Amended municipal budget includes $500,000 for community center for the deaf | Politics and government

The Maryland Deaf Community Center will receive $500,000 from the City of Frederick to help the organization find a new location.

The funding is among amendments Mayor Michael O’Connor announced Friday to his draft budget for fiscal year 2023, as city aldermen prepare to vote on the proposal Thursday night.

The half-million dollars will be used to make renovations, including compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act at a new facility, Linda Stoltz, president of the Maryland Deaf Community Center, said Friday.

After moving from its last location in January, the organization has found a location it likes, but is waiting to receive $2.5 million in public funding in July before officially announcing the location, Stoltz said.

The new center would provide activities for deaf seniors who may be socially isolated, as well as other deaf or hard of hearing people, including those who are also blind, she said.

It will also provide office and other space for various deaf organizations, training for deaf caregivers, American Sign Language classes and other services, she said.

They have held classes in churches and other places in the past, but now they will have their own space, she said.

Alderman Donna Kuzemchak, who advocated for adding the money to the city budget, said she was pleased O’Connor added the money to the budget.

The city has a large deaf community, which hasn’t always gotten the funding it needs, she said.

Kuzemchak said a fresh install could help change that.

“It will benefit the whole community, not just the deaf and hard of hearing community,” she said.

The changes announced Friday would add $5.5 million to the operating budget, part of a $197.3 million budget for fiscal year 2023 that O’Connor presented in late March.

It included a general fund of $127 million. Additional funds for water and sewer, storm water, parking, Weinberg Center for the Arts, Frederick Municipal Airport, Clustered Spiers Golf Course and reserves bring the total proposed budget to $197.3 millions of dollars.

Friday’s amendments also included transferring control of $200,000 of American Rescue Plan Act federal funding to purchase new surveillance cameras from the city’s Office of Risk, Safety and Compliance to the office. of the mayor. Several aldermen had wondered whether the cameras should be monitored by people who are not law enforcement.

The mayor’s office formed a group to work with the city’s legal department to develop a policy on the use of cameras.

There is also $4.25 million in additional state funding to the city’s Capital Improvement Program to develop a new headquarters for the Frederick Police Department at 100 E. All Saints St. and a new $7.5 million CIP project for a community center on the west side of town.

This project would be funded by a transfer of the City’s fund balance and proceeds from the sale of municipal land.

Follow Ryan Marshall on Twitter: @RMarshallFNP

Jill E. Washington