County Support for the ‘Firehouse Family’

A session at MACo's Summer Conference explores the best methods for county governments to recruit and retain volunteers for fire companies which have seen dwindling numbers in recent years. Carroll County Commissioner Steve Wantz, Maryland State Firemen's Association Executive Director Kate Tomanelli, and Queen Anne's County Fire & EMS Commission representative Tracey Johnston served as panelists in the MACo Summer Conference Session, Stoke the Fire: Volunteer Recruitment and Retention. Delegate Mike McKay of the House…

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The Changing Face of Education at #MACoCon

A MACo Summer Conference session gives an overview of what’s happening and what’s to come as Maryland redesigns the statewide commitment to public education. The [Kirwan] Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education was formed in 2016 to answer two questions: Should the state revise current education funding formulas? And, what major new education policies must be enacted to put Maryland public schools on par with the best in the world? While the Commission has…

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Howard Announces $8.1M Grant to Repair Damage from 2018 Flash Flood
New Cut Road after severe flooding in 2018 (photo courtesy of Howard County Government)
Howard Announces $8.1M Grant to Repair Damage from 2018 Flash Flood

Howard County Executive Calvin Ball this week announced that the County has received an $8.1 million grant from the National Resources Conservation Services (NRCS) to rebuild the portion of New Cut Road that washed away in the May 2018 Ellicott City flood. The 2018 Ellicott City flood caused one death and resulted in an estimated $20 million worth of damages. In 2016, Ellicott City was ravaged by a flash flood that claimed two lives and caused roughly…

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Frederick Appoints New Budget Director
Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner and Frederick County Budget Director Kelly Weaver (photo courtesy of Frederick County Government)
Frederick Appoints New Budget Director

Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner yesterday announced the promotion of Kelly Weaver, CPA, to the County's budget director. Ms. Weaver has served as the acting budget director since Rich Harcum, who previously served as budget director, was appointed as the County's chief administrative officer earlier this year. According to a press release: “Kelly brings an extensive knowledge of the county budget and a wealth of financial expertise and experience to this important positon,” Executive Gardner…

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California Makes New Push for Next Generation 9-1-1

For the past decade, California’s plan to upgrade its antiquated 9-1-1 system has mostly fallen flat. But Governor Gavin Newsom this week detailed a new, permanent funding source to accelerate the state's transition to Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG911). NG911 will enable the public to make voice, text, or video calls from any communications device via Internet Protocol-based networks. These capabilities can make public safety both more effective and more responsive. “During my first week in office,…

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Sound the Siren: Support Maryland’s Volunteer Fire Companies

Do you have any idea how unsustainable the costs of fire protection would become without Maryland's volunteers? Learn more about this critical resource and how new recruitment tactics, retention benefits, and long-range planning will help support and strengthen Maryland's volunteer fire companies. Back-to-back conference sessions on Maryland's volunteer fire service offer insight into this critical public safety partnership. Volunteer fire companies are a part of the national fabric and are at the heart of many…

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Ignoring Your Volunteer Firefighter Shortage Doesn’t Make It Go Away

Across the country, volunteer fire companies are experiencing a critical lack of volunteers to staff calls for service and Maryland is no different. Confronting the crisis requires learning new recruitment and retention practices, and making long-term plans that ensure resiliency. The number of volunteer firefighters has been declining in recent years. According to a 2017 report of the National Fire Protection Association, This past year the number of volunteer firefighters decreased to the lowest estimate…

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Howard Council Approves County Executive Ball’s Request for School System Audit

The Howard County Council this week voted unanimously to approve an amended version of County Executive Calvin Ball’s resolution calling for a state audit of the Howard County Public School System (HCPSS). Council Resolution 108-2019 calls on the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) to contract for a county-funded audit of HCPSS. The cost of the audit will be capped at $250,000. Ball’s original resolution called on MSDE to contract for a broad performance audit…

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Your School Portfolio Will Never Outperform Mine

A webinar offered by the Maryland Public School Construction Program on managing a school portfolio is open to the public, including county and school officials interested in learning best practices in facility management. The Public School Construction Program is offering a series of four (4) webinars as part of their support of the State's workgroup on school facility funding. The General Assembly envisioned the workgroup as part of the 21st Century School Facilities Act, passed…

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Funding Formula for Senior Nutrition Shifts Dollars from Some Counties

The Eastern Shore's provider of Meals on Wheels and other nutrition programs for seniors received less than half of the funding it has been receiving from the State this year.  A change to formulas for state funding of nutrition programs for area agencies on aging made in 2016 is now in effect. The change, intended to reflect shifts in the population, moves substantial funding from Dorchester, Somerset, Wicomico and Worcester counties, via a reduction to…

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