Jonathan Ryan Burrs - Hagerstown City Council Candidates Q&A

October 13, 2012
File photo

Name: Jonathan Ryan Burrs
Date of birth: Dec. 3, 1970
Address: 950 Lanvale St.
Education (highest attained): Computer Programming, Army Computer Science School
Occupation: Principal Business Analyst, Phoenix Team, JLG Industries
Party affiliation: Republican
Political experience: N/A

Q: A significant amount of public taxpayer money over a long period has been committed to help pay for the local share of debt service on the proposed multiuse sports and events center. If elected, would you continue to support this? Why or why not?

A: No, I do not support taxpayer money being used for the proposed multiuse sports and events center First, I believe proponents of the proposal have misled taxpayers on the facts concerning the MUSEC. Second, the proposed location is too crammed for a new stadium and the roads do not provide for easy access to and from events, particularly the larger events. Lastly, according to a working paper series by economists Dennis Coates and Brad Humphreys for the NAASE and IASE, 86 percent of sports surveyed economists believe local and state governments should eliminate subsidies to sports franchises.

Q: How would you entice businesses to locate within city limits?

A: I think Hagerstown should focus on identifying and resolving the real versus perceived city issues and the root causes for the depressed economy in Hagerstown rather than coming up with one off and half-baked gimmicks to entice businesses to locate within city limits only to have these same businesses relocate outside the city limits a short time after or in other instances go out of business with a mountain of debt they are unable to pay.

Q: In your opinion, what issue will be the most crucial facing the upcoming administration? How will you help address it?

A: I don’t believe there is any one issue more crucial than another that will face the next administration nor am I so naïve as to attempt to quantify city issues without first performing my own analysis from within.

What I do know is crimes have increased with criminals getting bolder and bolder, the number of empty properties has increased, city staff and services such as trash collection have decreased, and taxpayers continue to endure the consequences for the failures of past and current administration’s policies and promises.

Q: Do you think Hagerstown’s downtown can be truly “revitalized?” If so, what besides a new stadium, can the city do to spur the process?

A: First, I do not believe the proposed stadium project will spur downtown revitalization and second, yes I do truly believe the downtown can be revitalized. Many of us remember living in Hagerstown in 1996 (when) we were recognized by Money Magazine as one of the safest cities in America.  I remember the pride I felt about living in Hagerstown when the article was published and I’m sure many of you shared that same feeling. Today, Hagerstown isn’t even one of Maryland top 20 safest cities so is it a surprise there’s fewer businesses and foot traffic in the downtown?

Q: Does Hagerstown have enough public safety personnel? If not, what changes would you make and how would you fund any increases?

A: I’m not in the position to say whether Hagerstown has enough safety personnel or not. However, I do believe the problem with crime is deeper than having enough safety personnel.

The Herald-Mail Articles