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Schools and taxes concern Washington County voters

July 10, 2006|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM

WASHINGTON COUNTY

With the election for Washington County Commissioners just a few months away, many residents interviewed Sunday afternoon said they had not been following the race or the issues closely.

"I'm not really up on the issues," said Peggy Ritter, 53, of Cearfoss. "Property taxes are very high, in my opinion."

She said as property values in the county have risen, she has seen a dramatic increase in her taxes.

Ritter's husband David Ritter, 59, said the couple pays $2,800 a year in property taxes.

Carol Sweigert, 43, of Williamsport, said she also thought property taxes have become "outrageous."

She said County Commissioners mishandled a $150 reimbursement to some county residents earlier this year. Commissioners voted to issue the tax rebate checks to 33,000 to 35,000 residential property owners.

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Sweigert said the money should have been deducted from future property tax payments.

Twenty-four people are seeking spots on the five-member board of commissioners. The primary election is Sept. 12. The top five vote-getters in each party advance to the Nov. 7 general election.

David Ritter said an issue he would like addressed in the upcoming election is help for the county's school system.

"We need to improve the school system," he said. "We took the word of God out of the school system, and we can't discipline the kids anymore."

He said teachers should be paid more, and the county should hire only the best teachers.

James Newlin, 52, of Hagerstown, said he would like to see County Commissioners fund upgrades for all of the county's schools, not just a few.

"All kids should be able to get a good education," he said.

Karen Anderson, 38, and her husband David Anderson, both of Hagerstown, said many of the issues being discussed leading up to the election don't affect them.

"Not unless they can do something about the water quality in Hagerstown," David Anderson said.

The couple said they would like to see some improvements to the county's schools. She mentioned that not all public schools have air conditioning. Two of her children attended Pangborn Elementary School for one year and said it was so hot that the students were taken outside to work.

"These poor kids were sweating," Karen Anderson said. "They went outside to read."

Lloyd Hamilton, 81, of South Pointe, said he believes that the County Commissioners should be more honest with citizens.

"They say one thing and do another," he said.

Hamilton said he believed commissioners were beginning to do something about high tax rates and impact fees and that they should continue to work on that issue.

"They should also keep a better eye on the planning commission," he said. "They let developers do whatever they want to do."




Washington County Commissioners election



· The primary is Sept. 12.

· The general election is Nov. 7.

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