The town I live in has faced an onslaught of scandals, controversy and disappointment over the last few weeks. 

Some of these include:

  • The approval of another liquor store in the center of town
  • A Civil War Memorial proposal
  • The approval of a tax credit community from the Board of Zoning and Appeals
  • The sudden closure of two businesses – a restaurant and a coffee shop
  • One Council member’s violations, fines and lawsuits
  • And of course the arraignment of Taneytown Police Chief William Tyler by the U.S. Attorney’s Office

I hope to address each of these topics in future posts, but today I wanted to focus on the recent closure of two small businesses.  More specifically, I want to focus on the Economic Development Department of the City of Taneytown and provide information on what measures are being taken to promote and support businesses in town.  Although it is not the town’s responsibility to help run a business, it is a city’s duty to use tax payer money wisely. 

As stated on the City of Taneytown’s website, the Economic Development Department’s mission statement is

The mission of the Economic Development Department is to preserve, retain, and nurture new and existing businesses for the benefit of employment and revenue for the City of Taneytown

In less than four years, twenty (20) small businesses have closed their doors in Taneytown.  There are plenty of opinions, rumors and accusations as to why each business owner decided to close, but I feel we need to dig deeper.  What we need is a complete overhaul of the Economic Development Department (consisting of one employee) and demand accountability in how city money is used.   

As a previous business owner, I asked the Economic Development Department many times for consistent and cohesive marketing, promotion, and training for Main Street businesses.  I was given the answer “we have limited resources”, lending to the assumption there is little or no money in the budget for marketing, manpower or promotion.    

According to the City of Taneytown’s Operating Budget for the Fiscal Years 2016-2019, there are several line items that could be used to restructure marketing campaigns, provide training to business owners, and positively influence public behavior. 

 The following is a summary of the Economic Development budget for Fiscal Years 2016-2019:

Compensation (Salary & Payroll Expenses)  $316,285
Marketing Initiative$45,000
Contractual $40,000
EDC Main Street Program$35,000
Baltimore Street Marketing Initiative $10,000
Materials & Supplies$4,000
Consulting & Engineering $3,000
Dues & Subscriptions$2,200
Professional – Other$2,052

In addition to this amount, there is an EDC Grant (GL Code 4369) of $18,178 in FY 2017 (GF page 9 of 21).

The above summary does not include funds received through the Main Street Program.  Unfortunately, I am unable to share any information on the financials from my time served on the Main Street Advisory Board.  During the time I served, I was told by the Chair and Main Street Director that all information on the financial statements were confidential and were to be shredded after each meeting. 

$512,985.00 +++

So where was this money spent?  How was it used? 

The Economic Director is not required and has not made any effort to report to the public with details of how this money was spent or the results from citizen’s hard earned contributions.  After all, this is citizen’s money and the City Department Heads are merely stewards of the money.

What do you think needs to change in order to create a stable business environment in a small town like Taneytown?

Do you think the city is fiscally responsible?

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts – be sure to share them with your local leaders as well.

City of Taneytown’s Operating Budgets for the Fiscal Years 2016-2019

FISCAL YEAR 2018-2019 Ordinance No. 01-2018 OPERATING BUDGET

FISCAL YEAR 2017-2018 FINAL – Ordinance No. 04-2017 OPERATING BUDGET

FISCAL YEAR 2016-2017 FINAL – Ordinance No. 25-2016 OPERATING BUDGET

FISCAL YEAR 2015-2016 FINAL – Ordinance No. 14-2015 OPERATING BUDGET

10 Replies to “$512,985.00”

  1. This certainly makes an outsider wonder and question. Wouldn’t anyone employed by the city be working for the city and for the people? To me, those reports should be made available to the people that ask. What is the big secret? We have the “ behind the scenes “ issues with the police department, we certainly don’t need it elsewhere in the city.
    I think the entire presentation of Main Street from the park to the circle needs to be cleaned up. What has happened to the reinforcement of ordinances for the property owner to keep up with the maintenance of said property? If it’s a rental, then the renters should be responsible and if it’s not taken careof, it should fall back on the owner.
    I feel bad for the businesses that have come and gone. It would be so amazing to see every storefront filled but it takes a lot more then the town having balloons and a ribbon cutting ceremony to make it work.
    I appreciate the opportunity to voice a few of my concerns. I could go on and on. I see the liquor store that’s proposed to be a huge negative for the city. Yes it will bring in revenue for them but there are so many other businesses that would have been a much better fit, more family oriented establishments.
    It would be nice to be able to sit and chat with you because like I said, I could go on and on.
    Thanks so much for letting me express my concerns.

  2. On YouTube there is a nice video about Thurmont, MD and their downtown shopping area. It is really good. While watching it I wondered why doesn’t Taneytown have a video like this? Then I thought, We can’t have a nice calm town full of shops because we have huge trucks hauling though town day and night. Thurmont has Rt 15. All the trucks stay up there. Ones that come in to make deliveries, don’t come anywhere near Main Street. So their Main Street has shops, dry cleaners, a hardware store, and parking. Our town has trucks, trucks, and more trucks. And the exhaust and dirt they create. The parking has been take away to accommodate these big trucks. There isn’t very much desirable property along Main Street in which to put a business because of no parking. Maybe economic developement could work on these issues so businesses would have a fighting chance in town.

    1. Hi Carol! Thank you so much for your feedback. Yes, I definitely agree about the trucks. From my understanding, a bypass has been on the books for several years. I have been told the state has halted the idea/progress due to funding. We own a home right at the square and encounter not only the noise, but decay of our historic home due to the trucks. It’s a huge problem that will certainly take time and plenty of money. A bypass would not only help businesses, but also preserve the historic buildings that remain.
      As far as parking, yes, something certainly needs to be planned and executed by city management to make visiting downtown a little easier. There is a parking lot behind the fire station, but very few people are aware it even exists.
      I highly encourage you to email city council members and city management to voice your concerns. They don’t know if we don’t tell them.
      P.S. There is an election this May and I hope citizens ask the candidates the right questions in moving this town forward.
      I think as a community, we all have a common goal…..we want Taneytown to be a place we are proud to call home.
      Thank again for your comments!

    1. Thank you Christopher for your feedback! Term limits are definitely needed!
      Looking forward to the upcoming election to see if any changes will be made for the betterment of this town. My hope is to live in a town we’re proud of.

  3. Hi Emily,
    That bypass has been on the books since I was in elementary school! My dad was on the planning committee for that bypass in the mid 1960’s. To say the funding isn’t there is a historical answer. That road has been on the back burner for going on 60 years!

    Also, if downtown is having a special event, why not have cars park at the lower end of Memorial Park or the Middle School and use schoolbuses to bring people in for drop off and pick up later.

  4. Thank you for publishing this information. I am also concerned about the lack of development in our town.. I am proud to be a Taneytown resident. I just hope that change is on the way for us! This election is critical for all of us. Vote to Make Our Taneytown the Best Hometown !

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