Baltimore County Partners with United Way of Central Maryland to Prevent Evictions

Baltimore County and United Way of Central Maryland have partnered to help prevent evictions in vulnerable communities through the Strategic Targeted Eviction Prevention (STEP) pilot program. The STEP Program is a first-of-its-kind effort in Maryland, providing $4M in rental assistance to just over 900 households across Baltimore County. From the Baltimore County news release: “We are doing all we can to promote housing stability and support families who are struggling with their rent, which is…

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Non-Recurring School Cost Entries Are Due March 31

A method in state law for identifying one-time school costs ensures that long-term funding mandates remain unaffected by short-term budget bumps, but approval for nonrecurring costs requires application to the State Department of Education, by March 31.  Maryland’s “maintenance of effort” school funding law, enacted by the General Assembly, requires that counties maintain the same amount of funding for education per pupil each year. The maintenance of effort name derives from the concept that a…

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Washington County Commissioners Vote to Remove Meinelschmidt Over Ethics Stir, Suit to Follow

The Washington County Commissioners voted to dismiss fellow Commissioner Cort Meinelschmidt from his seat, after a recent ethics matter. The action may end up in court, with authority for the move not fully clear. Cort Meinelschmidt, elected as County Commissioner in 2018, was removed from his seat by a vote of the other sitting Commissioners this week. Their action came in the wake of ethics concerns arising from a fledgling business connected to Meinelschmidt receiving…

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Conduit Street Podcast Presents: The Divide – How US Counties Are Confronting Connectivity Needs

The Conduit Street Podcast is proud to present The Divide – a new podcast from Light Reading that explores the digital divide: why it still exists, where it still exists, and what needs to be done to fix it. The latest episode features the co-chairs of the National Association of Counties (NACo) Broadband Task Force, Montgomery County Council Member Craig Rice, and Judge JD Clark of Wise County, Texas for a discussion on what the…

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Fun Fact: Which County is Home to a Community Built by Former Slaves Who Fought in the Civil War?

After the Civil War ended in 1865, eighteen black soldiers returned to Talbot County and settled a few miles outside of the town of Easton. The formation of The Village of Unionville is credited to Ezekiel Cowgill and his son James, Quakers who owned nearby Lombardy Plantation. The Cowgills offered each veteran a plot of land for the rate of one dollar a year for thirty years. Photo Credit: MD Historical Trust Prior to 1870,…

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MACo: Costly Tax Incentive Lacks Local Input

MACo Legislative Director Kevin Kinnally today submitted testimony to the House Ways and Means Committee in opposition to HB 1052 Income- Tax - Subtraction Modification - Trade of Business Enterprise Expenses Resulting in Federal Loan Forgiveness. MACo opposes state-mandated reductions in local revenue sources, but welcomes tools to grant counties options and flexibility to pursue their own parallel tax incentives, or to develop others to suit their local needs. From the MACo Testimony: The swift…

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MACo Supports Novel Approach to Address Septic System Pollution

MACo Executive Director Michael Sanderson yesterday testified in support of HB 878 Bay Restoration Fund - County Authority to Incur Indebtedness before the House Ways and Means Committee. This bill provides counties with an optional and flexible tool to make grants and loans to address septic system pollution. From the MACo Testimony: HB 878 authorizes a county to borrow money and incur indebtedness through the issuance and sale of notes in anticipation of the receipt of…

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Counties Urge Caution Over Proposal to Alter RISE Zone Program

MACo Legislative Director Kevin Kinnally today submitted testimony to the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee to support SB 778 Regional Institution Strategic Enterprise Zone Program - Alterations with amendments. While this bill generally expands the purpose of the Regional Institution Strategic Enterprise (RISE) Zone program, it also repeals the program by 2028. County governments believe the tax incentives offered by this program are extremely effective and urge the Committee to keep them intact. From the…

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MACo Calls for Continuity and Clarity for Forest Conservation Banking

On February 24th, 2021 MACo Policy Associate Alex Butler testified before the House Environment and Transportation Committee to support HB 991 Natural Resources - Forest Mitigation Banks - Qualified Preservation with amendments. This bill ensures that practices related to forest conservation banking continue. Counties have voiced support for clarifying amendments on the intent of the bill and its application. From the MACo Testimony: An October opinion from the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) indicates…

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Counties Call for Increase in Child Care Grants

On February 24, MACo Policy Associate Drew Jabin today testified before the House Ways and Means Committee to support HB 944 - Growing Family Child Care Opportunities Pilot Program Established. This bill establishes a program that would provide grants to increase available child care grants across Maryland. From the MACo Testimony: As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact families in Maryland, access to affordable, safe child care opportunities is critically important. HB 944 would provide a…

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