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From the Desk of County Commissioner
 Randy Phiel

(3/2013) It is hard to believe that one year has flown by and this new Adams County Board of Commissioners is now well into their second year. We finished the year with a 2012 budget surplus; and a healthy and fiscally responsible 2013 budget with no tax increase, a reasonable contingency line item plus a new capital improvement line item to help fund our counties future. We pulled the trigger on the 911 Radio project that is on track and under budget. We enhanced internal communications with our staff, and have utilized the media and commissioners community forums to make us accessible and to keep our residents informed.

So far we have been to East Berlin, Littlestown, Buchannan Valley, Arendtsville, Fairfield/Carroll Valley and are soon headed to Conewago/McSherrystown. We consolidated the Planning and Tax Services Departments for increased efficiency and service and are looking at other departments for efficiency. The County IT system was antiquated, overwhelmed and in danger of losing information if it crashed with no backup. New equipment, servers and fiber optics either have been installed or are in the process of being installed to overcome a multitude of IT issues. We are almost ready to roll out a new web site that will better serve our staff and residents.

We also recognize that capital improvement planning is a critical necessity for effectively and efficiently planning services to our residents and space management. We are looking to shift from paying high rents in leased buildings that are not designed to meet our specific needs, to fiscally sensible county owned structures that are built for specific present and future needs.

Positive economic numbers after years of recession and stagnation suggest that our economy is improving slowly. The Adams County Commissioners have rolled up their sleeves and have made a healthy commitment to the Adams County Economic Development Corporation and the Adams County Industrial Development Authority. We just approved supporting the Industrial Development Authority, enabling them to purchase and demo what is known as the REDDI or Gettysburg Station project on North Stratton Street in Gettysburg.

The project has been languishing as an eyesore and blight for ten years. Besides our support allowing $1M of grant funding for this project to be released from the state, having a building lot ready to build on and the right partners around the table, greatly enhances the opportunity for the desired final result of job creation, improved tax base and economic stimulus for our county. Along with Senator Alloway, we are also supporting making the five remaining lots at the Adams County Commerce Center more compatible for development and sale. The funding for the improved site preparation, will make the land more attractive to realtors and potential developers. Senator Alloway has secured grant funding for that initiative.

Looking back after one year, there is no doubt that our close working relationship with our State Legislators has been significant, beneficial and refreshing. Senator Alloway, Representative Moul, and Representative Tallman are frequent visitors to the Commissioner's Office and we communicate and go to events with them frequently. It is very clear that our common goal is simple: benefit the residents of Adams County. The results of this relationship is very tangible when it comes to legislation and grant funding. That has been evident - and I believe will continue to be evident with this spirit of cooperation.

This year promises to be a once in a lifetime event year in Adams County. Because of the 150TH Battle Anniversary, there will be a multitude of events, large and small, throughout the year. The eyes of the nation and the world are upon us. CNN Travel has designated us the #5 Top Travel destination in the world for 2013.

There are too many announced events to name; but some of the highlights will be In early July we have the NPS 150TH Battle Anniversary events, Gettysburg College and Lutheran Seminary events, a Prelude Living History Weekend at the Seminary, Reenactments, Bike Week and a 150TH Country Music Tribute concert. In mid-September, Adams County is hosting the National Medal of Honor Convention with several high profile events. November events include the 150TH Anniversary of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address (Dedication Day) and Remembrance Day Weekend. There is significant speculation there could be a Presidential visit for Dedication Day.

It disappoints me to hear many Adams Countians proclaiming they will not be anywhere near the events - or even in Adams County for those events. They are getting out of town. I would ask those residents to reconsider. You know the saying that sometimes we do not appreciate what we have in our backyard. This is a great opportunity to get out there and experience all the natural, historical, recreation and cultural opportunities that our beautiful county has to offer. Also, I would ask you to remember that we have guests coming from all over the United States and from around the world. Relate this to when you go on a trip or vacation. A little patience, a kind word, directions and a smile will go a long way toward a lasting positive impression of our community.

For a complete up to date listing of this year's events go to the Gettysburg Convention & Visitor Bureau 150TH website at

Best wishes to you for a safe, healthy and enjoyable year!

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