Term Limits, Govt Structure Among Significant County Ballot Issues

This election, voters will be faced with a number of significant local ballot questions. St. Mary’s County will consider a change to Code Home Rule, and Prince George’s County will consider an expanded County Council structure. Meanwhile, voters will consider term limits for County Council members in Montgomery, and for school board members in Carroll.

A few of the more noteworthy are highlighted below.

Anne Arundel County

Question A asks voters if they favor removing a rule that requires the county to update and reprint its code once every ten years.

Question B would amend the County Charter to allow legislation that approves financial transfers within the county budget to pass into law immediately. Currently, such transfers are treated like any other legislation, which means they must wait 45 days before passing into law.

Question C asks voters to approve raising the baseline value for goods and services that must go through the county’s formal procurement process to $75,000. County departments currently are required to accept formal bids for purchases of goods and services that are expected to cost more than $25,000.

Question D would amend the County Charter to require the county executive to hold two public hearings before unveiling his or her budget each year.

Read this Capital Gazette article for more information.

Baltimore City

Question G asks voters to approve a charter amendment that would guide city procurement contracts towards small businesses based within the city.

Read previous Conduit Street coverage for more information

Question J would amend the City Charter to set up a trust fund for low and extremely low households in order to preserve affordable housing in the City.

Read previous Conduit Street Coverage for more information.

Baltimore County

Nine county bond issues will be up for voter approval. They include $166 million for school construction, $63 million for roads and bridges, $22 million for government buildings, $15 million for construction at the Community College of Baltimore County, and $11 million for waterway improvements such as shore erosion control and wetland restoration.

Carroll County

Question A asks voters if they favor changing the law so that a voting member of the Carroll County Board of Education may not serve on the board for more than two consecutive four-year terms.

Frederick County

Question A would amend the County Charter to require that the County Council provide at least four days advance public notice on the County website before holding a public hearing on a bill amendment that constitutes a change of substance.

Question B would amend the County Charter to extend the time for the County Council to adopt the County budget until May 31 and would require that the County Council provide at least two days advance notice on the County website before holding a public hearing on a budget amendment that constitutes a change of substance.

Garrett County 

Question A asks voters if they favor allowing for off-premise sales of alcohol on Sundays from 1 p.m. until 10 p.m. Currently, 13 establishments in the county have liquor licenses but can’t sell alcohol on Sunday.

Howard County

Question A asks voters if they approve a charter amendment that requires the establishment of a fund providing local office candidates matching campaign funds, provided they raise a threshold amount and swear off large contributions.

Read previous Conduit Street Coverage for more information.

Montgomery County

Question A would amend the County Charter to recognize that under State law the County Council may provide for a special election to fill a vacancy in the office of the County Executive.

Question B would amend the County Charter to limit the County Executive and members of the County Council to three consecutive terms in office; provide that a County Executive and any member of the County Council who will have served three or more consecutive terms on December 1, 2018, cannot serve another successive term in the same office; and provide that service of a term includes complete service of a full term or partial service of a full term.

Prince George’s County

Questions A, B, and C propose allowing the county to borrow money and issue bonds for libraries, public safety facilities, and community college facilities.

Question D proposes to provide for the election of council members by district and at large, to change the composition of the County Council to a system of nine district members and two at-large members, and to provide that a Council member who has been elected to two consecutive terms of office as a district member shall not serve more than two consecutive terms as an at-large member.

Queen Anne’s County

Question A will ask voters if they approve of voting by district. The by-district voting issue will appear as a non-binding question on the ballot, asking if four county commissioners should be elected only by the voters of the district in which the candidate resides. The fifth commissioner will remain elected at large.

Currently, people in the county can vote for all five commissioners. If enacted, residents would vote for two county commissioner representatives, one from the district in which the voter lives and the at-large commissioner.

St. Mary’s County

Question A asks voters if they favor adopting a Code Home Rule form of local government. Under St Mary’s current commissioner form of government, which operates through a board of commissioners and performs both the legislative and executive functions of county government, many local decisions require approval by the state General Assembly. Code Home Rule allows counties the option of retaining county commissioners but affords a county more local autonomy than the commissioner form.

Wicomico County

This year’s ballot will include 10 local questions, nine of which are for changes to the county charter that will affect how vacancies are filled, reorganizations of county departments, the council’s right to hire its own attorney and the budget process.

Read this DelmarvaNow article for more information.

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