Nonprofits to Frederick County: Take time privatizing

Ex-commissioner asks for 'thoughtful' tactics
Frederick News Post
Meg Tully
Leaders from two area nonprofit organizations are calling for the Frederick County Commissioners to slow down on a proposal to privatize more than 500 county government jobs. In his report to the commissioners, Georgia consultant Oliver Porter last week recommended the board consider outsourcing core government services handled by about 500 of the county's more than 2,000 employees. Four public hearings on the proposal are scheduled for next month. On Tuesday, leaders from Friends of Frederick County and Envision Frederick County, two local nonprofits, met at C. Burr Artz Public Library to discuss the proposal with Frederick County Commissioner David Gray. At a public hearing last week, the League of Women Voters also called for a slower process. Friends of Frederick County and Envision Frederick County members suggested Porter's study should be reviewed by another consultant, or the county should consider establishing a pilot program of outsourcing only one department, instead of proceeding with Porter's plan of outsourcing all at once. "It's too big to rush into without a serious and thoughtful approach," said Kai Hagen, a former Frederick County commissioner who is now executive director of Envision Frederick County. He said the 27-page study contains little more detail than a brochure for Porter's business, PPP Associates, and described the report as a combination puff piece and sales pitch.

Alternative to impact fee considered

Frederick News Post
Clifford Cumber
Thursday’s snowy morning may end up a boon to affordable housing throughout the state and end a conflict over how to help low-income workers afford to live in Frederick County. If 5 or 6 inches of snow hadn’t hit the region, local Realtor Billy Shreve might not have sat down and drafted his alternative to Commissioner Jan Gardner’s proposal to change the county’s impact fee to an impact tax, he said Saturday. Ms. Gardner’s proposal would allow the county to create waivers for cheaper housing and a sliding scale in which larger homes would be charged a greater tax than smaller homes, based on a square-foot assessment. Mr. Shreve’s proposal would allow Maryland’s 23 counties to draft ordinances that would allow waivers for impact fees on a case-by-case basis. Affordable-housing advocates would go before county-appointed boards to seek a special waiver for their projects, Mr. Shreve said.