young giangrande

Republican Craig Giangrande, left, and Democrat incumbent Ron Young.

The proposed downtown Frederick hotel and conference center has been years in the making, and historically, local senators and delegates have stayed true to party lines when it comes to supporting use of public money for development.

While city and county officials from both parties have voted to provide local funds for the project, Republicans representing Frederick County in the General Assembly have opposed state funding plans and Democrats have voted in favor of them. As it stands, the candidates running for the Senate in District 3 are no exception.

Republican Craig Giangrande, Sen. Ron Young’s challenger, is a Frederick businessman, and said via email in response to a question about the project that he generally supports it.

“As a resident and businessman of Frederick City, I encourage the developer and the city to work under current rules of zoning, historical review, traffic review, building review, and site plan approval to make this happen. Just like any other commercial undertaking,” he said.

That comes with a catch, however.

“Absent clear, convincing evidence of public benefit, I don’t support public funds being used for private enterprise,” he said. “In this case I don’t see such evidence, so I would not support the state providing millions of dollars to the deal.”

Young, however, has consistently voted in favor of providing state funds for the project — along with his fellow Democratic representatives in Annapolis — and said via email that he fears for the project if he is not returned to office.

“I believe the project as presently proposed, will definitely be threatened if I am not re-elected,” he said. “With two republicans from Frederick County in the Senate opposing the project it will have no chance of passing because of local courtesy. Senator [Mike] Hough and my opponent have indicated their support for whatever Governor [Larry] Hogan wants.”

Both Hough and Hogan are Republicans.

Young added that the project has a pledge from leadership that members of the Legislature will find money for infrastructure for the city to support the hotel and other projects in the area, but that the governor still opposes the project, which is concerning to him.

“I will point out once more that the resulting economic development in the area will more than pay the State back from the new taxes generated,” Young said. “It further appears that the Governor will continue to oppose the project. I cannot ensure anything other than we shall continue to try to move the project forward despite the Governor’s opposition. The governor claims he supports economic development yet he goes against a project that has been part of a state, county, and city plan for decades.”

Giangrande added that he did not support raising the county’s hotel tax from 3 percent to 5 percent, a move local officials made in August 2016.

“Initial proposals of this increase had this tax revenue, even from competing hotels, go toward servicing the downtown hotel and conference center,” Giangrande said. “When that was rejected, a back up tax plan for 2 [percent] was passed. Now, most of this money will go toward tourism efforts which I believe were already well appropriated.”

He also said he does not support the plan to create a tax-increment financing, or TIF bond, in the city to help pay for the project. This program allows a local government to use the increase in property tax receipts from new development to pay for public improvements that promote economic development, according to a state website.

“TIFs should be used sparingly, if at all. Under a TIF, for an extended period, the city would forgo taxes generated by the improvements done to this parcel, citing that it was sitting vacant and providing little taxes to the town anyway,” he said. “This pre-supposes that this particular parcel has little marketable real estate value moving forward, which is not the case at all. The completion of the Carroll Creek project immediately adjacent has elevated that parcel to prime real estate. All this in a city with a downtown commercial and restaurant scene which is thriving.”

Senators serve four-year terms and earn $50,330 annually. Senate District 3 covers the city of Frederick, Adamstown, Buckeystown and Jefferson. Early voting for the election begins Thursday, and Election Day is Nov. 6.

Follow Mallory Panuska on Twitter: @MalloryPanuska.

(59) comments

LeonardKeepers

i am still not convinced that a hotel and convention center needs to be built in downtown Frederick.so much money has been dumped in the Carroll creek project to have every street and sidewalk replaced,resurfaced in the city. i feel Ron young's time in Annapolis has come and gone.Ron Young and Karen Lewis Young,time for the sun to set.

timothygaydos

If a private business was viable a private company would have done it by now instead of getting tax payers $$$ to do it. Young is a typical tax and spend liberal and does like spending others $$$$.

DickD

He sounds more like a greedy Republican to me Tim. Taking our tax dollars for a private enterprise. . Like his son, Blaine who is a Republican.

pappyjoe

Gary your 2:16 post. I would be gained to approve using County / City tax payers money on a condition of a clause in the settlement agreement. Condition is that once a year taxpayers have a right to spend 1 night at the Hotel expense for interest of our investment. Regardless if it is even predicted to be a packed house by tax payers calling to reserve a room priority goes first to the tax payers.

gary4books

Your investment? Spend a lot of time in hotels? The money comes from taxes on hotel use.

mrnatural1

Regarding TIFs:

TIFs are not necessary for Frederick and surrounding communities.

Their "opportunity costs" are enormous.

