What a week it’s been!!!

So much has happened this past week in Ye Olde Fredericktowne that your friendly Yokels have decided to do a weekly roundup. Let’s start with the County Council and happy budget fun time.

We’ve written two posts this week about budget talk. Read it here and here. However, we were very interested to find this in the Political Notes section of the paper this morning:

County Executive Jan Gardner’s budget announcement last Friday included a new little nugget. Well, five of them.

Gardner said she extended an invitation to all seven Frederick County Council members to talk about the budget, including a list of their priorities. Five members took her up on the offer: Democrats Jerry Donald, M.C. Keegan-Ayer and Jessica Fitzwater and Republicans Bud Otis and Tony Chmelik.

Gardner said she couldn’t meet all of their requests, but each was considered in her proposal.

Councilmen Billy Shreve and Kirby Delauter, also Republicans, didn’t take Gardner up on the offer, apparently.

It seems they have other plans.

Shreve, who is still upset the council doesn’t have a dedicated budget officer, gave handouts to his colleagues, showing that they are the only council in the state without such help. Nevertheless, Shreve said he was going to dig into the numbers.

“I’m going to work on this budget. Look at it. See if we can make some changes,” he said Tuesday. One major change he pitched included scrapping a plan to keep the county’s property tax rate steady — which will yield increased revenue — and instead lower the rate and cut spending.

“The easiest solution … is if you have the same amount of revenue as you did last year, you adopt the same budget you did last year,” Shreve said.

Kirby and Billy are fine sitting on the couch thank you very much!
Kirby and Billy are fine sitting on the couch thank you very much!

So not only are they refusing the County Executive’s invitation to come discuss the budget, which really is a dereliction of their duty, but Billy is all fine and dandy with keeping everything the same. Why should we strive to improve? A real brain stumper!

Next on our wrap up is Sheriff Jenkins. As we are sure you all know our Sheriff testified in front of Congress this week about illegal immigration. Last night, Sean Hannity had the Sheriff and two other guests on for four minutes of the most exquisite fear mongering we have ever seen.

Is that comment for reals?
Is that comment for reals?

Look, we here at the Yokel do not want anyone, be it citizens, immigrants, or illegal immigrants, committing crimes. And if someone had hurt our kids, we cannot say that we wouldn’t feel the same way that poor woman who testified with the Sheriff does. However, this kind of sensational talk does nothing to bring about meaningful immigration change.  What it does do is incite fear and discrimination against the Latino community. Not one of us wants criminals running around our community. Building a wall is not a realistic solution towards that goal. Also, it is a known truth that huge numbers of “illegals” arrive by plane and overstay an expired, once-valid visa, so wasteful government spending on a stupid wall is stupid and wasteful. But now we totally get why Fox News watchers are so angry and paranoid all the time. Jeeze O’Flip that channel! And we also didn’t realize how scary a place Frederick is to live, the internets must be wrong about us.

 

Who exactly is the beast in this scenario Gaston?
Who exactly is the beast in this scenario, Gaston?

Last on our roundup: You may have heard that a certain Presidential Contender was in town yesterday. Another nugget from the Political Notes section was this:

Apparently, that relationship stuck. Ahead of Cruz’s rally on Thursday, Hough picked Afzali to pick up the candidate from the airport. And if Cruz’s camp was impressed with Folden’s driving skills, they may have had a different review of the Afzali Cab Service. “My husband went slow, because I needed to talk to Ted,” Afzali said. “We had a lot to talk about.”

If Cruz wasn't so terrible we might have felt sorry for him. But since he is, we laughed and laughed.
If Cruz wasn’t so terrible we might have felt sorry for him. But since he is, we laughed and laughed.

If you missed our tweets about his speech head on over to @fclocalyokel and take a looky look. The most disturbing story to come out of that mess was the transgender student who was thrown out of rally. You can read the story here. But James, we would be remiss if we did not officially give you a Yokel tip of the hat:

Thank you for having the courage to stand up for what you believe in. Always be proud of who you are!
Thank you for having the courage to stand up for what you believe in. Always be proud of who you are!

