Journalist @baltimoresun writer artist runner #amwriting Chaplain PIO #partylikeajournalist

Journalist @baltimoresun writer artist runner #amwriting Chaplain PIO #partylikeajournalist
Journalist @baltimoresun writer artist runner #amwriting Md Troopers Assoc #20 & Westminster Md Fire Dept Chaplain PIO #partylikeajournalist

Friday, January 31, 2003

20030131 State's mayors brace for state budget cut by Janie Schmidt and Carrie Knauer writing for the Carroll County Times

State's mayors brace for state budget cut

By Jamie Schmidt, Times Staff Writer, January 31, 2003

For companion information click on: Maryland Municipal League’s Maryland Mayor’s Association - Mayor’s Press Conference February 1st, 2003

For more information, click on: Maryland General Assembly Opera, Maryland Municipal League, Westminster City Finance, Maryland State Budget, Taxes Maryland.

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As the governor works to address a budget deficit, Maryland's mayors prepare for how their own communities will be impacted.

According to the Maryland Municipal League, provisions of the FY 2004 state budget includes a proposal to withhold $102.4 million in highway user revenues - funds distributed to municipalities for road maintenance and repair. This breaks down to a cut of $264,894 in Westminster, $111,710 in Mount Airy - including Frederick, $82,727 in Taneytown, $68,750 in Hampstead, $61,848 in Sykesville, $60,152 in Manchester, $24,355 in New Windsor, and $23,214 in Union Bridge.

"That would have quite an impact," said Westminster Mayor Kevin Dayhoff. "The two major areas of concern for Westminster are infrastructure and economic development. This is a major hit."

He wanted to be sure that the pain of the deficit would be shared as evenly as possible, he said as he prepared to attend the ninth annual Maryland mayor's conference.

"We [mayors] need to provide Ehrlich/Steele with alternative approaches," he said.

Hampstead Mayor Chris Nevin was also shocked when he heard about the proposed cuts.

"Ouch. ... Off the top, I'd say we're going to have to do less road work next year," he said.

Nevin said the $68,750 decrease was equal to 29 percent of the town's budget for road maintenance.

Jim Holt, Mount Airy mayor, said that he was hoping the town wouldn't lose as much as was proposed.

Mount Airy is expecting to get its budget reviews in shortly, at which point they'll get a better idea the damage of $111,710 will reap.

Taneytown Mayor Henry C. Heine said that he is worried about the possible loss of Program Open Space money, another proposed reduction. Program Open Space is a nationally recognized program that provides dedicated funds to help conserve Maryland's conservation areas, state and local parks.

The state is proposing to transfer $29.9 million from the local share of Program Open Space revenues to its general fund. Total municipal losses will vary depending on what projects were planned for the coming year.

"We had a project to purchase some land just outside the city to leave as open space," Heine said, adding that this plan may be put on hold. "I guess we are certainly in for a tight budget this year. Municipalities are always on the low end of the food chain."

Heine added that the cuts would also impact plans to create a mini-bypass to alleviate truck traffic through the city. The city had been planning to connect Md. 140 to Md. 194 for some time, but he said that project, too, would suffer a setback.

Union Bridge Mayor Bret Grossnickle said he had big plans for road repairs.

"The highway money, we need that," he said. "I have a problem with them taking that - it isn't fair. We have Locust Street that was severely damaged during the Lehigh upgrade with all the cement trucks that tore up the streets. It will cost $300,000 to repair that one street."

Sykesville Mayor Jonathan Herman said that the town knew that cuts were coming, but that he was most concerned that the town still get a new intersection at the Warfield complex - an intersection that he sees as a future gateway into town.

"We have always realized that state and federal revenues come and go." he said. "You know, nobody wants to raise taxes. You hear all these wonderful things about tax cuts. Republicans are great for saying we're not raising taxes but we are going to get programs cut and fees implemented in lieu of taxes. They will call them contributions, other things, but no matter how you look at it, someone is going to be paying for these things. That's just the way it is."

Other provisions of the budget include withholding $10 million in circuit breaker tax credit reimbursement payments to local governments to help pay for administrative costs of the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation. Another is transferring to the state's general fund $8 million in the current fiscal year and $10 million next year from the Waterway Improvement Program. Also, the state proposes to eliminate the Community Parks and Playground grant program.

