MACo’s Weekly County News & Notes…from Twitter

The social media site Twitter has become a fast-moving setting for news, information, and advocacy on public affairs. We welcome followers of MACo’s own twitter feed for updates from the Conduit Street blog and other MACo hot topics, and often use Twitter to reach our own audience, and to hear from others following the same issues as county leaders. Here are some tweets that caught our eye this week: https://twitter.com/PGSentinel/status/814518770005868544 https://twitter.com/lwd7734/status/813922982808735744 https://twitter.com/MWCOG/status/813765131112882176 https://twitter.com/HoCoGov/status/813807113612955649 https://twitter.com/AACountyGovt/status/812402128371281920 https://twitter.com/WorcesterCounty/status/814215848349093888…

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MD Farm Bureau: Poultry Litter Farming Gold

Poultry litter is  not the evil, phosphorus-laden Bay threat some would have legislators believe, writes Chuck Fry, President of the Maryland Farm Bureau in an editorial for Delmarvanow. It is actually "one of mother nature's perfect fertilizers"  - and one which Eastern Shore farmers depend upon as their primary source for low cost, organic fertilizer. Poultry litter is a mixture of chicken manure and wood shavings that improves soil's water-holding capacity and overall health. Writes Fry:…

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MDE Releases Draft Report on Surface Water Quality

The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) is announcing the availability of the Draft 2016 Integrated Report of Surface Water Quality (IR) for public review and comment.  The public review period will be open through January 23, 2017. Hard copies of the Draft IR may be requested by calling Ms. Rebecca Lang at (410) 537-3947. As part of the public review period, the Department is hosting an informational public meeting and conference call in Baltimore at 6pm…

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Maryland Board of Public Works – January 4, 2017 Agenda

Maryland’s Board of Public Works reviews projects, contracts, and expenditure plans for state agencies – many of which have effect on county governments. It meets on alternating Wednesdays and the meetings are open to the public.  The meeting will be held in Governor’s Reception Room on the 2nd floor of the State House in Annapolis. The Board’s next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, January 4, 2017 at 10 a.m. Material for the upcoming meeting is…

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2017 Property Tax Assessments Reflect Modest Recovery

The State Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT) has completed its 2017 reassessment of one-third of all residential and commercial properties across the state: and found an average increase in property values of 8.2 percent since that group's last assessment in 2014. This marks the group's largest increase in value since 2008 - reflecting a trend in recent years of the tax base regaining increments of the massive value drops suffered during the "great recession." SDAT mailed…

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Anne Arundel Forms Government Innovation Commission

Anne Arundel County wants to make government more efficient - which could mean privatizing more government services. On Wednesday, December 28, County Executive Steve Schuh announced the creation of the Commission on Government Innovation and Effectiveness, which, according to the County's press release: ...will examine certain functions currently handled by County agencies that could be successfully handled through public-private partnerships and private sector contracts, resulting in better service to constituents as well as cost savings. The…

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Inmates Trained to Stop Overdoses and Save Lives

State expands overdose training pilot program in local detention centers. Inmates in county jails are learning how to spot an overdose and administer naloxone, thanks to the expansion of a program to spread education and access to the lifesaving drug. The Baltimore Sun reports: Five counties, including Baltimore County, are receiving state funding to pay for naloxone kits as an expansion of a pilot program the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene launched in…

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Unions Push to Rescue Pending Federal Overtime Rule Change

With the controversial proposed changes to overtime rules halted by a court decision, labor unions are seeking to rescue that effort in the face of an incoming Administration that may not support them. From an article in the online publication HR Daily Advisor: Despite the expedited schedule, the 5th Circuit still isn’t scheduled to issue a ruling until after President-elect Donald Trump has taken office. Experts predicted that his administration will withdraw the appeal, and…

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New Rules for Baltimore County’s Solar Farms?

Baltimore County Council Member Wade Kach is leading an effort to set restrictions on rural solar farms as more and more farmers become interested in setting up solar panels instead of using their land for crops. The Baltimore Sun article states, "I want to get something in place that is reasonable, rational and as good as we can make it," said County Councilman Wade Kach, a Cockeysville Republican, who represents the northern part of the…

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Proposals Depart from School Board’s At-Large Elections

The Howard County Board of Education discussed and heard testimony on three state legislative measures that would change to the way their members are chosen. As reported in the Baltimore Sun, Howard County's Board of Education meeting included discussion of three separate bills on the topic of selection of local school board members. The General Assembly will consider the bills when they reconvene on January 11 in Annapolis. From the Sun, One, from Del. Vanessa Atterbeary, would…

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