Board of Public Works Approves First Round of School Projects using New Alcohol Tax Revenues

Three counties were granted approvals for school construction projects yesterday during the Board of Public Works meeting in Annapolis.  The projects will be funded from  alcohol tax increase revenues.  The General Assembly approved an increase in the alcohol tax during the 2011 session and directed a portion of the revenues towards school construction projects.  This is a one year only deal.  All revenues will go into the state’s general fund in subsequent years.

Approximately $47.5 million is dedicated to school construction projects from revenues to be raised through an increase in the alcohol sales tax, as specified in House Bill 1213 (passed). These projects may or may not be eligible for funding from the Public School Construction Program, and must be approved by the Board of Public Works (BPW). BPW must consider requests from local jurisdictions and projects that benefit older school buildings, benefit schools with high proportions of low-income students, can be completed in one year, eliminate or reduce the use of relocatable classrooms, are eligible for State funding but are not fully funded in fiscal 2012, and reduce energy consumption or incorporate high-performance “green” building principles.

As reported by the Sun, the increase in the alcohol tax is expected to generate $85 million per year.

The state Board of Public Works, made up of the governor, the comptroller and the state treasurer, approved $4 million in spending projects in Howard County, in part to replace grass football fields with artificial turf at Atholton and Hammond high schools.

Anticipated FY 13 Budget Shortfalls Cause Wicomico School Officials to Contemplate Four Day School Week

The Daily Times is reporting that Wicomico County school officials are looking to make major cuts to the school budget next year in an effort to address anticipated budget shortfalls in the millions of dollars for FY 13.  Teacher layoffs and fewer school days are under consideration.

Based on revenue estimates, the school system is expecting a third year of heavy cuts with a shortfall between $5 million and $7 million predicted for next year — requiring what administrators say would be major operational changes.

Despite the $14 million in cuts made to the school budget by the County Council over the past two years, the school board has been able to make ends meet.  That will not be the case for the coming fiscal year.  The school board is appealing to the citizens to become involved in the budget discussions. A community budget awareness meeting about the district’s financial picture is being held in the Parkside High School auditorium tonight.

UMD Environmental Finance Center -“We Can Help Local Governments With Bay Clean up Efforts”

The University of Maryland’s  Environmental Finance Center is offering its assistance to local governments to help determine their financing options to meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s requirements for cleaning up the  Chesapeake Bay.  The Center was featured in Calculating the Cost of Clean Water, on public radio station WAMU – 88.5 FM.  For the past two years, local governments have been preparing plans and estimating costs for the large scale effort to meet the requirements set by the federal government by the year 2020.  The costs for Anne Arundel County alone are estimated in the $2 billion range.

Many local governments have started what they call Stormwater Utilities, to collect fees for stormwater upgrades. On average, it means households in the D.C. area pay about $50-$75 per year toward the upgrades, but that still doesn’t come close to covering the bill. And if local governments were hoping to get rescued by the federal government, they need to think again.

“The politics of money raining down from on high are very different than they were even a few years ago,” says Dan Nees, a senior research associate at the Center for Environmental Finance. “The global economic situation has changed. Here’s what we do know — we know that there’s gonna be less federal money spent on this issue.”

Capital Debt Affordability Committee Recommends State’s Debt Ceiling Limit

The State’s Capital Debt Affordability Committee chaired by State Treasurer Nancy Kopp, unanimously approved a debt limit of $925 million for new State debt authorized for the next fiscal year, at their September 21 meeting in Annapolis.  The materials and draft recommendations distributed at the meeting include trend analysis as well as multi – year projections for affordability, income and revenues.

The Capital Debt Affordability Committee, created pursuant to Section 8-104, et seq., of the State Finance and Procurement Article, is required to submit to the Governor and the General Assembly each year an estimate of the maximum amount of new general obligation debt that prudently may be authorized for the next fiscal year. The Committee is also charged with making a recommendation regarding additional funding for school construction and is required to submit an estimate of the amount of new academic facilities bonds that prudently may be authorized.

