Frederick Mayor Randy McClement is revealing the fruits of months of labor Wednesday with the first public look at the city’s fiscal 2018 budget.

The aldermen are set to convene at 3 p.m. Wednesday for a workshop to talk about the numbers. And, not for lack of trying, but I have no information besides some very preliminary details discussed during a workshop in December and a schedule of public hearing dates leading up to the reveal of the final numbers in May.

The public hearing dates are as follows:

  • 7 p.m. – April 3, April 11, April 18, April 25, May 2, May 9;
  • 3 p.m. – May 10;
  • 7 p.m. – May 16 (if needed)

Patti Mullins, the city’s public information coordinator, confirmed via email last week when, I asked for a comment on the budget, that the mayor “does not discuss his budget before the presentation.”

City Budget Director Katie Barkdoll presented some proposed rate increases and other numbers in December to give people an idea of what the budget may look like. However, she was quick to point out at the time that they are not definitive.

The aldermen passed the current $137.3 million budget in May, which was a $3.28 million, or 2.44 percent, increase over fiscal 2016’s $134.1 million spending plan.

In the current budget, the aldermen allocated a total $286,500 to 13 nonprofit and outside agencies, including Downtown Frederick Partnership, Delaplaine Visual Arts Education Center, the Frederick business incubator, Flowers over Frederick, the Golden Mile Alliance, East Frederick Rising, the Frederick Arts Council, the Tourism Council of Frederick County, the Center for Research and Education in Science and Technology, the Maryland Ensemble Theatre, and the city’s Neighborhood Advisory Councils, among others.

First ‘revitalized’ blight committee meeting set

The latest version of the city’s ad-hoc blight committee is holding its first meeting in two weeks.

The new nine-member committee, made up of a cross section of residents and community and business leaders, will meet for the first time at 3 p.m. April 10 in the city’s Municipal Annex.

The committee is named the ad-hoc Property Revitalization Committee. The new name purposely takes the word “blight” out of the title, according to a release.

According to the release, the committee is a result of the work of the city’s ad-hoc Blighted and Vacant Property Committee, which formed in January 2016 and met through June to come up with ways to address blighted and problem properties and code violations within the city. The Property Revitalization Committee is now taking over to encourage the best property use and maintenance standards.

The committee is tasked with spending a year to address a list of objectives, after which members will decide whether to make the committee permanent.

The meetings of the Property Revitalization Committee are public. The news release said the first meeting will outline the committee’s purpose and objectives, set the meeting schedule and create a project list and timeline for the first year.

From alderman
to Easter Bunny

A familiar face will be inside the Easter Bunny costume at the Golden Mile Alliance’s annual Easter Egg Hunt.

Deb Reynolds, co-president of the Golden Mile Alliance, said Tuesday during the organization’s regular monthly meeting that Alderman Josh Bokee has “graciously” agreed to put on the Easter Bunny costume and entertain the children at the April 9 event.

Bokee, who showed up to the meeting later, said it will be his first mascot experience. He joked that he had always wanted to be the Penn State Nittany Lion but that he was always too short for that role.

The Easter Egg Hunt is set from 2 to 3:30 p.m. April 9 at Hillcrest Elementary School. The event is the fourth consecutive hunt the Golden Mile Alliance has hosted and is free to the community. According to the event flyer, activities, which include crafts, the bunny hop and crafts, are open to children ages 1 through 10. Attendees are encouraged to bring their cameras to take photos with the Easter Bunny.

Follow Mallory Panuska on Twitter: @MalloryPanuska.

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