(5/1) My Vision for the future of Adams County.
For those who could not be in attendance at the Republican Candidate for Adams County Commissioner debate April 9th at the Brethren Home Nicarry Meeting House, I would like to share my answers to the questions presented there, as well as two topics that were not discussed. This is my Vision for the Future of Adams County.
I am a true fiscal conservative. In developing the 2013 McSherrystown budget, I formulated a plan to stave off a proposed tax increase AND sewer base rate increase (both of which I voted against), and proposed increasing the sewer usage rates. This would have protected seniors and those on fixed incomes, promoting responsible water conservation, while affording funds for
the necessary infrastructure repairs.
The usage rate increase would expire in three years, after providing the funds needed, at the end of which the rates would have been lowered to their original levels.
As Adams County Commissioner, one of my first actions would be to place a moratorium on an Ordinance passed Feb 6, 2013 by the current Board of Commissioners to increase the pay of the three Commissioners, starting next year. This would create a savings to the county of over $18K in salary expenses.
I would also support a wage freeze on Commissioner compensation while I hold office. I would encourage other departments to follow suit in finding savings through regular department VAM meetings.
The County Prison budget is over $10M. I have spoken to prison employees who tell me their suggestions are going unheard, and they are experiencing a declining faith the leadership of the current Commissioners. I have spoken with residents who tell me they are tired of paying to feed and house non-violent offenders, tarnishing their futures instead of rehabilitating
We must reduce spending and increase revenues, not the other way around. County Commissioners must facilitate the expansion of the tax base and reduce individual contributions, putting more discretionary spending into local economy.
I shall detail my vision of how we can help make that happen in the following topics.
During my tenure on McSherrystown Council, I have attended many seminars and conferences hosted by the Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs. I have received training in Police Contract Negotiations, Volunteer Fire Department Liability Laws, Regionalization Processes, and more. I am currently certified by FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security in National
Incident Management Systems.
I am an Advocate of Regionalization. Its proven benefits include long-term cost savings through consolidation of services, improved coordination and reduced response times, to name a few. I have been a vocal proponent of a police regionalization effort centering around Conewago Township and McSherrystown for some time, as posted several years ago in my blog,
councilmanbolton.blogspot.com. Along with Mayor Tony Weaver, I have attended these meetings and supported the realization of a regional force. We are making progress and hope to have our combined team ready within the year.
With the loss of WellSpan ALS, county responders are doing a fantastic job organizing to fill the gap. SAVES & Hanover Hospital (Medic 46 stationed), efforts by United and local officials, and a meeting next week in Biglerville for municipalities in their surrounding area. I am involved with these efforts to supply for the needs of The People.
Experiencing declining numbers at volunteer fire stations as memberships grow older, our companies are having a harder time raising funds. I authored the Adams County Boroughs Association Small Games of Chance Resolution two years ago. It was designed to help local service clubs increase community contributions by raising the aggregate prize limits. Although we wanted to
eliminate the ceilings completely, Gov. Corbett allowed a $10K/week increase, demanding other reforms, such as giving public bars licenses but keeping the community portion for the state coffers.
Government does not have the right to tell you how to spend your money. Putting money into the SGOC system through service clubs puts more money into your communities and helps support your Police and Fire Departments. We have a K9 unit in McSherrystown, fully funded by donations, much of which comes from SGOC. Our fire company, SAVES, relies on their own fundraising
efforts and the contributions from the local service clubs. I will continue to work to help keep our safety infrastructure healthy and saving lives.
Speaking with citizens of the county, they feel the previous administration fumbled the reassessment, however, the current administration capitalized on that to gain election, promising correction. These same citizens do not feel that the correction processes implemented have been most beneficial to average homeowner. They also feel that the recent appeal awards, like
those granted to Utz and Knouse Foods, will create greater issues moving forward when those funds, mandated to repayment in lieu of tax credits,will create a hole in the upcoming budgets.
I have seen many homes on the market that are being sold "under market value". Are they a great deal, or part of the "bubble" created by the flawed assessment processes over the last five years, and they Will burst, leaving Adams County residents with a gapping hole in their county budget, possibly prompting yet another tax increase? I believe 2 tax increases in the past
three years-over 10%-is more than enough to ask from our citizens.
When do we finally say "Enough" and utilize Pro-Active Solutions instead of being Re-Active? When do we expect more vision and common sense from our leaders? When will our leaders stop expecting more from its citizens instead of our citizens expecting more from our leaders?
My Ag-Economic Plan for the Future of Adams County may help to answer a few of these questions.
On November 17, 2014, I presented a resolution, in favor of Industrial Hemp Cultivation, to the ACBA. It was the first piece of municipal legislation in modern state history to bring back an industry to our county & state which once thrived. Hemp was one of the four staples of PA agriculture up until the 1930s.
The resolution passed unanimously.
