Median Home Values Surge Throughout Maryland

Median home values are on the rise – and, in fact, are at their highest levels in 10 years, according to The Daily Record’s real estate blog, Ground Up.

For counties, which depend on property taxes more than any other revenue stream, this is a big deal.

When looking at median sales price increases this July as compared to July 2017, Prince George’s County’s increased by 1.1 percent, the Baltimore metro area’s increased by 2.6 percent, Montgomery’s increased by 6 percent, and Harford County’s increased the most, by 8.1 percent.

Howard’s was the only that fell, by 2.3 percent. Howard still maintains the highest home money-2724241__340values in the Baltimore metro area, however.

Anne Arundel saw the greatest surge in sales, which increased by 13.4 percent over the prior year.

The increases in sales activity and purchases prices is potentially attributable to tighter supply and uncertainty as to if and when interest rates will increase.

Curious how counties project property tax revenue increases? Join expert finance officers at the MACo Summer Conference session, Navigating Murky Waters: Predicting Unpredictable Revenue Streams.

MACo’s 2018 Summer Conference will be held this week, Aug. 15-18 at the Roland Powell Convention Center, in Ocean City, MD. This year’s conference is projected to have its highest attendance, ever!

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference:

What’s Next for City Dock?

Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley plans to revitalize City Dock – and the editors of the Capital Gazette think it’s about time.

They point out in an editorial published Wednesday that they have reported on the need for a new vision for City Dock for years. While the nuts and bolts of that vision may have shifted with time, the concept has remained the same: revitalization should both honor Annapolis’ rich cultural history while also providing unique open space.

Accomplishing both, however – and with the right balance – appears difficult. Mayor Buckley has one plan, and Historic Annapolis has another.

Read about how the Capital Gazette editors advocate for finding consensus here.

Part of the issue centers around Mayor Buckley advocating for zoning changes that concern preservationists. Interestingly, the Mayor and city can also draw upon another land use legal avenue to enforce a vision and aesthetic for the city’s waterfront property: riparian rights.

Learn about how counties and municipalities can draw upon the centuries-old concept of riparian rights to revitalize, protect, regulate and develop waterfront properties at the MACo Summer Conference session, Like a Bridge Over Troubled Water: Know Your Water Law.

The MACo Summer Conference will be held August 15-18, 2018 at the Rowland Powell Convention Center in Ocean City, Maryland. This year the conference’s theme is “Water, Water Everywhere.”

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference:

Harford Gets New BRAC Zone

The Maryland Department of Commerce has designated an 855-acre portion of Harford County, in Edgewood, as a Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Zone – making additional infrastructure funding available to Harford County.

The new zone includes the north side of the MARC railroad line bordering Aberdeen Proving Ground South, accessible by Route 755 to the east, U.S. Route 40 to the north, and to the west along Route 24 to Trimble Road and Fulfillment Drive.

Harford sought the designation because approximately 20 percent of the land area within the zone is ripe for development, and additional funds for infrastructure improvements can help attract and retain high-skilled workers for Aberdeen Proving Ground and the defense community.

According to Commerce’s release:

The BRAC Zone program was created in 2008 to help Maryland counties accommodate growth associated with the 2005 Department of Defense Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) initiative that ultimately brought an estimated 60,000 jobs to Maryland. The program provides funding to assist local jurisdictions in making necessary improvements to existing infrastructure. In addition to the newly-designated Edgewood BRAC Zone, Maryland has seven other BRAC zones in Anne Arundel County, the City and County of Frederick, Westport Waterfront in Baltimore City, the City of Aberdeen in Harford County, Annapolis Junction Town Center in Howard County, and Joint Base Andrews-Branch Avenue Corridor and the City of Laurel in Prince George’s County.


This Israeli Start-Up Could Help Your County Keep The Water Running

Cybersecurity solutions protect critical county infrastructure, including water systems.

County governments are responsible for numerous public services, many of them increasingly dependent on systems vulnerable to cyber attack.

Now an Israeli start-up focused on industrial cybersecurity could help your county safeguard water systems that your residents rely on.

