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Congratulations, Mayor Breichner

May 21, 2001

Congratulations, Mayor Breichner



The Hagerstown election is over, the ballots are counted, and William "Bill" Breichner has been elected as the city's next mayor. Our congratulations go out to him, because based on what he said during the election, we feel the city will be in good hands.

Breichner has served the city for a total of 45 years - as a city employee, superintendent of the water department, as city administrator and for the last 12 years as a councilman. But Breichner has done more than put in time, as his campaign proposals demonstrate.

In a March 28 opinion piece, Breichner said that while the city faces a number of problems, including the drug trade, crime and code enforcement, he noted that at the core, the city's major problem is that government's costs are growing at twice the rate of growth in the real estate tax and income tax areas.

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To deal with that problem - which impacts all the others - Breichner proposed some solutions in an April 8 opinion piece and a later interview with The Herald-Mail.

Breichner noted that in 1988, a portion of the downtown was designated as an Historic Preservation Design District, on the premise that the structures could be maintained and re-used and become valuable assets to the community. Unfortunately, said Breichner, it's a vision property owners haven't embraced.

To overcome that obstacle, Breichner proposed tax incentives, technical assistance, a friendly permitting process and a compromise between "development, renovation and preservation."

To some, that might seem like a prescription for abandoning preservation, but Breichner is truly committed to compromise, having attended 32 meetings in search of a successful city-county sewer agreement.

Breichner also sees the need for new business/industrial park sites, for renovation of older homes and rental properties and to control the slum landlords who don't care who they rent to or whether their properties are maintained in any sort of good order.

Breichner, who is known for his gentlemanly, low-key approach, will need all the patience he can muster in dealing with some issues that will not be solved easily, or inexpensively.

No doubt we will disagree on some points, but as his term begins, we congratulate him and the new council on their victories and wish them all the luck they'll need during the next four years.

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