County Council Considering Climate Change Resolution


The panel also approved four charter questions for the Nov. general election ballot.




Frederick, Md (KM) A resolution calling on Frederick County to consider climate change when drafting legislation and policy was introduced on Tuesday.

One of the sponsors is Councilwoman Jessica Fitzwater. “This is something that is going to continue to affect Frederick County and our children and grandchildren for generations to come,”  she said.

The resolution calls on the Council to set up a Climate Change Emergency Mobilization Workgroup. Councilman Kai Hagen, whose also sponsoring the measure, says workgroup will have many representatives from throughout the community. “These are public meetings. It will be open. Information will be readily available. People can ask questions along the way. They can provide insights and information,” he says.

The resolution states that the two sponsors, or their designees, will be member of the workgroup It also lists  representatives form Clean Water Action, Climate Change Working Group, Downtown Frederick Partnership, Electric Vehicle Assocaiton of Greater Washington, Food Security Network, the Frederick County Building Industry Association, Frederick County Chamber of Commerce, Frederick County Farm Bureau, Frederick County Food Council, Healthy Soils Network, Mutifaith Alliance of Climate Stewards of Frederick County, Sierra Catoctin Club, along with  representation from public health, higher education, the scientific communities and other recognized and relevant stakeholders in the County.The representation is not limited specifically to these groups, the resolution says.

The measure also says Workgroug p will consider four main Climate Emergency concerns which are relevant to Frederick County: Energy, transportation, and buildings; Agriculture, forestry and sequestration; health and extreme weather adaption and resilience; and public engagement and education.

During the meeting, Councilman Phil Dacey noted that climate change has been described as an emergency, and he  wondered if that word is overused. “We’ve got opiate emergencies, health emergencies, police brutality emergencies, economic crises,” he says. “Everything’s an emergency. One of my reservations. Is there a willingness to revisit that, or is it something you want to stick with.”

“It really is an emergency,” Councilman Hagen responded. “It is an extraordinary crisis It’s an existential crisis in terms of the well being of human society, the ecology of the planet.”

The task of the Climate Emergency Mobilization Workgroup will  present a status report about six months after it’s established, and report to the Council a year later with recommendations for legislative, administrative and community recommendations.

Councilwoman Fitzwater noted these are recommendations, not mandates for businesses and residents. “Here’s how we feel are the best practices, the best strategies, the best recommendations that we can make to help the county reach these goals” she said. “So nothing in the report is going to make anybody do anything.”

The Council has scheduled a hearing on the resolution for Tuesday, July 14th.

Charter Questions

In other business, the Council narrowed down its list of ballot questions to four. One question, if approved, would allow individual Councilmembers to request information from the County’s Executive Branch.

Another question has to do with how much debt the county can take on. “Changing debt limits from 5% to 3% of real property, and 15% down to 9% of personal property,” says Council President MC Keegan-Ayer.

Two other amendments would call for special elections to fill vacant seats on the County Council, and a special election to fill the County Executive’s position if it becomes vacant.

Keegan-Ayer had asked the Council keep the number of questions to no more than four so that voters don’t have a long list of questions to decide on election day So questions dealing with fringe benefits for Councilmembers, a 10% increase in the Council President’s salary the issuance of subpoenas by the Council, and an amendment to let Councilmembers add to the County Executive’s budget were rejected

The general election is Tuesday, November 3rd, 2020.



By Kevin McManus