We really don’t get all this fervor over public bathrooms. Whether you like it or not transgender people have been using public bathrooms for years. And has society crumbled as a result? No! Because nothing bad has happened! You really should be more afraid of former Republican Speakers of the House and U.S. Senators. But if you can’t get past it, Kirby has a solution:

Brilliant!
Brilliant!

 

Billy says his world is great, and has Kirby been audited? Your April 19th roundup-Part 1!

Thank Zeus on his high mountain that tonight’s meeting has been divided into two parts! We need the break!  Now on to our fine reporting.

Billy’s no where to be found, ran in late. So Kirby had the sole job of objecting to budget transfers. His issue? We have no proof that the bay can be saved by trees and stuff. We’ve heard this before. Science isn’t his thing. Passes and  we moved on.

Installment Purchase Program Easements get no objections. Even talk to what a fine program it is. Protecting our agricultural land!

It seems like the budget season gets the tempers a flarin’! We are going to go back to our budget posts of a year ago to see how much of the rhetoric is the same. We predict A LOT. Tony, Billy and Kirby want the constant yield to be called a tax raise, all M.C. wants to do is take a vote to have a hearing on this issue so the public can discuss. How dare she interrupt their grandstanding? Billy informs us that we should all come into his world, it’s nice there he says.

We'll pass!
We’ll pass!

Tony wants an answer as to whether or not the hearing equates to increasing the constant yield. Exasperated lawyer says this question should have been asked before the meeting so they could research the answer. Jerry then points out two of the members were on the BOCC, so shouldn’t they know the answer to that? What’s that Kirby and Billy?:

FieldCricket

The hearing will be on May 3 for those of you who are interested.

Now, fellow Yokels, in all seriousness we are concerned about Kirby. Has he been audited? Because we remember commending him for voting against the Trout Run historical designation way back when. But tonight he’s singing a different tune. When the resolution, which is essentially the answer to Social Betterment’s lawsuit, was presented he voted no. No explanation just no. Billy wanted to know if he really had to vote for it at all since he was the lone wolf on the original vote, to which he was informed he in fact did.

We do really hope this hasn’t happened to Kirby:

HubbardProvesTomatoesScreamWhenSliced

We end with a nice presentation  on a Maryland Development Block Grant. Meeting reconvenes at 7:00 for a public hearing on the budget.

 

Hey Carroll County, wanna make a deal?

We would barely have to change the map!
We would barely have to change the map!

Hey Carroll County neighbors! How ya doing on this crisp Fall morning? Many of us over here in Frederick have a proposition for you. How about a little land deal, specifically the section of Union Bridge that FORMER BOCC President Blaine Young now occupies? Please take this proposal under serious consideration, we’ll let it go for pennies.

We have spoken of the previous bitterness that Blaine exhibits when Jan fixes his monumental mistakes. And with all earnestness, we here at the Yokel hoped he would find new purpose in his lawn care business and would leave us all the hell alone. Alas,one look at this morning’s Letters to the Editors shows just how naive we were. The only consolation we receive is the comment section which is on full blown anti-Blaine alert . We are not even going to pick apart the letter since it’s a bunch of nonsense that doesn’t deserve the time we would waste. However, we will say that chuckling occurred when he stated that money saved could have been used towards schools and roads. Does he think we are all new here?

Before we sign off, a shout out to Harvey Burnsteel of Thurmont who wrote a great LTE about Mr. Shreve this morning. Here’s our favorite part:

Shreve’s performance to date, further supported by his letters to the editor, is barely above poor. We citizens of Frederick County deserve better representation than this.

Agreed Mr. Burnsteel, we all deserve better.

Council member comments-Let the cray cray come out to play!

Usually we mix in the council member comments with our report of the meeting. However, this section of the meeting deserves a separate post. Seriously thinking of doing a PIA to see who is coaching Billy and Kirby on the stuff that comes out of their mouths. Let’s begin with the esteemed Council Member from District 5.

How many more months can this go on for dear citizens? How many more?
How many more months can this go on for dear citizens? How many more?

