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Candidate Kercheval says slim budget an issue

August 30, 2002

Editor's note: Twenty-one candidates have filed for five Washington County Commissioners' seats. Ten of the candidates - five Democrats and five Republicans - will be selected as their parties' nominees in the Sept. 10 primary. The general election is Nov. 5. We asked each of the candidates the same five questions. Monday: William J. Wivell

James F. Kercheval

37

Owner of Kerch's Southern BBQ

Republican

19200 Chippendale circle, Hagerstown

1. Do you think the county gives the School Board enough money? Why or why not?

Kercheval said he has looked at the education budget and there is "always room for improvement." Education is a top priority because money spent there "comes back tenfold" when the students grow up and become productive members of the community, he said.

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2. Do you support a tax to fund fire and rescue services? Why or why not?

Yes, but only as a last resort. Right now a small percentage of the population pays for fire and rescue services and it would be more fair to spread the cost to all the county's citizens, he said.

3. Should the county help fund a new baseball stadium? Why or why not?

Yes, but only if there is a proposal that is reasonable and affordable, he said. "I'm not going to sign a blank check to keep baseball in Hagerstown. The question really is how much can we afford to spend," he said.

4. Should the county provide funds for additional deputies and, if so, where should the money come from?

Yes. With growth comes the need for more police protection, he said. If the county doesn't spend enough money on law enforcement, the increased drug and crime problem will cost the community more money in the future, he said. The money would have to come from budget savings elsewhere.

5. What do you believe is the biggest issue facing the county and why?

Kercheval said he believes the biggest issue will be handling tight budget years ahead. Kercheval said he would try to consolidate services with the Hagerstown city government and better reward county employees who find ways to save money. He also proposes a more detailed second-year budget so departments can be better prepared to deal with slim budget years.

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