Frederick County Councilman Kirby Delauter said he’s no longer pursuing a school leasing proposal he pitched at a June meeting in Winchester Hall. Also, he’s no longer meeting with businesses that would have played a role in the public-private partnership.

Delauter announced the decision in a press release Friday afternoon, which stated that he was dissolving a task force studying leasing schools — but not a similar group created by County Executive Jan Gardner.

Delauter’s release said he was ending the “School Build Lease Buy-Back Task Force,” a group formed by County Executive Jan Gardner in March and which included Delauter and Councilman Tony Chmelik as co-chairmen. The task force also includes county and Frederick County Public Schools employees, developers and Delegate Carol Krimm, D-District 3A.

However, in a later interview, Delauter said he actually is dissolving a second work group that he created, not Gardner’s group.

Gardner said she intends for her appointed task force to continue its work.

Delauter said he was not interested in pursuing that task force’s work after Gardner indicated she would not support the plan he put forward in June.

Delauter said a leasing plan would allow the county to build four new elementary schools at the same time, while paying off leases on two of the facilities for 20 years. At the June meeting, an initial leasing arrangement to build one hypothetical $41 million elementary school would end up costing more than $102.4 million in rent payments over 30 years.

But even after Delauter recast the plan to include a 20-year lease with other cost-saving measures, Gardner said the leasing proposal costs too much money for her to recommend moving forward.

The second leasing proposal from Delauter still would cost about $50 million more for the package of four schools than traditional funding, Gardner said.

“I’m not going to support projects that have taxpayers spend millions of dollars more,” she said Friday.

But Delauter stood by the proposal in a phone interview Friday.

He said he worked with county staff and his partners to craft a plan that came “within $20 million” of traditional funding. He said the county’s budget could support the lease payments in exchange for getting schools built faster.

“There was a disagreement on the finances and costs associated with the possibility of privately funded schools,” Delauter wrote in Friday’s news release. “We have been dealing with concerns for school construction for the past 20 years. I was diligently seeking ways to build schools in the future with the least amount of impact on the Frederick County taxpayers. It has become clear to me that the County Executive is stuck in yesterday’s thinking where you always turn to the taxpayers to pay for everything. I am truly sorry to the taxpayers that we were not able to work to find new solutions to an old problem.”

Delauter said the group he was dissolving included himself and the developer, the builder and the businessman who crafted the four-school lease plan.

Delauter said he wasn’t sure what value Gardner’s task force still had.

“The task force is not going to be able to come up with anything new,” he said.

Gardner said there’s still work to be done, particularly to look beyond one specific plan for leasing schools in the county.

“I want the task force to continue. I want them to look broadly at the topic,” she said, adding that she hoped the task force would create a final report before a state commission on school construction meets in October. “I think there’s still work to be done. So I’m going to take steps to make sure that the work continues.”

Over the phone, Delauter said he believed the payments were appropriate for schools, especially since Gardner supported the county’s ownership of the Citizens Care and Rehabilitation Center and Montevue Assisted Living.

Delauter and the former Board of County Commissioners sought to privatize the homes, saying they required about $5 million of taxpayer money a year to stay afloat. Gardner introduced a plan in May to take over operations of the homes, under an agreement she says would guarantee a county profit.

Delauter has said he’s seriously considering running against Gardner for the county executive spot in 2018.

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.

(45) comments

threecents

Kirby is a good example of what can happen when someone's ego is much bigger than his intelligence and achievements. Trump is another.

b1sellers

You are right three!

DickD

Kirby couldn't make his June lease work, which most likely favored him one way or another. So, he is no longer interested, which should not be a surprise to anyone. Was he going to get work from it or were the developers going to throw other work his way? Somehow, Kirby was going to benefit, now he is ticked and will not do anything to help. Standard for Kirby, who has low standards.

stevemckay

You have to know that was part of Kirby's angle. If the schools were built by private companies and then leased to the County, there would be no restrictions on Kirby bidding the work. He would have been laughing his way to the bank while taxpayers paid the inflated "Kirby premium" for the schools.

