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Candidate Hardin says county missed chances to help schools

September 03, 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. Tomorrow: Paul Toothman




J. Herbert Hardin
67
Democrat
Retired school administrator and member of the Washington County Board of Education
19727 Meadowbrook Road, Hagerstown




1. Do you think the county gives the school board enough money? Why or why not?

No. "Over the past couple years, the county missed valuable opportunities to strengthen our school system because the County Commissioners would not put up the funds necessary to receive dollar-for-dollar matching capital improvement grants from the state. Another opportunity lost this year was the Thornton Commission's Excellence in Education program, where the (Washington County Board of Education) received $2.2 million intended to enhance programs but the school system was forced to utilize these funds for operating expenses because the County Commissioners deducted the same amount of dollars from their budget funding."

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

"I do not perceive a need for a tax to support these services but rather we need to creatively consider options to maintain and enhance service levels where possible."

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

Yes. "The county hotel/motel tax was intended to be used toward a new stadium and should be put in a fund to be used as intended."

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

"Yes. ... We should evaluate the Sheriff's Department's needs as compared and contrasted to other jurisdictions in Maryland and other states with similar circumstances and characteristics. If the results indicate more deputies are justified, as many of us believe, then the county needs to fund this appropriately to provide for adequate safety and protection of our citizens. We may have an opportunity for cost savings from more efficient use of building space and the reduction of maintenance costs. I would also anticipate reduced expenses in the information technology department in the next year due to upgrades and enhancements done this year."

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

"Economic growth through proper planning is the biggest issue facing us today and into the future. This planning must include the consideration of the Adequate Facilities Ordinance, Planning and Zoning Committee, Economic Development Commission and five dedicated commissioners keeping in mind the importance of monitored growth. We need a comprehensive strategic plan and a collaborative relationship with the City of Hagerstown in order to provide the greatest value for the residents of Washington County."

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