Nominate an Innovative County Program for NACo’s 2019 Achievement Awards

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Harford County wins Best in Arts, Culture and History at the 2018 NACo Achievement Awards

The National Association of Counties is accepting nominations for the 2019 Achievement Awards Program until the March 25, 2019, deadline.

The Achievement Awards Program is a non-competitive awards program that seeks to recognize innovative county government programs. One outstanding program from each category will be selected as the “Best of Category.”


Submission Deadline: March 25, 2019 at 11:59 pm

Notification of Achievement Awards: Week of April 22, 2019
NACo Annual Conference and Exposition: July 11 – 15, 2019, Clark County

Requirements – For each program nominated, general information, program summaries, and payments must be must be submitted to the National Association of Counties (NACo) via the online application portal and payments processed via P.O. must be postmarked by the application deadline.  For more information, please see the HOW TO APPLY section. Judging and review will not take place for unpaid or incomplete applications.

Eligible Nominees – Only county governments and state associations of counties are eligible to submit applications. There is no limit to the number of applications that can be submitted by a single entity. Regional partners are welcome to submit applications for a collective project; however, submitters must identify a single county or state association to submit the application on the group’s behalf.

Program Criteria – 

  1. Programs must accomplish one or more of the following:
    • Offer new services to county residents, fill gaps in the availability of services, fill gaps in or tap new revenue sources
    • Improve the administration of an existing county government program
    • Upgrade the working conditions or level of training for county employees. Enhance the level of citizen participation in, or the understanding of, government programs
    • Provide information that facilitates effective public policy making
    • Promote intergovernmental cooperation and coordination in addressing shared problems
  2. In the case of a program that is in response to a federal or state law, regulation or order, the program must go beyond mere compliance with the statute, regulation or order and must display a creative approach to meeting those requirements.
  3. The program must have measurable results (e.g. cost savings, enhanced employee productivity, improved constituent services, created better intergovernmental cooperation).
  4. The program must be innovative and not rely on techniques or procedures that are common practice in most counties of similar population or size.
  5. All aspects of the program must be consistent with acceptable governmental and financial management practices and must promote general governmental accountability.

Ineligible Programs – 

  • Programs designed to influence laws or regulations
  • Certification or accreditation programs
  • Events that ONLY take place one time, such as conducting a conference, the formation of a task force or the establishment of a committee
  • Programs that are adopted, whole or in part, from other public or private entities
  • Programs, whole or in part, that have received a previous NACo Achievement Award
  • Programs that the purchase of new technology or equipment, the construction of a building or the privatization/contracting out of a function
  • A newsletter or a publication
  • Arts, Culture and Historic PReservation
  • Children and Youth
  • Civic Education and Public Information
  • Community and Economic Development
  • County Administration and Management
  • County Resiliency: Infrastructure, Energy and Sustainability
  • Criminal Justice and Public Safety
  • Financial Management
  • Health
  • Human Services
  • Information Technology
  • Libraries
  • Parks and Recreation
  • Personnel Management, Employment and Training
  • Planning
  • Risk and Emergency Management
  • Transportation
  • Volunteers
Step 1: Prepare the Nomination Summary

  • Abstract of the Program
  • The Problem or Need for the Program
  • Description of the Program
  • Responding to Economic Downturn (optional)
  • The Cost of the Program
  • The Results/Success of the Program
  • Worthiness of Award
  • Supplemental Materials (optional)

Step 2: Sumit Your Information

  • Contact Information
  • Program Information
  • Terms and Conditions


2-Day Grant Workshop in Columbia- MACo Discount

crowdfunding-funding-ideas-banknote-business-hand-giving-1444691-pxhere.comThe Howard County Department of Community Resources and Services and Grant Writing USA will host a two-day grants workshop in Columbia, November 29-30.


This grant workshop is for grant writers from any background and experience level. It will focus on providing in-depth details on where to find grants and how to write winning grants.

The hosts of the event are extending a discount to MACo members.

We are excited to offer Maryland Association of Counties members and their staff a special tuition rate of $425 which includes everything: two days of terrific instruction, workbook, and access to our Alumni Forum that’s packed full of tools, helpful discussions and more than 200 sample grant proposals.  Please use discount code “MDASSN” to receive this $30 discount off full price at registration. 

-Janet Darling, Grant Writing USA


This workshop will take place on November 29-30, 2018. The workshop will run from 9 am to 4 pm both days.


The workshop will be held at the Office of the Local Children’s Board

9830 Patuxent Woods Drive
Conference Rooms 337 and 338
Columbia, Maryland 21046


Read more about the workshop or register on the event page.

A Better Maryland is Visiting a Community Near You

The Maryland Department of Planning is conducting its second round of community outreach for A Better Maryland.

We previously visited your community and we are returning to continue the dialogue. Your suggestions were incredibly informed and detailed and we would appreciate your assistance this fall.

