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?
J. Lee Ball (D), of P.O. Box 52, Riverdale. The candidate did not respond to the Washington Post quesitonnaire.
Kenneth W. Cutlip (D), 36, of 6803 96th Ave., Seabrook, is a Prince George's County police officer who has been active in lobbying for more stringent drunken driving laws. He has served on county task forces and is involved in groups including the Lions, Jaycees, AmVets and Lanham Boys and Girls Club.
TRIM: I am the only Democratic candidtae who supports TRIM in its present form, the reason being that this year's election only leaves the voter with two alternatives and those are retaining TRIM in its present form or voting for the TRIM Plus 4 amendment, which is a formidable tax increase for present homeowners, not only new development as the public is being led to believe. This amendment would force retired citizens out of their homes and make it difficult for young couples to purchase a home. I feel we can grow with TRIM for the next two years by eliminating waste at the bureaucratic level, which has been created by self-serving elected officials in our government. If we correct this situation, other priority issues, such as quality development, education, crime, transportation and adequate services for the aging and the handicapped, will be corrected through genuine interest and legitimate management skills. Once we establish a more efficient system, we could then amend TRIM with a 2 percent to 3 percent inflationary figure, with new development providing this revenue.
Growth: I would like to slow down the rapid development we have been experiencing and concentrate on redeveloping municipalities and older run-down areas, while at the same time attracting high-quality industry countywide. Instead of utilizing tax incentives and the sale of bonds to encourage growth in our county, I feel we will attract new development by improving the conditions for the working person in our county by establishing a county-owned and operated public transportation system, making it possible for those who want to work but are unable to do so now because of lack of transportation. This also would provide hundreds of jobs, such as drivers, mechanics, support personnel, etc. I also am committed to establishing a self-funded, county-owned and operated day-care center within the school system, thus utilizing empty classrooms and possibly preventing further school closings. This would help the working person, plus improve upon the economic situation in Prince George's County as it would also provide many jobs. The utilization of these two programs would upgrade our county, thus making it more attractive for future development and attaining the quality of lifestyle we desire.
Housing: Studies show that Prince George's County currently has more low-income to moderate housing than any of our neighboring jurisdictions in the Washington area. I would encourage the building of more town houses and single-family dwellings in the moderate- to upper-level income range, discouraging development of more apartments and subsidized housing. The only exception to this would be a subsidized project which would cater to our senior citizens, such as a security high-rise. Special emphasis would be placed on refurbishing our older towns and inner-Beltway communities, creating an affordable, renovated home or place of business. I also would favor establishment of stringent guidelines for landlords to make them accountable to the renters' needs, ensuring they substantiate their requests for increased rental fees and preventing them from arbitrarily raising the rent at their whim.
Parris Glendening (D), 40, of 6911 Oakridge Rd., University Park, has been a member of the COUNTY Council for eight years, including two years as chairman. As associate professor of government and politics at the University of Maryland, he is active in numerous civic groups and community activities.
TRIM: TRIM has been a useful incentive to pare costs of government. Its inability to provide flexibility, however, means that a modification is now necessary. I support the County Council of PTAs' Plus 4 proposal, which provides some flexibility in revenue generation while still controlling growth in the property tax rate. With the incidence of violent crime and home burglaries rising, law enforcement must be enhanced. We cannot permit our first- class educational programs to deteriorate and our youth to be shortchanged. Programs for the elderly will become more, not less, important with the Reagan administration program cuts, and all these priorities will require property tax funding. TRIM modification alone is not the answer. Some of these costs must be met with increased state aid so an undue burden does not fall on the property owner. We must plan a lean, efficient county government and school system administration.
Growth: Growth should be balanced and concentrated in areas where public facilities already exist for service. The highest density development over the next few years should take place around existing and future Metro stations. We must use state and local tools (control and incentivies) to help preserve open space and agricultural land. We need an emphasis on preservation and restoration of our older neighborhoods. Protection of historical places and environmental and natural resources, such as the Patuxent River and the Chesapeake Bay, are goals that can and will be compatible with vigorous economic growth during my administration as county executive. Housing: A mix of housing types is needed for the heterogeneous population in the county. I oppose the current policy of encouraging only high-cost homes, meaning a $2,500-a-month mortgage payment in today's interest market. This policy prices housing out of the range of most of our population and certainly our young people. A balanced housing mix will encourage desirable expensive developments ("estates" and luxury condominiums, for example), while ensuring that moderately priced single-family homes or town houses are built as well. We must have a strong effort for more senior citizen housing as well. Housing proposals should be evaluated on a project-by-project basis, with guidelines being: Is it good for the overall county? Does it meet a current need? Is the environmental integrity of the local community being protected? Are there or will there be adequate public facilities?
Arthur B. Haynes (D), 47, of 4901 Emo St., Capitol Heights, a teacher in Anacostia Senior High School, has been active in l labor issues, education and civil rights for 20 years. He is a delegate to the Greater Washington Central Labor Council (AFL-CIO) and has served on Washington Teachers' Union committees.
TRIM: I do not favor the modification of TRIM. Instead, I opened my campaign calling for a repeal of TRIM for the following reasons: 1) The deterioration of the life style of this county can be traced directly to TRIM. It is quite often the reason and too often the excuse for the failures of our county government. 2) The modification of TRIM amounts to legislative "patchwork" on our constitutional document -- the Prince George's County Charter. If an amendment to our charter does not work, we should not "patch" it, we should repeal it. 3) In 1978, we amended our charter. In 1982, we are in trouble so we want to amend the 1978 amendment. What happens in 1986? Do we amend the 1982 amendment of the 1978 amendment to our charter? The complexity of this matter leads to a simple answer: repeal TRIM.
Growth: The county government should encourage local economic growth through a meaninful economic development program. If we can grant a tax break to the Washington Capitals hockey team, we also must be prepared to provide tax breaks to industries that relocate in the ocunty and provide a sizable number and array of permanent jobs. To my knowledge, the county government has done nothing to encourage the productive use of the many acres of arable soil in this county. The county government should encourage the growth of a local food supply system and a general agricultural economy by providing county facilities at a nonprofit cost to truck farmers. This could and should encourage farmers to put more land in production, expand our flue-cured tobacco market and keep our outlying areas in a low-density category.
Housing: This county should seek to build moderate to high-priced housing. We should seek to build single-family dwellings at a rate of 60 percent of new housing starts with most of these homes in the moderate price range, or what is commonly called "affordable housing." In the inner-Beltway areas, we should encourage the renovation of older single-family dwellings. Approximately 30 percent of new housing should be town houses of semi-detached design for low density. Approximately 20 percent of new housing should come from renovation of now standing, closed apartment complexes, with 50 percent of such housing in the subsidized-housing category. I favor a 10-year moratorium on new apartment construction in this county. My major criticism of the current county government on this issue of housing is that it has been so busy making sure that we were not a haven for the indigent that we have failed to take care of our own.