Republican candidates for Montgomery County Commissioner Bruce Castor and Jenny Brown announced their campaign agenda today in a press conference at the .
According to the pair, their platform for the coming election will focus on financial management reform.
If elected, Castor and Brown hope to turn the county’s finances around.
“We are in deep financial trouble," said Castor. "[We're] seeing the highest debt Montgomery County has ever seen and need to implement fiscal policies that will insure stability of the county.”
Castor said that “county officials are not looking at the larger context and instead spending money in the heat of the moment, causing us to go further into debt.”
Castor continued to reiterate his and Brown’s mutual goal to “keep money in the people’s pockets, in hopes to cause spending and more people to buy houses within the county and so forth.”
Castor stated both he and Brown have “actively fought tax increases and done everything we can to avoid tax increases, but, of course, unforeseen events are always likely to happen, and in that case, a tax increase would need to be looked upon.”
“Instead of raising taxes," he said, "we plan to set goals and target dates to gradually phase out the debt over time.”
The candidates said they believe this would mutually benefit county residents and the county finances by not taking money out of the people’s pockets, and would hopefully promote spending within Montgomery County.
“One of the county’s financial problems we are currently seeing is a lack of transparency," said Brown. "We need to hold county officials accountable as to where and when they are spending, so we plan to put the check register online. That allows for full transparency of county finances for the public to review.”
Along with placing the check register of spending online for public review, financial forecasts would be part of the budget process and made public knowledge. Another plan of action to implement their finance management reform is implementing a debt limit policy.
“We want to establish a debt limitation and management policy of current cash reserve ratio to the annual debt service the county is currently paying on back debt," said Brown. "[This] would address the county’s current budget problems and prevent financial problems the county has faced the past four years.”
The candidates said it would probably take another four years to fix the four years of financial damage currently on the table, but if elected they would have the chance to implement their plan of action come January 2012.
Bruce Castor is currently a Montgomery County Commissioner (elected in 2008), as well as former Montgomery County District Attorney. Castor currently sits on the Montgomery County Retirement Fund Board and hopes to implement the retirement board's financial practices by looking at investments and making future projections or recommendations into the County’s budget and financial practices.
Jenny Brown is a Municipal Finance Attorney and served as Commissioner of Lower Merion after being elected in 2005.