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Letters to the editor - 9/8/02

September 09, 2002

Munson: My mission is eliminating county debt



I am John C. Munson, Republican candidate for Washington County Commissioner. I reside at 17817 Bluebell Drive, Hagerstown, Md. which is in the Garden Spot Development on the edge of Maugansville. I have been a lifelong resident of Washington County and I am a retired postmaster serving 30 years with the U.S. Postal Service and three years in the U.S .Army Security Agency.

I consider myself to be a conservative Republican.

I am running for County Commissioner because I love Washington County and plan on living here the rest of my life. Things are going in the wrong direction in Washington County such as the large county debt - $156 million and growing, with more than $7 million in interest due on this debt each year.

County debt is the main reason I am running for county commissioner. If this debt is not eliminated, the property tax and the county income tax will have to be raised. In fact, I believe it would have happened this year if it had not been an election year.

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The county needs to stop doing anything except maintaining the roads and the existing water and sewer lines until the $156 million debt is eliminated and then save money for future projects so that there is never a need to borrow money in the future.

The new county commissioners need to look at all county staff to ensure there is not an excess of employees. And if there is an excess of employees, they should be eliminated through retirements and resignations. Employees who are still on the payroll would not have to work any harder but smarter through better use of time.

The new commissioners also need to look at the department heads, starting with the county administrator, in order to be sure that they all will help the commissioners stop this spending binge by cutting each department's budget.

We use tough love on our children. Now it is time to use tough love on Washington County. Then we can get this county out of debt and look to the future.

Let's talk about the future. We need to control growth, although we can never stop growth. And by the way, people do have a constitutional right to live where they want to live. By controlling growth, I mean making the big-time contractors from out of town pay more for the water, sewer and roads they will be using in order to prevent any county money being used for them. They take their profit and leave the county. This is not fair to the current taxpayers of Washington County. The local contractors who build houses for local people stay here and spend their money in Washington County.

The new commissioners need to have meetings with the Economic Development Commission to ensure they are not just trying to lure warehouse jobs to Washington County but are pursuing high-tech jobs with high pay. The commissioners also have to investigate the Sheriff's Department to ensure it is using its manpower in a responsible way, such as more road patrol deputies and fewer office and judicial deputies.

I believe the Sheriff's Department has enough manpower and it needs to be used in a more effective way.

The commissioners must look at the pay of all the department heads starting with the county administrator. We just may not be getting our money's worth. We may have to reduce some paychecks. We may even have to consolidate more departments and eliminate some department heads' positions. This may not make some people happy and they may leave county government, but that may be a benefit to the county. Remember, tough love.

My pledge to the voters and taxpayers of Washington County if I am elected County Commissioner.

1) My phone numbers will always be published for the people of Washington County to call me at any time, day or night.

Home phone 301-739-2243 - Cell phone 301-491-3574

2) I will be a full-time commissioner.

3) I will not vote for anything that will cost Washington County taxpayers money until the entire $156 million debt is paid off. We can do without anything new for several years.

4) If we are to eliminate the debt, we need to start with the county commissioners so if elected, in the very first commissioners' meeting, I will propose that all five commissioners not accept the $10,000 raise that has been given to them. This would be a $50,000 savings to the county right off the bat.

5) I will not accept any employees being hired by the county with any type of written contract, especially one that has any clause in it giving that employee a lump sum of money when he or she leaves county employment.

John C. Munson is a Republican candidate for Washington County Commissioner.




Exercise your hard-won right Sept. 10



Aug. 26, 2002, marked the 82nd anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America. This amendment gave women the right to vote. It took 75 long years of patience, work, energy, aspiration, faith, hope and despair to bring it about.

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