Should the county develop small area plans as part of the upcoming General Development Plan and Comprehensive rezoning process?
Ritchie: I think that we should review the current plans and up date as needed. I am not sure if there is adequate time to start from scratch a new SAP. But I do believe that there is time to review what is currently in place and review for possible updates or changes. There has been mention of waiting until 2025 but I believe that is to late and the SAP should be taken into consideration now for this GDP.
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The Teachers Association of Anne Arundel County continues to advocate for a return of step increases given up during the 2008 recession. Should the County Council fund these increases?
Ritchie: Yes, those who were in the system during the recession should be brought up to the correct step. Educators who come to AACPS from another system with years of service are being placed at the appropriate step and are making more then those who were with the system during the recession. The county executive should fund in the budget and the council should approve. This is separate from COLA or funding steps as part of negotiations.
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Do you support maximizing revenue under the county tax cap, or seeking additional revenues to support increased spending on education, public safety or other initiatives?
Ritchie: Yes I do support maximizing the revenue as needed to correct some of the issues that occurred because of the recession. When asked citizens always rank education and public safety as important. Unfortunately this is not always reflected in our budgets. The issue is, we are competing with the surrounding counties for the best and brightest. The question then is are we willing to pay for it.? Salary is a major part of it, but we have to look at the full benefits package a well. Realizing that people at different years in their career want different benefits. We also have to decide if we want to meet the national expectations for issues such as lower class sizes or agency recognized standards for the number of police and fire fighters per citizens. If we decide no then we have to be willing to except the consequences.