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Sewer debt prompts man's run in county

June 29, 1998|By SHEILA HOTCHKIN

Determined to reduce Washington County's debt, Maugansville resident Ronnie Hines announced he will run for County Commissioner.

The 46-year-old Hagerstown native would be a newcomer to county politics, which he feels might help him represent the working man better than many of the current commissioners.

"They're up there and you're down here," said Hines, who will run as a Democrat.

Frustrated with the county's $53 million water and sewer debt, Hines decided to run last month.

"You get over a million dollars in debt, a red light ought to go off and say, 'hey, we ought to rethink this.'" he said. "...I don't know why it got so out of hand."

He completed his candidate paperwork while on vacation from his job with Eastalco Aluminum Company in Buckeystown, where he has worked as an electrician since 1974.

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His hope is that a common sense approach to the problem - only spending what money is necessary - will bring the debt under control.

"If you sent out a check you didn't have money for, would you send out another check?" Hines asked. "Somebody's got to be held accountable for that."

Another priority for Hines is controlling development. Through zoning, he wants to protect farms and rural areas from encroachment by commercial and industrial interests.

"It's fine, but we ought to slow it down some," he said. "It's getting out of hand."

But he would still like to find a way to attract higher-paying jobs to the area. While he does not want to see development across the county, Hines still thinks there is plenty of room for construction around the outskirts of Hagerstown.

"You can still develop, just slow it down some," he said.

Hines would also like to see some incentives provided for volunteer firefighters, and he mentioned the possibility of creating a pension plan.

Before the September primary, he hopes to go door-to-door through several areas of the county to discuss his ideas with voters.

Hines was born and raised in Hagerstown, where he lived until moving to Maugansville six years ago. He attended North Hagerstown High School, and went through the school's vocational-technical program.

He received his journeyman's license through Frederick Community College after completing Eastalco's apprentice program.

A member of United Steel Workers of America Local 7886, he served as a trustee and a member of the workers compensation committee for the union. He also works on the safety committee for the electrical department.

Candidates have until July 6 to file. The primary election will be held on Sept. 15 and the general election will be Nov. 3.

The job pays $20,000 a year.

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