Should county government incentivize growth in the county through zoning and, if so, what types of growth (residential, commercial, high density, etc.) should the county focus on and why? What steps should the county take to comply with state-mandated planning requirements?
Frazier: Incentivize growth no, but create opportunities for growth yes. We need to adjust zoning districts to allow residential growth. Higher density development should be around public water and sewer. Current zoning basically allows 1 ,2, 4, or 5 houses per acre, depending on the zone. We should also allow houses to be clustered when land dictates it’s use. If the land has some feature that does not allow even development, then there should be a provision that allows houses to be clustered on a portion of the land if the total number of houses dose not exceed the zoning.
What is your vision/strategy for economic development in the county. What incentives do you think are appropriate to lure businesses/employers to Carroll?
Frazier: . Carroll County has had unprecedented economic development over the last three years. We have done so well that we now need more “shovel ready” lots for development. The county has put money into the infrastructure in the land and businesses have come. We have a well-educated work force which also attracts business. We just need to keep doing what we’ve been doing to keep economic development moving forward.
Approximately 47 percent of the county’s proposed fiscal 2019 budget goes toward Carroll County Public Schools. Do you believe this number is appropriate, too low or too high? Should there be a set percentage of the budget dedicated to public education each year?
Frazier: I do not believe there should be a set percentage put aside for the school system. The county puts almost half of its budget into the schools. We must remember that Carroll County Government is only one funding source for the schools. The percentage, not just the actual dollars, that the state has contributed to the schools has dropped. When there is a gap between what the schools ask for and the total amount that they are budgeted for, everyone looks to the county to make up the difference. I believe the County has done everything it could do for the schools in the past three years.
Do you believe existing revenue sources are sufficient to effectively cover necessary expenditures in Carroll County? Currently a supermajority (4-1 vote) is required to raise taxes. Do you think that is appropriate or should only a simple majority (3-2 vote) be required?
Frazier: Existing revenue sources have worked because of some creative adjustments of fund allocations. We need to hold the line on revenue, as long as we can deliver services that are expected and needed and pay our bills. I am not in favor of the super majority to pass a tax increase. The same majority that is needed to pass everything else in the county should be sufficient to raise taxes. If people want a super majority for something let’s use it to pass the budget, that is the most important thing we do.
Do you support or oppose a move from the commissioner form of government to charter government?
Frazier: . I am in favor of having a charter written and having the people of Carroll County voting on an actual charter. Carroll county needs to explore charter government. While the current Board of Commissioners work well together, we still must run to Annapolis to get many things accomplished. A commissioner form of government is not and cannot be as responsive as charter government.
Enabling legislation in the Maryland General Assembly gives county government authority over fire and emergency services. What do you see as the best path forward for emergency services in Carroll County?
Frazier: . We need to help the local volunteer fire companies to recruit and retain volunteers. We put money aside for that purpose in last years budget. However, no matter what we do I believe we are going to transition into a paid force, hopefully far in the future. How we accomplish that transition, needs to be worked out between the county and all fire companies working together. Other counties have made this transition and we are looking at how it was accomplished and what were the best practices used.
What do you believe county government’s role should be in combating the opioid epidemic?
Frazier: .To combat the opioid epidemic we need seamless transitions from detox to rehab to outpatient services. I introduced legislation that would allow a 12 hour hold on people that have overdosed so they can be evaluated and given counseling. Rehab facilities need to be expanded so people seeking rehab can get into a facility that day. When discharged a support system needs to be ready the next day. I also introduced legislation so that when discharged from rehab people will have a program in place that starts the next day. We cannot expect them to go back to their old environment without help and not to relapse.