I presume it is obvious that I do support the annexations. I am attaching some materials that I have prepared that give my reasons for supporting them. The two northern annexations will clearly bring substantial tax revenues to the City—revenues that will far exceed the costs that they will create. This is so because the Thatcher property is entirely commercial, and the Crumland property is about 75% commercial, I believe. The three annexations will not cause your taxes to increase—just the opposite, it will give the City an opportunity to lower taxes.
My children have attended Frederick High School, which has taken the brunt of growth for at least 15 years. We have experienced overcrowding there to enable the County to build beautiful new high schools (Urbana and Tuscarora). If the County wants to prevent the building of any new schools, then they should also be trying to prevent more growth in the areas of the county far from urban areas. But the County is not doing this. The County’s opposition to the annexation is opposing the smartest approach to handling growth—that is to put new development close to existing infrastructure (power, water, sewer and schools). The northern annexations are in the best place for growth, just as the County acknowledged for many years; this is the cheapest place for new growth. And there is going to be growth—the County fully acknowledges this—an estimated 90,000 more people in the County in the next 20 years. If this is the case, then the County should make appropriate plans so that the growth occurs where it would be best. That is what the County did years ago. It is contrary to intelligent growth and planning for the County to change its mind on where growth should occur at the last minute—after it used the northern areas as a reason why the City should join with the County in building the Potomac River Water Supply line. The City has committed over $50 million dollars to help build this pipe line. It is now entirely wrong for the County to change its mind and try to prevent the City from growing where they previously agreed the City should grow.
The cost of new schools is partly borne by local taxpayers, and is partly borne by the State, and monies are allocated from the State according to need. That the two northern annexations will eventually necessitate the building of one Elementary School, is not a reason to prevent the annexation. This result is much better than spreading the same amount of growth around the County through sprawl. The City’s annexation is an excellent example of smart growth and sustainability.
If there is going to be growth, the officials should do what they can to make it occur in the best place. As you will see, if you read the attached materials, the two northern annexations will help to bring about the Monocacy Blvd. interchange and later the Biggs Ford Road interchange. Only when one of these is built will the Hayward Road intersection be shut down.
The infill development opportunities in the City are important, and will continue to be developed. But what is being planned for the two northern annexations could not be done in the few, small infill lots that exist in the City. The northern properties are the only ones of sufficient size to attract the large and premier employer campuses that the City will need.
By annexing these properties now, the City has been able to secure $8-10 million in payments and commitments toward road improvements PLUS the City has provided incentives that will help build the needed interchanges at Monocacy Blvd and Biggs Ford Road. The agreements are structured so that the Thatcher development cannot be done without an interchange being done, and the Crumland development cannot be completed until an interchange is done. The Crumland property can build 350-450 homes if they build the Willowbrook Road (at a cost of $5 – $8 million). This particular development will be extremely important in view of the 3,000+ new jobs that will be coming to Ft. Detrick shortly. This is a neighborhood that will be close to those jobs.
The annexation issues are rather complex. But I have thoroughly evaluated them, and I believe they are clearly beneficial to the City. For that reason, I am working hard to help people understand the benefits.