State Closes with $2B Surplus, School Construction to Get Boost

Maryland again closed the Fiscal Year with a revenue surplus -- this time of $2 billion -- which will in-part boost State funding of school construction and capital projects. At the September 14 meeting of the Board of Public Works (BPW), Comptroller Peter Franchot announced that Maryland has closed its books on Fiscal Year 2022 with a revenue surplus of $2 billion in its General Fund, marking the second year in a row that the State’s…

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At #MACoCon, Attendees Dive into Innovative Tourism as Drivers of Local Economy

At the 2022 MACo Summer Conference, attendees learned about the innovative and creative ways local governments are supporting local tourism as post-pandemic economic drivers. Like many other areas of county service, Maryland’s tourism industry has experienced unprecedented challenges over the past two years. Throughout the pandemic, counties developed new strategies to attract visitors or began promoting a new kind of tourism altogether. As a crucial service to their communities, tourism departments began focusing on innovative…

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Sticker Shock! Adjusting for Inflation at #MACoCon

A panel of experts offered insights and best practices for navigating fiscal uncertainty. Inflation is exceptionally high, driving up costs for capital projects and routine service delivery. The tight labor market means county governments are increasing salaries, which puts upward pressure on pension costs. Supply chain issues driven by geopolitical unrest and the global pandemic threaten to delay priority projects. And the looming potential of a recession only adds fuel to the fire. At this…

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Large Counties’ Next ARPA Reporting is July 31: Here’s the Bottom Line

Larger counties need to report to the federal government by July 31 on their latest efforts with funds made available through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) - NACo has assembled guidance for counties to stay in compliance. The following materials were assembled by the National Association of Counties (NACo), who have been tirelessly working to guide and assist counties with all facets of federal fund deployment. = = = = = Here is guidance…

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AG Frosh: Sackler Family to Owe Maryland At Least $39.6 Million
Attorney General Brian E. Frosh
AG Frosh: Sackler Family to Owe Maryland At Least $39.6 Million

According to Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh, the Sackler family will pay Maryland at least $39.6 million as a part of a $6 billion multi-state settlement agreement for its role in the opioid epidemic. The Sackler family is most known for its ownership of Purdue Pharma, which manufactured the once-popular drug OxyContin. Contingent upon court approval, the newly announced settlement represents a substantial increase of between $1.175 to $1.675 billion from last August's initial agreement…

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Baltimore County Approves Largest Retiree COLA in a Decade

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski today announced that the Employees’ Retirement Board voted to approve a three percent cost of living adjustment for eligible retirees, effective July 1, 2022. “Our retirees have dedicated their lives to serving the residents of Baltimore County, and they deserve to be recognized for their contributions to our communities,” Olszewski said. “This increase in compensation is well deserved and long overdue.” Baltimore County government retirees receive the cost of living…

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Comptroller Franchot Becomes Chair of State Pension Board of Trustees

Comptroller Peter Franchot recently assumed the chairmanship of the Maryland State Retirement and Pension System Board of Trustees, which establishes rules and regulations to administer several pension systems and manage pension funds for about 412,000 members. These include active and retired state employees, teachers, state police, judges, and other law enforcement personnel. The 15-member Board of Trustees also directs the management of a $70 billion investment portfolio and adopts the actuarial assumptions necessary to fund…

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B’More Mayor Signs Legislation Divesting Fossil Fuels from City Pension Funds

Baltimore City Mayor Brandon Scott recently signed a bill requiring city pension funds to divest from fossil fuels within five years.  In a move to help fight climate change, Baltimore City Mayor Brandon Scott recently signed legislation mandating that city pension funds divest from fossil fuel companies within the next five years. According to Maryland Matters: With the pension bill now signed into law, Baltimore’s three employee retirement systems have five years to divest from…

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Supply Chain Issues & Rising Costs Impact Public Works 

Nationally, supply chain squeezes and rising inflation create delays and higher expenses on public works projects.   Across the country, public works departments are experiencing supply chain delays and significant rising costs. Basic infrastructure items, like the hooks to hang traffic lights, have in some cases more than tripled in cost, while the cost of oil in asphalt mix has risen by 42 percent.   This jump in prices has caused concerns over the $1 trillion…

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MACo OPEB Trust Offers Plug-and-Play Solution for Healthcare Liabilities

The MACo OPEB Investment Trust - designed to help counties put current assets to work toward long-term health care liabilities - is performing well, delivering healthy returns, and serving member needs. Trustees convened this week for a quarterly remote meeting to review its performance and management. The Board of Trustees of the MACo OPEB Investment Trust convened a quarterly meeting via WebEx on September 10. In addition to reviewing investment strategy and performance, and discussing…

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