Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

October 24, 2004

Five commissioners best for growing area

On Election Day, Nov. 2, Carroll countians will vote to decide whether Carroll County will be governed by five commissioners instead of three. Carroll County has had the three-commissioner form of government since 1860 ... before the Civil War. I feel strongly that Carroll countians would be better served in the future with a board of five commissioners.

After the 1990 census, Carroll County had a population of 123,372 people, an increase of 25 percent over the previous decade, and ranked ninth in population among Maryland's 24 subdivisions. Currently, after the 2000 census, Carroll County has a population of 150,897, representing a 23.2 percent increase over the prior census, ranking fifth in growth of population.

As our county continues to grow, problems associated with this growth becomes more numerous and complex. A five-commissioner form of government gives a broader intellectual and experience base, which increases the opportunity to make better judgments and decisions. The additional members allow for a more productive time in deliberations and a greater opportunity for better decision-making.

Five commissioners permit better attention to civic demands, such as addressing special interest groups, ribbon-cuttings, etc. As the county grows, the invitations will be more numerous. An increased number of commissioners will permit them to serve on more boards, such as education, fire and rescue, etc. This expands the knowledge of commissioners such that at budget time there is a deeper understanding of the concerns and needs of the respective agencies of government.

It has become increasingly apparent to me that the interests and needs of different sections of Carroll County demand representative voices on the board. I envision that this polarization could become more acute and divisive if the problem is not addressed soon. A five-member, regionally elected board would give greater responsiveness to citizens' concerns and complaints and operate in a manner similar to our own legislative delegation; constituents in districts would appeal to their region's elected representative for assistance. In no way would this preempt the ability of all elected commissioners to meet jointly to decide issues which affect the entire county. As state legislators we do that now. I think the process has been effective, efficient and fair. The regionally elected concept is the most democratic and places government closer to the people.

I urge Carroll countians to vote "yes" in support of a five-commissioner form of government for Carroll County's future governance.

Donald B. Elliott

Delegate, District 4B

Extra commissioners too costly a choice

Question A on the ballot for the November election is a trick question. The explanation sent out by the Board of Elections is misleading. The question on the ballot itself says that currently there are three commissioners elected at large. They will be replaced by five commissioners elected by district. It does not say that each person voting will lose two votes -- they will only be allowed to vote for one person in their district if Question A passes.

County government is the government closest to the residents of Carroll County. It has the greatest effect on the voters and they are being asked to give up two out of three votes, or two-thirds of their voting rights for the office of commissioner.

There are other reasons for voting against Question A. One of these is the increased cost of county government. The administrative cost is estimated to be $250,000 for the new commissioners, their cars, office expenses and fringe benefits. However, the deals to get the additional funds for one district will necessarily require additional funds for at least two other districts to obtain the necessary majority. These costs could total in the millions of taxpayer dollars.

I urge the voters of Carroll County to again defeat this effort as they did in 1998 by a 2-to-1 margin. Let's all work together to stop the growth of government.

James Reter


Carroll County Committee Against Big Government

AIDS fund-raiser help much appreciated

Thank you for the support you gave our Green Gecko fund- raiser for the AIDS fund of Carroll County.

The event was changed from its original format of Duathlon and Hike to just a hike. In anticipation of Hurricane Ivan and poor trail conditions, Hashawha asked us to cancel the Duathlon [trail run and bike ride] for safety reasons. The hike proceeded as scheduled and was supported by a small number of people. We are pleased that our first time event generated supporters from the community. We will be rescheduling the Duathlon in the spring and will hopefully have your support as we promote it a second time.

Again, thank you for your help prior to the event and again on the day of the hike.

The HIV/AIDS staff: Debbie Middleton, RN Bernice Culver, RN Mary Jo Goldenbaum, RN Pattie Barnett, RN Carroll County Health Department

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