Kirby has some really good investigative information about the Rock the Barn event that took place a few weeks back. This event was the pinnacle of unethical tomfoolery  seen this side of the Appalachians! When are you people going to open your eyes and see how the union is stealing money from the teachers and then giving it to two other teachers in order to advance their evil plan for world domination? And for $1,000 a plate? Where was this barn located? The Ritz-Carlton? Thankfully, we have Kirby to unravel all the deceit that is taking place right under our noses! He over and over and over again reminds us to “Follow the money!”

Wait, what’s that Council Woman Fitzwater? The teacher’s union isn’t allowed to use member dues to contribute towards political activity? It comes from a voluntary fund, that people actually VOLUNTEER to donate to? I don’t understand. Kirby was all set to unionize his workers and then steal their dues to finance his campaign. How will he get re-elected now?  And what about the $1000 a plate? That’s not true either?

It says $1000 on there somewhere!
It says $1000 on there somewhere!

Does that mean everything Kirby said was wrong tonight? Everything?

Oh well, let’s move on. Jerry  mentions  attending a drug graduation program with Chmelik. And then refuses to address anything Kirby said because, you know, dead horse.

Readers, do you really want to know about Billy’s comments? I wish I could take a live poll while I am writing this. But since we aren’t technologically there yet, sigh…

Billy hates liquor inspectors. He’s very upset that now instead of having two part time inspectors we will have one benefited, salaried inspector. Because you know paying people so they can actually live, breathe and eat really sucks! And then there’s some complaining about some mysterious, small restaurant that exists on a giant parcel of land that can’t get its liquor license. And now Billy is going to go into full hyperbolic mode and let’s us all know that this county is doing everything, and he means everything they can to make sure they are unfriendly to business. EVERYTHING!

Tony wants us to know that a blog stated that 7 out of 10 elementary schools are really good in his district. Really good. Does that mean he’ll keep that in mind next year when budget discussions come up? Tony will also have a Town Hall in Mt. Airy at 6:30 on November 2. He has promised that, “Everything is up to debate.”

M.C. reminds us that it’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month. So ladies make sure you get those things checked out!

Bud is participating in this Saturday’s Heartly House event: Are you man enough to walk a mile in her shoes? We know some on the council watch page will probably criticize the way you walk this Saturday Bud, but we support you! Bud also has something to say about a certain Council Member’s accusation that since the new government took hold, permits have been very slow to process. (Bud doesn’t mention who made the complaint, but we have a pretty good guess). Well, Bud asked the agency to do an internal audit to see if there was anything to this. And the result? No significant change. But I am sure that dead horse will come out again soon.

Board of Education meeting (FYI: our community is awesome)!

publicschool
Psssst…it should have the contraction “it’s” instead of the possessive “its” here. We didn’t make it. Education matters, evidently!

We were afraid that last night’s Board of Education meeting was going to turn into an ugly us vs. them shame fest.( If you want to watch the meeting, click here to get to FCPS’s TV channel). Thankfully, we were all so very wrong. First off let’s give an old yokel tip of the hat to Board of Education President Brad Young for setting the tone of last night’s meeting:

There has been a misrepresentation that this is an either/or situation. I don’t want to see this as one vs. the other. Both schools are needed.

This entire board 150% agrees that both schools are needed.

Just for you Mr. Young. Thank you for setting the tone for what could have been a very contentious meeting.
Just for you Mr. Young. Thank you for setting the tone for what could have been a very contentious meeting.

County Executive Jan Gardner also spoke:

We need to advocate together for our community’s needs. We are all in it together.

The Frederick News Post also reported that the speakers also kept that tone of togetherness. At the end of the meeting, it was reported, that the PTA Presidents exchanged contact information. Way to go ladies!

Brad Young, and others, have told us the main reason that we have these money problems is due to the prevailing wage. Back in 2014, the State passed a law that if they provided more than 50% of the school construction bill, wages need to be set at a certain level. This is why Frederick High’s costs have skyrocketed and also why these construction projects are in jeopardy. Now, before anyone villianizes the prevailing wage, let’s all remember to look at the big picture. We have a huge problem in this country of  good folks working hard and not having enough money to pay their bills. If the prevailing wage measure helps with that, then it’s a good thing. We need to find a way to pay people well and get what our school system needs to educate our children properly.

