GladeValley.net has invited each candidate to answer the same set of questions to provide voters in The Town of Walkersville with some information to help them make a decision at the polls on September 14, 2015.
Tell Us About Yourself:
I am 62 years old and retired three years ago from the Federal Government as an accountant with 26 years of service. I also have 10 years of experience in the private sector including several as a Certified Public Accountant. I have been married for 33 years to Kathryn Nicodemus Baker and have two married daughters (Walkersville High graduates) and sons-in-law who live nearby. I also have two grandsons (a three year old and five month old) who my wife and I babysit three days a week. I belong to the Walkersville United Methodist Church and volunteer at the Glade Valley Food Bank on a regular basis. I enjoy biking and reading.
Tell Us About Your Public Service Experience:
I am completing my first elected term as town commissioner. I am also the town liaison on the Economic Development Commission.
What do you see as the top issues facing Walkersville and how you propose addressing these issues?
The most important issue facing the town is to maintain the quality of life that the citizens are used to having. I don’t believe anyone who lives here or moves here wants a big city atmosphere or the related detriments; I like the small town feel. The fact is that if you don’t live next to a farm or open space, you can be next to one in less than a minute – not many communities can say that. I want to keep the growth limited so all citizens can enjoy this opportunity now and into the future. With our location, we provide the opportunity to be in Frederick in 10 minutes or Washington or Baltimore in an hour – but as you return and cross the Monocacy River you know you’re back home again.
The Town of Walkersville is fortunate to be financially secure and the residents can enjoy the fact that the burgess and commissioners all have the hearts of the citizens in mind when making decisions. The town provides great parks while teaming with Glade Valley Athletic Association to provide children the opportunity to participate in numerous team sports. The schools and teachers are also outstanding and the town is fortunate to have all levels of schools in the immediate area. I would also like to commend the Walkersville fire and rescue companies (11 and 24) and can say I am happy that we have the dedicated men and women who staff them; without their support this would be a major issue for the town.
As an avid reader, I look forward (with fingers crossed) to the new library in 2016/2017. I believe this will provide the community the opportunity to enjoy a new asset and I hope all will take advantage of it.
Crime in Walkersville has been a hot topic lately with a public hearing scheduled for September 9th on the subject. Do you feel this is an issue? If so, what do you propose doing to address the issue?
I feel the crime in Walkersville is actually very low; a lot of the “crimes” associated with the town are actually in the county but get related to the town due to the 21793 zip code.
The two main issues facing the town are speeding and drugs. Speeding is something that is done by many people and has been discussed by the burgess and commissioners at various times to determine a way to help control it. If possible and feasible, I would like to see some enforcement done via speed cameras especially near the schools. This would provide a control that would impact speeders in the pocketbook and be impartial to the offender. My other suggestion would be if you are caught speeding over a certain amount then you automatically get a ticket. Right now it is at the discretion of the troopers who is given a ticket or a warning.
Drugs are everywhere and Walkersville is no different than any other local town or city. I believe the problem is caused by a small number of people but impacts many. The police work to arrest those involved but my suggestion is if you suspect someone is using/dealing drugs to call the police and advise them. “See something, say something.”
Vandalism and crimes of opportunity in the town. For some reason, some people enjoy destroying the property or possessions of others; not sure why but they do. Many times it is juveniles looking to get into mischief; I would like to see the parents held responsible, but once again, it is very difficult to prove after the fact and how many parents would say “not my child?” Also, many of the local crimes of opportunity are aided by citizens who do not lock their cars and have valuables in plain sight. Keep your car locked and your phone, wallet, credit cards and other valuables out of sight.
The town burgess and commissioners continue to review the police protection and evaluate the best way forward for the citizens of the town.
Growth continues to be an issue about which the community feels strongly. What are your views on planned growth and possible future development?
Most citizens I’ve spoken to want things to stay the same; if they are long-time residents, they like the hometown feeling. Those who have recently moved to the area like the small, quaintness of the town and the reason they moved here is because of that. They too do not want excessive growth and the burgess and commissioners have done very well to be conservative.
There are currently three approved developments in the process, totaling around 140 houses that should add a new feel to town but not an overwhelming flavor to it. I supported variances to two of the developments because they had been in the works for many years and the third I voted for as I thought it would be a great addition to the town. I don’t anticipate any new developments, especially large scale, at this time, and personally want to keep it as much as possible as it is now.
Earlier this year, Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner announced that the expansion of MD 194 would be moved to a top priority. What changes, if any, will you support to address traffic issues in and around Walkersville?
My main concern is safety. We have issues at the three intersections off of Frederick Street that use stop signs to control the access to Rt. 194. I have heard that the expansion was going to extend to Devilbiss Bridge Road and also to either Stauffer Road or to the high school. Not sure which one is correct, but I feel that if the expansion to Devilbiss Bridge Road was selected, it would be the best choice as it would add stop lights (possibly) at the three intersections or revise the traffic patterns to streamline the flow and safety of the traffic. Any of the options would help in relieving the rush hour traffic back up at Stauffer road back to Rt. 26.
Final Thoughts: I know all the candidates personally and all of them will do a great job; they all take a serious interest in the town and its future. Vote to support your town!