Carbon Tax Bill Introduced in House of Representatives

A Sustainable Cities Network article (2018-12-04) reported on the introduction of a bipartisan bill in the United States House of Representatives that would set a nationwide price and refund system for carbon emissions. Many climate change advocates support a carbon tax as a market driven approach to address climate change. The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act of 2018 (H.R.7173) is sponsored by Representatives Ted Deutch (D-FL), Francis Rooney (D-FL), Charlie Christ (R-FL), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Anna…

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City Proposes Water Rate Hikes Along with Help for Payments

A proposal by the Baltimore City Department of Public Works would raise water rates by 9% annually beginning next year. The proposal is intended to help with expensive and essential upgrades to the City's water and sewer systems. In addition to the rate hike, The Baltimore Sun reports that proposals are also on the table to help City residents who are struggling to meet the ever-rising costs of water.  More than 40,000 households are expected to…

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Preview the 2019 Session “Big Picture”

A compilation of Issue Papers previews major fiscal and policy issues facing the General Assembly in the year ahead. This resource is a handy guide to the top issues that your legislators will be tackling in the year ahead – a great preparation document for county officials in advance of meetings with their local Delegations. Developed by the Department of Legislative Services, the 2019 Issue Papers are an annual staple for the Annapolis policy-inclined population.…

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Waste to Energy Plant in City & State Legislative Crosshairs

A Baltimore Sun article (2018-11-30) reported that legislation proposed by the Baltimore City Council and the Maryland General Assembly will target the City's waste to energy plant/trash incinerator. Proponents of the legislation argued that the plant produces significant amounts of air pollution and contributes to climate change. Opponents countered that waste to energy is environmentally better than landfilling, produces electricity more cleanly than fossil fuels, and that motor vehicles generate far more air pollution in the City…

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Allegany Wins Top Engineering Award

The County Engineers Association of Maryland (CEAM) recently awarded Allegany County with the Small Project of the Year Award as part of its 2018 program. The Allegany County Department of Public Works was honored for capital projects in the one-million dollar or less category. According to a press release: The winning project was the replacement of Mason Road Bridge, a 33-foot span over Rocky Gap Run. Allegany County’s project received the award over two other…

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Regional Transit Report Call for More Local Control

A report issued by the Greater Washington Partnership calls for more local control of Baltimore City's public transportation system and issues broader recommendations for regional transportation system improvements.  In regards to Baltimore, the Capital Region Blueprint for Regional Mobility report calls out the Maryland Transit Administration's ownership and control of the Baltimore City transit system as relatively unique noting that nationwide most transit systems are under regional authorities or local departments. The Baltimore Sun reports…

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Are We There Yet? How New Technology Is Driving Government Policy

The Maryland Association of County Information Technology Officers hosts a survey of issues in county government technology.  From wireless use to cloud-based computing, technology is not only driving cultural change, but also propelling government policy. As broadband, small cells, and 5G service raise standards for constituents and define economic development resources, cloud-computing expands possibilities for government, including information-sharing services, data-sourcing techniques, and telecommuting. However, these new technologies also expose governments to a new level of…

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Do China’s Recycling Restrictions Spell Trouble for Maryland Counties? Learn the Answer at #MACoCon

China was previously the largest recycling processor in the world, accepting imports from Maryland counties and local governments across the United States. Now, China has initiated a new "National Sword" policy that may close this market - leaving our recycling collections without a place to be processed. Learn more about this pressing national and local challenge at the 2019 January MACo Winter Conference. Trash Backlash: Will Going Green Put Us in the Red? Description Maryland…

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Board of Public Works Awards $74 Million for Local Water Projects

A Chesapeake Bay Magazine article (2018-11-19) reported that the Maryland Board of Public Works has approved $74 million in wastewater and sewage treatment projects. The projects will address local water quality and help in Chesapeake Bay Restoration efforts. While most of the funding will go to Baltimore City, other counties with approved projects include: Allegany, Caroline, Frederick, and Garrett Counties. From the article: “These are smart investments to protect public health and the environment while saving money…

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Talk Land Use, Environment & Transportation with Smart Growth Subcabinet at #MACoCon

The Smart Growth Subcabinet is holding court at the 2019 January MACo Winter Conference. This is your chance to hear about land use, environment, transportation and other important county issues directly from Cabinet secretaries and other key Administration decisionmakers. Let MACo know if you have a topic you want directly addressed at the meeting (see instructions near the end of this post.) A Chat with the Smart Growth Subcabinet Description The Smart Growth Subcabinet oversees…

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