|1.||Tell our readers about yourself (family, education, employment, community involvement, etc.):|
|Hi! I’m Mitch Brannen. I am married to Betsey, and we have three children. I went to school at Pierce College in Washington while I was serving in the U.S. Army. I deployed four times to Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan. I retired after 21 years as a Chief Warrant Officer Two. I work for FCPS at Walkersville Middle. I currently serve on Walkersville Parks and Recreation Committee. I assist coach my son’s GVAA baseball team and I am a social member of the Walkersville Fire Company.|
|2.||What prompted you to file as a candidate for the Town of Walkersville government?|
|I filed as a candidate because my life’s work has been service to the community. After serving at a national level when we moved home, it was a calling for me to continue to serve on a local level.|
|3.||What is your main priority if elected?|
|I do not believe that Commissioners should have a main priority. I have an entire platform of initiatives and ideas that I would like to work on to help make Walkersville stronger. They include Safety and Security, Technology, Availability and Transparency, Business, and Parks and Community. All of these areas are important to me, and I will work hard to work for Walkersville.|
|4.||What are the most important issues facing the Town of Walkersville, and how will you address those issues?|
|One of the biggest issues that Walkersville has is effective communication and follow through. This is all encompassing. For example, residents have been speaking about sidewalks for months. The representatives have taken no visible action on enforcement or proposing code changes. This looks like citizen concerns are not being treated seriously. Citizens should always be treated with respect and their issues taken care of in a timely manner.|
|5.||How long have you lived in Walkersville?|
|I have been a part of the Walkersville community for 15 years. Due to military obligations, we were away for most of that time. After I retired, we moved back home and have lived here happily for the past two years.|
|6.||How can Walkersville’s Government support business development within Walkersville?|
|Walkersville government can support business development by improving infrastructure in town and bringing back the Economic Development Council. The EDC is a long term committee that listens and work with business owners to develop long term strategies to bring and maintain healthy and productive businesses into Walkersville.|
|7.||What are your plans to inform more residents of issues and events in Walkersville?|
|Effective communication is paramount. I would accomplish this in a few phases.
|8.||What are your thoughts on growth in Walkersville?|
|I believe that with the current residential areas that are being built that we need to work on absorbing those new residents. We should not be looking at new residential growth until we have adequately taken care of that in which we are currently receiving. I have no plans at this time to change any zoning in town that would change agricultural or business districts to residential.|
|9.||The following topics will likely come before those elected in September. Please give your thoughts on these topics:|
|a.||Proposed Revision to the Monocacy River Management Plan:|
|This is an issue that has been in the papers for awhile. Until there is a unified effort and proposal that is placed before us, I can’t comment. There is great disagreements in this area from within the committee, the county council, and between the Carroll and Frederick counties. When all the parties are able to come together and present something, then I think we all can make a more informed decision.|
|b.||Rock Creek School Relocation to Walkersville Middle School property:|
|There are two sides of this. The one side says that I don’t want it to come here. It will take away a great green space and track that people use on a regular basis. It will also cause more traffic in town and cause issues with that flow. This will cause delays.
The other side says that this is county land and that they are free to build. I am not a proponent of them storing multiple school buses on the property. It is not a maintenance facility. If there is a large spill due to fuel or oil, it could impact us directly. Although, I wish they would not build here, I believe that we can best handle this my mitigating the risks and minimizing the disruptions that we may see in the future.
|c.||Solar Farm on Biggs Ford Road:|
|Full disclosure: My extended family owns the farm. That being said, I’m for it. This is a farm that is not being farmed by the owner, and further generations are currently not planning on farming it. By allowing the Solar Farm, this preserves the land as agricultural for future use at the end of the lease by solar company.
There are many alternatives to the solar farm. The owner could sell it. However, the risk is that with a different planning and zoning committee and county council it could be turned residential in the future.
Because it is zoned agricultural, a new owner could use the land for other agricultural uses. This could include raising chickens or pigs, turning it into a mulch pit location or some other less than desirable agricultural use.
I would want that land preserved so that we do our part to ensure that farms and agriculture stay a part of this community. It is what is was founded on.
|d.||Water Rates to pay for the new Water Treatment Plant:|
|Currently, Walkersville water rates are 19.63% and 29.65% less expensive than Frederick County. Knowing that figure, Walkersville could do small increases to the water rates and still be below the county. This is a great service that we have and I believe that it is better to pay for it by those who use more of it than a property tax increase.|
|Below are my Facebook page, my blog and my official email address:|