Call from Aberdeener today. How can I help you?

Got a call from an Aberdeener: Paraphrasing “I can’t figure this out– My spouse and I have separated and there are $7500.00 in tolls that have been run up on our jointly-owned vehicle, and somehow my spouse just renewed the registration for another 6 months. MVA says that the registration shouldn’t have been renewed until these tolls were paid, but they won’t give me any answers about why. Can you help?”

I have found in my short time in office, that when the Mayor calls, people answer. I called the Office of the Motor Vehicle Administrator, found here: http://msa.maryland.gov/msa/mdmanual/24dot/html/dot.html

And was connected to “constituent services” where I spoke with a young lady who indicated she was going to investigate and get back to the Aberdeen resident ASAP.

I view every problem that happens in Aberdeen as my problem to help fix.

It’s terrible, disappointing, and reprehensible that politicians have more sway on getting these kinds of things addressed than non-elected people. However, this is the world in which we live. I will do my best to serve the people of Aberdeen. So please don’t hesitate to ask.

If you get a roadblock in dealing with the government or government-sanctioned monopolies like BGE, please let me know how I can help you.

As always, my cell phone number is 410.357.1234.

Bus Shelters in Aberdeen

 

Maybe you have noticed that the benches near the Aberdeen Bus/Train Station are missing? Several people have grabbed me on the street and asked about this.

Since before I was elected in 2015, it has been a priority of mine to have bus shelters at the transit stops here in Aberdeen.

The Aberdeen Bus/Train station near W Bel Air and Route 40 is the most highly-trafficked bus stop in the County, with 6000+ riders per month.

Right here:

There are lots of different government agencies and organizations that were involved– but because it was important to get this done, the City of Aberdeen took responsibility for building this bus shelter, plus 3 others in Aberdeen.

There will be a concrete pad, with an aluminum shelter to be added after the concrete cures. This shelter will keep folks out of the weather while waiting for the bus.

#keepaberdeenbeautiful #buses #bettereveryday

Drop Box at the Aberdeen Library!

This morning is a little rainy– a great day to use the BRAND NEW DRIVE UP DROP-BOX at the Aberdeen Library.

See these photos I took the other day. When I learned last year that the Aberdeen Library is 5+ years out for a renovation, I asked if Harford County could provide a drop-box.

The initial answer was “no, and only one other library in the County has a drop box.” We worked though it, and now there is a way for folks with kids in the car or handicapped people to drive up to the drop box and leave the books.

I often get frustrated with the slow pace of things in the government, but the Harford County Government and Harford County Public Library got it done!

The Aberdeen Library is a great building with a great staff. We will continue to advocate for increased investment in Aberdeen, but we need to be happy with what we have as well.

If you have ideas for new programming at the Library, let’s work together to add it. The best case for a new library is one that this overcapacity of events and activities!

#littlesteps #usethedropbox #2kidsinthecar #seeninaberdeen#communitymeansUS #incrementaldevelopment

Keep Aberdeen Beautiful Cleanup Day June 3, 2017

Thanks to everybody who came out to the Community Clean-up this morning for Keep Aberdeen Beautiful. I forgot to take a photo of the truckload of garbage before throwing it in the dumpster, but it was a big one! #KeepAberdeenBeautiful

The next regularly scheduled Keep Aberdeen Beautiful Day is September 2, 2017. Want to do more to clean up Aberdeen? Call me at 410.357.1234 and let’s talk about it!

Ripken Stadium Movie nights

I took my wife, Liz, and kids, Indy and Remy to the Ripken Stadium Community Movie night Friday night, June 2. Fun times. The movie was Moana.

This is a great way for our community to free access to our City-owned Stadium. Kudos to the Ripken Baseball team for putting this on.

Next movie night is July 1 at 7:05PM.

 

Aberdeen City-Owned Real Estate for sale

The City of Aberdeen has two pieces of real estate for sale: 1 is the old Moose Lodge, located at 102 N Rogers Street Aberdeen, MD 21001.

The other is the former Aberdeen High School located at 34 N Philadelphia Blvd Aberdeen, MD 21001, which served as the Harford County Community services building for many years. Both are actively being marketed for sale by MacKenzie Commercial Real Estate.

