(12/2015) Over the past four years I have done my best as County Commissioner to serve the people of Adams County. It is an honor to be re-elected for another four years to serve this great county. This victory is a tribute to the hard work of my campaign team and community members willing
to spread the truth about my stances on the issues facing our county. Now that the election is over, it is time to move forward and begin looking at our goals for the next four years.
Looking forward in a deliberate fashion means outlining immediate, mid term and long term goals. In the near term the county is about to release for public review a draft 2016 budget. In the near term I need to meet with staff and community leaders to outline our community goals for the
coming year. And lastly we must begin to outline long term goals for the future uses of the old Saint Francis School and Herff Jones properties. After my first four years in office, I have lost my naivete that substantial government projects can be achieved by simply adding a new Board of Commissioners. By
outlining our goals and the timeline to complete each goal, I will be in a better position to obtain timely public input and allocate the necessary resources to successfully reach these goals.
The number one priority in the coming weeks is the presentation and approval of the 2016 budget. In a year where revenue projections were at best flat, county staff did an excellent job of curbing expenses. So good that we are projecting a budget surplus for 2015. By keeping health care
costs low and continuing to be frugal, county staff have put the finishing touches on a great 2015 and a better plan for 2016 than I thought possible only a few months ago. That coupled with increases in state funding for emergency services and our own reducing of county rents are resulting in a balanced budget
with no tax increase. We will be able to fill needed staff positions, which have been left vacant, adequately pay county staff to prevent increasing turnover and new employee training expenses, and continue to modernize our IT infrastructure to better serve the public. I wish that I could take credit for many of
these savings, but the truth is while we can give direction and challenge staff, they did the hard work of answering the challenge. By the time this article goes to press, we should already have the draft budget ready for public review. Please take the time to visit our website, www.adamscounty.us, to begin
reviewing and commenting on this budget.
In mid-November 2015 we were visited by one of our major financial institutions to discuss the general financial health of the county. They were extremely impressed that we have been able to keep our health insurance premiums level for three years and with our overall fiscal stability.
However, their only negative comment was that Adams County lacks the economic growth to support a stronger tax base. We quickly told them that "economic stimulation and growth" have been and will continue to be an administrative priority. Over the past year I have learned that terms like economic "stimulus",
"growth", or "development" mean different things to different people. In fact while I know that economic development means improving our farm and tourism businesses, many people instantly equate development with big box stores or "smoke stack" industries. While we may all differ on what is best economically for the
future of Adams County, we all should agree that agriculture and tourism are our current strengths and should be improved. That too is economic development. Over the next four years I want to continue the discussion about what kinds of economic development are best for our communities.
With the purchase of the old Herff Jones property (Human Services Building) and the previous purchase of the old Saint Francis properties (High Street Complex) Adams County is poised to have the resources to adequately address future governmental growth. To be crystal clear, if I felt that
current and future services to our residents could be served without these properties, Herff Jones would never have been purchased and the Saint Francis properties would be up for sale already. That is not the case. As our population increases, our need for services and additional office space increases.
My job as an elected official is to be responsible and fiscally prudent with our planning for inevitable future growth. I believe that these two properties are the most cost effective way to plan for this future. As we begin to design the Human Services Building, we will not only have space
for existing rented offices, but we should be able to relocate archived records and maintenance storage out of the High Street Complex, thus freeing up space better utilized as office space. Furthermore, the additional space at the Human Services Building may provide for joint equipment and supply purchasing, thus
enabling the county and potentially other local governments to save funds through bulk purchasing. While I can try to outline all of the "potential" uses of each property, we will only know the best uses after thorough reviews by architectural and engineering experts. Once a plan is developed, we will be able to
begin budgeting for these changes and over the next ten years deliberately renovate or build the space Adams County government needs to effectively deliver services to our residents.
Over the past four years I have done my best to serve the people of Adams County. With your input I will continue to do the same for the next four years. As we begin reviewing next year's budget, work towards economic success, and plan for future county office space I will need your advice.
If you have any concerns or would like to help move Adams County forward please join me on my facebook page at Marty Qually for Adams County Commissioner, email me at email@example.com, or call my personal cellphone at 717-339-6514. For the next four year I work for you. Let's make it another great four year.
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