Budget Goals

Affordable Housing

Attracting New Businesses and Residents

Blight and Underperforming Properties

Downtown Hotel/Conference Center and Birely Tannery

East Frederick Rising and Other Small Areas

Expanding Vibrancy

Homelessness and Loitering

Regulation

Route 15 and Being Connected

Social and Human Services

Tax Equity

Westside Regional Park

 

Budget Goals

 

As Mayor, I will ensure that all spending decisions will be aligned to a sound citywide strategy.  Budgeting will be goal-based, problem solving, and community-oriented.

 

We must invest in infrastructure and community development projects that make a difference in the lives of Frederick residents.

  • We need a transportation system emphasizing pedestrian safety, walkability, and bicycle connections. Parks maintenance, senior and youth recreation, sustainability, and public art must also be priorities. 

 

We must make human capital a priority.

  • City employees do a great job and we should emphasize recruitment, training, and retention. We also need improved community engagement through cutting edge technology, social media, and public information that better connects residents with City Hall.  

 

We must assist the most vulnerable in our community, including our senior citizens.

  • We should spend more to assist seniors and promote housing options for all incomes. We can save money by insisting on tax fairness with Frederick County. 

 

Affordable Housing

 

Frederick welcomes residents of all income levels, and our housing availability must reflect that. As Mayor, I will:

 

  • Support partnerships which generate new infill mixed-income Housing developments

  • Pursue tax credits to help seniors stay in their homes

  • Lower the barriers to entry by encouraging developers to build moderately priced dwelling units

  • Strengthen alliances with the Affordable Housing Council and Building Industry Association

  • Work on strategies for poverty elimination so that every Frederick resident has a safe and affordable place to live

 

Attracting New Businesses and Residents 

 

As Mayor, I will work every day to attract new businesses and jobs to our City that will drive our economic success. We must support our entire business community — including those who have done business in Frederick for years — while welcoming new entrepreneurs.

 

We must:

 

  • Boost the many small businesses already growing and prospering. For example, it would be wonderful if a market, such as the Common Market, opens on North Market Street. This is a business effort I fully support because it will positively impact the surrounding businesses and increase vitality and growth on North Market Street.

  • Focus on adequate parking and transportation systems that make it easier for residents and visitors to get around or park.

  • Ensure that diverse housing types and opportunities remain accessible in downtown and throughout Frederick. I support a downtown and west side circulator in addition to expanding commuter bus services. We must collaborate with county transit services to take this first step on a long road toward increasing access to regional transit options.

 

I will be a champion for the City in dealing with the community, our County, State, and Federal partners. These are relationships I have built throughout my 8 years as Alderman and as a leader with the Maryland Municipal League.

 

 

Blight and Underperforming Properties 

 

Code enforcement should be fair and consistent no matter where your business is located or what neighborhood you live in. As an Alderman, I’ve supported tough action against egregious violators, while expanding the City’s enforcement toolbox. My goal as Mayor will be to:

 

  • Focus on compliance and education to avoid violations, instead of fines and enforcement after the fact

  • Move more aggressively against those who chronically abuse the system

 

It was my pleasure to serve with two Blight and Vacant Property Committees—knowledgeable and interested residents, realtors, property owners, property managers and residents. Their recommendations have offered an appropriate roadmap to address these issues. Refreshed Neighborhood Advisory Councils will also be valuable resources to address these issues. 

 

Downtown Hotel/Conference Center and Birely Tannery

 

When a business wants to invest $50 million in our city, we should support that investment. Public dollars for parking and transportation infrastructure improvements is just plain smart economic development, whether it occurs downtown or elsewhere in Frederick.  As for the tannery, or any critical heritage of Frederick’s storied history, I will give great weight to the recommendations of our citizen boards and commissions — that’s what they are there for. The trolley building, for example, is a terrific candidate for adaptive reuse. 

 

East Frederick Rising and other Small Areas 

 

There is a vision for the future of East Frederick and areas like the Golden Mile, Jefferson Street, Rosemont Avenue, and elsewhere.  But what are missing in implementing the vision are the code and development tools required to achieve them.

 

The recently adopted East Street Corridor Plan calls for new tools, such as form-based codes, or the use of an overlay to support existing industrial users, promote strong architecture, true mixed use, and connectivity. The visions themselves will take years, decades perhaps, but the tools should be priorities now.

 

If the reallocation of planning staff resources or the efforts of qualified consultants is necessary, it must happen because market forces will overwhelm our planning efforts in the absence of needed regulations.

 

Public infrastructure, such as the transportation network and parking considerations are critical first steps. The East Street extension, East Street rails to trails improvements, and Carroll Creek Park extension are already driving investment, offering the first opportunities to see the promise of the future.The planned FDK runway expansion and Monocacy Boulevard upgrades will further enhance economic development opportunities on the east side and throughout Frederick. 

