Ron Smith, Dallastown Borough Council president, is running for York County commissioner
Gábor Barna talks about conditions at York County Department of Emergency Services. The 911 Center employee resigned from his job after the interview. William Kalina, 717-505-5449/@BillKalina
Ron Smith, a longtime Dallastown borough council member and current council president, is running for the York County Board of Commissioners.
Smith, 56, has served on the borough council for 21 years. He said one reason he joined the Republican primary race for commissioner is the York County 911 Center.
"We have an issue at the county with the emergency operations center, as far as turnover rates and retention rates," he said, "and there are some technical glitches that haven’t yet been worked out."
Smith was an emergency medical technician for 13 years in the 1980s and '90s and served as a volunteer firefighter. He also sits on the board of commissioners for the York Area Regional Police Department.
He said he's concerned with making sure there's someone on the other end of the phone to pick up if a county resident calls 911 in an emergency and also if a police officer calls for backup in a potentially dangerous situation.
If elected, Smith said, he'd want to speak with the 911 center employees and supervisors to find out what their concerns are and also reach out to other counties to learn how they've dealt with similar challenges.
"I think the county is headed in the right direction," he said, "but again, there’s always room for improvement."
Another issue that influenced Smith's decision to run is the York County Planning Commission's proposal for a countywide stormwater authority.
Smith said he is adamantly opposed to forming an authority that can impose fees on taxpayers without any oversight.
The planning commission has been developing a proposal for a stormwater authority in an effort to meet state and federal water-quality mandates as part of the Chesapeake Bay Pollutant Reduction Plan.
Under the planning commission's proposal, the authority would collect a base fee of $48.90 per year per tax parcel from all county property owners, with additional fees for agricultural and commercial land.
There would be credit programs available to ease the extra fee requirements on farmers and business owners.
The planning commission has not yet presented its proposal to the board of commissioners for a vote.
Another priority for Smith is keeping a check on government spending.
"We have to look at reducing expenses, reducing costs, looking to streamline departments to see if there’s any overlap anywhere, and review that on a continuing basis," he said. "It’s always going to be a work in progress."
Career: Smith owns American Threat Response Gear, an online store for firearms parts, magazines and accessories. (The company does not sell firearms themselves.)
Smith said a significant portion of his business comes from private sales to members of law enforcement and military personnel.
"Our product is sold to law-abiding citizens, and a large percentage of those people are already involved in public safety," he said.
Smith is the eighth candidate to enter the race for county commissioner, including incumbents Chris Reilly and Doug Hoke. President Commissioner Susan Byrnes is not seeking re-election.
The primary election is Tuesday, May 21.