Candidates for Prince George's County Executive and candidates for the County Council were asked the following questions by The Washington Post:
TRIM: Do you favor modification of the tax-limiting TRIM amendment, and if so, what proposals would you support?
Growth: What kinds of growth should the county encourage and what means can be used to encourage it?
Housing: What type of housing should the county seek -- single family, town-houses, high-rises, moderate-income, subsidized public projects, others?
V. Charles Donnelly (D), 38, of 6903 Dartmouth Ave., College Park, a lawyer, has worked for the U.S. House Select Committee on Aging and has been a high school teacher and vice president of the Prince George's County Federation of Teachers. He belongs to several civic groups and has been chairman of College Park Citizens Advisory Board.
TRIM: Favor modification of TRIM amendment. Will support the TRIM Plus 4 proposal. However, I am greatly concerned that the County Council showed a lack of legislative decisiveness in dealing with this issue. An amendment of the TRIM provision in the county charter should have been done by the legislative process, where it could have been closely scrutinized as to its impact on the budget and the taxpayers. In particular, I believe more concern should have been shown for senior citizens who are operating on limited budgets and trying to maintain their homes. TRIM Plus 4 may drive some from homes unless there is some tax exemption with regard to property taxes.
Growth: Long-range program of development. For too long, those who control this county have been too preoccupied with making quick profits. Development should be undertaken in terms of future needs. Support the Beltway Commercial Center ideas, except where they displace established residential communities. Emphasis must be placed on neighborhood revitalization programs for inner-Beltway communities. Preservation of existing open space areas. Commercial development must never come at the expense of residential communities of the quality of residential life.
Housing: Prefer an emphasis on moderate- to higher-priced, single-family homes to broaden the tax base. High-rises should be limited to those areas where they will not overburden existing land use and transportation and public facilities. Successful integration of future development schemes into preexisting land use situations.
James A. Green (D), 52, of 9207 Dewberry Ln., College Park, a flooring contractor, has had more than 30 years of experience in building-trade home improvement. He is a member of the Chamber of Commerce. A photo of Green was unavailable.
TRIM: No: The tax-limiting TRIM legislation was meant to limit realty taxes, holding big government down, big spending down.
Growth: More revenue from small-business growth. Remove burden from these people to realize more income to county, such as holding down utilities costs, like telephone and the C&P rate hike.
Housing: The only housing anyone can buy are town houses, and with a break on interest rates, maybe single-family homes. All housing should be built within easy reach of water pipes, streets, electric.
Thomas R. Hendershot (D), 38, of 7202 Longbranch Dr., New C.rrollton, a lawyer, has been counsel to a congressional subcommittee. He is on advisory boards of the Women's Campaign Fund and the Democratic National Committee, was on the county Redristricting Commission and has been a delegate to the Democratic National Convention.
TRIM: Yes, I favor the so-called TRIM Plus 4 proposal, which among other things would permit the county to increase revenues through the addition of new developments, and new business and commercial properties, to the tax rolls.
Growth: The county should encourage the growth of high-quality, clean commercial and business development. The addition of quality office space for high-tech and consulting firms, for example, can be very important to the county's economic future. The county should consider becoming a direct joint venture partner -- a risk-taker -- in order to get important projects of this kind off the ground.
Housing: The county should seek single-family housing, town houses and moderate-income housing. It is important that we maintain a healthy housing mix.
James M. Herl (D), 29, of 7413 Baylor Ave., College Park, is a legislative aide to County Councilman Frank P. Casula. Previously, he was community affairs assistant to former County Executive Winfield Kelly. He is active in local Democratic organizations and has been a board member for a number of community programs.
TRIM: Although I support the "New Development" provision of the TRIM Plus 4 modification, I do not support and wouldnot vote to increase the taxes on existing single-family homeowners, who now pay a disproportionate share of the property tax burden (70.1 percent in FY83.) It only makes sense that when new residential, commercial and industrial projects are constructed, which all require county services, that the county be able to collect added revenue to pay for this delivery of service, and TRIM Plus 4 will allow this. The time has come for consideration of a "tier tax," where different rates would apply to different classes of property. This would help to shift the property tax burden away from the single- family homeowner and move towards the creation of a more equitable tax base under which all would pay their fair share.
Growth: Growth is needed in professional services organizations. Light industry specializing in high-technology products and quality commercial sales operations. We must stop repeating past mistakes, however, by putting an end to uncontrolled strip zoning and development which helps to destroy our older communities, overtax our existing public facilities and encourage our residents to locate in other areas. We can encourage quality development in our county, which will produce jobs and expand our economic base, by selling those things which we have in abundance -- skilled labor, land and a ready market. We must do this, however, in a controlled way that protects our established communities, preserves and expands our recreational and open space areas and maintains our rural heritage. While we can not afford to stand still, we must not grasp at every opportunity and turn our county into a hodge-podge of macadam parking lots and concrete superhighways. Our zoning laws must be fairly, but strictly, enforced and modified only as necessary to meet valid changing conditions and not merely to speed the process to accommodate developers.
Housing: The county government should seek to provide balanced opportunities for its present and prospective citizens. To do so, we must first correct the imbalance that now exists. Of the county's 236,465 housing units, 54.8 percent are owner-occupied, while 45.2 percent are renter-occupied, thereby creating a poorly balanced tax base which overburdens the single-family homeowner. To change the course of the past two decades, government leaders must encourage well-planned communities with a balance of quality, moderate- to upper-income single-family, town house and condominium residences. Such housing should be well planned in terms of zoning and located on medium- to large-sized lots with adequate green space and recreational facilities. We must build well-planned quality communities, not houses:
Guy Tiberio (D), 54, of 4605 Riverdale Rd., Riverdale, president of an electronics company, has been Riverdale's mayor for eight years. A former member of the City Council, he is active in Democratic clubs and local civic organizations, including Riverdale Civic Association, Lions, Elks, Moose and the American Legion.
TRIM: Do not favor TRIM amendment as proposed. I still believe there are cuts to be made in administrative areas with the savings applied to those that deliver the services: teachers, police, firemen, etc. I also believe a greater effort must be made to increase flow of state-shared revenues back to Prince George's County, with less emphasis on Baltimore city as in the past. Increased cooperation between the council and legislators is a must to assure the county receives a greater share.
Growth: Economic development must be top priority. Jobs have to be created. A stronger economic development authority must be created to bring in new industry with the power to offer tax incentives in order for quality industry to relocate in Prince George's County. Other types of growth should be as per the General Plan and Master Plan so as to assure availability of services: water, sewage, utilities, etc.
Housing: A balance must be drawn for each type of housing as all types are needed. Less emphasis on apartment- type, except for owner-occupied condominiums. Additional senior citizen- type developments must be created as well.