Council candidate Q&A - Bodnar

May 11, 2001

Council candidate Q&A - Bodnar

* Repbulican council candidate

Victoria K. Bodnar, 57, 17 E. Franklin St., commercial decorator

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

A: I was a business owner for many years. As a commercial decorator, I had to act as a general contractor. I dealt with many subcontractors on each project. The goal - turn over a quality project, within budget, and on time. I was also a property manager of 110- and 450-unit projects in Northern Virginia. I have been active in the community since the first week I moved here, and I have a good sense of all that is good about Hagerstown and the areas that need improving. I believe I can help.

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

A: Although Part I crime (more serious crime) is down in recent years, these stats alone don't tell the whole story.


Hagerstown's problems - crack cocaine, prostitution, and drug dealers selling curbside - aren't included in Part I stats.

Continued and increased foot and bike patrols in troubled neighborhoods along with concentrated efforts of the Street Crime Unit will reduce crime and fear of crime.

Landlord registration and inspection, and enforcement of the Drug Nuisance Abatement Act will bring low cost tools to law enforcement efforts and a new level of accountability wherever needed in the rental market.

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

A: In a city with 60 percent rentals and only 40 percent homeowners (flip the national average) citywide - with as little as 10 percent to 20 percent homeownership on some streets downtown - the city will have to be involved at some level until the percentages improve. When 53 percent of our budget comes from property taxes, the city must do all it can to encourage homeownership.

I would like to see a homesteading program used to encourage homeowners to invest in the downtown along with tax incentives for those relocating and bringing new businesses and jobs to Hagerstown.

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

A: Baseball is one of the amenities that lured me to Hagerstown. It's a golden thread in the fiber of Hagerstown's history. I would work with the Suns owners to pursue every avenue to make the Suns home here a source of pride. A new stadium located with greater visibility on 81 or 70 would possibly help us secure 2 to 3 million for private funding if naming rights went out for bid.

Without more organized efforts from the Suns and community to increase attendance and fund-raising, I couldn't support city funding for a new stadium 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: New revenue sources need to be explored, particularly when tied to city services. Increasing the tax base through investment in Hagerstown is critical. Annexation offers an immediate answer to increase this base. Property values downtown that rose by only 1.7 percent in recent years were brought to 2.9 percent by annexation.

Homesteading and tax incentives to investing homeowners and businesses is a future solution.

Landlord registration/inspection fees would save $80,000 in the current budget for code enforcement and increase code officers. When municipal infractions occur, we need to be diligent about collecting them.

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