-The Maryland Department of Planning

A Better Maryland

The department has teamed up with the Smart Growth Subcabinet, the Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission, American Planning Association (APA) Maryland, and planning directors from across the state to compile and analyze previously provided input.

They have compiled feedback by county on their website.

The following are scheduled visits throughout the state:

Allegany County: 
Tuesday, October 9, 6:00 pm
Frostburg State University
Lyric Theatre
20 E. Main Street
Frostburg, MD 21532

Baltimore City: 
Thursday, November 8, 7:00 pm
Morgan State University
Center for Built Environment and Infrastructure Studies, Room 111
5299 Perring Parkway
Baltimore, MD 21214

Baltimore County: 
Thursday, October 25, 7:00 pm
New Town Elementary School Cafeteria
4924 New Town Boulevard
Owings Mills, MD 21117

Cecil County: 
Tuesday, October 23, 7:00 pm
Town Hall
515 Broad Street
Perryville, MD 21903

Charles County: 
Thursday, October 18, 7:00 pm
Waldorf Cultural Center
109 Post Office Road
Waldorf, MD 20602

Howard County: 
Thursday, November 15, 7:00 pm
Howard County Library
East Columbia Branch – Lucille Clifton Room AB
6600 Cradlerock Way
Columbia, MD 21045

Kent County: 
Wednesday, November 14, 6:30 pm
Chestertown Town Office – 2nd Floor
118 N Cross St
Chestertown, MD 21620

Montgomery County: 
Wednesday, October 24, 7:00 pm
Gaithersburg Community Center – Room B
810 S. Frederick Ave
Gaithersburg, MD 20877

Prince George’s County: 
Tuesday, October 16, 6:30 pm
Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission
6600 Kenilworth Ave
Riverdale, MD 20737

Somerset County: 
Wednesday, October 17, 6:30 pm
Somerset County Commissioner’s Office, Room 111
11916 Somerset Ave
Princess Anne, MD 21853

Talbot County: 
Thursday, November 1, 6:00 pm
Talbot County Community Center
Wye Oak Room
10228 Ocean Gateway
Easton, MD 21601

Washington County: 
Wednesday, October 10, 6:30 pm
Hagerstown Community College
Career Program Building, Rooms 212 and 214
11400 Robinwood Dr
Hagerstown, MD 21742

Meeting Topics:

  • Tackling the Economic Development Needs of the Next Century
  • Sustaining the Environment into the Future
  • Preserving Land
  • Improving Economic Growth and Development in Existing Communities
  • Meeting Renewable Energy Goals
  • Addressing Maryland’s Transportation, Infrastructure, and Technology Challenges and Opportunities
  • Creating Workforce/Affordable Housing
  • Building Capacity in Communities
  • Protecting Historic and Cultural Resources
  • Creating Quality Places
  • Coordinating State Agencies in Planning Processes
  • Adapting and Becoming Resilient to Climate Change
  • Respecting Regional Distinctions
  • Improving the Delivery of Programs and Services to Local Jurisdictions


Enrollment is Open–Maryland Climate Leadership Academy

The Maryland Climate Leadership Academy has opened enrollment. The academy offers programs specifically designed for state and local government officials, infrastructure executives, and business leaders. 

;.jpgThe Maryland Climate Leadership Academy, established in June 2018, is powered by:

Overview of the Academy (published on YouTube by ACCO):

Programs to be offered:

  • Professional Training
  • Education and Training
  • Certified Climate Change Professional Training
  • Certificate Programs
  • Primers & Workshops


Learn more about the Maryland Climate Leadership Academy.

Purple Line Makes Progress in Montgomery County

26213331581_2e0ce4b43d_z.jpgThe Purple Line, a 16-mile light rail, is “halfway” complete in Silver Spring.

Reported by Bethesda Magazine:

The tunnel is expected to be completed by 2020, said Nick Tabor, a project engineer with Traylor Bros., which is under the umbrella organization of the Purple Line Transit Partners, the public-private partnership building the light-rail line that will run from Bethesda to New Carollton.

Facts about the Purple Line and Construction:

  • The Line will accommodate 21 stops between Montgomery County and Prince George’s County
  • The construction commands 12-15 workers 24 hours a day, six days a week
  • The tunnel in Silver Spring is 40-60 feet underground
  • The tunnel is slightly under 50 percent complete with 500 out of 1,020ft already dug

Useful Resources:

Bethesda Magazine Article

Previous Conduit Street Coverage

Got Grants? Learn How to Secure Grants at the Gov’s Grant Conference

hbjThe 14th annual Governor’s Grant Conference is scheduled for Monday, October 29 at the College Park Marriott Hotel & Conference Center. The Event is sponsored by eCivis, Maryland Nonprofits, and SB & Company.


The Governor’s Grant Conference is held each year to provide grant management training and interaction with top federal, state, and private grant makers. Registration includes a hot lunch, free parking, and Continuing Professional Education Credits.


