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From the Desk of:
County Commissioner Marty Qually

(5/1) This will be my last column before the Adams County Commissioner Primary on May 19th. While I have been writing regular columns since I was appointed County Auditor in 2010, many of you may not actually know who I am. Part of my job as a Commissioner is to help educate the public on the issues facing the County, so many of my articles have focused on relevant topics facing our community. My wife believes that it is important to remind residents that elected officials are just like the rest of us. From school board member to county judge we each perform a juggling act balancing our service to the public and our duty to our families. So before I get into yet another article talking about my record and goals for this election, I want to take a few lines to thank my family for their guidance and support.

I am the sixth of seven children. My parents moved us here when my father was stationed at Gettysburg to run the first ROTC program for Gettysburg College. It marked the 13th time my family had moved in twelve years. When the Army later asked him to move to Washington, my parents decided that it was time for my father to retire. This was the first time since my parents were married that they could call anything but the Army "home". It is interesting that one of my motherís toughest career decisions came when she started a family and my father's toughest happened after we all were born. Prior to getting married my mother had been one of the first female computer programmers for NASA. Giving up her salary and the intellectual challenge of her position to become an Army officer's wife, was a giant leap of faith. In both cases my parents did what was right for their family; my mother's decision to leave NASA and my father's decision to retire from the Army. They had to balance their service to community and the needs of their family. This is a lesson that has stuck with me.

I now live with my wife Elizabeth and four children in Gettysburg. When I am not attending meetings, you can find me running children back and forth to sporting events or catching up on yard work. Thanks for giving me some of your time to, in essence, thank my parents for their example. If I had the space I 'd let you know about my great brothers and sisters too, who have taught me that no matter our differences, if you want to move forward, working together is always best. I hope the lessons I've learned from my parents and family continue to guide me in making the correct decisions for my larger family that is Adams County.

As with my parents, serving my community has always been a part of my life. From mission trips in college to my recent appointment to the board of the South Central Community Action Programs, I believe we have a duty to help our neighbors live better lives. In 2011 I ran for County Commissioner because I felt that I could give back to Adams County. The past three years serving my community have been rewarding and challenging. Rewarding because we have made significant changes to improve our county; challenging because when balancing the residents' needs and wants there is never enough money to do both. My children and all Adams County children deserve a chance to finish school and chose to live and work in this great county. If we do not make changes to business as usual, they may not have that choice. Today the County has a historically high bond rating, which combined with streamlining efforts in county government, have helped to keep your taxes low. Four years ago I promised to listen to your concerns and bring a consensus building approach to the courthouse. I have delivered on that promise. We are moving forward together, instead of holding ourselves back with the personal or political rancor seen in Harrisburg and Washington.

The past three years have seen increased openness in county government. Beyond our weekly public meetings we have held 12 evening community forums throughout the county. I personally held a public forum, at no cost to taxpayers, on balancing preservation and economic development. I am committed to maintaining my open door policy and I routinely meet with concerned residents on evenings and weekends.

Between pro-growth and no-growth there is Smart Growth. As my mother taught me, "There is a place for everything and everything in its place". I have worked with municipalities, our planning department, community leaders, and businesses to direct growth into appropriate areas and find ways to sustain farmland preservation. Our initial effort was the creation of the Priority Preservation Map, which is the first attempt to scientifically quantify which Adams County properties contain water resources, quality farmland, or significant rural resources.

This holistic approach results in better use of limited preservation funds. We completed a long overdue Economic Development Plan by polling businesses, elected officials, residents, and outside experts to determine our current strengths, how to grow them, and what businesses would best complement them. As a result of that process, we have approved a specific study focused on the Fruitbelt. This study will quantify the economic impact of our fruit industry. Our next project is a Planned Communities Map, which will highlight areas to direct business and residential growth.

This could not be possible without the hard work and input of many community leaders. My role as a County Commissioner is to bring people together, engage in meaningful discussion, and build consensus to move us forward. On May 19th I would appreciate one of your votes for County Commissioner.

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