News Release, Charles County Government
On Tuesday, March 19, the Board of Commissioners hosted a Public Safety Collaborative Summit with representatives from several Charles County local public safety stakeholder groups, including the Department of Emergency Services, Sheriff’s Office, State’s Attorney’s Office, Volunteer Fire Association, Emergency Services Association, Department of Health, Board of Education, and the Town of La Plata. They discussed fiscal and community priorities, and identified areas of need such as increased staffing, technology and infrastructure investments, and growing demand for emergency response and emergency room care.
- Charles County Public Library – La Plata Branch Site Analysis: Library Interim Executive Director Kenneth Wayne Thompson provided an overview of two potential sites for a new library in La Plata. In order to apply for state funding to support construction of the new library, a 30,000 square-foot facility is necessary, but the county’s current capital Improvement plan (CIP) only includes funds for a 15,000 square-foot facility. Commissioners requested that staff return to provide more information on a third site on county-owned land, and for representatives of the Town of La Plata to share input on the site options.
- Charles County Commission for Women: Commission Chair Maxine Somerville highlighted the Commission’s achievements presented in its Annual Report. The Commission for Women requested staff support and funding to support their work. Commissioners directed the County Attorney to review proposed revisions to the Commission’s by-laws, which include minor revisions to the text, adds associate commissioners to the group, and shortens the length of commissioner terms. Commissioners will consider approval of the changes after the review is completed, and will discuss staffing and budget needs during the fiscal year 2020 process.
- Charles County Watermen’s Association: Representatives of the Watermen’s Association provided an overview of harvests from Potomac River fisheries in Charles County, including blue crab, stripe bass, catfish, gizzard shad, eels, and oysters. They highlighted challenges and proposed possible solutions for improving oyster harvests, such as partnering on strategies to improve stormwater management. The organization represents the interest of commercial fishermen, seafood processors, wholesalers and ancillary businesses in the seafood industry.
- Joint Meeting with Board of Education: Commissioners met with the Charles County Board of Education and Superintendent Kimberly Hill to review the summary and analysis of the proposed school allocations for the annual 2019 cycle. They discussed the formula used to recommend school allocations and Commissioners adopted the proposal as presented.
Budget Work Session
The Board of County Commissioners held a budget work session to review the anticipated revenues, expenditures, and requests for funding from the county’s Enterprise Funds in the fiscal 2020 budget. County budget staff presented a detailed overview of the Landfill Fund, Watershed Protection and Restoration Fund,Inspection and Review Fund, Recreation Fund, Cable Fund, Water and Sewer Fund, and the Water and Sewer CIP.
Commissioners approved to close the budget request for various Capital Improvement Projects that are no longer needed over the next five years, including six water projects and four sewer projects.
The Commissioners also approved:
- The draft Letter of Support to fund the Winstead Tobacco Packing Plant’s Market Feasibility Study.
- The Letter of Support for the Maryland Veterans Museum at Patriot Park’s application to the Maryland Heritage Area authority Grant Program for three grants each in the amount of $40,000.
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: The bills received a favorable vote from the Economic Matters Committee, and they will be moving to Senate Education, Health and Environment Affairs Committee for review.
- Senate Bill 634: The bill received a favorable vote and has moved to the House, where it is scheduled for a hearing on Mar. 21.
- Senate Bill 290: The Commissioners reviewed amendments to the bill and approved a Letter of Support be sent to the Senate committee.
- Senate Bill 973: The bill has not been cross-filed in the House.
- Senate Bill 845: A hearing was held on March 13, and Commissioner President Reuben B. Collins, II, Esq. testified in support of the bill.
- Senate Bill 1030/ House Bill 1413: This bill is moving forward, which supports funding for the Kirwan Commission’s recommendations.
- Senate Bill 280/ House Bill 166: No additional action to report.
Next Commissioners Meeting: Tuesday, March 26, beginning at 9 a.m.
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