News Release, Charles County Government
On Tuesday, March 12, Economic Development Director Darrell Brown and Redevelopment Manager Taylor Yewell provided a briefing to County Commissioners on the School Seat Allocation Policy in Opportunity Zones. Brown and Yewell discussed the possibility for potential alternatives or an exemption to the school seat allocation policy within the county’s three opportunity zones. Policy alternatives could advance redevelopment options and attract new investments in opportunity zones. It will also help support growth in areas that are essential to secure funding for transit projects. Commissioners directed staff to explore alternatives in collaboration with the Charles County Board of Education and returning with recommendations later this spring.
- Broadband Task Force: Deputy County Administrator Deborah Hall and Chief of Information Technology Evelyn Jacobson provided an update on the Broadband Task Force. Updates included the establishment of the Broadband Task Force, which has held three meetings, and establishment of several sub-committees within the Task Force. The 11 members of the Broadband Task Force Committee were introduced. Staff will return to provide a full update on the Task Force in April.
- Military Support Update: Economic Development Director Darrell Brown and Atlantic Strategies Group military affairs consultants John Bohanan and Jennifer Dione briefed Commissioners on collaboration with the Indian Head Naval Base to attract activities and investments there. They are working closely with county staff to bring research activities and private sector industries, like the forthcoming Velocity Center, that support base activities outside the gate in Indian Head.
Department of Planning and Growth Management Assistant Chief John Mudd presented a briefing on the Town Center South Development Rights and Responsibility Agreement Amendment #4 and proposed agreement to make Lidl US Operations, LCC as the successor of Lot #13. A public hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, April 2 at 6 p.m. in the Commissioners Meeting Room.
Commissioners approved a Fiscal 2020 Transportation Priority Letter to be sent to Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) Secretary Pete K. Rahn. The letter includes top priority transportation improvement projects, including completion of the project planning for the Southern Maryland Rapid Transit project and construction of a controlled access highway option for US Route 301 through Waldorf and White Plains. Commissioners also provided consensus to endorse the Tri-County Council for Southern Maryland Letter.
The Commissioners also approved:
- A budget amendment increase to fund the Southern Maryland Criminal Justice Academy Director position; the other two-thirds of the director’s salary will be supported by St. Mary’s County and Calvert County. Commissioners also approved a new pin number to be assigned to the new director.
- Revisions to the Community Service Policy Standard Operating Policy. In addition to tracked changes within the document, Commissioners also recommended revising section 3.1 to read, “The Board of Commissioners is responsible for the overall approval of this SOP and the review of the annual report of all the expenditures for this account,” and recommended revising section 5.5 to read, “An expenditures accountability report will be provided to the Board of Commissioners quarterly.”
- Part-Time Committee recommendation to make Part II employees eligible for all future COLA increases. Other recommendations will be considered during the budget approval process.
General Assembly Legislation Update
Acting County Attorney Danielle Mitchell presented updates and requests for action on the county’s legislative priorities for the 2019 Maryland General Assembly Legislative Session.
- House Bill 389, House Bill 388, House Bill 438, House Bill 400, Senate Bill 634, and House Bill 1051: No updates to provide.
- Senate Bill 290: A hearing was held on Feb. 28. The Maryland Association of County Health Officers, which was originally opposing this bill, now supports the bill with amendments. The Commissioners decided to wait on their Letter of Support until they have a copy of the amendments proposed.
- Senate Bill 973: The hearing was held on March 8 and Commissioners’ letter of opposition was sent. No formal actions were made to withdraw the bill at this time.
- Senate Bill 845: Commissioners’ Letter of Support was sent. The hearing is scheduled for March 13.
- Senate Bill 1030/ House Bill 1413: This bill is moving forward, which supports funding for the Kirwan Commission’s recommendations. Education recommendations of the Commission include free full-day prekindergarten for low-come families; expanding services for even younger children and their families, hiring and retaining high-quality and diverse teachers, and toughening certification standards; increasing standards and services so that all students are ready for college or career, with particular attention on students in schools with high concentrations of poverty; and establishing a strong accountability system to oversee the commission’s recommendations to be funded by the state budget for the next two years.
- Senate Bill 280/ House Bill 166: This bill mandates an increase in the state’s minimum wage to $15 per hour.
- Appointed Commissioner Gilbert Bowling, III (District 1) to the Board of Fire and Rescue, in place of Commissioner Vice President Bobby Rucci (District 4).
Representatives from the Charles County Agricultural Land Preservation Advisory Board, Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission, and Charles County Farm Bureau received a proclamation from Commissioners to recognize March 14 as National Agriculture Day and recognize the contributions made by farmers and the agriculture industry.
Next Commissioners Meetings: Friday, March 15, at 11 a.m. and Tuesday, March 19, beginning at 9 a.m.
Commissioners will discuss their Federal Agenda Priorities with United States Senator Ben Cardin and United States Congressman Steny H. Hoyer on Friday, March 15 at 11 a.m. in the County Government Building (200 Baltimore Street, La Plata).
For More Information:
Commissioners meetings are aired on CCGTV, which broadcasts on Comcast channel 95 and Verizon channel 10, and are available for streaming atwww.CharlesCountyMD.gov/media-services/ccgtv/ccgtv. Materials and minutes of the Commissioners meeting will be posted at www.boarddocs.com/md/chrlsco/Board.nsf/Public upon approval.