Charles County Commissioners November 19, 2019 Meeting Update

News Release, Charles County Public Information Office

On Tuesday, Nov. 19, the Charles County Board of Commissioners received a report from the Rural Planning and Zoning Task Force. They provided an overview of their goals, representation, and recommendations for supporting farmland preservation, protecting the county’s rural character, enforcing regulations, and promoting agritourism. They presented several action steps for Commissioners to consider, including the creation of an agriculture advisory council; appointment of an agricultural community liaison; a rewrite of zoning definitions and certain regulations; provisions for seasonal labor housing; and other allowances for agricultural building exemptions, family conveyance, private drives and accessory uses that support the sustainability of agricultural businesses in the county.

Commissioners also toured the Center for Trades and Energy Training at the College of Southern Maryland. The center received an offshore wind workforce development grant to provide technical training related to the development, manufacturing, construction, installation, and operations of an offshore wind energy project. Nearly 50 offshore wind turbines are planned for construction in Ocean City, Maryland and the training program will provide students with the skills needed to support their operations and maintenance.

Open Session Briefings:

  • Leaders from the Maryland Association of Counties provided an update to Commissioners on legislative initiatives the organization will support in fiscal 2020. They have prioritized advocacy for adequate and fair funding for public schools; investments for school construction; and resources for behavioral health and recovery programs. They also highlighted their successful advocacy on behalf of counties during the 2019 legislative session and discussed their participation in state discussions about funding formulas for public education and investments in renewable energy.
  • Representatives from the College of Southern Maryland (CSM) and CSM President Maureen Murphy briefed Commissioners on a proposed legislative amendment they are seeking, which would eliminate the restriction of county allocations to be designated to that county’s CSM locations. Many students attend two or more CSM locations or take online classes, so the change would allow CSM the flexibility to allocate funds and incorporate efficiencies based on current needs. CSM is seeking a letter of support for the legislative amendment from each of the three county’s Board of Commissioners.
  • The Energetics Technology Center briefed Commissioners on a strategy—commissioned by the Economic Development Department—to leverage resources at the Naval Surface Warfare Center Indian Head Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology Division to bring activity outside the gate and increase commercial activity in the Town of Indian Head. Proposed strategies include creation of an innovation hub, designation of a defense innovation district coordinator, and other tactics that would help the county implement the vision for technology-driven economic development in the town.
  • Staff from the Jude House shared an update on the positive outcomes for the clients they serve. The Jude House provides recovery services for those who struggle with substance abuse and addiction, and provide counseling, support, and resources to help them change their lives.
  • Department of Fiscal and Administrative Services staff briefed Commissioners on the Fiscal Year 2020 General Fund Quarterly Review. Staff provided information on the revenues, expenditures, and the estimated year-end fund balance.

Community Meeting

Commissioners held a community meeting at the Bryans Road Volunteer Fire Department to provide information and respond to questions from the public about a nightclub that was planning to open in Bryans Road later this month.  On Friday, Nov. 15, Charles County Government’s Zoning Officer issued a determination letter stating that the nightclub’s Use and Occupancy permit has been revoked because the activities listed in the permit application are not allowed in the Core Employment/Residential Zone where the business was planning to operate.

Approval Items:

Commissioners approved the following items:

  • budget amendment increase of $115,500 for the Sheriff’s Office to update and procure equipment for the Southern Maryland Criminal Justice Academy.
  • Board of Education budget amendment of $452,200 to support the Fresh Start Academy and $704,372 to pay for increased operating costs for Food and Nutrition Service utilizing fund balance within this Special Revenue fund.
  • Board of Education budget amendment of $3.5 million to pay for a new enterprise resource planning system.
  • modification to the agreement with the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 4658 that affects the C-scale and E-scale wages for Emergency Medical Technicians.
  • letter of support for Precision Firearm Services LLC, to obtain approval of a Deer Cooperator Permit to control the deer population at the Maryland Airport.

Recognitions:


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