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James F. Kercheval, Republican

July 24, 2006

The Washington County Commissioners have set a good foundation in managing growth, but more work is needed, Commissioner James F. Kercheval said.

It's one of the reasons why the Republican has decided to seek re-election.

Kercheval, 41, said effective and long-term regional planning is necessary, especially as the commissioners are expected to consider the rezoning of urban areas.

Needed road repairs and traffic problems can be reduced just by having the proper long-term planning in place, Kercheval said.

"You need to start looking further out, because things happen so quickly," he said.

An example of long-term planning is the county's pavement maintenance program, in which the commissioners have pledged spending $5 million a year on road repairs over a five-year period, he said.

Kercheval said the commissioners quadrupled the amount the county had been contributing toward road repairs.

The commissioners have also over the last four years increased spending for education, school construction projects, achieved an AA bond rating and is managing growth through its Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance (APFO).

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"So when I look back at what we did ... we are much better off than we've ever been as a county," he said.

He also thinks charter home rule, which will be an issue for the next board, can work in the county.

He said it allows local residents and local governments to make more local decisions without depending on state lawmakers in Annapolis.

Kercheval, former owner of Kerch's Southern BBQ, lives in Hagerstown with his wife, Clair, and three sons, Jacob, 7, Garrett, 5 and Luke, 10 months.

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