DG Hotel Presser 1 (copy)

Peter Plamondon Jr., co-president of Plamondon Hospitality Partners, speaks in April at a celebratory event held at 200 E. Patrick St., the site of the proposed downtown Frederick hotel and conference center.

The Frederick County hotel tax was increased from 3 percent to 5 percent on Tuesday, but not before a final round of County Council arguments.

The council’s 4-3 vote brings to an end months of deliberation over the tax rate.

Some Republican officials in the county have opposed the increase. The Republican majority in the county’s General Assembly delegation supported a bill that would have capped the tax rate at 3 percent.

But Democrats and other officials, including Frederick’s Republican mayor, Randy McClement, have said the increase will help boost tourism in the county.

Hotel rental taxes are collected by Frederick County. About 97 percent of the revenue is passed through to the Tourism Council of Frederick County.

At issue in the proposals for an increase is a plan by the tourism council to divert a portion of that revenue to a downtown hotel incentive program. That program would allow a proposed downtown Frederick hotel and conference center to receive back up to 85 percent of the hotel rental tax it pays in.

That stipulation is included in a memorandum of understanding signed by County Executive Jan Gardner (D) and Dave Ziedelis, president of the tourism council. The MOU takes effect with the council’s vote to increase the tax.

The council was split by party line on the issue. Republicans Tony Chmelik, Kirby Delauter and Billy Shreve voted against the increase. Democrats M.C. Keegan-Ayer, Jessica Fitzwater and Jerry Donald, along with now-unaffiliated Council President Bud Otis, voted in favor.

Chmelik said he opposed the increase for a number of reasons. One was that the increase had taken on the feel of “targeted legislation” since the proposed downtown hotel and conference center owner, Plamondon Hospitality Partners, would get a financial benefit through the MOU, Chmelik said.

Chmelik said he believed that the money could come from other sources, including policy changes at the city government level.

“Why is this council going to carry the water for the city of Frederick? Make it a special taxing district, mayor,” Chmelik said in comments directed to McClement.

Donald said he took a long time to consider the tax increase before voting to support it. After hearing about increased tourism funding for Frederick County’s smaller towns that will also come from the higher tax rate, Donald said he was convinced the revenue is a good thing for the county.

Zoning notices get unanimous approval

The council voted 7-0 to approve a bill from Donald that will increase notices for zoning changes in the county.

The bill requires that an entity that requests a zoning change — the county or the property owner — post signs along major public roads before Planning Commission and County Council hearings.

The bill also requires that the county’s Division of Planning and Permitting mail letters to adjoining properties before hearings about the potential change.

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.

(67) comments

elymus43

Mr. Thompson should run the county executive position in the next election. He proved himself as county commissioner.

KellyAlzan

John has been very active in the FNP comments lately. It has crossed my mind that perhaps John is considering at run for CE, or council?

If so, he has my support and id even donate money to his campaign.

BlueDawn666

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]......ME TOO.

armillary

But Kirby's been counting on you for two weeks now. Flip flopper.

Jane and Ed

This isn't about Dems Vs Repubs... I am a Dem and know plenty of others who do not support this CE using her executive power to give Tourism the power to allocate up to 85% of the 5% that Plamondon's Downtown hotel Collects to pay down it's debt. The main difficulty we see with that provision is that it is discriminatory. All other hotels pay into the Toursim pot the same. But, as we understand it, the plan behind the provision was so that up to 85% of the 5% charged by one Downtown hotel will pay back their own debt. There is an argument that Downtown hotel Conference center debt is " infrastructure", and that's public debt. That is an on going debate. But Plamondon HP will privately own both the hotel and conference centers and the money used to build both are not subject to any Prevailing Wage regulations. They hold ownership of the entire project while taxpayers from city, county and State are being milked to support it. And now that the room tax rate is raised, even out of state visitors will be donating to the corporate welfare checks Frederick Government keeps writing to one developer. Marriott doesn't need our money and more than Plamondon does. Let them pay for it with their own financing. The CE just gave the power to decide what to do with that 85% of 5% from the Downtown Hotel to the Toursim Council who are not an elected body and are therefore not subject to public scrutiny. This sets a very dangerous two tiered tax system...one for the "haves" and the other for the "have nots".

DickD

I too am a Democrat and I don't like it one bit![thumbup]

MAVRICKinc7

It doesn't matter whether you belong to one political party or another.

