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Monday, August 12, 2013

Holtzinger Wants to Return as Mayor

George Wenschhof

Jeff Holtzinger
The former one term Republican mayor of The City of Frederick wants his job back after watching Mayor Randy McClement (R) from the sidelines over the last three and one-half years.

I asked Jeff why he decided not to run for reelection and he told me “it was because he had reached the “white board” goals he had set upon becoming mayor.”  He ticked off; reaching an agreement to provide a water supply for the city, cutting back unnecessary levels of government, he reduced the tax rate twice, and had obtained the final permit for central section of Monocacy Boulevard. 

Holtzinger said he had hoped that Randy, as a small business owner, would have helped inject common sense and reduce the red tape in government, but he has seen “indecisiveness from the mayor.”

Jeff added he felt “McClement, by not making decisions, had allowed the board of aldermen to be the de facto mayor.”

While Holtzinger believes in the need to collaborate with the aldermen, he feels they are the legislative body and not administrators.

Since, deciding not to run for reelection, Holtzinger has put his law degree and engineering degree to work and is presently a consultant with The Town of Brunswick, where he is proud of the in-house work staff has done on town projects.

As mayor, Jeff said he would like the city staff to be utilized more on projects and to cut back on the costly expense of hiring consultants.  Specifically, the former mayor said the city was spending too much money on Phase II of the Carroll Creek development.

Holtzinger would like to see a more straightforward set of plans for Carroll Creek and reduce the scope of the plans.  He believes the consultant plans will lead to many change orders, driving up the construction cost of the project.

Jeff said the “city is spending $3 million an acre to develop Carroll Creek and this is too high.”

One of the goals Jeff would like to accomplish is to finish the “beltway” around Frederick by completing the missing links.  He believes this will help the circulation of traffic for residents of the city.

Again, Holtzinger came back to doing as much engineering/survey work in-house as possible, adding the city also had the capability to do minor construction.

Holtzinger also told me he was unhappy with changes in the land management code and that some regulations being added were unnecessary.  If, elected mayor, he would begin an in-house review of the land management code with perhaps some outside help, and would present changes to it in a public meeting.

He defended his controversial push for the city to purchase the costly Hargett Farm for a park, saying the city needed more active recreation parks where residents can easily walk to it.  Due to the size of acreage for the park, public announcement systems and lighting will not be an issue as it is in manner areas, because it will not be right next to residential neighborhoods.

When I brought up the concerns of the costly purchase price and off-site improvements, Jeff defended the purchase saying even with the off-site improvements, the development costs will be less than the $3 million per acre the city is spending to develop Carroll Creek.

Jeff also said his water agreement with the county was also necessary. The annual cost to the city that exceeds $1 million, even though the city is not using water was something that had to be done, according to Holtzinger.

The city did not have adequate water supply to serve development and Jeff said it costs the county money to have the water ready to go, even if the city does not draw on it.  He added the downturn in the economy has added to this problem due to anticipated growth not taking place.

In concluding the interview, I asked him about the city residency requirement for mayor and he said it may sound funny coming from him, but he supports it because he believes the mayor should be familiar with the community.

Holtzinger, who lived just outside the city limits, won the 2005 election when legal maneuvering on the residency issue allowed a temporary window when no residency requirements were in place.

He informed me he has taken the steps to do what was needed to meet the residency requirement in this election.

Stay Tuned.

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