County Executive contender, #kirbydelauter, is soaking up the rays and couldn’t be with us this evening. Kind of makes you wonder if he will run out of town during important CE meetings. Because it doesn’t get much more serious than voting on the budget.
Our evening starts off very nicely, recognizing the fine teachers in our county.
Billy is in fine form tonight. And by fine we mean awful. He jumps down the throat of the Public Works representative for not investigating blasting for removing rock for a fire station. Perplexed, the representative says there isn’t much rock to be removed and most of the reason this project is over budget is because they switched the doors on the building. Billy won’t let it go, “Didn’t you investigate blasting?” Not the issue, but he thinks it is, so I guess everyone has to entertain his fantasies? Billy is the only one that votes against this budget adjustment.
Billy votes against the minutes. There’s two public hearings for block amendments. Both pass 6-0-1(for the absent contender for County Executive).
The Solar Panel bill is finally up for a vote. And even though Billy tried to amend it last go around, he is undeterred! First two amendments fail. Jessica asks him if he really meant to put forth the third one, to which he replies, “Good catch! I didn’t write them.” That’s right he didn’t write the amendments that he is spewing forth! (Take our poll to speculate wildly on who does!) All the rest of his amendments to this bill fail.
Billy isn’t done talking. Says that the solar panels at Mt. St. Mary’s and Ft. Detrick would not be allowed if this bill were in place. To which M.C. says is simply not true! He continues to try and argue his very wrong point, but let’s jump to the end. We now have a solar panel bill, so Central Pennsylvania will have to take down all those billboards thanking Frederick County for killing solar.
An amendment to restrict the timeline for zoning restrictions during an election year is made, so it will go back to a public hearing. Tony is not a fan of this bill. Says it assumes that people aren’t good-natured and that we should just shut the government down the July before an election. Of course the council doesn’t do anything else! And great Zeus’ beard, Tony, don’t pretend that you don’t know why this is being proposed! Just take a look at the Oakdale and Urbana school districts, people! Billy tries to add some more amendments. Says he really likes the idea of removing two laws for every one that is passed. (Maybe Billy should check the news to see how very bigly bad Trump is doing these days.) All fail, again.
The hearing will be held on June 6th.
Dog tethering law passes, after more failed amendments from Billy. Billy wants us to know that IF he were a dog he would prefer to be leashed outside for ten hours than to be kept in a kennel all day. Just FYI! Tony talks about his free-range dogs and doesn’t know how it can be enforced. Jerry tells them that Animal Control says they don’t see a problem with enforcement so he’d rather take their word on the issue. Passes 4-2.
We are in and out of the rest of the meeting but we can tell you this:
The Budget has passed!!! So now we get to take a collective sigh of relief !
Wow, what a tense first half of the meeting we had! Started up nicely!! The mayor of Thurmont, John Kinnaird, came to tell Kirby, “No, don’t you cut that sidewalk money!!!” (Which worked because Kirby withdrew it!) Some other nice folks asked the council to take a look at the new cell tower applications, as they feel some proposed ones are too close to their houses.
Budget adjustment, minutes and county appointments all pass 7-0.
There is a very nice presentation from Budget guru Rick Harcum, about the Budget Adoption Ordinance. They want to bring the language of the ordinance more inline with the language of the charter. Will be decided upon when they vote for the budget.
Next, it’s time to finish Tony’s amendments. And, oh boo-hoo, they were all defeated!
Some highlights from that discussion:
-Tony works harder than anyone, so no new positions!
-No money for non-profits because it isn’t the role of government and it isn’t fair to those who don’t get money!
-When Jerry wants to ask a question of staff, Billy interrupts like the nitwit that he is, and gets called a nitwit!! (Our most favorite moment ever!)
Kirby’s turn to introduce all the amendments is next!
Highlights from this part:
-Even though Kirby agrees with some things, it doesn’t have to be now!
-The county will be fined very badly if we don’t comply with state environmental regulations. But Kirby doesn’t believe the science!! He does think we should be smart about the environment. So that begs the question: Kirby, what is your smart way to clean up the environment? Please enlighten us!
