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From the Desk of County Commissioner
Jim Martin

(8/2015) Very soon I will be engaged with other County Commissioners to direct a strong voice telling Governor Wolf that now is the time to pass the 2015 – 2016 budget. As it stands, workers are going unpaid and county programs are left without funding. You, too, can be a voice to instruct Governor Wolf to pass the state budget. Please do so by calling 717-787-2500. The past four years this problems did not exist. That is because there was Republican leadership in the Governor’s Office.

This shows the importance of Republican leadership. Republican Commissioners Martin and Phiel will provide the leadership that will produce a 2016 budget that will work for all of Adams County. To produce that budget will not be without a challenge. Why? Our county’s real property tax base has increased by $28 million in 2015; only a .3% increase. Based upon my calculations, that will only provide the county an additional $109,000 in real estate tax revenues. Not much you say. That is the challenge, especially knowing we must fund contractual union employee increases. This alone will expend most of the new revenues.

Recently the Adams County Board of Commissioners paused to contemplate, how did the last three and a half years of our first term go so quickly? Clocks are definitely not moving any faster. I truly believe it is a reflection of our level of engagement. Each challenge before us is met with a genuine resolve to put Adams County in a stronger position operationally and financially. Also because of our vision we brought our own challenges into play; departmental reorganization, a self-insured model for health benefits, a vehicle replacement program, a risk management program, and wellness programs just to name a few. Excuse the phrase, but we literally used our political capital to prevent the county from becoming a collection of antiquated operations and infrastructure.

We continually embraced challenges that required more of our time and engagement of others. This required repositioning talented staff and recruiting citizen planning committees. We solicited various organizations to provide the needed financial support to keep Rabbit Transit operational. Also, our state and federal representatives were brought into our network as never before. This provided additional political capital that brought financial assistance and resources to the county. This also gave us a voice at the state level in a way that Adams County never had it before. A perfect example of this was in the acquisition of major funding and resources that made the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg a huge success. Many visitors are returning today because of their positive experiences during the 150th.

The Adams County Board of Commissioners regularly takes advantage of opportunities to move deeper and higher into the structure of the County Commissioners Association of PA (CCAP). We entered areas where we could have a greater impact for the betterment and wellbeing of Adams County and its citizens. We are not building ivory places for ourselves; we are working so the citizens of Adams County can enjoy a better life now and in the future.

At the CCAP level, Commissioner Phiel, through my nomination and subsequent vote, became the PA South Central representative to the CCAP Board of Directors. This has given Adams County a strong voice at the state level. Prior to Commissioner Phiel becoming a director, I quickly filled a vacancy on the CCAP Agricultural Committee. This gave me the opportunity to advocate for adequate funding and positive reform for programs supporting the Agricultural Industry. Shortly after joining the committee I stepped forward to strongly support funding for Agricultural Research and restoration of higher levels of funding for county fairs. This funding will help support the South Mountain Fair. The fair support is not just for enjoyment, but it is the means to showcase agriculture and to engage 4-H and FFA youth to expand their practical experience and education.

Nearly three years ago I filled a vacancy on the CCAP Workman’s Compensation Insurance Board of Directors and shortly thereafter I became a member of the CCAP Investment Pool Board of Directors. I saw this as an excellent opportunity to strengthen my knowledge regarding risk management, insurance matters, and prudent investment of the insurance pool reserves. Since my involvement as a Board Member, our county’s risk performance has continually improved and has provided thousands of dollars of reduced insurance premiums. As a member of the Investment Board I voted to reposition the investment portfolio of our reserve funds. I felt that the fund was not being managed well and was not acting in the best interests of the county insurance pools. The repositioning resulted in substantially better investment returns. Combining the return on investment with our improving risk performance, in 2014 Adams County received the largest insurance dividend check since being a member of the CCAP insurance program.

After reading this synopsis of my three and a half years in office, I hope you realize that I take my position seriously. My goal is to build upon what I have accomplished in office. These accomplishments are validation that I am more than a resume of the past, but I am a product of fresh and valuable experience that will serve the county well in a second term. On November 3 you can vote with confidence that I will return to office ready to work for you.

I do not want to finish without reminding you that the South Mountain Fair, just west of Arendtsville, begins August 18th and is filled with plenty of fun family activities until August 22. I plan to be there, so why not join me for a great time and a chance to meet?

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