Your Opinions

September 10, 2006

Commissioners deserve re-election

How often can one say that their elected officials kept their campaign promises? We in Carroll County are finally fortunate to say that about our three current Commissioners - Julia Walsh Gouge, Dean L. Minnich and Perry L. Jones Jr.

They ran in 2002 on a platform of managing growth; enhancing cooperation with the towns; providing a more open government; unifying a divided county staff; and trying to keep taxes as low as possible. And they have kept their promises.

We have seen a slower pace of development that is more closely timed with adequate facilities determinations and capital program funding availability. New developments are paying their share of site impact costs (such as roads, sidewalks and environmental protection), and developers are cooperating more with the county to improve the quality of architecture and provide developments that consider the local neighborhood character. The commissioners have also worked more cooperatively with the towns on growth management policies.

Regarding taxes, our current commissioners were honest in alerting us when they ran in 2002 that it would be difficult to manage the county's needs for schools, roads and services because of the rampant growth allowed by former commissioners. Don't believe the politically motivated rhetoric of the current commissioners' opponents - our county's growing population demands additional facilities and services, and no commissioner would do anything significantly different than our current three in managing the county's finances in a fiscally responsible manner.

For our future, the county master plan update is in mid-process now. Changing commissioners at this time could move our county backwards in its growth agenda and alter the implementation of zoning tools that will be necessary to preserve farmland and manage future growth.

Based on already-kept promises and a trust for future growth management and fiscal responsibility, Gouge, Minnich and Jones deserve re-election.

Wayne Schuster Eldersburg

Standing by work on farm protection

Recent editorials and political ads have tried to picture me as a supporter of big developers and rapid growth. Nothing could be further from the truth. I wrote an eminent domain bill to prevent government from confiscating private lands and turning them over to private developers for economic development purposes.

I have worked hard to preserve the agricultural character of our county, serving on the Maryland Rural Caucus. I voted for the Agricultural Stewardship Act to help farmers to use sound farming practices while enhancing the viability of farming.

I co-sponsored a bill to double state money for agricultural preservation. I helped pass House Bill 180, establishing an Agricultural Land Link program to assist older farmers to transfer farms to younger farmers. Also, I co-sponsored and helped pass House Bill 1122 to preserve small wineries, thus maintaining their land in agricultural use. The Maryland Farm Bureau has endorsed my candidacy for my support of agriculture and farm preservation.

My position is that development cannot run ahead of needed services, infrastructure or schools. This indeed is what has happened in the North Carroll area where county and municipalities have, under their zoning authority, allowed growth to outdistance services.

Zoning and the issuance of building permits is not a function of the delegation but of the commissioners and mayors. In future development, building must be directed to existing population centers with sufficient funds being provided to develop work force housing, senior dwellings and apartments that are affordable for people in our county.

I share with the citizens I have talked with a mutual desire to preserve the rural character of our beautiful county. My campaign signs seen on open fields are a testament to the support I have of farmers and hunters, not developers.

Del. Tanya T. Shewell Westminster

The writer is the incumbent Republican delegate in District 5A.

Chance for change in local government

This November will give everyone in Carroll County the opportunity to exercise their right to vote for change in our government. I am a Democratic candidate running for commissioner. I believe that I can bring Carroll County into the 21st century with new ideas. My political agenda addresses several key issues - growth, schools, roads and energy cost reductions.

Continue to control rampant growth; infrastructure planning first. Raise impact fees.

Build additions to existing schools instead of building new schools. Teachers' pay must be made comparable to other counties in Maryland. Require basic astronomy courses.

Instead of building grassy islands in the center of Liberty Road, we should redirect money for ... toward the failed intersection of Routes 32 and 26, eliminating the left-turn stoplights. This can be accomplished by asking "Walgreens" to relocate to Bartholow Road and Route 32.

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