The headline of the article in The Frederick News-Post read, “City passes corona-trimmed budget” and it passed unanimously. In the article, quotes from the elected officials were about all the hard work and that all kinds of tough decisions had to be made.
Well, you cannot spend what you don’t have. Unlike a lot of businesses, the city is not having to lay people off and revenues are up. I had to laugh about the tough decision of eliminating the new assistant to the theater unfilled position that was mentioned in the article. The Weinberg Center has been closed for weeks and I’m pretty sure won’t be operational for a while. Yes, it’s extremely important to the city, but it is closed.
I thought it was not wise to not include the merit step or some sort of hazard pay for those city employees that are essential and are required to report based on their type of position. Taxpayers still expect the trash to be picked up, public works to be operational, to be protected by the police and for essential services to be provided for those in need.
Per the paid ad in the paper by the City of Frederick in the Frederick News-Post — “Notice of a proposed real property tax increase” — property tax revenue is up 2 percent, resulting in $1,206,949 of new real property tax revenues. Sure the tax rate stayed the same but that is not the only factor that determines what your property tax bill will be. The assessed value of the property applied against the tax rate does. Obviously assessments are up based on the new revenue and people will pay more, not less.
Properties were not assessed during the situation that is occurring now with the pandemic. These are assessments based on when times were very good.
Also the water rate is going up again in July. Yes, I said again when people and businesses need help the most. The city needs to not only help those that have been laid off, furloughed, people on fixed incomes, but the business community that is really struggling right now. Adopting the constant yield would be a nice start, freezing the water rate increase and even giving everyone one water bill at no charge would have been nice. Laying out an economic recovery plan for the future for job creation and to help businesses is essential not only for the city but also the county. The city is the economic engine of the county in many different ways from business, tourism, celebrations, governmental services and so on.
With constant unanimous approval from the aldermen of almost everything proposed by the mayor, I do not hear a voice for these people and the business community. Part of an economic recovery plan is not putting more money in the government’s pocket but in the pocket of the people. They know how to spend it best. I ask the mayor and alderman to reflect back on all the wasted tax dollars spent on a new city logo, poorly managed projects and studies spent with businesses — some not even located in our state, much less our city or county.
I have always fought for conservative, prudent spending as a Democratic alderman for the city and as Republican commissioner for the county. Now, being tired of the two-party tap dance, and the constant games, I will continue to do it with my independent voice.