This week’s council agendais SUPER ambitious! So instead of alcohol we are going to suggest some funny sodas to drink. We need all of our Yokels alert and ready to vote next month!
We are going to skip the part where Billy votes against the agenda, abstains on the budget adjustments, and then maybe votes for the minutes and maybe doesn’t. Because…we are tired of him and if Facebook likesare any indication, we won’t have to put up with the likes of him much longer.
The council has lots of county executive appointments to fill, plus a separate motion to fill some spots on the ethics board. We know from past experience that Kirby gets triggeredwhen he hears the word “ethics”, so if he should have any objections sip on a Mr. Aahh!
It’s also time to vote on Jerry and Kirby’s merged Senior Tax Credit bill which we predict will make it through. Afterwards Bud is going to make a motion to create a workshop on school construction fees. A contentious issue in these here parts.
Due to the craziness of the evening, your Lady Yokels joined the meeting seven minutes late. There was a nice gentlemen from Middletown giving some public comment. Apparently, Kirby contacted the Middletown city manager and constructed some budget amendment that has everyone believing that he wants to cut funding from the new library. After three years of sitting through Kirby’s amendments we are very sympathetic to anyone who has to try and parse them out.
After M.C. suggests that Kirby go back and look at his 39th amendment (and my God people are we going to have to sit through HOURS of his amendments again!!!), which he does. He then insists that this amendment only applies to 2019. And look people he’s just trying to look out for the taxpayer!
There is a First Reading on the Frederick County Sustainability Commission that you can read about here.
Then we have three Third Readings to get through. First off is Billy’s bill concerning the Senior/Retired Military tax credit. You know, the one that Tony had to practically re-write for him. Well, Jerry, M.C., and Jessica want an income cap added to this bill. Because not every retired military person is in need of a tax break! Added to that is the fact that every other tax credit has an income cap, but for some reason this one sailed through without one. Probably because there were so many other problems with it! Anyhoo, Billy predictably says that Jerry doesn’t like veterans and old people. To which Jerry replies, “I knew you were going to say something like that!”
Jerry wants the cap to be $80,000, but the bill passes with Bud being the deciding vote, 4-3.
Next up is Tony’s off-track gambling bill. Tony thinks allowing this will help tourism and that horse gambling is different from different kinds of gambling. M.C. is the only one who disagrees and this bill passes 6-1.
The last third reader is the Veteran’s Advisory Council bill and that passes with little fanfare, 7-0.
Now, there are three public hearings. We kind of space out on some of these issues, so you can go ahead and look at these slides regarding the FY 2018 Installment Purchase Application Farm/Land Preservation Program:
The top ten applications were approved 7-0.
Next we have a public hearing on the City of Frederick Enterprise Zone on the Golden Mile. The city is the main entity affected by this, but the county plays a part and must also vote for it. The Golden Mile qualifies for this tax program because of the poverty and vacant buildings in that area Anyone who lives here wants to see that strip do well again. Especially since they are going to lose Toys R Us soon. Well, there’s lots of questions from the peanut gallery, but nothing too bad or out of the ordinary. Until Billy…. He ‘finds it interesting” that those who voted against his tax credit bill are for giving ‘Wall Street corporations” tax welfare. But get this people, Billy is also for this credit. Jerry points out that these bills are “different animals altogether” and Jessica points out these are small businesses not Wall Street corporations. Billy tries again to make his point to which Jessica snaps and tells him to keep on with his talking points, maybe one day it will work out for ya!
The last hearing, before the break, concerns a Petition to Alter County Roads in the Frederick City Watershed. The City of Frederick is trying to alter roads and put up gates in an effort to stop all the illegal dumping that goes on back there. We couldn’t watch the rest of this, so we’ll have to check back on it tomorrow.
Meeting reconvenes at 7:00 for a bunch of public hearings. We predict a big crowd in the house tonight!
We saw this articleand guess what? A study has found that one fifth of human trafficking victims are homeless youth. Please read the article, and remember that our very own Billy Shreve once said there are people for human trafficking as if both sides was a valid arguement. If you don’t remember, it is a good thing we are here and we will #neverforget. Read about it here and here.
Guess what else this research found?
