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March 7, 2014

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Working with Congress at MACo’s Summer Conference

July 31, 2014

Congressional staff to US Senator Barbara Mikulski and US Congressman John Delaney will be joining MACo’s Summer Conference to discuss federal funding for county infrastructure and transportation legislation currently in Congress. This special session will take place on Friday, August 15, 2014 from 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm at the Ocean City Convention Center.

In Federal Funding for County Causes: Working with Congress, Lori Albin, State Director for Senator Mikulski will share how federal policy and funding assist infrastructure repair and development in Maryland.  Xan Fishman, Senior Legislative Assistant to Congressman John Delaney will describe federal legislative efforts to address our nation’s aging infrastructure. Joining them, Michael Belarmino, Associate Legislative Director of the National Association of Counties will speak about the effect of federal legislation and funding on county infrastructure projects nationwide and how counties can work with NACo on current policy issues.

Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett, MACo’s First Vice President will moderate this session.

Learn more about MACo’s 2014 Summer Conference:

Contact Meetings & Events Director Virginia White with questions about Summer Conference.

 


MSDE Assembles Adequacy Funding Study Stakeholder Group

July 31, 2014

MACo recently received a letter requesting an appointment the Adequacy Funding Study Stakeholder Group from the Maryland State Department of Education. Michael Sanderson, MACo’s Executive Director will be serving as MACo’s representative on the stakeholder group.

The Adequacy Funding Study is a follow-up to the Thornton Commission as required by the Bridge to Excellence in Public Schools Act of 2002. As described in the letter to MACo, the stakeholder group will be “ensuring the study is thorough and reflective of the distinctive characteristics of Maryland and its public schools.”

The first meeting of the stakeholder group will be held on August 12.  For more information, contact Robin Clark at MACo, (410) 269-0043.


Howard County Council Enhances Benefits for Volunteer Fire and EMS

July 31, 2014

The Howard County Council recently passed legislation enhancing benefits for volunteer fire and EMS personnel.

According to the summary, Council Bill 39-2014 amends the Length of Service Award Program for volunteer firefighting/EMS personnel, provides for burial and survivor benefits, and clarifies the points volunteers receive for military service.

Testimony from Howard County’s Fire Chief Goddard describes how the legislation will provide enhanced benefits to eligible Howard County volunteer Firefighters/EMTs through the Length of Service Program. According to Goddard, these enhancements include,

  • A change in the calculation of the monthly payment to allow for periodic cost-of-living increases;
  • Language which explains how the maximum monthly benefit will be calculated;
  • The addition of a burial benefit;
  • A provision for short-term survivor benefits; and
  • An adjustment to the definition of military service and associated service credit.

For more information, see the full text of Council Bill 39-2014 or the Chief Goddard’s testimony.

 


A Conversation with Governor Glendening at MACo’s Summer Conference

July 31, 2014
parris

Governor Parris N. Glendening

As Governor of Maryland from 1995-2003, Glendening promoted tax reform, economic development, and environmental protection. Prior to becoming Governor, he was a local elected official in many capacities: a city Councilman in Hyattsville; a Council Member in Prince George’s County; the County Executive in Prince George’s County for three consecutive terms; and President of MACo from 1986-1987.

Join Governor Parris N. Glendening for his reflections on his years of service and his insight into today’s policy areas of interest for county governments.

The discussion will be moderated by Phil Tilghman, former Wicomico County Council Member and public access TV host, whose “One on One” program regularly explores topics with Eastern Shore public figures.

Date/Time: Friday, August 15, 2014 from 2:15 – 3:15 pm

Learn more about MACo’s 2014 Summer Conference:

Contact Meetings & Events Director Virginia White with questions about Summer Conference.

 


Washington County Receives Grant to Assist With Business Expansion

July 31, 2014

As reported by the Hagerstown Herald-Mail, Maryland officials recently announced a $1 million conditional grant to Washington County to assist with the expansion of National Golden Tissue. According to the article,

The $1 million state grant comes through the Community Development Block Grant Program, which provides federal funds for community and economic development projects administered by the state Department of Business and Economic Development, officials said in a news release.

