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?
William B. Amonett (D), (Incumbent) 51, of 11704 Redwood Dr. E., Brandywine, has been a member of the County Council since 1974. He is a real estate broker-appraiser.
TRIM: As an elected official, I am committed to follow the wishes of our citizens. However, my personal opinion is that TRIM should be modified. With federal revenues for local governments declining and the property tax frozen, it is inevitable that the level of our county services will be eroded. I always have been dedicated to the elimination of all forms of waste in government, and I am pledged to continue that effort. I encourage every citizen to seek out information before making this most important decision. We do not have authority for any other significant taxing power at the local level. We should again organize study groups to examine alternative ways to fund local government. The only question to be considered this time will be the TRIM Plus 4 Amendment on hte ballot.
Growth: We must continue our efforts to encourage quality industrial growth through an even better economic development program. Through our master plans and the comprehensive rezoning process, we can and do encourage the construction of a housing stock that meets the needs of our citizens. Prerequisite to the achievement of development goals, is the necessity of maintaining adequate sewer and water capacity. Prince George's County has been very successful at reaching economic development goals over the last eight years. We, of course, must always strive to improve. Also, it is extremely important for us to maintain our services at quality levels.
Housing: Housing stock must be balanced. Housing stock also must be compatible with immediate surroundings. The type of housing for each area is determined our master plans. Our master plans provide for a variety of housing styles in many different parts of the country. Those parts of our housing stock which are out of balance or in short supply and which add to the quality of life for our people should receive extra emphasis. We are beginning to highlight certain types of quality housing projects in our economic development plan.
Carmen E. Anderson, (D), 42, 9f 14116 Duckett Rd., Brandywine, a registered nurse, has been a member of the county's health planning advisory committee and Planned Parenthood Council. She has been active in zoning and environmental issues.
TRIM: At this time, I do not favor changing TRIM until we change the faces in Upper Marlboro who are controlling the purse strings. Our present council has granted special tax relief to certain types of newly zoned commercial-industrial properties and (at this writing) is proposing a tax vreak for the Capital Centre. This favoritism to business interests should not be borne on the backs of homeowners. Before modifying TRIM, we should tax gravel at point of extraction, eliminate tax breaks on underdeveloped commercial-industrial comprehensive design zones and enact a tier tax.
Growth: It is becoming cliche to say we should encourage high-technology industry which produces upper income jobs. This does not mean we should allow them to locate anywhere they choose. There is underdeveloped land, already zoned, which is available for such interests. Otherwise, we should encourage greater agricultural activity, particularly small farms producing food products. The way to accomplish this is through strict, low-density zoning, which discourages sprawl development and maintains a tax environment favorable to small farms.
Housing: The county need do very little to seek any type of housing. Entirely too much housing is already seeking us: The county should concentrate its efforts on rehabilitation of existing, substandard housing so that those inhabitants can maintain their community and family ties. This includes strict code enforcement for apartment buildings and low income areas. On-site replacement of "hopeless" housing should be encouraged through modular construction techniques or mobile homes. Otherwise, there have been thousands of acres zoned for various levels of residential development over the last few years. The dynamics of market demand can operate within this availability with no additional assistance from government. Estate-type development should be encouraged to provide tax base to help those less fortunate. All that is needed here is for low density zoning to be strictly guarded so higher income buyers needn't fear that might be built next door.
Bill D. Burlison (D), 51, of 12304 Loch Caron, Fort Washington, a lawyer, served six terms as a congressman from Missouri and previously was a school board member and state's attorney in that state. He is a member of local commjnity organizations.
TRIM: Because of the inefficiency and distorted ordering of priorities, a modification is required. Because the council was unable to comply with a simple law requiring a valid notice of hearing, Metro has been set back years and the costs increased by millions. The council spent enormous sums for expert advice on selection of the best cable TV franchises. It then discarded that advise to give the franchises to the second best, thereby rewarding cronies who were agents for the inferior franchises. The ultimate costs will be millions of dollars. The council displayed its skewed sense of priorities by cutting into the muscle and bone of public education to the tune of $31 million. So, modification is required. Plus 4 is a reasonable approach, remembering that this does not mandate a 4 percent annual increase but gives the council discretion up to 4 percent. An effective council can do on less.
Growth: We need "quality" growth in all areas, i.e., commercial, industrial and residential. Our only industry seems to be sand and gravel installations. It is good that we have this rich mineral resource in the county, but to acdept that as the only industry is unfortunate. Incidentally, the existing sand and gravel business could and should be more adequately supervised and regulated. To find quality commercial establishments, we must shop in surrounding jurisdictions. The only rationale for these facts is a lack of effective, aggressive and innovative leadership in local government, with the council at the top of the list. On the issue of growth, a caveat is in order. Care should be taken to preserve the existing rural nature of much of south county. Innovative programs can give necessary incentives to farmers to keep tobacco, corn, soybean, hay and truck farming operations. This is not inconsistent with reasonable quality growth.
Housing: Unless and until the fad of Reaganomics passes, it is apparent that the county need not seek housing. There is no market for the existing vacant housing, and there will be none so long as high interest rates persist and unemployment lines lengthen. Assuming this depression will subside and further assuming that the voters elect a quality council and executive capable of attracting the quality development above advertised, I would envision the greatest needs to be for single family, town houses and moderate income, among those listed. I would add the need for upper income.