The research also highlights the connection between sex trafficking and online advertising, including Backpage.com, which has recently been shut down by the FBI with federal indictments against the online marketplace. Researchers found that 44 percent of the sex trafficking victims were subjects of an online ad, with half of them reporting that they were advertised on Backpage.
Why is Backpage so familiar??? Have we heard about that website in Frederick for some local reason? Hmmm. Oh, yeah. We read about when abastion scourge of our community was arrested. Human trafficking is a real issue. Neither Frederick, nor Maryland needs leaders who are unwilling and unable to understand there are no pros to this issue.
It seems as though Billy’s only function is to cause strife on the council. You would think as a lame-duck council member he would just sit back and enjoy the rest of his ride. Or, at the very least, stay as quiet as a dormouse as to not give the likes of us more things to write about! But alas! Woe unto us all that we must continue down this path.
The first bill to be discussed is the nice cooperative Donald/Delauter bill concerning the Senior Tax Credit. For every amendment that Jerry put forth, Kirby seconded! Staff wants an effective date for next year, to which Billy says that bills already have an effective date (60 days if not noted in the legislation), everyone ignores him and adds the July 2019 date. Goes back to a public hearing. Bud commends them both on their cooperation.
There’s much hoopla from both Tony and Billy over M.C.’s bill to make sure that future housing developments keep any amenities they offer within their borders. There was a development that built a pool outside the approved zoning area and wound up building on Ag land! Billy thinks it’s exclusionary. And Tony wants to know what would happen if an HOA wants to buy land outside of the community to build a pool. He also doesn’t understand why we are making legislation because this happened one time. COUGH, COUGH, WOODCHIPPING BILL?!
Next we are onto some changes to council rules. Read all about them here. Billy doesn’t write any of his down and keeps arguing about giving people a 20 minute limit to present at public hearings and wants to allow public comment to be allowed at workshops. Bud tells him that, just like everyone else, he needs to write his suggestions down! How many times has he been told to write his ideas down? Your Yokel Girls are thinking of starting a Sign-Up Genius to have y’all take turns at public comment to tell Billy what we all think of him.
Charter amendments are last. You can peruse them here. Tony lets his 120 day bill extension die after listening to Jessica and M.C.’s concerns. So miracles still happen. Some language is changed on the others. Kirby, who seems to have all kinds of problems with how things work around here, doesn’t put forth any amendments. And is, in fact, super quiet tonight. Perhaps he’s brooding over the lack of love in the comment sections on the two articles about him in the paper today. (Read the articles here and here.)
This evening’s meeting will include various amendments to bills on the table, as well as public hearings on bills that were amended last week. Take it easy on your liver as budget season is upon us and we are going to need gallons of moonshine to get through the line by line budget adjustments Kirby’s gonna give us!
Since it is the last few months that Billy will be featured on the dais, perhaps we should savor his voting against the agenda, abstaining on the budget adjustments, and floundering back and forth on whether or not to vote for the minutes. On second thought, down a 6-pack of Raging Bitchif when any of these things occur.
Amendments will be brought forth on two bills. The Senior tax credit amendments show that two polar opposites can come together in the name of good government. Sip daintily on your Family Drama to show that you appreciate the fact that we can have some time without tension in our Frederick County family.
Break until 7:00 (not a word Billy!), then we return for three public hearings.
The first hearing concerns Billy’s Elderly and Military tax credit which was so very badly written that the budget department had to make a special visit to the council to spell out the infinity changes that needed to be made. So, with no help from Billy, amendments were voted for and now the public has the chance to voice their opinion. So, when Billy takes credit for this bill in the future, drink a mind eraser in his honor.
We end the meeting on Tony’s satellite betting and Bud’s veteran’s advisory council bills. Take a break because look at what is coming later this week:
Budget season is always stressful!!! Be careful out there!
We can’t say enough terrible things about Billy due to his abhorrent behavior during this entire meeting! Just about the worst we’ve ever seen, and you know that must mean something coming from the likes of us! Let’s get right down to it.
