2014 Legislative Issues
The National Association of Counties (NACo) is offering a webinar on “Sustainable Waste Management Strategies for Counties” on Thursday, May 15 from 2:00 PM – 3:15 PM EDT. The webinar is open to NACo members.
New approaches to waste management can enable counties to reap significant environmental and financial benefits. For example, landfill diversion programs can increase county recycling rates and extend the life of existing landfills. Naturally occurring methane at landfills can be captured and used as a source of renewable energy, reducing methane emissions and offering energy savings and new streams of revenue. Fuel efficient fleets can reduce vehicle emissions and save on fuel costs. This webinar will provide participants the tools and strategies needed to incorporate sustainable strategies into their counties waste management practices.
Click here for further information and to register.
Kent County Commissioners have begun to prepare their fiscal 2015 budget by holding a series of workshops to review county department budget requests. Based on information presented thus far, budget requests exceed estimated revenues. As reported by MyEasternShoreMD.com:
Kent County expects to see about $30 million in property tax revenues in the upcoming budget year. According to a review by Chief Finance Officer Pat Merritt on April 15, that makes up the lion’s share of the expected $44.8 million in revenues.
The largest sums are $30,051,655 in property tax (67 percent); income tax, $11,250,000 (25 percent); and recordation taxes, $1,040,000 (4 percent).
At the same time, budget requests put before the commissioners in the past four weeks come to $47,784,873. In the coming months they will balance what departments want with estimated revenues.
The budget review process continued on April 22 with Commissioners hearing from the Parks & Recreation and Human Resources departments, Family & Community Partnerships and the State’s Attorney’s Office.
Once all departments and entities have presented their budget requests, a proposed fiscal 2015 budget will be prepared for public hearing. It is anticipated that Commissioners will adopt the fiscal 2015 budget in June.
In the aftermath of the DeWolfe v. Richmond decisions and subsequent failed attempts during the 2014 General Assembly session to institute significant bail reform, MACo is reaching out to the Maryland Judiciary to ensure that counties are engaged and not overlooked as the Judiciary moves forward to implement the required changes to bail funding and review process.
As previously reported on Conduit Street, the General Assembly addressed the 2014 session’s much-watched issue of bail reform by incorporating budget language to partially fund panel attorneys rather than passing more comprehensive reform legislation. Counties are expected to pay the difference. Most of the implementation decisions, which have been left in the hands of the courts, could impose significant challenges and costs on county governments. Accordingly MACo sent a letter to Chief Judge of the District Court of Maryland Ben C. Clyburn, to urge coordination with county governments and county-funded agencies.
With the passage of the State’s FY 2015 budget and the accompanying reconciliation bill (SB 172), the State has apparently provided a limited source of funds ($10 million for FY 2015) to implement the State’s reaction to Richmond v. DeWolfe. Section 17 of SB 172 further specifies that:
…the costs of compensating the attorneys beyond the amount restricted for that purpose in the State budget shall be billed by the appointing authority to the county in which the representation is provided and shall be paid by that county.
This funding arrangement is unprecedented for both the Judiciary and the county governments, and we hope that this arrangement may be implemented in the least disruptive fashion possible. Counties stand ready to offer guidance on how to best accomplish this.
County governments are concerned with the decision-making process leaving as yet unspecified State actors mandating commitments of county staff and funds with seemingly no local input. Both the approval process and the timing of this have yet to be fully determined, but both elements pose potentially great concern for county governments.
MACo pledges its assistance to the judiciary as it develops the required rules and policies to help ensure that county voices are heard and that the most just and effective system is implemented.
As previously reported on Conduit Street, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation has criticized the support of a number of Midwest, Western, and Southern states in a legal challenge to the authority of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to implement the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL). An April 22 Baltimore Sun B’More Green blog post reported that Baltimore City and several other large cities have filed a brief in support of the EPA and the Bay TMDL.
New York City, with sign-ons from Baltimore, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and San Francisco, filed a “friend-of-the-court” brief Monday in federal appeals court in a case challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s imposition of bay cleanup goals on Maryland and the other five states in the Chesapeake watershed. …
Attorneys general for 21 states, from Alaska to Florida, have sided with the industry groups, fearing that EPA could step in and order similarly sweeping cleanups of other waterways. …
Lawyers for the cities counter that unless EPA can require cleanup from all sources of water pollution, including storm runoff from farmland and development, the burden will fall disproportionately on sewage plants run by municipalities and other facilities that are directly regulated via discharge permits. …
The post also notes that the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia, which will be considering the appeal, has not yet set a date to hear arguments.
