Conduit Street Podcast: Election Tidbits, Congressional District Dilemma, and Amazon Is Coming! … Sort Of

On the latest episode of the Conduit Street Podcast, Michael Sanderson and Kevin Kinnally discuss some of the "too close to call" election races in Frederick County, review the fate of some of the more intriguing ballot questions from across the country, explain the significance of a federal court's ruling that Maryland's 6th Congressional District is unconstitutionally gerrymandered and must be redrawn in time for the 2020 election, and ponder what Amazon's decision to co-locate…

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FCC Proposal Threatens County Cable Franchise Fees

Proposed FCC Rule could cost counties millions in franchise fees by allowing cable companies to deduct the fair market value of public benefits, such as setting aside channels for county council or school board broadcasts, from the fees.  The potential effects of the order are vast. Nationwide there are approximately 1,500 public, education, and government (PEG) stations and 3,000 channels that could be impacted. From NACo County News: In some smaller jurisdictions, [Mitsuko] Herrera noted,…

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Amazon to Split Second HQ Between New York, Northern Virginia

Amazon today announced that it has selected New York City and Arlington, Virginia, as the locations for its new headquarters. Amazon says it will invest $5 billion and create more than 50,000 jobs across the two new headquarters locations, with more than 25,000 employees each in New York City and Arlington. The new locations will join Seattle as the company’s three headquarters in North America. Amazon set off a nationwide bidding contest last fall when…

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Montgomery County Council Defers Acting on Small Cell Bill

The Montgomery County Council's vote on a zoning text amendment that would have allowed the attachment of small cells to existing utility poles in residential areas was called off this week as members could not agree on amendments. From The Washington Post: Montgomery Council President Hans Riemer (D-At Large) and Montgomery Executive Isiah Leggett (D) said they had tried to balance the needs of the wireless industry to expand broadband capacity with residents' concerns that…

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OPC Releases New Report and County Specific Resource Guides for Utility Assistance

The Maryland Office of People's Counsel (OPC), an independent state agency that advocates for the interests of residential utility customers, has released a county specific report on the characteristics of low-income households. The report includes data on income, household demographics, housing stock, fuel use and energy burdens that can be used by county governments seeking to better target services and assist their residents: The purpose of the Maryland Low-Income Market Characterization Study is to furnish data that…

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Montgomery County Council Puts Small Cell Zoning Vote on Hold

The Montgomery County Council held off on taking a final vote on a zoning text amendment that would allow the attachment of small cells to existing utility poles in residential areas. WTOP reports: Zoning Text Amendment 18-11 — also known as the ZTA — has been the subject of intense lobbying on both sides, with the telecommunications industry weighing in and members of the public pushing back. But during Tuesday’s council session, members all agreed that,…

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Prince George’s Council Passes Bill to Regulate Airbnb

Owners of Prince George's County's approximately 1,500 Airbnb listings and of properties listed on other short-term rental platforms will now have to be licensed and comply with county regulations.  County officials view the legislation as a balance between protecting the health and safety of residents as well as allowing residents to continue to enjoy the economic benefits of listing their properties on short-term rental sites. As reported by The Washington Post only owner-occupied residences would…

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4 Fast Facts: Governor’s Grant Training Conference

What is the Governor's Grant Training Conference? Are you curious about upcoming grants and ways to secure them? Then you should consider attending the 14th Annual Governor's Grant Training Conference. The Governor's Grant Training Conference takes place on Monday, Oct. 29, 2018, in Hyattsville, Maryland from 9 am - 4 pm. Attendance is recommended to any grant, finance, and administrative staff within local government, academia, and nonprofit organizations. What is on the agenda? Secretary of…

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Montgomery County Council Debates Next Steps for Small Cells

The Montgomery County Council continues to consider a proposed zoning text amendment (ZTA) that would allow the attachment of small cells to existing utility poles in residential areas.  Time -- specifically when to take action on the residential zoning proposal -- was the central issue of discussion. As Bethesda Magazine reports: Council President Hans Riemer said during a work session Tuesday that now is as good a time as ever to pass the legislation in the…

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Communities Seek to Appeal FCC Small Cell Order

Local governments across the nation are beginning to turn towards the courts to help settle concerns over the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) small cell order.  On September 26, the FCC voted 3-1 to approve an order restricting local governments authority over the deployment of small cells within the local rights of way. The order goes into effect 90 days after publication in the Federal Register. It is expected to be published on Monday, October 15, 2018 and have an effective…

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