On the positive side, municipalities stand to receive additional funding for the Community Legacy Program and the Maryland Water Quality Revolving Loan Fund and Maryland Drinking Water Revolving Loan Program. The breakdown for each municipality was unavailable.

New Windsor Mayor Sam Pierce could not be reached Thursday.

Reach staff writers Jamie Schmidt at 410-857-7876.

Staff writer Carrie Ann Knauer contributed to this article

Tuesday, January 28, 2003

20030128 Business in Westminster - The Welcome Sign is Out

Business in Westminster - The Welcome Sign is Out

A Westminster Team Report by Westminster Mayor Kevin Dayhoff

January 28th, 2003

Part of the Carroll County Chamber on Location

2003 Breakfast Series

First of all, I must begin by repeating what Mayor Yowan said when he addressed the Chamber about Westminster’s economic development outlook on February 29th, 2000: ‘Timing is everything’, … that’s how I look at this opportunity to speak with you this morning.

Many good things are happening in Westminster right now, much more than I will be able to talk about with you, in the next 15 minutes of your time - - but before I get into specifics, I think a few background words are in order.

First of all, I think it would be fair to say that the Staff and the Mayor and City Council of Westminster are very bullish on business, and have been for several decades, and will continue to be so. And that is not just in words, but in actions. That is because we realize the extreme importance of a vigorous healthy business community at the core of a vibrant and exciting Westminster.

Opportunities multiply when they are seized. Not only do we seize every opportunity to promote business in Westminster – but we make opportunities happen.

The City of Westminster is blessed with perhaps the best City Council and Staff in the State and I’m here to applaud them for all their great leadership and hard work.

Team Approach

But it is not just the City Council that has been hard at work for the business of business in Westminster. The City uses, just as any successful business uses – a team work approach to success and accomplishment. Anytime one particular member of the Westminster Team is the subject of a headline for spearheading this or that effort – any number of the members of the rest of the Team, are hard at work on the mundane and day-to-day workings of excellent government. No one person makes things happen in Westminster. Everything happens as a result of Teamwork. And that sense of team is not confined to the Staff and City Council of Westminster - - for nowhere in the State of Maryland is the concept of private-public partnership more alive than in Westminster.

Under the leadership and hard work of our excellent Administrator of Economic Development, Stan Ruchlewicz; Planning and Public Works Director, Tom Beyard; Town Planner, Shawn Siders; and the Westminster City Council, many new bold initiatives have been carried forward in the last several years.

We have continued to work with businesses to secure low interest loans to construct and renovate new facilities.

A facade loan program has begun to aid businesses in fixing up their store fronts.

Police foot patrols have continued to be emphasized and increased. Crime in Westminster has continued a downward trend that began over 9 years ago.

Pennsylvania Avenue Committee

One example of cutting edge government, that quickly comes to mind, is the inclusive and comprehensive Pennsylvania Avenue Committee that was initiated and spearheaded by the Council President, Damian Halstad and Councilman Greg Pecoraro, with the capable support of the rest of the Westminster City Council and Staff and leaders from throughout the State. When I was growing up in Westminster - - Pa. Avenue was one of the more exclusive neighborhoods in town; with its stately houses, shops and businesses. Make no mistake, that under the City’s leadership and initiative we will restore the Avenue to vibrancy.

Carroll Arts Center

Which quickly brings to mind – the crown jewel City project on the West end of town – the Carroll Arts Center. One goal of Westminster’s leadership is to expand the economic base and vibrancy of Westminster’s Main Street - east and west. Westminster’s traditional Main Street is currently book-ended by the Historical Society’s bold campus approach on the east side of town and the Carroll Arts Center on the west side of town.

What can I say – is this a great example of private - public partnership or what? It is also an example of great intergovernmental cooperation to get the project funded. The Arts Council Executive Director, Sandy Oxx has stepped up to the plate, along with the excellent support of her Board members and are making this arts and cultural Mecca a reality.

The more than $1 million project is in its final stages. The Arts Council staff started moving in just last week. When it opens in April, we should see more foot traffic along West Main Street providing a sense of vitality and hopefully, contagion for additional arts-focused businesses and restaurants in that area.

Westminster Square

Which brings us to the Westminster Square development. The $2.6 million, 4-story, 26,000sf, mixed-use Westminster Square building at the corner of Liberty and Green is proceeding on schedule. Incidentally, the Tyler-Donegan proposal being carried out in that project, was the one recommended by a private-public partnership - the GWDC.

