Fed Raises Interest Rates Another 75 Basis Points, Predicts Future Hikes to Tame Inflation

The Federal Reserve raised its benchmark interest rate by three-quarters of a point for the third time this year, matching rate hikes in June and July, in its most aggressive drive in three decades to tamp inflationary pressures. The Fed set the new benchmark interest rate to a target range between 3 to 3- 1/4 percent, the highest rate since late 2007. On average, Federal Reserve Board members and Federal Reserve Bank presidents expect rates…

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FEMA Establishes Revolving Loan Fund for Local Resilience Projects

Last month, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced that it would release a Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for the Safeguarding Tomorrow Revolving Loan Fund program before the end of the year. The Safeguarding Tomorrow through Ongoing Risk Mitigation (STORM) Act became law on Jan. 1, 2021, and authorizes FEMA to provide capitalization grants to states, eligible federally recognized tribes, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia to establish revolving loan funds that provide hazard…

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US Senate Mulls Onerous, Costly Financial Reporting Standards for Counties

The Financial Data Transparency Act of 2022 (S. 4295), sponsored by Senator Warner (D-VA) and Senator Crapo (R-ID), would mandate governments and nonprofits to report financial information using uniform reporting categories, or "data standards," which would likely require costly updates or extensive workarounds for county finance systems. Companion legislation (H.R. 2989), introduced by Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) and Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) passed the US House of Representatives on July 14, 2022, as an amendment to…

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MD Court of Appeals Begins 2022-2023 Session

Underscoring three high-profile cases, the Daily Record published a primer on the Maryland Court of Appeals' 2022-2023 session. The seven-member Court of Appeals is Maryland's highest court and will feature "its first full session with Chief Judge Matthew J. Fader and Judge Angela M. Eaves." Both judges were nominated to the Court in February of this year. According to the Daily Record, Chief Judge Fader "will likely recuse himself from the many appeals the high…

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Fitch Affirms Talbot’s AAA Rating in Advance of Bond Sale

Fitch Ratings assigned a AAA rating to Talbot County's $24.9 million series 2022 general obligation (GO) bonds. In addition, Fitch affirmed the County's Issuer Default Rating (IDR) and outstanding GO bonds at AAA. The County will sell the bonds via competitive sale on September 29, 2022. According to the Fitch Ratings analysis: The 'AAA' IDR and GO rating reflect the county's very low long-term liability burden and associated fixed carrying costs that are a minimal…

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Stiegman, Bennett Elected to Leadership Roles w/MACo OPEB Trust

The MACo OPEB Investment Trust has elected a new Chair and Vice Chair to its Board of Trustees, to continue its mission of offering a cost-effective option for local governments investing current assets toward their long term retiree health care costs. At its recent fall quarterly meeting, Patricia Stiegman was elected to serve as Chair of the Board of Trustees. The Board meets regularly with investment advisors, auditors, and actuaries to help guide the Trust…

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eMaryland Marketplace Helps Counties Simplify Procurement

The Maryland Department of General Services’ Office of State Procurement's e-procurement system and specialized website features state-of-the-art procurement technology and simplifies county procurement to save time and money. In 2019, the Department of General Services (DGS) partnered with Nitor, a procurement services firm focused on spend management, to implement the state's new e-procurement system, eMaryland Marketplace Advantage (eMMA). Now fully implemented, eMMA allows buyers to collaborate with vendors from the bidding and contracting process all the…

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Carroll Earns Award for Excellence in Financial Reporting

Carroll County earned the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) of the United States and Canada. The Certificate of Achievement, which recognizes the County’s comprehensive annual financial report for fiscal 2021, is the highest form of recognition in governmental accounting and financial reporting. This is the County’s 37th consecutive award and demonstrates its commitment to transparency. The GFOA, founded in 1906, represents public finance officials throughout…

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Request for Proposals Best Practices in a Turbulent Economy at #MACoCon

A panel of experts help capital project managers see light at the end of a very expensive tunnel.  Public and private sector leaders came together to discuss challenges and opportunities across the entire life cycle of infrastructure projects in the wake of the pandemic. The Request for Proposals session focused on insights and resources for starting those projects and getting them over the finish line. On the government side, Joseph Siemek, Director of Public Works…

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