Make it Happen with Musco Sports Lighting!

MACo would like to thank Musco Sports Lighting for sponsoring the Kids’ Event at the 2017 MACo Summer Conference!

Registered conference participants may sign up their children to enjoy crafts, games, and other entertainment provided by Ocean City Department of Parks & Recreation while the adults enjoy the Taste of Maryland Reception on Thursday, August 17, 2017 from 4:30 pm – 6:30 pm.

Participating in the Kids’ Event is FREE, but you must register in advance (by August 8). Please view the registration form for policies and details.

Musco Sports LightingSince 1976, Musco has focused on the design and manufacture of sports-lighting systems, from hometown Little League® fields to professional sports stadiums around the globe. Offering solutions for both permanent and temporary lighting needs, Musco has attained first-hand knowledge of lighting issues that affect participants, spectators, and television. Musco provides indoor and outdoor lighting solutions and makes sports lighting happen worldwide, featuring environmentally and budget-friendly Light-Structure Green™ outdoor lighting.

Musco helps meet the unique requirements of lighting sports facilities, providing you with solutions to questions such as:

  • How much light is enough?
  • Is LED right for your project?
  • How can installation, operation, and maintenance costs be minimized?
  • How can a lighted sports facility be a good neighbor?

Thousands of schools, cities, and facility owners have counted on
Musco as part of their team, while providing the most value for their
sports-lighting budget.

Please stop by their exhibit booth (#235) at the Summer Conference and visit them on the web at

Thank you, Musco Sports Lighting, a Summer Conference Sponsor – for your continued support of the Maryland Association of Counties!

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference:

Supply Solutions Brings You The Klassix at #MACoCon

Klassix-smlMACo would like to thank Summer Conference sponsor, Supply Solutions, for sponsoring our highly requested Crab Feast band, The Klassix! Enjoy their excellent entertainment while you connect with old friends and new over all-you-can-eat steamed crabs fresh from the Chesapeake Bay!

Supply Solutions - Crab Feast BandSupply Solutions is a wholesale distributor serving the telecommunications industry, which includes traditional CATV operators, independent telephone companies and FTTX providers as well as the contractors that support these operations.

CATV Solutions

The management and staff of Supply Solutions, have been in the CATV industry for over 150 years collectively. Their staff thoroughly understands all CATV related products. They can answer questions on systems, old and new. The Supply Solutions team provide value to their customers by utilizing low overhead, efficient procurement of inventory, a well stocked warehouse with effective management and top notch service and support.

FTTX Solutions

Supply Solutions, LLC can assist you with all of your fiber optic related projects. They have a complete understanding of fiber products, systems, standards and trends. They can help you get the most out of your FTTX project and provide you quality FTTX products.

Be sure to visit them in Booth 400 of our tradeshow! Thank you, Supply Solutions a MACo Summer Conference Sponsor, for your continued support of the Maryland Association of Counties!

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference:

Deatrick Named St. Mary’s Public Works/Transportation Director

The Commissioners of St. Mary’s County have selected John Deatrick, P.E. as the county’s

John Deatrick, P.E. (source: St. Mary’s County)

Public Works and Transportation Director.

Mr. Deatrick comes to St. Mary’s County from the City of Cincinnati where he served as Project Executive for the Cincinnati Streetcar implementation between 2013 and 2016.

From 2008 until 2013, he was Cincinnati’s Project Executive for the Central Riverfront Redevelopment Project.

Closer to home, Mr. Deatrick has worked for Jacobs Engineering in Arlington, Virginia as Capital Region Program Manager for Highways and served as the Deputy Director and Chief Engineer for the District of Columbia’s Department of Transportation. While in the nation’s capital, he worked on a number of high profile, award winning projects, including the implementation of the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative Transportation Plan, the South Capitol Corridor and public improvements for Nationals Park.

John holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Maryland, is a licensed Professional Engineer in multiple states, a Certified Planner and Certified Sustainability Professional. Mr. Deatrick is also a Navy veteran.

“We welcome Mr. Deatrick to St. Mary’s County,” said Commissioner President Randy Guy. “His vast experience and wealth of knowledge will be a great fit as he leads our Public Works and Transportation department.”

Mr. Deatrick’s appointment is effective August 7.