This event applies to anyone applying for federal, state or private grants.


The conference will be held on Monday, October 29, 2018, from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm.

Early Bird rate of $99 until September 21 at 11:59 pm.


The College Park Marriott Hotel & Conference Center is hosting this year’s conference.

College Park Marriott Hotel & Conference Center
3501 University Blvd.
East, College Park, MD 20783


Register Button

Diversity Dimensions III Hosted by the BaltCo Commission for Women


The Baltimore County Commission for Women is presenting its third installment of Diversity Dimensions at the public library October 4. 


This FREE interactive panel discussion will feature three women who have persevered through barriers of diversity and equality. They will share their experiences and answer questions from the public.


The guest panelists:

Jennifer Aubert-Utz Vicki Ballou-Watts Danette Zaghari-Mask
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Assistant Chief,
Baltimore County Fire Department
Baltimore County 3rd Circut Court
Nonprofit and Compliance Attorney


The event takes place Thursday, October 4, 2018.

The pre-registration deadline is September 30, 2018.


Diversity Dimensions III will be held at the Baltimore County Public Library.

Baltimore County Public Library
9685 Honeygo Blvd
Perry Hall, MD 21228


Learn more about Diversity Dimensions III.

For more information contact:
Nancy Surosky

Register Button

DHCD Grants Wash Co $50K for After School Programming

The Maryland Department of Housing & Community Development has granted Washington County $51,455 for after-school youth programming. 

The grant, a part of the Community Development Block Grant Funds, will enable the Hagerstown YMCA to provide affordable after-school programming to families in the county.

The Washington County press release reports:

The Hagerstown Y believes that all kids have great potential. Our staff work hard every day to help them set and achieve personal and educational goals. With so many demands on today’s families, they need all the support they can get to nurture the potential of each and every child. Our after-school enrichment programs, such as the one started this school year in Hancock, focus on nurturing children’s development by providing a safe and healthy place to learn, develop healthy relationships and build confidence.

– Maria Rubeling, CEO of the Hagerstown YMCA

With the grant, the YMCA will be able to provide a subsidy for families in need, based on household income. The YMCA’s goal is to provide a “meaningful experience” for families with children that cannot afford quality after-school programming.

Live Healthy Maryland Counties with NACo’s Rx Program

naco_star_logo_sq.jpgThe National Association of Counties has the NACo Live Healthy Prescription, Health & Dental Discount Program, which provides “relief to uninsured and under-insured Americans who face high prescription, health and dental costs.”

The program, administered by CVS Caremark, includes:

  • Prescription discounts
  • Vision care
  • LASIK & PRK vision procedures
  • Hearing aids & screenings
  • Prepaid lab work
  • Prepaid diagnostic imaging
  • Diabetic supplies
  • Dental Care

NACo’s prescription program (not an insurance program) is free to all NACo member counties. Since its inception in 2004, the program has grown to include the dental and medical services portions.

Program Details:

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Program Costs:

Program Type Individual Cost Family Cost Cost for Counties
Prescription Drug Discount Card Free for Residents Free for Residents $0 for NACo members
Dental Discount Program $6.95/month or $69/year $8.95/month or $79/year  $0 for NACo members
Medical Services $6.95/month or $69/year $8.95/month or $79/year  $0 for NACo members

Program Stats:

  • NACo’s Rx program provides an average savings of 32%
  • The Rx savings range from 15-75% off at more than 68,000 participating pharmacies nationwide
  • The dental program provides 15-50% savings at more than 110,000 participating providers nationwide
  • NACo’s Live Healthy Program has saved Maryland counties’ residents $50,305,177.66 since July 2011, $509,624.05 so far this year, and $63,276.21 for the month of July

Participating Counties:

Allegany, Baltimore, Baltimore City, Calvert, Caroline, Carroll, Charles, Cecil, Dorchester, Frederick, Howard, Kent, Montgomery, Prince George’s, Somerset, St. Mary’s, Talbot, Wicomico, Worcester

What Now?



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MD Court of Appeals Deems Juvenile Life Sentences Constitutional

The Maryland Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, ruled 4-3 that the current law provides a “meaningful opportunity” for juvenile offenders to be released from a life sentence, according to the Associated Press.

The case cited Governor Hogan’s Executive Order 01.01.2018.06, which mandates that the governor takes into consideration age and behavior among other things for deciding if a juvenile offender serving a life sentence should receive parole¹

Since taking office, our administration has sought to bring balance to Maryland’s criminal justice system, which includes offering individuals who have paid their debt to society a second chance to live productive lives.

– Larry Hogan, Maryland Governor (from a press release about the executive order)

The court ruled that with this order the sentencing of juveniles to life in prison does not violate the 8th Amendment of the Constitution. ²

¹ Maryland’s parole system is unique in that recommendations are made by the parole commission, but the governor makes the decision. 

² The 8th Amendment to the Constitution states: Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.