(Oct. 31 2014) Michael Maykrantz declined an in-person interview and requested a list of e-mailed questions he could respond to. His answers are listed below, with only minor edits for spelling and clarity.
Why are you running?
I’m running to be part of a team to make positive, tangible improvements to the community based on the needs of the citizens, while maintaining fiscal responsibility. I see many positive things happening in the county but I have a vision for something better.
What are your goals as a Commissioner?
I have a variety of goals for the community with many based around public safety, education, community planning, infrastructure improvements, job creation, affordable housing and recycling. I would also like to see a Northern Worcester County recreation / community center complex. Restoring state funding to the county in a variety of areas from the highway user revenues to educational support, is essentially important. Obviously keep the tax rate as low as possible.
What problems do you see with the way the county operates now?
I won’t point to any specific problems with the way the county operates. I think the financial limitations due to economic factors have forced the county government to run a little leaner than it has in the past, which is good. I don’t feel that some of the elected officials are as in-touch with their constituents as they should be. There seems to be a growing disconnect between citizens and their government in general. I can’t fix what is happening on the national or state level, but I can start to address the problem locally.
How would you improve the way the county operates?
I don’t think the issue is as much about how to improve the way the county operates, as it is how the people want their government to operate. Everyone has their own idea of the level of involvement their government should play in their lives. Some want more, some want less, but everyone agrees with low taxes, low fees and minimal regulations. Only the citizens can approve what balance they want to maintain.
What is your response to those who might, on the whole, question your judgment?
[Maykrantz declined to answer.]
How many candidate forums have you attended in the last four months?
I’ve attended every forum that I’ve been invited to with the exception of one. I have also participated in many smaller Q&A interviews held by groups such as the Worcester County Teachers Association, the Worcester County Educational Support Personnel Association and the Coastal Association of Realtors.
How many meetings of the commissioners have you attended over the last year?
Not as many as my opponent, which highlights one of my goals of improving government transparency. It’s difficult for the citizens to be actively involved with their government and their community if the means to do so isn’t maximized. The Town of Ocean City went to televised and web-broadcasted meetings several years ago and the response from the community has been positive. You can sign up for a text alert or email for the meeting agendas, you can view past meetings online, etc. I understand that not everyone is tied into digital media, but it clearly is trending in that direction. Whatever we can do as a county government to help citizens be more involved and informed about their community is a positive step in the right direction.
How should the Town of Ocean City be compensated for service outside the town limits?
It really depends on what services the county residents would need from the city. The biggest one would involve Paramedic service to West Ocean City. The Town of Ocean City is compensated utilizing the same formula that’s applied equally to all the other fire companies in the county that provides EMS. The formula is based on several things such as call volume, number of full-time personnel, number of ambulances. There is also compensation for the billing of medical procedures performed by Paramedics en-route to a health care facility. I feel that the formula needs to be updated to match the growing demand for pre-hospital, emergency medical service demands in the community.
Should Worcester County take a greater role in services to West Ocean City?
I think so. According to the U.S. Census, the population in West Ocean City grew 38% between 2000 and 2010. There are close to 6,000 residents living in the WOC area, which is substantial. It is no longer just an unincorporated area of the county. It’s a community, made up of neighborhoods, with a variety of people who need a greater level of service than in the past from their government. I’m talking basic community needs such as sidewalks, road improvements, lighting, bike paths, crosswalks, fire hydrants, recycling. There are lots of programs available on the state and federal level to pay for these things if a plan is put into place and the steps are taken to move forward. I want to look at the funding allocation of the casino impact money the county receives. Ocean City gets 20%, Berlin gets 10%, Ocean Pines gets 10% and the remaining 60% the county disperses county-wide. I want a minimum of 10% dedicated to infrastructure improvements in West Ocean City, which is equally impacted.
Describe, in your own terms, what needs to happen with Station 5?
Just a brief explanation because often there is some confusion about the fire department structure. Station 5, the new firehouse on Keyser Point Road, is owned by the Ocean City Volunteer Fire Company. The Ocean City Fire Department is composed of 3 divisions; Volunteer (OCVFC), Career Fire/EMS, and Fire Marshals. The Career division primarily operates the Paramedic Units which respond from inside Ocean City to West Ocean City. Sometimes there is an ambulance stored at Station 5, if it isn’t in Ocean City at one of the city firehouses. When a WOC resident calls 911 for an ambulance, the Paramedic crew on duty in Ocean City responds through town, over the bridge and into WOC. If there was a Paramedic crew on duty 24 hours a day at Station 5 on Keyser Point Road, the time it would take Paramedics to arrive at the scene of an emergency would be cut in half. That’s not seconds, that’s minutes, and that’s the difference between life and death in a priority medical call. It’s public safety. There is nothing more important. We need to put the politics aside, get in a room and roll up our sleeves, and get this thing done.