What Washington Activity, Or Lack Thereof, Means For Markets

The latest attempt at repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act died in the Senate today, which begs the question of whether President Trump will pivot to tax reform as his next big task to tackle. He should, wrote Steve Forbes, Larry Kudlow, Arthur Laffer and Stephen Moore in an op-ed in Investor’s Business Daily on Friday:

In recent weeks the tax cut agenda seems stalled out and the delays and indecision are negatively affecting growth and the stock market. We hear that a tax plan from the White House may not come until the fall and may not even pass Congress until 2018 – if at all.

Is it any wonder that investors are getting jittery? The stock market had priced in much of the anticipated benefits to business, wages and profits, which accounts in no small part for the $3 trillion rise in equity values and the surge in business and consumer confidence after the election. Now the confidence is waning.

The Washington Post reports:

In reality, the U.S. stock market continues to hit all-time highs, although they are right that confidence in the Trump economic agenda is starting to decline.

“We hear that a tax plan from the White House may not come until the fall and may not even pass Congress until 2018 – if at all,” they write. Goldman Sachs, the investment bank with many alums in the White House, has been giving clients the same warning since the spring not to expect any action on taxes until 2018.

Meanwhile, as Forbes, et al. argue to cut taxes now, balance the budget later (“revenue neutrality is an inside-the-Beltway trap and will prevent passage of a strong tax cut,”) House Republicans released their “Building A Better America” budget first thing this morning, with the top goal being to balance the budget.

Should we be concerned about the markets in this state of inertia? The U.S. stock-index benchmarks did trade lower today, at least in part in response to uncertainty due to failure of the health care bill. But the news is not that bad, at all. Reports Morningstar:

“Investors are taking a pause here as they realize that the failure to pass the health-care bill means the tax reform is delayed. But at the moment, earnings and still growing economy is enough to support equities,” said Diane Jaffee, senior portfolio manager at TCW.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average , most recently was down 89 points, or 0.4%, to 21,542. The price-weighted gauge was being weighed down by Goldman Sachs and UnitedHealth Group Inc.(UNH).

The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 10 points, or 0.2%, at 6,324, above its record close set June 8.

The dollar … fell earlier Tuesday against its main rivals after Republican leaders in the Senate late Monday ditched their effort to repeal and simultaneously replace Obamacare …., also known as the Affordable Care Act.

Still, some investors appeared mostly bullish about recent quarterly results and economic environment.

“The market is responding to earnings releases this week, but the bigger picture remains positive: low inflation, low interest rates, weaker dollar and a benign economic environment all bode well for stocks,” said Maris Ogg, president at Tower Bridge Advisors.

She said signs of global strength were also heartening.

“European economy is growing, China is growing and companies are making money, which suggests that earnings growth for next year looks good,” Ogg said.

Despite modest losses on Tuesday, the main indexes were hovering near record levels set last week.

Ogg said the stock market hasn’t been relying on sweeping reforms from President Donald Trump’s administration, including tax cuts, regulation and infrastructure spending, which is why the reaction in equity markets to the collapse of the health-care bill has been muted, so far.

“Even though we haven’t seen any specific reforms yet, this administration is still very business-friendly, which has not gone unnoticed by stock investors,” she said.

Wondering what’s in store for the local and global economy? Searching for key indicators? Look no further, economist Anirban Basu is on the case, delivering the session, “Markets, He Wrote:  Looking for Clues into the Economy’s Direction,” at the MACo 2017 Summer Conference on Friday, August 18 from 11 a.m. to noon.

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference:

Phil Hager Named As New Anne Arundel Planning & Zoning Officer






Phil Hager (Source: Carroll County Government)

An Anne Arundel County news release (2017-07-11) announced that Phil Hager will become Anne Arundel County’s new Planning and Zoning Officer starting July 31. Hager replaces former long-serving Planning and Zoning Officer Larry Tom, who retired several weeks ago. From the news release:

Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh today announced the appointment of Phil Hager as Anne Arundel County Planning and Zoning Officer.

“As we embark on crafting the next General Development Plan, Phil Hager will be instrumental in making sure our County grows responsibly,” said Schuh. “I am excited Phil has agreed to bring his extensive planning experience to Anne Arundel County as we chart the course for the future.”