Since then, 19 municipalities have confirmed adoption of resolutions in favor of starting pilot studies to reconfirm the feasibility of hemp cultivation on our lands. Senate Bill 50, taking its cue partially from ACBA efforts, will allow private participation of county farmers in these studies.
Instead of using TIF monies to fund corporate welfare for a single store or to help private for-profit businesses sell homes, letís secure hemp harvesting & processing equipment, use it in conjunction with the County Agriculture Department & Penn State Co-op Extension, and start cultivating & processing this $50B Dollar Crop. Once legal, allow farmers to lease the
equipment, to reduce market penetration costs, allowing them to grow and then purchase their own equipment in the thriving industry.
Instead of building a store or a development, letís build an industry that is proven to be profitable to the estimate of $350 per acre according to the Pennsylvania Hemp Company. Let's use TIF money to eliminate blight & restore industrial facilities to attract companies to process & sell Adams County hemp.
Currently, Senate Bill 201 in Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee amends "Clean and Green" Laws to allow landowners up to 2 acres of designated lands for the operation of a rural enterprise which is incidental to the tract of land enrolled. What does this mean for the future of Adams County farming? It means we can continue to preserve lands, like those secured by our
Land Conservancy, while still giving the landowners an opportunity for greater profitability by running a Farmerís Market, or performing farm equipment repair as a business on those lands. It would allow our future hemp farmers to process and manufacture their own crops into goods, increasing their revenues, creating jobs, revitalizing our economy!
Rep. Scott Perry has since co-sponsored an Industrial Hemp Bill in the US House. Rep. Dan Moul has recently co-sponsored an Industrial Hemp Bill in the PA House. Ag-Economic opportunity is here. As Commissioner, I will continue to see through this Vision for the future of Adams Countyís Agriculture & Economic Revitalization by providing the inspiration and leadership to
produce and promote any viable Ag-Economic advantage to help our farmers and citizens thrive.
COUNTY POLICIES AND PROTOCOL
Speaking with citizens and courthouse employees alike, I hear they are concerned about the restructuring of the county offices that occurred under the current Administration. I have also heard it expressed that every vote being 3-0 with little to no discussion at public meetings "doesnít seem right".
I will agree that I do not appreciate the dysfunctional displays of government in DC, but not EVERY vote should be unanimous, especially when the public is clearly expressing other opinions. Most of the current administrationís meetings last 10-15 minutes at 9am on Wednesday mornings. As a blue collar worker, I cannot justify a day off to attend, especially when no real
information is disseminated anyway, and when there is rarely a reply to public comment or questions to them.
As Commissioner, I would support holding one of the two monthly Commissioners meetings out in the county, in the evening, to promote greater participation and to gain greater insight as to how I can serve The People of Adams County.
In efforts to keep our citizens better informed, I would also suggest utilization of Community Media to film Commissioner Workshops; allowing People to hear the discussions & provide feedback prior to decisions being made without explanation. I would also suggest policy be initiated where each Commissioner would be required to give a brief comment on each vote and what led
them to their final decisions. This would help The People better understand the decisions our leaders struggle with for the good of the county, and would give all involved opportunities to grow together. As Commissioner, I will support these initiatives to help create more transparency and understanding within the county.
Lately, you may have heard the words "Experience", "Leadership", "Vision" and "Common Sense" thrown around a bit. When a candidate uses these words, please pause for a moment to see if what preceded or follows their usage actually defines a previous demonstration or a plan to demonstrate such in the future.
I hope I have demonstrated leadership in fiscal conservancy with my words and my votes as a Councilman, and have shared here specific, measurable ideas that are ready for implementation to cut county budget costs immediately.
No other candidates have given such a Vision for the Future of our County.
I hope I have demonstrated my commitment to our emergency services and police departments time and again through my involvements in public service, in the community, in educating myself to better serve The People, and by authoring legislation to provide for such. As County Commissioner, I will continue to support this vital part of our county infrastructure in any capacity
I have heard the concerns of The People concerning the effects of improper property assessments and the damage it causes our economy. I have shared their concerns to our future budgets and presented common sense solutions to these issues. I have demonstrated my experience as a seasoned legislator by taking the ideas of the People, putting them into words that formed
legislation designed to make life better here in our county. Voter Referendum, Municipal Radar, Small Games and Industrial Hemp; initiatives which have given power back to communities to determine their own future instead of relying on state and federal government for more mandates and expenses.
I have outlined my Vision for common sense solutions to constituent disillusionment when it comes to the office of Commissioner by suggesting new policies and protocols designed to promote transparency and greater dialogue, which will generate even more ideas for the betterment of Adams County.
I hope I have given you enough to convince you that I am the right person to support on May 19th, and I hope that you will agree by filling in the block next to the name David W. Bolton on your ballot. Thank you all for being involved, for sharing these words with others, and may God continue to bless you and Adams County. Thank You. DB
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