Cybersecurity Start-up VP TJ Roe will be speaking at MACo’s Tech Expo on August 15.

At this year’s MACo Summer Conference Tech Expo, hear from TJ Roe, VP Sales North America of Radiflow Ltd., a Tel Aviv-based industrial cybersecurity company that closed an $18 million investment round, as reported by CTech.

From the article:

Founded in 2010, Radiflow pivoted from developing industry communication solutions to industrial cybersecurity in 2013, CEO Ilan Barda told Calcalist. The company now offers cybersecurity services designed to support critical infrastructure and industrial networks such as electricity and water providers, and reports more than 50 customers, primarily in the U.S. and Europe. The company is headquartered in Tel Aviv and operates another office in the U.S. It employs 35 people.

For more information see, Industrial Cybersecurity Company Radiflow Raises $18 Million

At MACo’s Summer Conference, TJ Roe of Radiflow, will join panelists from the Center for Internet Security and Maryland’s Military Department to discuss solutions for county governments seeking to assess threats and protect against them.

All Hands On Deck: Cybersecurity for County Governments

  • Wednesday, August 15, 12:45 – 1:45 PM
  • Roland E Powell Convention Center
  • Ocean City, Maryland

County government networks possess a wealth of valuable personal information, including Social Security numbers, tax ID numbers, health information, and other sensitive data. Counties also manage critical infrastructure, including 9-1-1 Call Centers, water, and waste water systems. Learn from leading cybersecurity experts how counties can work together to keep fast all data, and protect against cyber-attacks on systems integral to the health and safety of all residents.

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference:



Come Together, Right Now, Over… Data

In a recent editorial for The Baltimore SunNicholas Finio and Casey Dawkins of the University of Maryland’s National Center for Smart Growth take this election season opportunity to opine on an issue at the forefront of transportation wonks’ minds since the beginning of the current gubernatorial term: regional transportation planning.

Not surprisingly, they do not believe we are where we need to be. They point to lack of multi-jurisdictional government collaboration, or political consensus, as the culprit of worsening traffic congestion and inequitable access to jobs, education and housing.

The Center for Smart Growth participated in the “Opportunity Collaborative” three years ago, which was a consortium of local governments, state agencies, universities, businesses, non-profits, and others that banded together to develop a plan to connect housing, transportation, and workforce plans for the greater Baltimore region. Together, they developed the Regional Plan for Sustainable Development (RPSD).


From the op-ed: 

The goal of the planning effort was to develop coordinated strategies to address the growing economic and social disparities that pose a challenge to the long-term sustainability and health of the greater Baltimore region.  …

The RPSD planning process showed the strength of local networks in addressing issues like housing, transit and equity, but the experience after the plan highlighted the region’s main gap: the lack of coordination among local governments. …

The main obstacle to implementation of policy choices suggested by the RPSD is a lack of political buy-in.

To address these concerns, the University of Maryland National Center for Smart Growth collaborated with the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) to mine underutilized data for presentation to local governments, to guide economic development and transportation planning decisions. By presenting the “dark data” resources available from various state and federal agencies and showing how these can be used to provide insights on policy questions at the local level, the team hopes to make the case for better intergovernmental communication and cooperation – stressing the opportunities realized between partners.

MDOT’s Cory Stottlemyer, Senior Policy Analyst, for the Office of Planning & Capital Programming plans to present on these points on the MACo Summer Conference panel, Still Waters Run Deep: Dive Into Your Dark Data Potential.

He will be joined by Benjamin Birge, CountyStat Manager, Office of the County Executive, Prince George’s County, who will show how counties are currently using data sets to guide their plans.

Regional Policy Advisors President Gary Hodge, former Executive Director of the Tri-County Council for Southern Maryland and Charles County Commissioner, will weigh in on the theme: is data the master, or the servant, of policy?

The presentation takes place on Wednesday, August 15, 2018, from 3:15 pm – 4:15 pm. The Honorable Jeff Ghrist of the Maryland House of Delegates moderates the session.

