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Bert Iseminger runs for County Commissioner

July 07, 1998|By TERRY TALBERT

Former Republican Bert Iseminger Jr. is running for Washington County Commissioner as an Independent candidate.

"This is a race about issues, not party politics," the former Republican said. "In all my years on the planning commission, none of my decisions had anything to do with politics. I look at both sides of an issue fairly and with an open mind. And I listen to what the public has to say."

Iseminger, 49, has been on the Washington County Planning Commission for more than a decade and currently chairs the panel.

Last fall the commission held a series of meetings to get public input into planned revisions to the county comprehensive plan, he said.

"We found folks were concerned with growth and development, and very disillusioned with government in general and this board of commissioners in particular," he said. "The public doesn't think their opinions count."

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"The commissioners need to listen to the people, and to cooperate and communicate with the City of Hagerstown, with the delegation, and with the board of education," he said.

Iseminger said he believes there should be one authority for city and county water/sewer systems. He said county and city employees have worked out a way for that to happen.

"Now it's up to the leadership to make it happen," he said.

He said he feels the sewer debt should be called what it is, and sewer customers be made to share the cost only of operating the system.

Iseminger said the county should work with the city to revitalize downtown Hagerstown, and to help businesses thrive.

He said if elected he would beef up efforts to draw business to "the county's most under-utilized asset," the regional airport.

Iseminger said as a planning commission member he has worked with farmers to preserve agricultural land, and would continue that effort.

The county and city must strike a balance between economic development and quality of life, he said.

Iseminger is on the Washington County Board of Education's curriculum audit budget committee. He supports a recommendation that the school board go to a school-based budget process. There would be a "state-of-the-school" presentation to the community and public hearings to discuss needs of each school and the budget required to meet those needs, he said.

"Then, I think it's the job of the county commissioners to fund that budget, even if it means a tax increase," he said.

Iseminger graduated from Hagerstown Junior College and has a master's degree in business administration from Mount St. Mary's College. He is a member of the Hagerstown/Washington County Chamber of Commerce, and is on the board of directors of the YMCA. He lives in Hagerstown with his wife, Beth, a teacher.

This is Iseminger's third try at public office. He lost attempts to win a House of Delegates seat in 1990 and 1994.

The primary election is Sept. 15 and the general election is Nov. 3.

The commissioner job pays $20,000 a year.

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