In addition, the Washington County Board of Commissioners has approved a conditional loan in support of the project worth $300,000, along with another $400,000 from the Tri-County Council for Western Maryland.

Along with the CDBG grant, DBED is providing a $5 million loan guarantee on an $11.2 million loan from SunTrust Bank to the company, through the Maryland Industrial Development Financing Authority, officials said.

The new expanded facility is expected to create more than 100 new jobs.


Sustainable Growth Commission Ponders Key IRR Recommendations

July 31, 2014

Infill, Redevelopment & Revistalization

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission considered a list of key or “headline” recommendations for its Infill, Redevelopment, and Revitalization (IRR) Policy at its July 28th meeting.  While the Commission is still considering all 85 recommendations from the current draft, the members agreed that a smaller subset should receive special focus.  The headline list focuses on 27 recommendations, often combining language from several recommendations in the full draft.  The recommendations cover focusing the State’s resources (water/sewer, roadways, schools/libraries, and economic development) in targeted redevelopment and revitalization areas, promoting equitable development, and furthering transit-oriented-development goals.

The Commission generally agreed that 27 was still too many to highlight and will likely narrow the list of headline recommendations further.  MACo’s representatives on the Commission and MACo staff continue to participate in the Commission’s deliberations.

Prior Conduit Street Coverage of the IRR Policy


MACo Submits Comments on State’s Zero Waste Plan

July 31, 2014

MACo submitted comments on the State’s draft zero waste plan on July 25.  As previously reported on Conduit Street, the State’s Green House Gas Reduction Plan supports moving Maryland toward a “zero waste” policy and achieving a statewide 80% recycling rate and 85% waste diversion rate by 2040.  In response, the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) released a draft zero waste plan in April, and invited stakeholder comments.

In its comments, MACo offered five broad principles as well as responding to numerous specific recommendations in the zero waste draft plan.  The five principles include:

1. The State must provide financial resources dedicated to the zero waste policy. One of the key challenges counties have faced with recycling is that the State has mandated specific county goals but failed to provide adequate resources to help realize those goals. Implementing a zero waste policy will pose significant new costs on counties, many of which lack the necessary resources. The State must provide ongoing dedicated funding if zero waste is to be truly realized in Maryland.

2. Recycling and waste diversion regulations must be cost effective, flexible, and recognize unique local conditions. Many of the proposed zero waste initiatives will rely on infrastructure changes and the adoption of new technology. Zero waste regulations must recognize the costs these changes will create and not make implementation overly burdensome or expensive. Local flexibility is also paramount – the waste management challenges of Baltimore City are very different from those of the Eastern Shore. A “one size fits all” approach should be avoided.

3. All involved stakeholders must participate. If zero waste is to be successful in Maryland, counties cannot be expected to reach the State’s ambitious recycling and waste diversion goals alone. The effort will require participation from all involved stakeholders, including the commercial and retail sectors, municipalities, waste haulers and recyclers, and the State.

4. Ongoing consultation is critical. If zero waste is going to be successful, it is vital the State consult and collaborate with the counties and other stakeholders continuously. The consultation should not stop after the first version of the zero waste plan is adopted.

5. Further research on the costs and benefits of zero waste is needed, particularly as it pertains to Maryland. MACo feels that the draft plan does not provide sufficient research regarding some of its claims on the costs and benefits a zero waste policy would bring to Maryland. If zero waste is to be successful here, further cost/benefit analysis is needed so that a truly realistic and useful plan can be crafted.

MDE also hosted a local government stakeholders workgroup on July 29 that was attended by MACo Legal and Policy Counsel Les Knapp as well as numerous county recycling and waste management officials.  Based on feedback received from the participants, MDE plans to revise its draft over the next several months.  MDE also plans to meet with business and environmental stakeholders as well.

For further information, please contact Les Knapp at lknapp@mdcounties.org / 410.269.0043.

MACo July 25 Zero Waste Comments

MDE Zero Waste Plan April Draft

Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan Executive Summary

 


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