What are your views on the use of tax-increment financing as an incentive for private building and redevelopment projects, including remodeling blighted village centers in Columbia?
Moller-Knudsen: Remodeling blighted village centers is important to the continuing development of Columbia. If tax-increment financing is the incentive needed to facilitate these projects, then this is the course of action we should be willing to take, in order to revitalize and serve our communities.
With rising concern over school safety, should county police officers or sheriff’s deputies be assigned to all public schools, along with additional screening methods, such as metal detectors, student pat-downs and clear backpacks?
Moller-Knudsen: Our schools must be safe learning environments. Each school should have a police officer or sheriff’s deputy assigned to them every day. The world is changing and with it security concerns, I do not feel pat-downs or clear backpack are necessary at this point. I do believe, however, that metal detectors can diminish the risks of school threats. I also believe teachers should have the rights to conceal carry defensive weapons with the stipulation that they do so safely and are registered.
Are there any county government services that should be privatized to save money and improve efficiency?
Moller-Knudsen: Not at this time.
Is a provision in the county’s recently adopted Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance that allows developers to build affordable housing in areas where a building moratorium is in place a responsible approach?
Moller-Knudsen: Our citizens should have the right to an affordable place to live and call home. If the building moratorium is due to heath and safety concerns or environmental issues, then I do not believe that this is a responsible approach. If the building moratorium is merely temporary due to unsafe working conditions, then when those conditions are improved, construction of affordable housing is a responsible approach.
Is it appropriate for Howard to be a “sanctuary county” and prohibit county police from reporting detainees in the county detention center to federal authorities?
Moller-Knudsen: No, police officers are there to uphold the law and as such if they discover someone in violation of a law, it is their duty to enforce legislation.
What efforts, if any, should Howard County take to install more flood-control systems in and around Ellicott City, and how many tax dollars should be involved?
Moller-Knudsen: Howard County should protect our historic locations and landmarks. I believe that reliable and capable flood control systems are needed to protect Ellicott City. I trust that we as Howard County will be fiscally responsible as well as good financial stewards with our citizens tax money.
How would you respond to the opiod overdose epidemic? Should Howard expedite construction of an in-patient drug treatment center?
Moller-Knudsen: I would meet with our heath care providers and encourage them to more responsibly regulate the opioids that they prescribe. I whole-heartedly approve of in-patient drug treatment centers, but feel that it is treating a symptom rather than solving the problem. A major problem in the opioid epidemic is the abundance of medication. If lower doses are prescribed to begin treatment and physical therapy was used to help alleviate the cause of the pain then the quantity of opioids available will be diminished.
Has the county invested enough in public transportation projects, including the regional bus network and BikeHoward program?
Moller-Knudsen: I am a huge proponent of public transportation projects and do not feel we have invested enough at this point. I have worked alongside both BikeHoward and the regional bus network program in support of improved pathways, shorter headway for buses, and strategically located stops that will service more of our citizens.
The state is recommending a constant yield property tax rate of 99 cents for the budget year ahead, below the current tax rate. Do you support reducing the tax rate to the constant yield level and adopting zero-based budgeting?