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From the Desk of
County Councilman Kirby Delauter

(5/2016) It's budget time and as a Council we get a full 25 working days to review and approve a $560 + - Million budget. That is 25 working days if you don't have any other full time job and could spend 10 - 12 hours daily on the review. The County Executive waited until the last day per the charter to give us her budget for review. As a Council, we have no accountant on staff; no budget officer and we're not even subcontracting out to get advice from anyone with a CPA to assist in review of the budget.

Last year I was the only Council member to produce a budget separate from the Executive. The only Council members to do our own review of the budget were Council Member Shreve and I . Council member Shreve could not get his questions answered from the Executive's staff and he simply ran out of time. I could not get answers as well, so we had to ad lib a few items. In case you didn't know, on the Council we get treated like third graders in time out by the Executive, her staff and Council President Otis.

Here's an example. If I have a question of staff on any issue, even a constituent issue that is directed to me. Here's the process. I contact my assistant, she contacts our Chief of Staff, he contacts the County Executive's Chief Admin Officer, he contacts the County Executive Gardner, and she then decides whether or not I can have a conversation with the staff member. More often than not, the answer is No. Yes, this is the " Open and Transparent Government where everyone can be part of the process", per the mantra of Candidate Jan Gardner during her campaign. There is nothing open or transparent in this county government today, it is a complete politburo that targets businesses and individuals that disagree with their agenda.

The County Executive Gardner has in her budget a $10.5 Million increase above MOE (Maintenance of Effort) for the FCPS. Keep in mind MOE is already an increase over last year's FCPS budget, so she is increasing the increase by $10.5 Million. Again, the interesting thing is, we have two FCPS employees that will vote on this budget and this increase that will fund their employer and funds their salaries. Yes, people that somehow with a straight face can vote on the budget that funds their employer and ultimately their own salaries.

These are the same people that voted with the County Executive and Council President Otis to disallow my company to bid work in the county. Let me clarify the hypocrisy, if my company bids work in the county, I am guaranteed nothing, and if I happen to be low bid, we are the best deal for the taxpayer. Now, the two FCPS employees that are also Council members, by voting on this $10.5 Million increase of your money, they are "guaranteed" that their employer and possibly their own salaries will benefit. They see no issue with this. You can see now with this type of logic running our county, it's easy to see why trans gender bathrooms appear to be normal as we've thrown all morals and common sense out the window. We're back to the 60's mantra of "If it feels good do it".

More to come later on the budget, we just received it last Friday, so it's still kind of fresh off the press.

I am currently also working to do a leaseback program for building schools. Again, County Executive Gardner has been involved in County government for over 20 years. Early in her government career she voted to increase impact fees for schools 300%. It didn't solve the problem then and as she's increasing these fees again today by as much as 60%, the math shows this same tired solution will not work. We have two local developers that have stepped up and agreed to forward fund bond issuances for two elementary schools.

While this is a wonderful and noble thing, it is not a long-term solution. I find it ironic that the very people the county Executive demonizes on a daily basis, are the very people pulling her out of the fire by stepping up to put their money up front for schools and to help solve the problem, short term.

My leaseback program (still in the working stages) should end the school debate once and for all. We can build schools privately and lease them back thus giving both predictability and more bang for the taxpayer buck in the process. My plan will allow long term planning for schools and as long as we elect fiscally responsible adults into future office, we should never have an issue building future schools. I still have a lot to do on this program but preliminarily it appears it could be a long-term answer to what has been an ongoing problem in this county for decades.

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