My primary focus is on managing responsible growth. Growth is inevitable. While we all like Frederick County the way it is, it will continue to grow and growth – affects everything. The “Livable Frederick Plan” is an outline and starting point for how the county should view and manage the future. The Livable Frederick Plan is a continuation/update from the 2012 comprehensive plan) This plan is different than previous plans in that it included input from over 2000 citizen questionnaires.
Growth affects our public safety requirements. Police, fire and ambulance services are foundation services of any government. The public often overlooks crowded roads and crowded classrooms, saying the services have just not caught up. However, not having sufficient emergency services is not acceptable. That is why they are called EMERGENCY SERVICES.
Public educational needs are determined by populations and ours is growing. If we are not meeting the current demands for classrooms and teachers, how many more students can the system absorb? Planning educational needs for the county is and will always be a long term issue.
Roads and infrastructure are already behind the curve in Frederick County. Congestion is often and frequent in numerous areas. We need to alleviate our current problems and at the same time plan for our future growth.
Fiscal responsibility that is needed for growth requires long range planning. We had a government that was only planning for the immediate future and eliminated county positions and services. While they reduced the size of the county government – the budget increased, dramatically. The same previous county government also waived and eliminated impact fees. When the planning is done correctly, the impact fees cover the expansion of services and minimize any needs for additional revenue. The current residents should not be subsidizing new developments. Thankfully, our current county executive started addressing these issues and has mitigated some of our past problems. There is still a long way to go.
We have significant agriculture and farming issues. Agriculture is a large industry in the County, with Frederick County being the largest milk producing county in the state of Maryland. Supporting the agriculture industry is not an option if we expect Frederick County to remain a rural community. Not every farm can be a wedding venue or a winery. This is not just a Frederick County issue, so to address this Frederick County needs to work with state and federal agencies. Once farm land is developed, it’s not coming back.
Frederick County has an aging population that will require additional resources. These resources include; housing, medical care and public transportation. Taking care of our elderly is being responsible and reflects who we are as a community. Being responsible regarding the elderly needs with social services is good planning and is often fiscally responsible.
We are in many respects a wealthy county. Even with our wealth we have a homeless population that includes children. Turning our heads and avoiding eye contact does not address the issues. Often, the cost to the county for homeless persons medical and other needs – exceeds the cost of intervention. There are times when interventions are also fiscally responsible.
Frederick County has an addiction and an illegal drug use problem. Mental health issues are often interrelated with substance abuse, so both must be addressed. If we only focus on an immediate issue in front of us, we often fail to examine underlining causes.
The public has a miss-trust in government, government institutions and the media. Historically Americans have always had a cautious view of government and government institutions. That cautious view is not a bad thing; it reflects the real world in that it is the public’s responsibility to monitor what the government does. The government is supposed to work for the people. While we often hear complaints about the press, historically it has been the free press that has reported government abuses. It is my intention to be a responsible representative and to earn the trust of the citizens.
The current rancor in politics at all levels is not just disturbing, it is poor behavior. Disagreeing with someone does not require you to be disagreeable. My goal is to be open, honest and effect positive change in the Frederick County Government. I would like to add some civility to the politics in Frederick County. Working together requires listening and I will listen.
Candidate for County council District 5, www.shannonbohrer.com and @shannonbohrerFCCD5