Annual tradition: fantasy budget cuts

In case you are new here, every year Kirby comes up with “fat” that we can trim from the budget (also Tony and Billy, but mostly Kirby) in the form of unicorn and rainbows amendments. He proposes a bunch of stuff without knowing really what this money does or what happens when we take it away. Like today when we tried to cut the money for library staff at Walkersville and Myersville. Oopsie-daisy-dummy. (Failed) Sometimes he has to pull his own amendments because he didn’t know what they were. Weird how that happens.

Just as long as you don’t become the County Executive, do whatever.

We breezed onto the scene right about the time Billy tried to suspend the rules and let The Yellow T-Shirt Brigade take over. We expected shenanigans and malarkey, because Billy was involved, but in reality this was the Career Firefighters’ Association, and their presence there and contributions everywhere are very much appreciated by Local Yokels and all of our friends everywhere. We are very pleased that our assumptions are wrong, because they were somewhat dark, based upon Billy’s Twitter feed and the black hole of intellect that can drag a yokel into. On the upside, Billy Shreve’s State Senate page only has 35 likes, so we may be free of his torment soon.

Something like this scene occurred (text transcript)

Kirby just got petulant because they don’t want to cut $$ for MET to go do theater programs at schools with high percent FARM (that’s free and reduced meals, if you don’t know the lingo) lunch kids because they had no problem voting down a quarter mil for Classical Charter.
M.C.’s reply: We haven’t voted on that yet.
Kirby: Well, the last two years!
Yokel text: Oh my God. You know what we should do? Find the post we wrote about his amendments last year and see if it matches up. Just to prove what a dead horse beater he is!
Man, oh man. Even the broken sidewalk budget cuts are part of the historical record! (Tonight Kirby explained that he had made a handshake deal with the mayor of Emmitsburg and he’s going to split the cost of the sidewalk repairs. M.C. was as uncomfortable as we would have been not knowing whether or not Mr. Mayor had agreed to this, but Jerry counseled that it was Kirby’s D and if he didn’t want to fix the sidewalks one way or the other, that would be his problem in the end. So fine. That all works out spiffy.)
But enough about Kirby, because Tony Chmelik got in a complete snit over $45,000 for an administration position in the Office of Economic Development. Since they’ve been doing a grand old job, even though they haven’t filled a position, but have needed to for four years, it’s obviously fine to continue overworking people there who are covering that shift, so to speak. Surely nobody who is doing extra work all the damn time will find a new job where they don’t have to put up with that. Right, Billy and Kirby? Suggestion: you volunteer your time, just like teachers do when they are grading and planning and documenting after school and on weekends, and sacrifice pay for being useless human bookends to the council since you apparently earn money for other things that you do in life. The pay of two marginally sentient council persons will cover one administrator in the OED. Problem solved! Also, tons of egregious mansplaining from Tony Chmelik here. The Lady Yokels felt that Helen Propheter was a particular heroine tonight, because who wants to be treated like that IN PUBLIC for their job? Nobody. Billy and Kirby also had “contributions” to this discussion in the form of: won’t we need to build all the houses you keep telling us to stop approving? NO. The answer is no. Some people already live here and could work closer to home, and would even like that. Question: what if we just made Jefferson TECH Park make the leap from fiction to nonfiction?
Jessica is a hero tonight, over and over again. Every time Kirby and Tony tried to snip, snap the budget she jumped in, diplomatically, like an excellent teacher, to guide them toward the information showing that they are so very, very wrong. For all her hard work this evening we present her the following award:
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We are also happy to report that Bud landed on the side of county employees by helping to defeat Kirby and Tony’s austerity amendments. Nice to see you back on the team, Bud!

May Day meeting: mayday! mayday!

Here is your agenda for May Day’s Sobriety Challenge. There are budget adjustments, and since this is like Cheers, “where everybody knows your name,” we all know who will be oppositional during the regular scheduled business portion up top. It is not worth endangering our blessed livers to drink for this anymore. We will need these in working order just so we can get through the next election.

The first new business pertains to a bill regarding the Frederick County Sustainability Commission. Sustainability sounds like socialism (not really, but whatever certain people don’t like is “the socialist agenda”) so…queue up the histrionics? Take your mayday swig of whatever you have handy if any related slippery slope variety nonsense comes up. Cheap wine straight from a bottle (box/spigot?) seems fitting.

Council decisions will be required for three separate items.

