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Emmitsburg Commissioner Joe Ritz

(9/1) Hello Emmitsburg! Commissioner Joe Ritz here, happy to report that I have decided to run for another term to better serve you. I feel I've accomplished a lot these past three years. Specifically, the highlights I'm most proud of are:

  • Proposing that the construction of the second entrance into the Northgate development be added into the Town's Comprehensive Plan.
  • When it was reported that the Town is selling back excess electricity for less than we are purchasing it, seeking clarification on the actual cost savings associated with the Solar Farm project.
  • Listening to concerned residents of Southgate and not agreeing to the construction of the dog park in such close proximity to that development.
  • Questioning potential changes and failed opportunities related to Town history, including the Doughboy Statue and the John Armstrong Rifle display.
  • While serving as Parks and Recreation liaison, ensuring that the Emmit Gardens park be moved one step closer to reality.
  • Thoroughly reviewing my agenda packets for Town meetings to come prepared with questions, sometimes tough in nature.

Yes, I feel that these past three years of service to you have been effective and eventful. However, I'd like the chance to do more. If re-elected, I plan to address the lack of parking in Town. It is unfortunate that there is no significant and reliable off-street parking available. This issue must be formally acknowledged and investigated rather than ignored.

Another area that's lacking is youth-friendly activities in Town. We will have a new community pool in 2018, and we have well-maintained parks with a few scattered events scheduled during spring and summer. I'd really like to see full Summer in the Park series come to fruition. Wouldn't it be fantastic to have various forms of summertime entertainment - bands, choruses, movie nights, magic shows, etc.? While I'm at it, a big Thank You to Mr. Jim Click and his crew for all they do in keeping our parks in excellent order.

However, it would be great to have more year-round activities for our children. Once upon a time, Emmitsburg had a movie theater, a bowling alley, and an outdoor skating rink. When I was a kid, even going to Crouse's on the Square, or Boyle's Store was a real treat. Just a few years ago, we had Emmitsburg baseball teams winning multiple state championships. Now we have players being actively recruited to play for neighboring towns. Let's bring those championships back to Emmitsburg. Let's keep our children's pride here at home.

As I am preparing this article, Hurricane Harvey is bearing down on the Texas Gulf Coast. With all of the rainfall projected for that storm, I think of what damages flooding can do, and how it adversely affects developments with a single ingress/egress. Now is the time for action, and not after a catastrophic event in our community, to finalize the second entrance to Northgate. If re-elected, I will not settle for deprioritizing what is required for the safety of Northgate residents.

Finally, if re-elected, I want to continue to be an open channel for your concerns. I had many residents approach me during my first term with questions regarding storage shed building permits, issues related to their water/sewer bills, requests to change trash dumpster collections from 5AM to 7AM, and complaints of noxious chicken waste odors emanating from the leased lagoon site. I feel that I effectively listened to and followed up with these inquiries both officially and personally. If you allow me to serve another term, please note that I will continue to do so. Whether you give me a call, send me a text, email me, or approach me on the street, or at Jubilee, the Ott House, the Post Office, the Family Barber Shop - wherever - I am here for you.

Thank you for your time and I ask for your vote on September 26th.

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