Charter Government Conversation In Carroll

As reported in the Carroll County Times, though all 23 Maryland counties started by being run by county commissioners, more and more counties have switched to a charter form of government in search for greater control over local issues.

Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Cecil, Dorchester, Harford, Howard, Montgomery, Prince George’s, Talbot and Wicomico counties now operate under charter. The newest convert, Frederick County, will transition from county commissioners to charter in December, after voters approved the switch in 2012.

The article also considers the advantages and disadvantages of charter government, and the history of Carroll County’s consideration of switching to a charter government. As described,

Carroll residents voted six times against switching to other forms of governments and/or creating a charter board since 1968. The last time charter government was voted on was in 1998. . . The Carroll County Charter Board was created and the proposal was put to a vote during a special election. It was defeated by about a 3-to-2 margin.

“The biggest objection was the perceived increase in cost to the structure of government,” [Hampstead Mayor Chris Nevin, who formed Carroll County Citizens for Charter Government] Nevin said. “Back then, we were electing three commissioners at large and the charter that was proposed would have required a county executive and five council people elected by district. It would only be one more position than what we have today.”

In 2010, Carroll County moved from a three-member board of commissioners elected at large to a five-member board elected by district.

For more information, see the full story from the Times.