Kelly Weaver, a longtime county employee, has been tapped to serve as the county’s budget director.

Weaver had been serving as acting budget director since March 19, according to a news release. She replaced Rick Harcum, who was promoted by Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner (D) to serve as the county’s chief administrative officer beginning Feb. 1.

“Kelly brings an extensive knowledge of the county budget and a wealth of financial expertise and experience to this important position,” Gardner said in a prepared statement. “I am pleased to promote her based on her management skills, graduate level education in accounting, and professional certifications that will further advance our open, transparent and inclusive public budget process.”

Previously, Weaver served as the county’s assistant budget director since 2007, and in accountant roles from 2004 to 2007.

Vivian Laxton, a county spokeswoman, said Weaver’s annual salary as budget director will be $144,000. As acting budget director, she made $126,673.

Laxton added that a new budget analyst will also be hired, but county officials are still determining whether to hire an assistant or deputy budget director.

Deadline next month for one of county’s agricultural preservation programs

A deadline has been set for an agricultural land preservation program that has preserved more than 20,000 acres of farmland countywide.

County officials are accepting applications for the Installment Purchase Program, or IPP, until 4 p.m. Sept. 3, according to a news release. The program was established in 2002 by the Board of County Commissioners.

The program pays farmers tax-free interest over a 20-year period, with a “balloon lump sum principle payment at the end of the term,” the release stated.

Shannon O’Neil, land preservation planner for the county’s agricultural land preservation program, said she and other officials are still examining Councilman Kai Hagen’s (D) proposal to include forested areas as part of the program.

“We hope in the upcoming months we can have a series of meetings with various Boards and Commissions to discuss this further,” O’Neil said in an email.

Officials can offer easements to a higher percentage of applicants through the IPP program versus the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation Program, or MALPF, O’Neil added.

“The IPP program is able to make offers to a higher percentage of applicants because it works through the County’s bonding authority to acquire easements at today’s prices and pay for them with a deferred principle payment and annual tax-exempt interest payments,” she said.

The county has $8 million budgeted for fiscal 2020 for the IPP program, O’Neil said. She added a majority of this is used for interest payments related to prior easements; $2.4 million can be used for new offers.

Those interested should send their applications to the Division of Planning and Permitting, 30 N. Market St., Frederick, MD 21701. For more information, call 301-600-1411.

Follow Steve Bohnel on Twitter: @Steve_Bohnel.

Steve Bohnel is the county government reporter for the Frederick News-Post. He can be reached at sbohnel@newspost.com. He graduated from Temple University, with a journalism degree in May 2017, and is a die-hard Everton F.C. fan.

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