-Kirby says Jessica is right (!) in that some of his amendments are very similar to Tony’s. The council finds it easier to just vote them up or down then to try and parse through Kirby’s language.
-We’ve spent enough on libraries, the world won’t end if we don’t spend anymore! Especially if you don’t read!
-Inspectors should be outsourced.
-We had a good winter, and if we do have a bad one the state and federal government will reimburse us anyway!
-While he respects Fire and Rescue, he thinks they asked for too many positions just so they could get the minimal amount that they need. So next year, Fire and Rescue, ask for 1,000 positions and we’ll see what Kirby lets you have! He does allow, however, that maybe he just doesn’t get it.
-Kirby is very concerned with people walking up to him on the street asking him budget questions.
-Too much is allotted for dues and subscriptions, even though he doesn’t know how much these things cost, it’s too much!
-The economy is not so great, so we should withhold the COLA raises.
-Because terrible Jan got rid of the English Language Ordinance now we have to pay all this translation money! English is the language of America!
-And we are now distracted because Trump FIRED Comey!
-GAME OVER. We’ll get back to you after we process our new totalitarian reality.
ICYMI Danielle Gaines left us a gift earlier this week. It’s a complete list of all of Tony and Kirby’s amendments. If you remember from our post earlier in the week, Tony was only able to get through 10 of his proposed changes (all shot down), before the council had to move to the public hearings that were on the agenda. Therefore, this Tuesday, the council will decide what to do with the rest of this mess list. Let’s highlight what changes Kirby would like to see made to the budget first.
Kirby has close to 30 budget amendments. On his chopping block are funding to the County Executive’s Office, Line Highway Operations, Environmental Sustainability, Office of Economic Development, Permitting and Inspectors, and the department of Planning and Developing! He also wants to cut $808,816 from our public libraries!!! The Severe Weather Contingency fund gets chopped down by $200,000, he removes the entire county workforce allotment and there are 3 separate amendments to strip the Family Partnership of money. He doesn’t want the Solid Waste department to replace their old tub grinder or get a new UTV. He removes $50,000 from the Frederick Arts Council and totally eliminates funding for a Maryland Ensemble Theater (MET) partnership with Waverly and Hillcrest Elementary Schools. What’s most curious of all is that he wants to totally remove the $100,000 allotted for Thurmont to put a sidewalk on the south side of Moser Road!!! In his own district!
Kirby once again exhibits his ignorance of the county charter. His last two amendments add money to Fire and Rescue (which he cut by $521,000 in another amendment) and FCPS (so he can soapbox that he tried to increase FCPS’ budget). What’s the prob you may be asking? Well this:
Tony still has some amendments left. He wants to eliminate Community Partnership Grants and he doesn’t want Animal Control to hire any new people. More with less people! He’s not quite as big a scrooge when it comes to The Frederick Arts Council as he only wants to cut $10,000 of their budget. Man, Tony and Kirby make quite the budget cutting team!
We are sure that we don’t have to lecture you, gentle readers, of the importance of the arts, libraries, animal control and sidewalks. It does seem as though some of our council members sure need one though. Maybe if they engaged in more stimulating activities than hanging out in bars and growing their beards out we could get through to them. However, it seems the only way we are ever going to see some change around here is in 2018.
Truthfully folks, we’ve been getting a little bored with these meetings. We have been able to predict, with 99.9% accuracy, how Shrelauter was going to behave before a meeting even begun! Tonight, however, we witnessed something we have never seen before. And while we appreciate the break from the boredom, this new development does not bode well for the future of our county government.
From the top:
Billy votes against the agenda. Six well-spoken, intelligent public speakers attested to the fact that we need a good ethics bill and expressed concerned over the music allowed in the distillery/tasting room bill.
Budget adjustments and minutes are passed 7-0, and again folks, we are so confused. Didn’t Billy say that he abstains from all budget issues because he doesn’t have enough information?
The Urbana rezone is re-opened to allow the amended application from the applicant. Vote count was 7-0. Another public hearing is in our future.
