This afternoon the county council will have a workshop on dilapidated properties and what the government should do about them. We can already hear the cries of the rights of property owners from our two bookends!
On Wednesday, the council is having another pow wow with the City of Frederick. Shrelauter tends to behave when in the presence of officials from other municipalities. Hopefully they can have a nice meeting.
Politico ran a story yesterday that titillated our imaginations. Apparently the USDA is being staffed by a bunch of unqualified Trump campaign goobers, and we happen to know just such a character. We would gladly promote Billy Shreve to the federal level if it would save us from having to deal with him in Frederick county. His resume certainly seems like it offers more qualifications than “long haul trucker” or “country club cabana attendant,” if only because of his “carefully” considered positions on regulations and hot dog stands. Plus he worked at 7/11, so he at least has experience with the subset of foods that you can cook on a roller grill.
On another note, the most puzzling thing about this Deplorables for Trump covfefe is that half of Trump’s supporters were supposedly–according to the lady who coined the inelegant but accurate “Basket of Deplorables” phrase–good people who had been left behind in the modern economy and were desperate for change. You have to just love all these tools who stood up and said, “I ain’t gonna identify as one of them nice folks! I am a bona fide jerk/idiot per my own self-esteem! Here’s my sign! Put me in the basket!” Pretty sure those are all the qualifications you need for a plum job at the USDA. Git er done…or whatever the GOP fair tent vernacular is.
Believe it or not, Shrelauter actually contributed something to the meeting this evening. Their ideas were even written down on actual paper! Don’t get too excited though, Billy still found time to behave like a jerk.
The meeting began very nicely by recognizing the Thurmont Little League. Still no peeps from the public. Billy votes against the budget adjustments and the meetings. The High Sheriff is in the house asking for the council to approve his department’s Mutual Aide Agreement with the City of Brunswick. After Tony points out some discrepancy in the language, it is passed 7-0. David Eder is then confirmed as the new Supervisor of Assessments.
The bulk of the meeting was focused on the initiatives to send to the State Delegation. Tony wants home-schooled kids to be able to participate in FCPS extra curricular activities. M.C. wants to first get input from the BOE. This point was agreed upon. We fear that Billy was a tad confused as to what qualifies as a local issue that the council should be dealing with, and what is a Maryland State issue that needs to be passed in Annapolis. Nevertheless, he has suggestions. He wants to take a law the state passed, that says retired military, over the age of 65 and who has lived in the same dwelling for 40 years can be exempt from property tax for 5 years, and make it a permanent credit. Jerry has some problems with this as he would rather do credits that are incentives or help people who are impoverished. He doesn’t like ranking one profession over another. Kirby chimes in and says if we let Aurora buy the nursing home then we would already have the $500,000 that the county would lose in taxes should this be enacted.
Billy has another suggestion. He wants builders who build affordable housing to be exempt from the Forest Ordinance that was talked about at the last workshop. What’s that Kirby? Oh, man. Kirby says that he would exempt the entire county from the ordinance if it were up to him because we’ve only seen a net loss of 1300 acres of forest. So what’s the prob?
Billy also wants motor vehicle homes to be classified as tiny homes so people can get a tax break. Jerry wants the $250,000 requirement to get a liquor license eliminated. M.C. has a suggestion about supporting biosafety. Kirby wants us to know he has more coming (Zeus help us!), but for tonight he wants the state to give first year First Responders and teachers a $2500 credit for one year. Jessica wants to support any legislation that is passed by the Safe Harbor committee. And of course we heard some grumblings from our favorite pro-human trafficking advocate. More legislative items will be introduced in the upcoming weeks.
Two First Readings also took place. Steven Horn was present to introduce a bill that would ensure that all recreational facilities and services that are to be placed in a development would stay in the development. Billy accuses Mr. Horn of playing God and wants to see some aerial photos. Billy very rudely makes a motion to have this bill removed from consideration, to which he is handily defeated. (Only his two other pro-developer buddies backed him up on this!) Billy keeps his comments to a dull roar when Tony introduces his rival wood chipping bill. Surely we will hear more come Second Reading time!
No post public comments! Council member comments, passed on by Tony and Kirby, focus mainly on the fair and other positive goings on. M.C. does warn us that there is a roving band of thieves from Florida breaking into women’s cars at parks and gyms to get to their purses. So take heed!
Another week, another council meeting!!! This is the week in which Tony introduces his wood chipping bill. We’ll see if Billy can bring himself to support this bill, or if he will be super bitter and childish! You can guess which one our money is on! Grab your agenda, turn up the volume on your favorite reality show, and be responsible!! We don’t think Billy is answering calls for help anymore.
Public comment has been quiet as a mouse lately. If anyone should show up this week, slam back back a Free Spirit Martini.
We move on to the super normal stuff of budget adjustments and approving the minutes. We know what Shreve will do, if anyone else should pipe up during these proceedings mix up a bucket of Ginny’s Slammin’ Goddess, since she may be the only one that can save us.
Next up is a modification on the mutual aid agreement between the Sheriff and Brunswick police departments and a vote on the County Supervisor of Assessments. If any shenanigans should occur use a funnel to drink your Fool’s Muse.
First Readings are supposed to be introductions for council information. There is no debate at this stage. However, Billy was very upset with Tony when he wouldn’t support his awful bill about woodchipping enterprises. Our prediction is we will hear some grumblings out of Billy because, well, he self identifies as:
You are probably done in at this point. Which may be a good thing since council member comments can be a doozy. Take this time to re-hydrate and do some deep breathing exercises. There’s only so much one can take in a night!
