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.
Taneytown City Councilman Bradley Wantz is running for mayor against incumbent James L. McCarron, fellow Councilman Donald Frazier and former Councilman Paul Chamberlain. Here are Wantz’s responses.
What is your profession (and years experience), current employment (and how many years), education, community groups involved in (and in what role), past political experience, and years (approximately) you’ve lived in Taneytown?
I have served as Taneytown City Councilman since 2015, and represented the council as liaison and active voting member to the city Planning Commission. Previously, I served on the Board of Zoning Appeals from 2013 through 2015. I am the treasurer for Taneytown Lions Baseball and am active in helping our youth enjoy the sport as well as learn valuable life skills. I was born and raised in Taneytown, where my wife and I raise our three children. I am a 2000 alumnus of Francis Scott Key High School, and graduated from AccuTech Business Institute after high school. I am the Chief Operating Officer of Dream Aviation in Westminster, MD, where I oversee a busy flight school and aircraft maintenance company.
Why do you want to serve in this role?
I believe that the city leadership has become complacent with the status quo. The city has not realized its potential because of the focus on expensive, small projects that have placated the community in the name of “progress”. I want to see my hometown make tangible progress and finally start providing the services and resources from which anyone can benefit. I will also finally bring order to the council meetings so that the leadership can properly conduct city business, but without shunning the community.
How do you plan to represent your municipality’s interests in the county government?
I will be adamant in working with our county representatives to ensure that our city has a seat at the table in any decision that will impact our community. As I watch county programs being implemented in neighboring municipalities that create hardships for their residents, I stand firm that we will resist any attempt to force our citizens to follow cumbersome restrictions. In particular, the pilot pay-as-you-throw garbage program in New Windsor by the county should not be welcomed in Taneytown, and I will fight it diligently.
Name something you would begin working to accomplish as soon as your first week on the job.
Leadership in our city have been extremely resistant to embracing technology that would better engage the community, as well as save taxpayers’ money, compared to the current archaic methods. We need to better reach out to our residents in ways that will more effectively communicate the actions of our local government. In addition, a refreshed focus across departments will drive our city toward better economic development and programs for residents of all ages.
What skills do you have to offer constituents that other candidates might not?
As a native to Taneytown, I have the unique viewpoint of growing up in this city and ultimately transitioning to a public official for the benefit of my hometown. In that same path, I have my own children who are still experiencing life in Taneytown and have made it an important part of their own heritage. I manage a business every day and pride myself on being able to assess projects from a broad view before focusing in on potential benefits and problems, as well as better considering the long-term effects. I feel that limiting personal emotion in a decision is a trait that serves well in public office, and it eliminates the cloudiness that leads to poor choices for the city.
What one thing would you most like to see changed?
A city government under my leadership will become a model in transparency and community engagement. We will bring back town hall events, so myself and the members of council can hear the concerns of our constituents outside of a business meeting instead of the rumors of social media creating unnecessary controversy.
What are your campaign priorities?
1. I am an advocate for responsible growth that better considers the impact on our infrastructure and our residents. While growth and development are not inherently bad projects, we need to make sure that we take time to realize the overall impact before we commit to more large projects that could potentially overrun our city resources.
2. It is time that the city takes a stand on derelict properties that have not only become worse, but have spread like a virus. We need to create our own livability code of standards that will ensure a safer place for people to live and a welcoming environment to our city.
3. I am planning an initiative called “Something for Everyone” that would address our parks and programs, with the goal to make sure that we offer accessible and inclusive activities for everyone.
Taneytown Mayor James McCarron announced Monday that the city had appointed police Lt. Jason Etzler to acting chief and that it will ask the Maryland Police Training Commission to audit the department’s training records “to ensure that best training practices are being followed.”
I advocate for advertising the position for Chief of Police in order to find the best-suited candidate that can lead our department into a more community-oriented police force. We need to seek a new chief who has a background in solid leadership and drug enforcement, and can be a public spokesperson on behalf of our department and city when necessary.
What is your position on the Civil War memorial proposed for Taneytown?
I publicly spoke out against the proposed Civil War memorial for a number of reasons. The content of the memorial is a catalyst for controversy that the city is smart to avoid in our current world. It is not about erasing history, but making sure that we are memorializing the things that built our nation without placing presidential assassins on equal terms as those who pushed our country forward. In addition, I believe that very little thought has been put on how our infrastructure can handle the touted influx of tourists, especially if we believe the inflated numbers given to the council by the organizer. I have considered the long term possibilities of how our city would be impacted, and there is little reassurance that the city would not be financially impacted if the organization behind the memorial moves on or dissolves.