The editorial on Maryland’s business climate was interesting (“Maryland competing poorly with economic peers,” Tuesday’s edition). I’m not sure we need an in-depth report from highbrow publications like Moody’s Analytics to explain what is going on in Maryland or even Frederick County when it comes to business. A few simple examples will more than adequately explain.

Locally, County Executive Jan Gardner wants the world to know Frederick County is open for business and we want good-paying jobs. This is the plan, according to Jan:

Step 1: Removed the road signs at the entrances to Frederick County that stated “Open for Business.” Did this at the same time Gov. Larry Hogan was installing “Open for Business” signs across the state.

Step 2: Seize private businesses using eminent domain. That is Gardner’s way of thanking Aurora for investing $35 million-plus into two Frederick County businesses? I remember when the welcome wagon gave a gift basket from Black’s Orchard. The “New, open for business Frederick County” under the Jan Plan welcomes you with their $750-an-hour lawyers seizing your business and kicking you out of the county.

Gardner states she is doing this because of there is a “need” for this service. How does that make the other 12 nursing homes and 14 assisted-living facilities feel? Will Gardner seize their business when there is additional “need”? What industry is next?

Step 3: Created a tax incentive for only manufacturing businesses that invest $5 million in Frederick County and pay 150 percent of minimum wage. It’s not a set tax credit any business can use. A business needs to go ask Gardner if they can have a tax credit, then she decides the amount. This becomes a political decision, not a business decision. Businesses want a fair, level playing field with a predictable business climate.

What about small businesses that don’t pay 150 percent of minimum wage? Small business is the backbone of America. What if they add only one employee? No plan for them.

Frederick County business history and the county exec as a commissioner 2006-2010: Stopped the building of the Jefferson Tech Park just a few miles up U.S. 340/U.S. 15 from Medimmune/AstraZeneca where the county executive just issued a tax credit for a technology company. The tech park is the place with the new interchange on U.S. 340/U.S. 15, leaving Frederick going toward Jefferson.

Stopped Homewood Retirement Centers from completing Phase 2 at Crumland Farms. The community includes a 120-bed health care center for skilled and special memory care, 56 assisted-living suites, 122 apartments and 43 cottages. There was no “need” for senior care five years ago?

Took property rights from 702 property owners during the comprehensive planning process. Downzoned a tree farm, a fruit stand and a graveyard, to name a few. The county executive just decided to open the comprehensive planning process again and start over. Hang on.

New “chains” of communication: The County Council is not allowed to talk with staff via telephone and must go through a very convoluted process to ask questions via email. More than five people need to touch an email before it gets to the right person. Most requests are denied or never answered. Information that is given is generally untimely or incomplete. How is that for business-friendly? Constituents still call the council for help and for answers, and need the information requested. The county executive controls the process and chains of command.

Yes, Virginia, there is a “rain tax”: A few rather well-known Frederick County entrepreneurs and investors decided to take their business to Virginia. After years of red tape, bureaucracy and political indecision, they had enough. The buildings they tried to lease and start businesses in are still vacant. In Virginia, the constituent service is much better, and they understand “business climate.” They now have two businesses in Virginia. The governor even flew his helicopter to one of their businesses for the ribbon-cutting.

In the broader state, we still struggle with the O’Malley legacy of the rain tax. Maryland wanted to be five years ahead of the Environmental Protection Agency’s clean water act. Virginia decided to wait and see for 20 years. Let Maryland make all the rain tax mistakes and drive business out of Maryland and into Virginia. That strategy is working.

In Frederick County, we have a local company slammed by the O’Malley rain tax. The business was founded over 50 years ago and has operated in the same location since the mid-’80s. They are the “doughnut hole” location of the industrial complex. Last November, the state of Maryland decided they needed to “improve” their property to “properly” drain rainwater. After 30 years, there has never been a problem. Cost of the rain tax to fix a problem that never existed and still doesn’t? $1 million.

This is the reality of the Frederick County business climate. I live it every day. I take the phone calls and hear the stories. Keep calling. We can turn things around.

