Candidates were asked:
1. Would you favor a mandatory limit on annual percentage increases in the county budget? If so, what kind of limit would you set?
2. Do you feel that there is enough housing available in the county for families with annual income of $20,000 or less? If not, what would you do to promote the development for low-and moderate-income housing?
3. Do you think the county government is doing enough to attract new commercial and industrial development to the county? What specific steps, if any, would you take to attract such development At-Large (Vote for 2) Rose Crenca, 52, of 9101 Flower Ave., Silver Spring, is a licensed real estate agent and former school teacher. She is active in many civic groups.
1. Yes - one geared to accommodate both the CPI and the county growth. But I would want a provision for an "override" of the limit, by government if an emergency arouse.
2. No. Continue to implement MPDU concept. Use county bonds to provide construction loans (better interest rate). Issue building permits preferentially for these projects. Present our existing stock of such housing via housing code enforcement and county planning process.
3.Probably not. Implement excellent suggestions in recent report of the new Office Economic Development Resolve the sewer crisis. Improve transportation (especially mass transit). Work toward a more adequate, varied (price-wise) housing supply for employees. Reduce property tax. Reduce red tape and complexity. Promise incentives to desirable employers.Revitalize business areas like downtown Silver Spring. Provide an inventory of land and its zoning in the county as a possible means to encourage optional use. Encourage better relationship between residential and commercial and industrial communities. They are mutually dependent. Scott Fosler, 33, of 4104 Woodbine St., Chevy Chase, is the director of government studies, Committee for Economic Development. He has been a management consultant.
1. I would favor a limit that reflected real per capita costs of county government, with provision for emergency increases requiring public hearing and an extraordinary majority vote of the County Council.
2. Insufficient numbers of affordable homes is one of the key problems facing the county. The county currently lacks, and sorely needs, a comprehensive housing plan that would spell out need, cost, and the appropriate roles of federal, state and county governments in working with the private sector. It is then the special responsibility of the county government not only to effectively perform its role, but to assure that the other sectors perform theirs as well.
3. A more effective program to expand the county tax base would include: reducing the cost of construction and property ownership (e.g. by minimizing construction delays and property taxes); providing adequately zoned land as envisioned in the general plan; providing appropriate public facilities; identification of cost-effective development (i.e. that generates more in tax revenue than it costs in public services); attracting such new economic activity; supporting business already in the country; and establishing cooperative relationships between government, business and citizens. Mable Granke, 53, of 1311 Downs Dr., Silver Spring, is a county planning commissioner. She has served on several county boards.
1. Whenever mandatory limits are set, that limit usually becomes the budget and does not take into account how dollars can be saved. I do favor the program of zero base budget process with the council setting guideline ceiling based on projections of revenue and need.
2. No, concurrent actions which include priority assignment of sewage capacity, governmental of sewage capacity, governmental support in area of land cost and long-term financing costs.
3. There must be aggressive seeking of economic interests to settle in Montomery County based on support for priority assignment of sewage capacity to adopted Sector Plans such as Silver Spring and Bethesda Central Business Districts so that projects representing employment opportunity and economic growth can go forward.An inclusive public transportation system including completion of Metro; adequate water supply and quality education system are imperative if we are to attract industry. Thomas N. Hamilton, 32, of 9115 Crosby Rd., Silver Spring, is a self-employed housing consultant. He was executive director of the county Office of Landlord-Tenant Affairs.
1. I support the concept or an annual mandatory limit on increases in the county budget. I prefer a system which allows the budget a maximum increase equal to three-fourths of the Consumer Price Index for the Washington area. Before implementing such a program, however, I would like to see an overall decrease in the budget of approximately 10 percent.
2. There is very little housing in the county for families earning $20,000 or less. Most of what is available at this income level is rental; with an income of $20,000, it is very difficult to purchase a home. To solve this problem, I propose to consolidate the county's various housing agencies under one roof and call it the Department of Housing. By consolidating these agencies, better control of their related functions shall be achieved. Through this new department, I propose to facilitate the construction of more homes and apartments at prices that a family earning $15,000 to $25,000 can afford.