AstuteBusinessWoman

Spot on... Its so easy to figure him out... 4 school building site$ to excavate = 4 good sized jobs for a small business. Additionally, I have to wonder which developer buddy and "businessman", he was negotiating with on the deal, which surely woyulsdve been a -win-win-win-lose, with our county finances being the losing recipient of such a " great plan"

BlueDawn666

Never thought of that Dick as to why he scrapped the idea, but yeah way back when this started we all could see the dollars that would be flowing into his back pocket, but something changed that so now of course Kirby no longer interested...oh snap and he thought he was being so smart...LOL Poor Kirby....wonder what scheme he will come up with next?

BstD59

Bingo! You hit the nail on the head, Dick. Kirby wouldn't have dropped his plan if he thought he would make money out of it.

b1sellers

Dick, you got it right.

public-redux

Kirby's political strategery was pretty awful on this one. He should have continued his task force, assembled a majority of the council to support a bill, let Jan veto it, and THEN complain about Jan getting in the way of progress. Instead, Kirby runs the risk of people erroneously concluding that he couldn't even get the support of a council majority and is criticizing Jan to divert attention from that falsehood.

jerseygrl42

$102 Million for a $40 million school...you call that progress....and as for running again, waste of time, we had more than enough of that bunch last go-round and we will pay for their misdeeds for many years to come

BlueDawn666

Kirby has never struck me as overly intelligent.

public-redux

No. And since he played this one so badly, you have to wonder as well about the wit of the people he listens to.

bmclearen

At least he is intelligent to know that he isn't.

DickD

Are you saying it is smart to know when you are stupid?

KellyAlzan

Keep in mind Kirbie was re-elected when everyone thought for sure he would not be. If you see what I'm saying....

BlueDawn666

District 5 is the Thurmont area...I am thinking his base has wised up a tad after these two years..but we will see I guess. But I highly doubt Kirby will run for CE, he has way too many skeletons in his closet...but if he is okay with them coming out....

public-redux

Who is this "everyone" you speak of?

Doritos

the election was rigged ???

b1sellers

[thumbup]

cldeboin

The people have spoken !!

FrederickFan

Kirby "Govern Like a Taxpayer" wants the taxpayers to pay $50 million MORE for these schools. This only makes sense to him. Instead of trying to save taxpayers money, Kirby wants taxpayers to pay more. This is a great example of Delauter proposing a huge waste of taxpayer money.

b1sellers

Of course it makes sense to him - he was probably gong to profit. He doesn't care about his constituents.

stevemckay

This article conjures up to possibilities about Kirby. Either (1) he really doesn't understand that his plan will cost MORE for taxpayers and that is a BAD option, or (2) he completely understands that his proposal is too expensive but somehow thinks that everyone else will miss that fine point (as if), allowing him to continue his baseless and incessant attacks on Jan. Could be a bit of both.

I was always skeptical that a leasing arrangement would be economically feasible (as most people probably were), but I thought it worthwhile to investigate. Now we know that it is CLEARLY infeasible so let it go, admit that it isn't a good idea and find something else to yell about.

BlueDawn666

Exactly whenever you see-public-private partnership-run like the wind because Public-private partnerships end up usually screwing over the taxpayers' big time. I guess our idea of economically feasible and Kirby's idea of economically feasible are two different things. Remember his campaign slogan Govern Like a Tax Payer? I always wondered what tax payer he was governing for because he wasn't governing how this tax payer would have. I wonder what his new slogan will be...Govern Like a Toddler....would be my suggestion.

b1sellers

The difference being WHO it is economically feasible for. And I love that "Govern like a Toddler". Fits Kirbie to a T!

armillary


Our county can borrow for less
a fact Kirby cannot confess
his proposal fell flat
but he went to bat
for cronies he wants to impress.

