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Education, tax relief are priorities

July 23, 2006|By Paul Swartz

To the editor:

Now that the deadline for filing for the office of Washington County Commissioner has ended, I would like to congratulate and wish all the candidates well. Having had the opportunity to have served in the capacity of county commissioner, I realize the task that is before all of us. It is a great honor and privilege to serve as an elected official.

I challenge all candidates to state their platforms and discuss the issues clearly so the voters can make their decisions wisely.

I have stated two of my goals of my platform and I will repeat them in this letter along with four other areas that I will outline and discuss in future letters.

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First and foremost, I believe education tops the list. Everything will fall into place as a puzzle if we place our emphasis on education. No goal will be achieved if we ignore education as the primary target. Therefore we must expect that our school system continues to promote a challenging curriculum and one that will excite our students to desire more education at the college level.

My first goal is to provide the opportunity for all high school graduates to continue their education at the local college of their choosing (Hagerstown Community College, Hagerstown Business College or the University of Maryland downtown) tuition free for their first two years.

I proposed this before in my first term and again in a letter to the editor on Jan. 3. Garrett County Commissioners heard of this proposal and decided it was a great idea and they have already instituted it into their budget.

If we are to attract technological and manufacturing industries into Washington County that will help with our tax base for our future and pay top wages, we must prove that we value education. Our county has close to a 20 percent illiteracy rate, which will discourage industries from locating here. Through sound management of your tax dollar and placing top priority on education, we can overcome the problem of illiteracy.

My second goal is to be a strong advocate for our senior citizen population. I propose a property tax relief program - reducing the property tax assessment cap from 10 percent to 5 percent and keeping it at this level throughout this next commissioner term. Also reducing the property taxes that a senior citizen would pay on one property. As a senior citizen reaches the age of 65, this property tax relief would begin.

From 65-69 a senior citizen would pay 75 percent of their tax bill. From 70-74 a senior citizen would pay 50 percent of their bill. From 75-79 senior citizens would pay 25 percent of their tax bill. When a senior citizen reaches the age of 80 they would be exempt from any further property tax payments. This campaign promise comes from my heart, not from my lips.

As the campaign continues, you will hear campaign promises from the lips of many of your candidates. As a voter, it is your duty and obligation to distinguish whether these campaign promises come from the heart or are lip promises just to get your vote. I can assure you any promise that I make will come from my heart. Ask the candidates if they can support the promises that Paul Swartz has issued.

Other areas of concern are development, infrastructure, safety of our citizens and organization.

As the campaign continues, I will express my viewpoints on each of the above mentioned areas of concern and where I stand on each.

As a candidate for county commissioner I ask for your support and more important your vote. I appeal to both my Democratic and Republican friends and I promise to give of myself in every way for the best future of Washington County.

May God bless each and every citizen of Washington County.

Paul L. Swartz
Hagerstown

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