DG Hogan Presser

Gov. Larry Hogan, center, with Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford, left, and Joseph Getty, chief legislative officer, speaks to reporters in the State House on Tuesday afternoon. The governor said he will veto two bills passed early in the legislative session and allow 22 others to take effect without his signature. He signed three bills on Monday.

ANNAPOLIS — The state’s fiscal 2017 capital budget — which includes funding for the downtown Frederick hotel and conference center — is among the 22 bills Republican Gov. Larry Hogan said Tuesday he will allow to become law without his signature.

Republican lawmakers from Frederick County who had opposed public funding for the nearly $70 million project had asked the governor to use the power of line-item veto to remove the funding provision.

It was added to the capital budget last week through three amendments by a 10-member team of budget negotiators.

The first amendment gives the city of Frederick a $1 million grant in 2017 for planning costs associated with the project. The remaining two amendments pre-authorize $7.5 million grants in both 2018 and 2019.

Pre-authorizations are essentially requests to the governor to include money in his proposed capital budget in those years.

The capital budget also extends until 2018 the deadline for the city to collect $250,000 on a planning grant previously awarded in 2012.

End of session nears

This year, the General Assembly sent the governor more than two dozen bills early in session, invoking what is called the “six-day rule.” That rule requires the governor to sign, veto or let the bills take effect within six days.

“As of today, we have dealt with all the early actions of the Legislature,” Hogan said Tuesday.

Three bills were signed into law. Two measures were vetoed. One of those created a scoring system for transportation projects. Another changed the composition of a commission that nominates members of the Anne Arundel County school board.

Hogan will let the remaining 22 bills take effect without any action from his office because “we found nothing in these bills that would do major harm or negatively impact Marylanders.”

The governor used the opportunity to push for legislative action on some of his priorities this session.

“Now that all the so-called drama and controversy is over with, the Legislature should now be able to focus on some important business for the remainder of the session,” Hogan said.

He pointed to a tax relief bill that has passed the Senate and is pending in the House, and two measures he introduced dealing with spending mandates and redistricting.

The redistricting bill, based on the work of a bipartisan panel, would amend the state constitution to establish a commission to create legislative and congressional district boundaries.

“There can be no possible excuse for keeping this bill hidden in a drawer and simply ignoring the will of nearly every person in Maryland,” he said. “There is still plenty of time to get this bill to the floor of each house for an up-or-down vote.”

Six bills addressing reapportionment for congressional districts were filed in Annapolis this year, even as federal lawsuits challenging Maryland’s 2012 maps are pending in federal court. Despite bill hearings early in the session, none of the measures has received a committee vote.

Hotel funding faces
further hurdles

The $1 million in planning funding in the state’s fiscal 2017 capital budget comes with requirements to be met before the money is released, according to the amendment.

No money can be spent until a memorandum of understanding outlining terms for development and financing of the project is signed by the Maryland Stadium Authority, county executive and County Council, Frederick’s mayor and Board of Aldermen, and the private developer of the property, according to the amendment.

The signed agreement must be sent to the General Assembly’s budget committees, which can comment. That money would be available when the requirements are met.

Hogan will decide next year whether to include funding for the project in the 2018 and 2019 operating budgets. Last week, budget secretary David Brinkley said the governor’s office will carefully review the memorandum of understanding while planning next year’s budget.

Inclusion in the state’s capital budget was a workaround for conference center advocates, after a $19.8 million bond bill was stuck in House and Senate committees.

The downtown hotel and conference center is projected to cost about $69.8 million.

About $44 million of that cost will be paid by the hotel’s developer, Plamondon Hospitality Partners. The rest would be a combination of city, county and state funding.

The proposed hotel would be on the property at 200 and 212 E. Patrick St., which is currently owned by a business entity formed by members of the Randall family. The Randall family also owns the parent company of The Frederick News-Post.

Follow Danielle E. Gaines on Twitter: @danielleegaines.

Danielle E. Gaines covers politics and government in Frederick County, splitting her time between Winchester Hall and The State House. Having grown up in Illinois, she lived in New York and California before settling in Maryland.

