Primary '98: Commissioners forum

August 17, 1998


First Question in a 5 part series: Wash. Co. Commissioners

Question: What is your proposal to reduce the water-sewer debt?

Republican Response

Editor's note: We asked all of the candidates to answer five questions from Herald-Mail editors. Candidates Alfred Lane and Joseph Walker did not respond. Answers were limited to 60 words. Responses that exceeded that were edited.

Timothy Bonds: My proposal to reduce the water-sewer debt would be by attracting higher paying jobs, thus creating more tax revenue in which to pay the water-sewer debt and eventually lower taxes.


John Corderman: I do not favor imposing the debt upon the homeowners who are using the system and I do not favor paying off the debt with general funds. When there is excess sewer capacity we need to find users for that capacity to pay off the debt. I would be interested in hearing (ideas) from citizens, the chamber and your newspaper.

Dennis Duffey: Everyone should take a hard look at money spent for things like softball fields and especially the $1.5 million proposal for a traffic light at Halfway Boulevard and Bower Avenue. We should not delay payment for 40 years; that means our grandchildren will be paying the debt. We need to pay the debt and put less important things on hold.

William Hornbarger: Reduce spending in possible areas and dedicate savings to the debt. We need to reach an agreement with the city of Hagerstown to direct some of their sewage to the county system for added revenue. The county should also implement impact fees for connecting, which is the same for each case without special exceptions to pay down the debt.

Mary Kline: Besides using the general fund, maybe the city can use our treatment plant, generating additional income.

John Munson: Commissioners, not others, should investigate for sewer department waste. All county property except the Courthouse and the Sheriff Department, including the airport, should be sold in order for it to be put back on the tax rolls and the money received paid on the water-sewer debt. This also would prevent the taxpayers from maintaining this property in the future.

John Shank: A.) Cooperate with the city of Hagerstown, trade service areas to put flow in county plant.

B.) Connection fees from new development.

C.) Use profits from pretreatment plant.

D.) Target large users (milk, ice cream or food processing plants).

E.) Water and sewer are Economic Development, continue to use general funds to pay debt if necessary.

Greg Snook: A.) Continue to lobby state for grants of mandated projects that the state did not reimburse Washington County.

B.) Continue restructuring of Maryland Water Quality Bonds on pretreatment from non-taxable to taxable, which will eliminate restrictive bond covenants. This will increase revenue from about $120,000 to $650,000 per year, thus reducing general fund contribution.

C.) Install direct piping into pretreatment.

Andrew Thomas: We need to have impact fees work in harmony with a stepped-up economic development program. Growth is inevitable and we need to concentrate on attracting industry. Inducing industry to locate in Washington County is an attainable goal with an improving infrastructure. We possess an underutilized Conococheague Waste Water Plant that will play a major role in economic development.

Albino Trujillo: We must cut frivolous spending. We must work together as a county, not individual entities. Only then will we be able to work with state and federal agencies to bring the industry needed to utilize the treatment plant.

Clint Wiley: I have a four point plan that enacted fully provides an economically feasible and fiscally responsible solution to the debt. The plan includes creating a separate authority for the Pretreatment Plant, supporting growth in Hopewell Valley, restructuring bonds to mirror the life expectancy of the plants, and unifying the city and county sewer departments.

William Wivell: My concern is for the overall county debt of $143 million, and options include: accountability, brainstorming, budget not being actual, city/county cooperation (regional system), developing a priority list, efficient utilization of county assets, federal/state assistance, fiscal responsibility, gambling proceeds?, implementing debt service as a component of property tax bill, marketing to attract industrial/commercial users, privatization, refinancing, status quo?, other?

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