The recommendations that will be forwarded to the Governor will also include a request that will enable the Committee to revisit the authorization number in December after the Board of Revenue Estimates meets.

Washington County Commissioners Consider “Pay as you Throw” Program to Encourage Countywide Recycling

The Washington County Board of Commissioners is considering options presented yesterday by the Solid Waste Advisory Committee with a goal of increasing recycling by county residents.  Among the more attractive options, according to The Herald Mail  is a “pay-as-you-throw” program.  The Board asked the committee to return in November with program implementation details.

County residents expressed interest in expanding county recycling programs but have been divided on their program preferences.  County commissioners have heard resident concerns and want to make sure that costs associated with program expansion do not become deterrents.

Commissioner Ruth Anne Callaham said she liked the pay-as-you-throw concept and felt it would be attractive to some county residents.

Of all the correspondence she has received on recycling, Callaham said it has been evenly divided between people who said “don’t you dare” implement recycling and people who compared recycling to “environmental stewardship.” Given the comments, Callaham said she believes it is important to give people choices.

During a public information meeting at North Hagerstown High School last month, participants were divided in their support for curbside recycling versus an expanded drop-box service. But most agreed they do not want the county to “do nothing.”

MACo Graduates of Academy for Excellence in Local Governance Honored at September 18 Ceremony

The Academy for Excellence in Local Governance was established in 1998 as a collaborative effort among the University of Maryland’s Institute for Governmental Service and Research, MACo, the Maryland Municipal League and the Local Government Insurance Trust to provide professional development and leadership training for elected and appointed local government officials.  Participants in the program must complete a series of core and elective course requirements to earn their Certificate of Completion.

On September 18, 2011 the most recent class of 83 Academy graduates were honored in a graduation ceremony held at the University of Maryland’s Chapel in College Park.  MML President, the Honorable Michael Bennett, Mayor of Aberdeen, spoke at the ceremony.  He commended that graduates for their commitment to public service and for their time and hard work to complete the Academy program.

Graduation Ceremonies are held every two years for those officials who complete the Academy coursework.

MACo congratulates the following county government officials on their completion of the program:

Julia Gouge, Past Commission President, Carroll County
The Honorable Andrea Harrison, Prince George’s County Council
Gerald Mason, Chief Administrative Officer, Worcester County
Robert McCord, Harford County Attorney
The Honorable James McMahan, Jr., Harford County Council
Sharon Muir, Internal Auditor,  Somerset County
Daniel Powell, past county Administrator, Somerset County
The Honorable Chad Shrodes, Harford County Council

2011 List of Academy Graduates

 

CALENDAR CORNER

Below is a schedule of upcoming Legislative Committee, Commission and Task Force hearings and briefings in Annapolis  of interest to local government officials.

Wednesday, September  21

  • 10:00 a.m. – Board of Public Works Meeting
    Location: Governor’s Reception Room, Second Floor of the State House
    Meeting Agenda
  • 10:00 a.m.- Jt. Committee on Children, Youth and Families
    Location: Room 130, Lowe House Office Bldg., 6 Bladen St., Annapolis, MD  21401
    Home Visiting Program, Update on Dropout Prevention
  • 1:00 p.m. – Joint Committee on Access to Mental Health Care Services
    Location: Joint Hearing Room, Legislative Services Bldg., 90 State Circle, Annapolis, MD  21401
    Update from Mental Health and Criminal Law Partnership, Presentation from the Mental Hygiene Administration’s Leadership Empowerment Advocacy Project (LEAP)
  • 2:30 pm. – Capital Debt Affordability Committee
    Location: Assembly Room 114-116 Louis L. Goldstein Treasury Building 80 Calvert St. Annapolis, MD 21401
    Work Group Report, Projected Affordability Assumptions and Ratios, Discussion of Recommendations