The council recognizes the achievements of the Frederick High basketball team, which is nice to see! Shannon Moore is on site to present some changes that need to be made to the sustainability commission. We are waiting for Kirby to trigger when it comes to the discussion of changes that need to be made to the ethics law, but instead Billy takes up the cause! County Attorney Linda Thall explains that when the state makes changes to the ethics law, the county must follow suit. Such changes have to do with former lobbyists and what they can and cannot do if hired by the county,not using your political office to secure campaign donations, and increases to fines shall a candidate fail to adhere to a reporting deadline. Well, Billy has thoughts! He demands Ms. Thall tell him how we can realistically “upgrade” the ethics law if we don’t change the Public Information Act (PIA)! He is explained to that the PIA is a state law and the county cannot change a state law. But, but, Billy then claims there are no fines if the government doesn’t comply. Well, that is also not true. Billy knows all kinds of “citizens” who aren’t receiving the information they requested in a timely fashion. Oh we bet he does!
Bud then introduces a bill regarding county council staff compensation. Billy wants to know why only 10 people are listed. Bud tells him that is because that is what is allowed by their current budget. Now hold on to your hats folks because you are not going to believe what comes out of Billy’s mouth next! Billy wants to hire an independent consultant to evaluate the council’s productiveness. Because hey folks, Billy just wants to leave the council in a better place than it is now!
We’ll wait for you to pick yourself up from the floor first before we continue.
Now. M.C. tells Billy that all the information he wants on the council is already available, and she doesn’t see the sense in paying someone to tell them what they already know. Jessica, M.C., and Jerry hall have issues with this bill because of the proposed at-will employee provision. So, we’ll have to keep an eye on this one as it travels down the legislative road!
This is the section of the meeting where things get really, really bad. Lori Depies, Finance Director of Frederick County, is present to ask the council to reconsider Billy’s very bad bill that passed last week. Bill 18-03, Elderly Individual & Retired Military Tax Credit has lots and lots and lots of problems!!! Who could have guessed that Billy would write such a horrible piece of legislation? And that Tony, Bud, and Kirby would just go right along with it?
There’s so much wrong with this bill, we can’t even start to list it all. The most egregious and talked about point is there was no effective date listed. There also was no application deadline, procedures on how to apply, renewal requirements, just all around very poorly executed. Ms. Depies makes the point over and over that it would be impossible for this bill to take effect this year because: a. they have no procedures in place to implement this tax credit that quickly and b. the budget is already in place for this year and this would cause a $1.7 million hit.
Billy has statements. Even though the finance department was never invited to participate in this bill, they did send a fiscal note that Jessica brought up last week, that Billy of course paid no attention to. Nevertheless, he very rudely asks Ms. Depies two times if she ever reached out to him personally. As though it is the responsibility of the finance department to contact a legislator when they are working on a piece of legislation! Ms. Depies informs him, that per council procedures county staff has to be invited to the table to give input to the council. Something Billy certainly did not do! Billy then wants to know if they legally have to do this. Ms. Depies tells him she cannot give him a legal opinion to which he shouts: “It’s just your opinion then!” “No”, the unflappable Ms. Depies replies, “It is my expert opinion as the Finance Director”.
Jessica says that these concerns are exactly why she didn’t vote for the bill in the first place! Billy interrupts her by saying, “Why didn’t you write amendments?” Jessica tells him that first of all, it isn’t my job to write your legislation, and secondly during the workshop it was very clear that you were not open to any changes! Jerry points out that not having an effective date on the bill is reason enough to reconsider the whole darn thing. Tony wants us all to know he was on a skid-loader when he got the message that this bill was going to be reconsidered, so he’s working at a disadvantage here. But, that doesn’t stop him from asking a ton of questions.
Billy tries one more time to save his very bad bill. He just wants it to go through and then add a replacement bill later, which makes no sense. The lawyer says that this doesn’t address the problem that the Finance Director just made about the procedures and the budget shortfall. Billy then says that Bud was beaten into submission to bring this up tonight. However, when voting time comes EVERYONE but Billy agrees this bill should be reconsidered.
Billy is the sole no vote to go into closed session.
Now it’s time for the public hearing portion of the evening.
Another bad Billy bill is back for public hearing. You know the one from last week that Tony did the work for? Ray Barnes is the only public speaker and he reiterates the administration’s position that they are against this bill because there are many other non-profits who do good work for the community and the county executive doesn’t want everyone applying for a tax break. Well, Billy just says that he will put forth a bill for any organization that contacts him. Genius at work!
