MACo Agenda: 2018 Initiatives, Growth Plan, and School Funding

MACo 1st VP and Acting President Jerry Walker presides over a Legislative Committee meeting in Annapolis
MACo’s offices will be abuzz on September 27, as the Legislative Committee will meet at 11am, and an ad hoc discussion on school funding will follow in the afternoon.

The 11am meeting of the Legislative Committee involves designees from each jurisdiction, selected to represent their county. County officials, both elected and appointed, are welcome to attend the discussion as well. The Committee will receive an update from Matthew Rowe of the Maryland Department of Environment, on the efforts toward a new “Aligning for Growth” policy, designed to incorporate water pollution generated by new development into the State’s Phase III Watershed Implementation Plan.

The Legislative Committee will also hear a final report and presentation from the 2018 Initiatives Committee, and is scheduled to adopt a slate of legislative initiatives for the 2018 legislative session. The MACo policy staff will offer updates on issues developing over the “interim” months, as multiple work groups and task forces have been progressing on topics relevant to counties.

Following the Legislative Committee and our ever-popular lunch, county leaders are invited to join a “deep dive” discussion to catch up on public school funding issues. The Kirwan Commission has been meeting regularly through the Summer months, and has recently sharpened its focus on financing issues — including the pattern and role of county funding. This opt-in discussion will position county leaders for continued engagement on this major topic as the Commission points toward the coming session for legislative recommendations.

If you have questions about either the Legislative Committee meeting or the school funding discussion, contact Michael Sanderson at MACo.

Kamenetz Cedes MACo Presidency

Today, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz has resigned as MACo President. Under MACo’s by-laws, Anne Arundel County Council Member Jerry Walker, currently serving as MACo’s 1st Vice President, will serve as acting President through the remaining part of the current year-long term. MACo will install its new officers and Board of Directors during the December winter conference.

Jerry Walker will serve as Acting MACo President

In his resignation letter, the County Executive said “…it has been a privilege to be a part of this important body for the past 23 years, and my great honor to serve as its President. I look forward to remaining an active member for the remaining months of my term as Baltimore County’s Executive.”

The County Executive has indicated he plans to seek the Democratic nomination for Governor for the 2018 election, and he stepped down to avoid any appearance of partisan influence on the Association.

MACo To Host ‘Deep Dive’ On Education Funding

MACo will be hosting a “deep dive” session on Wednesday, September 27; from 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm at the MACo offices in Annapolis. This session is open to any county officials who are interested in a more substantive update on the Kirwan Commission – the state’s major effort to evaluate and reform public education and school funding.

MACo’s two Commission representatives and MACo staff will lead a comprehensive update on the Commission’s activities, schedule ahead, and the major issues we expect to be their focus leading toward their final report in December.

Learn more about the Kirwan Commission by reading previous Conduit Street coverage.

For more information, contact Kevin Kinnally at MACo.

Anirban Basu Delivers Economic Forecast at #MACoCon

In the 2017 MACo Summer Conference session, “Markets, He Wrote: Looking for Clues into the Economy’s Direction“, economist, and Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Sage Policy Group, Inc., Anirban Basu, provided audience members with a local, state, national, and global economic forecast.

Senator Middleton Introduces Economist Anirban Basu.
Senator Middleton Introduces Economist Anirban Basu.

Basu discussed positives such as the state’s overall job growth and economic standing. But tempered that news with recognition that there is regional disparity between Washington and Baltimore metro counties which are experiencing growth, while rural areas in the east and west are experiencing stagnation or decline. Overall, Basu had ominous predictions for the future with threats of a downturn as soon as 2019.

The session was moderated by Senator Thomas “Mac” Middleton and held on Friday, August 18, 2017.

The MACo summer conference was  held August 16-19, 2017 at the Roland Powell Convention Center in Ocean City Maryland. This year’s theme was “You’re Hired!”.

Tackling Complex Public Works Projects at #MACoCon

During the 2017 MACo Summer Conference panel “Flushing Your Troubles Down the Drain, the South Kent Island Solution” attendees learned how Queen Anne’s County and the Maryland Departments of Planning and the Environment were able to address public health and environmental concerns by connecting 1,518 existing homes and eight commercial properties to a safe and effective public sewer system.

Todd Mohn, Director, Department of Public Works, Queen Anne’s County, began the session by providing an overview of the South Kent Island sewer project. Mr. Mohn discussed why the project is necessary and identified the numerous stakeholders involved with the planning and implementation of the project.