Thursday, September 22

  • 2:00 p.m. – WEBINAR for Local Government Officials on Energy Assurance Plans
    Program will be 30 minutes in length and will include presentation on how to reduce risk of power loss and how to facilitate power recovery
    Sign up here
    Information on the entire webinar series

Monday, September 26

  • 9:30 a.m. – Maryland Health Quality and Cost Council
    Location: First Floor Main Seminar Room, UMBC Technology Center 1450 S. Rolling Road Baltimore, MD
    Workgroup Reports

Tuesday, September 27

  • 9:30 a.m. – Governor’s Task Force on Sustainable Growth and Wastewater Disposal (Septics Task Force)
    Location: House Environmental Matters Committee,  Room 250 Lowe House Office Building, 6 Bladen St., Annapolis, MD
    Meeting Agenda and Minutes

Wednesday, September 28

  • 10:00 a.m. – Jt. Legislative and Executive Commission on Oversight of Public-Private Partnerships
    Location: Joint Hearing Room, Legislative Services Bldg., 90 State Circle, Annapolis, MD  21401
    Public Private Partnerships for Utilities and Social Infrastructure
  • 1:00 p.m. – Video Lottery Facility Location Commission
    Location: Joint Hearing Room, Legislative Services Bldg., 90 State Circle, Annapolis, MD  21401
    Implementation of Video Lottery Terminals, Legal Proceedings, Proposals for Video Lottery Operation Licenses in Baltimore City and Allegany County
    a portion of the meeting will be held in closed session

Wednesday, October 5

  • 10:00 a.m. – Board of Public Works Meeting
    Location: Governor’s Reception Room, Second Floor of the State House

Tuesday, October 11

  • 9:30 a.m. – Governor’s Task Force on Sustainable Growth and Wastewater Disposal (Septics Task Force)
    Location: House Environmental Matters Committee,  Room 250 Lowe House Office Building, 6 Bladen St., Annapolis, MD
    Meeting Agendas and Minutes

Wednesday, October 12

  • 10:00 a.m. – Jt. Legislative and Executive Commission on Oversight of Public-Private Partnerships
    Location: Joint Hearing Room, Legislative Services Bldg., 90 State Circle, Annapolis, MD  21401
    Legislative and Executive Processes for Reviewing and Approving Public Private Partnerships

Thursday, October 20

  • 2:00 p.m. – Offshore Wind Briefing
    Location: Senate Finance Committee – 3 East Miller Senate Office Building, 11 Bladen Street, Annapolis, MD  21401
    Power purchase agreements and alternatives, construction costs and financing compared to other electric plants, tax credits/federal subsidies and other financial incentives

Secretary Hall Discusses Latest Draft of PlanMaryland on WYPR

The U.S. Census lists Maryland as the 5th densest state in the nation and projections figure that one million people will be added by the year 2035. Governor Martin O’Malley unveiled a master plan in April to curb the suburban sprawl that comes with such population explosion, called Plan Maryland. The state proposes to reward communities that embrace efficient and responsible growth while withholding funding from those that don’t control development.  Local leaders cried foul, complaining that the plan is akin to a state take-over of what should be local domain. A revised plan was released last Friday in effort to address the concerns. Maryland makes another push for smart growth.

Secretary Hall appeared on the Midday with Dan Rodricks show on September 15.  Listen to the interview

 

Baltimore City Primary Election Results

The Baltimore Sun reports the winner of the Mayoral primary is incumbent Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake with 52% of the vote i over second place winner Catherine Pugh.  The Republican candidate, Alfred Griffin slightly edged out Vicki Harding.  The results for Council President and the Council seats are reported below.

