Steuart Pittman

Steuart Pittman
  • Democrat
  • Age: 57
  • Residence: Davidsonville

About Steuart Pittman

Education

I graduated from University of Chicago in 1984 with a BA in Political Science.

Background

I have 33 years’ experience managing nonprofit organizations and small businesses. I worked as a community organizer empowering citizens to influence local government, a farmer and re-trainer of racehorses for second careers, and director of a national non-profit called Retired Racehorse Project.

Questionnaire

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1
Development
How would you as county executive address concerns about growth and development in Anne Arundel County?
Pittman: County Executive Schuh came into office with a pledge to spur growth. He did so with taxpayer-funded incentives and little regard for the development plan we had in place. The accelerated growth has stressed our schools, traffic flow, and county services. My administration will conduct an audit of the development projects that have been approved in recent years. It will track consistency with the growth plans approved by our elected officials and weigh the fees and taxes generated from each project against the costs borne by taxpayers. The county has managed growth and budgets in a way that created a long-term fiscal mess, and to dig ourselves out we need to understand how we got here. We will invite residents in each of the county’s 16 Small Area Plan communities to update the recommendations they made in existing plans. That information will be combined with findings of the development audit and input from the business community to create a plan for the county that is fiscally responsible, environmentally responsible, and sustainable for future generations. Developers and the business community need consistent rules that are applied fairly. The plan that we approve will create opportunities for development projects that have community support, and we will facilitate the transparency and communication that makes the process work efficiently. We can’t turn back the clock on growth, but we can take stock of where we are today and give our residents a voice in where we go from here.
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2
Opioids
What is the role of county government in addressing the growing number of opioid overdoses and opioid abuse?
Pittman: Counties are ground zero in the national war on opioid addiction. With over 1,000 overdoses and 155 deaths last year, there is no room for parochialism, politics, or blame. Service providers look to county government to coordinate efforts and fill the gaps in education, prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, and law enforcement. It starts with the doctors who prescribe the opioids. Thanks to Maryland’s new Prescription Drug Monitoring Program and lawsuits against doctors who abuse their licenses, opioid prescriptions are decreasing. Our police must continue to track down and arrest the heroin dealers. It’s the only way to keep the deadly fentanyl-laced drugs out of the hands of users. These arrests save lives. Opening police and fire stations as safe places for people to seek treatment sends a strong signal that local government will help. It also connects neighborhoods to information about treatment options. The greatest challenge is our shortage of treatment centers. We have Hope House at Crownsville Hospital Center, where talk of eviction by the state of Maryland threatens the future of the facility, and we have Maryland House Detox about to open in Linthicum, despite assessment by the county of a large development impact fee for rehabilitation of an existing building. We must embrace these and other facilities in our communities. As of April 10, just ten days after the first quarter of this year, our county had suffered 52 opioid deaths. These were our neighbors, co-workers, and sometimes our families. Every life we save is a triumph.
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3
Taxes
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?
Pittman: Anne Arundel County needs to invest more in education and public safety. Our neighboring counties offer higher pay to their teachers, firefighters, and police, making recruitment and retention here very difficult. That’s why we are 400 teachers, 100 police officers, and some 50 firefighters short of recommended levels. Fortunately, we are in a good economy and county revenues are growing. When we end giveaways that provide no public benefit, like the $36 million property tax break for Live! Casino Hotel, our bottom line will improve. I believe that we can meet our needs with projected revenues, but I will never make budget promises before seeing the numbers and hearing from taxpayers. County voters in 2016 passed a charter amendment mandating that they have input into their budget. It was opposed by my opponent, but I supported and will abide by it. Our county has a property tax revenue cap limiting the increase in what we collect to the rate of inflation, regardless of growth in our tax base. As property values increase, our rate drops. Politicians like to take credit for that cut, but they shouldn’t. When my budget team presents options, I will share them with taxpayers. If the economy falters, we will meet budget challenges as a community. If we need to make cuts or we need to boost revenues, we will make those decision after a robust debate in which all sides are heard.
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