3.Not enough is being done to attract environmentally compatible light industry and white-collar research firms to the county. Such firms are needed to broaden the county's tax load on homeowners. I propose to solve this problem by creating a special, but temporary, branch of government within the present Department of Community and Economic Development. Its sole responsibility would be to attract environmentally compatible industry by untangling the red tape and generally facilitating the location of such firms in Montgomery County. Sally F. Kanchuger, 43, of 10908 Picasso La., Potomac, is a volunteer and community activist. She has been director of the Montgomery County League of Women Voters.
1. Yes, it is a technique I would favor, in view of citizen concerns about their tax burdens and my own intention to work to tighten up the operations of county government, eliminate duplications and increase coordination in the provision of services. I am interested in the proposal made by Council members John Menke and William Colman that annual county budget increases be limited to the increase in the rate of inflation, unless an extraordinary council majority voted to exceed that limit.
2. No. We need to encourage the building of low-and moderate-income housing by making a clear policy determination of the amount of such housing needed and then, using the tools available to county government, to promote it. These can include: using federal funds where available for Section 8 housing, elderly housing and other specialized types of low-and moderate-income housing; county borrowing at favorable interest rates (possible because of our good bond rating) and lending to builders at interest rates lower than are available in the private market; and promoting neighborhoods with a mix of housing types through use of the zoning power.
3. The county's Office of Economic Development in the past year has worked to catalogue land available for commercial and industrial installations and make this information available to prospective developers. The executive and council have made a commitment to work with the business community on methods for encouraging such development. I think the county is on the right track and would work to continue such efforts. Nathan L. Wilansky, 59, of 1805 Sanford Rd., Silver Spring, is a retired federal procurement executive. He has been active in civic affairs.
1. Yes. A spending limit should be set whereby the annualized cost of basic government services adjusted for inflation (and population growth if applicable) is not exceeded. Priorities, flexibilities within services categories, etc. must prevail to check unrestricted program growth.
2. No. Aggressively pursue increased federal monetary assistance, primarily Section 8 subsidized housing; expedite the ISSP which relates to the 70 percent sewer capacity set aside for low and moderate income housing; target the 17,000 rental units needed by 1985 as top priority.
3. I'm not real sure exactly what the county is doing in this regard. That, perhaps, is the problem. Reduced government spending per capita; decreased property taxation; a shift to a progressive income tax base; improved housing; the retention of our attractive market; continued resistance to sprawl, etc., are all steps which when carried out on an integrated basis will attract industrial-commercial development. District 1 (Vote for 1) Neal Potter, 63, of 6891 Brookville Rd., Chevy Chase, is an economist who has been a member of the County Council since 1970.
1. Limits set before needs and problems are known prevent democratic decision-making and risk failure to provide for necessary services. Most county funds come from property taxes; relief can be obtained through fairer assessments, reduction of federal-and state-mandated local expenditures, good planning and administration by experienced and economy-minded officials.
2. No. Increase availability of land with public services; reduce unnecessary building code requirements; cut interest costs through county issue of revenue bonds (payable by builders out of their receipts). Also, continue requirements for moderate-price dwelling units in large subdivisions; encourage measures to reduce land and building costs, such as well-planned modular units and use of federal funds for moderate-cost housing.
3. Expanded program to attract desirable industry is under way, now that sewer capacity shortage has been relieved. Montgomery County's leadership would be further advanced by increasing the inventory of industrially zoned land, completing the Metro system, building vital road links, expediting the review and granting of permits for construction. Maintaining excellent schools, good government, economically managed, and securing executive leadership for a favorable climate are also important to business growth. Helen Strang, 54, 9525 Linden Ave., Bethesda, is an educator. She has been active in civic and party ogranizations.
1. My personal preference would be for the election of officials responsive to the public demand for frugality in spending and efficiency in delivering effective, high-quality services which meet widely acceptable needs. However, that approach may no longer satisfy many citizens (how many will be determined in November). If a limit most be established I would prefer an approach similar to that under discussion by the current County Council: limiting percentage increases to the rise in the Consumer Price Index plus 2 percent unless there is approval by five members of the council.
