All Three Rating Agencies Give Prince George’s County a AAA Bond Rating

For the first time, Prince George's County has received a AAA bond rating from the three major Wall Street rating agencies.  Standard and Poor's gave the county its first AAA rating in 2008, and Moody's Investor Services followed with a AAA? in 2010.  Fitch Ratings was the last agency to do the same.  According to Gazette.net: Analysts with Fitch Ratings announced May 27 that they upgraded their rating on the county from AA+ to AAA,…

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Study Finds Maryland’s FY 2012 General Fund Spending Increases by 11%

According to a jointly sponsored study by the National Governor's Association and the National Association of State Budget Officers, Maryland's General Fund spending will increase by 11% in FY 2012, the fourth largest of any state. According to the Washington Times: Maryland's General Assemblyin April passed a $34.2 billion budget, which includes $14.6 billion in general fund spending — an increase from last year’s $13.2 billion.Three states — Florida, Minnesota and Iowa — will have…

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End of Session Wrap Up: Finance and Procurement

Now that the dust has settled, this post provides the final status of finance and procurement related bills of interest. Transportation "Lock Box:"  Numerous pieces of legislation were introduced to prohibit the transfer of revenue from the Transportation Trust Fund to the State General Fund, requiring these revenues to be used for their intended purpose, transportation.  Some bills protected the historical local share of Highway User Revenue or amendments were offered to do so (HB…

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U.S. Communities Purchasing Alliance – Registration is Free, Value is Priceless

U.S. Communities Purchasing Alliance is a NACo-founded government purchasing alliance. It offers state and local governments the opportunity to obtain the best overall supplier government pricing. From the U.S. Communities website: U.S. Communities is the leading national government purchasing cooperative, providing world class government procurement resources and solutions to local and state government agencies, school districts (K-12), higher education institutes, and nonprofits looking for the best overall supplier government pricing.The program offers: No User Fees –…

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Appropriations Committee Approves Budget Plan: Rejects Pension Shift, Finds One-Time Funding for Local Roads, Reduces Assessment Shift

After a marathon 9 hour decision meeting, the House Appropriations Committee approved its plan to modify Governor O' Malley's proposed FY 2012 budget.  As a part of their plan the House Committee restored funding for education, raised motor vehicle titling and vanity plate fees to generate revenue for transportation, and modified other program reductions and transfers. The Committee also took actions to change retiree health benefits and modify the employee and teacher pension systems. The…

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President’s Budget Would Reinstate Build America Bonds

Amidst the wide-ranging facets of federal debate over budgets and spending, one Administration proposal has been offered with local government impact. According to Bond Buyer, the President's proposal would permanently renew the Build America Bonds program, where the federal government provides subsidies to state and local issuers of taxable municipal bonds, by paying a differential to offset expected higher interest costs from using taxable instruments. (In general, taxable borrowing requires a higher rate of return…

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Allegany Courthouse Project Highlights Public-Private Partnerships

An October 9 Cumberland Times-News article discusses the public-private partnership that helped fund the Allegany County District Court building and Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot's favorable reaction. Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot sees the development of the new Allegany County District Court building through a partnership of the private and public sectors as “the wave of the future.” Franchot visited the new two-story building on South Liberty Street during an informal open house held Friday by Paul Kelly, chief…

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Prince George’s County Considers Foreclosed Commercial Property Register

An August 6 Gazette article describes how Prince George's County is considering creating a property registry for foreclosed commercial properties, similar to an existing registry for residential properties.  The purpose of the registry is to help the County make sure any vacant properties are properly maintained. Foreclosed commercial properties can lie vacant and show their neglect. And the president of the Prince George's County Council wants to do something about it. Last year, the county adopted…

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Business Improvement Districts Move to the Floor

HB 1182, Business Improvement Districts, was voted favorable with amendments in the House Environmental Matters Committee and passed on second reading today on the House floor.  As introduced, this bill would have required local jurisdictions to adopt a resolution if the procedural requirements of the BID application were met.  MACo also had concerns with respect to property tax caps, bonding and taxing authority. As amended, the bill is authorizing, the county imposes the tax, taxes…

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House Appropriations Committee Rejects Pension Shift

Late last night, the House Appropriations Committee voted to reject the Senate's recommendation to shift a portion of teacher pensions to counties.  As reported in MarylandReporter The House budget committee roundly rejected a Senate proposal to hand off half of the state’s responsibility for teacher pensions within five years, one of a series of decisions that will lead to difficult negotiations between the two chambers. The committee rejected the pension shift without discussion, but Del.…

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