We know you were waiting on the edge of your seat for Delegate Kathy Afzali’s not-so-mystery announcement! Now that her county executive run is official, we had to take a little looksie at her website. Look what we found:
What’s even more intriguing is this statement emphasized at the very top:
We can’t let the fertile comment go either!!! LOL!!! What are these fertile conditions?!! Please, please tell us Kathy!
We clicked on another page and got all teacher-like:
Then we got bored and couldn’t continue because this was literally going to take ALL DAY!! She’s got A LOT of work to do before we can even begin to take her campaign seriously!
Politicians using scare tactics to secure votes certainly isn’t a new phenomenon. Kirby has lots of good company in that regard. What is a little more unusual, is getting everyone all riled up over an issue that isn’t an issue!
You may remember that just a few weeks ago there was some question as to how Kirby felt about sanctuary counties:
This morning, FNP reporter Danielle Gaines decided to check up on Kirby’s latest press release calling on fellow council members to:
“to make a commitment to Frederick County taxpayers by pledging that they will never support policies that would make the county a ‘sanctuary county’ for illegal immigrants.”
Ms.Gaines, being the thorough reporter that she is, decided to check with his fellow council members and the county executive. The result?
“He is the only person on the Council or in the Executive branch I have EVER heard say ANYTHING about this,” Donald said in an email. “A sanctuary county means law enforcement would not enforce the law. The laws are enforced by the Sheriff. If he’s worried about the Sheriff enforcing the law then he should talk to the Sheriff. This is an obvious ploy to stir people up.”
“It’s odd that I would hear about this from a press release when Council Member Delauter has never asked me about it himself,” Fitzwater said in an email Tuesday evening. “He had an opportunity when I saw him tonight after our meeting but he did not say a word to me.”
“[Councilman] Delauter has never approached me or discussed this matter with me at any time,” Otis wrote in an email. “We have serious matters pending before the County Council and I will not comment on what I consider a non-issue and is not before the County Council.”
“Council members Donald, Fitzwater, Otis and I are busy with several legislative initiatives, but none dealing with creating a ‘sanctuary county,’” she said Tuesday.
County Executive Gardner wins the war of the words, though we do hope she isn’t giving Kirby any ideas:
“While there is no real definition of ‘sanctuary’ cities or counties, the discussion is always focused on law enforcement. In Frederick County, we have a separately elected Sheriff who is fully responsible and in charge of law enforcement,” Gardner said in an email. “Kirby either does not understand the structure of county government or has lost faith in the Sheriff’s ability to do his job. If Kirby wants to focus on immigration, he should consider running for Congress.””
Next time Kirby, try focusing on something we really need to fix!!!
Well, silly us thought that listening to a workshop on the Forest Ordinance would be kinda snoozy. Instead of drowsiness, however, we experienced severe anger! Every time we think we have a pretty good handle of all the damage the last BOCC wreaked upon our county, another example is thrown our way! When will it end folks?! WHEN?!
Mike Wilkins, another fine example of the county employees that work so hard for us, from the Planning and Permitting division is on hand to discuss proposed changes to the Forest Ordinance. However, we soon learn that these aren’t really changes as much as reverting back to what the ordinance was in 2007. What happened? Well, in 2011 you-know-who, struck out a lot of what was passed!
There’s lots of changes, and we’ll let you read them here. What we want to focus on is the 1 to 1 planting requirement that was a part of the 2007 ordinance. From 2007-2011, the county experienced a net gain of 10 acres of forest. When this provision was repealed, from the five year period between 2011-2016, we experienced a net loss of 335 acres. Not only because trees weren’t replaced, but the old BOCC would allow developers to substitute storm-water management ponds and street trees for forest. In the 2007 ordinance this was allowed to account for 25% of what they had to replant, the BOCC changed it to 100%. So, all the developers had to do was plant some street trees, make a pond and they were good to go.
Why do we need forests? Besides the obvious answer to have air to breathe, forests capture lots and lots of rain which prevents storm-water run-off. Forests also help conserve the soil (Dust Bowl, anyone?) and give animals shelter and food. If you want an actual list of all the terrible things that happen when deforestation takes place, spend some time and read through this.
We all know that Shrelauter will have some things to say. Kirby isn’t so bad, asks a reasonable question about what goals the county has for their forest canopy. Billy, on the other hand, is as rude and irrelevant as ever. He wants to know what effect this will have on Habitat for Humanity or the Interfaith Housing and affordable housing in general. Instead of listening to the answer, he keeps interrupting until he’s told by Mr. Wilkins’ boss to listen to the explanation. It turns out that in the worst case scenario, the cost of reforestation is about $462 a unit. But there are lots of exceptions and Habitat and Interfaith would most likely never have to pay that amount. However, the point we would like to make here is: BILLY DO NOT PRETEND FOR ONE MINUTE THAT YOU AND YOUR CRONIES GOT RID OF THESE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE BENEFIT OF NON-PROFITS. WE ALL KNOW THAT THIS WAS YET ANOTHER DEVELOPER GIVE-AWAY! And man oh man, didn’t they have a great old time with this board? Billy also wants to know how many trees have been destroyed by gypsy moths and tornados and we can barely take listening to this man anymore!
Hopefully, this ordinance gets reverted back to what it was in 2007 and we can all breath a little easier knowing that the forest is here to stay.
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