The Conference will be held August 15-18 at the Roland Powell Convention Center in Ocean City, Maryland. This year’s theme is “Water, Water Everywhere.”

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference:

Find Out How Water Can Be Fun (and Profitable) at #MACoCon

Water not only provides important recreational and quality of life benefits but can also be an economic driver if leveraged properly. Learn about this important role of water at the 2018 MACo Summer Conference.

Getting Your Feet Wet: Big Benefits of Water Recreation


Water recreation, whether it is swimming, boating, or just splashing around a water park, can provide both economic and quality of life benefits. Maryland has ample water recreation opportunities that parks and recreation agencies strive to make accessible and enriching. Panelists will provide an overview of the different types of water recreation, explain how agencies deliver water recreation services, and discuss how a local government can leverage water amenities to improve the social and economic vitality of their communities.


  • Tara Eggleston Stewart, Department of Parks and Recreation Division Chief, MNCPPC, and President, Association of Aquatic Professional
  • Lisa Arrasmith, Member, Anne Arundel County Water Access Commission
  • Greg Pizzuto, Executive Director, Visit Harford!

Date & Time: Thursday, 165, 2018; 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference:

Infrastructure Investment, One Oyster at a Time

oyster-989182_1280Governor Larry Hogan is providing millions of dollars in additional funding for oyster recovery efforts. The source? The Transportation Trust Fund.

About $8 million from the fund will support the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) over the next four years. According to DNR’s press release, the funds will support “ongoing and future [oyster] industry efforts, including dedicated funding for equipment, labor, material, supervision and support.”

Increased funding will go toward oyster propagation and replenishment efforts through 2023 with no less than $925,000 annually going to support the wild oyster fishery, with the Department of Natural Resources coordinating with county oyster committees and watermen on shared projects and priorities, including the establishment of oyster seed areas, monitoring, sampling, seed and shell plantings, surveying and transplanting.

Deputy Transportation Secretary Jim Ports alludes to the transportation nexus in the release:

The Chesapeake Bay is a great source of business to both the Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore and the oyster industry. Thanks to our partnership with the Department of Natural Resources, this new oyster restoration agreement provides even more money directly to Maryland watermen to ensure a sustainable oyster industry for years to come.

Oyster experts also join forces with port powerhouses at the MACo Summer Conference general session, “The Wealth in our Water,” on Thursday, August 16 from 12:45 pm – 1:45 pm. Maryland Port Administration’s Dominic Scurti joins the Oyster Recovery Partnership’s Ward Slacum and Andrea Vernot, President & Managing Partner of Choptank Communications, to discuss the deluge of ways the Bay keeps Maryland’s economy flowing – from tiny oysters to supersized ships.

The 2018 MACo Summer Conference will be held August 15-18 at the Roland Powell Convention Center in Ocean City, Maryland. This year’s theme is “Water, Water Everywhere.”

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference:


County and State Tax Incentives Combine in Biotech Investment Offer

Investors may reserve shares now for a program to receive 55% of their investment back immediately, thanks to State and Montgomery County biotechnology investment incentive tax credits.

The State of Maryland and county governments seek to build on Maryland’s strength in the biotech field for economic development and stability in the tax base.

One county has created a special tax credit program that combines with the Maryland’s Biotechnology Investment Incentive Tax Credit (BIITC) to provide refunds of 55% to investors funding Qualified Maryland Biotech Companies. The BIITC program, as described by the Department of Commerce, supports investment in seed and early stage biotech companies to promote and grow the biotech industry in Maryland.

As described by Montgomery County,

Montgomery County Biotechnology Investor Incentive Program, a supplemental grant available to investors in biotechnology companies located in the county. Automatically given to investors who receive the MD State tax credit.

Also, according to the Department of Commerce:

. . . [I]f a Qualified Maryland Biotech Company is located in Allegany, Dorchester, Garrett or Somerset Counties, 75% of the investment is eligible for the tax credit up to $500,000.​

Screenshot 2018-07-16 09.54.49.png
20/20 Gene Systems, an early stage cancer detection company, seeks support to build its company through Maryland and County-based tax credit investor programs.

