MD Congressional Delegation Announces Nearly $800k for Housing Counseling Services

Members of Maryland's congressional delegation have announced $793,828 to expand housing-related counseling. The funds come from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development FY2020 Supplemental Housing Counseling Grant Program and will be used for housing-related counseling, including financial literacy, property maintenance and fiscal management services. From the press release: "The pandemic and the ensuing economic crisis have created significant financial hardship for many across our state. This latest federal funding effort will help strengthen…

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Howard Procurement Receives National Recognition

The Howard County Office of Purchasing has been recognized by the National Procurement Institute with the Achievement of Excellence in Procurement (AEP) award for 2020. AEP awards are given to public and non-profit agencies that exhibit innovation, professionalism, productivity, e-procurement, and leadership in their work. Howard's procurement outfit was one of only 40 recipients this year. The Office of Purchasing has placed a strong emphasis on securing local vendors, nearly doubling the amount of registered…

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St. Mary’s Solar Task Force Granted Extension

The Commissioners of St. Mary's County have approved an extension of the County's Solar Task Force until June 2021. The Task Force has been examining solar zoning and siting in the county for the past several months through several public meetings. The Task Force was established in February, but was delayed due to the COVID crisis, and only able to begin work in June. On Tuesday, Bill Hunt, the County's Director of Land Use and…

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State Launches $10 Million Farmer COVID Relief Program

Earlier this week, Governor Larry Hogan announced a new program that will provide direct payments to farmers impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. The State's $10 million initiative will provide assistance to contract poultry growers and eligible farmers. Currently, contract poultry growers are not receiving funds from the USDA's Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), leaving the state's top agriculture commodity without significant financial support. Under the new Maryland program, poultry growers are able to receive direct…

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St. Mary’s Approves New Ordinance to Protect Waterways

Yesterday, the Commissioners of St. Mary’s County approved a new resolution regulating non-stormwater discharges to the storm drain system. Commissioners approved the Pollution Prevention and Illicit Discharge, Detection and Elimination resolution after County staff completed a thorough stakeholder outreach to ensure the community was on board with the proposal. Outlined in the ordinance are methods for controlling pollutants into the sewer system and enforcement guidelines. The ordinance will take effect on January 4, 2021. From…

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Howard Recertifies Status in Federal Flood Program

Howard County recently recertified its class six status in the annual Community Rating System (CRS) with the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Status within the CRS allows residents of that community to take advantage of discounted rates for flood insurance. Currently, because of the class six rating, Howard County residents are eligible for a 20 percent discount on premiums if they reside within a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA), and 10 percent if they do…

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Feds Grant Maryland Over $20 Million for Drinking Water Projects

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that Maryland will receive $20,170,000 for drinking water improvement projects. The funds will go to the State's Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) Program that provides low interest loans to communities for projects such as upgrades to existing drinking water treatment facilities and water transmission line replacement. The grant will be met by $4 million in state matching funds. From the press release: “EPA’s continued commitment to…

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Anne Arundel Rolls Out Program to Buy Flood-Prone Homes

Anne Arundel County is coordinating a pilot program along with the City of Annapolis and the Chesapeake Bay Trust to purchase properties that see frequent flooding. The program will use acquired properties to better protect other nearby areas from the impacts of frequent non-tidal or stormwater flooding, and give frustrated property owners a new option. The County has dedicated $1.3 million to the pilot program, and intends to purchase initially purchase only a few properties.…

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Supreme Court Declines to Hear Appeal of Local Zoning Authority in Harford Landfill Case

Earlier this week, the U.S. Supreme Court potentially ended the decades-long legal dispute between Harford County and Maryland Reclamation Associates, Inc. (MRA) by declining to review a case that could have set a new precedent on property takings through inverse condemnation. The Supreme Court let stand without comment the Maryland Court of Appeals’ ruling overturning a previous jury decision which would have forced the County to pay $45 million in damages and interest to MRA.…

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Congressional Reps Announce $50k for Western MD Ag Processing Study

Today, Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen along with Congressman David Trone announced $50,000 in funding for the Western Maryland Resources Conservation & Development Council to establish a feasibility study on the industrial hemp processing industry. Funding for the study comes from the Appalachian Regional Commission, an economic development partnership between federal agencies and 13 state governments. Their mission is to encourage community capacity and economic growth in the region. The study will examine…

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