(57) comments

richardlyons

The rich get richer, the taxpayer gets the shaft, so what else is new?

recordhigh

To all the naysayers, this is a public/private partnership to bring more people and more business growth to downtown, and those things will drive new tax revenue for the city and county. It's really not any more complicated than that, and similar projects have been done successfully in many, many other municipalities around the country. If you have evidence to say that it won't do those things, let's hear it.

jthompson

There are those who favor privatizing the profits of business ventures while socializing the losses. They justify the transaction by referring to it as a "public/private partnership". If it truly is a partnership (an association of two or more persons to carry on as co-owners a business for profit) then the public member (the taxpayers) should have full access to the partnership's records and an equal say in its management and profits. I sincerely doubt this is the case with the Hotel/Conference center.

MAVRICKinc7

That's why WE call all this gamesmanship a LIE, and best describes the terms and conditions of an OLIGARCHY government. Isn't much different than lord and tenet membership that were once called, long ago, FIEFDOMS and the days of fuedal lords and empires that once ruled and now DISGUISED as DEMOCRACY and the absense of DUE PROCESS by our elected leaders and their PARTNERS who have mangled and manipulated to the point the public can't be regarded as anything more than a herd of cattle. Just as CATTLE, we are TOLD what to do and all we do is comply for something as 3 hots and a cot.

richardlyons

and your evidence that it will succeed....with no cost to the taxpayer. Seems lacking.

jthompson

The project is unlikely to generate additional net real property taxes. Under the proposed tax increment financing, the City (and ultimately the County) will earmark any additional property tax receipts toward the project's debts. The analogy is if a homeowner had the privilege of earmarking his/her property taxes to pay the mortgage.

DickD

BS[thumbdown][thumbdown][thumbdown][thumbdown][thumbdown][thumbdown][thumbdown]

gary4books

“we found nothing in these bills that would do major harm or negatively impact Marylanders.” Sounds good to me. Bipartisan action to make Frederick better.

petersamuel

This a message loud and clear: do not even think of investing your own money in Frederick unless you have old family political connections. You'll be up against a competitor able to exploit a corrupt City machine and millions of dollars of local and state money. The only things that will move are those blessed by the City's DED and its cronies.

jill king

Peter accepts that Carmack Jays and numerous other buildings have sat empty for decades creating little revenue and no jobs. Peter thinks the Creek project appeared out of thin air and that TIF money has never been used in economic development. Peter supported an old wealthy family in his testimony, one that wouldn't bid on the City project and yet he still doesn't get why downtown projects are incentivized.

KellyAlzan

Jill - those of us that are natives to the county know that the creek project basically did appear "out of thin air". The creek project appeared solely to fact that downtown Frederick was flooding. The money used for the creek project was justified due to the damage the creek/flooding was inflicting.

The creek project and the hotel project are apples to oranges

glenkrc

Kelly - Not quite apples to oranges. The flood control aspect of the creek project could have been accomplished cheaper by merely diverting ALL the flow underground. Leaving some "flow" on the surface was intended to create the "downtown atmosphere" that would preferentially line the pockets of those poised to profit from further gentrification of the area.

DickD

False comparison, Jill, the old Randall building could sit forever and not cost me County or State tax money, get real![thumbdown][thumbdown]

shiftless88

So why isn't money going to deal with the other buildings that have sat empty for decades instead of this one? And as I mentioned in another comment, the difference between this and the Creek project is that the latter benefited a number of people/groups equally. This project predominantly benefits a few people a LOT and another group a little (perhaps).

Burgessdr

So Samuel, is the Governor also corrupt and part of the backroom dealings? That is your message loud and clear.

