Lessons from economics professor #KirbyDelauter

Rarely is one properly rewarded when they slip on over to that sticky appendage of a website known as the Tentacle. But Hooey Mama we hit the jackpot yesterday! Our esteemed Councilman #KirbyDelauter had a few things to say about Jan Gardner’s budget. (Spoiler alert: He doesn’t like it.)

#KirbyDelauter’s first problem is that the property tax is not being lowered, which in his mind is a tax increase. It is extremely confusing as to how leaving an assessment alone is an increase, let alone a hidden one, I guess math is really hard sometimes. The second item of contention is the one time transfer of $2 million to cover the assumption of county buildings that he doesn’t believe should cost any money because they sit empty. One quickie look at the Jan’s budget (and please, please don’t just take our word or #KirbyDelauter’s, read it here) and lo and behold here’s the explanation:

One-time transfer to create a 2.0 million reserve fund to cover potential budget impacts from litigation (Wynne Case) and 2.0 million to cover a prior assumption of revenue from the sale of County buildings that did not materialize.

A prior assumption of revenue? And from where did this prior assumption of revenue come from? It couldn’t have been the last budget put forth by #KirbyDelatuer & Co. could it?

But the best is yet to come. The prior board privatized the maintenance of county vehicles. Jan is reinstating two of those positions with an estimated $0 cost to taxpayers. Well let’s see what #KirbyDelauter has to say about this:

The previous Board of County Commissioners outsourced fleet services for maintenance, etc. It worked great and saved the taxpayer a substantial amount of money. The executive wants to hire a full-time maintenance technician. Anyone ever see Jiffy Lube, or Quick Lube, the Lube Center, or your local garage that does maintenance on cars and trucks? Again, would you hire your own mechanic, or take your car to Jiffy Lube? You make the call.

So where to begin with this little gem? First of all, a county budget cannot be compared to a household budget. It’s not the same thing at all. How many cars does the average American household possess? Maybe 2? So of course it isn’t feasible or necessary for us to have our own personal mechanic hanging out in our garage ready to change our spark plugs or fix our transmissions. The county possesses a fleet of 950. That’s more than Jay Leno, who himself owns maintenance equipment to do the work in-house. We have to expect that there is the NEED for daily maintenance on those hundreds of vehicles. As a matter of convenience and efficiency it behooves the county to have their own maintenance workers, rather than having them stand in line at the local Jiffy Lube.

Next on the rap sheet of complaints is this lovely little gem:

Fountain Rock Lime Kiln
Fountain Rock Lime Kiln

Here’s #KirbyDelauter’s take:

Let us not forget about the Lime Kiln rehabilitation at Fountain Rock Nature Park: $600,000 to do some masonry repairs to an old lime kiln that if you took a visitor there today, they would look and say, “That’s nice” If we spend $600,000 on masonry repairs, that same visitor will look at it and say, “That’s nice”.

Don’t put words in my visitor’s mouth #KirbyDelatuer! First, of all we are big fans of Fountain Rock (and Catoctin Creek) Nature Center and see the value of keeping these county treasures open and in good repair. Having visited the Lime Kiln on many occasions we know that it is in desperate need of repair not only for the possible liability issues (in which the county of course could be sued) but also because it is a tourist attraction and tourists bring money to our stores and restaurants. I once heard it explained, “We’re Open for Business!”

But the icing on the cake, the words that we cannot believe our eyes were subjected to were these:

We have two teachers on the County Council who will vote on millions of dollars that will help their coworkers as well as themselves.

I’m not saying they’re bad people, but they are in a bad position. If they vote for these added millions to the Board of Education, the taxpayers will scream foul, claim they’re padding their own pockets. If they don’t, it will be very hard for them to walk among their peers at their schools to say the least. I don’t envy them in that position.

Well Jessica and Jerry I am sure you are beyond relieved that #KirbyDelauter does not think you are bad people! You just do bad things, like pad your wallets with all those county funds angering the tax payers from Emmittsburg down to Urbana! This coming from someone who would love to pad his wallet with county contracts.

We value open, useful discussion in our government. Especially when it comes to how our money is spent. And if our esteemed councilman had some useful words we would surely listen. However, all he wants to do is say no, no, no. We suspect this comes more from his libertarian viewpoint that government shouldn’t exist at all than it does from any real concern of how Frederick County should function.

2 thoughts on “Lessons from economics professor #KirbyDelauter

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