Steve Cohoon, Public Facilities Planner, Queen Anne’s County, discussed the areas impacted by the project. Mr. Mohn also described how the county was faced with an alarming septic system failure rate on South Kent Island (70-90%), and how environmental and health concerns made the project a top priority for Queen Anne’s County.

Julie Barown, P.E., Northeast Regional Municipal Systems, Orenco Systems, Inc. talked about the technical specifications of the South Kent Island sewer system, including why the STEP (Septic Tank Effluent Pumping) system is far superior to OSDS (On-Site Sewage Disposal Systems) systems. According to Mrs. Barown, in addition to reducing costs, the STEP system will greatly reduce the amount of nitrogen being discharged into the Chesapeake Bay from the South Kent Island service area.

Queen Anne’s County Commissioner At-Large Jim Moran concluded the panel by discussing how limited funding, Smart Growth requirements, and anti-growth concerns—among many other concerns and challenges—made it necessary to create a unique solution. Commissioner Moran also talked about the potential political consequences that can result from controversial public works projects, and how the county sought to mitigate concerns by seeking citizen input throughout the planning process.

The session was moderated by Delegate Shane Robinson and was held on Friday, August 18. The MACo Summer Conference was August 16-19, 2017 at the Roland Powell Convention Center in Ocean City, MD. This year the conference’s theme was “You’re Hired!”.

FBI “Chasing the Dragon” Documentary Screened at #MACoCon

2017 MACo Summer Conference attendees has the opportunity to watch a screening of the FBI and DEA’s documentary “Chasing the Dragon: The Life of an Opiate Addict“. 

Following the screening audience members were able to talk with representatives from the FBI who fielded questions and listened to members share their experiences.
Following the screening audience members were able to talk with representatives from the FBI who fielded questions and listened to members share their experiences.

The documentary is intended to educate students and young adults on the dangers of drug abuse through startling first-person accounts of those who have suffered the consequences. Audience members were given a free copy of the documentary which included educational materials to help spread awareness and start discussions.

The screening of Chasing the Dragon: The Life of an Opiate Addict was held on Saturday, August 19, 2017. The MACo Summer Conference was August 16-19, 2017 at the Roland Powell Convention Center in Ocean City, MD. This year the conference’s theme was “You’re Hired!”.

#MACoCon Panelists Discuss a Collaborative Approach for Batting the Opioid Epidemic

During the 2017 MACo Summer Conference panel “Attacking the Opioid Epidemic: A Collaborative Approach” attendees learned about the ways counties are utilizing a collaborative approach in the fight against the opioid crisis in Maryland. A collaborative approach inspires all stakeholders—across the boundaries of criminal justice, public health, and human services—to act as a single, integrated community and point the way toward powerful new solutions.

Attacking the Opioid Epidemic panel from left to right: Clay Stamp, Kevin Aftung, Delegate Barron, Nancy Schrum, Jeff Amoros.
Attacking the Opioid Epidemic panel from left to right: Clay Stamp, Kevin Aftung, Delegate Barron, Nancy Schrum, Jeff Amoros.
Audience members raise hands as Clay Stamp gauges the impact of the opioid crisis.
Audience members raise hands as Clay Stamp gauges the impact of the opioid crisis.

Clay Stamp, Executive Director – Opioid Operational Command Center, Maryland Emergency Management Agency provided an overview of the opioid epidemic in Maryland and discussed how his team has been working with local governments to provide resources critical for combatting the crisis on a local level.

Kevin Aftung and Nancy Schrum
Kevin Aftung and Nancy Schrum

 

Kevin Aftung, President, MACo Emergency Managers Affiliate, discussed how Anne Arundel County has mobilized opioid intervention teams at the county level and in the City of Annapolis. These teams are providing essential resources for fighting the opioid epidemic on a local level. Mr. Aftung also gave an overview of the county’s “safe station” initiative. The initiative allows any individual suffering from a heroin/opioid addiction to go to the Annapolis Police Department, any Annapolis or Anne Arundel County Fire Station, or any Anne Arundel County Police Station to seek help. Individuals seeking assistance are required to drop any needles and paraphernalia into a sharps collection container available at each location. If the individual is in possession of any illegal drugs, the appropriate police agency will be notified for disposal purposes only. Mr. Aftung also shared that the county is working on developing a “beds available” software app that would help people find available treatment beds in the county.

Jeff Amorose
Jeff Amoros

Nancy Schrum, Director, Office of Constituent Services, Anne Arundel County, talked about the resources Anne Arundel County has made available to their citizens, including education, prevention, and treatment for opioid use and abuse. Of note, Ms. Schrum discussed the Not My Child” program, a multi-agency, collaborative initiative to promote awareness of opioid and addiction issues to parents, educators, and the community.