The Distillery/Tasting Room bill was passed 5-2, with Jerry and Bud dissenting. Jerry is concerned about the amplified music. M.C. sympathizes but thinks the provision allowing the zoning certificate to be revoked should the venue violate the noise ordinance will be sufficient. If not, she promises to be the first council person to put forth an amendment stripping music from the bill. Billy makes some noise about how this isn’t a burden on the police since they wanted the noise ordinance. It is pointed out that the noise ordinance was passed mostly due to concerns over ATVs, but whatcha gonna do?
Ethics bill is next on the agenda.
Instead of Kirby reacting to this bill, Tony decides he needs some attention. First of all, anyone who didn’t know that men were a part of the League of Women Voters is a bigot. Next, he doesn’t like that people who are in politics are considered less than ethical. He’s taking issue with the fact that you cannot be on the ethics board if you have been involved in partisan politics or held an elected office within a certain time frame. Not exactly saying that people are unethical if they are in politics, but okay. We also learn that Tony’s kids are being discriminated against in college. They’ve been told, very unfairly, that if they cannot prove their conservative viewpoints they will receive a C. No word as to if students of other political persuasions also have to prove their viewpoints for a good grade. We’ll be waiting for word on that one. Bill passes 4-3.
Who would have thunk that a solar panel bill would afford the opportunity for idiocy that it did this evening.
M.C. has a couple of amendments. The first is a language clarification and the second is a grandfather clause. Both pass.
Then Kirby has some, and what is wrong with him tonight? He starts out mumbling, almost as though it’s the first time his eyes have seen these amendments. The first amendment has to do with the 2 mile ban from Route 15. It is pointed out to him that the Mt. St. Mary’s solar field is already grandfathered in. M.C. also points out that this provision was put into the bill because of various concerns from the public. She also thinks its important to have this rule in place for future companies that may come into the county looking for places to set up shop. Plus, the bill allows for landowners within that 2 mile zone to apply if they can prove their solar panels will not be visible from Rt. 15. So was this really necessary to bring up? Fails 4-3.
He withdraws Amendment 2 because it was very similar to M.C.’s grandfather amendment. His 3rd amendment deals with the acreage restrictions in the bill. M.C. says this was hashed out with the farming community and she refuses to budge on this part. Jessica also points out that Kirby’s land characteristics are too broad. Fails 4-3.
His 4th amendment wants to take M.C.’s grandfather clause and extend it not only to those who have received approval, but to those people who have filed an application. M.C. explains we cannot keep walking this provision back. Fails 4-3.
Now it’s Billy’s turn, and OH PEOPLE, this is where the fresh incompetence comes into play.
Billy’s 1st amendment has to do with visual impact of the solar panels. In the bill they have to been hidden by trees or a fence. Billy thinks this provision is redundant and unnecessary, but when pressed, cannot explain why. Tony steps in and we once again do not care for his tone when he speaks to M.C.. But anyway, he changes Billy’s amendment from getting rid of the shields to not stipulating exactly what those shields should be. Passes 7-0.
His second amendment changes the length of time that a landowner has to tear down a dormant solar panel field . He wants the 6 months of non-use changed to a year, and the 90 days to tear it down to another year. So basically two years to have an unused solar field just sitting there. Fails 4-3.
Here’s where it gets nutso!! Billy’s 3rd amendment is the same as Kirby’s 3rd!! The SAME. So they are both either getting fed this stuff from the same person, or their brains work in the same way and Billy just pays NO attention to the meetings. Jerry calls out, “Didn’t we already vote on this?” Billy tries to defend him self by saying that M.C. didn’t talk to the right farm people. And then folks he says this: “I didn’t write them. I didn’t compare them side by side.”
His amendment is called out of order, because, you know you can’t propose an amendment twice. So we move on to the next amendment and guess what? Except for some language at the end, IT’S THE SAME AS KIRBY’S 4TH AMENDMENT!! That’s right he did it again!!! Can you believe this? I mean this two have set a pretty low bar these past few years, but this is just too much! His amended amendment fails 6-1.
You would think he would give up, but no. He’s got five more amendments. Including one that would totally gut the entire bill! They are all super dumb and fail to pass so we aren’t going to spend any more time on them.
The new solar bill, with the amendments that passed, will go before a new public hearing May 9th.
Bud then tells us that between two council members there are 45 amendments to the budget!!! That’s right folks 45, with Kirby being responsible for 28 of them!!!