In 2012, Mr. Hager was appointed Director of Carroll County’s Department of Land Use, Planning & Development. He later became Director of the Department of Planning when the county departments were reorganized. In those roles, he managed and directed comprehensive planning activities such as comprehensive plan development and implementation, water & sewer infrastructure planning, economic development planning, transportation planning and public facility planning.  Since 2015, Hager also has served as Carroll County’s Legislative Liaison and Director of Legislative Affairs.

From 2005 to 2012, Mr. Hager served as Executive Director of Allegany County’s Planning & Zoning Commission. In that role, he managed all aspects of County-wide Comprehensive Planning, including Natural Resources, Transportation, Land Use, Zoning, Subdivision, Economic Development, Historic and Cultural Preservation, Agricultural, and Recreation Planning.

“The Anne Arundel County Department of Planning and Zoning has a well-deserved reputation for excellence and I am very fortunate to have been selected to become part of this tremendous organization,” said Hager.  “I am extremely excited by the prospect of pursuing my career in Anne Arundel County.  The challenges and opportunities are incredible and I am looking forward to becoming part of this special team.”

Shannon Nazzal Named New Calvert County Parks & Rec Director






A Calvert County news release (2017-07-03) announced that Shannon Nazzal will become the director of the newly created Parks and Recreation Department for the County, starting on July 24. Nazzal will take over the County’s top recreation position from Parks and Recreation Division Chief Paul Meadows, who has served in that capacity since 1985. From the news release:

Shannon Nazzal (Source: Calvert County Government)

Nazzal was most recently the recreation administrator of the Martin County Florida Department of Parks and Recreation. During her five years with Martin County government, she was responsible for managing a $2.5 million budget and had oversight of the county’s recreation, athletics, summer camps, after school care, senior centers, community centers, equestrian center, special events, volunteers and facility rentals. A native Floridian, Nazzal has also held leadership positions in the parks and recreation departments for both Tallahassee and Homestead city governments in Florida.

“I’ve been in parks and recreation for more than 12 years and I thoroughly enjoy my career,” Nazzal shared. “It is my passion to serve the community.” She added she was instantly drawn to Calvert County during her interview process. “It is a beautiful area and I am thrilled to be joining the Calvert County government team and am thrilled my children will be enrolling into such a great school system.”

“We are excited to welcome Mrs. Nazzal to our team, and her family to Calvert County,” said board President Tom Hejl. “I am impressed with her strong enthusiasm. She has a clear understanding of government and the fact that we are public servants who are trusted stewards of our citizen’s tax dollars.”

Nazzal earned her master’s degree in Public Administration from Florida International University and a master’s degree in Physical Education from the Florida State University. She was the 19th person to become a certified parks and recreation executive through the National Recreation and Parks Association, of which she is also a member. Nazzal will relocate to Calvert County with her husband of 15 years, Mohamed and their 8-year-old daughter and 9-month-old son.

The [Board of County Commissioners] announced a reorganization plan in April 2017 designed to improve overall government operations and services to the public. Part of the reorganization included separating the Division of Parks and Recreation from the Department of General Services to form the Department of Parks & Recreation. The new department places stronger emphasis on program management and will absorb from the Department of General Services oversight of aquatics,  parks (including the Division of Natural Resources), recreation and the Chesapeake Hills Golf Course.

Learn how parks and recreation facilities can generate revenue and support local economic development  at the 2017 MACo Summer Conference panel “Parks & Recreation: A Healthy (and Wealthy) Investment.

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference:

Hogan Reviewing Conowingo Dam Proposals, Plans to Call For Summit

A Baltimore Sun article (2017-07-16) reported that in light of research questioning whether the Conowingo Dam is trapping any nutrients or sediment flowing into the Chesapeake Bay through the Susquehanna River, Maryland Governor Lawrence “Larry” Hogan has redoubled his search for a private contractor to address the problem and will convene a summit to discuss next steps. As previously reported on Conduit Street, Hogan requested proposals for addressing the sediment build-up behind the dam last year. According to the article, Hogan has received a dozen responses:

When Hogan requested proposals last August, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ most recent estimate to dredge the reservoir of 25 million cubic yards of silt stood at $3 billion. That was way too high for the state to undertake the job alone and, some argued, more money than should be spent on a problem that scientists say isn’t the largest source of pollution flowing to the bay. …

Arcadis, based in the Netherlands, suggested buying 2,400 acres of low-quality agricultural land, smearing it with the nutrient-laden sediment and selling it for a higher price. Immix, a Colorado firm, pitched a physics process advertised as using earthquake-strength forces to compress the sediment into pavers and countertops that could be resold at a profit.