This is about MONEY, making MONEY and our elected leadership, City and County who have strategically planned a double tax method of paying off the Randall Family and Plamondon Partner's financial interest in the proposed Frederick hotel and conference center.

Why don't we ask what Ron and Karen Young's INVESTMENT in this project and taxing strategy are all about ? 85% of a 5% hike in can turn into a lot of money and we citizens really have reason to believe this money will ever become part of our local tourist trade committee. Where does the 15% left over going? Our General Fund?

This project continues to become more expensive as each day goes by.

Look at how Development and Construction interest in Frederick and Frederick County have manipulated the price of construction USING the term ESTIMATE and what is now being called a BID.which is now 40% HIGHER than the ESTIMATE provided initially by Frederick, Frederick County and their development and construction partners who are once again leading our tax dollars and citizen population around by the nose.

More than anything else I prefer something as simple as TRUST in our elected leaders, but from all appearances we're back to the same kind of corruption we've had to deal with for years and watch it strategically replace what we once thought of as TRUST.

Ask yourself. Who should we trust and why can't we trust governments, as with this article which is more about public confusion than necessary DETAILS to make an INFORMED DECISION at our next scheduled PUBLIC HEARING?

AstuteBusinessWoman

[thumbup] Big mistake Jan!

pappyjoe

The envelopes keep getting bigger. Guarantee democrats vote for McClements and Gardner when reelection comes around and Randy didn`t have his pop bottle glasses on when reading the fine print. The question now is: who got the bigger envelope from Plamondon Hospitality Partners or Ohhhhhhh!!! maybe they are all partners now :)

MAVRICKinc7

AGAIN who should WE TRUST?

KellyAlzan

NOT Jan

armillary

Ron Young got Frederick to where it is today. I trust Ron. He'll always have my vote. I trust Jan too. She'll always have my vote as well.

But Kelly, you go with Kirby. Good choice for you.

rbtdt5

Well, I guess we know who owns the majority of counsel and our CE. Just follow the money people and it will tell all.

BlueDawn666

If Tony understands this: Chmelik said he opposed the increase for a number of reasons. One was that the increase had taken on the feel of “targeted legislation” since the proposed downtown hotel and conference center owner, Plamondon Hospitality Partners, would get a financial benefit through the MOU, Chmelik said.

You know the 4 that vote for the tax increase did also, my question to them is WHY???? Why did you just give a company that rakes in 20 million dollars a year in revenue corporate welfare, why are you helping them run a business, why did you give their business a tax break??? What were you promised to vote this way?

This vote smacks of corruption...will you all be getting a little something from the Plamondon's in the way of campaign contributions, or were you promised some free stays at the hotel?

gary4books

We ought to collect the same taxes as our neighbors. What we do with the money is another story. However, if we can help the small businesses in Frederick, I am all for it. There is no reason to suspect wrong doing if others agree. Just sound support for local business. In fact it is rude to mention free hotel stays without proof or even a logical quid pro quid.

FrederickFan

Well said. [thumbup]

shiftless88

I haven't seen any analysis that these funds will support small businesses in Frederick more than other, perhaps more efficient, uses of the funds.

gary4books

Some things are quite obvious without detailed financial analysis. I would think that people who come to Frederik as a day trip to eat at Volt or any of the other fine places or to try the craft beers would want a place to seep over before they drive hoe, especially after a few beers. That is just common sense. And I follows if we have some places to visit and people like to shop that over night person may come back to stay a few days. That is a logical extension. But we will know soon enough how many local businesses benefit from a hotel down town. Not at the mall or not at Harper's Ferry. But right here in Frederick. And that is my analysis.

shiftless88

I was wandering along the creek downtown this weekend and the contrast between what the public funded there, a wide-ranging and impactful public works project, versus what is being asked to be funded here, a narrow tax incentive and subsidy for an individual business, really struck me. It's trickle-down economics writ small; and we all know that in reality the people at the top win with that scenario.

ReadPhred

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

MAVRICKinc7

What our elected officials do with the extra tax money IS another story. So why throw whitewash all over it? This latest tact that is being taken by elected governance is all about MONEY and closer to the elements of EXTORTION than quid pro quo. Just because you prefer not to look doesn't mean we will refrain from asking hard questions, whether considered rude or not.

This is not about polite conversation. It's about MONEY and BUSINESS DEALINGS the public knows next to NOTHING about. It's a sales pitch that can't be described to the public, because to do so, elected government would be in fear of being found out. Didn't we have reason enough to question Blaine Young, Paul Smith, Shreve, and Delauter and look where that got us; self serving affdavits, not under oath and no where else to go except to the ballot box.

