Charles County Commissioner’s Meeting Update March 22
LA PLATA, Md. – On Tuesday, March 22, Chief Media Services Officer Jennifer Harris and Senior Video Producer Brent Huber presented the County Board of Commissioners with a proposed public hearing format. Harris spoke about the Public Hearings survey conducted by the Media Services Division, in which more than half of respondents prefer written testimony to provide feedback. Other respondents were split between the options of providing comments at an in-person public hearing, participating virtually, or contacting commissioners by phone.
In order to be cost effective and provide great opportunities for community engagement in the upcoming budget hearing process, staff recommended that County Commissioners consider a two-pronged approach, which would include having a portion of public budget hearing in person, followed by a second part of the hearing virtually. The Media Services Division will continue to collect data on which options residents prefer for public hearings. County commissioners have approved the two-track approach for the public hearing on the budget to be held next month.
Open information sessions
- Director of the Human Resources Department, Alexis Blackwell, and Deputy Director of the Human Resources Department, Megan Donnick, provided a presentation on changes to the Charles County Pension Plan, which clarifies that acting pay is considered pay and that retirees on disability will have a cost-of-living adjustment. Blackwell and Donnick also provided a presentation on changes to the Sheriff’s Office Pension Plan, which clarifies that acting pay is considered pay and that retirees on disability will have a cost-of-living adjustment.
- Director of Tax and Administrative Services Department, Jenifer Ellin; and representatives of Davenport & Company, LLC Jennifer Diercksen and Joe Mason provided a presentation on tax administration. A revenue authority is a public corporation created under state law to construct and operate a variety of own-source revenue projects. Diercksen reminded county commissioners that creating a taxing authority can be helpful, but counties should consider their current debt profile and overall credit rating before creating an authority.
- Economic Development Department Director Kelly Robertson-Slagle and representatives from University Systems of Maryland in Southern Maryland (USMSM) provided a presentation on the USMSM, regional center for higher education. USMSM will meet with the US Bomb Tech Association and the Velocity Center at the College of Southern Maryland to coordinate their efforts to provide additional educational opportunities in the county.
- Staff from the Department of Tax and Administrative Services gave a presentation on the FY2023 budget working session, specifically on enterprise funds. Enterprise funds have a defined customer base and are funded by a customer fee. The review included water and sewer operation, water and sewer capital improvement program, recreation programand cable funds. The first public hearing on the budget will take place on Wednesday, April 27, with additional details to follow.
Associate County II Attorney Danielle Mitchell provided a update on the 2022 Maryland General Assembly session.
- House Bill 1415 and House Bill 1114/Senat Bill 741 have been withdrawn.
- Senate Bill 1010 / House Bill 1486 passed the General Assembly.
- Senate Bill 297 / House Bill 339 has passed the Senate and a House hearing is scheduled for March 30.
- The Maryland Counties Association has requested the county commissioners’ support for Senate Bill 31, which has passed the Senate and will go through a House hearing. The county commissioners have approved sending their approval for this bill.
- Deputy County Administrator Deborah Hall and Department of Recreation, Parks and Tourism Director Kelli Beavers provided additional information regarding Senate Bill 685. The Beavers raised questions regarding the impact on the county, including responsibility for the feasibility study, the county’s role, funding, type of partnership, and how it would work in harmony with existing facilities such as Regency Furniture Stadium.
- House Bill 35/Senate Bill 158 passed the General Assembly. The Charles County Board of Elections provided a demand for county commissioners to ask Gov. Larry Hogan to veto the bill over the requirement to have the same number of polling places available in 2018. The county board of elections detailed the concerns in the letter regarding the limited number of poll workers and the requirement to purchase additional poll books and scanners. The county commissioners asked for additional information to find out if other local jurisdictions are facing similar issues and asked the county electoral board to appear before the county commissioners to further explain the concerns. County commissioners approved sending a letter to the state regarding the concerns discussed.
The Commissioners also approved:
- A request for budget transfer financial year 2022 $98,000 for the installation of fiber and cameras at Blue Crabs Stadium.
- A emergency transfer request for fiscal year 2022 $28,000 for cost overruns due to unscheduled inspections conducted outside normal business hours. County commissioners approved this motion with the amendment to increase the overtime from $3,000 to $8,000.
- A support letter for funding the Maryland Veteran Museum Education Project, “The Untold Story of Patriots in the American Revolution.”
Next session of Commissioners: March 28, 29 and 30, 2022
Citizens with special needs can contact the Maryland Relay Service at 711, or the TDD Relay Service: 800-735-2258.