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My Statement on the Recent Developments on APFO Bills CB61 and CB62

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My Statement on the Recent Developments on APFO Bills CB61 and CB62

Hiruy Hadgu

Savage, MD (November 8th, 2017) - I am sure many have heard by now that the votes on the County’s APFO bills CB61 and CB62 have been declared invalid due to error in timing of the votes. 

This means after months of deliberations and hearings, we are back to square one.

I have no doubt that this error is an innocent mistake. However, the outcome is not entirely new. It is emblematic of how the chips normally fall. Parents finally get a deal that was better for their kids’ schools and poof the bill is gone. As if it never existed. The developers get the status quo that’s made them billions.

While this was an innocent mistake, there have been many outcomes that were decidedly not. The Downtown Columbia plan and the tax-payer money giveaway with the TIF, the Laurel Park Station Development TIF and transit oriented development (TOD) zoning, the fees-in-lieu provisions that exempt developers from building moderate income housing, the list goes on. The County has been coddling developers for decades with favorable decisions and outcomes.

So after watching a whole host of decisions and outcomes intentionally made to favor special interests for years, it is no surprise that citizens have been skeptical of how this particular event played out and are withholding the benefit of the doubt.

If this mistake is rectified immediately, we can write a different story. Until then, the fact remains, developers win in Howard County. As of today, we do not have a high school test. Elementary and middle school tests are very weak, we do not test for adequate police, fire, and health, and our school surcharges are a joke.

For once, let’s give the citizens a win.