2. I do not feel there is sufficient housing for people in this income group. To promote the development of low-and moderate-income housing the fullest use should be made of programs which give federal and state assistance to local government, the county credit rating should be used to float bonds at low interest rates, tax incentives might be offered, and regulations could be improved that would permit the use of mobile homes.
3. No.I think there should be a more aggressive policy to acquaint industrial and commercial enterprises with the advantages of establishment in Montgomery County. An inventory of available, suitably zoned land should be assessed. Existing business areas should be revitalized to protect small businesses, to allow for expansion of existing businesses and to accommodate new businesses. District 3 (Vote for 1) Esther P. Gelman, 47, of 8719 Postoak Rd., Potomac, has been a member of the Montgomery County Council since 1974.
1. Good government certainly requires prudent control of the county budget both on the revenue and expenditure side. It would be unwise, however, to impose straitjackets of the Proposition 13 variety. They are not required in Montgomery County where taxes and spending have been kept under careful constraint and where unwarranted surpluses have not been accumulated (as was the case in California). Broadening of the tax base is essential, however, to relieve pressure on individual homeowners.
2. Expedited action on housing and apartment construction on appropriately zoned land is needed to relieve pressures on housing costs and rents which have made Montgomery County too expensive for many of our children and parents. Rent control is self-defeating, resulting in condominium conversion and reduced rate of investment. I have supported a federal-backed program to reduce interest charges plus rent supplements for elderly and low-income groups. Use of county bonding authority to help reduce interest costs on new apartments is another possible approach deserving careful consideration.
3. Attraction of additional commercial and industrial development is a top priority. We have been hampered recently by lack of needed sewer capacity and assured water supply. The ending of the sewer moratorium and extension of Metro along Georgia Avenue and Rockville Pike should permit planned and balanced growth in Silver Spring and Bethesda central business districts. Together with continuing efforts to attract research and development firms to the Interstate 270 Corridor, with relief roads (Great Seneca Highway), this should add substantially during the next five to 10 years to the county's tax base and provide more jobs for our growing population. I am strongly opposed to the "No Growth" attitude which says, "I've got mine and I don't care about the next fellow." Provision of the infrastructure necessary to sustain planned growth (water, sewer, transportation facilities, etc.) is an obligation of responsible government; avoidance of this responsibility brings deadlock, crisis and eventual judicial rule. Alvin T. Schneyer, 56, of 10500 Rockville Pike, Rockville, is a project manager and engineer. He has been active in tenant affairs.
1. No. Would establish a policy of gradual property and income tax reductions over a prescribed period consistent with realistic operating and capital needs, consistent with strengthening the county's economic base and wage earners payroll.
2. Not enough housing. Use rezoning incentives, tax relief. Make county-owned or moderately-priced land and sewage capacity available. Expand federally financed Section 8 Program. Each new development must contain a percentage of low-to moderate-income dwelling units. Low interest and no "points" Maryland Community Development Administration construction loans. County Housing Opportunities Commission revenue bonds and tax-free mortgages. Abate taxes on multi-dwelling units for three years.
3. No. Provide those incentives necessary to attract particular types of new development consistent with general plan and currently available public service facilities. Provide housing to retain labor source. Improve education system important to attracting personnel of new business. Intra-county and Inter-regional public transportation system. Provide a convention center capability and regional commuter airport capability at Montgomery Airfield. District 4 (Vote for 1) Michael L. Gudis, 42, of 14809 Old Columbia Pike, Burtonsville, is a financial management consultant. He has been active in community affairs.
1. I don't believe a mandatory limit based upon percentage increases is practical. I believe the County Council should establish annual guidelines in relation to a budget ceiling. I am a strong advocate of zero-based budgeting which requires the administrator of each program to justify all of the costs associated with their program.
A mandatory limit is sometimes not practical because new federal and state regulations regarding grants justify additional costs. It is not reasonable to eliminate costs and lose federal and state funds.
2. No, just the opposite is true. The use of county-backed revenue bonds, which will reduce the interest on financing, must be utilized. Before the financing is approved, the developer must sign an agreement which provides for lower rental prices or lower costs of housing to the consumer.
