Frederick’s Mayor Introduces FY 2018 Budget

But he says decisions at the federal level could impact the local spending plan.


Frederick, Md (KM). Frederick Mayor Randy McClement on Wednesday afternoon released his proposed fiscal year 2018 operating and capital budgets to the Board of Aldermen. The operating side totals $149,684,926, and the capital budget is $16,961,227.

The budget contains no property tax increase, but the water and sewer rate will increase by 3%. In his submittal letter, Mayor McClement says this boost is necessary to pay for upgrades to the city’s water and wastewater treatment plants to help provide “clean water and sanitation services.” However, he says the city is continuing its 10-year phase out of the business personal property tax begun in fiscal year 2016.

In his presentation to the Aldermen, McClement said there will be additional funding of about $1-million dollars to the Police Department. “In that, we have two, full time dispatchers. There is replacement of vehicles and other equipment for mission-critical needs as set by the priorities of the chief,” he said.

Related to that, the Mayor says he’s included fund to secure city buildings. He says this follows an assessment conducted by the city’s Risk and Safety Manager, and the Police Chief, and requests from city staff who have raised concerns about their safety.

There’s also an increase in funding for the Department of Public Works, which will bring on additional employees. “We’ve added an assistant street maintenance superintendent. We’ve added four, operator-fours at the water treatment plant. An operator-three in  street sweeping. And we put in an HPC {Historic Preservation Commission} inspector,” he says.

There is also funding for the westside regional park located at the Hargett Farm property off of Butterfly Lane. “We’ve all worked hard to get the westside regional park to keep moving forward in a positive direction. And with that, I wanted to make sure that there was some funding to allow that actual  realization to happen. So I put $2-million in the CIP for the westside regional park,” says the Mayor. The money will be used for a design and construction of a main entry roadway and utilities.l

The city purchased the Hargett Farm in 2009 for $18-million, and has been paying annually on this unused property since then.

CIty employees will also see increases in their salaries. “In this year’s  budget, I have put a three-percent merit increase for all civilian employees. I’ve put in a step for sworn officers. The step equates to about four-percent. And I have put in a one-percent COLA {cost of living adjustment} for all city employees,” McClement says.

Because of the uncertainty on the federal level, Mayor McClement says he and his city staff will be keeping tabs on what’s happening in Washington. President Trump’s proposed budget calls for a $54-billion increase in defense spending, and an equivalent amount in reductions for other government programs, such as those dealing with the poorest Americans. Those include the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) which helps people pay utility bills, and the Community Development Block Grant program which helps with  affordable housing and infrastructure.

Mayor McClement says the Frederick Community Action Agency receives a lot of federal grants. “We’ve calculated about $3.2-million annually in federal grants goes to the Frederick Community Action Agency,” he says. “That also includes the health center.” The Community Action Agency provides health care, food and nutrition, housing, weatherization and energy assistance services.

He told the Aldermen he hopes for the best, but is ready if cuts do come. “I sort of bring this up to let you know that somewhere in our budget process. After the budget is approved, there may come a time that we have to come before you to make some adjustments based on changes in funding from above us,” McClement said.

Hearings on the budget begin next week. The Aldermen are scheduled to decide on the spending plan and the tax rate on May 18th.


By Kevin McManus