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County Council President Bud Otis

(7/2017) Big Heart Central!

Frederick County has tremendous and generous people, great programs, wonderful volunteers, forward thinking entrepreneurs, vibrant business environment, community support, and strong local government divisions. Did you know that there are over 1,000 non-profit organizations here in Frederick County? They serve in many capacities to support our citizenry, and we are better for it!

I want to take a moment to share some highlights over the past couple of months or so.

We passed a conservative Budget for the county and kept the tax rate the same as the previous two years at $1.06 per $100 of assessed property value. Community Partnership grants were awarded to a number of outstanding non-profits to support their efforts (which saves county money in the long run as there is less demand on county resources). I’m working on a Craft Beverage Events Work Group along with Council Member Tony Chmelik. Attended a number of events including: Vietnam Veterans dinner; League of Women Voters meeting; Religious Coalition leaders meeting; National Day of Prayer Breakfast; Beth Sholom and Kol Ami Community Holocaust Service; Heartly House fundraiser; SOAR fundraiser; MD Military Installation Command meeting in Crownsville, MD; Live Downtown Frederick Housing Symposium; Frederick Rescue Mission fundraiser; and the Religious Coalition picnic.

It was also very gratifying to be part of the Juneteenth Proclamation; Foster Parent Appreciation ceremony; Service Awards for our fantastic employees – including the Council’s Chief of Staff Ragen Cherney for his 15 years of dedicated service; Council Member Jerry Donald and I also attended a groundbreaking ceremony for the Middletown Fire Station.

State Senator Ron Young, County Executive Jan Gardner, Alderman Michael O’Connor and I participated in a public interest podcast which focused on how to communicate in these times and how to best serve our constituents. It boiled down to civil discourse, true listening and open door policies.

In April I was part of a roundtable with Congressman John K. Delaney about the potential impact of federal budget cuts on our county’s services. It was insightful and sometimes heart-wrenching hearing from various Frederick County department heads, Dr. Alban, Superintendent of FCPS, Mayor Randy McClement and our CE Jan Gardner about the needs for those most vulnerable in our county. Also met with Senator Chris Van Hollen at the Large County Coalition Meeting in Ellicott City.

On the education front: toured Rock Creek School with Principal Mary Malone – what an amazing staff who teach and love some of the most disabled students. I previously visited Centerville Elementary and Waverly Elementary – if you ever doubt we have overcrowded schools – please visit them. Also attended FCC President’s Business Appreciation Awards, FCPS Teacher of the Year ceremony, graduation ceremonies for the Frederick County Drug Treatment Court and Brunswick High; recognition for SHIP’s expansion announcement that they are increasing a summer program, New Horizons Frederick, to include three schools: Governor Thomas Johnson High School, Tuscarora High and Frederick High which provides homeless FCPS students with academic support, part time jobs and so much more.

Our Frederick High school is on target to open on September 5th of this year for the first day of FCPS’s 2017/2018 year, and both Butterfly Ridge Elementary and Sugarloaf Elementary are currently under construction and will open in the fall of 2018.

I attended the dedication of FCC’s Bess and Frank Gladhill Learning Commons to recognize their extremely generous $500,000 donation to establish the Bess and Frank Gladhill Scholars Fund. This will enable some FCC students who qualify to have their education paid in full.

I am humbled by the opportunity, through attending various events, committee meetings, visits and conversations throughout the county, to expand my understanding about the needs and concerns of our citizenry, from other religious faiths to Veterans to the 840 homeless students and other matters. It has shown me the broader picture by spending time listening and learning from our citizens. At times, without realizing my preconceived notions, having discussions with others has made me more reflective and open minded on many subjects. I thank you for this. We’re all in this together!

Frederick County has a lot of great activities to offer throughout the summer including free band concerts at Baker Park, parades and carnivals, art festivals and so much more! We truly live in a vibrant community.

My wife Rose and I are very proud to live here. It is my honor to be able to serve you.

Thank you and have a safe and fun summer!

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