TIFs tilt the playing field, are unfair to business, and cause imbalance in the free market.

There's no evidence that Frederick's economy and development won't continue to expand.

TIFs (and other shifts of taxpayers' money to for-profit enterprises) don't work.

Business comes to an area for other reasons than TIFs.

Transferring taxpayers' money to for-profit ventures in the name of "free private enterprise" carries so much hypocrisy.

If free private enterprise can't fund a project with private sector money, that just might be a sign that it's not a very good place to be putting the public's money either.

How can one possibly judge with accuracy whether, if the TIF were not available, the project would not go ahead?

The TIF-granters' record ain't great.

Will we lose some businesses if we don't offer TIFs? Maybe.


shiftless88

I would love to see a report on the "Technology Park" TIF.

DennisD

I have traveled on sales calls throughout the United States. Standard tax rates are 6% and higher up to 11% in places.

petersamuel

We should take pride in a lower hotel tax rate. And take advantage of it to get more business, not squander the advantage on behalf of a crooked boondoggle.

pappyjoe

The Younger gang had a saying when toasting! I for I and I for all Youngers only[smile]

elymus43

The voters should vote RON YOUNG out and maybe the hotel/convention center will go too. Do not vote for Karen Young or Carol Krimm either.

AnotherFineMess

If the hotel does go in I expect within a few years the politicians will be hawking for a casino to help save a floundering conference center and lackluster occupancy of the overpriced hotel.

My guess is the players are relying on poor market performance to justify a casino after all the dust settles.

Business Owner

I agree AnotherFineMess. Just look at Rocky Gap.

Business Owner

Craig has spent his career spending money he has earned. Ron has spent his career spending money others have earned. Significant resources have already been spent on Carroll Creek -- do we need to drop another $15MM? Also, if "Ron the Visionary" were so brilliant why weren't these infrastructure needs put into the original plan?

DennisD

The money spent on Carroll Creek kept Frederick from suffering the flooding that wiped out Ellicott City this summer. The floodwater from the entire western portion of the county Was held in Baker park and allowed to them flow down Carroll Creek and through the drainage tunnels underneath Carroll Creek.

sofanna

If all the building had not been done in the "flood plain" on Route 40, "the golden mile", Frederick wouldn't be flooded. Frederick County MUST be very careful regarding all future development!

Burgessdr

Business owner. How ignorant. Ron spent his prime earning years 50-70, or 20 years, not as an elected official, spending money he earned. Also ignorant, pla s for a hotel conference center have been the Carroll Creek plan for decades.

DickD

Giving tax money to a private company and taxing competition is never going to be accepted by the vast majority of us, Ron. You should have given it up a long time ago.

AnotherFineMess

“If the downtown hotel did not need some help, we would already have one “?... Economics 101 says if a downtown hotel was going to be profitable we would already have one!

No hotel chain in the last 20 years has shown any serious interest in building g a downtown hotel here because they know the market and demand is not here and would never support it. If you read some of the FNP articles over the last few years you’ll find the disturbing comment that it somehow needs to be made profitable! Using public money does not make it profitable.

Plamadon was not chomp’n at the bit to build here, the City Of Frederick, hoping to keep up with the Jones’s, cajoled and sweet talked Plamadon to build here.

The Conference center? A guaranteed loser. You can’t take a train or fly here and Frederick does not have anything to draw people here. And for anyone that does attempt to attend a conference they’ll likely not find a convenient place to park in the woefully undersized parking accommodations.

Neither candidate will get my vote. Both are mindless clowns.

awteam2000

The Conference Center will be 24,000 square feet of meeting space, including two ballrooms intended to accommodate small to mid-size meetings groups. Not the Verizon Center.

AnotherFineMess

The conference center as currently envisioned can host up to 700 attendees at a time. For a hotel and conference center with only 160 parking spaces this might present a problem. Valet parking does not solve this dilemma, it only lessens the pain for hotel guests that find their spaces occupied by the public of conference attendees that are boozing it up down down after the meeting.

It’s a guaranteed loser!

rbtdt5

Do you even live in District 3?

KellyAlzan

People that live in Cumberland and Leonardtown should have some say in this, and should be furious as well,’it’s ‘their ‘money,’too

rbtdt5

And they can, no one is stopping anyone from saying their peace Kelly. I just want to clarify when someone say "neither are getting my vote" is it because they are both clowns or is it because they aren't in your voting district?

gary4books

Profits? Sell "Earth Shoes" if you want profits. This is to help local business and welcome visitors who have just finished a meal and want a nice place to stay over night. Not to drive a ways when some have had a few drinks. This is a service project and may cost a bit to get started.

m21701m

Its time for bathroom bill Ron to go... He has been sent to Annapolis and he screws the taxpayers of Frederick with his votes. Maryland senators like Ron voted for a massive gas tax increase and justified it by "we have the lowest gas tax in the area".. instead of bragging that they aren't sticking it to the taxpayers, they decided to stick it to the taxpayers.

mrnatural1

m21701m :

No one likes taxes, but roads must be paid for somehow.