Where I come from you are regarded as a COMPANY MAN with YES written across your forehead. nothing wrong with that other than the fact you are more about DISTRACTIONS from the sub-context and small print and just reciting WORDS that sound good on the surface but have nothing to do what is being disguised by the some of the best liars even you could ever imagine. I prefer skepticism when the issues at hand speak to the LIE, much like what is being translated here. It's OK to top sheet what's being presented here, but naive to believe FAITH alone s all that counts AFTER SIGNING ON THE BOTTOM LINE.

FrederickFan

Your boy Tony Chmelik also supports the Monrovia Town Center in his District. That project will overwhelm an already overcrowded Rt. 75 that the State of Maryland DOT said will cost $500,000,000 to upgrade and there is absolutely no money anywhere for that. It will overwhelm local schools and there aren't enough taxes or impact fees to pay for that. The residential zoning, first approved by Chmelik's patron, Blaine Young, is in the middle of nowhere in an agricultural area. Chmelik seems to have no problem spending money that ain't there.

I wonder if Chmelik's real problem with this project seems to be a lack of support for Chmelik's next political campaign, something not lacking with regard to the Monrovia Town Center.

BlueDawn666

I believe that is what Mr. Thompson and I just said...Plamondon's have not padded Chmelik's pocket...had they padded his pockets the vote would have been 5-2..but see the Plamondon's are smart business people and realized whose pockets they needed to pad to get a 4-3 vote, that was all they needed, why waste money on votes you don't need?

rbtdt5

Exactly, payoff Jan and she can have her 4 lap dogs vote however she tells them.

MAVRICKinc7

What is Chmelik's FEELING aganist this taxation proposal worth on the open market? Is this as close as Chmelik can get to detailing what's wrong with this proposal and inventive tax strategy that only benefits those who put this hotel, conference center deal down the public's throats from day one?

What does the term TRANSPARENT" really mean, or is it just another WORD to justify more corruption in the Frederick, Maryland REGION?

FrederickFan

I applaud the decision by the Frederick County Council to raise tax rates from 3% to 5% on visitors to Frederick County. This will help raise money to support Frederick County Tourism which even today brings in an estimated $1,000,000 in outside spending to Frederick County businesses.

As I read the bill, a portion of the funds from the incremental revenue generated by the Downtown Hotel project will go to PUBLIC infrastructure, meaning that instead of me, the local Frederick County taxpayer paying, some portion of future public infrastructure will be paid instead by visitors to Frederick County. I can live with that.

petersamuel

This is incorrect. The $31m of public money goes to buying the land (which is then leased back to the hotelier for peanuts) also to the car parking inside the building, and to the conference center meeting rooms which are in effect gifted to the developer for use as part of his business. The hotel will control use of the parking and charge for it. A small portion only of the public funding goes to changes in roads and utilities necessitated by the choice of an awkward site. The last is the only part that is 'public infrastructure.' You've picked up project myth and misinformation. Check it out. P Samuel

MAVRICKinc7

YOU would have thought the FNP would have become more forthright with the details instead of making the STORY more confusing than it has so far. Remember, that $31 million in public money was just an ESTIMATE.and not the final figure on what the public will pay, as this hotel/conference center project is made more COMPLEX than it already is.

That's why governments operate; in a vacuum, scripted to be made more confusing to the public and the distortion of what we used to believe was DUE PROCESS that has been manipulated and mangled beyond recognition. It's called, in Frederick and Frederick County Maryland..."business as usual"

Burgessdr

Samuel. What is it that you have against this particular project? The City of Frederick is giving Medimmune $11 million in tax credits and loans for its expansion. Why aren't you opposed to that? The City of Frederick is also giving 100% tax credit for ten years to Flying Dog Brewery for its expansion. Why aren't you opposed to that? The City and the County regularly give tax credits for companies that are expanding or are establishing a new business. Why aren't you opposed to that? Why are you just trash talking Plamondon? Why aren't you trash talking the other businesses? As Jane Weir says, ITS JUST NOT FAIR. NOT FAIR.
NOT FAIR. NOT FAIR.


