Ahead of this spring’s municipal elections, the Carroll County Times has asked candidates to provide information on themselves and their priorities. Their responses are listed here in full.
Daniel Collier is running for one of two Hampstead Town Council seats against Tim Babylon, Holly Oertel, and incumbents Jim Roark and Dave Unglesbee. Here are Collier’s responses.
This is my first time running for any public office. I have lived in Hampstead for 3 years. I have completed BA and MS programs in Economics from the University of Kentucky and Murray State University. I am currently an Analyst for an Insurance company and have worked there for just under 5 years.
Why do you want to serve in this role?
I have always had an interest in public policy. This interest is the main reason I earned both my undergraduate and graduate degrees in Economics. It is just something I am passionate about. Now that I have a daughter starting Kindergarten in Hampstead, this is a place that I will continue to make my home for the foreseeable future. While living here, I would like to live in a place where the taxes and cost of living are low, where someone can start a business without unreasonable government obstacles, and I would like to continue to live in a safe community.
How do you plan to represent your municipality’s interests in the county government?
I will lobby any board or county commissioner who I feel is not acting in the best interest of Hampstead. I can be a real pain if need be.
Name something you would begin working to accomplish as soon as your first week on the job.
I don’t plan on upending the entire government my first week on the job or making some drastic change. Saying that I could would be insincere. I would be one vote out of five; so making some huge change day one is not likely. Anyone who says they are going to make a big change first week is either naïve or just full of it.
What I will do is make my voice heard from day one. I will always do my part to stand up for the community and make sure we don’t make any major mistakes that would cripple the community moving forward. In reviewing the last couple years of financial statements, the town seems to be spending all the revenue that comes in! Given this, I hardly think it is the time for a big new project. You never know when the next recession will hit and revenues dip dramatically.
What skills do you have to offer constituents that other candidates might not?
I think it is important to have a new voice on the council. All the other candidates have spent years involved with local government and sometimes bringing in a fresh pair of eyes and a new perspective can be what is needed to solve problems.
As someone who has spent a good amount of time studying the economy and economic policy, I have seen how other governments, towns, states, etc have made mistakes trying to improve the community. I believe my knowledge provides a much-needed perspective that the other members of council just can’t provide.
What one thing would you most like to see changed?
I would like to see taxes lowered. This would give all property owners more money in their pockets. It would make local businesses more profitable, not only through lower taxes, but from increased revenue as people living in the city having more money to spend. Lower taxes would also help attract new businesses. Another consequence would be rent stability in town. I don’t think a decrease in taxes would cause lower rents in the short term. Any economist will tell you prices are sticky in the short term, but it would help keep rental costs from increasing.
What are your campaign priorities?
Low Taxes: I will never vote to raise taxes in Hampstead and if the opportunity presents itself, I will vote to lower taxes. While lower taxes sound great they are only possible with responsible spending. I will be a voice of reason that sees the answer to every problem does not lie with the government and we should always weigh the unintended consequences of new spending.
Economic Development: I want to create an environment that is friendly to local businesses so that not only can current businesses thrive, but so there are as few barriers to entry for new businesses as possible. The biggest hurdle to starting a new business should never be the government.
Safety and Security: Everyone wants a safe community. I vow to support all that commit themselves to the service of our community.
What is your position on the North Carroll High School site and its future uses?
I believe others are making a mistake by assuming the government needs to do something with this site. Instead of starting some expensive new project why not open the site up to private bids. I believe the city should hear proposals from private citizens/businesses on what they could do with the site if they purchased it from the city.
When you consider other ideas outside of government run projects, you may come up with a better use for the site. And, if the site is sold to a private business you create future tax revenue and new jobs in Hampstead. While a government project could be expensive now, and could create ongoing costs into the future. I want to make sure taxes remain as low as possible in Hampstead and needless government spending is not the way to accomplish that.
What is your position on the proposed Hampstead Overlook development?
From everything I have seen and heard there seem to be two major concerns with this development safety and traffic. In regards to safety I am in no way an expert on environmental toxins or soil contamination so I would not feel qualified to give an opinion on this matter. I would defer to the Maryland Department of the Environment on safety. I believe it is their job to determine whether the land is safe to live on.
In regards to traffic I do believe the more recent plan presented with an additional exit/entrance on Doss Garland Road is an improvement from a traffic standpoint. It would seem that anyone working outside of Hampstead would take this road out of town in the morning for work and it would limit congestion. But I believe when the developer has finalized their plans for the development there needs to be another meeting with an environmental expert present so all safety and traffic concerns can be discussed before a final decision is made.