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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Public Safety First for Alderman Krimm

George Wenschhof

When I met with City of Frederick Democratic alderman Carol Krimm to discuss the proposed FY'13 city budget proposed by Republican mayor Randy McClement, I was impressed with the thoroughness of her preparation.

The alderman pointed out to me public safety, public works and the city debt service made up the overwhelming majority of the city budget. Carol believed by putting safety first, the goals of a good quality of life and economic development would follow for city residents.

Prior to our discussing the budget, Carol shared she was pleased the mayor had followed her suggestion from last year and was reviewing the budget by department, instead of four "catch all" budget hearings. Krimm noted the public can still discuss any part of the budget at any meeting, but the focus, by department, made it easier to manage.

Krimm was also happy her suggestion for a quarterly budget review had been initiated by the mayor as she felt this was a good management tool.

Ms. Krimm had the New York City phone book sized budget already tabbed for easy reference and began to discuss some of the areas in the budget she had reviewed.

Alderman Krimm specifically was interested in finding out what was the status of the new city police station in the city capital budget. She believed $100,000 had been spent on design, but nothing has been discussed for some time.

In addition to supporting the mayor's request for additional police positions, she wanted the part-time code enforcement position requested by the mayor to be a full time position. Krimm believed the money for the position could come from savings resulting from the passage of the traffic citation bill, which no longer requires officers to attend court for traffic fine cases.

She also hoped the city would pursue implementing "Safe Streets", a Governor's initiative involving the coordination of all agencies which work in public safety. Both Annapolis and Salisbury experienced a dramatic decrease in crime after implementing the program.

In the public works area, Krimm was encouraged with the savings generated from the pilot area which had a reduction in trash pick up to once a week and felt the city was learning from this as to how to implement more effectively throughout the city.

Due to the fee increase, Carol also hoped the city could consider a monthly bill, instead of a quarterly bill, for water/sewer fees to help city residents budget.

She also planned to ask for forward funding to begin needed street repair work now, instead of waiting until the start of the fiscal year.

Krimm also shares alderman Karen Young's concern the proposed budget did not address the Other Post Employee Benefit (OPEB) contribution which is underfunded and a major liability to the city. Krimm wanted to see what a new committee appointed by the mayor recommended in this area.

Stay tuned. The mayor and board plan to adopt the tax rate and budget at a meeting on May 17.

Following is the schedule for city workshops on the budget:

April 4th - 7:00 p.m.
• Department of Public Works

April 11th – 7:00 p.m.
• Police Department April 18th – 7:00 p.m.
• Airport
• Economic Development,
• Weinberg Center,
• Parking,
• Facilities
• Community Action Agency

April 25th – 7:00 p.m.
• Engineering
• Planning
• Parks & Recreation

May 2nd – 7:00 p.m.
• Finance/Budget & Purchasing/Human Resources
• Legal
• Mayor’s Office

May 9th – 7:00 p.m.
• Open agenda


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