Infrastructure, growth top forum discussion
CENTREVILLE — More than 30 citizens turned out for the Centreville Town Council forum, sponsored by Queen Anne’s County League of Women Voters, Tuesday, March 21 in the meeting room at the Board of Education. They asked how each candidate would bring tourists to the town, what they would do to attract businesses and young folks, expressed infrastructure concerns and shared budget priorities.
Incumbent Councilman George “Smokey” Sigler
and challenger Jeff Morgan answered audience questions and had the opportunity to talk about their platforms.
The forum began with each candidate answer prepared questions from the League of Women Voters that brushed what issues were important to each, how to grow the commercial viability of the town, explanations on whether tax differentials were important and the overall town vision down the road.
League of Women Voters President Barbara Sharkey moderated the event.
Decided by a coin toss, Morgan introduced himself first and said he entered the race to give voters another option and a chance for change as previous elections were canceled due to only one candidate running.
Sigler began by speaking about sewer problems in the North Brook community and suggested a work group is needed to study how to solve the problem. He talked about public issuance of debt through the town or a state environmental service to replace the failing sewer system.
Both candidates agreed infrastructure is important to the town’s current and future growth. Morgan said projects that take longer than contracted should be fined and incentives should be put in place for early project completions.
Regarding Centreville tourism, Sigler spoke about the various Main Street Programs that have been created over the years that draw large crowds, such as the annual Christmas Parade and a Farm to Dinner event. Morgan suggested pushing the historic aspect of the town.
To bring young people back to the area, Morgan said looking at building prices and drawing more businesses to the town would provide more working opportunities. Sigler said with the county’s push to bring a fiber optic network to the area, expanding WiFi capabilities, the technology generation might be more inclined to stay or move to town.
Both Morgan and Sigler highlighted the importance of attracting new businesses. Sigler described his efforts in bringing in prospective businesses and how through the Centreville Economic Development Authority, created while he was on the council, a plan is in place for smart growth.
Morgan said bringing in more dining options as well as possibly creating a shopping district with boutique shops, referencing downtown Annapolis, more people might be attracted to the area. He said growing the tax base was important and that the town buying properties within its limits takes away from that base.
The Centreville council election will be held from noon to 7 p.m. Monday, April 3, at the Goodwill Volunteer Fire Company.
Centreville residents listen to incumbent Councilman George “Smokey” Sigler and challenger Jeff Morgan speak about issues during a forum on Tuesday, March 21, hosted by the League of Women Voters of Queen Anne’s County.