We can barely stand to write about this wood-chipping bill any longer. Ray Barnes says the administration is still against it because they don’t feel that a wood-waste facility belongs in the General Commercial (GC) zone. But the star of this evenings testimony is Mr. Bussard, proprietor of said wood-waste business. Jessica asks him if this bill addresses his issues, his response? “Will it get the county off my butt?” Now, that’s the kind of testimony your Yokel gals like to hear! He admits to not understanding the legalize of the bill and admits that he actually gets along great with the county. At least with those that work behind the wheel. He also informs us that: 1. He’s never received a fine and 2. He’s looking to move his business anyway. Kirby then feels the need to apologize for the county. He’s so very sorry that the county followed their zoning laws and actually investigated a business that WAS violating said laws. He called it “the most ridiculous thing he has ever witnessed.” Well, hearing him use those words was kind of the most ridiculous thing we ever had to witness, so I guess we are all even now! Billy ends out the discussion by saying that county workers are generally good people, but they have some kind of block here.
In good news, Jerry and Kirby have come together to combine their Senior tax credit bills! Jerry made no secret of the agreement:
For some reason we couldn’t find any similar announcement on Kirby’s page. Wonder why.
Tonight’s discussion ends with M.C.’s new bill about amenities that are just for HOA members being required to be located within a development. Looks like there will be some more discussion on this one before it’s all ironed out.
Don’t forget, gentle readers, Billy believes he should represent our interests in Annapolis. Can you imagine the state-wide embarrassment this would bring us? Local elections matter y’all!
On Monday, April 16th the council will hold a hearing on the BOE budget. If you care about public education, and you know you do, show up or email the council to give them your thoughts!
We are not even sure if anyone is able to stay sober right now. Therefore, if you are already drunk due to the national news, just carry on with your selected beverage of choice. Grab your agenda and follow along.
There are no minutes to vote on tonight, so you can spare your liver right away because Billy won’t have the option to abstain.
First up are 3 bill updates. And oh dear, one has to do with ethics. Remember how Kirby gets triggered whenever the “E” word comes up? If you see #NeverKirbyforCountyExecutive get all twitchy, slam back a pitcher of Trigger!
The council then goes into closed session, a motion that Silly Billy will surely vote against. They return at 7:00 for a variety of public hearings.
The next hearing is the wood chipping bill, and boy are we tired of hearing about this! Tony added some amendments last time, actually took some of the planning commission and county executive’s suggestions into consideration! Still, why are we making legislation that benefits one business? If “anyone” talks about Jan shutting down all the businesses ( YOKEL FACT: This business was never shut down or even fined!) set up a row of Pink Faced Liar shots!
We next have to sit through two hearings on the same issue. Tis an election year and Kirby needs to grandstand over all his failed bills and budget writing attempts. We know who has the better bill, so sit back and set up your moonshine still, because man you’re gonna need it this year.
We round up the evening with M.C.’s bill about locating amenities within the boundaries of a particular community. If When Billy says something condescending (we know the nerve of that fella) take dainty sips of your Raspberry Stupid.
Let’s see here, Billy was on the BOCC for four years, has been on the council for over three, and still cannot figure out what he’s doing up there! We really need to add an impeachment clause to the county charter. Seven years is way too long to let incompetence reign. Let’s get down to the nitty gritty of tonight’s meeting:
Billy votes FOR the agenda, which kinda goes against his whole philosophy of voting AGAINST it. Did he have a change of heart or just forgot? We’ll let you be the judge.
Dr. Alban is recognized for receiving the 2018 Tom Cookerly Exceptional School Superintendent Leadership Award. This award recognizes those who do a lot for the neediest kids in their school system. Even though poverty does tend to be concentrated at some FCPS schools, our county has a dedicated coordinator at every school to help families in need! Way to go FCPS and Dr. Alban!
Our favorite public commenter, Melanie Cox, is in the house to voice the League of Women Voters’ support of the Adequate Public Facilities bill which will have a public hearing on May 1st.
