Frederick Aldermen Look Over Mayor’s Proposed Fiscal Year 2023 Budget Wed. Night

They concentrated most of their attention on salary and benefits for city employees.


Frederick, Md (KM) Frederick Mayor Michael  O’Connor’s proposed fiscal year 2023 budget came before the Board of Aldermen Wednesday.

The spending plan totals $197.3-million, and keeps the property tax rate at 73-cents per $100 of assessed value.

Mayor O’Connor says the budget has a new salary scale for employees of a  $20 minimum wage for full time city workers. “It seeks to ensure that we remain an employer of choice, and we’re putting additional dollars to ensure that it is a highly trained workforce,”: he said.;

Alderwoman Donna Kuzemchak said she is “so thrilled” with $20 per hour minimum wage for city employees. “That is probably the most exciting thing about this budget for me,” she said.

But Kuzemchak had a concern. “That amount of money is $41,000 a year. According to our ALICE study, it costs $51,000 a year not to be sustainable but just to live in the city of Frederick,” she said.

The ALICE report is put together by the United Way and measures poverty in the area.  ALICE stands for Assessed Limited, Income Constrained, Employed.  

And Alderman Derek Shackelford said he would like to see a change in the culture of the city government. “Are we anti-racist? Are we anti-patriot? Are were anti-discriminatory? And this is the way from the top to the bottom, this the way is it. That’s my concern,” he said. “If we’re just talking about a salary scale in terms of just tossing around some money to fix something. If we’re talking about changing a culture, you can convince me that way.”

During the meeting, Human Resources Director Karen Paulson said like many employers last year, the City of Frederick had a difficult time filling job openings. “When we look at our number of full time position postings versus the applicants we are getting, we had more postings last year, and significantly fewer applicants for these postings,:” she said. “And that is reflective of our competitiveness as an employer.”

Alderman Ben MacShane hoped that the new salary scale would help in hiring more employees for many positions which are difficult to fill, such as refuse collector and waste water treatment plant operator: “The proposed new salary scale in some construction is a large step toward addressing some of these challenging areas. Not all of these challenging positions, but some of these challenging positions. These are tough jobs,:” he says

This was the first of several budget meetings scheduled for April and May. A vote by the Board of Aldermen on a budget and the property tax rate for the next fiscal year is expected to take place on May 19th


By Kevin McManus