Stone Building

On that same parcel, plans for the renovation of the old Stone Building are moving forward. Recently, The Westminster Town Center Corporation, under the leadership of Jake Yingling, has voted to bring a new restaurant to that location in town – building upon Westminster’s reputation as a dining destination in the central region of Maryland.

Keep in mind, that the Westminster trade area, now has the demographic strength of over 110,000 consumers.

Longwell and Westminster Square Parking Decks

The next exciting projects to talk about are the Longwell and Westminster Square Parking Decks. Not only will these decks provide much needed parking directly in the heart of Downtown, but they will provide fuel for future development opportunities.

The $2 million, 163-space Westminster Square Parking Deck is expected to go online this spring.

The $2.5 million, 315-space Longwell Parking Deck is on schedule for a late June/early July completion; you will see its precast concrete components arriving in March; the parking deck’s design allows for an additional level in the future.

With an increase of almost 400 net new parking spaces in the heart of Downtown Westminster, it is now time for the City to evaluate its surface parking lots and determine whether certain lots should be converted into development parcels in the near future.

Locust Lane Improvements

Which brings us to the Locust Lane improvements which will link the Longwell parking deck to Main Street.

Locust Lane improvements include re-grading and reconstructing the Locust Lane walkway to provide each of the businesses on Locust Lane with accessible entrances that they currently lack; a new performance space in front of the mural complete with electric outlets; new lighting and new street furnishings.

You will continue to see construction activity in this area all spring with completion at the same time as the Longwell Deck.

Main Street

On Main Street, since January of 2001, we have seen 35 new businesses start-up and 3 more expand their operations. The Pour House Café; Go Girl Garbs & Gifts; The Checkered Flag; Clayland Marble & Tile; Carousel Stained Glass; Wildflower Floral Design; and The Pottery Loft to name a few

These business start-ups and expansions have resulted in a net increase of 59FT and 7 PT jobs in the Main Street Program Area.

$1.4 Million in private investment and $350,000 in public investment occurred during the same period of time.

These investment figures do not include on-going projects, such as the Carroll Arts Center, the 2 parking decks, Westminster Square, Johansson’s elevator project, or the pending façade projects at the Rexall Pharmacy and Dutterer’s Flower Shop.

Between the on-going projects and some other projects on the drawing boards, like the final development of the Old Stone Building and the Old Mission Property, completed investment in Downtown during 2003 could be over $9 million.

Over the past two years, volunteers donated over 2,000 hours to the Main Street Program to enhance the vitality of downtown Westminster. This represents the hours put in by members of the Westminster Town Center Corporation, the GWDC and the downtown merchants responsible for such activities as Midnight Madness and Starlight Shopping. Not to mention the large number of hours put in with our highly successful Fallfest and all the other City Boards and Commissions

Westminster Town Center Plan

A new Westminster Town Center downtown revitalization plan will be presented to the Mayor and Council in February. This plan generally focuses on a two-block radius from the corner of Main and Liberty Streets and the railroad tracks. It contains ideas and recommendations that were developed during a 4-day design charrette in September; and is a plan for the future enhancement of Downtown Westminster that builds on existing strengths and current and future opportunities.

This plan does not focus solely on transportation issues. The plan provides cutting edge land use, transportation, and urban design strategies. It calls for the re-use of several of the existing surface parking lots and several underutilized building parcels as new development sites for perhaps additional mixed-use, multi-story development. This plan reinforces the Main Street character through further rehabilitation efforts and in-fill development; developing the Railroad Avenue corridor as an extension of the Main Street character. Also included is the establishment of a coordinated directional signage program for Downtown and a pedestrian scale streetscape approach along Railroad Avenue.

Be assured that you will hear more about this plan in the future.

Boscov’s

We are really looking forward to Boscov’s opening this spring.

The City of Westminster facilitated all of the necessary zoning changes, required for the Boscov’s development in less than 2 months (10/3/01-11/26/01).

This two-story, 186,000sf department store and the company’s traditional advertising and marketing strategy will help make Westminster a major Retail Destination, just like Baugher’s and Harry’s did for the restaurant sector.

