Letters to the Editor

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

October 31, 2004

Delegate supports expanded board

On Nov. 2, Carroll countians will vote on whether the county commissioners should be expanded to a five-commissioner board from the current three. It is my fervent hope that the voters will vote "yes" for the expanded board.

During the years I have been your legislator in Annapolis, I think it can be fairly stated that I have been a consistent conservative voice on the Carroll County House delegation. I would not be appealing for your support of the five commissioner board if I did not consider that the change has the benefit of providing more efficient, effective and fair governance for the future of Carroll County.

An expanded board offering an increased intellectual and experience base creates more in-depth discussion of the issues and potentially better decision making. Better decisions can equate to substantial cost savings for Carroll citizens.

In past years, we have all witnessed when two commissioners would form a voting block which overruled the third, and those two commissioners (a quorum) would operate Carroll County government for long periods of time.

It is true that the current county commissioners work well together, but this referendum is about the future. At a time when this county is approaching 200,000 people and problems become more numerous and complex, we cannot afford some of the "shenanigans" of the past. Those past actions could be extremely costly to the Carroll County taxpayers.

I urge you to vote for cost-effective governance for Carroll County.

Vote for five commissioners.

Donald B. Elliott

The writer is a delegate representing District 4B

Resident sees need for 5 commissioners

I totally support the concept of Carroll County having five commissioners versus the current three.

As a resident of a rapidly growing Mount Airy area, it is clear to me that we are not fairly represented at the county level.

Little of the new tax money generated from growth is devoted to providing upgrades to this area's infrastructure. After much lobbying we will soon have a small addition to our school system, but it is still inadequate. The high school (South Carroll) does not have the same upgraded facilities as provided other Carroll County high schools, and our roads are overcrowded and dangerous.

I would have preferred that voters had adopted a charter form of government to eliminate some of the oversight by Annapolis and diminish those officials' special/personal interests; however, the five commissioner option is the next best step.

It is past time we in the southwest portion of Carroll County can say we have fair representation in Westminster.

Jerry McKoon

Mount Airy

Conservative backs 5-member board

When I first heard of the idea of a change in our form of government from the current three, at-large, part-time commissioners to a five-person panel elected by district, I had mixed feelings. As a conservative (before any party affiliation considerations), the idea first appeared to me to be an expansion of government. On the surface, this certainly is a possible objection. But like many ideas, the issue deserves further reflection before judgment.

One of the most strident objections from voters in the past has been the notion that our current form with three at-large commissioners has been subject to undue influence and control. There may be some truth in that criticism. This potentially results in legislation and administrative policy decisions which may not truly reflect the will of the entire county.

It's certainly a sword that cuts both ways. Take for example the current state of affairs. These three at-large commissioners certainly seem to be marching lock step in their efforts to completely stop all growth and development in the county (at whatever price!) while heaping on many new administrative and zoning restrictions, calling for tax increases and, in general, swinging the pendulum of power very quickly in a different direction.

With virtually every board decision a unanimous one by the current group, even from the first few moments of power when the previous Ethics Board was dismissed, it certainly is a possibility that there is some outside, behind-the-scenes influence.

I believe the change to a five-commissioner, by-district election may help mitigate that possibility in the future. Notice I didn't say "guarantee." There are none, of course. It just makes it harder for any one person or group to muster the resources and will to control five people who stand for election from a large pool of candidates in five diverse areas of Carroll.

Of course, the real reason why expansion of government is bad is that it leads to higher costs and therefore taxes. I propose to you that by electing five people to make the decisions for the county, the resulting time for discussions will inevitably be longer. This will slow down the process. That means less legislation and policy decisions. That, I propose, really means less government!

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