Changes To Be Made To One Item In The Frederick County Council Legislative Package

It has to do with support for the Climate Solutions Now Act.

Frederick, Md (KM) A position statement in the Frederick County Council’s 2022 Legislative Package supporting the Climate Solutions Now Act is expected to be rewritten.

The bill, which was introduced during the 2021 Maryland General Assembly Session, would, among other things, require the state to reduce greenhouse emissions by 60% of 2006 levels by 2030, and mandate zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045. The entire bill did not pass during the last session,  but parts of it were enacted by state lawmakers.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Councilman Steve McKay noted  that no piece of legislation has been proposed for 2022. “I’d like to support this. I just can’t right now because I don’t what I’d be supporting,” he said.

Councilman Phil Dacey had similar comments. “We don’t know what the bill is going to be. I think we’re putting the cart before the horse by throwing only support behind something we haven’t see yet,” he said. “I also think it’s not a good practice for our Council to get involved in things that are not unique local matters.”

Councilwoman Jessica Fitzwater is sponsoring the position paper. “Climate change is such an urgent and enduring issues, and that things that happen across the state have a direct impact on what happens in Frederick County,:” she said.

During the discussion, Council President MC Keegan-Ayer asked Councilwoman Fitzwater to rewrite the position statement, making it a little more generic so it’s not totally concentrated on the Climate Solutions Now Act. :”I just think that signing on to the entire Climate Solutions Now Act is a problem just based on what I know about the Act itself, and other activities and possible legislation that might be introduced instead of that in Annapolis,” she said.

Fitzwater agreed to revise the position statement to support the Climate Solutions Now Act, or other similar legislation. The Council is expected to vote on it next Tuesday.  The position statement was tabled until next week.

In other action, the Council approved two other measures in its 2022 Legislative Package. They included a bill to change the way vacancies are filled on the Board of Education, and  revamping the way property tax rate hearings are advertised, which says the County is raising taxes if it doesn’t set the current property tax rate at the constant yield. That rate would bring in the same amount of revenue in the next fiscal year that the county received in the current fiscal year. Councilman Jerry Donald, whose sponsoring this measure, says the current advertisement is misleading because the current property tax rate is not going up.

Councilwoman Fitzwater withdrew legislation she  was sponsoring  to change requirements for converting farm buildings for use in agri-tourism.   It would increase the number of people inside these buildings from 50 to 200. That raised concerns from fire and rescue officials. Fitzwater says she will do more research on this issue and consult with other counties.

The County Executive is scheduled to hold a town hall meeting on October 13th.

By Kevin McManus