If you have a creative use for either property, please contact MacKenzie at 410-821-8585 to learn more or make an offer. The City is looking for creativity in use to maximize the benefit to the Aberdeen Historic Downtown area.

Here’s a PDF of the study commissioned in 2015 of 34 N Philadelphia Road (the old high school). And there is a lot more information available upon request of the listing real estate broker. http://www.aberdeenmd.gov/sites/aberdeenmd/files/file/file/old_high_school_assessment.pdf

And here’s the listing for 102 N Rogers Street:
http://www.loopnet.com/Listing/20260210/102-N-Rogers-St-Aberdeen-MD/

For each of these pieces of real estate, according to the Code of the City of Aberdeen, any sale must be approved by a majority of the City Council. See the City Code section referring to disposal of City-owned property here: http://ecode360.com/14364428

Mayor Patrick McGrady remarks from Memorial Day 2017

Welcoming remarks at Aberdeen Veterans Park ceremony on the occasion of Memorial Day, May 29, 2017.

Welcome to the great City of Aberdeen, MD.

Aberdeen has a long history, permanently interlinked with the United States Armed Forces– with our nearby Army installation sharing our name, Aberdeen Proving Grounds, and our interwoven communities of veterans and civilians-supporting-individuals.

Today, we remember.

James Garfield, former Major General of the Union forces during the Civil War, then Congressman, and future President of the United States spoke at Arlington Cemetery 149 years ago May 30, 1868, and I can’t say it better.

He said:

I am oppressed with a sense of the impropriety of uttering words on this occasion. If silence is ever golden, it must be here, beside the graves of fifteen thousand men, whose lives were more significant than speech, and whose death was a poem, the music of which can never be sung. With words we make promises, plight faith, praise virtue. Promises may not be kept, plighted faith may be broken, and vaunted virtue be only the cunning mask of vice. We do not know one promise these men made, one pledge they gave, one word they spoke: but we do know they summed up and perfected, by one supreme act, the highest virtues of men and citizens. For love of country they accepted death, and thus resolved all doubts, and made immortal their patriotism and their virtue.”

Thank you.

Referendum Petition for Charter Amendment

As referenced in my earlier Statement here, the City Council voted to remove the authority of the Mayor without the voter’s say in the matter. This is wrong, and we have the ability to do something about it.

Here is a link to the Petition to put this on the ballot for the voters to decide: Petition to referendum for Charter Amendment Click here to open the PDF, then print and sign and return to Patrick McGrady at 310 W Bel Air Ave Aberdeen, MD 21001 as soon as possible. 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: The City Council voted to significantly change the structure of the City government, and for the voters of the City of Aberdeen to have a say in this, we need to collect 1,990 signatures before June 17.

Dear Aberdeen Citizen and Neighbor,

The Constitution of the United States is the framework of our government at the federal level, and the Aberdeen City Charter is our local government’s Constitution.

The City Council on May 8, 2017 voted to change the structure of the City government with three votes. Councilwoman Sandra Landbeck, Councilman Melvin Taylor, and Councilman Timothy Lindecamp voted to remove the authority of the Mayor over the City, in effect making the Mayor position powerless—taking away the power of your vote without any input from you.

The people of Aberdeen voted for the form of government that included the Mayor as the Chief Executive Officer of the City of Aberdeen.

This form of government allows you to call me when there is a problem, and I can address it. In the past year, I have received calls about garbage pickup, potholes, taxes, trash stickers, and sewer backups. That’s what I signed up for. That’s why we elect a Mayor.

The City Council voted on May 8, 2017 to remove this authority and they don’t want you to get a say in the matter. It seems crazy to me to change the form of government without the voter’s consent.

Well, I was elected to stand up for you, whether you voted for me or not, and I believe the voters should have a say when we change the City Constitution.

Changing the form of government like this is something that is done in third-world countries, not in America. The voters deserve a say in their government.

For the voters to have a say on this matter, we need to collect signatures on the attached petition. If we can collect 1,990 signatures (20% of the registered voters of the City of Aberdeen) by June 17, then we can put this to a vote on the ballot—so the voters can decide about their government.

It is crucial that we work together to get all the registered voters that we know to sign the petition to get this put on the ballot.

Over the next few weeks, with your help, we will be going door-to-door to collect the signatures needed to get this on the ballot. If you want to help, please email at patrick@patrickmcgrady.com or call anytime at 410.357.1234.

