There is no question that I would trim expenses instead of raising taxes. Why? The last thing our citizens need in these tough economic times is their income diminished by increased taxes. I would try to balance the county's budget by looking for excess within the budget. And, I think that could be done. Raising taxes implies that we would increase spending. This would be the wrong thing to do at the wrong time.
John "Jack" Miller, 67
11905 Sycamore Drive, Hagerstown
The first priority for the county government should be to balance its budget by controlling costs in areas where they have some control. According to the government's Economic Index, 20% of Americans suffered a significant economic loss last year -- the highest level in 25 years. Citizens in Washington County have experienced some of this pain.
John Munson, 69
17817 Bluebell Drive, Hagerstown
By cutting expenses. There are many people that are unemployed that cannot afford to pay more taxes also there (are) many that have low paying jobs or living on social security and are just getting by and do not have additional money to pay higher taxes.
Kevin S. Simmers, 45
No street address at
The county needs to cut expenses. Department heads need to submit their cutting suggestions to the county administrator and the commissioners. Commissioners need to review services not in great demand. If the County's commercial and residential construction is significantly lower than 3 years ago, we have to look at the staffing levels for permits and inspections. "Take-home vehicle" policies need to be reviewed. Offer incentives for early retirement (to) lower the total compensation package for positions filled by people at the high end of the pay scale. I'm opposed to raising taxes that would hurt small businesses (and) to excise taxes on building.
Nick G. Vindivich Jr., 49
8989 Light St., Williamsport
I am absolutely against raising taxes especially property if reelected and believe that the County Budget could still shave off a few percentage points in the next Fiscal Year. The added burden of increased taxes on current citizens in these "Challenging Economic" times would only slow the recovery and further reduce positive revenues for services.
Robin Lynne Wivell, 45
49 E. Water St., Smithsburg
The budget should be balanced through cutting expenses, as necessary. Just like each individual's household budget, the County must live within its budgeted revenues which increase as the assessment base and income taxes increase. I believe that peoples' disposable income is already reduced enough by the many taxes and fees imposed upon them. County government does not need to add to that burden any more than it already has. The County should look to have its revenues restored by the State, build upon the assessable base, fund only essential operations of government, and continue to scrutinize expenditures.
Question: If forced to make budget cuts, name one area you would work hard to protect and one area you would suggest be cut first. Be specific.
Baker: Education and public safety are critical areas to protect. If reductions are necessary due to declining revenues, then all budget areas will need to share in the reduction to some extent.
Barr: First and foremost I truly believe that it is the local government's responsibility for the operation of quality public education and public safety. Although it will be apparent over the next few years to cover increases or cost of living factors, this level and quality must be maintained. Washington County has been very frugal and aware of state and federal cuts. The number of much needed and well thought out new projects, road enhancements and other initiatives will be postponed and/or eliminated from long range budget planning.