Jeff Amoros, Legislative Director, Baltimore City Health Department, gave a presentation that included Baltimore City’s plan of action for addressing the opioid epidemic. Jeff discussed both legislative and community initiatives being implemented across the City.

The session was moderated by Delegate Erek Barron and was held on Friday, August 18, 2017.

Panelists Discuss the TechHire Initiative at #MACoCon

During the 2017 MACo Summer Conference panel “Round Up the (Un) Usual Suspects – There’s a Broader Pool of People for Your Tech Hiring Needs ” panelists discussed TechHire, an initiative powered by Opportunity@Work in partnership with the U.S. Department of Education. TechHire is a nationwide, community-based movement that helps underrepresented and overlooked job seekers start technology careers.

Keyon Smith, Community Engagement Manager, Opportunity@Work began the session by providing an overview of the TechHire initiative, explaining that three Maryland Counties have already implemented TechHire in their communities – Carroll County, Howard County, and Baltimore City. Mr. Smith also provided information on what local officials can do to bring TechHire to their counties.

Kati Townsley, Executive Director, Carroll Technology Council, Inc. and Denise Beaver, Deputy Director, Carroll County Economic Development discussed the TechHire program in Carroll County. Specifically, Mrs. Townsley and Mrs. Beaver described what Carroll County has done to develop a TechHire “ecosystem” and highlighted best practices.

Tracey Turner, Executive Director, Howard Tech Council talked about the TechHire program in Howard County. Mrs. Turner gave insight on how Howard County has partnered with Howard County Community College to focus on internships and training.

Evan Dornbush, CEO, Point3 Security, Inc. discussed what his company is doing to expand technology training, especially for veterans. Mr. Dornbush explained how counties can and should recruit veterans, especially because they often have technology experience and valuable insight into the technology industry.

The session was moderated Washington County Commissioner and MACo Immediate Past President John Barr and took place on Thursday, August 17. The MACo Summer Conference was August 16-19, 2017 at the Roland Powell Convention Center in Ocean City, MD. This year the conference’s theme was “You’re Hired!”.

New Tools to Battle Blight and Abandonment at #MACoCon

During the 2017 MACo Summer Conference panel “No Vacancy: Revitalizing Vacant and Blighted Properties” attendees learned about recently passed legislation that will help counties reduce blight and turn problem properties into productive properties.

Odette Ramos, Executive Director of the Community Development Network (CDN), began the session by providing an overview of bills that were passed and signed into law during the 2017 general assembly session. This included: SB957/HB1168 – Land Bank Reform; HB1048/SB875 – Foreclosed Property Registry; HB702/SB1033 – Definition of vacant and abandoned property related to expedited foreclosure; HB659/SB823 – Tax Sale Reform. Ramos also mentioned HB 954 – Foreclosed Property Registry updates which did not make it through both committees before time ran out on Sine Die.

Dorchester County Grants Administrator, Cindy Smith, gave attendees the boots on the ground perspective of the the difficulties counties face with problem properties and how local jurisdictions can use the new tools at their disposal to remedy the problems. Smith shared some striking before and after pictures of properties within Dorchester County.

The Director  of Foreclosure Outreach at the Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation (DLLR) Meredith Mishaga, presented on the state’s foreclosed property registry.

Ramos concluded the panel with an update on the tax sale workgroup and expedited foreclosure work.

The session was moderated by Delegate Marvin Holmes and was held on Thursday, August 17, 2017.

Mastering the Millennial Workforce at #MACoCon

During the 2017 MACo Summer Conference panel “Dude, What’s My Job?”- Understanding, Attracting, and Retaining Your Millenial Workforce” panelists offered insight into the impact millennials are having in the workplace today. Attendees learned strategies to understand, attract, and retain millennials.

Elliot D. Lasson, Ph.D., Director, Masters of Industrial/Organizational Psychology Program, University of Maryland, began the session by providing an overview of the millennial workforce and how employers may need to adjust tactics to understand, attract, and retain this new generation of potential employees.

Ryan McShane, Vice President & Corporate Operations Officer, Marc3Solutions, discussed how the challenges of generations and megatrends are being met with principles of conscious capitalism to reconcile and make business more effective and efficient

Jennifer Marson, Executive Director, Arizona Association of Counties, concluded the panel by talking about how the Arizona Association of Counties has implemented policies that speak to millennials and how those policies have been successful.

The session was moderated by Delegate Angela Angel and took place on Friday, August 18. The MACo Summer Conference was August 16-19, 2017 at the Roland Powell Convention Center in Ocean City, MD. This year the conference’s theme was “You’re Hired!”.