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From the Desk of Commissioner Candidate Jim Martin

(11/1) Not many days after the printing of this position article, it will be November 8, 20011, Adams County Election Day. It will be the culmination of much discussion of issues and the vetting of the commissioner candidates.

One of the final issues I want to discuss is business growth in Adams County; it is the source of potential jobs for our citizens. As a commissioner I want to insure that our office has a unified business growth plan with the Adams County Office of Economic Development. I believe we have substantial potential for business growth within our established zoning that respects our rural fabric.

Adams County has an industrial park strategically located near US Route 15. The commercial sites that are available could be purchased at reasonable terms. Plus there are unoccupied commercial facilities available in the county. We are presently seeing that companies do have adequate cash reserves and are willing to expand or relocate. Additionally, our area is known for its good work ethics.

What is keeping all these positive factors from coming together? One factor we previously discussed is the lack of a broad band system to serve businesses. This situation is being addressed by community leaders. However, several other items come to mind.

One is the huge amount of time and expenses required of businesses for planning, engineering, and approval stages. If this process could be reduced in scope and cost, businesses would not be intimidated by the cost to initiate their approval process. After the process begins, there needs to be a good faith commitment from all parties involved to avoid unwarranted or unnecessary delays. Delays have been the death of viable ventures. Investors will only wait a reasonable period of time before moving to a more attractive venture.

Also, there must be comfort that once a business is established, it can operate in harmony with the surrounding community or municipality. Within the agricultural community Agricultural Security Areas are created. These "Areas" promote more permanent farming operations with a sense of security from local regulations and governmental actions and also preserve the right to farm. A parallel protection should be afforded to business and industry to protect them from unwarranted local government action that adversely affects their continuance and expansion of commercial operations. An ideal opportunity for protection is upon us. Elect the community leaders who are "bridge builders" and will work toward productive and positive solutions.

Leaving no stone unturned regarding business growth, as commissioner I would seek to network with established contacts at the Governorís office and the office of US Senator Pat Toomey. The purpose would be to increase their awareness of the business opportunities in Adams County, including the possibility of relocating governmental services here.

Another closing issue is my thoughts on the acquisition of the St. Francis property located on West High Street, Gettysburg. In the best interest of Adams County I do not favor renovating the school building. It would likely cost 70% to 80% of new construction. My next management action would be to sell Xavier House. It is not contiguous with the remainder of the property and it is in need of considerable maintenance and at a level requiring bidding. Then I recommend that the tenants of Xavier House, Manos Unitas, could rent the Mercy House.

Further action would be to utilize the lower level of the school building for county storage and reduce the countyís need to pay for rental storage. Any excess storage space can be rented to the public to produce county revenues. The upper levels of the school should be made available for rent to generate additional county revenues.

My overall goal would be for the St. Francis property to be a profitable operation that will be attractive to a potential buyer when the real estate market improves. The sale proceeds could then be used to purchase the former American Legion Building which houses county services in rented space. Those rented spaces could then return rent payments supplied by the state back to the county. This would be a turnaround of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Through all the above actions, the parking area acquired in the purchase of St. Francis should be retained. This parking area will provide much-needed parking in close proximity to the Courthouse.

From all indicators we know that state and federal funding will be reduced. I anticipate that this will obviously impact the level of funding received by Adams County. Also our sluggish local economy will likely affect county tax revenues. Choices will have to be made to prudently prioritize county spending. This will not be an easy task, but a necessary one.

The 2012 Adams County budget will soon be completed by the sitting commissioners. It will pass to the newly elected commissioners. Because there will be a new board sitting before the old boardís budget, the new board will have a window of time to review and revise the budget. As a commissioner I will take advantage of this review period. My position is that the budget is not a pass through item, but a matter of serious inspection.

Finally, I am honored to have been endorsed by US Senator Pat Tommey. Please join with others and vote for me November 8th. Thank You,

Jim Martin

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