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It’s been an honor and a privilege to serve you these past two years. I’ve learned a lot and have a greater appreciation of your needs and concerns. I’ve always tried to make reasoned decisions based on what I believe is right and what benefits the broadest number of residents in our Town. For those who have taken the time to come to Council meetings – and I applaud those who do – I hope you’ve seen my efforts to do the right thing and find compromise whenever possible.
The fence / right of way issue was an example of an extremely divisive issue that pitted neighbor against neighbor and nearly ended in litigation. Instead, I helped broker a settlement that created the beautiful space that so many residents sought, respected the rights of the homeowners to enjoy their property, was a vast improvement over the ugly opaque fence that previously existed there and saved the Town the cost of litigation.
The Town faces many challenges, including funding shortfalls and encroachment of development from Bethesda. We need to find creative solutions and use our political influence wisely. A few points –
• Fiscal responsibility – as stewards of the tax dollars of the Town’s residents, funds should be spent judiciously to benefit the widest number of residents. Core functions should be adequately funded. Care should be taken not to overextend the Town’s resources, especially on programs or services that benefit a relatively few members of the community;
I do not favor deficit spending. We are not the federal government and do not have the ability to borrow! Our reserve fund is there for emergencies, long-term capital projects but not to fund our operating budget;
• Transparent and Open Governance – Town government must be open and accessible to the entire town not just those residents who are able to attend meetings;
• Preserving the Town’s Character --The Town’s lifestyle is threatened by potential over-development of Bethesda and we need to fight back. I favor continuing to explore the purchase of the parking lots to preserve an open space buffer;
• Civility -- Civility between neighbors must be an ongong goal of the Town’s elected representatives. The Town should not pit neighbor against neighbor. For too long, I’ve seen the Town divided and it shouldn’t be that way. I will work to find the middle ground.
Thank you for your continued support.John Bickerman