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Mayoral candidate Q&A - Breichner

May 11, 2001

Mayoral candidate Q&A - Breichner



* Democratic mayoral candidate


William M. Breichner, 69, 117 Oak Hill Ave., retired city employee, council member 1989-present

Q: What are your qualifications to serve as mayor?


A: I have over 45 years of experience with city government, beginning as a junior draftsman with the Water Department (1956), was elected first president of the employees union (1965), advanced to various levels of responsibility to being appointed Water Superintendent (1967), selected to serve as the first City Administrator (1983-1986), and elected to City Council for three terms (1989-2001). I held numerous leadership positions with state and regional water works associations and served as a director for the American Water Works Association (1990-92). I believe this record will serve to demonstrate my qualifications to serve as Mayor.

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


A: In reviewing local law enforcement reports, it can easily be determined that there is a crime problem, primarily the type that moves from place to place, away from areas of concentrated law enforcement and is related to the drug problem. I believe the answer is long term, 1) convince the state to undertake and fund drug educational programs (such as the DARE program) at all elementary school levels 2) enforce laws related to landlords who fail to control the use of their property by tenants and 3), continue to support the funding of Narcotic Task Force and Street Crimes Unit.

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


A: The city has a critical interest in promoting home ownership as it effects our tax base and impacts the use and care of individual properties. Hagerstown's problem generally centers around absentee owners of rental properties who are interested in the monthly income and individual property owners who cannot afford to keep their residence in good repair. I believe that the future lies in developing programs directed toward making residential areas more pedestrian friendly, more intense, more cultured and more urban. In doing so, assisting homeownership with low interest loans and tax relief will be of significant benefit.

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


A: I believe that our citizens elect individuals as their representatives with the intention that they be held responsible for evaluating and using good judgment in the decision making process. City government is dealing with an annual budget in excess of $65 million and projects involving major improvements to our water and sewer system, the development of Fairground Park and traffic signal improvements, all of which cost considerable dollars. Improvements to Municipal Stadium should not be any different. If such a project is proposed and our citizens petition the expenditure to referendum, I will support their right to do so.

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


A: It should be the primary objective of all elected officials to provide the best possible service to citizens at a reasonable cost. Making this determination involves a comprehensive review of the community's priorities, an assessment of the services being provided and an analysis of the cost versus benefits. This process should also involve searching for more cost effective ways to accomplish the goals. This requires a good working knowledge of the city, its facilities, personnel, and financial resources. It can then be determined if adequate service can be provided with the current budget or if a tax increase is necessary.

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