  • Elderly Individual and Retired Military Tax Credit: if Billy Shreve finally accomplishes something…Well, lets not go overboard. This is a good bill, we should make a nice toast, take a sip, and carry on under the informed hypothesis that it will be back to the regularly scheduled B.S.B.S.
  • Off Track Betting: prediction–this will pass easily, based on the prior discussions. Giddy Up! Maybe have a Black-Eyed Susan, which seems hella elitist for video gambling, but we have to spruce things up on occasion, don’t we?
  • Veterans Advisory Council: this better pass, and there’s no reason to think it wouldn’t. Unanimously. Another toast for what happens when government functions cooperatively. If something goes horribly awry, chug the bottle.

Public hearings are scheduled before the break, and after, and this is going to be a lot to digest. We have Installment Purchase Programs, City Enterprise Zone for the Golden Mile, and a Petition to alter county roads in the city watershed. Definitely have some bread and pasta during the break if you’re going to keep up with this game after the break, because first up is Constant Yield, and you must know we are going to get another lesson on how keeping the property tax rate the same is a tax increase because the county will get more money, which one would imagine may make a certain amount of sense, since if they have to purchase any land or anything it is at today’s prices and not yesteryear’s. Suggested solution: finish your glass.

Mayday! Mayday! Math, how does it work?

Thankfully (and miraculously) Kirby and Jerry have done the magical bipartisan duo thing to craft a relief bill to supplement seniors, because their property values are going up, and consequently their tax bill is higher. This is the right idea for legislation, because this is also important for people on fixed incomes. If Kirby toots his own horn for his very lately discovered election season cooperative sensibility…what do we mean, “if…”? When Kirby pats himself on the back, finish that bottle.

Switch to rosé. Gag. Also up for discussion is that whole thing about whether your neighborhood pool/tennis court/community center has to actually be in your neighborhood, if it is to be exclusive to your neighborhood. What kind of special mediocre elite nonsense is this meant to address anyway, anyway? If you want a country club, go join one. FFS. Your bottle was empty after Kirby’s issue above anyway, right? Now you will definitely have a headache in the morning.

And that brings us to Adequate Public Facilities. Rest In Peace.

 

 

 

April 17th meeting menu: third reading casserole with Fredneck salad

Here is an exact transcript of our text messages concerning the first part of the meeting (yawn):

Billy voted against the agenda.
Abstained on the budget adjustments.
Voted for the minutes.
 He is such an idiot
Then both he and Kirby gave the same tired old argument about how keeping the tax rate the same is the same as a tax hike.
For the 4th year in a row.
Then there was a magical interlude of professionalism wherein the Retired Military Tax Credit was combed through by county staff before it passed, and we moved on to the circus events.
Billy had proposed legislation requiring that council members receive some minuscule amount of education regarding what the hell they are supposed to be doing there. Presumably this is because Billy is confuzzled. Possibly because he says he took a thing online with a quiz and it took five minutes, so what’s the big deal? How very educational. M.C. Keegan-Ayer proposed some amendments, which Tony Chmelik felt neutered the power of that legislation since it made it a mere suggestion. M.C. was basically like (to paraphrase this as we would have said it), look, don’t get all snippy with me, I was just trying to polish Billy’s turd here. Nobody was into making unnecessary laws, except Billy. Failed 1-6.

Then there was the zoning violation drama, which is naturally a big ol thing to the nincompoop faction, in large part because of the great wedding venue drama of 2016. Billy and Kirby are both very upset that zoning complaints can be filed anonymously and for some weird reason they are allergic to anonymous criticism (neener-neener), and so Jerry Donald had to explain to them that some people may be afraid of their neighbors–and for good reason. (Tangential thought: can you imagine if Billy Shreve or Kirby Delauter were your neighbor? And you had some sort of property dispute? Scary.) At one point M.C. made it clear that she was not even able to try and fix this. Sigh. This failed too, because obviously. Turd status: unpolishable.

Also there was the wood chipping scandal (it’s as if these bills Billy launch begin a listicle of Billy and Kirby’s prior buffoonery and proof that neither of them deserve to hold current office and certainly do not deserve to be entrusted with any additional responsibilities). Their position here, in a nutshell, is that these people have been in violation of the law for ages now, and how is it fair that someone noticed and is going to make them stop? Scandalous indeed! In fact, it becomes rather clear through Kirby’s bellyaching about County Executive Jan Gardner’s role in these zoning violations matters that he still does not understand the different branches of government under the charter. How is he going to be the county executive if he doesn’t know what that is? It will be a lot like the current status of Billy Shreve, who does not know what he is supposed to be doing ever.

