MACo Policy Associate Kevin Kinnally testified in support of legislation (HB 105) that would reconstitute and revive a statutory committee responsible for reviewing the formula used to allocate local Program Open Space dollars before the House Appropriations Committee on January 31, 2017 . The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) sponsored the bill.
Language in the Joint Chairman’s Report (JCR) for the FY 2016 capital budget required the formation of a comprehensive workgroup to look at various land preservation programs and their funding, including local side POS. From the MACo testimony:
The JCR narrative specifically required the workgroup to study and make recommendations regarding “the status of the requirement to evaluate the Program Open Space – Local allocation formula annually by a committee.” HB 105 represents the workgroup’s findings on the committee, which has not met since the early 1980s.
HB 105 reconstitutes the committee with appropriate state and local representatives, specifies that the committee serves in an advisory role to the Department of Natural Resources, requires the committee to meet before the end of 2017 and then at least every five years thereafter, and clarifies the factors and criteria the committee must consider when reviewing the local POS apportionment formula.
Local POS is a successful and necessary program that assists county governments in both land acquisition and preservation and the development of recreational facilities. HB 105 updates essentially obsolete sections of Maryland’s Code and creates an improved mechanism to review the local POS apportionment formula.
MACo Legal and Policy Counsel Les Knapp, Maryland Association of County Park and Recreation Administrators (MACPRA) President and Anne Arundel County Department of Recreation and Parks Director Rick Anthony and Howard County Parks and Recreation Director John Byrd participated in the creation of HB 105 during the 2015 interim, along with state and municipal representatives.