Boscov’s will draw from far outside Westminster’s primary and secondary trade area. Boscov’s has already produced some economic contagion within the Mall. Because of Boscov’s announcement, several other businesses have become very interested in the TownMall.

I hope this has brought you up to date with the obvious business activity going on right now in Westminster. There are several areas I haven’t been able to address, but I’m sure that you have noticed, such as the Westminster Market Place retail stores on the East end of the city limits: BJ’s, Kohls, and Home Depot, right after Lowes, Target and a number of restaurants. The west end of the city limits has the Carroll County Airpark, with a wide variety of commercial businesses, and another restaurant – Bullocks Airport Inn – as well as one of Jack Tevis’s service centers.

And of course before the Airpark is the Corporate Center - the new home of our Carroll County Chamber of Commerce.

As Westminster continues to grow and change to meet the times, we have the variety to meet the needs of both the consumers and the businesses. Westminster is bullish on business.

I welcome any questions about projects I have mentioned, or anything else in the City of Westminster. Luckily I have Stan from the Westminster Team to help answer those questions.

Friday, January 10, 2003

20030110 The Difference between Republicans & Democrats

The Difference between Republicans & Democrats

January 10th, 2003

I did NOT write this but it is beautiful - - and informative…

A Republican and a Democrat were walking down the street when they came to a homeless person. The Republican gave the homeless person his business card and told him to come to his business for a job. He then took twenty dollars out of his pocket and gave it to the homeless person.

The Democrat was very impressed, and when they came to another homeless person, he decided to help. He walked over to the homeless person and gave him directions to the welfare office. He then reached into the Republican’s pocket and got out twenty dollars. He kept $15 for administrative fees and gave the homeless person $5.

Now you understand the difference between Republicans and Democrats.

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20030110 The Difference between Republicans & Democrats

The Difference between Republicans & Democrats

January 10th, 2003

I did NOT write this but it is beautiful - - and informative…

A Republican and a Democrat were walking down the street when they came to a homeless person. The Republican gave the homeless person his business card and told him to come to his business for a job. He then took twenty dollars out of his pocket and gave it to the homeless person.

The Democrat was very impressed, and when they came to another homeless person, he decided to help. He walked over to the homeless person and gave him directions to the welfare office. He then reached into the Republican’s pocket and got out twenty dollars. He kept $15 for administrative fees and gave the homeless person $5.

Now you understand the difference between Republicans and Democrats.

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20030106 Found: Frank DeFilippo One Honest Liberal by Junk Yard Blog

20030106 Found: Frank DeFilippo One Honest Liberal by Junk Yard Blog

FOUND: ONE HONEST LIBERAL

http://junkyardblog.transfinitum.net/archives/2003/01/found-one-hones.php

Frank DeFilippo has been a Democrat consultant in Maryland for decades, helping to elect governors, congressmen, senators, mayors and just about everything else.

Since Maryland is likely the most Democrat-ic state in the Union, business has been very good for the self-described "yellow dog Democrat." But on January 15th, Bob Ehrlich will take up residence in Maryland's governor's mansion, the first Republican to do so since Spiro Agnew.

While DeFilippo probably didn't vote for Ehrlich, his farewell message to outgoing Gov Parris Glendenning is full of things other than regrets. To put it simply, the dyed-in-the-wool Dem DeFilippo detests Glendenning, and isn't afraid to explain why:

AH, THE loneliness of being Gov. Parris N. Glendening. He's spending his final weeks in office in neo-baronial isolation, an outcast within his own party and a reject by more than half of his constituents.

Mr. Glendening will depart the State House the most disliked governor in modern Maryland history, with 58 percent of his constituents disapproving of his job performance and a Democratic Party that is leaderless and lacking a central intelligence. His only influence on politics these days is bad karma.

He leaves behind a deficit of more than a billion dollars and a CliffsNotes sham to fix it…

[…]

Glendenning has spent the weeks since Ehrlich's stunning victory setting the new gov up for a fall: changing regs here, shifting around budget priorities there, all in an effort to harm the new governor before he's even had a single day in office. DeFilippo's litany of the longer-standing charges against Glendenning should serve as a nice outline for Ehrlich as he drafts his first State of the State address, which he'll deliver in March.

Posted by B. Preston on January 6, 2003 11:56 PM

Read the rest here: FOUND: ONE HONEST LIBERAL

Governor Parris N Glendening 1995 2003