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From the Desk of Commissioner Candidate Jim Martin

(10/1) The 2011 Adams County Commissioners’ race has drawn considerably more attention than past elections as evidenced by the number of forums. During the primary campaign I faithfully participated in all seven forums organized by community leaders. For the fall campaign interest remains high; there will be at least three forums and interviews by Alex Hayes of GT Live. In addition to all of these opportunities I have made nearly 4000 door to door contacts to date. Why? It is because I believe in what I am doing and because I have the citizens’ best interests at heart.

This election is not about my personal benefit or that of any special interest group; it is about accepting a responsibility that I felt was set before me. This was a bold move for me, but the confidence of my supporters showed me that it was the right decision. I am truly grateful for that support and to have the opportunity to be in the race for an Adams County Commissioner.

The interview I had with Alex Hayes of GT Live has shown me it is a good communication tool. Community Media also serves as a good tool for public communication. These media venues would be a cost effective means of informing the community what is happening in county government. Hopefully, hearing and seeing reports directly from elected officials would increase public interest. I definitely want to create greater public interest . Government needs to take a servant leadership position and the appropriate use of the above media is an opportunity to be open and responsive to the citizens of Adams County.

As a county commissioner one has the duty and responsibility for the safety and welfare of the citizens. Regarding safety, the subject of the countywide emergency radio system comes to the stage. As many are aware, our countywide radio system is antiquated resulting in reliability issues that jeopardize the safety of first responders and police. To replace our aging system will likely require a new digital system with a price tag which is beyond our tax payers’ ability to pay. Furthermore, incurring more county debt is not an option.

Nevertheless we need to move forward seeking funding to finance the new system through various sources: grants, foundation gifts, non-profit groups, public/private sector partnerships, and perhaps proposals incorporating leasing options. In approximately two months the present commissioners will receive proposals for new radio systems. These proposals may not necessarily be the best and should be thoroughly reviewed along with alternative vendors and options for pricing and performance.

There are cases where emergency agencies have rushed to go digital and received systems that were not reliable and had critical issues. In one case $34 million was required to correct the problems. We must not be caught in that situation; caution and professional due diligence must be part of the process plus requiring vendors to be fully bonded to guarantee performance and to protect the county’s financial position.

What I have discussed thus far are measures of future planning. I believe a vital element of good leadership is a conscious awareness of the future needs of the county and I embrace that vision. Without a vision of future needs, we put ourselves on a faltering path. To avoid faltering it is essential that we be strong economically and manage our resources wisely.

We cannot escape the fact that business activity, producers of goods and services, is necessary to generate the revenues we need to live and operate. We are fortunate to have tourism and agriculture as our leading industries which complement our rural fabric. However, these industries alone cannot carry the economic demands of our county. To generate the necessary revenues we need to attract new business and retain our existing ones. An attractive business environment will be a benefit to all of us. The availability of sufficient broadband service to conduct business is extremely important to this environment. One community leader has expressed that in his township several businesses have moved to another county as a result of the lack of broadband service.

The good news is that a local partnership is moving forward and assessing what we need to develop a network. The bad news is that the major providers are not interested in competing for the business in Adams County as they are in the Hanover business community. If provider interest cannot be developed, there is an alternative that should be considered. It is a public/private sector wireless network that can provide first class network service for both county and private sector. The cost of the system would be shared by the private sector partnership. In my opinion, the benefits of this option should be investigated along with the assessment of our current broadband situation.

The above scenario is an excellent example of a future vision mindset that will be one of my goals as a commissioner. I would appreciate your support on November 8th to put this type of vision to work for Adams County.

Jim Martin

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