Tony asks to go first and launches into this long, self-aggrandizing soliloquy about why he wants to gut everything. Bud steps in to ask him to hurry it along since we have 45 AMENDMENTS TO GET TO, to which Tony does not respond to very nicely. Tony presents 10 of his amendments which are all along the lines of: No new positions, people need to do more with less, and government should never get any bigger. ALL are struck down, with a lot of good justifications from his fellow council members. At 7:00, Bud cuts this all off, because there’s two public hearings to get through and we don’t have time for all this nonsense tonight. So, yes, we have to sit through the rest of the budget amendments, including Kirby’s, next Tuesday.
First public hearing is about zoning map amendments during an election year. Curious as to why it may be necessary to restrict voting on the zoning changes before and after an election (cough, Blaine’s BOCC, cough!). Billy freaks out saying that if we aren’t going to do any work for 20% of our term then we should give back 20% of our salary. M.C. calmly points out that they do many other things besides voting on zoning changes. Kirby jumps in asking what other improprieties we are trying to fix, because look at these teachers voting on their salaries.
Second public hearing has to do with keeping the tax rate the same. Many positive speakers share their views, except one, whose point escapes us. Both of these issues will be decided at a later date.
During public comment Billy expresses a concern over our Senior Citizens. And how refreshing! Claims that instead of creating a Department of Aging, which they don’t really need despite the fact that Frederick County’s Senior population is growing faster than the nation’s or the state’s, we should be allowing them to age in place. Jessica then does an epic troll of Billy when she says that she looks forward to his legislation on the Senior tax credit!
Before Bud gets a chance to speak both Billy and Kirby take their leave. Bud says that Frederick County is growing at an unprecedented rate and we have to be prepared. Nothing is free in this world!
We will return next week for the rest of the tax amendments. Zeus have mercy on our poor little souls.
It’s been awhile since we’ve done one of these. Today seems like the perfect time to speculate wildly on what Billy and Kirby want to cut from the budget. Vote for your favorite and we’ll see who is right come meeting time tonight!
With all of the predictability of the ocean tides, Kirby has taken to the noodley appendage to complain about the budget. First of all folks, take a look at his post from last year and see how much of it he copied and pasted into this year’s diatribe.
He entitles this year’s regurgitation, “A Smoke and Mirrors Budget” and yawn!!! Does he even know what that means? Since we can barely take this…again…we will evaluate his complaints through the use of pictures.
Jan won’t bow down to the old BOCC for making Frederick County’s economy (which oddly enough is a terrible place to do business according to him and Billy) the crown jewel of the United States:
It’s unethical for teacher’s to vote on their own salaries:
My leaseback idea would have built so many schools it would have been tremendous:
The constant yield tax rate remaining the same is a tax increase:
It’s really boring isn’t it? He ends his rant by saying that Jan is using the taxpayers like one would use an “ATM”. This coming from a guy who believes that voodoo economics is going to fix our economy:
As you read in our first report on the sick dog and pony show this evening Kirby spent quite some time coming up with an alternative budget. We rejoin our fine coverage at the hearing to establish the property tax rate. Not a single speaker was on hand to utter a negative word about keeping the rate at $1.06. Some fine points were made in fact, and we are very happy that people actually realize that our government funds some really necessary services for our county. And District 5 why did you saddle us with Kirby when you had an excellent alternative in Mark Long? We want answers! Final vote on the rate will be held on May 17th.
We are so very sorry, dear readers, but we cannot sit through any more of Kirby’s amendments. He tells us that Meals on Wheels is an excellent program on one hand, and with the other he has his scissors out to cut the entire $23,000 county contribution. We have to move ahead to the Council member comments.
Kirby’s up first and man oh man, hasn’t he talked enough tonight? You would think all of his dead amendments would be enough to humble him, but NOOO. He wants $150,000 for bus transportation to Mother Seton school. That’s right he wants bus transportation to a private school. He also adds that Jan should be down on her hands and knees thanking the last BOCC. Without their business friendly policies she wouldn’t have all the extra greenbacks to spend. Don’t hold your breath Kirbo! Then he ends with a very contradictory statement about how the nursing home is run pretty good right now but will still destroy us all in the end.
