Hello, my name is Steve McKay and I’m running for County Council here in District 2. The reason I’m running for Council is that I’m concerned about what will happen to our roads, and our schools, and ultimately our taxes because of growth decisions made back in 2012-2014.
I’ve knocked on a lot of doors over the last months and this is how I’ve begun countless conversations with Republican voters (and more than a few Democrats). I tell them about the 11,000 homes that have been approved in our corner of the County. We’ve only just begun to see these homes pop up in Urbana, Linganore and Landsdale – but it’s only the tip of the iceberg and we’ll be dealing with the impact for years, if not decades to come.
We can grow and we must grow, but we must do it wisely and, most importantly, in step with needed infrastructure. For example, Urbana is a logical place to grow given its proximity to I-270, 355, and 80. However, even in Urbana we need to match the pace of home construction to improvements in our roads and schools. The traffic on 80 and in the halls of each of the four area schools are clear indicators that we have a problem that must be addressed.
I am particularly concerned about the New Market area. With over 2,700 homes approved in in northern New Market this area’s infrastructure will be severely challenged for many years to come. Congestion will be an increasing problem, especially on Boyers Mill Road and 144. Similarly, school over-crowding is anticipated to sharply increase and will grow dire unless we find a way to add capacity.
I’m running for County Council because I want to solve these problems. I’ve witnessed bad zoning decisions and I want to be a part of helping Frederick County grow along a wiser, more modest, and affordable path. I’ve yet to meet anyone that wants Frederick County to become like Germantown, but many of us feel that this is the path that we’ve been set upon. I want to avoid that.
In addition to making smarter zoning decisions, I will also prioritize changing our rules that measure the impact of new developments and re-think our expectations of what developers should pay to lessen those effects. The Blaine Young Board of County Commissioners systematically lowered the bar for developers. We live with the consequences every day on our congested roadways and when we send our kids off to school to learn in portables. I will work hard to strengthen requirements on developers and ensure that they pay their share of the infrastructure costs needed to support the new homes.
If new development doesn’t pay its share of the cost, then who does? You and I, that’s who. We pay it in higher taxes which leads to larger government. This point always puzzles me about some of my fellow Republicans. How can you insist on smaller government and lower taxes when you support the gross over-development policies of the Young Board. Those policies have led to an infrastructure deficit of at least $500,000,000 that will be left to our children and grandchildren to pay. Every year at budget time, I see our Council members quibbling over a few tens of thousands of dollars, while turning a blind eye toward massive & looming capital debt projects costing $100s of millions. They don’t see the forest for the trees. Instead they seem to care more about making political points on whether there’s a tax increase or not instead of looking for real solutions. That’s not the way I’ll work for you.
People ask me why I’m running against fellow Republican Tony Chmelik, and I tell them that I don’t think Tony is a bad person, it’s just that we have very different views on growth. Tony got into office by aligning himself with Blaine Young. He received over 87% of his campaign donations from Blaine, the Monrovia Town Center developers, and others in the development community. As far as I’m concerned, that was Tony’s endorsement of Blaine’s over-development policies and raises a red flag that Tony has an inherent loyalty to the development community. We’ve seen that loyalty play out in his consistent support for developers whenever the Council is faced with a growth-related matter.
I’m running my campaign without taking a dime from the development community. I simply think there’s too much of their money in our politics. If you elect me, I’ll represent you – not any special interests. On June 26th, I sincerely hope that you’ll honor me with your vote. Thank you.