As we are now into our third year of charter government, and about to enter our third budget season, you will hear some members of the County Council talk about how things have gone over the past two years.

Here are a few things you should keep in mind:

One, you will hear about taxes. The fact is that your Frederick County property taxes are at a rate of $1.06 per $100 of assessed value, the exact same rate they were when we took office on Dec. 1, 2014. During the previous four years (the years councilmen Kirby Delauter and Billy Shreve were commissioners), if you lived in most parts of the county (including all of my district — Middletown, Brunswick, Rosemont, Burkittsville, Adamstown, Buckeystown), your taxes went up by about 5 cents per $100 when the Frederick County fire tax was merged with the rest of the budget. The president of that Board of County Commissioners said at the 2011 Lincoln-Reagan Day Dinner, “You will see a reduction of taxes or we have failed.” Well, when it came to your property taxes, they failed.

Two, our budgets over the past two years have led to improvements in public safety. We have added people to Emergency Services (911), we have added over 50 career firefighters and we gave the sheriff’s office a new pay scale so that it could attract and retain quality deputies.

Three, we are building much-needed elementary schools in Urbana (Sugarloaf and a new Urbana building) and Butterfly Ridge in Frederick.

Four, we are building parks in Point of Rocks and the new Othello Park in the southwestern part of the county near Burkittsville, Rosemont and Brunswick.

Five, we have put over 1,000 acres into agricultural preservation in an effort to keep the agricultural character of Frederick County alive. We have also added back into the budget staff dedicated to helping agriculture. We have listened to the farmers when they have had concerns about bills before the council.

Six, I know bond ratings are boring to most people, but good ones do save Frederick County money. In 2016 we became one of fewer than 50 counties (out of over 3,000) across the U.S. to have AAA ratings by all of the major bond rating companies. Of course this congratulations can be spread to previous county officeholders, but it was predicted by Councilman Delauter in his article in the Emmitsburg News-Journal in November 2015: “Mark my words, your taxes will go up over the next three years and our bond rating will go down ...” Wrong on both counts.

Seven, many of us on the council, members of both parties, as well as the executive, have had town meetings giving the opportunity to citizens to talk about their issues. I have personally had over 30 of these, usually in Middletown, Brunswick, Jefferson, Point of Rocks and Urbana. I have also attended numerous town meetings to meet with municipal officials in my district. I know some others on the council and the executive have done the same.

Eight, we have kept a public trust by retaining the Citizens and Montevue facilities. We promised to do this in the campaign, and after much hard work it was accomplished. Before County Executive Jan Gardner finishes her fiscal 2018 budget, I encourage my fellow council members to talk with her so that they can have input into this year’s budget. She invited all of us. We should all take the opportunity to continue to move Frederick County forward.

Jerry Donald

Braddock Heights

Jerry Donald represents District 1 on the Frederick County Council.

(37) comments

sej58

Great teacher and great councilman!

MrHitshed

Well said, Jerry. You have done a fine job under conditions and circumstances that were often unpleasant and difficult. Thanks for being one of the "good people" on the Council who have treated others with dignity and respect, even when you disagreed. You have helped restore pride and confidence in Frederick County. Please keep up the good work!!

mllposey

1. Jerry doesn’t understand constant yield and the state’s definition of a property tax increase even though he voted in favor of it. Jerry also doesn’t know the history pertaining to the financial burden of our fire tax before the BY BoCC rolled it into the general fund. He should be thankful they had the spine to fix it once and for all while the JG BoCC (and other Boards) kicked it down the road much to the dismay of JLT and other conservatives.
2. No comment.
3. Building schools is nothing new and has been accomplished by prior boards. (Let’s just hope BFRES doesn’t open with a sea of portables.)
4. Parks are pretty and expensive. Do we really need more parks?
5. Ask the Farm Bureau if they feel like this council has listened to them.
6. Ahhhh, let’s see how things stand in 2018….
7. It's always nice to pat yourself on the back. Very good.
8. Citizen’s Montevue – "kept the public trust on that". Thanks for the laugh!
(Let’s see who is sitting there on the dais Dec 2018 and decide then how much of a success this first council has been.)

des21

Given the opposition thus far, i think Jerry and his group will be okay.

FrederickFan

Regarding 1. above: No one cares about your cheap excuses - certainly not the thousands of people paying more taxes all over Frederick County. Young, Delauter and Shreve RAISED TAX RATES on Frederick County Taxpayers in May of 2013. This Council and CE Gardner have not raised tax rates.