Please print and sign the petition and return it to me immediately. If you have questions, you can call me at 410.357.1234. We need to work together to collect 1,990 signatures by June 17.

Very Respectfully,

Patrick McGrady
Mayor, City of Aberdeen
Cell phone: 410.357.1234

P.S. The voters deserve a say in their government. Please sign the petition enclosed and return to me so we can get a ballot referendum on this radical change in government before June 17, 2017.

Statement on Charter Amendment adopted by City Council 5/8/2017

When we elect a president (like him or not) we don’t try and change the rules to take away his authority granted by the voters, and that is exactly what has been done in Aberdeen.

The Citizens of Aberdeen voted for a Mayor and for a Council in November of 2015, and the City Council voted Monday night to change the results of the election because they think they know better than the voters how the Mayor and Council should interact.

The Charter of the City of Aberdeen is the document that establishes our government– it is our Constitution. It is a radical and unacceptable action to fundamentally change the form of government between elections.

This action is a violation of the fundamentally American principle that voters get to make decisions about their government.

Changes to the structure of government should never be rammed through without the public approving of the changes, and that is what Councilwoman Landbeck, Councilman Lindecamp, and Councilman Taylor have voted to do.

Specifically, these changes will take away the powers of the duly-elected Mayor over the budget, over oversight of the City government, of reporting to the public via the State of the City address, and removes the authority to make appointments for all public commissions of the City.

In order to include the voters in this process, I attempted to make these changes effective after the next Mayor is elected so that the people have a say in these changes. However, Councilwoman Landbeck, Councilman Lindecamp, and Councilman Taylor all voted against this change.

I have had multiple calls from community members to petition this issue to referendum, and I’m evaluating what would need to happen for that to be successful.

Charter Amendment Resolution No. 17-CR-01 Council-Manager Form of Government 5-8-17 as amended & signed (5)

Maryland State Highway 22 Construction meeting report

Executive Summary: The Maryland State Highway Administration is working closely with the City of Aberdeen to try to accelerate the completion of the construction projects on Route 22.

The City of Aberdeen is right in the middle of the huge Maryland State Highway Administration project to widen Route 22 from APG to I-95.

For three years, construction has been ongoing, and causing serious delays at Beards Hill and 22, Mount Royal and 22, Middleton and 22, and Paradise and 22.

We invited representatives from the Maryland Department of Transportation (who is responsible for all of MD-22) to come to the Aberdeen City Council and discuss ways to speed up the projects, to make the construction more manageable for our community and businesses, and to get an idea of an expected completion date.

We learned through two City Council meetings that the project at 22 and Beards Hill is 6 months behind schedule, with an expected completion date of late 2017. The Paradise and 22 intersection is 2 months behind schedule with an expected completion date of late 2017.

The primary concern for local traffic is access to the Beards Hill and 22 intersection where cars were sitting for 4-5 light cycles at rush hour. Aberdeen businesses who attended made some good recommendations that SHA agreed to take on.

Some of them were:

  • Adjusting the traffic signal timing to make accessing our local shops and restaurants easier
  • Marking the limited lanes better
  • Adjusting the work times (we learned that the current work schedule was 8PM – 5am weekdays, explaining why it is rare to see people working on the roadside during the day)

And SHA made some changes based on these recommendations.. They adjusted the signal timing to max-out the time for Beards Hill traffic to cross. They marked the “right-only” lanes better at Beards Hill and 22. And the put up signs that say “All businesses open during construction.”

These changes have made the traffic situation better– but we wanted to know how SHA can do this job faster. Can they work longer hours? Can they deploy more money to get more people working to get it done?

Then on Friday, May 26, SHA met came back to City Hall, this time with their Management team for the Construction project. They brought a proposal to detour Beards Hill Road after 10PM until 5am in order to get the intersection, on the McDonalds-APGFCU side done sooner.

This change will take an entire month off of the project– and if the weather is not too wet, we expect completion before August at the Beards Hill/22 intersection. We expect updates from SHA on a more regular basis so we can keep a better idea of progress.

If SHA deployed more money to get more workers working longer hours, the side-effect would be even worse traffic conditions while even more lanes are closed. Because of the potential of choking off our local businesses, this idea was put aside for now.

While this project is a long, long, long-term project, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. More to follow.