HAGERSTOWN — Editor’s note: This is one in an series of profiles of candidates running for office in the April 3 primary election.
Cost containment and “figuring out a way for the city to pay for itself” are the top priorities for political newcomer Lauren “Larry” Bayer as he seeks a seat on the Hagerstown City Council in this year’s municipal elections.
“We definitely have to lower the tax rate,” he said. “It’s way, way too high compared to the rest of the state. We’ve got to attract more businesses with higher-paying jobs and at the same time we have to work on rejuvenating the downtown.”
Bayer, 61, of 1207 Hamilton Blvd., is one of six Republican candidates on the April 3 primary ballot. The top five vote-getters will advance to the Nov. 6 general election.
All five seats on the city council are up for grabs.
Bayer, who retired after being employed by the city for 30 years, said he would bring experience and a new perspective to the council, particularly in the area of budgeting.
“I understand the deeds of the city,” Bayer said. “I’ve worked with community groups since we started Neighborhoods 1st 10 years ago. I ran the Department of Community Development for seven years, so I’ve got a very good understanding of what we need to do as far as growth.”
As for Hagerstown’s downtown area, Bayer said the city has to develop a collaborative plan between the city, county and property owners.
It would take more than one thing to turn the downtown around, he said.
“It’s got to be a plan that people can rally around and support,” he said. “Once that’s developed, then we can start implementing it. If there was just one or two things you could do, it would have already been taken care of.”
With the future of the Hagerstown Suns up in the air, Bayer said he feels the city needs to do whatever it takes to keep the Class A Minor League team.
“We need to make Hagerstown a destination for people looking for housing, entertainment, recreation and jobs,” he said. “We can’t afford to let the Suns leave town. I would be in favor of doing upgrades at the stadium ... and I would be open to discussion of a new stadium.”
Bayer is a 1968 graduate of Smithsburg High School and earned an associate degree from Hagerstown Community College in 1976.
Bayer is on the GOP ballot in the primary with incumbent Forrest W. Easton, and challengers Jonathan R. Burrs, Jeffrey Coney, Chris Kelly and Don Munson.
City council members serve terms of four years, earn $8,000 annually and are eligible for city health benefits.
Lauren “Larry” Bayer
Date of birth: Oct. 30, 1950
Address: 1207 Hamilton Blvd.
Education: Graduate of Smithsburg High School, 1968; associate degree from Hagerstown Community College, 1976.
Occupation: Retired after 30 years as a city employee
Party affiliation: Republican
Political experience: None