Brinjac Engineering, headquartered in Pennsylvania, suggested a two-mile long “biological dredging” operation that would use microbes on the river bottom to chew through sediment, cleaning the water and reducing how much needed to be dredged in the first place. …

Donge Flushing Yard, also based in the Netherlands, offered to build Maryland a custom dredging boat for 18 million euro — about $20.6 million — to pull up muck 24 hours a day and then dump it in the ocean. Once the state owned the boat, the operation would cost $52,000 a week just to bring the material ashore. …

Harbor Rock, headquartered in New Jersey, said that for $100 million a year, it would dredge up the gunk and build a processing plant to feed it through 2,000-degree kilns, which would turn it into a material that can be used to make concrete. …

Cold Harbor, another Colorado company, offered a mobile sediment processing system that could quickly set up in an existing parking lot. It said sand from smaller projects has been used to make boat slips in South Carolina, agricultural topsoil in Indiana and berms at a Florida gun range.

 The article stated that Hogan will be seeking a contractor in August to address the Conowingo issue. The Sun noted that more than a dozen companies have responded to Hogan’s request. Maryland Secretary of the Environment Benjamin Grumbles offered further perspective on the State’s pending actions:

While the administration declined to offer details on the request for proposals the governor will issue, Environment Secretary Ben Grumbles pointed to a road map the state released this year on beneficial ways to use sediment dredged out of the waterways.

That plan, Grumbles said, helps make dredging projects more affordable. Sediment brought up from the Chesapeake can be reused to build roads, restore eroding shorelines, or cap landfills — aftermarket uses that make the sediment a valuable commodity, rather than just expensive waste.

“We’re gaining momentum on the Conowingo challenge,” Grumbles said.

He also said it was “short-sighted” to view dredging as the entire solution to the problem. He touted the benefits of creating a marketplace to sell and trade pollution credits, an initiative the administration pitched unsuccessfully to the General Assembly this year.

Grumbles said the state also plans to use any regulatory leverage it has to force others to help cut pollution before it gets into the watershed and pay to remove it from the reservoir dam. Among those tools: Hogan’s ability to effectively veto Exelon energy’s bid to renew its license to operate the hydroelectric dam.

Useful Links

Conduit Street Article on Recent Conowingo Dam Research

Conduit Street Article on Hogan’s Original Conowingo Announcement

Prior Conduit Street Coverage of Conowingo Dam

Startup Roadshow Hits Southern Maryland, Next Stop #MACoCon

Mike Venezia and Mike Binko will be bringing the Startup MD Bus and Roadshow to MACo’s Summer Conference. Get ready to pitch!

As reported by Southern Maryland Newsnet,

The Calvert County Department of Economic Development announces it has joined local entrepreneurship advocates and Startup Maryland to bring the Pitch Across Maryland, STRT1UP Road Show to Southern Maryland. The event is an opportunity for technology businesses, start-ups and anyone interested in innovation to pitch ideas, network and learn about Southern Maryland organizations that support business growth and development.

For more see Calvert County Co-sponsors Event for Entrepreneurs to Pitch Ideas, New Business from Southern Maryland News Net.

The STRT1UP Roadshow will be coming to MACo’s Summer Conference this year, too, as a special attraction tying into the Conference’s theme, “You’re Hired.”

To register to pitch on the STRT1UP Roadshow at MACo’s Summer Conference, contact Robin Clark at MACo.

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference:


Headsets On: Get Ready for Virtual Reality and the Social Shake-Up

Will Gee (pictured with his headset on) will speak at MACo’s Tech Expo about virtual reality applications for county governments. Photo courtesy of the Baltimore Business Journal.

Virtual reality is one of the hottest and most mysterious types of tech, and its tempting serum, poured over snowballing social media use, could turn the way that government interfaces with the public into one heck of a snow cone.

Virtual reality, often referred to as VR, has many applications that could enhance county government services, including tourism, economic development, and information science, with more to come.