3. No. Many corporations are locating in the Washington metropolitan area, but not in Montgomery County. We must promote a good attitude towards business and encourage them to locate in Montgomery County. We must provide water and sewer facilities as well as efficient transportation in order to attract commercial and industrial development in the county. We should actively recruit business development and provide the services detailed above as well as promoting the excellent educational facilities we have in the county. Jane Ann Moore, of 11400 Clover Hill Dr., Silver Spring, is a Montgomery County Council member.
1. A limit on the property tax, which increased 20 percent more than the cost of living in the six years from fiscal year '72 to fiscal year '78, is clearly necessary. However, such a limit would have severe impact on the quality of education in the county, if the financial plan for 100 miles of Metro is accepted with our present taxing authority. We can't have a property tax limit, 100 miles of Metro and keep quality education. I lean toward waiting for the Metro until the riders and the money for it are available.
A property tax limit is necessary because elderly and small home owners are hurting and fear the future. A cut in present levels of spending in county government and a slow down in the increase of water and sewer rates is possible by suspending premature public works projects. Prince George's County already has 15 mgd of excess sewage treatment capacity for which Montgomery County citizens have paid one-half the cost. We should not build new capacity in addition. Our sewage capacity needs from 1983 to 1993 are currently projected at 4.5 mgd, plus 5.5 mgd as possible reserve for the District and 10 mgd as "cushion." We don't need large sewer treatment facilities now. Water Project 80 won't be needed for a decade either.
Regarding Metro, a nearly full 68-mile system is preferable to a nearly half-full 100-mile system. Our share of the local costs is between 16 to 18 percent of $500 million more in construction costs, from $300 million to $600 million annual operating deficits and one billion dollar revenue bond debt plus interest. These costs have not been included in any six [WORD ILLEGIBLE] CIP; they are new costs, except for $100 million dollar operating deficit. The decision to accept the financial plan for 100 miles of Metro will have a greater impact annually to increase the budget than the taxpayers' initiative to limit the budget will have to decrease spending. The creeping obligations of aaccepting this Metro financial plan would wipe out any gains made by those concerned to limit taxes.
2. No. Rent control can be used as an incentive to increase the supply of new rental units by exempting all new units from controls, and by promising a lifting of controls when a reasonable supply of new rental units has been made available to allow the free market conditions to exist. If Montgomery County is to maintain economic diversity and provide housing for many of the persons who work and serve the people of the county, it must construct several thousand new moderate-income units in each of the next 10 years. The 1978 state authorization of $10 million bond issues to provide for long-term financing for as many as 3,000 units is now possible. A pilot project cooperative is underway, as are plans for a landscaped mobile home subdivision. Continuation of the MPDU policy which provides 15 percent moderate-priced dwelling units throughout the county in all tracts of 50 units or more is essential. HUD long-term financing for middle- as well as moderate-prices units has been used by county developers in recent years and should continue.
3. Yes. We have consistently created about 8,000 new jobs in the county for each of the past three years. Much of the opportunity for such development is in the 270 corridor, and many of the new jobs will be located there. The much cheaper extension of the Metro along the B&O right of way from Silver Spring to Rockville to connect and serve our major commercial centers has always made more sense than the extremely expensive tunneling under Georgia Avenue.
I would continue to support the Office of Economic Development, which expanded its staff and responsibilities to assist in the revitalization of Silver Spring. I would continue to support the use of Maryland Industrial Development Fund Agency resources to assist expanding local companies and to attract viable new firms to the county. W. William Whitacre, 39, of 500 Beaumont Rd., Silver Spring, is a businessman, who has been active in community affairs.
1. I favor mandatory spending limits: I would allow the cost of government to rise no faster than the cost-of-living increase.
2. No. I would promote the development of low and moderate income housing by providing adequate sewer facilities to lower land cost, relaxing land use and regulatory standards and effective utilization of Section 8 Housing.
3. No I do not. I would increase our inventory of prime commercial land, encourage intra- and cross-county transportation, work for adequate levels of housing and most importantly, work to reconcile hostilities between county government and the private sector and thus end the anti-business attitude that prevails.