County Commissioners' Report on
the State of Frederick County
(12/19) On December 19th, the Frederick Board of County Commissioners presented a comprehensive report on the state of the county in commemoration of the board’s three-year anniversary since taking office. The strategic goals approved at the beginning of the board’s term continue to set the stage for actions in areas highlighted in the report.
Board President Blaine Young said, "This year’s state of the county presentation provides a snapshot in time of where we stand today. In spite of continuing challenges to the economy, Frederick County is addressing the structural deficit and long-term fiscal challenges, yearly county income has increased, total employment has increased, unemployment continues to remain
under six percent, new housing demands have increased, and school construction projects have been moved up in the funding process.
"We are making good progress and heading in the right direction as far as budget, jobs, public-private partnerships, public safety, agricultural preservation, land use, housing, transportation and many other areas. We have made many tough decisions over the years, because we were determined to live within our means and that is now the norm for Frederick County Government.
"Frederick County is on stable, healthy ground. Compared with other jurisdictions, we’re in a position of stability with regard to our bond rating, our retirement fund and other post employment benefits. Our accomplishments over the last year have much to do with our cooperative relationship with our municipalities and the business community. We have made our point that we
are ‘open for business’ in Frederick County.
The complete report on the state of the county is available on the Board of County Commissioners’ webpage at www.FrederickCountyMD.gov/bocc.
Highlights of the report include:
- Agricultural Preservation Program - Frederick County has preserved 49,207 agricultural acres and another 16,503 acres on 107 easements through the Installment Purchase Program.
- Taxpayer relief initiatives reduced or eliminated over 200 fees associated with doing business with Frederick County.
- A comparison of past budgets and a look at the fiscal integrity of Frederick County, which saw an improvement in its bond rating due to the board’s commitment to address structural imbalances through expenditure cuts without material reliance on one-time resources.
- A report on the county’s premier public school system: Frederick County Public Schools had the state’s fourth highest graduation rate at 92.8 percent and the second lowest dropout rate at 3.6 percent; SAT scores continue to surpass state and national scores, and Newsweek again noted all of the county’s high schools on its list of America’s Best High Schools.
- Public safety – fire and rescue responded to 49,755 calls in FY2013 and the county continues to maintain a strong career and volunteer base of dedicated personnel.
- Public safety – The crime rate per capita (per 100 people) in Frederick County is less than one-half the national average. However, the overall reduction in the number of Maryland State Police troopers assigned to Frederick County and their diminishing law enforcement role locally will require the Sheriff’s Office to increase the authorized number of sworn deputies to
maintain the current level of law enforcement services.
- Parks & Recreation Division maintained 18 developed parks and 2,066 acres of park land, which were enjoyed by over 1.8 million estimated visitors in FY2013.
- Animal Control reports on intake, adoption, rescue and total calls of over 10,000 during FY2013.
- Health Services reported that the county moved to third best in Maryland for Health Outcomes; the department received a score of 100 percent from the Centers for Disease Control upon review of the plan for dispensing medications in a biological emergency; provided outpatient mental health and additional treatment services; it educated approximately 9,000 residents about
cancer prevention; school health staff managed over 320,000 health room visits and the Scott Key Center continued to provide employment assistance for those with disabilities.
- Citizens Services: A new Housing Initiative Fund provides emergency sheltering assistance to the Religious Coalition, Advocates for the Homeless and the Frederick Community Action Agency. TransIT was selected for the second year in a row by the Transportation Association of Maryland as the Best Large Fixed Route System in the state.
- A report from Frederick County Public Libraries: circulation of books increased in FY2013, library visits (1,105,952), total patrons served (158,708) and Summer Reading Program participants (10,013).
- Municipalities: Working with synergies in locating cost efficiencies and savings through mutual partnerships such as the elimination of charging local governments for their tax billings and working through tax set-offs and tax differentials, which was a $4 million budget enhancement to Frederick County municipalities. Reopened Municipal Recycling Centers with county
subsidy in Emmitsburg and Thurmont.
- The Frederick County Renewable Waste-to-Energy Facility planned for the McKinney Industrial Park will be able process 1,500 tons of trash per day (in addition to other items), as well as generate up to 51 megawatts of Tier 1 renewable electricity – enough to power about 45,000 homes. The report also covered other related projects underway and waste-to-energy project
cost information. Once Maryland Department of the Environment permits are received, the County Commissioners will be briefed on final costs and revenues associated with the project.
For further information on the state of the county report, contact Ragen Cherney, Office of the County Manager, at 301-600-1049 or via e-mail at rcherney@FrederickCountyMD.gov.
Read other articles related to Frederick County