MACo Summer Conference Registration Deadline Approaching: July 30

July 23, 2014

July 30 is the last chance to register at our current low rates! Register today – rates increase on July 31.

Brochure Cover - smallDon’t miss MACo’s 2014 Summer Conference, “Ideas & Innovations,” August 13-16 at the Roland Powell Convention Center in Ocean City, Maryland.

Maryland’s county governments are working hard every day to “do more with less.” This conference is about how we’re doing just that—the Ideas & Innovations that are helping us serve Maryland’s residents at high capacity with low funding.

An estimated 2,000 local government officials, county staff decision‐makers, legislators, business representatives, and exhibitors will convene at the Roland Powell Convention Center in Ocean City, Maryland for MACo’s Summer Conference on August 13‐16, 2014.

Participants will learn about new and ground‐breaking methods to provide necessary services, creative ways to fund existing and upcoming projects, and intergovernmental, public, and private sector partners who can help counties achieve our goals.

MACo’s 2014 Summer Conference:

Need more information?

  • Contact Virginia White if you are interested in presenting, or if you have general conference questions
  • Contact Leslie Velasco if you are interested in exhibiting
  • Contact Kaley Schultze if you are interested in sponsoring
  • Contact Allison Valliant if you are interested in the golf tournament

Thank You to the Sponsors of MACo’s Summer Conference!

July 23, 2014

MACo’s Summer Conference would not be possible without the contributions of our generous sponsors. Thank you, sponsors – we truly appreciate your participation and support of the Maryland Association of Counties!

Event & Food Sponsors:


General Sponsors:


Mobile App Sponsors:


Mobile App Badge Sponsors:


Golf Tournament Sponsors:


Program Ad Sponsors:

Federal Update – Bill Extends Sales Tax to Internet Sales, Moratorium on Taxing Internet Access

July 23, 2014

A new bipartisan bill, the Marketplace and Internet Tax Freedom Act (MITFA)(S.2609), was recently introduced in the U.S. Senate addressing two issues of interest for county governments. From the National Association of Counties (NACo) Legislative Update:

  • It includes the Marketplace Fairness Act (MFA) as passed by the Senate in 2013 with a few minor technical corrections. MFA allows state and local governments to enforce existing sales taxes on remote sellers.
  • Provides a ten-year extension of the Internet Tax Freedom Act (ITFA). ITFA prohibits counties from collecting a tax on Internet access (typically a subscription service) until November 1, 2014. While a 10-year extension is not the best case scenario for counties, it is better than the House proposal (H.R. 3086) for a permanent extension.

According to the Update,

The Marketplace Fairness Act, which was passsed by the U.S. Senate in May, 2013 with broad bipartisan support (69 Yeas – 27 Nays), would grant authority to state and local governments to enforce existing sales and use tax laws on remote sellers. The bill would not create a new tax, but would create a level playing field for retailers regardless of their choice of venue and would grant collection authority only after states have simplified their sales tax laws.

As previously reported on Conduit Street, for Marylanders, this federal legislative change will result in the gas tax, which passed during the 2013 session, increasing at a lower rate.  As reported by the Baltimore Sun:

In Maryland, the General Assembly just approved legislation that is expected to increase the state’s 23.5-cents-a-gallon gas tax by about 20 cents by mid-2016. But if the federal government allows the state to apply its sales tax to Internet retailers, motorists could be spared about 7 cents of the gas tax increase, General Assembly officials have said.

The motor fuel tax legislation that passed phases in a 5-cent sales tax on gasoline with the final two percent increase taking effect only if federal legislation fails to extend the sales tax to remote sellers.

The  Internet Tax Freedom Act established a moratorium that has been extended three times to prohibit state and local governments from collecting a tax on internet access. The MITFA would extend this moratorium for another 10 years. Other efforts, the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act (H.R. 3086), would permanently prohibit state and local governments from taxing internet access.

NACo opposes this bill because the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has reported that removing the grandfathered states would deprive those states and local governments of several hundred million dollars annually and thus would be an unfunded mandate. Additionally, permanently extending ITFA would preempt an entire, fast-developing industry from taxation. Many services including cable and telecommunications services will transition to broadband, resulting in a significant expansion of the scope of services that ITFA will shield from state and local taxation.


2014 Shore Leadership Class Examines Caroline County’s Community & Legacy

July 23, 2014


A July 22 MyEasternShoreMD article reported that the 2014 Shore Leadership class examined the interplay between cultural history, government, and business in Caroline County.  From the article:

The program focused on how the Eastern Shore can use its distinct cultural and community characteristics as opportunities to create and grow an emerging pool of leaders who will help to sustain the Eastern Shore into the next century.  …

Presenters who participated in the legacy and community session included: Sue Simmons, executive director of Caroline County Parks and Recreation; Kathy Mackel, director of the Caroline County Office of Tourism; Beth Brewster, founder of the Chesapeake Culinary Center and coordinator of food services for Caroline County Public Schools; Marina Dowdall, executive director of the Caroline County Arts Center; Amy Jacocks, program coordinator for the Fibre Arts Center of the Eastern Shore; Ellie Altman, executive director of Adkins Arboretum and Neta Settin, superintendent of the Maryland State Parks, according to the release.