This bill failed because the one business it was initially custom tailored by Councildolt Shreve to benefit–until Tony Chmelik took over the turd polishing operation–was likely to be harmed by it, and hardly anyone thought that was a good idea. At one point during the discussion of this (or it could have been the earlier bill, but no matter) Billy was so stuck in oppositional defiant mode that he started opposing his own position. It was really a scene. Billy still remembers to like his own dumb ideas in the end, though. And after all that grandstanding and noise that Kirby made here, he voted against it!

Off-track betting passed unanimously. It now has to go back for public hearing.

 

Piecemeal digest of February 27th Workshop

Your Yokel Ladies have been in and out of this meeting for the past couple of days. It’s a lot to contend with, so we are chunking it up and throwing it down, bit by bit.

No Shreve, what a relief! Meetings are always nicer without him!

Steve Horn and friend are in the house to present the Livable Frederick plan. You can go to this website to see all the details, plus the entire plan as it stands today. We say today, because there are still chances for change. If you read our drinking game, you saw that Kirby called this plan a POS. He doesn’t use exactly those words, but he does have things to say. For example, he wants Steve Horn and Co. to explain why the modeling software they use isn’t some kind of soothsayer. It is explained, ever so gently, that all modeling is, by definition, a guess. However, Mr. Horn also points out that the accuracy really isn’t the point here. The point is to see what different paths the county can take based on the possible outcomes that may occur. It’s called PLANNING. Well, Kirby isn’t done. He tells us that the market should decide where people live because the market is NEVER wrong. That’s right people: NEVER. Well, he is also very gently told why that isn’t true.  Jerry clears up the erroneous notion going around that this plan is going to downzone properties. It is not. Tony complains some, but it’s pretty much nonsense. After an hour this discussion wraps up.

Unsurprisingly to anyone who pays attention around here, Tony was the council member contacted to introduce legislation having to do with Off Track Betting (OTB). He brings in four representatives, including local lawyer Rand Weinberg, to discuss this pending legislation. Essentially, they want to identify a local restaurant to set up OTB, kinda like Cracked Claw before it closed down. First reading of this bill will be soon.

The Veterans Affairs Council had a lovely professional presentation that introduced the panel of distinguished advocates. Please keep doing what you do. We are relieved to see this move forward. There isn’t a lot of new information to report. Well, other than that a miracle of trans-partisanship that occurred when Bud Otis (unaffiliated), M.C. Keegan-Ayer (D), and Tony Chmelik (R) pared down the originally proposed bill, which had “timed out,” and according to the knowledgeable panel this bill is a reasonable step forward in accomplishing the goal of having a “one stop shop” for veterans to get assistance in accessing the services that are available to them. We know this is a huge problem, and the point that it is unreasonable to expect a veteran with PTSD to sit on the phone through a menu of options for 13 minutes is absolutely true. There were other ghastly anecdotes, so please know that we thank you all for working on this, and we apologize that we aren’t giving this the focus that it is due. There is just so much to say about so much today (and another meeting tonight, people!).

There was the Interagency Internal Audit Authority thing: a panel of accountants working on a bill to codify the existence, charges, and governance of their authority (the interagency aspect is the county, FCPS, and FCC). Work on this bill began in 2014 with the transition to charter government, and they are doing the formal work to ensure that the appointments to the body will not be under the control of those being audited. In other words, a county executive should never be making those appointments, nor should FCPS or FCC be sending their people to do the work. They propose that the current members will nominate future members. Sounds good.

Then we reach the issue of the proposed pipeline under the Potomac River at Hancock. Some environmentalists (yay! go Sierra Club!) ask that a letter be drafted–ideally from the Council, but if not, by individuals on the Council– asking for Governor Hogan to withhold the 401 Water Quality Certificate and request a full environmental impact review of this project from the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE). This is requested because:

  • We are downstream from an 8 inch pipeline that would tunnel under the Potomac River to connect a proposed pipeline in West Virginia with an existing one in West Virginia
  • A bunch of municipal governments both up and downstream have already said, “Hey, let’s be careful!” and sent their own letters, including Hagerstown, Boonsboro, Washington County, Montgomery County and P.G. County. hm.
  • The geology (that’s rock formations, yo) of the land they will tunnel under is extra risky, because the Karst geology (science term) is Swiss-cheesey, so if a blowout occurred, the chemicals could be dispersed in any direction. Many pipelines already go under the river, but none through this type of geological formation.
  • Frederick County get lots of our drinking water from the Potomac (91%). And the City of Frederick also gets some of its water supply there, too, (17%) so we would theoretically not want to risk poisoning our water supply.
  • The Chesapeake Bay is also downstream (for good measure).
In case you were wondering where this thing is supposed to go. You can kind of see the Eastern Panhandle Expansion converging with the Potomac there, but unfortunately the County Seal and headings got in the way of some of the relevant details on a couple of these slides.
  • We nicked their slides. Hopefully they don’t mind. Here is the Karst Swiss Cheese. Get the idea?