Billy is back in form abstaining on the budget adjustments and minutes, while everyone else says aye or yes, depending on their knowledge of Robert’s Rules.
All vote yes for the appointment of Kevin Fox to the Department of Fire Services.
Four bills have their third reading.
Bill 18-01, which will increase the mandated general fund, is passed 7-0. Jerry makes the comment that this bill will keep us on a strong financial path.
Then it’s time for the first of Billy’s two bills this evening. Billy first has to be prompted to make a motion on this bill because going through this at least a bazillion times hasn’t been enough for him to learn how things work. Jerry, Jessica, and M.C. all have concerns about this bill because it requires people to live in their residence for 40 years, only lasts for 5 years, and has no income requirement! M.C. makes the point that the existing bill is better. Tony is okay if it only affects 30 people which prompts Billy to make the following declaration : “Any tax credit is a good one!” The bill goes along party lines, then it is Bud’s turn. After a loooong pause he votes Aye. So, Billy’s poorly written tax credit passes.
Next up is Billy’s second bill, which had to be re-written by Tony because it is sooo poorly wrongly worded. In Billy’s original bill the Fire Department is exempted from ANY and ALL FEES. When Jessica points this out and asks if this means water and sewer, landfill, etc. Billy so rudely says that she is the ONLY one who would interpret those words that way. Jessica then retorts that the fiscal note that they ALL received points out this fact! Clearly, she is not the only one. Jerry doesn’t like it because it gives the fire departments an unfair advantage in getting customers into their Fire Hall and he isn’t comfortable “picking the winners and losers!” Isn’t that usually Billy and Kirby’s phrase?! Tony and Kirby both declare their love for the free market, Tony even admits that he may be a hypocrite here, but hey tis the way of the party lately. When our guy does it, it’s okay! Well, the language is the problem, because guess what? Billy only meant for this to apply to fees for new construction and renovations for the fire halls! WHO KNEW? Literally no one but Billy!
This portion of the evening features an amusing exchange between Billy and Jerry. Jerry is comparing different wedding venues and Billy demands to know the last time Jerry was in the market for a wedding venue. Billy tells Jerry that if he doesn’t know what he’s talking about he should just remain quiet. Jerry retorts with a “that’s never stopped you before!” Billy says that’s because he usually knows what he’s talking about. That elicits a laugh from both Jerry and your Lady Yokels!!!
Kirby jumps in to tell us he eloped, but likes the free market, but whatevs. Billy lectures us about how all bills have unintended consequences and we will have to fix it in the future. He adds: It’s the way the world works! Thanks Billy, but we aren’t taking any philosophical advice from the likes of you!
Since an amendment was added, which Tony wrote, the bill goes back to public hearing.
Tony adds four amendments to his woodchipping bill, taking recommendations from the planning commission and the county executive. Therefore that has to go back to public hearing as well.
Three public hearings are up at 7:00 this evening. We’ll let you know how that all turns out when we get the chance!
Tonight’s meeting is a two-parter! First we begin at 4:30 with a variety of fun items to keep you on your toes. There are five bills to be voted on tonight, many of them originating from our pal Billy Shreve. The original agenda had six bills on, but we’ll let this story from the FNP explain why one of Billy’s very bad vendetta bills was removed from consideration.
We reconvene at 7:00 to listen to three public hearings. Two of which have to do with changes to the Senior Tax Credit. Use the below bingo card as your game this evening. Make up your own runs or follow the traditional bingo. Guard your liver though, none of these local characters are worth the destruction of a major organ.
The second half of last night’s meeting was a bunch of public hearings. Most of them from the desk of none other than Billy Shreve! We’ve already spoken to the fact that Billy cannot expect to do zero work for over three years, and then last minute put forth a bunch of well, nonsense, and think no one is going to notice! Let’s go through them one by one:
18-01- General Fund Mandate Reserve Increase. Lori Depies is at the mic to tell us why it would be a good idea to increase the reserve from 5% to 7%. No member of the public is on hand to testify. Jerry asks Lori if this change would be a step in keeping the county’s Triple A Bond ratings. She believes it is.
18-02- Billy wants the council members to take a planning education class. He did it online all by himself a bazillion years ago. Billy wants to know if he has to give an intro to each of his bill or can we just have the public hearing. SIGH! No one is in the house to speak to this.
