FREDERICK, Md. – Frederick County Executive Jessica Fitzwater invites the public to her annual Legislative Town Hall. This town hall is an opportunity for members of the public to suggest or comment on the County's legislative priorities for the upcoming session of the Maryland General Assembly. Executive Fitzwater’s priority legislation this year focuses on historic preservation, safety standards, and transportation. The Town Hall will be held at Winchester Hall on Thursday, October 5, beginning at 6 p.m., with a virtual participation option available.
“A people-centered government relies heavily on the input of the residents we serve,” Executive Fitzwater said. “We have an opportunity to advocate for the growing needs of our community by ensuring everyone’s voice can be heard as we present our legislative package.”
The public is invited to comment on any of the proposals, or suggest additional topics for consideration. The meeting will be televised live on FCG TV, cable channels 19/1085, and webcast at FrederickCountyMD.gov/LegislativeTownHall. Callers may listen to the town hall and speak during the meeting by calling toll-free 855-925-2801, and entering meeting code 8634.
Executive Fitzwater’s priority bills include Historic Preservation Tax Credit Reform, Corrugated Stainless Steel Tubing Standards, and a Paratransit Funding Task Force. Frederick County’s Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program was established in state code. This bill would strike the existing program from state code so the County Executive and Council can consider legislation to establish an updated program in County Code. The revised program would expand eligibility of the historic preservation tax credit to more properties by basing the credit on the Qualified Rehabilitation Expenses, rather than a change in assessed value.
Improving safety standards remains a priority, especially as it pertains to standards that impact firefighters and residents. Corrugated Stainless Steel Tubing (CSST), a tool used in homes across the country to deliver propane and natural gas, has been connected to several lethal fires, including a 2021 house fire that resulted in the line-of-duty death of Battalion Chief Josh Laird. CSST is vulnerable to mechanical and electrical failure that can result in gas leaks or fire. This bill would require CSST used in Maryland to meet the specific safety and performance standards and build on the work of HB1052, passed in 2022, which prohibited the use of non-arc resistant CSST in new construction or renovations.
Understanding the importance of transportation options for older adults and individuals with disabilities is also a priority. Paratransit is a door-to-door demand-response service for people who are unable to use public transit to get to medical appointments. In Maryland, the State offers a small amount of funding via the Specialized Statewide Transportation Assistance Program. Funding for this program has been flat for 16 years, preventing counties from keeping pace with this growing population. This bill would establish a task force to study the growing need for paratransit and make recommendations.
For more information, contact Victoria Venable, Legislative Director, by email at VVenable@FrederickCountyMD.gov.