The candidates were asked: 1. In your opinion what are the two major problems or issues facing local elected officials of your county?
2. What is your position in these issues? How would you change existing policies on these issues? At Large (Vote for 5) Seymour Barondes, 50, of 9905 Dellwood Ave., Columbia, has been president of the Howard County Citizens Association and was cofounder of county Jewish Council.
1. a) Growing tax burden on property owners resulting from indiscriminate growth in cost and size of county government. b.) The inaccessinility, failure to reflect the interests of all segments of the electorate and arrogance of power which characterizes the current leadership of the county government.
2. Freeze property taxes, paid by homeowners, at current levels, with some allowance for inflation and then fit government expenditures to this lid on income. Elect new people who by their background and actions show they have a commitment to accessibility and openness in government and a concern for all the diverse interests in the county. Elizabeth Bobe, 34, of 4610 S. Leisure Ct., Ellicott City, is currently a Howard County Council member. She has been chairwoman of county Board of Appeals.
1. Economic development and controlling expenditures in a rapidly growing county.
2. Howard County needs a more aggressive and effective economic development program to attract business and industry to our county and thereby aid the tax base. We need to be very careful, however, that in our concern over the tax situation, we do not accept any and all business and industry which indicates an interest in locating here. This could destroy the very special character of Howard County which attracted so many of our residents. Rather, we need to take advantage of our uniquely desirable location and be selective. In this way we can achieve the beneficial economic effects without the detrimental environmental and social factors present in some of the surrounding jurisdictions.
In a country which is experiencing such tremendous pressure for growth from both the Baltimore and Washington corridors, it is difficult to keep pace with provision of services. We need to very carefully balance economic, environmental and social considerations in dealing with our budget. R. Franklyn Collins, 50, of 5471 Old Columbia Rd., Columbia, is a former chief judge of the Appeals Tax Court of Howard County and has been active in party politics.
1. Controlling the rapid growth and cost of county government and finding and implementing a solution to the alternate financing of the debt of the Columbia Association and allowing Columbia citizens to deduct as a tax the special assessment they pay the association.
2. A disproportionate share of increased government costs are in the area of administration and not in direct services to our citizens. As a councilman I would institute a program of reviewing existing programs to ensure that they are efficiently and adequately being carried out. I would require the county executive to reduce the administration part of his budget and institute controls to keep these costs in line. As a councilman, I would support the legislation required to implement the form of special taxing district or municipality which the Columbia citizens decide to use to allow the sale of tax free bonds and would qualify the 75 percent per $100 of assessment as a tax and allow its deduction from federal and state income taxes. Sue-Ellen Hantman, 33, of 6281 Tufted Moss, Columbia, has been active in volunteer organisations and League of Women Voters.
1. Taxes - keep growth down and maintain a human service orientation - and zoning.
2. I would like to keep the costs of the administration of government from growing more rapidly than inflation and population growth require, by making those agencies as efficient as possible, and by placing funding priorities in direct-service programs. We must develop an aggressive program to seek out environmentally safe business and industry which will increase the assessible base in the county and relieve the residential burden.
I would be careful to permit "planned" growth to occur without destroying the balance of open space within the county. Proposed changes in zoning status which would endanger open space must be reviewed very carefully and approved as infrequently as possible. Zoning regulations (also a job of the County Council) must be carefully reviewed and revised to make the procedural rights of citizens throughout the county more equitable. Ruth Keeton, 59, of 10989 Swansfield Rd., Columbia, is currently a County Council member and has been active in community affairs.
1. My two major issues for Howard County are: (a) Can our communities both old and new (Ellicott City, Elkridge, Savage, Lisbon, North Laurel, Guilford, Columbia) respect one another's priorities and work together to achieve them? (b) What balance between government services and government expenditures do our citizens want?
2. I believe the first question is basic to our future. We can be a county that welcomes and builds on our diversity. I would continue developing neighborhood master plans but focus on implementing them. The county must give delivery on master plans an AAA status - Administrative Authority, Advocacy and Action are immediate requirements. Better coordination of timing and location of capital projects intended to strengthen our communities is also essential.