petersamuel

Unfortunately this report is silent on the most egregious abuse enabled by the higher hotel tax -- a 'hotel development incentive program.' Under this plan, outlined in an agreement between County Executive Jan Gardner and the Tourism Council, this trade group will be granted the power to provide highly lucrative tax rebates to select hotel developers. As much as 85 percent of the hotel tax normally collected will be set aside or rebated to service private debt rather than to fund tourism. For a $10m/year hotel this will be a potential benefit of $425,000/year for 25 years. It is scandalous that the County goes along with a trade group being given the power to administer, in effect, a dual tax scheme -- as little as 0.75% for 'incentive program' hotels and 5% for the rest. County government is sanctioning a hotel cartel that can bestow huge tax benefits on insiders. First beneficiary of course will be the Downtown Conference Center Hotel boondoggle, but the prorgam enables similar rackets in Brunswick, Middletown, Newmarket etc. P Samuel

gary4books

"Abuse, scandalous, boondoggle?" Your opinions are welcomed. But some support would convince more people. Has anything illegal taken place?

DickD

Legality makes it okay - even if immoral?

gary4books

The only immoral part that I see is all the misleading house of cards an the "toss the kitchen sink" arguments that sound really like paid comments in their stridency. One way to pare out all the propaganda is to ask "what is illegal?" Someone may prefer other locations or other use of our tax money. Immoral in my mind is to refuse to spend any money for fear that some enemy family might benefit in the process. All this should be on the merits of how many local businesses does it help and not some personal feuds. That is immoral. I will not dignify name calling with a response.

MAVRICKinc7

Since YOU are the COMPANY MAN, what more should we expect from you other than playing dodge-ball with the public interest and their tax dollars? Why don't you convince US nothing illegal has taken place?

gary4books

This amuses me since my Vietnam history was three years with Army Intelligence and six years with another Agency where often we said we "worked for the Company." Not quite what you meant, but true enough.

Burgessdr

Samuel. As usual you are terribly confused. You have been blathering that the hotel will fail, and the taxpayers will be on the hook. But here you state that it will be generating $10 million in revenue per year. Which is it? Will it fail or will it be successful. Are you are being intellectually dishonest by arguing against the hotel both ways, or are you just confused?

jthompson

Further evidence of the ongoing shift of what is left of our relatively free economy, based on hard work, thrift, initiative, risk-taking and entrepreneurship, to an economy based on politics, lobbying, campaign finance, and public relations activities.

tonyc51

[thumbup]

Frayou

I think the majority of Frederick county voters opposed any decision which would designate tax money towards financing the "CITYs" elitist conference cente. Right? If so, is this another typical example which our elected government leaders think they know what's best for its voters, which is one of the reasons they are upset with the current status of government system...local, state and federal levels.

KellyAlzan

You're exactly right. This is why trump has been steady and strong Amongst voters. People want change.

And with all that said. In a republican county, people wanting change - kirbie has a good chance of winning the CE seat. I'm not supporting him. But that's the reality.

If Otis, Keegan air, et al, don't want kirbie as CE, then they need to start making Better decisions. These folks supposed tying something that the majority of voters is against - only angers the voters. And Mark my words - they will vote for change. And it won't be pretty.

KellyAlzan

Should have read:

"These folks supporting something that the majority of the voters oppose....."

FrederickFan

...or Trump could be doing well because Americans are ignorant, lazy, uninformed, bigoted, fearful, and reach their conclusions from the comfort and safety of their couches/keyboards using misleading, superficial stereotypes and fairy tales.

jthompson

I only wish that were true. The allocation of tax money towards the DH&CC is, like unfunded retiree pension and health care obligations, is just not the kind of issue that makes it to the top of voters' concerns as they enter the voting booth, particularly in primary.

Dwasserba

Some city voters aren't thrilled either. But how do you get County voters to read the fnp as if they live and vote here and are affected by local legislation? Too many behind the curve.

kimberlymellon

Hurray! We may all dig a little deeper into our taxpayer pockets to reimburse local, state and federally reimbursed travelers for the increased hotel tax for Plamondon's upper upscale downtown hotel.

KellyAlzan

It's wreckless decsions like this that will put kirbie in the CE seat

armillary

The only reckless decision that would put Kirby in the CE seat would be to vote for him.

KellyAlzan

You're totally missIng the point

jthompson

Councilman Delauter is not opposed to corporate welfare/crony capitalism as a matter of policy or principle. He supported the Tax Increment Financing ("TIF") deals for Lake Linganore and the Jefferson Technology Park (a housing development), costing the taxpayers over $100 million. Kirby's opposition to the hotel tax/DH&CC deal simply means the Plamondons did not provide him with substantial amounts of political campaign contributions.

