Commissioner candidates make their points in polite, restrained manner

October 07, 1994|By Kerry O'Rourke | Kerry O'Rourke,Sun Staff Writer

Candidates for Carroll County commissioner politely fielded questions from municipal officials last night about trash, police protection, slowing growth and improving relations between the county and its eight towns.

The Carroll chapter of the Maryland Municipal League invited the six candidates to speak at a forum at Zigler Hall at the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor. About 30 people attended.

Three Democrats and three Republicans are vying for three commissioner seats in the Nov. 8 election. They answered questions without criticizing each other or raising their voices.

The two incumbents stressed their experience in office.

"I really enjoy being a county commissioner," Donald I. Dell of Westminster said. "The criticism hasn't been bad."

He said he enjoys the challenge of finding creative ways to solve problems and the fact that he is able to help individuals.

"I strongly support free enterprise and private property rights," he said.

Commissioner Elmer C. Lippy said, "I now have a record of which I am proud. I have been very parsimonious with the county's money."

Richard T. Yates of Eldersburg, the top vote-getter in the Sept. 13 Republican primary, stressed that this is his third run for a commissioner seat.

"I came very close last time," he said. He placed fourth in the 1990 general election.

"I'm the same person. I'm the same conservative thinker I was then," said Mr. Yates, a retired U.S. Department of Defense employee.

Rebecca A. Orenstein, the top vote-getter in the Democratic primary, said she is working hard to be elected and offered to speak before any group. She said her experience as a Westminster City Council member has helped prepare her to work in another level of government.

"I will give you my absolute best shot," she said.

Democrat Grover N. "Sam" Sensabaugh, a former two-term Carroll County sheriff, said he has extensive management experience and if elected would follow "the desire of the majority" of residents when voting on issues.

Westminster Mayor W. Benjamin Brown, a Republican, said he wants to make sure residents understand the county's master growth plan that clusters new homes around existing towns. He said impact fees should be increased to raise more money to pay for services required by new residents.

"Growth control is more important than making housing affordable in Carroll County," he said.

Mr. Sensabaugh agreed the impact fee should be increased.

Mr. Lippy suggested aiding farmland preservation programs by increasing the real estate transfer tax on agriculturally zoned land, some of which helps pay for preservation.

Mr. Yates said the county should stop new home building in certain areas unless services, such as schools and roads, are in place.

Mr. Dell said such moratoriums create peaks and valleys for builders and their employees and also in the county tax base.

Ms. Orenstein said the county needs to "talk hard" with builders who push for higher-density zoning and for speeding up the permitting process. Officials can negotiate with builders, she said: "They're just business people. They're not evil. They're not saints."

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