Billy Shreve is a former county commissioner and now represents Frederick County as a councilman at large. He can be reached at billy@FrederickCountyMD.gov.

(30) comments

dk1977

I'm sure the ridiculous statements that Kirby and Billy have made over the years, some of which have made national news (and not in a good way), have zero impact when businesses are evaluating areas to move to.

sej58

The only thing that is laughable is Shreve's complete lack of knowledge of the needs of the business community in Frederick County.

Who's calling him? Billie is becoming less and less relevant. Everyone knows he's dishonest, a lousy legislator and shouldn't hold a public office.

quemzeee2

Oh wow, Rush limbuagh took over Mr. Shrieves name. If this is so bad, why are we booming in home building? It sure would not happen if no money was here. If this is so bad, why does Maryland rank only 9 % below poverty levels nationaly. I think some of these former commisionors got in over there heads.

That's ludicrous!

public-redux

It may too late for Shreve to change his reputation but it isn't too late to try. Here is what I suggest:

1. Read -- carefully and thoroughly -- the briefing information you receive prior to council meetings. Show up prepared.

2. Ask honest questions. Don't grandstand.

3. Seek out the views of others -- especially those with whom you don't see eye to eye.

4. Vote.

DickD

Just showing up on time and not leaving early would be a good start. Don't ask too much of Billy and you will not be so disappointed.

Hayduke2

Billy- thought about writing a response but then I would have to think. So, I decided to use your playbook " I abstain."

BlueDawn666

Who believes that Billy wrote this letter all by himself? Given how he speaks in the council meetings...do you really think he is capable of writing a letter like this?

DickD

Billy is smart enough, give the devil his due.

DickD

Billy, it really bothers you that you and the rest of the old Blaine gang co.trol nothing, doesn't it? How about what Blaine did to Bechtel, refused to even talk to them, they were Frederick County's biggest private employer with high wages, many living in the County with high priced homes. You and Blaine ruined all that and do not even recognize it today.

Do you even know the minimum wage is $8.25/ hr.? 50% more would be less than $12.50/ hr. I pay some high school kids that much for helping me. Your farmer attitude is showing.

eastmoonrabbit

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anony936

Billy Shreve pens a LTE and it is published by the FNP. This is surprising to me because he usually uses The Tentacle for his pontifications, but he has chosen to expand his audience and include a broader spectrum of readers. In all probability this will generate many comments, mostly challenging his assertions, and some supporting his ideas. Hopefully, Bill Shreve will read all these comments and realize that those who oppose have substantial reasoning to back their claims and those in support rely solely upon blind faith to a right wing ideology. In my opinion, facts are essential in creating an informed opinion and Billy Shreve has few facts and those he has are erroneous.

MAVRICKinc7

It's called LYING by OMMISSION. It's no longer about who supports Shreve's agendas or not. It boils down to TRUST which he freely and of his own free will, gave away to the highest bidder. Now that he is off the hook, through MEDIATION, he is now free to speak his mind, two days after the fact, and lob as many grenades he wants, or has been scripted for him by others, that are NOW free of accountability and hidden behind the rules and regulations of MEDIATION practices that do not permit public disclosure. Shreve and his government operatives should be breathing in a sign of relief that Jan Gardner provided to them for the sake and well being of Frederick County's citizen population. A strategic move on the part of Gardner and saving the BOCC and FAMILY members from further embarassment and exposure to public discord. The GAME has not yet been played out, if the MTC vote were to take traction with the prior BOCC, once again, being behind the 8 ball.

