On doing the County Executive Job
(10/2014) The job of County Executive requires doing many important things well. First, I want to continue to expand the senior property tax credit until the income limit for those eligible to participate in the program reaches a gross household income of $100,000. We
recently expanded it to $70,000. My goal as County Executive is to have Frederick County be the friendliest county in the state for seniors to live in. In addition, I will work to keep property taxes low for all homeowners.
Working with the County Council I will continue to work to bring more jobs to Frederick County. I am proud to say that since January 2011, the Frederick County unemployment rate has dropped from 6.9% to 5.6% and the number of unemployed has fallen by over 2,000. This was done by cutting or eliminating over 260 taxes and fees, getting spending under
control, and eliminating job-killing regulations.
I am very proud of our school system as we rank number one in the state and my two sons currently attend Frederick County Public Schools. Under my leadership the Board of County Commissioners has increased education funding and I will continue to propose to the Board of Education that we increase pay for starting teachers. Teachers have received two step
increases, one time bonuses, cost of living increases and an additional $125 to offset healthcare costs. As we continue to get our budget under control, from the spending mess I inherited, I will continue to advocate for higher teacher salaries.
I am proud to say we have increased funding for education by over $16. 7 million dollars. Of that $5.7 million was above the Maintenance of Effort standard, meaning we invested above and beyond what was required by law.
We invested $4.7 million in improved technology in our schools. This has enabled the school system to reach the goal of having every school equipped with wireless internet. Online learning enables our children to have the skills needed to succeed in the workforce.
The current school system capacity is at eighty-eight percent. One of the reasons we are significantly under capacity is because this Board made school construction its top priority. We approved a record $34.5 million in repairs to aging schools. As a result of our commitment to great schools we completed an addition to Oakdale Elementary, built a new
North Frederick Elementary, started an addition with 300 new seats to Urbana Middle School, moved up Frederick High School renovation, added an additional elementary school for Urbana and a new school for the west end of the City of Frederick.
Growth planning and budgeting are major differences between myself and Jan Gardner. During her time in office, Jan Gardner mismanaged both the budget and growth. On the budget, she spent and taxed too much and on growth she used a scattershot method. I on the other have governed with the vision of fiscal conservatism and managed growth.
Despite Gardner's anti-developer rhetoric, 2,329 residential building permits (County/Non-City of Frederick) were issued under the Gardner Board (2007-2010). This compares to the 1,751 permits issued under the Young Board (2011-through July 31, 2014). This means that 578 less home were built under my watch to date.
While Gardner did not slow the pace of overall residential development, she did however go after a select number of individuals and down zone their property. A perfect example is the Ingram property in the Jefferson area. Mr. Ingram had a couple of residential lots he had been paying property taxes on for many years. He planned to sell those lots for his
retirement. Jan Gardner, after taking over as the President of the Board of Commissioners, suddenly down-zoned his property, which would have in part robbed him of his retirement. Gardner did not slow the pace of residential growth, she did however wage the full force of the county against a couple of politically unconnected individuals like Mr. Ingram.
When I came into office, I restored the property rights to many of these individuals. We were able to do this while effectively managing growth. Yes, we have approved some developments, which were in the comprehensive plan for years, but at the same time I have rejected others - including most recently a new development in Buckeystown.
In part, thanks to our effective growth planning and increased school construction funding, we have reduced school capacity from where it was under Jan Gardner. For the first time we actually have a plan moving forward. Our current residents don't have fear their property will suddenly be down zoned or that development planning will be done in a hodgepodge
manner. It is known where new developments are going and where they are not per the Comprehensive Plan.
Finally, I will continue my fiscally conservative management of the budget. When I took office our credit rating had been downgraded, we had a huge projected deficit, and funding for core services, like public safety, were being raided to balance the budget. We were able to balance the budget each year while reducing taxes and fees, and Frederick County
recently received its highest bond rating in history with two AAA ratings.
The County Executive's most important job is putting together a budget. In carrying out this task I will stay true to my beliefs as a fiscal conservative. By contrast, Jan Gardner is a proven tax-and-spend liberal who repeatedly and consistently raised taxes and fees on families.
To learn more about Blaine Young
visit his campaign website at www.blaineyoung.com
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