DeltaOne

Another good decision by Jan Gardner!

According to the FNP on June 16, a traditional cost for one school is $41 million. Delauter's plan would balloon that cost to $102 million. Now, with "other cost-saving measures" Delauter's plan will cost $50 million more for four schools. Finally Delauter says his plan would be $20 million more than a traditional financing arrangement.

Only $20 million more from someone who says he's looking out for the taxpayer! No thanks, Delauter. It's Jan Gardner that is looking out for the taxpayer.

Nicki

[thumbup] delta!

BstD59

"I was diligently seeking ways to build schools in the future with the least amount of impact on the Frederick County taxpayers. It has become clear to me that the County Executive is stuck in yesterday’s thinking where you always turn to the taxpayers to pay for everything." As usual Delauter makes little sense. He blames the CE for '...thinking where you always turn to the taxpayers to pay for everything'....well, Kirby, who do you think would pay that massive leasing bill? Not only would the taxpayers be stuck paying for it, it would cost far more than it would using a traditional method. So, how is that saving the taxpayers? Kirby, Kirby, Kirby, I really must wonder about you and your thought process sometimes.

Nicki

[thumbup] good point, bst!

KellyAlzan

Notice Kirbie has been more diplomatic lately.

When he wins the CE seat he's gonna be spending his first (32) months undoing everything Jan undid.

If J&J takes the county to court over trash hauling dispute, it's a case that J&J stands a strong chance of prevailing; it will make Kirbie shine bright.

jthompson

Assuming Jan will seek re-election, she should offer to pay Kirby's filing fee.

Any judicial review of the trash matter will be narrow. The court will not consider the wisdom or desirability of the county's regulations on out-of-county trash. It will only review whether the county's application of its regulations to the facts of the J&J situation are reasonable. The court will give some deference to the County's interpretation of its own regulations. Since there is unlikely to be a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow (a six figure award of damages against the County), J&J will have difficulty retaining legal counsel to take on the matter without paying a substantial retainer up front. J&J will probably not be able to recover its attorney fees and litigation expenses even if it prevails. Hence, the costs of winning may outweigh the benefits of winning. Ordinarily, it is easier and cheaper to legislate than to litigate. Under the circumstances it is more efficient for Kirby to attempt to legislate a solution than for J&J to attempt to litigate one. Since Kirby has thus far declined to propose a legislative solution, it is fair to wonder whether he really wants a solution.

stevemckay

Nice summation. As for the last point, I don't wonder at all. I think the answer is pretty clear.

DickD

Not only a good analysis, but nicely phrased. Thank you.

KellyAlzan

J&J is a successful company (financially). I don't see attorney fees being an issue

DickD

And you run a business and don't mind wasting time and money on a lost cause? Of course you can, but that is not smart business and believe me, this will be a lost cause for them.

Nicki

Kelly -- I truly doubt if his participation in a lawsuit against the county-- win or lose-- would make him "shine bright". It should, however, get him kicked off the council.
Rather than getting busy with legislation to clarify wording, he spends his time finding ways to be divisive. We don't need his kind of leadership.

DeltaOne

Shine bright? That's funny! I'm looking for Delauter and Shreve to shine bright as they ride off in to the sunset and leave the taxpayers of Frederick County alone.

b1sellers

[thumbup] Me too Delta!

stevemckay

And when he loses the CE seat, he will also have forfeited his Council seat (can't run for both!), and then maybe we can have some adult representation from District 5.

BlueDawn666

Yeah I keep thinking if we had elected Mark Long to the council none of this would be happening..we would be having smooth sailing.

DickD

You are right![thumbup]

AstuteBusinessWoman

Agree

b1sellers

I voted for Mark - he would have been a good representative. Another case of people looking at the letter after the name rather than looking at the candidate themselves.

duffy5x

Wow. It's funny because you actually believe the nonsense that you write.

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