BERLIN – One term is not enough to accomplish what she planned, incumbent District 6 Worcester County Commissioner Linda Busick said of her reasons for seeking another term.
District 6 will find out who its next County Commissioner will be in less than two weeks, after the only candidates in the race, Busick and challenger Madison “Jimmy” Bunting, Jr., also a Republican, face each other in the Sept. 14 primary.
When Busick, a retired Baltimore County police officer, won her seat in 2006, she took office with the intention of protecting the environment, keeping the bays clean, development in appropriate places and keeping taxes low.
“All of these issues are still ongoing and I want to continue in that vein. There are a lot of things you can’t accomplish in four years,” said Busick.
The county needs to concentrate on maintaining its fiscal picture because Busick does not see the economy turning around quickly.
“I strongly suspect taxes will be raised, but we can’t do it now when we have so many people unemployed and so many struggling to pay their bills,” Busick said. “I would not vote for that until we see the light at the end of the tunnel.”
She added, “Nobody ever wants to raise taxes. It’s a fact of life. We’ll never see the building heyday they did on the previous set of commissioners.”
Jobs are one of the biggest challenges facing the folks of District 6, she said.
Medical campuses and clean industry could provide jobs, she said. The Showell chicken plant could become a new industrial hub for Worcester County, she said, but many residents would prefer residential.
Wallops Island should be a source of jobs for Worcester County residents, with funding pouring in from NASA, Busick said. Increased traffic at the spaceport should also bring businesses to the area.
Economic development needs to be encouraged, and the county needs to find last mile providers to link up to the broadband infrastructure being constructed in the county.
The requirements for opening a business in Worcester County are largely a matter of state code, and there is no getting around that, Busick said.
The coastal bays watershed, especially the St. Martin River, still has a long way to go, she said. She wants to ensure that the county continues to enforce the comprehensive plan. Local waters must be kept clean to preserve the tourism industry, she said.
“I’m not an over-the-edge environmentalist. All I know is we must meet the federal and state requirements and that’s good for all of us,” Busick said.
If developers begin building again, they will have to provide spray irrigation land, she said. The county also needs to think about finding ways to hook more septic users up to public wastewater, which will reduce excess nutrients in local waters.
Busick would like to see the bond funding for the renovation of Snow Hill High School used to begin the rehabilitation of Showell Elementary School, too.
“Showell is bursting at the seams,” said Busick. “I want to see Showell School attended to at the earliest possible chance to do so.”
She supports adding to the schools budget when it is possible to do so, Busick said.
Affordable housing continues to be an issue in Worcester County, she said. The commissioners should encourage builders to construct townhouses and businesses with apartments above offices and shops.
The county should not be in the business of selling alcohol, Busick said on the Liquor Control Board (LCB) controversy. The private sector should take care of supplying alcohol to local businesses. If the state abolishes the LCB, something must take the place of the revenue.
Busick also said public comment periods are needed during commissioner meetings.
“Do I believe in transparency? Absolutely,” she said. “People should have a right to comment like in Ocean City.”
Speakers should be limited to a few minutes at the end of the meeting and should only be able to speak on issues addressed that day, Busick said. Meetings should be broadcast as long as the funding is available, she feels, and the meetings should at least be audio-recorded.
Busick, who lost her husband Dwight in early summer, said her ability to discharge the duties of a commissioner would not be affected.
“It will only make my focus on doing my job even stronger. He believed in me and he believed I did a good job,” she said.
Busick said she is running to represent the people.
“I won’t be pressured by any special interest groups, no matter who they are. I’m strictly here for the people and to do what is the right thing,” Busick said. “I am a full-time commissioner. I love what I do.”