The road to results in our County Council
(11/2014) We are asked on many questionnaires and in many citizen forums about our plans for the first 100 Days on the Frederick County Council. Everyone assumes we will be churning out legislation to "make our names". My priorities for the first 100 days in office are more pragmatic:
organization, money and solid waste.
Organization: A functioning Charter Government is Job One. This is investment of time in the first two weeks could easily be overlooked by anyone in a rush to grab headlines, but it is so important. If the Council and Executive donít agree on procedures at the beginning about what issues are council issues and what are executive decisions, we could be facing constant
confusion, infighting or indecision that will keep us from moving forward on future policy and legislation. My discussions with council members from Cecil County, who passed Charter Government two years before us and on whose Charter ours is modeled, told me that transition for previous county commissioners was one of their biggest challenges. Former commissioners are reluctant
to let go of the powers they had grown used to, so it needs to be clear going forward who does what.
Operating and Capital Budgets: We have a many discussions ahead to determine in determining ways to balance the budget as we recover from the recession, because even as assessments and income taxes are increasing, many needs have been cut or put off. Like our own household budget s -- where we put off fixing the roof, didnít replace the old furnace so we could keep up with
rising food and gas costs, etc., --- things in our county operations and services, as well as our schools, are strained because of inattention, and we will have holes the dam to plug up in the coming term.
Solid Waste, Recycling and Alternatives: Our solid waste program is also at a critical decision stage. Weíve lost about six to eight years, depending on how you look at it, focused on an outdated and expensive technology (incineration) and have taken our eye off the ball when it comes to better alternatives. Composting and anaerobic digestion, recycling and incentives for
citizen waste reduction such as pay as you throw are all things we need to evaluate. We have to move quickly to gather the data to set up the right mix for our county because trucking the quantities out of state that we continue to truck is costing us *dearly).
To sum up, if Iím elected I donít plan to be a generator of "bills" for their own sake; I am more focused on problem solving and legislation that leads to results. Politicians generate bills; public servants focus on results.