Name: Tony Chmelik
Political party: Republican
Where you live: Ijamsville
Current occupation and employers (may also list up to two previous jobs you’ve held); if retired, list your last job and employer: self employed, general contractor/remodeler
Political experience (public offices held and when; as well as unsuccessful campaigns for office and which years; do not include political party positions): Lost in primary election for Frederick County Board of Education in 2008. Lost in general election for Board of Education in 2012. Won 2014 election for Frederick County Council District 2 seat.
- email: Cheskyincverizon.net
- website: TonyC4Frederick.com
- Facebook: Tony Chmelik Candidate for County Council at Large
1 – Why are you running for the County Council? (75 words max)
For eight years, the Democrats have increased our taxes and it is time we hold the line on property taxes. In addition, the county has hired in excess of 400 new employees over the past eight years and bloated the size of our local government.
2 – What is the most important issue in this race? How specifically would you address it? (100 words max)
Minimizing our out-of-control property tax increases by keeping the property tax rate at the constant yield for two years and seeking to cut all departments by 5% over that same period. Any savings would help our school system raise our starting teacher’s salary to a level equal to counties of our size.
3 – What experience (work, political or other) has prepared you to hold this position? (100 words max)
I am a past County Council member who represented District 2 from 2014 to 2018. As a former council member, I am prepared to hit the ground running. I have owned and operated a successful small business for the past 35 years.
4 – What is one major issue the current County Council has handled poorly? What would you have done differently? (100 words max)
They continued to operate as business as usual during the pandemic. They passed major pieces of legislation with little or no input from the public. They continued to work remotely for months when the rest of the county and private citizens were back in the office. I would have held off on major decisions during that time.
5 – What do you think of the county's goal of preserving 100,000 acres of farmland by 2040? (100 words max)
This has been one of the best things the county has done well. We are currently ahead of schedule, and the increase from 3% to 4% on the transfer tax was unnecessary. It is another example of the tax-and-spend mentality of the Democrats who have controlled the council for eight years.
6 – How well does the county do at attracting new businesses and significant employers? What should the county do? (100 words max)
The county has done a fair job of attracting new business. As the saying goes, if you are not growing, you’re dying. However, the efforts to grow our business tax base have been hampered by the no-growth policies of the last eight years. Why would the county encourage companies to move here if their employees are unable to live here?
7 – What do you think of the Livable Frederick Master Plan? How should the county grow in population and development? (100 words max)
I stated as a council member that the plan was a good idea as it was modeled, but cautioned that it could also reflect piecemeal zoning. The idea of regional planning is ideal, but as we have seen with the attempts at rezoning/downzoning 19,000 acres around the Sugarloaf Mountain area, the process needs to be more open and transparent, as it was obvious that the downzoning was heavily influenced by outside groups. I am an advocate for smart growth and infill projects and to expand growth where it has been planned for more than 50 years.
8 – Do you support a plan to widen interstates 270 and 495 and add tolls? Why or why not? (100 words max)
I support innovative ways to answer the problem of congestion on our highways. Toll roads have shown to help ease the congestion, but more importantly, I would work to have the state restore 100% of the highway user fund to the counties, so we can address our immediate needs in the county.
9 – How well is the county caring for a rapidly growing population of older residents? How would you address future needs? (100 words max)
The county, like the state, has not done well helping seniors retire here. That is why I will be proposing a 10% cut to seniors 65 and older on their principal residence in the county that will be held constant as long as they live there.
10 – Has the county spent its money wisely? Give specific examples. (100 words max)
With the exception of increasing our fire, rescue, safety, and the sheriff’s personnel over the past eight years, I've seen no added benefits with hundreds of employees added to our local government. Why has the county executive’s office increased its staff threefold or more in eight years? Why was a FOIA request not responded to when asked the exact number of employees? Why will the county not say how much money has been spent on security for the executive and some council members? Why will the budget office not supply actual accounting details to the council when asked?