So what can we do?

As we reported yesterday, we can petition Governor Hogan to release some of the education funds that he’s been holding on to. Click here to get to the petition.

Jan said she is going to work on raising the impact and school development fees so the developers pick up their fair share of the price tag. These builders shouldn’t be allowed to come into our county, make huge profits, and then leave us with clogged roads and overcrowded schools. When her bill comes to the county council, make sure they hear your voice. We suspect there may be, umm let’s see, at least three people who will be against this.

Email, call or visit our state and local officials. Here’s a nice list of all of them. Make sure they know how you feel about school funding in our county. Because……..

images (1)

Frednecks Hash a Budget

Last evening the council advanced a slightly trimmed budget to County Executive Jan Gardener. Ironing this out over the past week has been a titillating mixture of the painful boredom that goes along with budget crunching discussions, as well as fabulous fodder for this brand new local gossip blog. Critics have alleged for years that Billy Shreve and Kirby Delauter have just been doing the bidding of Blaine Young, and people wondered what would arise as they moved forward without him in the executive role. They should work harder at shedding the puppet reputation, because watching them navigate the budget talks left the distinct impression that these re-elected councilmen were the least experienced at the table.

At one point, Councilman Jerry Donald asked about the impact of following Shreve’s suggestion to completely eliminate a $1.2 million allocation for snow removal. “What would happen if it snows?” he asked. “We’d pray it didn’t,” said Doug Browning, the county’s chief administrative officer. Frederick News Post, Bethany Rodgers

Chmelik voted along with them. They are obviously a block opposed to taxing, spending, and providing services, so that is no surprise. Chmelik kept his calm yesterday, though, and his demeanor is a departure from what has been seen in the past (and continues in the present) from his like-minded council members. Even in insisting that a stable tax rate was a tax increase, he did press the issue without so much as raising his voice. For that we find ourselves grateful. Big drama means more subject matter for us to pounce on, but for the sake of the  county a cool head is a good thing. Bud (swing voter) Otis is like our very own local yokel Justice Kennedy. When some of his fellow council members were hell bent on cutting the permit office’s budget, he reminded them of the complaints they made to him concerning the amount of time it took to process permits. Otis brought up the reality that a budget cut would only cause things to get worse. This is the voice of reason that was sorely lacking in the last administration, and we are more than happy that Mr. Otis is there to fill this role.

Don’t mess with Mr. Donald!!!

As we at Frederick Local Yokel previously reported#KirbyDelauter feels really bad about the horrible position that Frederick County teachers Jerry Donald and Jessica Fitzwater are in. They are not bad people mind you, they just have some Sophie’s Choice-like decisions to make when it comes to voting on FCPS’s budget. And he is not envious at all!

Well, Mr. Donald did not appreciate these accusations and it was on at last night’s meeting! First let us refer our dear readers to the ethics opinion that Mr. Donald referred to in his comments.

image

Pretty clear, huh? We would like to think so. Both council members Donald and Fitzwater have removed themselves from any leadership positions AND any other extra positions within the school system. They have also signed a Memo of Understanding that states they will take leave without pay while attending county meetings! It is clear to us here that both council members have been absolutely above board in all their dealings. We support their efforts and wish our other council members were as forthcoming.

Councilman Donald also made the very relevant point that the Board of Education sets salaries, not the Frederick County Council. The two council members who are also teachers have no way of knowing how the money they vote on will be distributed throughout the budget.

Councilman Donald used the words “transparent” and “crystal clear” during his remarks. He must be commended for the restraint he used in looking straight ahead the entire time. We know that if it were any of us we would have turned our entire seat to our left to make sure we were being properly heard. Hopefully, all this evidence will sink in and #KirbyDelauter will end his convoluted notion that teachers’ pockets are being padded by voting on the budget.

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.