What do you consider the greatest accomplishments and failings of the Kamenetz administration?
Bevins: The best accomplishment of the Kamenetz administration was continuing to fund education and essential services in the face of a tough economic climate. During this time, taxes were not raised and Baltimore County maintained it’s Triple AAA Bond Rating. The biggest failing of the Kamenetz administration is that he left the impression, fair or unfair that he is disinterested in Eastern Baltimore County and the opinion of it’s residents.
Does Baltimore County have adequate resources to meet its needs, particularly to renovate or replace aging schools? Do you support increasing the property tax or local income tax?
Bevins: Yes Baltimore County has adequate resources to meet it’s needs, particularity to renovate and replace aging schools. In my district, the sixth council district, all schools have central air-conditioning, there have been major renovations to both Parkville and Overlea High Schools, and three new schools are being constructed in the sixth district alone.
Do you support Baltimore County's federal housing consent decree? In particular, do you support a prohibition on rental discrimination against those who use federal housing vouchers?
Bevins: This is a tough issue. I voted against the Home Act in 2016 because there is already a disproportionate amount of affordable housing in the sixth district. I do not support polices that force a disproportionate amount of housing vouchers in the sixth district.
Does the county government exercise adequate oversight over the school system?
Bevins: The county government exercises adequate oversight over the school system by approving the budget for Baltimore County Public Schools, which encompasses 52% of the entire Baltimore County Budget. The Council has gone beyond its formal role with the school system by requesting that the State of Maryland conduct an independent audit of the Board of Education and its purchasing practices.
What role can the county play in assisting in the preservation or revitalization of aging communities?
Bevins: The county has a number of tools at it’s disposal to assist in the preservation and revitalization of aging communities. The county offers tax credits and conditional loans to attract and maintain businesses that provide jobs and a tax base for communities. The county also has several Commercial Revitalization Districts that makes it easier for communities and businesses to receive grant funding and low interest loans among other things. Revitalizing our older business districts is critical to healthy communities.
How would you characterize the relationship between the Baltimore County police and the communities they serve? Are any reforms necessary?
Bevins: No relationship is perfect but overall the relationship between the Baltimore County Police and the communities is strong. Each of the twelve county police precincts have Police Community Relation Council for community outreach. Baltimore County has a strong Citizens on Patrol (COP) program. Also the county has adopted the police body camera program which will increase transparency.
Baltimore County was a pioneer in rural land preservation. Do its zoning policies and the Urban-Rural Demarcation Line continue to serve the county's needs?
Bevins: The zoning polices have done a lot of good to serve the county’s needs by attracting new businesses and expanding the county’s tax base. However for the zoning polices to better serve the needs of residents, they should be updated to include 21st century industries. I also believe it is time to explore ways to ensure developers provide more to communities that result in healthy vibrant neighborhoods.
Is Baltimore County's support for cultural institutions in Baltimore City too little, too much or just right?
Bevins: Baltimore County’s support of cultural institutions in Baltimore City such as the National Aquarium, the Science Center, and the Walter’s Art Museum is just right because county residents and students visit these institutions. Vibrant cultural offerings are a key component to a healthy regional economy.
Is Baltimore County adequately served by mass transit?
Bevins: There is still work to be done to ensure the county is adequately served by mass transit. Mass transit is a critical way to connect employees with employers. Eastern Baltimore County sits in a critical spot geographically making it imperative that the county work with the State and federal government to take advantage of its location.