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DOCUMENTS


The Tentacle


November 2, 2015

County Issues That Reach Into Taxpayers’ Pockets

Guest Columnist

Kirby Delauter

This month I am writing about three issues that are upon us in county government, first I’ll start with the Citizens/Montevue Nursing Home debacle.

County Executive Jan Gardner decided that breaching contracts and using eminent domain would show off our business friendly climate here in Frederick County. She breached the contracts with Aurora Holdings and used the threat of eminent domain to beat Aurora into submission and afterwards stated: “I can’t understand why no one wants to do business here?

The threat of eminent domain against a private business is like holding a loaded revolver against someone’s head, cocking the hammer, and asking for their wallet. Once they hand it over, you walk away and say “I knew you’d see things my way, and look, I didn’t even have to use force.”

We won’t know the final details of the shakedown, but I’ll give 2:1 odds that Aurora made out well and the county’s taxpayers will be paying more to return Citizens and Montevue to county ownership.

These care facilities lost well over $50 million since the year 2000 while the county operated them, and our wonderful county executive is so proud of her accomplishment of forcefully taking it back so we can repeat history.

I asked County Manager Doug Browning if he would place a personal bond to help offset the losses if they occur once the county takes this back into operation. His answer was a bold “Absolutely Not!”

Why not Doug, you’re selling this as such a great deal, why not put your money up? Doug will sail off in a few years into his taxpayer-funded retirement, leaving some other poor sap to clean up his and Jan Gardner’s mess.

It’s kind of like a Steve Wright –ism of having amnesia and deja-vu at the same time. I think we’ve forgotten this before.

On another note, speaking of boondoggles, Councilman Jerry Donald has introduced Water Buffers legislation. This bill will amend the current ordinance and will eliminate your ability to place open structures, pavilions, gravel paths, asphalt paths, within the water buffer area. These items are now acceptable in these buffers, but Councilman Donald seems to think that encroaching on personal property rights is a good thing.

Well, it is, if you’re Bernie Sanders, or any other avowed socialist.

A few items that come to mind on this are questions I’ve had for some time. Is the Farm Bureau on board with this proposal? The answer is NO. It has some reservations about it, and it is likely these people it will affect the most.

If we as councilmen pass this bill, will the water be cleaner, or will we just have more regulations added to private land owners? My guess, the water not be any cleaner due to this legislation, but, your bank account will be cleaned out by added taxes needed to pay for the enforcement of inspectors to come on your property to tell you what you can and can’t do. No thank you Councilman Donald, I’ll keep my rights. You keep your socialism.

The last thing are the Transfer of Development Rights for Farmers, or TDR’s as they’re called. The Young Board of County Commissioners enacted this ordinance to help young farmers stay in farming and have an option to “transfer” their development rights to another farm if they so choose.

A few criteria need to be met. First, there has to be development rights on the farm. Secondly, the property has to be an approved farm in order to transfer those rights.

This allows a farmer in rural Creagerstown, who has 10 TDR’s, to sell those rights to another approved farm in say, the outskirts of Frederick, where development may be more useful.

This does two things, it transfers development to a more acceptable area, and allows the more rural areas in Frederick County to stay that way, along with allowing a young farmer to create some income from his farm, without slicing his farm into smaller pieces and taking away the land for what he wanted it for in the first place – farming.

These things are all coming from County Executive Gardner, as she throws them in the lap of the four Council members who are at her beck and call. They proceed with her agenda all the while acting as though they are being thoughtful and safeguarding us from ourselves with all of this radical legislation that does nothing but take more of your rights and more of your money for taxes.

Mark my words, your taxes will go up over the next three years, and our bond rating will go down, which will do nothing but cause us to pay higher interest rates to borrow money to pay for all of this nonsense.

 



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