Thank you for visiting our website

Featuring breaking political news and commentary on local, state, and national issues.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Dougherty: “Government is not the enemy”

George Wenschhof

During my ninety minute interview with Jennifer Dougherty, the unaffiliated candidate for mayor of The City of Frederick constantly focused on the issues and her leadership ability.

The former mayor informed me she was running her campaign as if she had a primary and has already knocked on 6,000 doors. By September 10, the day of the primary election, she plans to have knocked on another 4,000 doors.

One thing she heard from residents is they are not happy with the decision by the current administration to eliminate bulk trash pick up and that she would bring it back if elected mayor.

She told me “government is not the enemy and can help people in every neighborhood and business as well.”

In regard to mayor Randy McClement (R), alderman Karen Young (D) and alderman Shelley Aloi (R), who are all running for mayor, Dougherty said “they have had four years to address the big issues and she doesn’t see any evidence they would be able to make any meaningful change if they were elected mayor for the next term.”

Jennifer believes one of the biggest issues in this election is leadership experience and feels during her term as mayor she demonstrated the willingness to get things done, citing the start up of phase I of the Carroll Creek development as one example.

In this case, she appointed a task force to create development on what had long been a dormant site, named local businessman Dick Kessler as chair and facilitated the groundbreaking for La Paz restaurant and the office building on site “A”.

When I mentioned the underfunded city pension and other post employment benefit plans (OPEB), Dougherty informed me she would cut in half the amount of time Mayor McClement has established at reaching an increase from the city current 50% funding level to 80% funding level.  She wants to achieve an 80% funding level in ten years versus the twenty years proposed by the mayor.

Jennifer also wants to review the recent change by the city from tax equity to tax differential, arguing there is as much as $10 million in residential taxes being paid by city taxpayers for duplication of services under the current formula and an even higher loss of revenue when commercial is added.

In addition, the former mayor pointed out to me the city fund balance is nearly two times higher than what is needed. She told me by resolution, 12% is called for and in fact, it is currently 23%.  She would use the $16 million, resulting from the change, to plow back into needed services and to reduce the tax burden for city taxpayers.

In regard to the city purchase of the Hargett farm during the Holtzinger administration, she felt this was a mistake and huge liability to the city.  She would consider selling some of this property to reduce the debt load of the city and to cover needed infrastructure improvements.

Dougherty added another potential revenue source for the city would be to privatize the city owned parking decks.

She also said she would propose a reduction in business personal property tax by 50% over a three year period.  Businesses in the county do not currently pay these taxes and although Dougherty said it would result in a $1.2 million reduction in revenue to the city, it would spur economic development and create jobs.

In closing my interview, Jennifer shared with me she was proud of the way the neighborhood advisory councils (NACs) that she initiated when she was mayor, were working today.

She believes they can even work better and would like to begin brown bag lunch monthly meetings with NAC leaders, businesses leaders, elected officials, and high achievers from high school.

The meetings would be open with the press invited and she would discuss what was coming up on the city agenda, etc.

Stay tuned.
Your Donations to Frederick Politics are Appreciated - Please click on the Donation Button in right hand margin of page - Thank You!

No comments: