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From the Desk of Blaine Young, Candidate for County Executive

(8/2014) I was not sure if I was reading a fairy tale last month or not: Jan Gardner trying to portray herself as a fiscal conservative! When in fact she supported Barack Obama for President and supports Obamacare, which is the worst piece of irresponsible fiscal legislation ever passed. She also whole-heartedly supports and did support Governor Martin O’Malley and her former boss, Senator Barbara Mikulski, two of the most legendary tax and spend liberals in Maryland’s history.

Jan Gardner never met a tax or fee she did not like and our Board was left with a financial mess to clean up. The Fire Tax was completely mismanaged to the point that the general fund was subsidizing it to the tune of over 10 million dollars per year. Taxpayers were being taxed twice. We consolidated this vital core public service into the general fund with the support of the Volunteer Firefighters Association. Volunteer and career fire and rescue members asked for help in solving this problem created by the Gardner Board, but she ignored their pleas and the problems were left to fester until the Young Board took office. We had promised during the prior campaign to straighten out the County’s financial turmoil, and we solved this issue. People expect fire and rescue service when it is needed, and politics should never be played when dealing with fire, rescue and police protection.

The Gardner Board bloated county government to its largest size in 2009, with approximately 2,650 budgeted full-time employees. With these recurring costs of salaries, pension and benefits, it created a serious structural budget problem. Most businesses were retracting in 2007, 2008 and 2009. She grew county to it largest size during that same period.

Let’s talk about the Bond Ratings. I will let them speak for themselves.

               Gardner Board                                 Young Board

                AAA/Negative        Fitch Ratings            AAA/Stable

                  Aa1/Stable             Moody’s                Aa1/Stable

                  AA+/Stable       Standard & Poors         AAA/Stable

We have produced the best bond ratings in the history of the county with your support and the hard work of the county employees. This was attained by tough, good budgeting decisions and with conservative prudent budgetary strategies. While the size of the general fund has grown, that is misleading because of the consolidation of services: Fire/Rescue’s $43 million is now included in the general fund along with $5 million from Permits and Code, instead of being maintained in a separate fund; these line items are not new spending. The current budget has 1977 budgeted full-time employees compared to 2,650 in 2009, a 25% decrease of county government without a reduction in your core county services. You be the judge.

Taxes Eliminated

  • Excise Tax
  • Fire and Rescue Tax (consolidated into the general fund)
  • Trailer Tax
  • Property Tax Rate reduced to constant yield in 2014
  • $100 Surplus rebate returned to tax payers
  • Senior Tax Credit Expanded
  • Admission and Amusement Tax
  • Home alarm, garbage disposal, dishwasher and electric hot water fee eliminated

Speaking of the Senior Tax Credit, former Commissioner Bruce Reeder had long wanted to pass a meaningful Senior Tax Credit to help seniors stay in their homes. However under the Gardner Board it was completely hollow. There was a stipulation in the plan that a lien, in favor of the government, was attached to the property so that the taxes built up silently, to be paid when the property was sold. Not one person signed up for this ridiculous government idea—for good reason: It would have reduced the sales value of the home by the amount of the County’s lien. We passed what former Commissioner Reeder proposed and passed it as a true reduction in property taxes, without any lien on the property. If you remember, this was a campaign promise made by us and it is a promise that was kept. To honor Commissioner Reeder for his compassion for our seniors, I arranged to have him brought to the meeting during which this credit was considered so he could personally witness the vote. This tax credit allows seniors to retire with dignity as he intended, and I am personally proud to have continued Bruce Reeder’s legacy.

Citizens and Montevue

We as taxpayers have lost over 50 million dollars carrying these facilities since the year 2000. Astonishingly, we taxpayers built a new state-of-the-art facility for 38 million dollars with NO INDEPENDENT FINANCIAL ANALYSIS ever being done to determine if the new facility would be self-sustaining, as claimed then by Jan Gardner. All of this for 60 indigent seniors who MAY OR MAY NOT BE Frederick County residents at the time of admission. No other county operates a nursing home with this type of model. Only one other county is even involved in a nursing home and they are exploring opportunities to sell. We could have received 10 – 15 million dollars more in the sale of the facility but the community said they wanted the patients and employees protected. We listened and we did as they asked. No patient can be removed or transferred. Employee wages were maintained with comparable health care benefits. The nursing home will be there in its location and in operation for many years to come, but a private company can run it far better than the government can. Just as the federal government should not be in the health care business, neither should the county government. Previous administrations tried and failed. We cleaned up the financial mess.

We are planning for continued prosperity with the goal of maintaining Frederick County as the best county in the State of Maryland. We are one of the safest counties, have the best education system, and unemployment is at 4.5% in Frederick County. We have the best bond rating in the history of the county and we now have one of the friendliest business environments in the state. Controlled growth will happen in and around the City of Frederick and in southern Frederick County. We are charging developers and new residents now more than ever. More than $40,000 per home in fees for needed infrastructure. Here are some questions I would love to hear Jan Gardner answer.

  • 1. Does she support Sheriff Jenkins and the 287(g) Ice program?
  • 2. Does she support Governor Martin O’Malley’s gun grabbing legislation?
  • 3. Does she support the Rain Tax?
  • 4. Does she support the state’s increase in the minimum wage?
  • 5. What policies/taxes of Barack Obama, Barbara Mikulski and Martin O’Malley does she disagree with and did she ever speak out against any of them?

All of these impact our county and you should know where all candidates stand on these important issues.

To learn more about Blaine Young
visit his campaign website at
www.blaineyoung.com

Read other articles related to 2014 Frederick primary races