 

Expanding Vibrancy

 

Thousands of entrepreneurs, investors, and managers have recognized Frederick as a great place to do business and they are succeeding. But we must address our challenges and continue to take steps to sustain and grow our economic vibrancy.

 

Through the creation of the Economic Development Advisory Committee and the phasing out of the business personal property tax, progress is being made. As Mayor I will:

 

  • Make sure we are moving swiftly to revise identified sections of our Land Management Code

  • Schedule regular evaluations and be willing to modify our processes to create more predictability for those who choose to do business in Frederick

  • Support and encourage philanthropy, as it will increase our ability to provide the clean, safe, well-connected neighborhoods we all want. That’s what attracts employers and workers, and expands our tax base. 

 

Homelessness and Loitering 

 

As Alderman, I have been dedicated to addressing the issue of homelessness in Frederick. With my leadership, the City is now committed to supporting the strategic plan for the Frederick County Coalition for the Homeless. As Mayor, I will:

 

Better coordinate to connect those in need with direct services

  • Supporting year-round shelter housing is an example of needed direct services, which I helped champion.

  • More permanent supportive housing, with wrap around services, and expanded job opportunities, will decrease the number of people who are homeless on our streets.

 

Address systemic conditions to reduce low income and vulnerable populations.  

  • Hosting a summit of human services providers to address access to education and treatment could create systems improvement.

 

Regulation

 

Regulation is a necessary component of local government, but it should not be a burden to achieving community objectives. Right now, the City is lacking a vision for accommodating the varied business and residential interests, and the goals to achieve it.

 

Our Historic District is critical to the past and future success of the City, yet when decision making appears arbitrary, confidence is undermined. I’ll seek more and mandatory training for a Historic Preservation, Planning, and Zoning Board Commissioners. I’ll explore whether their service to the City is worth more than a de minimis stipend.

 

We know our City Code, Land Management Code, and Historical Preservation Guidelines deserve ongoing review and modifications. We’ll put those on a regular cycle, in additional to moving more rapidly to address conflicts, oversights, and deficiencies. One example is how quickly we could accommodate allowing food trucks to support our growing brewery, winery, and distilling operations. It still took time, but consensus moved it more quickly than other equally important items because there was focus and vision. 

 

Route 15 and Being Connected

 

We must move immediately to improve the Route 15 corridor to keep residents and travelers safe on the road. As Mayor, I will ensure that this project becomes a reality as quickly as possible.

 

There is agreement at all levels that additional travel lanes and improved acceleration and deceleration lanes from Jefferson Street to Route 26 are required, and the more persistently we state that case, the faster the project will move. We don’t need studies. We need design and funding.

 

We must also commit to a transportation system emphasizing pedestrian safety, walkability, and bicycle connections to improve overall commuting and the general travel experience.  These plans, and a complete streets policy to support them, need ongoing implementation.

Social and Human Services

 

The City must provide critical human services to residents. I am disappointed in the move of Social Services, as the new location is not as accessible for those who may need to access other related services. But, I appreciate the state and local efforts to mitigate the impact through improving transit options.

 

Our city must lead the conversation about the appropriate location and delivery of necessary human services, and those who make use of these services must be consulted. Co-location in a campus setting may offer the best opportunities for collaboration. The City must also look at its land use and property tax policies, particularly regarding housing affordability and variety for young workers and seniors. It is important that our policies not inadvertently exacerbate the conditions that drive the demand on human service providers. 

 

Tax Equity (with Frederick County)

 

City taxpayers should contribute appropriately for the services received and not more. A broad and diverse tax base is step one in achieving tax fairness for the 70,000 residents and more than 3,400 businesses that call Frederick home. During my time in office we have revised the tax differential calculation to better reflect the difference in services provided by the City and County. This formula requires ongoing evaluation and modification. We must work with the County to achieve additional tax fairness, as well as identifying areas where consolidation and collaboration are preferred to duplication of services. Taxes certainly can be a hindrance to competitiveness, but a lack of predictability or timely resolution of planning and development issues are equally troublesome. We can make better use of technology and improve service delivery and efficiency. 

 

Westside Regional Park

 

Investments in parks and recreation are investments in quality of life and can especially benefit our youth and senior residents. At my urging, the City now has a Westside Regional Park Task Force, which is exploring funding models and making site visits to other regional complexes. With our advocacy, the new Butterfly Ridge Elementary School, being constructed on part of the farm donated to FCPS, will include a gymnasium adequate to support City-run Parks and Recreation programming. I support a year-round aquatics complex, a missing amenity in our recreation system. It will take partnerships with the private sector, non-profits, user groups, the County, and State to see the park’s development completed. The estimated price tag represents one approach, but because the City cannot and will not go it alone, the reality will reflect the community’s priorities, commitment, and partnerships. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

By Authority O'Connor For Frederick, Tammy O'Connor Treasurer