Early voting has started, and I sincerely appreciate all who have told me they’ve already cast their vote for me via their mail-in ballot, or will be doing so in person at the Early Vote Center at 17718 Virginia Avenue, or at the polls on Election Day, November 3rd.
For anyone who is still undecided as to who to vote for, let me briefly sum up why I am running:
I moved here in 2005, and have seen starts and stops in efforts to improve our City. We’ve been making good progress over the last couple of years. I want to help keep Hagerstown moving in a positive direction, revitalizing our downtown and attracting new businesses, new restaurants and new residents.
We need to improve our City’s reputation with developers, who find the way our building regulations are enforced are very difficult to deal with. Several developers have told me they’ve chosen to deploy their capital to renovate and restore buildings in Frederick and Martinsburg (instead of in Hagerstown) because they don’t experience delays and surprise extra costs from inconsistently applied rules and problem inspections, like they’ve experienced in Hagerstown. We need them to want to invest HERE IN HAGERSTOWN!
We need to reduce the petty crimes and thefts that have been plaguing City residents, and the growing problems caused by an increase in illegal drug trafficking and activity. Our City needs to feel like, and actually be a safe, fun place to live and visit.
We have City ordinances that are outdated, and need to be revised to deal with current problems we are experiencing.
And we need to get our property values to start increasing like they are outside the city-limits, while ours are flat or decreasing.
We need to get a handle on City taxes, since the additional burden they place on City residents is depressing the market value of their homes and properties compared to properties outside the City. High Ciity taxes discourage home and property sales, and discourage new home construction inside the City.
All businesses and residents have had to make sacrifices and cut spending due to the impact of COVID. Our City Government has not had to make similar cuts, and continues to support a full and, in some cases, a growing staff that have enjoyed raises and step increases throughout the pandemic. I’m tired of having to tighten my belt and cut expenses, and watch struggling businesses close while the City continues making expenditures that were planned well before the pandemic began, and that were based upon projected revenues that never materialized.
We need to focus our limited revenues on public-safety functions, and put other less important issues on hold. The City needs to live within its means and cut spending NOW, before it has to raise taxes.
We need at least three like-minded people on City Council that will attack our growing budget deficit (currently at $1.8 million and rising), and not wait until it’s too late. Raising taxes is not an option, unless we want to further depress our property values and eliminate further interest in real-estate and business development projects inside the City.
I WILL NOT VOTE TO RAISE YOUR TAXES!!!
Authority: Citizens for Austin Heffernan - Pamela Heffernan, Treasurer