Governor O’Malley addressed MACo’s Legislative Committee on March 26 discussing issues of importance before the Maryland General Assembly, and announcing his plans to accelerate pending “pothole funds” for the months ahead, rather than waiting until the next fiscal year.
The Governor led with his mention of the emergency road funding – knowing it was of particular interest to local elected officials. The $10 million initially provided in the Senate’s budget plan for fiscal 2015 for pothole repairs, and then accelerated into the fiscal 2014 budget in the House budget plan. To be allocated in fiscal 2014, there needs to a specific appropriation, which had not yet occurred. However, in his comments, the Governor announced that he approved the appropriation for inclusion in a supplemental budget to be released sometime this week, paving the way for the funds to be provided in fiscal 2014 — a more rapid response that would have been possible without the accelerated funding approval.
Governor O’Malley also mentioned the joint initiative (adopted by MACo as a formal initiative, and introduced as part of the Administration’s legislative package) to establish a public safety radio governance board. He commented that this structure “is a real legacy issue” and would provide “benefits for years to come and ensure counties have a seat at the table.”
The Governor also distributed a document highlighting the successes of his administration.
In closing, the Governor thanked the local elected officials for their partnership over the past seven years of his administration, referring to actions taken to balance the budget and close the State’s structural deficit. He commented that the counties “kept it together admirably in difficult times.”
Members of the MACo Legislative Committee include representatives from Maryland’s 23 counties and Baltimore City. Each county gets one vote on the Legislative Committee. The committee meets regularly on Wednesdays at the MACo office during the General Assembly Session. During the interim, the committee meets quarterly to develop legislative priorities for the coming year.