Non-Profit Internet Source for News, Events, History, & Culture of Northern Frederick & Carroll County Md./Southern Adams County Pa.

 

From the Desk of County Commissioner Candidate Robert S. Craig

Like so many others, Frederick County Governmentís own financial condition and future prospects have worsened, with deficits forecasted for years to come. The Countyís inability to immediately, adequately, and decisively address current and projected future operating short falls and unfunded past liabilities swayed my decision to seek a position on our Board of County Commissioners. The perfect storm is the one that wasnít forecasted or prepared for, and we need to start doing a better job at both.

My name is Robert Craig, and Iíve entered the race for Board of County Commissioners with more than 25 years of senior level experience in accounting, analytics, finance and management. I believe my personal commitment to integrity, compassion, and community makes me an ideal candidate to help confront our shared challenges, while preserving our shared values. There will be difficult times ahead as we right size our government to stay within our collective means.

It requires us to conduct:

  • Thoughtful evaluations and longer ranged forecasts of cost structures; debt loads; and growing unfunded liabilities;
  • Thorough evaluation of the affordability and equitability of our revenue sources on those bearing these taxes and fees;
  • Impartial cost benefit analysis of the services currently being provided; and
  • Pursuit of opportunities to deliver services at a lower cost by outsourcing to local private businesses when warranted, and/or cost sharing with other government entities when possible, being mindful not to irreparably diminish those services upon which others sorely depend and collectively we are morally compelled to provide.

While I believe that increasing taxes is an unacceptable short term fix and that focusing on the creation of more jobs and growing the tax base may work for the longer term, neither prospect addresses the need to assess the efficacy, efficiency, and cost of providing County services.

Preserving existing and fostering new job opportunities for our citizens remains critically important. Our County government will need to vigilantly identify and resolve barriers to existing and/or potential new business growth and the job opportunities they afford. Existing business should be leveraged while new businesses pursued. However, the County should not engage in the practice of enticing new businesses with incentives that canít be financially justified on a cost/benefit basis. Businesses started, headquartered and/or making significant investment in their local operations continue to offer the greatest promise for longevity. In the end, the greenest job is often the one next door.

Historically, Frederick County has not managed growth well. However, the excessive growth pressures previously experienced have been extinguished by the recession, and are unlikely to rekindle in the foreseeable future due to changes in the capital markets. It will continue to be appropriate to manage the extent, location, and rate of growth.

Our Comprehensive Plan itself remains the appropriate place in which to stipulate the overall growth levels over the time horizon envisioned, and the locations for it to take place. Our APFO ordinances will continue to be a critical tool to ensure that growth occurs in an orderly and supportable fashion. Our impact fees may be used to regulate growth, but more importantly, must ensure that growth funds the infrastructure that it demands/consumes and without increasing the costs or diminishing the resources available to those if us already living here. It will continue to be critically important to protect the property rights of citizens and our natural resources when managing growth. If we fail to do both, our quality of life will suffer both today and tomorrow.

My professional experience and skills makes me very capable of developing, supervising, and/or performing this work. My personal disposition welcomes the input of others so that everyone is given an equal voice and that their concerns, insights, and suggestions are given genuine consideration. These are shared challenges best remedied with shared solutions and commitment.

Thank you for your time and consideration, and I welcome your support for the opportunity to serve Frederick County.

For more information visit my website at www.craigforbocc.com

Read position papers of other candidates running in the 2010 primary