At the meeting on March 27, the Board of County Commissioners approved a lease with the University of Maryland Extension Office, which plans to move into renovated space at the historic Bel Alton High School in May. This school was one of only two schools constructed for African American students prior to World War II and opened in 1938. The school operated as a segregated school until its integration in the 1960s. Approximately 20 years ago, the school property had fallen into disrepair and went through a major renovation, funded by a combination of federal and state grants, as well as local resources. After restoration, it was opened as a center that provided supportive services, information, and resources to residents.
In fiscal 2018, County Commissioners reaffirmed their commitment to protect the historic property as an important asset in the county, and designated capital improvement program funds to pay for additional renovations and necessary improvements to maintain it. The property is intended for use as a multi-service center with programs that will benefit all county residents. The University of Maryland Extension Office is a tenant that fulfills this goal by providing a variety of high-quality programs and will leverage the increased space to expand services to the community.
Open Session Briefings
- Charles County’s Public Library Director Janet Salazar presented a demands analysis on public use of the La Plata Branch, which is being considered for relocation within the county. She shared information about the current facility’s use by staff and patrons, the need for additional space, and the assessment of criteria for potential new sites that would meet these requirements.
- County Attorney Rhonda Weaver provided an update on the county’s state legislative package and highlighted other issues of interest that affect the county.
- A budget work session was held, and staff presented information about the proposed Capital Improvement Program for fiscal years 2019-23. Total requests in the amount of $501.4 million were submitted, and $268.7 million is being proposed to fund 54 percent of the requests. Total funding is dependent on the county’s total debt capacity, which is capped at 8 percent annually for debt service to county operating revenues. Of the proposed $268.7 million, 43 percent of project funding is allocated to the Board of Education, 27 percent is allocated to General Government projects, 14 percent is allocated to transportation and park improvements, 11 percent is dedicated to the College of Southern Maryland, and the remaining amount is set aside in contingency for cost inflation.
- Commissioners held a work session to discuss proposed amendments to the towing regulations bill. The original bill would authorize the Charles County Sheriff’s Office to maintain a towing service permit program, to charge a permit fee to those engaged in the business of towing motor vehicles, and to make it unlawful to provide towing service without a permit. Based on public input, staff proposed lowering the registration and renewal fees that are charged and some other minor revisions. Commissioners voted favorably to introduce the amendments as proposed, with final approval scheduled at the next meeting on Tuesday, April 10.
- Commissioners approved a one-year lease extension for the Election Board to remain in its current space at 201 E Charles St, La Plata, MD.
- Charles County Archaeology Society of Maryland, Inc. (CCASM) received a proclamation from Commissioners in recognition of April as Archaeology Month. CCASM supports and promotes archaeology in Charles County and throughout Maryland, and residents can learn more about activities to recognize the importance of archaeology in Charles County by visiting the CCASM blog online. View the recognition photo in Flickr.
- Commissioners congratulated the College of Southern Maryland Talons Robotics Team for qualifying to participate in the VEX U World Championship for the fifth consecutive year. They presented the team with a $1,000 check to contribute to their travel expenses and a certificate of congratulations. The team is still raising funds for their travel to Louisville, Kentucky for the international competition on April 25-28, 2018. View the team’s photo in Flickr.
- Representatives from the Department of Community Services received a proclamation from Commissioners in recognition of April as Fair Housing Month. This celebration recognizes the anniversary of the Fair Housing Act passed in 1968, which guarantees equal housing opportunities for all people. The Department of Community Services is responsible for ensuring fair and equal access to services locally. View the group’s photo in Flicker.
- Commissioners presented certificates to 11 employees who recently completed the Leadership Academy, a series of trainings designed for current and emerging supervisors to prepare them for leadership within County Government. They also honored county employees who achieved milestones in years of service and acknowledged all new employees who recently began working for the county.
Next Commissioners Meeting: Tuesday, April 10
For More Information:
Commissioners meetings are aired on CCGTV, which broadcasts on Comcast channel 95 and Verizon channel 10, and are available for streaming at www.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.
About Charles County Government
The mission of Charles County Government is to provide our citizens the highest quality service possible in a timely, efficient and courteous manner. To achieve this goal, our government must be operated in an open and accessible atmosphere, be based on comprehensive long- and short-term planning and have an appropriate managerial organization tempered by fiscal responsibility. We support and encourage efforts to grow a diverse workplace. Charles County is a place where all people thrive and businesses grow and prosper; where the preservation of our heritage and environment is paramount; where government services to its citizens are provided at the highest level of excellence; and where the quality of life is the best in the nation.
It is the policy of Charles County to provide equal employment opportunity to all persons regardless of race, color, sex, age, national origin, religious or political affiliation or opinion, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, genetic information, gender identity or expression, or any other status protected by law.