County Executive Touts Accomplishments, Talks About The Future

She delivered her State of the County Address on Friday.

Frederick, Md (KM) “Life is good in Frederick County. The state of the county is strong.” That’s according to County Executive Jan Gardner who delivered her State of the County Address on Friday.

She talked about all of the accomplishments that occurred throughout the year, pointing to a booming economy. “And we’ve had business expansions in manufacturing and biotech and AstraZeneca; a new distribution e-commerce center at COSTCO. We’ve have technology expanding with Regent Education soon to move into some new funky space on Carroll Creek,” she said.

Citizens can also expect more of the same over the next couple of months, Gardner said. “You’ll hear more about a second business incubator and you’ll hear more about some businesses expanding in Frederick County,” she said.

Gardner said one of the accomplishments of this year was the county receiving a AAA bond rating from all three of the major bond rating agencies in the country. “There are fewer than 50 counties in the nation out of over 3,000 counties that have three AAA bond ratings,” she said. “And it’s good news for taxpayers. That means lower interest rates on our bonds and big savings in interest payments.”

During her speech, Gardner also talked about efforts by the county to continue its ownership of Citizens Care and Rehabilitation Center and Montevue Assisted Living Centers. “Now, retaining Citizens and Montevue was a difficult task. And really working together, we restored our promise to our seniors and maintained our county commitment to each other,” she said. “So I want to thank the citizens, the county staff and the County Council for their support in making this happen.”

As part of the agreement, Aurora Holdings will run the two facilities while the county will own them.

Gardner also gave praise to the county’s public school system. Related to that, she said school construction is moving forward. “The new Frederick High School is under construction and on schedule to open to students in the fall of 2017. And more important and somewhat incredible was our shared solution and community.partnership to provide adequate school facilities in both Urbana and the city of Frederick, where schools were overcrowded,” she said.

And, the County Executive said, her administration is working to improve teacher salaries, which are some of the lowest in Maryland. “I’m proud that working together, we have accomplished a plan to improve and ultimately deliver competitive teacher salaries. And this is critically important for the long term success of our schools,” says Gardner.

As for future, she said a workforce housing project at 520 North Market Street will come to fruition, and construction is expected to begin on a new library for Walkersville, and a new fire hall for Middletown. “The Solid Waste ‘What’s Next’ public process completed a brainstorming exercise in the past year where they came up with a short list of ideas that are going to be further evaluated so we that we can make progress on our mandated zero-waste goals,” says Gardner.

In addition, there will be initiatives for senior citizens which are being prepared by a steering committee. “And that steering committee has been working hard over the past year, and are about to release recommendations on how we can best capture the energy and experience of our active seniors, and use that knowledge and expertise to bring that to bear on issues in our community, and to keep seniors connected in our community,” she said. “And, of course, we also have to plan for the frail elderly, and really reimagine how we provide services to seniors in our community.”

Finally, Gardner said many citizens, who said they had doubts about charter government in the beginning, have told here they’re happy with how the new form of government is working in Frederick County. “Charter government is working and delivering good government with a focus on honest and open government,” she said.

By Kevin McManus