Charter government, which empowers voters to elect a county executive and county council, was enacted in Frederick County four years ago. The Frederick County Council is made up of seven members, two elected at-large (countywide) and five by districts. District 1 covers the southwestern portion of Frederick County.
Incumbent Democratic councilman Jerry Donald ran unopposed in the June 26, 2018 primary election and will face Republican candidate Kevin Grubb. Grubb defeated Dylan Diggs in the Republican Party primary. The General Election will be held on Nov. 6, 2018.
Both candidates agreed to answer 10 questions and limit their responses to 50 words.
Tell our readers a little about yourself and why you are running for District 1 County Council.
Donald: I am running for office to keep the county on the right track that we have put it on since December 2014. We saved Citizens Care and Rehabilitation Center and Montevue Assisted Living facilities, funded schools considerably above Maintenance of Effort, and kept the tax rate at $1.06, exactly where it was when we took office.
Grubb: I’m not a politician, but I care deeply about our community. My wife and I raised three sons, all graduates of FCPS. I retired from the Frederick Police Department in 2013 and I love helping people. I miss helping citizens navigate a system that is supposed to work for them, and I know I can help make positive changes.
After one term following the enactment of charter government in Frederick County, are there any changes to the executive or
legislative branch you would recommend?
Donald: No. I think that we should wait and see how the next Council works together with the Executive before making changes. Changes should not be made based on one set of experiences.
Grubb: I would like to see the County Council provided with additional authority over the budget process and solving issues within our districts. Include a reasonable time limit on the County Executive to provide information at council members’ request. Publish annual voting record of each council member.
Over the last two administrations, there has been a lot of attention given to the Frederick County Ethics Ordinance. Do you find the current version acceptable or would you suggest any changes?
Donald: Yes, we improved it and it is functioning well.
Grubb: In 2014, I was appointed by County Executive Jan Gardner to serve on a bipartisan Ethics Task Force where the committee developed and submitted a list of recommended changes to the Frederick County Code of Ethics. I believe there is still work to accomplish.
Are you satisfied with the Frederick County Bikeways and Trails Plan or would you suggest changes and/or additional funding?
Donald: I strongly supported the plan and I hope we can fund some sort of direct-funding mechanism, the way we do with agricultural preservation and obtaining parkland through the transfer fee.
Grubb: My priorities include public safety, maintain or reduce fees and taxes, support funding for schools and staff, plan
now to improve traffic congestion, support Economic Development, improve access to county services, fight opioid crisis, encourage cost-saving ideas and initiatives. After supporting the above priorities, I would support additional bikeways and trails.
The opioid crisis along with increased drug usage and resulting crime has impacted many families and communities. What would you like to see county government do in response to this?
Donald: We have put half a million dollars into fighting it and we are building a new medical facility at the county jail, which should help in fighting the opioid crisis. I supported these budget measures.
Grubb: Work with non-profits and other organizations to fight the opioid crisis with increased treatment options, innovative funding sources, education, and additional drug take-back locations throughout the county. The opioid crisis is a 24/7 problem
and we should remind our citizens of the issues associated with this crisis as often as possible.
In regard to growth and the use of Developer Rights and Responsibilities Agreements (DRRAs), do you feel a long-term (20-year) agreement is reasonable or would you suggest a different time period?
Donald: I supported getting rid of DRRAs altogether. Twenty years is ridiculously long and will cost this county millions of dollars before they are finished.
Grubb: I would need additional information from legal on what agreements are binding from one administration to the next. Without that information, I would be providing inaccurate comments.
Do you feel the present use of an Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance (APFO) and use of impact fees on home construction is helpful in managing growth and/or would you suggest any changes?
Donald: Yes, these help but we are still behind and will continue to be due the DRRAs drafted under the Young Board of
Grubb: Helpful yes, but not inclusive. APFO and impact fees include roads, water, sewer, and school facilities, but new
construction impacts other county services. All county services should provide data for future planning and budget preparation. If the present use of APFO was adequate we wouldn’t have current school overcrowding and roads that don’t handle our traffic adequately.
Should Frederick County adopt the use of the proposed Livable Frederick MasterPlan?
Donald: Yes, the Livable Frederick Plan had input from people all over the county and is the next step forward in creating
Grubb: No, not as written.
How would you increase business development and employment opportunities in Frederick County?
Donald: The key to this is a strong Economic Development Office, whose budget I have strongly supported for four years. It more than pays for itself, such as helping AstraZeneca expand with nearly 400 new jobs.
Grubb: One of my pledges outlined on my website is to support the Office of Economic Development, assisting staff with
initiatives to bring employment opportunities to Frederick, allowing citizens to work where they live.
Do you support the proposed Monocacy Scenic River Management Plan?
Donald: I did six months ago, but we will have to see what we get back from the River Board since it was sent back to them
Grubb: Not as currently written, no.
County executive candidates Kathy Afzali (R), Jan Gardner (D) and Earl Robbins (U) have agreed to answer a set of questions that will appear in the October issue of the Urbana Town Courier.