We were in and out of the meeting this evening. May is really something for your gang of Lady Yokels. All of us have youngsters and it seems as though this is the month that we all have to be in a million places at once.
We were lucky enough to catch some of the people that came to public comment. They were all in support of the county safeguarding $500,000 that wasn’t used in the 2018 weather budget in order to enter a public/private partnership to open a detox center. Some very brave ladies told of their own struggles, and one let us know that when she was having problems she would have to drive down to MoCo for treatment. This passes without incident. The High Sheriff shows up after the vote and tells us that he supports this because we have a huge epidemic on our hands right now. This is what we would like to see him spend his time on rather than going on Fox News in his finery to talk about MS-13. So, brace yourselves people, but thank you Sheriff for reiterating the importance of treatment facilities in our fine county.
We missed the budget adjustments and some of the county executive appointments, but join up again when it comes to appointments to the ethics board. Thankfully all are approved WITHOUT incident.
There’s a lot of hullabaloo over the Comcast agreement. It’s a proven fact that people don’t like Comcast. And, because of that, the council got a lot of emails and calls telling them not to vote for this agreement. However, that would have been a bad thing to do. The fact is they hold a monopoly over this area. This agreement makes it so that both the county government and FCPS pay a lower rate for internet services. It also will give the county an HD channel. Kirby thinks it’s unethical that Jan took money from Comcast (note to selves: check Kirby’s donation list) even though she was not a part of the negotiations . And for that reason he will not vote for this “tainted” agreement. Attorney Chomel reminds them if they don’t vote for this, it will be VERY expensive for the county and therefore the tax payers. Sometimes you have to work within the system you have. Passes 4-3.
Tax rate is going to stay the same. $1.06. Tony, Billy, and Kirby vote against this. Presumably because they want it lowered. Which is very curious since they go on to lament the fact that the Fire Department needs more money. How do numbers work again? Jeeze people! If we cut the tax rate that’s less money! So, you cannot advocate for that and then lament the fact that we don’t have enough money!
Anyhoo, we are off to the approval of the FY 2019 budget. Tony puts forth a motion to strip $3 million for the non-uniformed county employees’ raises. Even though their salaries, like the fire fighters, are below par. The biggest problem with all of this is that the council can’t do this. And Tony knows it! He wants to, as Jessica puts it, rob Peter to pay Paul.
We can’t take money from one group of county employees to fix another. And the council can’t move around money period! Though we agree with Tony’s general premise that something needs to be done to strengthen the pay of our firefighters as they are essential to the safety of our community, this isn’t the way to do it. Billy offers no good commentary, so we’ll skip over the fact that he basically called Fire Chief Tom Owens a liar when he stated that firefighters got vacation time. We are friends of our firefighters and hope that Jessica’s suggestion that they be given collective bargaining rights sees fruition. Kirby jumps in to tell us that his alternative budget would have cut out all that environmental crap that we are paying too much money for. Ignoring the fact that many of us would like to keep the environment in good shape AND many of these mandates HAVE to be funded due to state and federal laws. We are pretty sure he’s been told that about a gazillion times before. Tony’s motion fails.
Jerry then makes a motion to put $8,000 back in the budget due to Kirby’s Emmitsburg sidewalk fiasco. Jerry’s motion passes 5-2.
FY 2019 Budget passes 4-3! Thank goodness that Bud is back!
Emergency Management Assistant Director position is funded. Hopefully this helps. Passes 7-0.
Kirby and Jerry’s joint tax credit passes 7-0.
There is a hearing on a very nice development that will include some affordable workforce housing and some nice amenities! We love to hear about nice things! And we got to see Mark Long, candidate for at-large county council and a representative of Affordable Housing give testimony! This tax agreement is passed 7-0.
Ethics hearing also goes nicely.
Public comments are pretty tame, except for Kirby who uses this as a chance to grandstand about the Bussard Brothers and their not being fined, but how it’s going to put them out of business. But blah, blah, blah. There’s only so much energy we can give to these dead horse arguments.
Until next time!