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In race of Anne Arundel County govt, Haire criticizes Pittman for developer donation, tax break – Capital Gazette

As candidates submitted marketing campaign finance info this week, Republican county govt candidate Jessica Haire criticized Steuart Pittman for accepting donations from builders after she was berated by Pittman and group organizations for accepting tens of hundreds of {dollars} from a Silver Spring developer and its staff.

In her newest TV advert, “Pay Me Pittman,” which launched Monday, in response to a marketing campaign information launch, Haire notes that her Democratic opponent took a donation from Conifer Realty, a Rochester, New York-based developer that not too long ago bought 5 acres in Odenton to construct Blue Oaks at North Odenton, a workforce housing venture.

At a gathering in March between Conifer and the Odenton City Heart Advisory Committee, Andrew Hanson, vice chairman of growth at Conifer, stated the models will probably be reasonably priced for individuals making $20,000 to $65,000 a yr.

Haire leveled her criticism of Pittman as the primary basic election marketing campaign finance reporting deadline arrived on Tuesday. Pittman acquired $2,500 from Conifer in April, in response to his marketing campaign finance report. He additionally introduced a invoice earlier than the County Council that will provide the developer a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes settlement. Underneath the settlement, the developer would pay the county a negotiated payment fairly than common actual property taxes. This sort of settlement is usually used to incentivize builders to construct reasonably priced housing, as within the case of Blue Oaks.

At a July County Council assembly, seven fee in lieu of taxes packages, together with one for Blue Oaks, had been authorized by the 4 Democrats on the council — Allison Pickard of Glen Burnie, Sarah Lacey of Jessup, Lisa Rodvien of Annapolis and Andrew Pruski of Gambrills. All three council Republicans — Haire of Edgewater, Nathan Volke of Pasadena and Amanda Fiedler of Arnold — voted in opposition to the agreements.

“He put that invoice [in] in June after which pushed it by the council on a party-line vote,” Haire stated. “It shifts the tax burden to the remainder of Anne Arundel County residents so the corporate that’s getting this huge tax break isn’t even an Anne Arundel County firm, it’s not even a Maryland firm. It’s a New York-based firm.”

Haire stated the difficulty isn’t in regards to the deserves of the fee in lieu of taxes program, it’s about Pittman’s hypocrisy.

“Pittman, for the final two months, has been screaming and making an attempt to fabricate outrage over [my] marketing campaign contributions,” she stated. “In the meantime, he’s doling out tax breaks for his donor. That’s wildly hypocritical.”

Nonetheless, Pittman stated he’s proud to be supported by Conifer or some other reasonably priced housing developer as he’s intent on supporting the development of extra reasonably priced housing in Anne Arundel.

“Now we have a scarcity of academics, bus drivers, law enforcement officials and what I’m advised is that if we are saying no to reasonably priced housing, we’re saying no to our small companies [and] we’re saying no to our faculties,” Pittman stated. “We’ve received to have locations on this county the place individuals can reside and afford to work these jobs.”

A coalition of Anne Arundel County group teams together with Forks of the Patuxent Enchancment Affiliation, Woodwardville Preservation Society, Larger Crofton Council and Crofton First wrote a letter in July requesting that Haire return greater than $250,000 in marketing campaign contributions from Silver Spring developer Halle Corporations and its staff and associates. Halle has been working for many years to get a landfill constructed alongside Patuxtent Street that many group members oppose. The Capital discovered that Haire acquired roughly $200,000 in donations from individuals or entities sharing the Halle deal with, employed by Halle — in response to firm info — or sharing addresses with Halle staff.

The proposed Chesapeake Terrace Rubble Landfill has been tied up within the courts for round 30 years. Nonetheless, Pittman stated the landfill can not get constructed underneath his administration as constructing approval would require a certificates of use from the county. Moreover, the particular exception the landfill developer is working with solely contains one entry level, a website the place the county bought land to assemble a brand new faculty, West County Elementary Faculty. As a result of that land is now spoken for, Pittman stated the landfill has no recourse underneath the county Workplace of Regulation’s interpretation of the developer’s paperwork.

The quantity of donations Haire received from Halle is round 100 instances greater than the $2,500 he received from Conifer, Pittman identified.

“I believe one-hundredth of what the Halle Growth individuals did to place a dump subsequent to a neighborhood is reputable political fundraising and I stand by it,” he stated.

The payment-in-lieu-o-taxes program has been utilized by the county for years, he stated, and is an acceptable type of tax reduction for the advantages reasonably priced housing convey to the native economic system.

However to Haire, the difficulty isn’t the sum of money, or the advantages to the economic system, or how sensible it’s to construct reasonably priced housing. The difficulty, stated Haire is doing favors for donors.

“This isn’t about contributions. Who he has as marketing campaign supporters isn’t my challenge,” Haire stated. “He has been making an attempt to scream that someway as a result of persons are giving me donations that I’m going to do them favors. He’s accusing me of one thing he’s speculating about. It’s inaccurate. It’s unfaithful. It’s by no means been my apply.”

In the meantime, Pittman is already offering advantages to a donor of his, Haire stated.

Based on marketing campaign finance knowledge submitted by the Tuesday deadline, Pittman has round $615,000 in money available, whereas Haire has about $225,000. Pittman has spent about $50,000 on his marketing campaign since early July, whereas Haire spent about $275,000 to defeat a number of challengers within the latest Republican main. Pittman had no challengers.

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“We’ve spent some huge cash. We’ve raised some huge cash, however we’ve been working onerous for over a yr to place our message out,” Haire stated. “I can really feel the joy with of us. I can see it and really feel it in all places I’m going.”

Within the July main, Haire acquired 16,358 votes, or 44.4% of the vote, to defeat her important challenger, former Annapolis Del. Herb McMillan., who received 14,292 votes or 38.8%.

Pittman stated he additionally feels assured.

“I really feel excellent,” he stated. “The momentum is palpable.”

Pittman is looking for a second time period as county govt, having defeated incumbent Republican Steve Schuh in 2018. In that race, Pittman received 52.3% of the vote to Schuh’s 47.6%.

The overall election is Nov. 8.

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