Weekend’s Snow Storm Strains County Roads Budgets

The record setting weekend snowfall over 20 inches has challenged many local roads budgets according to an article in the  Baltimore Sun. Local roads budgets have already been strained with a 90% cut in state Highway User Fund revenues, and these funds are used to plow snow and maintain local roads.  According to the article, some counties can utilize contingency funds for additional snow emergencies, although many must take other actions, such as cutting budgets…

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Terrapin Run case heading to trial in Allegany County

The Cumberland News-Times reports that "[t]he civil court case filed by Allegany County government and a private developer against two state agencies over a planned major subdivision near Green Ridge State Forest is headed to trial." Excerpt from local coverage: The property at issue is a 935-acre parcel in eastern Allegany County where Terrapin Run LLC, an affiliate of Columbia-based PDC Inc., planned to build up to 360 housing units within 10 years and up…

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CDAC Increases Debt Limit by $150 Million

The Capital Debt Affordability Committee (CDAC) met on December 18 and voted to increase its previously agreed upon recommendation of $990 million for new general obligation (GO) authorizations by the 2010 General Assembly by $150 million, bringing the total recommended authorization to $1.14 billion.  The recommendation also includes language to reduce future year debt authorizations to around $925-955 million in order to avoid exceeding the State's debt affordability criteria.  The Spending Affordability Committee supports the revised CDAC recommendation.…

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State spending limit set at zero percent for FY 2011

After much discussion of operating and capital budget guidelines, the Spending Affordability Committee approved a recommendation to limit growth to zero percent in the FY 2011 budget.   This basically cuts the budget deficit in half , reducing it from $2 billion to $1 billion.  Republican members of the Committee asked members to "entertain a truly zero growth budget" by recommending a spending level of -7.44%.  If approved, this would have resulted in an approximate $2…

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MOE Difficulties in Montgomery & Prince George’s Counties May Lead to Legislation

The Gazette ran a story on December 18 highlighting the challenges the maintenance of effort (MOE) law poses for Montgomery and Prince George's Counties.  An attorney general's opinion has found that both counties failed to meet MOE for FY 2010.  The Prince George's County school system has released a budget of $1.67 billion for FY 2011, which includes a possible $26 million MOE penalty from the State.  The Montgomery County School System could be fined up to $46 million. …

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Will there be a new voting system for the 2010 election?

In an MPT interview Wednesday night, Governor O'Malley said that he has "heard more and more from county governments that the state should postpone the switch. That's because of time constraints and the expense during tough budget times".     Members of the State Board of Elections expressed these same concerns yesterday during their board meeting.  Although the Board voted to certify ES&S as the vendor for the new system, they plan to send a letter to…

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Harford County Emergency Operations Center Gets First in Nation Award

MACo is proud to announce that Harford County's  Emergency Operations Center (EOC) received the tri-accreditation award from the National Academy of Emergency Dispatch (NAED) during a brief ceremony on Thursday, December 10, 2009.  The Harford County Division of Emergency Operations is only the second emergency dispatch center in the world, and first in the United States to receive a tri- accreditation award.  Click here for more details.

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A Fond Farewell to Jon Burrell

MACo staff took Jon Burrell to lunch today in Annapolis to say thank you for his many years of service to county government as the just-retired Executive Director of the Local Government Insurance Trust.  Jon served in that position for 15 years and altogether spent more than 37 years of working for and with local governments in Maryland. He was also Executive Director of the Maryland Municipal League. His future plans include moving to his…

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Joint Work Group issues formal recommendations document

The brief, but official, set of recommendations from the Joint Legislative Work Group on State, County and Municipal Fiscal Relationships has been posted on the Maryland General Assembly website. As previously posted here following the group's final work session, they recommend a number of fiscal and operational changes, and will be seeking leadership from MACo and MML to help implement them across local governments. The Workgroup's recommendations regarding Maintenance of Effort suggest different structure and…

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Academy Graduate Leadership Training Begins

Twenty-six county and municipal officials attended the first session of the Academy for Excellence in Local Governance" post-graduate training on Leadership in Columbia yesterday.  The hands-on session featured UM professor, Judy Brown,  who showed a  documentary video about Ernest Shackleton's incredible survival of his doomed 1915 expedition to the South Pole and discussed lessons learned about leadership and leadership qualities. The group decided to communicate as a whole through the next Webinar exercises through a…

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