Name: Larry Bayer
Date of birth: Oct. 30, 1950
Address: 1207 Hamilton Blvd.
Education: A.A. Hagerstown Community College
Occupation: Retired from City of Hagerstown; currently administrative minister Ringgold Church of Christ
Party affiliation: Republican
Political experience: First attempt at elected office; 30 years with City of Hagerstown
Q: A significant amount of public taxpayer money over a long period has been committed to help pay for the local share of debt service on the proposed multiuse sports and events center. If elected, would you continue to support this? Why or why not?
A: I support the CONCEPT of the project. Having professional baseball in a community is a selling point when attempting to attract new businesses and the stadium would be the “anchor “ for the south end of the downtown. However, without having firm cost numbers, agreements from the Suns and the anonymous donor, it is impossible for me to say whether I would vote for it or not.
Q: How would you entice businesses to locate within city limits?
— Provide meaningful financial incentives
— Assemble properties ready for development
— Make the pre-development and development review processes as friendly as possible, without compromising the City’s values
— Lower property tax rates
Q: In your opinion, what issue will be the most crucial facing the upcoming administration? How will you help address it?
A: Due to severe cutbacks in State aid to local government, the City finds itself with increased expenses without a matching increase in revenue. To meet these demands, a municipal government has two options: increase revenues (tax rate, fees and growth in taxable base) or reduce expenditures. I would support continued aggressive annexation to increase revenue and look for ways to reduce expenses. One would be to work with the County to establish a county fire department. Personnel of HFD would be the nucleus of this new department. City coverage would remain the same but the cost would be transferred to the County.
Q: Do you think Hagerstown’s downtown can be truly “revitalized?” If so, what besides a new stadium, can the city do to spur the process?
A: Yes, if we are willing to invest the large amount of money required. For the last 15 years I worked for the City, at least once a month, I would be in a meeting dealing with just this issue. In addition to the stadium, the City needs to: Work with the elected Board of Education and County Commissioners to relocate the BOE offices to the downtown; Find a use for the old YMCA building; Work with the private sector to develop upscale housing; Create a Community Development Corporation that understands the needs of the downtown and will work ... to meet those needs.
Q: Does Hagerstown have enough public safety personnel? If not, what changes would you make and how would you fund any increases?
A: A very convincing argument can always be made for increasing police and fire personnel. However, that argument must be weighed against other needs of the City. When Mayor and Council elected to hire an additional 17 firefighters, against the recommendation of the City Administrator and Finance Director, the resulting budget deficit was covered by all 400 plus full-time employees being furloughed for 10 days. Until City has found a way to increase revenue or decrease spending, I cannot support increasing either fire or police personnel above the authorized strengths now in place.