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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Young Wants Changes in City Budget

George Wenschhof
Frederick, Maryland

The mayor and board are scheduled to meet Thursday May 17 to vote on the tax rate and Mayor Randy McClement's (R) proposed 137 million City of Frederick budget.  This follows a series of public meetings on the budget.
When I spoke to Alderman Karen Young (D) on Monday, she said " my two greatest long-term concerns are road work and liability funding. I will not support a budget that does not make a significant contribution to both of these."

She wants to see the city make an additional one million contribution to the Other Post Employees Benefit (OPEB) Trust which is currently underfunded by $128 million.

In  addition, Young wants  $1.26 million to complete repair work on all Priority 1 road repair projects.

A majority of the funding for both she says would come from reducing the amount of the unallocated reserves from $4.6 million to $3 million.

In an email, Alderman Young indicated she would also like to see several additional positions. "There are a few more full and part-time positions that should be funded to: a) make our city safer, and b) make our service delivery smoother. Therefore I am supporting:
* at least two more police officers
* An additional part-time employee in the Code Department

* Two part-time parking attendants
* A part-time receptionist focused on expediting the permits process

The funding for the above positions would come, in part, from reducing the mayor's contingency fund from $250,000 to $100,000."
Young told me she was pleased "the budget process is becoming more transparent to our citizens" but expressed her continued frustration with the lack of dialogue that takes place between aldermen and the mayor.

She concluded her remarks by saying "If the Mayor incorporates the items that I deem important, I will vote to approve the budget. I will vote to approve the tax rate, even if we don't approve the budget, because we can work within the budget parameters dictated by the tax rate."

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