Having served in public office for 20 years on both operating and capital budget committees, I believe that the county's purchase of the 800 Oak Street building in Frederick is questionable at best. The purchase process and justification are flawed for these reasons:
- No needs assessment to justify the purchase has been made.
- No real cost analysis to determine repairs, upgrades, and retrofitting has been performed.
- We have seen a lack of transparency in this purchase.
- Circumventing the county's acquisition is never a good idea.
- Removing 209,000 square feet of commercial land from the tax roles is short-sighted.
- Not meeting with the city of Frederick to discuss the purchase violates a long-standing agreement between the city and the county.
Therefore, spending $32,009,311 for the building acquisition, capital improvements, and operating expenses is obviously unwise. These funds are available through a one-time only, unaudited fund balance. And we surely have better uses for these funds.