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?
Yungmann: I generally support use of TIF vehicles for redevelopment projects, but the county still needs revenue growth so I oppose a structure where an inappropriate amount of incremental revenue is captured by the TIF without the developer investing in what would otherwise be public infrastructure.
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?
Yungmann: I support presence of armed SRO in every high school and middle schools according to need/best practices. I would consider additional screening methods. Other important methods to harden the building including tinting windows and limiting ingress. However a hardened target isn’t the solution. Staff and students must be empowered to identify individuals in the risk population for which a formal targeted plan of intervention and monitoring should be implemented. This includes mental health, school engagement, law enforcement, social media monitoring and other means to protect both the school and the potential attacker.
Are there any county government services that should be privatized to save money and improve efficiency?
Yungmann: I’d start with transportation. Other areas might include segments of healthcare delivery and public works.
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?
Yungmann: A better approach would have been to make nominal adjustments to the capacity limits and not allow the buy-ups. However, the recently approved capacity limits necessitate those buy-ups to avoid a wide-spread building moratorium in much of the county.
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?
Yungmann: No. Local law enforcement enforces warrants from different jurisdictions in the normal course and cooperation with Federal law enforcement should be no different. Once illegal immigrants recognize Howard Co as a safe haven they will concentrate here diluting the quality of services being provided to our current residents.
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?
Yungmann: Flood mitigation can be combined with other improvements needed to elevate the economic return of the Main Street corridor such as parking structures, redesign of sidewalks to provide outdoor shopping/dining spaces and easier walkability and limits on thru traffic and Main Street parking.
How would you respond to the opiod overdose epidemic? Should Howard expedite construction of an in-patient drug treatment center?
Yungmann: I support the recent creation of an opiates coordinator within the health department and the funding of an in-patient treatment center. I’d like the county to explore opportunities for public-private partnerships for construction and operations.
Has the county invested enough in public transportation projects, including the regional bus network and BikeHoward program?
Yungmann: The county has done what it can given higher priorities and a finite pool of resources. This is an area in which I’d like to see some privatization.
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?
Yungmann: I’d love to support a tax decrease but the recent changes to APFO and the resulting sharp decrease in impact fees make it fiscally difficult. I would strongly support a plan to phase in a tax decrease and part of long-range planning.