Council President
Bernard Young (incumbent) (D)
David Wiggins (R)

Council Seats

District 1
James Kraft (incumbent) (D)
No Republican candidate  ran
District 2
Brandon Scott   (D)
(Incumbent Nick D’Adamo did not run)
Tucker Maynard (R)

District 3
Robert Curran (incumbent) (D)
Gary Collins (R)

District 4
Bill Henry (D)
Ebony Edwards (R)
Incumbent Nick D’Adamo did not run

District 5
Rochelle Spector (incumbent) (D)
Ari Winokur (R)

District 6
Sharon Green Middleton (incumbent) (D)
No Republican candidate

District 7
Nick Mosby (D)
Incumbent Belinda Conaway lost
Michael Bradley (R)

District 8
Helen Holton (incumbent) (D)
Dennis Betzel (R)

District 9
William Welch (incumbent) (D)
No Republican candidate  ran

District 10
Edward Reisinger (incumbent) (D)
No Republican candidate  ran

District 11
William Cole  (incumbent) (D)
Duane Shelton (R)

District 12
Carl Stokes (incumbent) (D)
Kent Boles (R)

District 13
Warren Branch (incumbent) (D)
No Republican candidate ran

District 14
Mary Pat Clarke (incumbent) (D)- ran unopposed

Complete election results

CALENDAR CORNER

Here is a schedule of upcoming Legislative Committee, Commission and Task Force hearings and briefings in Annapolis as well as conferences, webinars and public meetings of interest to local government officials.

Monday, September 12

  • 9:30 a.m. – Task Force on Sustainable Growth and Wastewater Disposal (Septics Task Force)
    Location: Joint Hearing Room, Legislative Services Bldg., 90 State Circle, Annapolis, MD  21401
    Meeting Agenda

Tuesday, September 13

  • 2:00 p.m. – Capital Debt Affordability Committee
    Location: Assembly Room #114-116, Louis L. Goldstein Treasury Bldg., 80 Calvert St., Annapolis, MD  21401
    Review of Capital Programs, Review of Size and Condition of Debt of Higher Education Institutions, Annuity Bond Fund Projections and Rating Agency Reports

Wednesday, September 14

  • 10:00 a.m. – Jt. Legislative and Executive Commission on Oversight of Public Private Partnerships
    Location: Joint Hearing Room, Legislative Services Bldg., 90 State Circle, Annapolis, MD  21401
    Public Private Partnerships in the Transportation Sector
  • 1:00 p.m. – Senate Budget and Taxation Committee
    Location: 3 West Miller Senate Office Bldg., 11 Bladen St., Annapolis, MD  21401
    Transportation Revenue Options
  • 1:00 p.m. – Senate Finance Committee
    Location:  3 East Miller Senate Office Bldg., 11 Bladen St., Annapolis, MD  21401
    Discussion of Off Shore Wind: Proven Technology; Purchasers of Off Shore and Land-Based Wind; Benefits and Concerns to Environment
  • 2:00 – 2:30 p.m. – Webinar for Local Government Officials sponsored by the Maryland Clean Energy Center
    Community Strategic Energy Plans
    To register for this webinar and see the schedule for all 6 webinars – http://www.mdcleanenergy.org/bootcamp

Monday, September 19

  • 9:00 a.m. – Commission to Study the Impact of Immigrants in Maryland
    Location: Benjamin Banneker Room, Stamp Student Union, University of Maryland College Park

Wednesday, September 21

  • 10:00 a.m.- Jt. Committee on Children, Youth and Families
    Location: Room 130, Lowe House Office Bldg., 6 Bladen St., Annapolis, MD  21401
    Home Visiting Program, Update on Dropout Prevention
  • 10:00 a.m. – Board of Public Works
    Location: Governor’s Reception Room, Second Floor, State House, Annapolis, MD 21401
  • 2:00 p.m. – Capital Debt Affordability Committee
    Assembly Room #114-116, Louis L. Goldstein Treasury Bldg., 80 Calvert St., Annapolis, MD  21401
    Workgroup Report,  Projected Affordability Assumptions and Ratios, Discussion of Recommendations