As for the second issue, I believe priorities for services are maintaining excellent education for children and adults, personal and community safety and better housing alternatives. On expenditures - let's focus on increasing our efficiency and productivity to get the most for our tax dollars. For example: Do regular program audits. Use life cycle cost standards for new county building, develop energy conservation, speed up water use conservation to reduce expensive sewer construction demands, and build our school playing field to higher standards to increase their safety and community use. Lloyd G. Knowles, 44, of 9522 Pepple Dr., Columbia, is Howard County Council chairman. He has served on other county boards.
1. Maintaining a high quality environment in the midst of tremendous development pressures incident to Howard County being half-way between Washington and Baltimore. And taxes - alternatives to property taxes at local option; close control of local budget.
2. As chairman of the Zoning Board which recently adopted the first comprehensive prezoning for Howard County since 1961, I wish to point out that his document provides a strong mandate for steering the inevitable development of the country to those areas where public services can be easily and economically provided. This zoning plan must be defended from those special interests who would raise havoc with the orderly high quality development for which we have worked so hard.
This year the state legislature must provide the local jurisdictions with optional ways to shift away from the very unpopular residential tax. But even more important, on the other side of the ledger, local public officials must be able to say "No" more often. The low tax rate in Howard County shows that the incumbents have been able to do that while maintaining an enviable level of services. Virginia Thomas, 37, of 6153 Forty Winks Way, Columbia, is chairwoman of the Howard County Health Board. She's past chairwoman of County Council.
1. and 2. Issue: How to channel the growth of a strategically located county without losing the qualities which made it so attractive to home-buyers in the first place?
Policy: Conscientious adherence to the General Plan's scheme of balanced, rational growth and preservation of open space and farmlands. I am committed to completing the rural study within the next year so we can encourage continuation of farming as an industry in the county, along with the adoption of sector plans to preserve and enhance such established historic neighborhoods as Ellicott City, Elkridge and Lisbon. Vigilance on the state level so that the welfare of county residents is not sacrificed to the convenience of larger counties in the region when roads, water reservoirs and sewage disposal facilities are being located.
Issue: How to keep the tax rate low without jeopardizing the quality of basic services?
Policy: To expand the tax base through aggressive recruitment of non-polluting industries which also provide stable year-round employment opportunities. In the course of implementing the General Plan, we set aside an additional 1,000 acres along the Route 1 corridor to accommodate industrial development. To resist attempts by the state to return the costs of school construction to the localities. This would be especially hard on Howard County with its growing school-age population. Frederick S. Weaver, 40, of 9005 Blue Pool, Columbia, has been a member of the Howard County Personnel Board and chairman for three years.
1. Alternative financing for Columbia and efficient land use are the two major issues in Howard County this election year.
2. Many of us see alternative financing of the Columbia Association as a means of reducing the debt, the debt service and the overhead needed to manage the debt. In order for any alternative financing system to be a viable one, I feel the community of Columbia and the local government should agree on the promotion of an alternative within the next two years.
Whether the final solution is municipal incorporation or special tax districting it should be one that is tailored to putting CA on a sound financial footing.
Effective land use is an issue that has been brought to the forefront of Howard County politics through the creation of Columbia. The dream of keeping a balance between commercial, residential and rural development must be maintained both within Columbia's borders and throughout the rest of the county. It is through appropriate zoning and legislative measures that Howard County's land and resources might best be preserved. Kenneth W. Yeager, 32, of 5916-11 Stevens Forest Rd., Columbia, has been a congressional aide and an investigator for the State's Attorney's Office in Howard County.
1. Property taxes and economic development.
2. Property taxes should be tied to providing property owner services such as police, fire, water and sewer, roads, etc. An income or sales tax should provide revenues for public service such as consumer protection, legal aid, etc.
Thomas M. Yeager did not respond.