Tech Wednesday at MACo’s Summer Conference will feature a session where you can hear more about the opportunities presented by virtual reality and its integration with county services.

Here are the details:


Headsets On: Get Ready for Virtual Reality and the Social Shake-Up


  • Jason Michael Perry, Vice President of Engineering, Mindgrub
  • Julie Lenzer, Associate Vice President of Innovation and Economic Development and Co-Director of UM Ventures, University of Maryland
  • Will Gee, CEO, Balti Virtual


Brian Darmody, Associate Vice President for Corporate and Foundation Relations, University of Maryland


Wednesday, August 16, 2017; 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm


The Tech Expo at MACo’s Summer Conference

Ocean City Convention Center, Ocean City, Maryland

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference:

BPW Approves Grants to Reduce Pollution, Improve Water Quality

The Maryland Board of Public Works has approved more than $92 million in grants to reduce pollution, improve water quality, and save energy and money. The board is composed of Gov. Larry Hogan, treasurer Nancy K. Kopp, and comptroller Peter Franchot.

According to The Garrett County Republican,

“These are smart investments to protect public health, prevent water pollution, and save money and energy in Maryland communities and the Chesapeake Bay. The Maryland Department of the Environment thanks Governor Hogan for his leadership as the new head of the six-state Chesapeake Bay Program and his support for local investments to protect a national treasure,” said Maryland secretary of the environment Ben Grumbles. “Providing nearly $100 million to upgrade key sewage treatment plants, septic systems, drinking water systems, and clean energy projects will help us to green and grow the state’s economy and lead in the race to protect and restore Chesapeake Bay watersheds.”

A $46,219,057 Bay Restoration Fund grant to Baltimore City will help fund the planning, design and construction of Biological Nutrient Removal (BNR) and Enhanced Nutrient Removal (ENR) upgrades at the 180-million-gallons-per-day Back River Wastewater Treatment Plant. After the upgrades, the facility will reduce its nitrogen discharge by 83 percent, significantly reducing the amount of nutrients discharged to Back River and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay.

Grants from the Bay Restoration Fund totaling $15 million will provide statewide funding for counties to upgrade on-site sewage disposal (septic) systems to significantly reduce the discharge of nitrogen, one of the most serious pollutants in the Chesapeake Bay. Counties will focus on upgrading septic systems located within the critical area. All 23 Maryland counties will benefit from the grants, a spokesperson said.

Grants from the Bay Restoration Fund totaling $4,776,900 will provide funding for operation and maintenance costs for 41 wastewater treatment plants operating at enhanced nutrient removal levels in 20 counties. The Bay Restoration Fund provides for up to 10 percent of the annual revenue generated from wastewater treatment plant users and deposited with the Maryland Department of the Environment to be allocated for such costs. The grant for each plant is up to $30,000 per million gallons per day of design capacity, with a minimum award of $30,000 and a maximum award of $300,000 per year for any plant.

Enhanced Nutrient Removal upgrades allow facilities to significantly reduce the amount of nutrients discharged to local waterways and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay. Excessive amounts of nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus lead to lowered levels of oxygen needed to support aquatic life in waterways, including the Chesapeake Bay. The plants receiving these grants have reduced nitrogen discharges by more than 4,547,000 pounds per year and phosphorus discharges by more than 542,000 pounds per year. ENR upgrades of wastewater treatment plants are a critical component of Maryland’s Phase II Watershed Implementation Plan.

In Allegany County, a $2,135,875 Bay Restoration Fund grant to the city of Frostburg will help fund the next phase of the city’s efforts to separate its combined sewers and reduce the frequency and volume of combined sewer overflows during wet weather.

Read The Garrett County Republican to learn more.

Learn about how counties are addressing failing septic systems and reducing the amount of pollutants such as nitrogen that can flow into the Chesapeake Bay at this year’s annual MACo Summer Conference, “You’re Hired!” During the session, Flushing Your Troubles Down the Drain, the South Kent Island Solution, representatives from Queen Anne’s County will discuss how the county and the Maryland Departments of Planning and the Environment were able to solve this dangerous issue by connecting 1,518 existing homes and eight commercial properties to a safe and effective public sewer system.

Learn more about MACo’s Summer Conference: