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December 7, 2009

City Officials Face Difficult Times

Michael Kurtianyk

The incoming Frederick City aldermen and mayor have quite a full plate after they’re sworn in on December 10. The biggest challenge for them will be the city’s budget deficit, estimated at $8-$10 million.


Before looking at where to reduce expenses and raise revenue, the newly elected officials are right in requesting a zero-based budget approach from city departments. With mid-January deadlines for budget requests, this is a tall order. Let’s see how it works out.


One issue that will have to be further explored is the relationship between Frederick City and the county on the tax equity issue. The county withheld the full tax equity payment from Frederick City, which is meant to relieve city residents who pay both city and county taxes.

On the current real estate market…


What I find interesting is that as we enter the winter market, we’re seeing not only more homes go under contract, but fewer homes listed as being active. As of this writing, we have approximately 1,350 homes in Frederick County listed as actively on the market. The number of houses listed as being under contract is 517. At this time last year, there were 1,872 houses listed as active, and 162 listed under contract.


What can this be attributed to? There are many factors: job changes and downsizing are two that are currently occurring. Granted, these are reasons we see every year, but this fall/winter is different: we’re seeing more buyers. In a typical real estate cycle, we see fewer buyers this time of year, not more. Why the change? One factor is the installation and extension of the congressional $8,000 Homebuyer Tax Credit. This has been a boon to us locally, and throughout the nation.


On remodeling a home…


In talking to contractors and reading articles, it seems that what people are doing is exploring the option of remodeling their homes. In an uncertain economy, people stay close to home and make improvements.


This is true especially of those who have land and don’t want to give up what they have. Many people are working on additions and interior improvements, like the kitchen and basement. On the contractor side, it’s difficult at times to close a deal, due to a lack of financing from the homeowners.


On local football…


Congratulations to Catoctin and Linganore High Schools for winning their respective state championships. Both teams won in convincing manners, and represented our county well. Kudos to the players and coaches for their success on the field. Credit should also be given to their families, teachers, and administrators, who provided behind-the-scenes support to the teams. Let us not forget how hard these people work privately.


On Tiger Woods…


So many Tiger Woods jokes, so little time. Yet here goes:


Did you hear Tiger’s new nickname? “Cheetah” (“Cheat-ah”)?


Nike is not dropping their sponsorship of Tiger, as he lives up to their slogan: “Just do it”.


Did you hear Tiger’s other new nickname? “Lion” (“Lyin’ ”)?


When asked how many times she swung at Tiger, his wife Elin responded: “I lost count, so put me down for a 5.”


Tiger has proven that you never succeed with a bad lie.


Who’s the best golfer in the world? His wife Elin. She can beat him with a 3 Iron and one swing.


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