Homeland Security Finalizes Controversial Immigration Rule

On September 8th, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) finalized a rule re-defining a "public charge," a controversial concept with substantial implications for state and local government services. At its most basic level, a public charge is a lawful non-citizen who must rely on government services for subsistence, and as a result, can be denied citizenship or legal residency (a green card). The new rule codifies what DHS describes as the "historical understanding of…

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Maryland Housing Market Stabilizing

As the majority of housing markets nationally begin to cool, Maryland's housing market appears to be stabilizing; prices appear steady.  In a recent article by the Washington Post, housing markets nationally are starting to cool off. Growth in the price of homes has slowed considerably from its pandemic highs, fueled by cheap capital and high demand from consumers. A cooling market does not mean cheaper prices though, as prices have begun to stabilize, but not…

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MACo’s Fall Symposium: Deep Conversations on Housing – Register Today!

Every year, MACo hosts a one-day symposium for county officials and professionals to dive deeply into a hot topic. The 2022 Fall Symposium will be held on October 19 and will focus on affordable housing and the planning/zoning, infrastructure, socioeconomic, and environmental factors involved. 2022 MACo Fall Symposium Missing Home: Deep Conversations on Housing Date: Wednesday, October 19, 2022  |  Time: 9:30 am - 3:00 pm Location: Prince George's Sports and Learning Complex - Landover…

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FCC Invites States, Local Governments to Verify Revamped Broadband Maps

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) last week announced data specifications for state and local governments to file “bulk challenges” to broadband availability data the FCC is collecting under the Broadband Data Collection (BDC) process. Counties have an opportunity to ensure the new maps are as accurate as possible, which will result in historic investments in our nation’s broadband infrastructure and enhance connectivity for all residents. As previously reported on Conduit Street, the FCC’s new data…

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Americorps Helps Fill Increasing Public Health Worker Gap

A recent Governing article spotlights "Public Health Americorps," an expansion of the longstanding public service program made possible through a $400 million American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) investment. In recent months, Public Health Americorps has helped local health departments (LHDs) across the country address staffing shortages and potentially stem a "mass exodus" of public health workers. Among LHDs, a Kaiser Health News report found that 300 leaders had "retired, resigned or been terminated since the…

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Maryland Property Tax Assessments: A Primer

The property tax is the largest source of local revenue for Maryland's county governments. Counties rely on this revenue to fund schools, public safety, infrastructure, public health, and other essential services. Property taxes directly or indirectly impact almost everyone whether residents rent or own. But the assessment process is often confusing. Here's a primer. Maryland Property Tax Assessment Overview Article 15 of the Declaration of Rights of Maryland's Constitution requires uniform assessment and taxation of all…

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NACo: Grants Can Promote Public Safety and Judicial Equity

The National Association of Counties (NACo) recently released a piece entitled, "Grantmaking: A County Strategy to Address Racial And Ethnic Disparities In The Criminal Legal System," focusing on county investment approaches to promote equity and community engagement in justice and public safety services. As a primary driver toward equity, NACo advises counties to fund community-led organizations to eliminate "racial and ethnic disparities present in the criminal legal system." Citing the overrepresentation of Black, Latinx, and…

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Where’s All the Federal Broadband Money?

The federal government is making historic investments to bridge the digital divide but still cannot pinpoint where broadband is and isn't available. Nearly ten months after Congress passed the $1 billion Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the federal government has yet to allocate any of the $42.5 billion in funding the legislation set aside for expanding broadband service in underserved communities. Under the law, the US Department of Commerce cannot release those funds until the Federal Communications…

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Baltimore City First Responders Affordable Housing Project Breaks Ground

Reduced rent units will be made available to Baltimore City first responders in 2023. Affordable housing is a core concern for county governments and state leaders alike. Affordable housing refers to units that individuals whose income is below the median household income can afford. In Baltimore City's case for this specific project, the requirement to apply for first responder affordable housing units is that one must be a Baltimore City police and fire department worker…

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Cecil Opens Applications for Emergency Food and Shelter Funding

Cecil County has opened applications for $124,186 in aid for Emergency Food and Sheltering programs.  Cecil County has been awarded Federal funding through the State Set-Aside (SSA) process under Phase 39 and Phase ARPA-R of the Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP) to supplement and expand emergency food and shelter programs in the County.  The National Board will distribute funds appropriated by Congress to help expand the capacity of food and shelter programs in high-need…

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