This is all well and good for the reasonable, and even seems likely for the less reasonable eventually, reluctantly, however it pains them, to agree that we shouldn’t be reckless with our drinking water. However, it must be noted that we have two drilling savants, both Republican, on our esteemed County Council, so the curt reaction to the idea of a letter from Tony Chmelik was, “It depends on what the letter says.” Well, they only asked for a letter to exhibit caution and thorough review, not to declare pipeline construction forever abolished, so the hang up is hard to understand, but thank goodness we could be treated to some gassy emissions from these guys. We probably don’t even need a pipeline, since we create our own energy like that. Fun fact: one of your local ladies used to work in the gas pipeline accounting, so we know a thing or two round here, too. Gas is tricky to account for, as a matter of fact, due to particle dispersion. That and the Swiss-cheesy thing are a double tricky combo.

**Ten Minute Break because they’ve been there since 4:30; this is taking an eternity and there is a lot left.** Stay tuned. Holy moly, they’re trying to kill us, y’all. There’s another meeting tonight, you know.

So it seems kind of like Billy’s blissful absence and Kirby “#ImReallyRunning4CountyExecutive” Delauter’s recently located partial degree of restraint (NB: we didn’t watch Council Member Comments, so we could be wrong about that) freed the air for Tony Chmelik to fill the role of council insurgent. At this point we are losing all the patience that we never had, but Ray Barnes and the legal advice come with him, and also Steve McKay, think that the move to ax the section of the code pertaining to DRRAs entirely is no bueno and will cause a bunch of legal problems and their advice is to not move forward with that. They have other ideas. And obviously Tony has a problem with them going before Dog and Everyone implying that he meant to do away with DRRAs forever (“What would the developers think???” <<clutches pearls>>) when he would NEVER. He and Jerry Donald have a back and forth that is pretty priceless, wherein Jerry admits that was his goal, and he also thought that was what Tony wanted. We are pleased with Jerry Donald. He is funny but not mean. We have a hard time with that. Then Jessica Fitzwater asks the question we are wondering too, which was, to paraphrase in LocalYokel jargon, “WTF were we trying to do for real then?”

We have finally thought to ourselves somewhere in the midst of the MXD discussion: we do not like this bill either. We would all be pissed if we bought a house and then they changed the zoning and we lived next to a warehouse now. We aren’t going to listen to this anymore. We. Are. So. Done.

5th District needs dem. Can anyone volunteer a friend? Stat.

Update: According to Mark Long Shannon Bohrer, a Democrat who lives on a farm in the Emmitsburg area, filed to run in District 5 this morning. He writes a column for the Emmitsburg Journal, “Words From Winterbilt”, and is a retired police officer. He will be at [Mark’s] Meet and Greet this evening in Emmitsburg. Woohoo!

Right now there are no Democrats are running to take over Kirby’s current seat on the county council. Deadline to file is tomorrow. Spread the word. We need a good yokel to run.

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We need you!

From what we hear, there are lots of folks ready to help with the campaign. Let’s get someone filed!

It’s been awhile. Do you remember how to drinking game?

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Oh, Max is ready to play along. Can we get thinking cats for certain council members? They really need them.

 

It is sometimes difficult to tell by reading the agenda, but tonight’s meeting looks like it could be a real doozy. So take care of your liver. As always, this game is just for giggles. Actually participating in this to the fullest may result in death. You’ve been warned.

The meeting starts as always with public comments. We aren’t going to hold our breath on anyone actually showing up to speak. Just hold your beer, just in case.

A bunch of budget adjustments on first up on the agenda.  Billy will  complain about the library grant because everyone knows folks go to Borders instead, Kirby will kvetch about Citizens, blah, blah, blah. Mix yourself a kitchen sink.

Next up on the agenda, approval of minutes for 4 meetings. When Billy abstains mix yourself up a flaming asshole.

Now, it’s time to discuss a mutual aid agreement between the Fred Co Sheriff, Wash Co Sheriff and Hagerstown City Police. Where are the Fred City Police? Make yourself a missing in action while you ponder that.

