By MATTHEW UMSTEAD
9:47 PM EDT, May 30, 2012
Michael Bochinski hopes to deny Martinsburg Mayor George Karos’ bid for a fourth, four-year term in the city’s upcoming municipal election on June 12.
Bochinski, 51, of 701 Mill Race Drive, said his experience as a licensed professional electrical engineer and ability to bring differing people and organizations to the table to work together qualifies him to serve as mayor.
“While I have not held elective office, I have and continue to work on large infrastructure projects, and deal regularly with city, state, and federal government agencies around the country, including Washington, DC, New York, Florida, and others,” Bochinski said in a prepared statement.
A pharmacist, Karos, 80, of 501 S. Georgia Ave., said his record as mayor for the last 12 years is his qualification to serve another term. Karos noted his work with local, state and federal officials for building the new Raleigh Street Extension and the city’s effort to maintain low fees and taxes in “tough economic times” while continuing to provide essential services and remain financially stable, among other accomplishments in his tenure.
“(We) increased economic development activities by expanding city limits and developing the North Martinsburg Business District, which includes bike paths and sidewalks that connect to the new Raleigh Street Extension bike paths and sidewalks,” Karos said in a prepared statement.
When asked what is the most pressing issue facing the city, Bochinski said “impediments” to businesses such as government regulations, high taxes and restrictive policies, which must be removed to revitalize Martinsburg.
“We must remove as many of these impediments as possible while still maintaining public safety, critical services and future growth of the community,” Bochinski said.
Karos said the city’s pressing issue is to continue sound fiscal budget and management.
“The city has to continue to make necessary budget adjustments “from day to day, month to month, per quarter to maintain a balanced budget without cutting essential citywide services,” Karos said.
“Once the Raleigh Street Extension is completed, that will open economic development for the TIF district,” Karos said.
When asked why he was running for election to a fourth term, Karos said he would continue to conduct city government operations in a professional manner “that is in the best interest of all of us,” listen and respond to citizen and business inquiries and continue to foster economic development for new business, retention and job creation.
Bochinski said he was running to make a positive impact on the community, which he said is in decline, despite efforts by organizations like Main Street Martinsburg.
Citing a need for structural changes to the tax code and city ordinances, Bochinski said “hard decisions” are necessary to streamline the city’s government and provide service and infrastructure in the most efficient way possible.
Karos, a Democrat, is the owner and operator of Patterson’s Drug Stores. Bochinski, a Republican, is the president of Eon Integration Services LLC and also owns and manages several residential rental properties in Martinsburg.
The mayor is paid $6,000 annually and is eligible for insurance benefits. Early voting for the election is under way at City Hall at 232 N. Queen St.
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