Exhibit booth spaces are going fast! Now is the time to sign up to exhibit at MACo’s Summer Conference August 13 – 16 at the Roland Powell Convention Center in Ocean City, MD.
Looking for a Big Exhibitor Opportunity?
The MACo 2014 Summer Conference offers the potential to bring exhibitors big results. County governments are searching for vendors offering virtually every business function and service found in Maryland. From logistics to printing, finance to office administration, training to trash removal – county governments are looking for YOU! Or your competitors. Needless to say, if you want to do business with Maryland’s counties, you should exhibit at the MACo Summer Conference. For more details and to fill out the application form, download our MACo 2014 Summer Conference Exhibitor Brochure.
Benefits of being a MACo Summer Conference Exhibitor:
- Exhibitor description and contact information displayed in MACo’s printed program, the conference mobile app, and our website!
- Each booth will receive a list of conference attendees and their contact information
- Exhibitors may participate in all MACo conference sessions at no additional charge
- Table draping for your booth is included!
- Each booth receives 2 tickets for Thursday and Friday lunches and for the Thursday evening Taste of Maryland Reception
- Additional tickets for the social events are available to exhibitors at the County Member rate (our lowest rate!)
- Exhibitors may sign up for the Golf Tournament (additional fee and registration required)
Nearly 2,000 people are estimated to attend this conference, including:
- County Executives, Council Members, and Commissioners
- County staff from all county departments
- Business representatives
- Senators and Delegates
- State and Federal officials and staff
…basically, anyone who has anything to do with local government in Maryland!
This year, the theme is “Ideas & Innovations.” Attendees will learn about and discuss best practices and creative ways to serve the residents of Maryland; they will also talk about emerging programs and methods of funding for new and existing programs.
Don’t miss this opportunity to show what your company can do for Maryland’s counties! Read more about our Summer Conference exhibit halls in the brochure.
Calvert County now offers online maps for county residents and visitors to find what they need, learn more about what’s going on, virtually explore the natural resources, parks and recreational facilities or see how the county has changed over the last 100 years.
MyCalvertMaps is a new online, interactive geographic information system featuring powerful maps that easily run on any desktop computer, tablet or mobile device. The maps do not require a plug-in or software download to function properly.
Recently featured in the April issue of Calvert Currents,
Calvert County’s rich history is a click away with the Historic Sites Map. From designated historical sites to roadside signs, driving tour info and more, this interactive map brings history alive.
View county properties, tax assessment information and regional topography with the Property and Topography Map. Whether you are looking to buy a property or are just curious, this interactive map gives you a new perspective on the county.
If you are new to the county or just need to find something new to you, the Facilities Guide Map is a great resource. Find schools, libraries, community centers, local government buildings and more, including links to additional information.
The Chesapeake Bay Critical Area was established to help protect our local waterways. Do you live near the Critical Area? The county’s Critical Area Map can show you and help you comply with Critical Area regulations.
Calvert County is surrounded by water and local property owners need to know their flood risk. The county’s Flood Hazard Map can help. It shows flood zones adopted in 2011 as well as the 2013 preliminary update.
From sites for hiking, fishing and horseback riding to public boat launches, sports fields and more, the county Recreational Facilities Map can help you get out and get active.
Check out the county’s Census and Demographics Map for details on population distribution, demographic profiles, housing information and much more.
With the county’s Voter Map you will find the boundaries of congressional, state and county election districts, along with your precinct and polling place.
For information on MyCalvertMaps, call the Calvert County Department of Technology Services at 410-535-1600, ext. 2511, or visit the Calvert County website.
Carroll County Land Use, Planning and Development Director Philip Hager has become the new President of the Maryland Association of County Planning Officials. He replaces the previous President, Anne Arundel County Planning and Zoning Director Larry Tom, who stepped down in February after serving in the office for approximately one year.
Association members include planners from each county and Baltimore City and is an affiliate of MACo. The Association meets at MACo eight to nine times a year to discuss planning and land use issues, hosts issue panels at MACo’s annual summer and winter conferences, and assists MACo in forming positions on land use legislation and policies.
As President, Hager will serve as a liaison with MACo and occasionally testify on behalf of the Association and MACo on various land use bills.