Council candidate Q&A - Metzner

May 11, 2001

Council candidate Q&A - Metzner

* Democratic council candidate, incumbent

Lewis C. Metzner, 48, 322 E. Irvin Ave., council member since 1994, lawyer specializing in divorce and criminal defense cases

Q: What are your qualifications to serve as a City Council member?

A: I have served on the City Council since 1994 and have been active in politics since 1981. I am a life long resident of Hagerstown. I graduated from North Hagerstown High School in 1970, the University of Maryland in 1974 and the University of Baltimore School of Law in 1977. I have practiced law with offices in downtown Hagerstown for 22 years. My community services includes being the former Vice President of Community Rescue Services and a board member of the Community Free Clinic. I have coached and officiated high school athletics for over 20 years.

Q: Is there a crime problem in Hagerstown? If so, what is it and what should be done to address it?

A: Anyone who lives in the United States is effected by all types of crime. Our entire country has a crime problem. It must be dealt with in a number of ways. Education incorporating programs such as Character Counts, Children's Village and DARE are important steps in the prevention of crime. Mental health and addiction treatment are necessary tools to help prevent second time offenders.


We must continue to support our police by paying them a fair and competitive salary. In the arena of enforcement, we should continue to follow the advice and counsel of Chief Smith.

Q: Should the city be involved in assisting with homeownership? Why or why not, and if so, how?

A: It is generally believed that those who own their own property will have a vested interest in maintaining that property at a high standard. Homeownership usually provides more stability to a neighborhood and in the long run increases the city's tax base and appearance.

We should continue using Community Development Block Grant funds, to purchase blighted properties in our city, rehabilitate and sell them to qualified buyers. The City should also continue to provide services to our citizens which educate first time buyers through various programs on how to become a homeowner.

Q: Should there be a referendum on city funding for a new or significantly renovated minor league baseball stadium? Why or why not?

A: Before the City should even entertain the thought of a referendum on the stadium issue at least two things need to happen. First, an affordable plan must be presented. Second, commitments from the County, State and private sectors must be received. The City cannot resolve the stadium issue by itself. After years of efforts and thousands of dollars being spent neither of the two requirements have come to fruition. I continue to support the City contributing its fair share to resolve the stadium issue with or without a referendum.

Q: How will you ensure that city services - such as police and fire protection - will continue at a reasonable rate to taxpayers?

A: Approximately 75 percent of the City's budget involves personnel expenses. The expense to the City of just the police and fire departments equals almost all of the funds collected by the City from property taxes. We cannot afford to cut these services. The City will soon be financially supporting Community Rescue in addition to fire and police.

If we are to continue to maintain our current levels of emergency services along with our commitments to recreation for our citizens and support of our park system and museum a modest tax increase will be necessary.

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