It’s Billy’s turn.
You know something Yokels? As much as we disagree with just about everything that came out of Tony and Kirby’s mouth tonight, at least they did something. Billy had nothing to offer. Besides screaming “second” to Kirby’s amendments he had nothing original to contribute. So why should we expect anything of substance at comment time? One sentence comes out of his mouth: It’s sad we couldn’t get a Republican majority on the board…we supposedly have one. So we guess county council meetings are really just a war for Billy. R’s vs. D’s. How’s that been working out for ya? He then disappears. That’s right, he walks right out.
Jerry is up. And oh how so refreshing it is to hear a grown up talk. He points out that those members who actually sat down with the County Executive and voiced their concerns, didn’t have to make a million amendments and waste everyone’s time. Imagine that, working together to come up with a budget instead of putting on an embarrassing show. It’s revolutionary!
Jessica points out the BOCC’s budgets always went up and in fact they grew at a faster rate than those proposed by the County Executive. Huh.
Tony doesn’t have a problem raising taxes.(!) He wants us to know, however, that the economy will NEVER be like those of the past.
M.C. thanks the staff and commends them for coming out on their own time to defend their budgets against Kirby’s cuts. And yes, these poor people. To be a fly on the wall during their Happy Hour.
Bud feels bad that Kirby spent so much time and money on his budget. (Please don’t Bud!) He lets Kirby know that he feels you get further ahead when you sit down and talk to people then when you fight them from afar. Bud speaks of allowing Kirby’s amendments to be presented, to which Kirby starts his back sassing and subsequently storms out. Probably to join Billy at wherever they go to slam back the Fireballs. Bud ignores the petulant man child to finish his remarks with his usual style and grace. President Otis, you can’t reason with that man, it isn’t even worth your breath.
Well, folks, we have been digesting The Fearsome Budget Workshop of 2016 in fits and starts. A four hour long posturing about all the ways we can trim the fat off of the budget. This consists of 3 proposed budget amendments by Tony Chmelik and a whopping 18 by Kirby Delauter, few of which make any sense at all, so we will have to beg your forgiveness for not describing all of the nonsense in great detail. Further confusion ensued when Kirby tried to start with amendment #7, but we digress…
Tony Chmelik talked about how we shouldn’t pay our county employees real well because they have job security. It’s a head scratcher folks. A whole passel of em didn’t feel real secure in their jobs during the reign of terror that was our ultimate BOCC. Surely you recall? Plus also, why should we worry about attracting the most talented people to come work for us in the public sector? It would be better if it is just a crapshoot, right?
He and Kirby both have some ideas that involve it not really mattering a whole lot if some people are overworked because of layoffs and attrition, because who cares if county business is efficient. We guess. It’s hard to follow. They do and don’t want an attorney, because Chomel is good but he is busy, at least according to the people who have needed to consult him to write legislation. M.C. Keegan-Ayer directed some such remark at petulant Billy. Ya burnt!
One of the agencies that our dimwits are keen to starve is the Office of Economic Development and their FITC program (Frederick Innovative Technology Center–FITC rhymes with Mitzi, FYI). You know, the agency that promotes business development in the biotech industry, which is kind of good for the local economy (who’s gonna buy all them houses you like seeing built, boyzzzzz?). These are the most confusing Republicans. One almost suspects that they are kidding and just anticipate that Bud Otis will not let them shoot themselves and everyone else in the feet, and then they can be “fiscally conservative” while he votes responsibly to save everyone’s hide (keep this in mind in the upcoming national election when you think you will write in Ralph Nader or some analogous dreamboat, mkay?). Then they can tar and feather him for being insufficiently stupid partisan.
Chmelik rails against holding money in an account in order to move toward upgrading our bond rating. Because, again, that’s fiscally conservative. Somehow. We feel all crazy inside. Also, he rails against it, but then votes in opposition to the amendment that would take that money out and either spend it or give it back to everyone with a letter that they can go out to dinner now, because…reasons. Oh, right, he likes to be a longwinded loudmouth about his shrink the government philosophy even when he knows perfectly well it is not making a dang ol bit of sense.