Why would you not want to know what your ENEMY is thinking and publishing in any tabloid of their choosing? I, for one, want to know how the SCRIPT is being written by those we can no longer trust. It's a Machiavellian battle strategy that gets played out by those who want to be the PRINCE that hasn't changed in all of the last 500 years, except now we have electronic messaging intended only to confuse, disguise intentions and make the LIE, when told often enough, into something we are lead to believe as being the truth when it's nothing more than ANOTHER LIE we are caused to tell ourselves daily by proxy votes and mentalities. Why should we be caused to reason what Billy Shreve thinks and believes when politics remains as pathological as it was 500 years ago? I believe we should focus on the bigger picture that is presently being painted and without knit-picking details that in the long run prove to be meaningless to the distortions our legal system has provided to avoid being found out for what the likes of Shreve should have been held accountable for and having Frederick County to start all over again from the ashes that Shreve created and continually using, much like red herrings, to keep US off the trail to his real motivations over the last four years and again the last 10 months. If you don't get this as relevant, you might want to read about ancient war strategies that have been perpetuated for thousands of years and still being used TODAY on every corner questing for power and position in the WORLD. What is it about man's DNA that doesn't want to be bothered with petty things such as citizen populations, public demands or what they think and believe. What Shreve has written is the same LIE that the Third Reich perpetuated 80 years ago. He's a player, betting heavily on not being found out and as comfortable with the LIE as Hitler was in his day and time with nothing more than a micrphone to voice the LIE that brought his country and this WORLD to its knees.

Too harsh? Break it down into its component parts, to a lesser level of influence, and see for yourself that history is only repeating itself and the likes of SHREVE and his operatives are just another day in the park.

anony936

Mav7,
To quote James Brown: "Heavy Trip". Dude, you've lost me. Again. I'm not trying to be a smart a&&, but often your comments go way over my head. Fellow readers, am I alone?

public-redux

You continue to read his comments? Huh.

veritas

I hope never to have enough disposable time on my hands to wade through one of Mav's long winded screeds.

jerseygrl42

CLOWN

FrederickFan

Shreve continues to lie about everything, because in truth he has been a complte failure for Frederick County.

Step 1: The road signs are still up! Doesn't this buffoon drive around the County he is supposed to represent?

Step 2: County Executive Gardner never actually used eminent domain. She threatened to use it in this case because Shreve, Delauter and Young signed a contract to sell the $50 million nursing home assets for just $30 million (not $35 Billy), and signed a secret lease deal that forced County taxpayers to pay $ millions for patients that don't exist.

Step 3: Shreve was the only Councilman who voted AGAINST the Astra Zeneca incentive that brings 300 new high paying jobs and perhaps several hundred more. Shreve has forgotten that there IS a small business tax credit on the books. He bragged about it during the last campaign!

While a Commissioner, Jan Gardner supported the expansion of Homewood and voted to make it happen. More lies from Shreve.

This buffoon goes on to says some company (strangely unnamed) spend $1 million to comply with the rain tax; which does not exist. When it did exist, it cost one penny per property!

In conclusion, Billy Shreve is a complete embarrassment to Frederick County and it business climate.

eastmoonrabbit

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Sallyforth

OMG! There is something seriously wrong with this fellow. He seems to lack social awareness.

Jleftwich

The only thing Billy Shreve is good at is attacking his colleagues on the council and the county exec. Has he even cast a vote yet instead of abstaining? Moreover, voting against the consent agenda ought to preclude one from having any vote on the items on the agenda.

cctjr64

Billy, the only thing laughable in Frederick County is you and Kirby Delauter. And with all these lies and mis-beliefs that you state in the LTE I hope the citizens of Frederick County start to see the lies that you, Kirby, Paul, and Blaine spoke during your reign. Do Frederick County a favor and resign and take Kirby with you.

Nicki

This is what you get when you vote for those with a little-big-man complex.

stevemckay

Hmm, so Billy's number one concern was removal of the road signs that everybody ignored (including businesses). Then there was the moot point about eminent domain ... sorry Billy, your predictive powers are quite a bit off. Oh, and then there's the one about a tax incentive for companies that invest in Frederick County, bringing good-paying jobs. Wait, what?! Why is Billy complaining about that one? Oh yeah, because he didn't think of it first ...

gary4books

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Doritos

Only thing laughable about frederick county is billy shreve

gary4books

Not as long as the others are around and planning a return.

MAVRICKinc7

And they're not going away any time soon.

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