Fran­chot’s Health Woes De­lay Pub­lic Works Board’s Ac­tion on Prop­erty Tax Rate

The Washington Post Sunday - - Metro Week -

M aryland Comptroller Peter Fran­chot’s bout with a kid­ney stone last week was not only un­pleas­ant for him per­son­ally, but it also de­layed es­tab­lish­ing the state’s prop­erty tax rate for the com­ing year.

Fran­chot (D), a Takoma Park res­i­dent, was ad­mit­ted to the emer­gency room last Sun­day af­ter feel­ing some “pain and dis­com­fort,” ac­cord­ing to his spokesman, Joseph Shapiro.

The kid­ney stone was de­ter­mined to be too small to break up and passed nat­u­rally Mon­day, Shapiro said. But it took Fran­chot sev­eral days to re­cover.

His time away from the of­fice in­cluded miss­ing Wed­nes­day’s meet­ing of the Board of Pub­lic Works, a three-mem­ber panel whose du­ties in­clude es­tab­lish­ing Mary­land’s state prop­erty tax rate an­nu­ally.

The board, whose other mem­bers are Gov. Martin O’Mal­ley (D) and Trea­surer Nancy K. Kopp (D), pro­ceeded with most of its other busi­ness, which in­cluded a $10.3 mil­lion pur­chase of an en­vi­ron­men­tally sen­si­tive tract of land near Cam­bridge on the East­ern Shore.

But ac­tion on the prop­erty tax was de­layed be­cause of an ap­par­ent dif­fer­ence be­tween O’Mal­ley and Kopp. O’Mal­ley wants to keep the rate at 11.2 cents per $100 in as­sessed value. With the state fac­ing a $1.5 bil­lion bud­get deficit next year, Kopp has sug­gested that the rate should be raised.

The is­sue will be re­solved at a spe­cial meet­ing Thurs­day. Shapiro said Fran­chot is in­clined to side with the gov­er­nor de­spite his view that state lead­ers need to deal with the bud­get short­fall.

Fran­chot, mean­while, was back at work Fri­day and planned to be “out and about over the week­end,” Shapiro said.

— John Wag­ner

O’Mal­ley to Plant Trees To­day

A multi-day fo­cus on the en­vi­ron­ment led Gov. Martin O’Mal­ley to the “Poul­try House of the Fu­ture” on the East­ern Shore on Thurs­day. It sent him to a state park over­look­ing the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay on Fri­day.

And to­day, O’Mal­ley (D) will plant trees with mid­dle-school­ers in An­napo­lis.

The gov­er­nor is sched­uled to plant 10 trees with stu­dents from the J. Al­bert Adams Academy, an al­ter­na­tive school for youths with be­hav­ioral chal­lenges, and from the science club of Bates Mid­dle School. Stu­dents there are known as the “Science Nuts.”

At the poul­try house, Univer­sity of Mary­land East­ern Shore per­son­nel gave O’Mal­ley a primer about the more en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly fu­ture of dis­posal of poul­try “fe­cal mat­ter.”

O’Mal­ley, in ask­ing ques­tions, re­peat­edly used a more del­i­cate term: “stuff.”

— John Wag­ner

Gov­er­nor to Talk Up StateS­tat

Gov. Martin O’Mal­ley will get an­other chance to­mor­row to show off the sta­tis­tics-driven ac­count­abil­ity ini­tia­tive he de­vel­oped as mayor of Bal­ti­more that he is im­ple­ment­ing on the state level as StateS­tat.

O’Mal­ley (D) is sched­uled to be the key­note speaker at a fo­rum, ti­tled “Gov­ern­ing by the Num­ber: The Prom­ise of Data-Driven Pol­i­cy­mak­ing in the In­for­ma­tion Age,” hosted by the Wash­ing­ton-based Cen­ter for Amer­i­can Progress.

Among those sched­uled to ap­pear at the event are a cou­ple of Clin­ton ad­min­is­tra­tion alumni: John Podesta, a for­mer White House chief of staff who is now pres­i­dent and chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Cen­ter for Amer­i­can Progress; and Sally Katzen, for­mer deputy di­rec­tor for man­age­ment at the Of­fice of Man­age­ment and Bud­get.

In Bal­ti­more, O’Mal­ley used Ci­tiS­tat to hold agency heads ac­count­able for a wide range of trends, such as over­time spend­ing, time spent to fill pot­holes and missed trash-pickup com­plaints.

Since his ar­rival in An­napo­lis in Jan­uary, O’Mal­ley has been ap­ply­ing StateS­tat to a num­ber of state de­part­ments and us­ing the con­cept to mea­sure Ch­e­sa­peake Bay cleanup ef­forts.

— John Wag­ner

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