Board of Public Works Approves $23 Million In Rural Legacy Grants

The Board of Public Works unanimously adopted a Maryland Department of Natural Resources recommendation approving 17 Rural Legacy Program grants – totaling over $23 million. Funding from these grants will permanently protect over 6,500 acres of working farms, forests and open space in 18 counties.

According to a press release:

The projects include protecting productive farmland, natural habitat, scenic view sheds, shorelines, wetlands, and woodlands as well as cultural, historical, and natural resources.

Established in 1997, the Rural Legacy Program is designed to preserve large tracts of productive and valuable agricultural and forested lands that contain exceptional features. The program acts through local government or private land trust sponsors to purchase conservation easements from willing property owners in 31 locally-designated rural areas located in every county. To date, the program has permanently protected 91,398 acres.

Here is a listing of Rural Legacy Program grants (alphabetically by area):

Read the full press release for more information.

Allegany Receives Grants for Three Local Water Projects

Maryland’s Board of Public Works approved more than $92 million in grants Wednesday to projects designed to reduce pollution and improve water quality. Three projects in Allegany County were among the funding recipients.

Cumberland Times-News reports,

Frostburg will receive a Bay Restoration Fund grant of more than $2.1 million for the next phase of its effort to separate combined sewers and reduce the frequency and volume of combined sewer overflows during wet weather. The next phase of the project includes installation of new sewers and storm drains to separate combined sewers along Grant Street.

The project will reduce wet-weather sewage flows to downstream sewage treatment facilities in Allegany County, LaVale and Cumberland, and it will reduce combined sewer overflows to Georges Creek, the Potomac River and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay, officials said.

A $150,000 grant in the form of forgiveness of a Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund loan to Allegany County, along with a second $150,000 Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund loan, will help fund the Prince Albert/Sunnyside Water Project near Mount Savage.

The project includes the design and construction of water lines, valves and fire hydrants to extend public water service from Allegany County’s Mount Savage Water System to the Prince Albert/Sunnyside community, where residents have experienced problems with their private wells and have asked the county to extend public water service. The new extensions will provide safe and reliable drinking water and fire protection, officials said.

A $137,500 Water Supply Financial Assistance grant to Allegany County will help fund the Pond Circle Road Project.

The project entails the extension of public water service from Allegany County’s Carlos/Shaft/Klondike Water District to about 20 residential units in the Pond Circle Road area. The project will provide clean, reliable drinking water and fire protection to the area, officials said.

Read the full article for more information.

BPW Boss: Smart Meters Will Improve Baltimore Water Billing System Within the Year

The head of Baltimore’s water department told City Council members Wednesday that he expects the problem of disputed water bills to be greatly improved next year thanks to the rollout of smart-meter technology.

As Reported in The Baltimore Sun,

Rudy Chow, the city’s director of public works, told the council’s Budget and Appropriations Committee that the department has progressed significantly in his six years running it.

“We are making a tremendous amount of progress in terms of getting ourselves into a steady state where water billing isn’t a problem on the technology end or customer service,” he said.

The city introduced new meters in October that can measure how much water a customer uses hour by hour and beam back information to the water department wirelessly. It also began sending customers monthly bills at that time. Previously, the department’s crews were deployed to read meters every three months.

Read the full article for more information.

Maryland Board of Public Works – May 10, 2017 Agenda

Maryland’s Board of Public Works reviews projects, contracts, and expenditure plans for state agencies – many of which have effect on county governments. It meets on alternating Wednesdays and the meetings are open to the public.  The meeting will be held in the Governor’s Reception Room (2nd floor) of the State House in Annapolis.

The Board’s next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, May 10, 2017 at 10 a.m. Material for the upcoming meeting is available online:

For “frequently asked questions” about the Board’s charge and meetings, visit the Board’s website.

Maryland Board of Public Works – April 26, 2017 Agenda

Maryland’s Board of Public Works reviews projects, contracts, and expenditure plans for state agencies – many of which have effect on county governments. It meets on alternating Wednesdays and the meetings are open to the public.  The meeting will be held in the Governor’s Reception Room (2nd floor) of the State House in Annapolis.

The Board’s next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, April 26, 2017 at 10 a.m. Material for the upcoming meeting is available online:

For “frequently asked questions” about the Board’s charge and meetings, visit the Board’s website.

Maryland Board of Public Works – April 5, 2017 Agenda

Maryland’s Board of Public Works reviews projects, contracts, and expenditure plans for state agencies – many of which have effect on county governments. It meets on alternating Wednesdays and the meetings are open to the public.  The meeting will be held in the Governor’s Reception Room (2nd floor) of the State House in Annapolis.

The Board’s next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, April 5, 2017 at 10 a.m. Material for the upcoming meeting is available online:

For “frequently asked questions” about the Board’s charge and meetings, visit the Board’s website.

Maryland Board of Public Works – March 22, 2017 Agenda

Maryland’s Board of Public Works reviews projects, contracts, and expenditure plans for state agencies – many of which have effect on county governments. It meets on alternating Wednesdays and the meetings are open to the public.  The meeting will be held in the Governor’s Reception Room (2nd floor) of the State House in Annapolis.

The Board’s next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, March 22, 2017 at 10 a.m. Material for the upcoming meeting is available online:

For “frequently asked questions” about the Board’s charge and meetings, visit the Board’s website.

Maryland Board of Public Works – March 8, 2017 Agenda

Maryland’s Board of Public Works reviews projects, contracts, and expenditure plans for state agencies – many of which have effect on county governments. It meets on alternating Wednesdays and the meetings are open to the public.  The meeting and bond sale will be held in the Assembly Room of the Treasury Building, 80 Calvert Street in Annapolis.

The Board’s next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, March 8, 2017 at 10 a.m. Material for the upcoming meeting is available online:

For “frequently asked questions” about the Board’s charge and meetings, visit the Board’s website.

Maryland Board of Public Works – February 22, 2017 Agenda

Maryland’s Board of Public Works reviews projects, contracts, and expenditure plans for state agencies – many of which have effect on county governments. It meets on alternating Wednesdays and the meetings are open to the public.  The meeting will be held in Governor’s Reception Room on the 2nd floor of the State House in Annapolis.

The Board’s next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, February 22, 2017 at 10 a.m. Material for the upcoming meeting is available online:

For “frequently asked questions” about the Board’s charge and meetings, visit the Board’s website.

Board Approves Hiring of Maryland School Construction Chief

The Board of Public Works unanimously approved Robert Gorrell on Wednesday to head Maryland’s school construction program.

As reported in The Baltimore Sun,

Gorrell, who has led New Mexico’s school construction efforts, was recruited to head the Interagency Committee on School Construction after a nationwide search. State schools Superintendent Karen B. Salmon, who chairs the five-member committee, said Gorrell was the panel’s unanimous choice.

The committee oversees the state’s distribution of school construction money — which amounts to hundreds of millions of dollars each year — to Maryland’s 23 counties and Baltimore City.

Gorrell’s predecessor, David Lever, was a target of Gov. Larry Hogan and Comptroller Peter Franchot last year after he was caught in the middle of a dispute over the pace of installing air conditioning in Baltimore and Baltimore County schools.

Lever, who had held the job since 2003, resigned in protest last May over the board’s decisions overruling local school systems and its members’ treatment of local school superintendents. Hogan said at the time that he welcomed his departure.

Useful Links

Previous Conduit Street Coverage on School Construction

Baltimore Sun Article