The Shore Leadership program is designed to train future government, business, and citizen leaders and educate them about the unique challenges faced by Maryland’s Eastern Shore.  From the program’s website:

Since 1997, the Shore Leadership program has been facilitating positive change and enhancing the quality of life on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

Participants meet one day each month at locations throughout the Eastern Shore, beginning with an overnight retreat in April at the Aspen Wye River Conference Facility and culminating in a December graduation. A master-certified leadership coach facilitates the sessions, which include leadership development training, as well as focused discussions on topics of regional interest. Topics include aspects of legacy, technology, economic development, community and arts, environment, education, and government.


Sustainable Growth Commission Releases Revised IRR Draft

July 23, 2014

Infill, Redevelopment & Revistalization







On July 21 the Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission released a preliminary draft of its proposed Infill, Redevelopment, and Revitalization (IRR) Policy for public comment.  The preliminary draft is an updated version of an earlier draft circulated at various public forums and commented upon by MACo.

June 25 Draft IRR Recommendations

MACo’s Comments on June 25 Draft IRR Recommendations

July 22 Updated IRR Recommendations

Governor Martin O’Malley and Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown sent a letter to Commission on January 22, 2014, requesting that the Commission make recommendations ““to accelerate Maryland’s infill, redevelopment, and revitalization efforts.”  In response, the Commission has considered a wide range of statutory, regulatory, fiscal, and policy proposals to increase the use of IRR.  Some of these proposals would provide additional tools to local land use planners while others would impose land use and taxation mandates.

The Commission will meet on July 28 from 1:00 – 4:00 PM at the Talbot County Library (100 West Dover Street, Easton, MD 21601) to discuss the updated recommendations.  Public comments will be accepted through August 20.  The Commission expects to adopt a final version of the recommendations on August 27.  The Commission’s deadline for submitting its recommendations is August 31.

Sustainable Growth Commission July 22 Press Release

Conduit Street Coverage of the IRR Policy

Commission Chair Jon Laria will take part in an IRR Panel at the 2014 MACo Summer Conference.  Click here for further information on the panel, entitled “Is IRR Maryland’s Next Big Land Use Policy?”

Learn more about MACo’s 2014 Summer Conference:

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

NACo Seeks Maryland Rep For Membership Committee

July 22, 2014

NACo logoThe National Association of Counties (NACo) is seeking a state representative to represent Maryland on its Membership Committee. Please contact Robin J. Clark, Maryland Association of Counties at (410) 269-0043 if you would like to serve. The application deadline is July 31, 2014.

Currently all 24 Maryland counties belong to NACo, but participation in the NACo membership efforts and promotion of their services can yield benefits for counties and their residents.

Position Description: The State Director is an officially appointed position of the Membership Committee and is appointed by the NACo President for a one-year term during the NACo Annual Conference.

The State Director is a volunteer position and has the following job responsibilities:

  • Keep in close contact with the Membership Committee leadership and NACo membership staff in order to have the most updated list of member and nonmember counties within your state.
  • Read and familiarize yourself with the benefits of NACo membership including any new programs that are of special interest to your state’s counties.
  • Contact all nonmember and member counties via phone, fax, e-mail, direct mail or in person meetings to encourage NACo membership. Report activities and results to the NACo Membership Committee staff liaison for inclusion in committee updates or reports.
  • Contact all canceling county members within your state to try to get them to reinstate NACo membership. Report activities and results to the NACo Membership Committee staff liaison for inclusion in committee updates or reports.
  • Attend your state association meetings and arrange meetings with nonmember or canceling counties whenever possible.
  • Coordinate membership efforts with the state association to raise the visibility of the NACo membership effort.

DHMH Launches Education Campaign to Raise Substance Abuse Awareness

July 22, 2014

Given a significant increase in overdose deaths in Maryland, the State has ramped up its efforts to address and bring awareness to the issue. As noted in a StateStat announcement:

In response to the increase in overdose deaths, DHMH has also launched a public education campaign to raise awareness about substance abuse, substance abuse prevention, and programs and services available for individuals struggling with substance abuse. Traditionally viewed as an inner-city problem, substance abuse and overdose deaths have extended to all parts of Maryland including rural and suburban areas. Fifteen counties and Baltimore City experienced an increase in overdose deaths in 2013, and fourteen counties had ten or more overdose deaths in 2013.Drug Related Deaths - courtesty MD StateStat

Drug Related Deaths – Courtesy MD StateStat

As previously reported on Conduit Street, the Department of Mental Health and Hygiene (DHMH) recently released an annual report on Maryland’s drug use. Additionally, Governor Martin O’Malley created an Overdose Prevention Council to tackle the State’s drug problem. The Council is charged in part with advising the Governor on a statewide plan to reduce fatal and non-fatal overdoses as well as developing recommendations for policies, regulations or legislation to address the opioid overdose epidemic.

More information about the public education campaign and other DHMH overdose prevention initiatives can be found on the DHMH website.

Data related to substance abuse and the Governor’s goal to reduce overdose deaths by 20% by 2015 can be found on the StateStat website.

Substance abuse, particularly opioid abuse, will be discussed at MACo’s Summer Conference in two sessions – one looking at the issue from a public health perspective, and one from a public safety perspective.

Learn more about MACo’s 2014 Summer Conference:

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


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