Name: Robert “Bob” Bruchey II
Date of birth: Sept. 16, 1958
Address: 905 Woodland Way, Hagerstown
Education: Hagerstown Junior College, majored in criminal justice
Occupation: Retired, Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services; automotive industry
Party affiliation: Republican
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?
Absolutely. This project creates an opportunity for the city to leverage private and public dollars to improve the downtown area and increase the tax base. Factoring in conservative revenue numbers, the city/county subsidy will be less than the city funds the current stadium. This project includes demolition of condemned buildings, a new parking deck (assisting in reinvestment of West Washington Street, Summit Avenue and Jonathan Street), street improvements, and a state-of-the-art multiuse sports and events center. This project will create short-term construction jobs and put feet on the street, bringing new businesses and jobs to Hagerstown.
Q: How would you entice businesses to locate within city limits?
First and foremost, we need to promote our streamlined permits and inspections processes to ensure that businesses can move forward with projects. After all, time is money. This is followed by insuring the city has the transportation and other infrastructure ready to support businesses so they can be successful here. Businesses have used the city’s business development programs to relocate or expand their business. The Bergman Eye Clinic, Bright Eyes Day Care, Dynamark and Sheetz are examples of how working with our state and county governments, we can help new and existing businesses grow and expand in Hagerstown.
Q: In your opinion, what issue will be the most crucial facing the upcoming administration? How will you help address it?
Creating jobs in a slowly recovering economy. We need to continue to think outside the box when it comes to being creative in our budgeting process. My administration has worked hard to keep our tax rate low, even when we suffered great budget cuts, allowing us to be competitive. We have great working relationships with our county and state economic development departments, and we will continue to utilize their expertise, along with our own EDC staff, to recruit new business that translates into jobs. Infrastructure, incentives and education will move our citizens into the future.
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?
Yes. Education, government, law, corporate headquarters, arts and entertainment, and high-tech businesses will be the staples of our downtown. Shops, restaurants and commercial retail businesses will support them and our citizens. A new parking deck and the programs that we have in place, (www.hagerstownadvance.com) will contribute to increases in business in our core. Partnerships with the Washington County EDC and Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development have been cultivated and are critical to secure new business for our core. Socioeconomic change in our core cannot happen without economic change. The MUSEC will be a part of that catalyst for change.
Does Hagerstown have enough public safety personnel? If not, what changes would you make and how would you fund any increases?
No. With significant revenue lost from decreased assessments and federal, state and county funding, the city had unfunded vacancies the past few years. Utilizing speed-camera revenue, we should be able to fund our public safety personnel (police and fire) to the level of 2008. I recently swore in three police officers and have five veterans slated for the academy. Speed-camera revenue can only be used for public safety. Supplanting that revenue into public safety through our general fund can help reduce taxpayer liability for public safety. The result: those who break the law help fund public safety.