Well, well well, it’s time to take a vote on the Maryland Association of Counties Legislative Committee County Council Representation. What? Didn’t Bud already executive decision this? Things could get snippy. Make yourself a T-bone in anticipation of Bud’s phone ringing with its Bad to the Bone ringtone.

What workshop items are in store for us? We don’t know what these are as they aren’t listed on the agenda. This might be a good time to hydrate with some good old water.

Time to look at a petition to close a portion of Old Frederick Road to improve the safety of Route 15. Pick your favorite drink and stick it in a cone when anyone complains about being inconvenienced by this proposal.

Lots of First Readings on the docket! Including those that Billy decided he better get going on before anyone brought up the fact that he did nothing but ABSTAIN during his entire tenure as a council member. Anyhoo, sip on your Lazy Daze while you endure this portion of the evening.

It’s time to vote on the dueling Forest Ordinance bills. With Bud’s voting patterns recently altered, we predict his version will be the one to make it through; Sip on your Forest Funk while you think of all the lost trees.

Before the break, they will vote to pull the Adequate Public Facilities bill, and then Billy will vote against going into closed session. If it isn’t too close to 7:00, we may get treated to Billy complaining about having to waste all his precious time at Winchester Hall.

MDX hearing is the last bit of business this evening. There’s a lot of opposition to this bill because it would theoretically allow a warehouse to go next to a school or a housing development. Mainly, it’s introduction has to do with the fact that the Jefferson Technology Park did not fill up the way the previous BOCC claimed it would. While you listen to the arguments mix up a pitcher of Nuclear Disaster, and think of all the bad things the Young BOCC have brought upon this fine county.

Public and council member comments can get a little dicey, however, you’ve been through enough for one evening.

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Don’t end up like Jonesy.

 

 

Some good discussion and then a WTH is going on around here? Your January 23rd workshop in review!

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Bud starts off the meeting reassuring us that he supports any actions the council can take to stop human trafficking, so he still has that going for him! County Executive candidate Kirby Delauter is absent…again. We have to say we were so impressed with the presentation this evening. Kudos must go out to Jessica Fitzwater for brining this to everyone’s attention. So many knowledgable, articulate folks came in front of the council to give us information about this sickening problem. You can read the entire report here or just look at our highlights:

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This is a heat map. What is shows are where the hotline calls regarding human trafficking are coming from. Notice that Frederick is in the red. That means there’s a lot of activity going on in our area.
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This nice lady works for the State Prosecutor’s Office. She made us aware of the fact that many agencies do not have good information to pass on to victims of human trafficking. Something that this task force wants to remedy.
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Oh, why oh why can’t our High Sheriff be more like Frederick Police Chief Hargis?(PSST, our High Sheriff was not in attendance this evening, probably because he was NOT in support of this task force, he believed that everything that could be done was already being done—VOTE KARL BICKEL!)

Frederick mayor Michael O’Connor told us some of the recommendations of the committee:

  1. Mandatory training for lodging employees to help identify human trafficking victims.
  2. Making sure all bodyworks establishments are properly licensed. (This is the only time Billy pipes up this evening-he wants to have a definition of bodyworks, we can only imagine what must have been going through that mind of his.)
  3. Penalties for landlords and tenants who knowingly allow human traffickers to operate.
  4. The creation of a survivor services fund created from the confiscated property of the human trafficker(s).
  5. Creation of signs that alert the public to what human trafficking looks like, both sex and labor trafficking. In other words: “If you see something, say something”!

Chief Hargis likened this problem to domestic violence 30 years ago. 30 years ago (and this is really hard to stomach folks), domestic violence wasn’t on anyone’s radar. It wasn’t seen as a law enforcement problem. That’s how the issue of human trafficking has been treated..as someone else’s problem. But it isn’t, its a human problem that all humans should be concerned about. Contrary to what the High Sheriff or Billy or Kirby would lead us to believe, this isn’t just a problem for the federal government to solve. If a victim is found in Frederick County, and there have been numerous cases here, it’s a Frederick County problem.  If you want more information about human trafficking visit the Polaris site.  And after you read that, don’t ever, ever forget that Billy Shreve said that there are groups in favor of this.  We don’t need a voice like that representing us in Annapolis.

Late in the day, the council agenda was changed to reflect this addition:

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There was no clickable link, so we didn’t have any other information to go on. When it came time to vote we get this breakdown:

Yay-Jessica, M.C., Bud, Tony, Jerry

Abstain-Billy

Partying it up in Punta Cana-Kirby

Now, we have no idea what in the world is going on with this! Anyone who can enlighten us please send us a line!