The average fuel tax (state & federal) across the US is about $0.50 per gallon. That's just 2 cents per mile for the typical ~25 mpg car.

Even if the tax in MD were $1 per gallon, 4 cents per mile is peanuts compared to the TOLLS that some elitists support. Tolls in our area can be as high as $4.40 per mile!

My wife and I travel all around the country and, relatively speaking, MD has some of the best roads. We are getting something for our money.

sofanna

If the O'Malley administration had not allowed taxpayer money to be "borrowed" from the Roads budget and not returned the funds, we wouldn't be in this mess!!!!! Borrow means you pay back!

Titanman123

Ron young appears to be admiring that Hogan will get re-elected. Guess so much for Dem unity!

shiftless88

It is pretty clear that will happen. I appreciate his honesty

stevemckay

If I could vote for Craig - I would!

KellyAlzan

What can’t you?

stevemckay

Not in his district

Burgessdr

Being a big fan of Giagrande says that you support the vile mailers such as the totally bizzare one that claims the Young's have sponsored legislation to create "heroin dens" and the totally dumb one that the Young's get reimbursed for $60 dinners when the per diem rate for dinner is $25. You probably also support Afzali's deplorable mailers.

des21

Or, alternatively, that you oppose using public funds for private enterprises. How much do you have invested in that project Don?

Burgessdr

Des. $500,000+ in 2 downtown Frederick properties. And you?

KellyAlzan

Pretty sure burgess’s name onnthe md land records search came back to just one property. And it had a recent deed of trust showing with a hefty mortgage.....

des21

You have 500k invested in the hotel Don? That explains a lot! Thanks!

des21

So Dick (and all others who have vociferously opposed public monies for the downtown hotel) is Craig your man? Here's your chance to let principles trump partisanship! Do it!

DickD

I hate to say so, Dave, but I am inclined to say yes.

DickD

The good news is I don't have to make that decision. Mine is between Hough and Douglas. I will be voting for Douglas, that was an easy decision.

des21

And i will nullify your vote. Que sera sera...…….

DickD

Dave, you really think this is one on one? My wife will be voting too! And my kids, your current ones are too young to vote and the older girl is in New York, right?

rbtdt5

Dang DickD, stalk much?

des21

Me, wife 23 year old now D2 res! Ha!

gary4books

[thumbup][thumbup] DickD

awteam2000

Des21, do you live in district 3? Do you even know?

des21

Rb said that, not me. I cannot vote for Craig but I darn will be on the hook for that hotel fiasco. I wish only those in their district had to pay for it...……...

gabrielshorn2013

Des, yes for Giangrande, and still a big NO on public money for the downtown hotel.

pappyjoe

Like fafher like son!!

Comment deleted.
gary4books

So what?

gary4books

If the downtown hotel did not need some help, we would already have one. Just as the one on Byte Drive, got a boost from a sixty two million dollar interchange to give it much more traffic. Some pumps need to be primed to produce.

KellyAlzan

Where is it proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that “it needs help”?

It’s been proven by samual that the city of Frederick never gave an opportunity to show otherwise.

It’s been proven by samual that the city strategically steered the project to to Plamandoons brothers.

How does a bright individual overlook these facts?

gary4books

Some can sort out opinions from facts.

Business Owner

The Byte Drive site wasn't selected by elected officials to be a hotel site -- a wide variety of uses for this site are financially feasible: retail, office, multifamily, hotel. The bridge wasn't constructed in order for that site to have a hotel, it was part of a long established plan to provide much needed vehicle access across the north end of town. Big difference with what has been pushed for downtown.

gary4books

If we can spend money to help one part of town, why not downtown?
Carroll Creek is the major reason to want a hotel there.
Money already spent.

Business Owner

Hotel investors that I've met throughout the state are laughing at the downtown hotel project. I love this community but it isn't vacation, business or conference mecca. Demand drivers?

KellyAlzan

This is the first election that I will NOT be voting for young, and it’s solely because of his support of using state dollars for this hotel. Young even pulled some backroom manuavers to get it as far as it is; showing us that Young has forgotten whom he works for.

I will be voting for Craig. And I urge everyone else to vote for Craig too.

gary4books

Good for you. Vote!

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