2014 Legislative Issues
Maryland’s county board of education 2015 budgets are now available on MACo’s website. Several counties also share additional information about their budgets in presentations and graphics. Howard County’s Chair and Vice Chair of the Board of Education created a video presentation of the early phases of their four phase budget process. Frederick County’s Board of Education recorded a series of videos, including one on the budget cycle. Harford County’s Board of Education provides visual depiction of its operating and unrestricted budget.
MACo staff joined Maryland’s Community College Presidents last week to discuss legislative topics of mutual interest and concern, including the economy, the State budget, operating and capital funding funding for community colleges, and the expansion of the dual-enrollment program.
The conversation included a discussion shared goals and collaboration between MACo and Maryland’s community colleges in the upcoming legislative session. MACo’s Executive Director Michael Sanderson described some of the changes that elections bring to the General Assembly and county government, and his perspective on the economy and the recent State revenue write-down. MACo’s Policy Analyst Robin Clark discussed MACo’s support for full Cade funding for community colleges and MACo’s testimony last year on SB 749/HB490, a bill involving unionization of college campus faculty and staff.
For more information on these subjects, see our previous posts, State Revenue Estimates Drop $405 Million, MACo Hosts Community Colleges, Supports Funding, Budget Plan Limits Growth in Community College Funding, Cade Funding Letter From MACo Education Committee 2014, Harford Community College Officials Voice Concern Over Collective Bargaining Bill, 2014 Session Wrap-Up: Libraries & Community Colleges.
Discuss Advanced Public Finance Topics at the Academy for Excellence in Local Governance Graduate Course on December 5October 17, 2014
The Academy for Excellence in Local Governance is offering a course for Graduates of the Academy certificate program. The course, entitled “Advanced Finance for Public Officials,” will be offered in two parts – the first on December 5, 2014 and the second on May 8, 2015. Both parts of the course will be taught at the Local Government Insurance Trust (LGIT) offices in Hanover, MD.
This interactive workshop will focus on the following:
- Understanding the critical elements of long-range financial planning in an era of dwindling and uncertain resources.
- Providing an opportunity for attendees to “deep dive” into one of three public finance concentrations:
- Human Resources
- Infrastructure Finance
- Intergovernmental Financial Relations
- Developing strategic actions for applying acquired knowledge of best practices to the unique fiscal circumstances of your county or municipality.
Registrants must attend both days of the course to receive a certificate of completion from the University of Maryland. Application deadline is December 1, 2014. Early registration is encouraged; seats are limited to 25. The registration fee is $250 and the course is only available to graduates of the Academy certificate program.
The Academy for Excellence in Local Governance is a continuing education certificate program co-founded by MACo and the Maryland Municipal League (MML), sponsored by LGIT, and offered through the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy. This voluntary certificate program provides a foundation of skills for local government officials and staff. For county participants, 8 Core Courses and 6 Elective Courses must be completed to earn a certificate – all courses are offered at MACo, MML, and LGIT conferences and events. Graduates of the program are eligible to participate in advanced topic courses such as the Advanced Finance for Public Officials course, which are offered several times each year. For more information on the Academy, please view our website.
As reported by the Cumberland Times-News, Garrett County is reinventing its rural manufacturing base and plans to celebrate its successes.
The county will celebrate its thriving manufacturing industry this month with a couple of events that will showcase the industry’s growth, as well as its historic talents and character as a community.
Kicking off the celebration is the first conference in the Power of Possibilities Series being hosted by The Greater Cumberland Committee and several other regional organizations at Garrett College in McHenry on Oct. 24. Designed with regional infrastructure and ecosystem entities in mind, this conference will offer an update on the region’s economic outlook, as well as advice from industry and government speakers and a toolkit of resources to assist education, government, and nonprofit community organizations for working with entrepreneurs.
Next up are the Maryland Economic Development Association’s 2014 Fall Conference and Showcase on “Advancing Manufacturing in Maryland” Oct. 26 and 27 at Rocky Gap Casino Resort. This two-day event will kick off MEDA’s fourth annual Economic Development Week, which emphasizes the importance of economic development for the state of Maryland to the general public with initiatives and events held throughout the state.
More than 30 specialty manufacturers are located in Garrett County.
Standard Solar, Inc., a MACo Silver Corporate Partner, recently announced that a solar project is currently under construction for the Cecil County Public Schools and will be completed by the end of the year.
From the HeraldOnline.com article,
The Cecil County Public Schools site will feature more than 7,500 solar panels which will be installed in a ground mounted array at the Cecil County School of Technology in North East, MD. The system will produce up to 2.5 megawatts direct current. This is equivalent to greenhouse gas emissions of 4 tons of carbon dioxide, or 3,851 pounds of coal burned, or 1.3 tons of waste sent to landfills. The system will provide approximately 92 percent of Cecil County’s Board of Education’s six building electricity load.
The Cecil County solar array project was developed and is being installed by Standard Solar. SunEdison will provide the financing via a power purchase agreement. The MEA is providing a $98,000 grant to help offset the cost of interconnecting the solar system to the electrical grid. More generally, the Maryland legislature and Governor Martin O’Malley have created financial, net metering and other incentives that allow counties, municipalities and other entities to reduce their electricity costs by installing solar systems. These efforts were implemented in order to help the State of Maryland realize its Renewable Portfolio Standard goal of 20 percent renewable energy generation by 2022.
“This project marks Cecil County Board of Education’s commitment to furthering the advancement of solar energy and we are honored to take part in this event recognizing the progress in bringing this commitment to reality,” said Standard Solar CEO Tony Clifford.
To read more about this solar project, visit HeraldOnline.com.
The University of Maryland Cooperative Extension Service in Calvert County will celebrate 100 years, recognizing the law that created
the National Cooperative Extension System among agricultural colleges in order to inform people about current developments in agriculture, home economics, public policy and government, leadership, 4-H, economic development and coastal issues.
The traditional focus of the organization was to extend university-based research and education to farmers and rural communities with an emphasis on practical skills and useful information.
In celebration of the 100th anniversary, the University of Maryland Extension in Calvert County will host an open house on Tuesday, Oct. 21, and Wednesday, Oct. 22, from 3 to 7 p.m. at the Extension office in Prince Frederick.
The event is open to the public and will highlight the past accomplishments of the centennial organization and look toward contemporary applications of research-based knowledge to continue to improve the lives of people in Calvert County over the next 100 years, according to a release.
“Some people may have a vague idea of what extension does or they may have been involved with 4-H as a youth,” Chris Seubert, area extension director for Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s counties, said. “But there are many people who don’t know that we offer a wide range of services and training, including nutrition education, food safety, well and septic information, gardening and nutrient management plans for farmers, in addition to a comprehensive youth development program in 4-H.”
At previous open houses, Seubert said attendees were “surprised at the wide range of things extension did.” With displays and information available at the open house, attendees will be able to see the many project and extension is involved with, Seubert said.
As reported by the Washington Post, election officials in Maryland and Virginia are taking steps to avoid the long lines at polling locations which occurred during the 2012 elections.
About 12 percent of all voters in both states had to wait for more than hour, sometimes outdoors in chilly weather, before casting their votes, the Government Accountability Office found. Maryland, Virginia and Florida were the nation’s three worst-performing states in terms of delays.
Election officials said they have bought new equipment; carved out smaller, more manageable precincts; and trained volunteers in better management of long lines in an attempt to avoid repeating the problem on Nov. 4.
The GAO report was based on a survey of the nation’s 10,500 local elections offices.