Voters Guide - Washington County Commissioners

October 30, 2006
(Page 3 of 4)

2. The current Washington County Board of Commissioners appointed an Affordable Housing Committee that was given the task of studying the issue. They did an exceptional job, however, like many county issues, the commissioners have lacked the will to act, opting to wait for another day. When elected, I will advocate for initiating many of the committee's suggestions, plus adopt parts of Montgomery County's "inclusionary zoning" model for Washington County.

3. Washington County's future is based on our environmental initiatives. Proper preservation with managed development will occur if we meet state regulations concerning our most precious resources - water and sewer. Last year, HB1141 was passed with a "water resource" element that will dictate that certain guidelines be followed for growth to take place. This legislation, along with the county developing a "Transferable Development Rights" program, will solve many of the issues that we've brought on ourselves.

4. County citizens should vote for me because I've a proven track record as a public servant, because I've demonstrated a strong work ethic, because I use common sense in representing the taxpayers, because I'm fiscally responsible, because I serve on numerous boards and commissions and have my hand on the community's pulse, and because I'll go that eleventh-mile day in and day out to assure that the citizens of Washington County are served.


James F. Kercheval, 41


1. After much study, I support Charter government. As a fast growing county, we need the ability to react quickly when local issues arise. With Charter government, we still have the checks and balances between the state and county (specifically on taxes and bonding authority). However, local officials could make more decisions on local issues without going through the partisan bureaucracy in Annapolis. This would also give our delegation more time to deal with state issues.

2. This year, we reserved $1 million for affordable housing initiatives. The affordable housing battle must be fought on multiple fronts including incentives or bonus densities for affordable housing; maintaining adequate housing supply without overtaxing schools and infrastructure; offering tax incentives for conversion of downtown buildings; reviewing ordinances, impact fees and allocation policies (for limited sewer and school capacity) to encourage construction of affordable housing; providing quality education; and attracting high-paying jobs to increase household incomes.

3. Funding easement purchase programs is the top priority. Last term produced record funding for land preservation. We must also foster initiatives to keep farming profitable, such as the AG Marketing Specialist or our BIO Diesel initiative, which creates new profitable markets for farmers. We must continue working with all stakeholders to designate priority areas for preservation to preserve farmland in large agricultural blocks, and write our ordinances to protect farmers from conflicts with adjacent development.

4. Born and raised in Washington County, I'm committed to keeping our community a great place to raise a family. As a successful small business owner, I know how to manage budgets and staff in an efficient manner. I'm active in the community, holding leadership roles in many organizations. I know the issues in depth, have built the critical relationships with state and local officials, and strive to be approachable, honest and fair as a commissioner.

John C. Munson, 65


1. I do not support charter home rule. I think we need the oversight from the Washington County Delegation. County government has not had a problem getting passed by delegation. I do think the public should have the final word on charter home rule and I did vote to take the charter home rule proposal to the voter in 2008.

2. A. The county should require developers to have a certain number of affordable homes in each development.

B. The county should provide low interest loans to people of low to median incomes so that they can make the payments.

C. The county should provide reduced property tax for a certain period of time. Possibly starting out with a 50 percent reduction then each of the following years it would go up 10 percent per year.

3. A. Keep trying to get more money from the state.

B. Try to get three votes from the commissioners to increase the county's share of money from $400,000 to $1 million a year for land preservation. At this time, the county has 42,000 acres under preservation.

4. A. I am retired and have the time required to do the job.

B. I will continue to work to keep the cost of government down and to prevent any tax increases.

C. I will always answer my phone, respond to letters and e-mails and do my best to help people with county problems.

D. I will continue to support the Board of Education and Hagerstown Community College.

Paul L. Swartz, 68


The Herald-Mail Articles