaurant. If we want to bring more business into district 3 as well as the county we need more water. Business will help shift the majority of the tax burden off the backs of the homeowners. But we need to have more water available to bring in more businesses. Las Vegas recycles 94% of all the water they use we need to start recycling water as well.
Matthew P. Holbert, Republican: Agriculture, as I see it, could be the most significant issue that faces our district. We face a difficult decision: to go industrial or hold true to our rural roots. That decision is being made for us by corporate politicians, their lobbyists, and so forth, not by the people in this district. Were it left up to the people I am sure that it would eventually lead to a healthy balance, but our representatives are not nearly as wise as a well informed public.
Lyn Mallick, Republican: Government Spending. I believe the current board has done little to correct or even address the economic uncertainty caused by "spending as usual". The spending has continued to grow over the past 3 years by over $17 million. For the past 4 years I have studied the budgets and have done my homework. It is my belief that we can move towards eliminating tax burdens on our tax payers and small businesses thus stimulating economic growth.
Kenneth J. Mercer, Republican: Airport expansion.
Dave Roush, Republican, incumbent: As the state continues to deal with its fiscal mismanagement by forcing cost onto already lean county budgets, there is only one way to prevent property taxes from becoming an intolerable burden to Carroll County home owners. We must increase our economic tax base by increasing economic development. Carroll County needs more business to relieve the pressure on property taxes and to provide jobs for our citizens. We need to grow the businesses we have and bring new ones in. Carroll County, like governments at all levels, faces severe fiscal problems. Effectiveness must be increased, efficiencies found and costs cut. We have made substantial investments in preparing our children and grandchildren to be productive citizens. I believe we also need to be sure that they can get a job and make a home right here in Carroll County.
Maria Warburton, Democrat: Chose not to answer the question.
Barbara Joan Biller, Republican: Work aggressively with the delegation to increase state funding to Carroll's school budget. Carroll, similar to Harford & Frederick counties, ranks below them in state funding. Additionally, the pension liability pushed onto local gov't. by the state has severely impacted funding. We need a unified approach to overcome the disparity in party at the state level and how funding is allocated. Work with the Board of Education to place a priority on funding focused for competitive teacher compensation to retain talent. Re-build the professional respect between organizations that unites us to enable interaction focusing on issues. Insure that information available to the public is clearly presented. I support a commitment to a multi-year budget that provides stability to the BoE, to the extent possible. In a case of exigency, both boards are able to work together toward the best possible solution — with the ever present focus on student needs.
Richard Rothschild, Republican, incumbent: First, many people of District 4 moved here to escape commercialization of surrounding Counties. In fact, some still commute back to jobs they continue to hold in other counties. They DO NOT WANT ambitious government officials forcing intense "smartgrowth" commercialization onto Carroll communities. They DO NOT WANT Carroll turned into another Gaithersburg or Columbia. Second, they do not want government social engineering adding subsidized housing for people of "all socio-economic levels" as suggested in Commissioner Howard's VISION 2030 Plan. It's time to END these plans that want to socially re-engineer our beautiful neighberhoods against our wishes.. Third, there's no need to build a new Career & Tech Center. We can expand into excess space available in North Carroll High or Manchester Valley High. Fourth, regarding Prayer: On 5/5/2014 the Federal Court lifted its injunction against Carroll. Local officials are now be able to pray according to their own conscience.
Sean Shaffer, Republican: None, Carroll County is a small area and further dividing it into five districts is smaller yet. Any issue in one district is an issue for us all. The Lehigh conveyor for instance is material eventually trucked through district 3 and 4, and is not just an issue for district one. It has to pass through other districts on its way to DC or Baltimore.
Cathey Allison, Republican: Chose not to answer the question.
Doug Howard, Republican, incumbent: Drugs. As our community continues to grow, and as District 5 becomes more developed, we remain vigilant on crime and specifically on illegal drugs and other substances. I have had several meetings with law enforcement and with our two high schools to get a better understanding of their challenges and their limitations. Educating the public is a major factor. We recently had the Health Department present information on Spice Drugs at a Town Hall meeting. I am pleased that we have been able to secure space for a visible police location on Liberty Road so that law enforcement is more readily seen. We lose too many of our young to drugs. Drugs also make education much more difficult and are the leading contributor to crime in Carroll County. It is for this reason that I am also keenly interested in the outcomes of both the Sheriffs and States Attorney races.