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Advertise on the Tentacle

December 21, 2009

Another Tangled Web...

Michael Kurtianyk

This is, in a word, sad. Why is it that the Board of County Commissioners continues to create an adversarial relationship with the municipalities? It’s ridiculous that dealings have become so strained that the only way to communicate with our county leaders is through lawsuits?


Back in November, the commissioners approved an ordinance that applies development restrictions related to school capacity on newly annexed properties. According to state law, the commissioners can apply restrictions if it is determined that it – by not doing so – would adversely affect the health, safety, and welfare of the residents in the unincorporated parts of the county.


To date, the commissioners have not shown this to be true. Their claim is that this law applies to the county because municipal growth feeds into county schools. Towns and cities without meaningful growth requirements are flooding county schools and denying everyone a quality education.


So, what do we know?


The municipalities are resisting the ordinance via the lawsuit because the ordinance stands in the way of the municipalities determining their own growth policies. The municipalities of Brunswick and Frederick have seen first-hand how the commissioners try to impose their will on limiting potential growth boundaries in their municipalities.


When asked about the lawsuit, Commissioner John L. “Lennie” Thompson was quoted in the local press as saying: “Municipal leaders who sue us are placing the financial interests of the avaricious land developers, arrogant lawyers and devious lobbyists above the well-being of existing municipal schoolchildren, residents and taxpayers.”


Seriously? For the uninitiated, this is a typical response from Commissioner Thompson, who never directly responds to the issue at hand, but rather regurgitates a canned response about developers, lawyers, etc. In case you didn’t know, Commissioner Thompson is a lawyer also. It’s tough to know if he’s proud of his profession or not, when he makes comments like this.


Getting back to the lawsuit, the municipalities involved are: Middletown, Rosemont , Emmitsburg , Woodsboro , Thurmont , Brunswick and Frederick. Did you know that there are 17 Adequate Public Facilities Ordinances (APFOs) in the 157 municipalities in the state, and, of those, six are from municipalities in Frederick County with two others drafting APFOs now? Thurmont has an APFO that equals the county's.


I don’t have an issue with municipalities having an APFO, but for the commissioners to take an uncompromising role in this matter is disappointing. What saddens me the most is that the spirit of cooperativeness isn’t occurring between the commissioners and the municipalities. Very sad. On many of the issues, the commissioners work well with the municipalities, but, on this one, the adversarial relationship is appalling.


On the Brunswick Library Construction…


On a happier note, the Board of County Commissioners approved the Brunswick library construction contract with Morgan-Keller last week on a 5-0 vote. It is hoped that the groundbreaking for this facility will take place in February. Kudos to the commissioners for their approval.


On the New Chief Administrative Officer…


Congratulations to soon-to-be former Delegate Rick Weldon for accepting the role as the City of Frederick’s chief administrative officer. It could not have been an easy decision for him and his family, but it seems like a sort of homecoming for him, as he worked in City Hall during the Jim Grimes administration. This is a great move for everyone.


It will be interesting to see who the Republican Central Committee will nominate to replace him. A few names have already been mentioned, and more may come up in the next week or so. This should take us through the holidays, and then the next set of speculations will be for the commissioners in January and February.


Quick hits…


…Do you think Tiger Woods will be invited to any weddings?


…Maybe the new director of football operations in Washington will do better. It’s a great franchise, and it’s a shame how things have been going.


…Beautiful snowfall this past weekend. How’s that global warming thing working out?


…Huzzahs for the road crews in Frederick County for all of their efforts.


…Mark your calendars for the next “Waste Not! Expo,” scheduled for Saturday, May 1, 2010, at the Evangelical United Reformed United Church of Christ at 15 W. Church Street, in Frederick.


See you next week!


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