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From the Desk of County Commissioner Candidate Janice S. Wiles

The challenge for Frederick County is to move forward and grow while we preserve our quality of life, avoid tax increases, and maintain existing levels of county services. We need to learn from the experience of explosive sprawl development over the past 15 years that has led to funding shortfalls, strained public services, and tax increases.

Between 1998 and 2007 almost 80% of Frederick County's residential growth was low-density sprawl which consumed thousands of acres of farmland and cost taxpayers millions to expand water and sewer lines, emergency services and to build schools and roads. From 1995 to 2010, the county population increased by 58,000 people, or 24 percent, while county expenses (for services) increased 182 percent proof positive that poorly planned sprawl growth is an extraordinarily expensive, tax raising and counterproductive path to the future.

Due to rapid poorly planned development our school system is straining to provide a high quality learning environment for all students, retain and attract high quality teachers, and maintain the arts, music and athletic programs that are essential to a high quality education. Instead of quality schools for all, sprawl development has produced grave inequities in schools where some students enjoy state of the art facilities while others literally make do with their cast off chairs, desks, computers and books.  This inequity is not acceptable.

We can do better. Growth doesn't need to put the county in debt. By minimizing sprawl in favor of well designed growth within municipalities and inside existing growth areas we can stimulate the local economy, utilize existing infrastructure, create new jobs for the people who already live here, and bring businesses and jobs closer to our neighborhoods and homes.

As a concerned citizen in 2006 I led a successful campaign to elect commissioners who recognized the cost to the county of sprawl residential growth. Since then, as Executive Director of Friends of Frederick County, I have launched educational programs and campaigns to develop a county growth plan we can live with.

The good news is the current Board of County Commissioners has produced a 20- year comprehensive plan that will accomplish these goals; it is a plan for sustainable development, agricultural preservation and green infrastructure protection and management. It allows for a substantial amount of growth, some 36,000 homes over the next 20 years, but it would put these homes where they generate the most economic benefit for the county while creating the least amount of new costs and services. Working to implement the plan is the county's best path to a vibrant economy and development at a pace that preserves our quality of life and keeps county expenses in line.

To help small local business grow I will work to remove red tape and work to facilitate commercial development within existing growth areas.  Our municipalities must be viewed as a resource that can be a cornerstone of economic growth and jobs for county citizens. Smart Growth is Job Growth and keeping our citizens working here is important to us all.

I am solidly in favor of using county-owned commercially zoned land for a Resource Recovery Park exclusively for companies that process organic compost, recycle and manufacture using recycled material. I see county government as a facilitator for business development and a source of leadership for developing product stewardship standards for Frederick County. I am against the construction of the large waste to energy facility.

From 2004 to 2010 I led citizen action to ensure that residential growth follows a sensible plan and accounts for all the costs of development and protects our quality of life. I was appointed to the Frederick County Sustainability Commission in 2009. In that same year I was selected as 'Women Most Likely to Save the Planet' by the National Women's History Project. I graduated from Leadership Frederick County sponsored by the Frederick County Chamber of Commerce in 2005. Over the past five years I have spoken at over 200 public hearings and meetings promoting protection of the agricultural economy and the environment, and the wise use of taxpayer money and county resources.

I look forward to guiding implementation of the new plan with sustainable solutions for energy and water conservation, local food and fiber production and use, solid waste, construction, transportation and community design. I firmly believe that policy decisions must be based on sound science and all the facts hence ensuring a more successful and credible outcome.

Read position papers of other candidates running in the 2010 primary