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Knepper: To succeed, we've all got to work

September 07, 2006|by Edward Knepper

The upcoming election is crucial to the citizens of Washington County. Depending on whether they are registered Republicans or Democrats, citizens will select five nominees from their party's candidates for county commissioner. Following the November general election, the five elected must represent Washington County citizens and have their best interests at heart. As a commissioner candidate, I'd like to share a few ideas that I feel will best serve the interests of the county and its citizens.

I propose that the commissioners have town hall meetings on a regular basis throughout the county so that you, the citizens, may voice your concerns. It is vitally important that citizens have input and that the commissioners hear your voices.

Growth is now a major issue in our county. At the present time, the housing market has slowed down. We should take this time to re-evaluate where future growth should take place. I propose developing a master plan that limits growth to areas close to or within the corporate boundaries of towns and the city where the necessary infrastructure to support it already exists. Also, as a means of providing planned and orderly growth, I propose a tax break be given to citizens who live within the corporate boundaries of these areas.

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I believe we have to help the senior citizens of Washington County. Many of them are on fixed incomes and are unable to afford increasing property taxes. I would be in favor of reducing their property taxes, pro-rated upon income considerations, and continuing to do so every two years until they reach the age of 80, at which time they would be exempt from paying county taxes.

We need to have affordable housing for our citizens who live and work here in Washington County. I propose that approximately 15 percent of the houses that are to be built within the county be affordable for all our local citizens. At present, the median price of housing in the county is beyond the means of the median-income families in Washington County.

I am and will be supportive of the Board of Education. A well-educated work force is crucial to bringing jobs and businesses to our area. With a skilled and educated work force, we can all be winners and profit by the increased and intelligent investments in our schools.

I support tax relief measures to help existing businesses and support incentives for new businesses.

The county plan is to set aside 50,000 acres for land preservation by the year 2020. In order for our county to keep green space, we must accelerate the date so that this goal is met and lasts in the ensuing years.

The county is going to adopt charter home rule. I propose two representatives be chosen or elected from each municipality and each community of legitimate interest so that all concerns are addressed and represented in setting the home rule policy.

We have a budget of $305 million. To manage this amount of money properly and intelligently takes a large commitment of time. Being retired, I am willing and able to devote that time to the commission.

The city and the county must work together in unison. This may mean taking a hard look at policies already established and inviting change. I am willing to take this step. The county and city should not be competitive, but should strive together to make our larger community the best possible for all its residents.

I desire your support and vote. I pledge that the trust you place in me will be returned to you by sincere, honest and caring representation on the Board of County Commissioners - representation that has at its core the best interests of all the citizens of our county.

If we always do what we have always done, we will always get what we always got.

Edward L. Knepper, Candidate for Washington County Commissioner together

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