BERLIN – Madison “Jimmy” Bunting, Jr. will challenge incumbent County Commissioner Linda Busick in the District 6 Republican primary on Sept. 14.
The primary is a high stakes election in this District 6. No Democratic candidate emerged in District 6 this election season, leaving the division’s highest office to be filled during the Republican primary. The victor would only need to garner more votes than any write-in candidates in the November general election to hold the District 6 commissioner seat.
Bunting decided to run for Worcester County Commissioner last fall.
“I was dissatisfied with the representation that District 6 was getting,” Bunting said.
Bunting feels there has not been enough emphasis on a working economic development plan. The economic development department might need adjusting, Bunting said, and the commissioners should be actively looking for businesses.
Bunting, with four years on the Planning Commission and two as chair, also said he was disappointed in the way the County Commissioners handled the new zoning regulations and subdivision regulations.
“It didn’t seem to me the County Commissioners took enough time to look at that properly,” Bunting said.
District 6 folks are counting every penny right now, across the diverse district encompassing north Ocean Pines and the more rural Bishopville and Showell areas, Bunting said.
“I will not consider a tax increase for anything. I can’t stand it. The people I’m talking to can’t stand any further burden of taxes,” Bunting said.
The county must create jobs to increase the tax base, which will allow the county to avoid raising taxes, and to give teachers and government staffers pay raises.
Bunting feels the local economic turnaround could happen relatively quickly if the commissioners work at it, but if the turnaround takes more time, the county is going to have to look at more cuts to county expenditures to stay in line with lower revenues.
“I’m hoping we can turn the economy around and avoid all this,” Bunting said.
More jobs will also allow people to buy homes here, he said, which are more affordable now.
Economic development can also be helped, he felt, through streamlining the building permit process even more. Businesses can also be encouraged through tax incentives, he said.
The defunct poultry plant in Showell would be a good place for industrial development in the north end of the county, Bunting said. The county could streamline the process and perhaps offer tax incentives to bring businesses to that site.
The business permitting process needs to move more quickly, though Bunting doesn’t see a problem with the fees charged or steps required to open a business. County staff needs to be more efficient, he said.
People talk about maintaining the quality of education, but Bunting thinks that county public schools can even be improved.
The relationship between the county and the local municipalities and Ocean Pines could be better, the candidate said. Bunting said he would work towards that if elected.
The Liquor Control Board should be abolished, Bunting feels, but the people should be the ultimate deciders. Revenue lost from the LCB could be made up through taxes on liquor sales in the county.
Bunting agrees with District 6 voters that local waterways should be protected.
“People come here for that,” Bunting said.
The laws in place are doing their job of protecting local waters, Bunting said. The commissioners should keep working towards getting nutrient point sources like wastewater plants and septic systems out of local waters.
Bunting supports transparency, including a public comment period at the end of every commissioner meeting, with each speaker allotted a short amount of time to air concerns or make comments.
“I have no problem with recording and broadcasting meetings as long as the cost doesn’t mean we have to cut something else,” Bunting said.
Bunting feels that his time on the Planning Commission and the six years he spent on the Board of Zoning Appeals before that give him a better resume than his opponent.
Bunting, a land surveyor by trade, owned his own surveying business for 18 years.