DickD

We have been xxxxx, blame that on Karen and Ron Young.

petersamuel

Disappointing news. This is a wasteful, rotten and destructive project. Wasteful because it is going to cost $70m to build a facility whose prospective revenues make it worth about half that. Rotten because it has been advanced with trickery and lies. Proponents failed in the regular parliamentary channels. They were unable to persuade either the House or Senate review committees that the project was fit for state support project, and if it were not for trickery the hotel project would have died a deserved death there. The Youngs and Delegate Krimm bypassed the established General Assembly review procedures by doing a small hours deal to add it to a huge list of other items in a budget reconciliation bill. Trickery has also been used by the City whose officials from the Mayor down have insisted that City taxpayers will not be on the hook for what they claimed would be a privately owned hotel and a privately owned conference center. That has quietly been changed and now the conference center is dubbed “infrastructure” and a “public” or City facility. Without reference to the board of aldermen City officials now propose to sign an agreement with the Maryland Stadium Authority to take responsibility for all the conference center’s operating expenses, including deficits - putting us taxpayers firmly ‘on the hook.’ The project is destructive because at the expense of taxpayers it favors one business family and underwrites its opening of a major hotel and several restaurants, bars and other facilities that will compete with businesses funded only with private money. This is corrupt crony capitalism and corporate welfare on the backs of the citizens. Shame on those who let this proceed.

Burgessdr

Yes siree, the Youngs have conspired with the city, county, state, the Governor, and maybe even Obama himself and the Nation to fleece the taxpayers of the City of Frederick. No wonder you are so fearful of the Youngs who wield such great and magical powers.

gary4books

[thumbup][thumbup]

Dwasserba

Gary gave thumbs up to Burgess, just to be clear.

b1sellers

Whether you are for this project or against it, like or hate Ron Young, he has done a lot of good for the City of Frederick. He was truly visionary - the parking decks would never have been there if it weren't for him - or would have come long after they did. Credit where credit is due.

MAVRICKinc7

SO, do we give a pass to the Young dynasty for all they have DONE for Frederick City and County for decades, even if TAINTED and being slowly disclosed from one done deal to the next?

You've been HERE for a long time.and should know what naive is, looks and sounds like on paper and the sounding boards edited by the FNP...for decades and part of the LIE being pensiled-in with FNP serving as editor in chief?

Dwasserba

He posts using his real name. It's informative and fearless in tone. He doesn't attack other "messengers" who comment here. This is class. Study it. Emulate it.

DickD

Sarcasm from a thief![thumbdown][thumbdown]

jill king

They were only stuck in committee because of "local courtesy" as the Holiday Inn lobbyist stated ad nauseam. It was supported by the entire delegation in2015, prior to campaign contributions and lobbying efforts by the County project to quash the City project. Good for the Capital budget writers for seeing through the D4 shenanigans.

sofanna

Totally agree! I was born and raised in Frederick. I've seen the flooding of downtown Frederick, so the creek project was a necessity ~ why, because all the building on Rt. 40 the once "Golden Mile" was built on land designated as flood plains. So, there again, no one considered the long term effect. Once again, this hotel/conference project is being shoved down our throats. There SHOULD BE laws against 'dirty deals', and there probably are. However, there's always someone in authority who will do everything possible to get what they want and end up costing the taxpayers when promises were made that it wouldn't. It's like, "you can keep your healthcare provider". Remember?

b1sellers

Off topic but you said "It's like, "you can keep your healthcare provider". Remember?" and yes I remember and I have been able to keep my provider as have a lot of others.

glenkrc

Was the promise made to all Americans...or just to you and "a lot of others"?

MAVRICKinc7

It's everything you have cited and MORE. The players remain the same and have for decades along with many OPERATIVES in the PRIVATE sector and closest to our elected officials who have only risen to the rank of puppet and pawn and as easily MANIPULATED as a herd of cattle. Isn't this just another example of the same corruption we have witnessed for decades and never gave it much attention for the sake of a LIE disguised as a common good that is as superfluous as the over use of TRANSPARENCY when there is none to be had?

KellyAlzan

Karen and Ron young have just seen their political careers come to an end. They will not be re-elected. Or elected for anything else; well, maybe HOA President

public-redux

Exactly! You've been right every step of the way.

