#MACoCon Explores How China’s Recycling Ban Hits County Programs

County officials learned about the current recycling processing crisis and its effects on county recycling programs at the MACo January 2019 Winter Conference. China, previously one of the largest recycling processors in the world, enacted strict prohibitions in 2018 against the import of certain types of foreign recycled materials. This has posed challenges for state and local government recycling programs as China was the primary market for many recyclable materials and the United States lacks…

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Smart Growth Subcabinet Answers County Questions at #MACoCon

Returning county officials received an update from the Smart Growth Subcabinet on key land use, transportation, environmental, and economic development issues at the MACo January 2019 Winter Conference. The panel, A Chat with the Smart Growth Subcabinet, was held on Wednesday, January 2.   The Subcabinet oversees and advises on Maryland’s growth policies and laws. Its members are mostly Cabinet secretaries or their designees. Maryland Special Secretary of Smart Growth Wendi Peters serves as the…

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Dollars & Sense: Building a Capital Budget at #MACoCon
Jennifer Ellin speaks at the MACo Winter Conference
Dollars & Sense: Building a Capital Budget at #MACoCon

Budgeting to maintain local infrastructure is an essential function of county government. You must understand your infrastructure needs and maintenance schedule, establish project priorities, and develop sustainable funding mechanisms. Attendees at the MACo Winter Conference session, “Dollars & Sense: Building a Capital Budget,” learned best practices for planning and financing capital projects to meet public infrastructure and facility needs. Jenifer Ellin, Director, Fiscal and Administrative Services, Charles County, provided an introduction to the capital budgeting…

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Education and School Issues Among Many Topics for 2019 General Assembly Session

Leadership from the Maryland House of Delegates, Senate, and Governor's Administration speak about the 2019 General Assembly Session with perspective on perennial challenges facing Maryland.  Harford County Executive and MACo President Barry Glassman moderated a discussion of the upcoming General Assembly Session and issues facing county governments. Speaker of the House Michael Busch, Senate Majority Leader Douglas J.J. Peters, Minority Leader Senator J.B. Jennings, and Chief Legislative Officer of the Governor's Office Chris Shank shared…

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Here’s What the Smart Growth Subcabinet Will Discuss at #MACoCon

As previously reported by Conduit Street, the Smart Growth Subcabinet will be responding to county questions about land use, economic development, transportation, the environment, and other critical issues at the MACo January 2019 Winter Conference. While there will be time for an open question and answer session with the Subcabinet, the Subcabinet will mainly focus on answering questions that were previously submitted by the counties through MACo. Here are the county questions that the Subcabinet will…

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Northeast Waste Disposal Authority Assists Anne Arundel, Frederick Solar Projects

The just-published Fall 2018 edition of WasteWatch highlighted how the Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority recently assisted two different solar projects in Frederick and Anne Arundel Counties. Frederick County Solar Project The article discussed how Frederick County reached out to the Authority for help in developing a solar project at the Ballenger McKinney Wastewater Treatment Plant after the County received a $2 million grant from the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE). The article provided details…

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WSSC Reports Two Sewage Overflows in Prince George’s After Heavy Rains

As heavy rainfalls continue to blanket much of the Maryland region, local sewer systems struggle to keep wastewater from overflowing into local waterways. A Washington Post article (2018-12-17) reported on two sewage overflows that occurred last weekend in Prince George's County. From the article: The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission [WSSC], the water and sewer utility for Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties said an estimated 690,000 gallons of diluted wastewater entered a drainage ditch leading to Broad…

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Drone Gathering Abuzz with Interest

A symposium held by the Baltimore Metropolitan Council draws a crowd of more than 200 county and state government, and private sector representatives.    The Baltimore Metropolitan Council hosted an all-day information exchange for county governments interested in learning more about drone technology and collaborating to implement drone solutions last week. State and county representatives, including GIS personnel and transportation officials packed into a hall in Columbia, Maryland to hear the information and share ideas.…

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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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