Putting the county’s budget together is no easy task. Just ask Jan Gardner who’s in the midst of building her seventh budget as county executive.
We know from watching public budget hearings that there are a lot of opinions about how Gardner should spend the finite amount of county dollars each year. And each year, there are those who think they could do better.
If you’re one of them, the county has posted online what could be seen as a challenge. The software Balancing Act allows residents to spend $10 million in a pretend county budget while trying to consider priorities in education, public safety, human services support, efficient government and other services.
We’ve tried it and, yup, it’s not that simple. We suggest you give it a try too at frederickcountymd.gov/66/Budget-Office. While it might not make all of us agree with Gardner’s decisions, the tool can be a practical way of demonstrating how tough that task can be.
We’ll admit that we’ve had some fun over the years talking about the possibility of building a monorail to run along Interstate 270 between Frederick and the Shady Grove Metro Station in Montgomery County. It is an interesting idea, considering that it could lead to about 10,000 fewer cars on the road each day.
But at a price tag that could be as high as $4.4 billion, it would be very hard to justify it. We can think of a lot better ways to spend that kind of money.
What’s turned us sour on the idea really boils down to something we’ve learned during the pandemic — we can do a better job of thinning out the traffic by encouraging more people to work from home. Maybe the state and federal governments could offer incentives to businesses to make that work and do it for probably a fraction of the cost.
When the pandemic started, the lives of many were upended. Some of the most basic functions of life, including finding your next meal, became unimaginable challenges.
I Believe in Me, a nonprofit organization based in Frederick, rose to the occasion and hasn’t slowed down since.
The group began scheduling food drops throughout the county so that struggling families could get help with groceries and other essentials. They are now celebrating one year of these drops, and on Monday, they once again saw hundreds of cars lined up at the Frederick Towne Mall.
“We try to send them out of here with a smile and some hope,” I Believe in Me founder Aje Hill told reporter Greg Swatek.
To the countless volunteers, keep giving people reason to smile and have hope. It makes a big difference to people here in Frederick.
Should a vacancy arise in the early parts of a Frederick County school board member’s term, County Councilman Steve McKay thinks that the voters should have a say in the replacement.
McKay proposed similar changes, which we supported in the past, as it relates to the county executive and council during the last election. Those proposals received overwhelming backing from voters.
He brought the latest request to the county’s delegation this week and won their support. The proposal would use currently scheduled elections to fill any seats, should a sudden vacancy occur. That means the vacancy would have to come roughly in the first year of a board member’s term.
Letting the voters decide who should fill more than two years of a four-year term makes sense.
McKay is confident the bill will make it to the governor’s desk for his signature and we hope he’s right.
Yeas and nays is a weekly feature of quick-hit opinions from The Frederick News-Post’s editorial board. Send your suggestions to email@example.com.