18-03- Elderly and Retired Military tax credit. Ray Barnes is at the podium to tell us that the “3rd Floor” is not in support of this bill because it is more restrictive than the tax credit already in place. Mr. Barnes thinks we are better off modifying the existing program than putting this more restrictive one in place.
18-04- Zoning Violations. Billy wants a monthly report of ALL code violations so he can stay on top of things. You know since Jan is trying to put ALL the wedding venues and mulching companies out of business. Mr. Barnes is again in attendance to say the administration is not in support of this bill for a couple of reasons. First of all, this bill takes away the anonymous option to report violations. And secondly, two people have to report the violation before it can get investigated. There is an all so amusing discussion about the anonymous provision. Mr. Barnes argues that people should have the option to report anonymously, especially when they fear for their safety. In fact, about 25% are reported in this fashion. Not to the county mind you, they know the reporter’s names, but to the person that has the complaint made against them. I think we can all envision a few scenarios where this would make sense. RIGHT? WRONG according to Kirby! He thinks it is COWARDLY to make an anonymous complaint. If you need to make a complaint against your gun-toting, crazy neighbor, your neighbor should have access to your name and address. What’s the prob? Kirby says that anonymous reporting just opens the door to vindictive behavior. We can’t help but speculate that Kirby must have been on the receiving end of some anonymous complaints to be so strongly against them! Perhaps on his car wash? Or for peeing in his side yard? The possibilities are endless! Top scholar, Billy Shreve, adds that if 75% of people are fine with their name being released, so should the other 25% . What logic!
18-05- Billy’s very last poorly constructed bill has to do with public safety facilities exemptions. Billy feels that volunteer fire departments shouldn’t have to pay permitting fees on their social events. Mr. Barnes, who Billy has kept very busy this evening, disagrees. He states the existing tax credits in place for fire departments are adequate and the administration doesn’t want to open the door for all non profits asking for exemptions.
Billy then asks Mr. Barnes since he hates all of Billy’s very badly constructed bills, has he written any of his own? Ummm, is that his job? We think not.
The very last hearing is on Tony’ s bill, 18-06, Temporary Limited Wood Waste Recycling In the General Commercial Zone. Mr. Barnes wants everyone to know that he doesn’t oppose every bill that comes before the council, and he cites examples! But, this one is also terrible. Temporary is supposed to mean a year, with an option to extend if necessary. And, the administration does not believe that wood mulching is a good fit with other businesses in the GC zone. Billy goes on with the old racetrack crap he tried a few months back, and we fast forward the recording because we cannot listen to that crap again!
All bills will be put forth for a final vote in the near future.
No public comment, so it’s off to council member comments. HOORAY!
Tony passes. Kirby lets us know that Jan is obstructing jobs and none of this is rocket science people! Or Kirby wouldn’t be running for the CE position in the first place! Durh! According to Kirby we shouldn’t even be here discussing these things, and if it were up to him, he would have this whole Jefferson Technology Park thing settled in 6 seconds! He leaves us with these words: “It’s ridiculous! Make a decision!”
Jerry informs us that 23% of the Seniors eligible for the county tax credit don’t take advantage of it. So, the county is hosting some information sessions to make Frederick County Seniors aware. While the AV person tries to figure out how to project the dates, this happens:
Technical difficulties are addressed and we are presented with these dates:
Billy wants to know why we were aren’t just mailing notices out to people. Isn’t it cheaper to research all the Seniors who aren’t taking advantage of the tax credit, print out letters and then send them off? We don’t know and we are SURE he doesn’t either. But, why does he have to be such a jerk about everything?
Jessica thinks we need a standardized process for all of the council bills that begin with a workshop. She also alerts us to the fact that Billy’s education bill has language in it that’s illegal. Specifically, you can’t ban council members from voting just because they didn’t take a class! Man, he’s bad at this.
M.C. has nice announcements about things going on in the community. Bud ends the meeting by letting us know he likes the new communication procedures that are being implemented between the County Executive and the council. There’s a meeting tonight between the council and the BOE. These usually go pretty well, so if anyone notices anything out of the ordinary, be sure to alert us!