They both also have some ideas that involve not holding up our ends of a bargain (or also not upholding the law, if you want to just hang on a bit until we drown so much government in the bathtub that we become Flint, MI). Chmelik objects to replacing grant money from the state that was used in violation of the terms of the grant, and then also meeting the terms of that grant. Doing so includes a matching fund from the county, and he behaves as though this is all just a ruse to pay for the same thing twice.
But the icing on that crazy cake was when our three teapublicans get clarification that they are indeed functioning on a shoestring with regard to clean water legislation. This is permitted while they work out their differences in a circuit court proceeding. Any further reduction in compliance with the Clean Water Act means tens of thousands of dollars every day in punitive fines to both the federal and state governments, and potential prison sentences. “Oh well,” they decide. It’s a waste of cash because you can’t even see the clean drinking water you get, like you can see a road. No, we are not making ANY of this up. And “Heh heh heh,” Kirby decides let’s just hold that million dollars to the side for bail money.” Sooooo save nothing and maybe end up in jail? Cool. How do you sign up for that? Forget drowning the government. These idiots are so stupid it’s a wonder they can drink a glass of water and survive the experience.
We do hope the Boy Scouts in attendance had already been whisked away home last night before they got to witness that.
Oh Yokels, we cannot begin to convey to you how torturous it is listen to a budget meeting populated by Tea Partiers whose very mission is to dismantle it. But we did…you’re welcome!
The beginning of our meeting tonight was a presentation by County Attorney Mathias over amendments to the charter. Some dates…The council must have any proposed changes in by July 29th, as well as any petitions from the public. The changes will then go on the November ballot to be voted aye or nay by the public. Now Billy has been getting tons of calls (we know Billy loves taking your calls) from the public asking how to get the old BOCC system back. Now he’s just asking questions folks! He wants to know how many signatures and just how quickly the charter system will be thrown out. Because sure, let’s give up after less than two years. Quitter.
So Yokels, now we are going to have to be on the look out for this petition. Because we just know it’s going to happen.
So on to the budget amendments. Three hours worth, and they had to cut it short.
Kirby goes off on the amount of time they have to review the budget. M.C. agrees and almost makes his head explode. However, they are constrained by the charter and the timeline within. Therefore, make an amendment to the charter for this November. We are reasonable folks, Kirby. We’ll give that to ya!
Tony doesn’t like to create jobs. Questions many, many new positions. It gets quite tiresome. But the creme de la creme was his suggestion to remove $4.5 million to the BOE to teach them a lesson. He wants to “hold their feet to the fire” on the issue of teacher salaries. He reasons if we take the money away but hold it in some little secret bunker they will be forced to deal with this. Seems to us that they’ve been wanting to do that but some old BOCC wouldn’t give them the funding. Is this really about keeping the MOE number down? We think so. Doesn’t pass, which Tony admits he knew would happen. Budget director also has to warn him of unintended consequences of such an act. 20 minutes wasted.
Even though there is a clear process for a non profit to get money from the county (they have to fill out forms and be investigated), Tony still feels like we are picking the winners and losers. Kirby will write you a check. Well, unless you are a local high school football team, but he doesn’t want to force others to. Then, M.C. comes to the rescue about how government should help those less fortunate. Doesn’t fit into their worldview though.
More quibbling over that timeline, because Kirby has many (according to Billy, anyway, there will be many–possibly substantive–budget amendments). But, Kirby is late with his budget amendment homework because what he was scribbling on probably blew away when he was peen’ in the side yard. That was a half baked version (his own words–yep–he’s just got a “half baked” thing). Of course, there was no time to think on this, because that charter that Blaine needed is very tricky. So, again, in his own words, he’s just gonna send em in a e-mail. Does anyone remember Kirby’s nonsense budget last budgeting season? Because this feels a lot like that, but it is due by noon on Thursday. But not if its substantive.
If there is any question at all in anyone’s mind that the basic approach of certain partisans is to absolutely destroy a functioning government so that they can sit back and watch it burn (and then tell you what a clusternut the whole thing is) it would really behoove said skeptic to watch a local government function that incorporates the input of two or so Tea Party jesters.