BlueDawn666

Yeah he is totally missing the point, this is going to give Kirby some excellent campaign fodder to use against Jan...He may actually live up to his slogan
"Govern Like a Taxpayer"..the council was not governing like a taxpayer..far from it. If more things like this happen Kirby could stand a chance at being elect CE...

hayduke2

And that, is the issue for Kirby in a nutshell. Thank you jthompson .

BlueDawn666

So then Mr. Thompson you must be saying that Plamondons did provide the 4 that voted for the tax increase, including Jan, substantial amounts of political campaign contributions..

armillary

No Kelly, I got your point two weeks ago, when you said:

"KellyAlzan Aug 16, 2016 6:17am

If jan continues to support this proposed hotel tax, I will start an online campaign to support Kirbie for the upcoming county executive seat.

I was successful with my campaign in ensuring Ba'Lane got the boot. I will be successful in ensuring that Jan gets the boot, too.

Mark my words."

http://www.fredericknewspost.com/news/continuing_coverage/downtown_hotel/frederick-county-council-debates-hotel-tax-bill/article_0b37b082-e541-5104-955b-0ea86ffb7137.html

jthompson

Not necessarily. The other four (4) council members are "new" and may support corporate welfare/crony capitalism as a matter of policy or principle, without regard to the campaign finance activities of the beneficiaries of corporate welfare/crony capitalism.

KellyAlzan

We all know what is wrong with this. We all know what is politically correct and incorrect.

Look at trump. A disaster if
A human being. A year ago everyone laughed at his prospect of being president. A huge amount of the country isn't concerned about common sense, they just want change.

And that's exactly what it could be for kirbie. He has won twice. No one cares if he has anger issues. Just like no one cares if trump is a bigot.

This is 2016 politics. not 1979. You older folks need to wake up to the times. And so does the council.

Balane was caught off guard with what social media did to him in terms of destroying him. He really was.

Now those of us that oppose Kirbie need to be aware of The Voters of Today. It's a whole different ball game

hayduke2

VERY valid point armillary... I think it is Kelly who missed your point.

tonyc51

[thumbup]

FrederickFan

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

Nicki

[thumbup]

richardlyons

[thumbup]

FrederickFan

Making visitors from outside Frederick County, who don't vote in Frederick County, support Frederick County tourism which brings in an estimated $1,000,000/day to Frederick County isn't reckless. Its really smart.

If you want reckless, reckless was when Kirby Delauter joined Blaine Young, Billy Shreve and Paul Smith to approve a massive property tax rate increase in May of 2013, when they eliminated the fire tax that in many places was $0.00 - $0.08, and replaced it with a whopping $0.128 general property tax increase. That was reckless. Anyone who ever runs against one of these guys will undoubtedly ask them to explain why raising tax rates on the voters was a good idea.

gary4books

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

KellyAlzan

Anyone with a brain knows how terrible of a government official kirbie is.

Fact is, he has a 100% success campaign win record. We all know the voters seem to turn a blind eye to kirbie's anger issues and don't care if he gave a nursing home or 2 away.

Kirbie has the county's republican demographic on his side. And bird brain decisions such as this only strengthen his chances of taking the CE seat.

armillary

Why are you supporting him then? "Mark my words."

KellyAlzan

Arm- no where at all do I display any support for kirbie.

Just like on Meet The Press, they talk politics. Just because they are talking nah about candidates does not mean they support them.

I don't like kirbie.

Frederick is a republican county.

Kirbie did all this bad politics as commissioner; and still got elected to the council. Point being - people don't care.

Kirbie was furious when he realized jan was gonna be CE. He should have made Balane behave.

Now jan is supporting this stupid hotel. If she and her supporters do not want kirbie to be the next CE - she/they better get their act(s) together.

Jan won the CE because Balane was voted out. You know it, we all know it. Balane put jan on office. And now jan, bud, and Keegan-air could end up putting kirbie in office.

This raising hotel tax for the plamandoons is wrong. This using state money for the plamandoons is wrong.

jthompson

While Kirby's District definitely slants toward the GOP, the County as a whole does not. In both 2008 & 2012, Obama almost carried Frederick County. The voters elected a Dem as County Exec during the highest nationwide Republican tidal wave since 1928. "Conservative Republican" Frederick County voted for gay marriage while "Liberal Democratic" PG County voted against.

DickD

Lol, you must be kidding! We might get reckless, but it is not likely we will get insane.

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