The investment opportunity offered recently by GeneSystems, an early stage cancer detection company, is an example of a business seeking to take advantage of the tax incentive program to grow its company in Maryland.

From 20/20 Gene Systems:

Receive a 55% Refund on Investments of $50k or More in 20/20 GeneSystems
We’re excited to announce a compelling investment incentive available for investors in cancer detection startup 20/20 GeneSystems. Maryland’s Biotechnology Investment Incentive Tax Credit (BIITC) provides investors with refunds equal to 50% (plus 5% from Montgomery County, MD) of an eligible investment in 20/20 GeneSystems. The program supports investments in seed and early-stage biotech companies to promote and grow the biotech industry in Maryland.

For more information, see Maryland’s Biotechnology Investment Incentive Tax Credit (BIITC), or Reserve your spot in 20/20 GeneSystems.

The Maryland Association of Counties conference will feature a session on biotech business and the types of employment that the biotech field may bring to your county:

Anchor Your Local Economy with Biotech

The industry of biotechnology can help shore up a county’s economic development, creating health and wealth for local communities. Biotech, or the use of biological processes for industrial purposes (including the production of antibiotics and other disease-fighting medicines), may directly address health issues faced by your residents. At the same time, this emerging industry can create career-track job opportunities that set young professionals on a course to settle down in your county. In this session, hear about new developments in Maryland’s biotech community, including advancements that set Maryland upwind of other states in the biotech race. Learn how your county can attract biotech businesses and take advantage of the statewide biotech berth.


  • Mike Geppi, CEO, Timbre Tech
  • Tami Howie, Executive Director, Maryland Tech Council


Wednesday, August 15, 2018; 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm


MACo Conference, Ocean City, Maryland

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference:


The Wealth in our Water at #MACoCon

Maryland’s cup runneth over with water-related riches. At the MACo Summer Conference general session, “The Wealth in our Water,” learn about how Maryland’s waterfront keeps our economy flowing – from tiny oysters to supersized ships. port ship

  • General Session Title: The Wealth in Our Water
  • Description: Water has historically played – and continues to play – an enormous role in driving Maryland’s economy. In some ways, this is obvious…just a look outside the Ocean City Convention Center demonstrates the significant tourism draw of Maryland’s beaches and other waterview destinations. During this general session, experts will illustrate just how much we rely on water to cultivate economic opportunity – from our delicious aquaculture and gorgeous tourism offerings to the regional economic engine that is the Port of Baltimore. Find out how counties can tap into these resources in an “all ships rise” approach to Maryland’s water-driven economy.
  • Speakers:
    • Dominic Scurti, Manager, Market Planning, Maryland Port Administration
    • Andrea Vernot, President & Managing Partner, Choptank Communications
    • Ward Slacum, Director of Program Operations, Oyster Recovery Partnership
  • Moderator: The Honorable Stephen Hershey, Maryland State Senate
  • Date/Time: Thursday, August 16, 2018; 12:45 pm – 1:45 pm*

The 2018 MACo Summer Conference will be held August 15-18 at the Roland Powell Convention Center in Ocean City, Maryland. This year’s theme is “Water, Water Everywhere.”

*new date and time from previously advertised.

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference:

Finance, Infrastructure Among Local Priorities

In a survey of county and municipal local government officials, 181 elected, appointed an high-level career local government civil servants ranked “Taxation, Finance, and Budget” as their highest priority for the future success of their jurisdictions, followed by “Economic Development” and “Infrastructure/Transportation.”

The survey was conducted by Route Fifty. About 35 percent of respondents worked for county governments (or their states’ equivalent), and 63 percent of respondents worked for municipalities.

The survey acknowledged differing priorities among smaller and larger jurisdictions, as well as career service officials versus elected ones. From Route Fifty:

The type of jurisdiction that respondents served, as well as their career paths into public service, appeared to influence individuals’ priorities.

Career government officials, for instance, prioritized infrastructure and transportation more than their political counterparts did. They were also more likely to prioritize diversity, inclusion and citizen engagement than elected officials and political appointees.

Find the survey results here.