Even worse, the tax rate increases dropped on the taxpayers by the Young, Delauter and Shreve Board, in addition to THEIR CONSTANT YIELD increases, included big rate jumps on Walkersville, and Thurmont, the very same people Delauter is supposed to be representing.

Jleftwich

I've found it interesting...no - dismaying that mllposey always casts aspersions upon those council members who actually want to make progress for the benefit of county residents, but will cheer-on and defend the deadbeats.

public-redux

Just wait [smile]

mllposey

That's right! ;)

public-redux

The Young BOCC raised my income taxes every single year.

jerseygrl42

Well said Jerry and thanks for saying NO to carpetbagger Natelli who cares nothing but to fill his pockets with cash and if we are not careful he will leave when the land is gone and our infra-structure will be in shambles....just a note on taxes, the spending has increased and the rate has NOT changed based on the increasing valuations on our homes and I hope the move to separate fire and emergency services budget is something other than an attempt to increase the tax rate while blaming it on those services.....Keep up the great work !

des21

Good job Jerry. I could say something about your background working with children being an asset but that may be perceived as unkind so I won't.[wink]

public-redux

[thumbup]. That's one of the best things you've never said.

matts853

Kirby Deluded never had an opinion he was right about.

Thank you Jerry for speaking the truth. And nice job at the last council meeting exposing the real reason the Young BoCC cut the recordation tax that used to fund AG preservation and parks. Delauter is a complete hypocrite.

yogib

Jerry's letter was faiarly complete regarding achievements of this Council, but the one thing he left out is the comfort and knowledge the voters have enjoyed these three years in knowing that fairness, ethical behavior, and public service
has been restored.

awteam2000

[thumbup][blink][thumbdown]

awteam2000

Sorry! That last comment should have been 3 👍

FrederickFan

This may be the best LTE I have ever read.

Bravo Councilman Jerry Donald. Thank you thank you for standing up to that lying bully Kirby Delauter.

BstD59

Your letter reinforces the majorities' faith in you and Otis, Fitzwater, Keegan-Ayer's, principled, straightforward and honest governing. It is a pity that you must be exposed to the ignorance and vitriol of Delauter, Shreve, and now Tony C. as well during meetings, but I don't see that ever changing. Please keep up the good work and know that the majority of FC citizens very much appreciate your efforts on their behalf.

FrederickFan

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

tonyc51

Must be approaching election time again.

FrederickFan

Yes, and County Executive Gardner and Councilman Jerry Donald have done an outstanding job. Delauter has been wrong again. He has lied to us consistency, and he even INCREASED tax rates. Thanks for pointing this out Tony C!!

hayduke2

Thank you for your thoughtful approach to issues and thinking independently.

public-redux

Quoting people accurately isn't really fair, you know. It is a form of "fake news".

Thewheelone

Yes public, you are correct. Fortunately we have some forward thinkers among our press. Here is the new motto for the Washington Post...it is directly under the Name Washington Post on the front page (I think it is called the masthead, but not sure): Democracy Dies in Darkness. Check it out...

public-redux

Not entirely sure what the press has to do with this. Jerry isn't with the press. He is an elected official who went around accurately quoting another elected official. Oh, the arrogance, the temerity, the gall, the nerve, the impudence of the man.

Titanman123

This is cute, enjoy your final year on the council! Can go back to teaching full time!

hayduke2

Cute huh? Is that your way of saying the truth hurts?

matts853

How's the Kirby Deluded Koolaid taste?

mllposey

Where he belongs..... in the classroom!! Not in Winchester Hall.....

Titanman123

Will he still do anything bud or Jan want even when he's back classroom?

BstD59

Mary,Mary, Mary. Still defending the undefendable? I fully respect your Conservative leanings, but I can't for the life of me understand how you can defend Shreve, Delauter, or Tony C. Not one of them follow Conservative principles, they are misfits simply trying to feed off the public's dime. Find and support some true Conservatives who also have integrity and a genuine desire to improve FC for the people who live here and not line their own pockets or the pockets of out of town developers and you might be surprised at how many would support them. As long as you fight for your principles as exampled by Shreve, Delauter and Tony C. you are fighting a losing battle.

hayduke2

BSD - [thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

public-redux

As evidenced by the substantial fraction of Republican commenters pointing and laughing at Shrelauter.

awteam2000

Great job Jerry. 👍

Thewheelone

what awteam said! [thumbup]

armillary

Impressive accomplishments by the Council majority and CE. Special thanks to Jerry Donald for standing up to the baseless accusations made by Kirby Delauter.

ReadPhred

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

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