KellyAlzan Mar 30, 2016 9:55pm
"Pre-authorizations for grant funding are essentially requests to the governor to include money in his proposed budget." I cant see the republican governor signing off on this.

BlueDawn666

He hasn't signed off on this..so Kelly is correct

jill king

Allowing it to pass is signing off.

KellyAlzan

No, its not, Jill. Please provide up with something from the General Assembly's website that states such

KellyAlzan

I was 100% correct. The governor DID NOT "sign off", just as I speculated.....

jill king

Perhaps the Governor didn't like the rest of the Capital budget money's destination. Frederick County and Frederick City benefited very little from their tax dollars.

Burgessdr

As the great wiseguy KellyAlzan said over and over and over, "It's not happening."

DickD

The money part is over, pay backs are hxxx.

jill king

Care to elaborate on your threat?

DickD

We'll be looking for some new politicians to replace Ron and Karen.

jthompson

History suggests that voting to allocate millions of scarce public funds for the private benefit of millionaires will do no political harm.

Dwasserba

They apparently believe risking their careers is worth this, or their "yes people" keep them insulated, or...? "No" people vote too...we're in 3A, but have only voted consistently for the last 35 years give or take. What would we know about anything to where our opinion matters.

MAVRICKinc7

That's the point; it doesn't matter and hasn't for the last 50 years.

pilotguy299

Either have the courage to sign it in to law, or the courage to veto the law. This not signing is the same as abstaining from a vote for no good reason.

DickD

He is being political, by not signing he can say he never approved.

MAVRICKinc7

That's the point. SO, who's running Maryland government other than its MAJORITY Democratic delegations; Senate and House?

jill king

Sort of like Afzali abstaining from the vote then voting for it in the Capital budget? All so that it doesn't ruin her business score when she attempts, but fails to become County Executive. Allowing it to go through without signing off is essentially acceptance, when the majority power of the GA would override his veto.

MAVRICKinc7

What then do we accomplish when our elected officials maintain CONSENT AGENDAS WITHOUT public input? Without a yea or nay their is no acceptance by silence. Otherwise we wouldn't have a 5th Amendment for self incrimination to exist.

cyntiast

The Holiday Inn is expanding with a large convention center venue near the FSK mall. Why the need for a downtown convention center at taxpayer expense?

DickD

Not a matter of need, it is political corruption, now we know why Blaine was so bad, got it from his father.

jill king

Economic development in the second largest municipality in Maryland. The Holiday Inn is not the same, for numerous reasons and was purchased at a fire sale (cheaply) after the RFP was awarded. FSK does nothing to promote economic development or smart growth infill.

MAVRICKinc7

Can you fill in the BLANKS and define/describe/detail what "numerous reasons" entails or are we expected to guess, like you are doing now? My crystal ball is currently out for repairs.

If the FSK does nothing to promote economic development or smart growth, what is downtown Frederick, Md. bringing to market as just another compulation of political strategies of UNJUST ENRICHMENT of the ELITE and the LIES they are willing to tell in hopes of being reelected and strategizing what the next PUBLIC DEBT will look like, and not holding out much hope WE will ever know what the DIRT and DETAILS are or include, other than more platitudes and self serving rhetoric

bosco

"About $44 million of that cost will be paid by the hotel’s developer, Plamondon Hospitality Partners. The rest would be a combination of city, county and state funding."

There you have it folks, in black and white. Corporate welfare for the Randall$ and the Plamondon$ at the taxpayer$ expense. The Young$ need to go.

BlueDawn666

I wonder what the Gov. was promised NOT to Veto? This is corruption at it's finest..

gary4books

Last week the Governor was the knight in shining armor. Now? He gets no respect.

MAVRICKinc7

What kind of RESPECT has he earned lately by not signing legislation intended solely to enrich the wealthy? We voted Blaine Young into office and look what we got back in return. Since you prefer wearing blinders, how much respect have you or DickD earned, against those who prefer to question and aspire to the truth rather than silly putty as a measure of what we get back from one day to the next from our mistakes, lack of oversite and naivete. As in business jargon, "what have you done for us lately?"

DickD

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