News Release, Charles County Board of Commissioners

On Tuesday, March 26, the Board of Commissioners received a briefing from Department of Planning and Growth Management Director Steve Kaii-Ziegler and Planning Director Jason Groth regarding a revised Planning Division Project application intake and review process. The process is designed to improve the efficiency of project review for a variety of applications, such as site development plans, conceptual and preliminary subdivision plans, special exceptions, variances, and zoning text and map amendments. New requirements, which include a pre-submittal conference and reduced review timelines, are anticipated to reduce the process by 50 percent. The new process will be initiated on May 1, 2019.

Open Session Briefings

  • Citizen’s Academy: Chief of Media Services Jennifer Harris and Community Engagement Coordinator Renesha Miles provided a briefing on the Citizen’s Academy. The Citizen’s Academy will provide an overview of county departments, programs, and services to Charles County residents; develop a network of county ambassadors; and proactively engage our community. The first session for the academy is scheduled for May 2 to June 13, 2019.
  • Affordable Housing Update: Department of Planning and Growth ManagementDeputy Director Christina Pompa presented an update on the land availability for the development of affordable housing utilizing state tax credits. Staff analysis included options based on zoning and school allocation availability.
  • Broadband Services: Representatives from Last Mile Broadbandprovided a briefing on bringing broadband services to rural and underserved areas. They shared broadband demand survey results from county residents, which delineated the areas that need it and evaluated willingness to pay for access. They proposed next steps such as identifying areas for pilot projects, conducting a cost analysis, and determining and applying for federal and state funding sources.

Budget Work Session

The Board of County Commissioners held a budget work session to review the fiscal 2020 General Fund Revenue Outlook and the fiscal 2020-2024 General Fund Capital Improvement Projects.

Approval Items

Commissioners approved the request for a Letter of Support for the U.S. Route 301/ Maryland Route 5 Bypass funding improvements.

The Commissioners also approved:

  • budget transfer request to move funds for sludge disposal, which decreased due to heavy rainfall at the beginning of fiscal 2019, to use for Eco Tabs, Ferric, and Bioxide chemicals.
  • budget transfer request to move funds from project #7117 Mattawoman Wastewater Treatment Plan Effluent Pump Station Forcemain to cover change orders for project #7063 Influent/Effluent Pump Stations Evaluation (Closed Loop Project).
  • The Letter of Support for an electronic sign on U.S. Route 301. promoting the Maryland Veterans’ Museum.
  • A request to change the public hearing on the Town Center South Development Rights and Responsibilities Agreement Amendment #4 from Tuesday, April 2 to Tuesday, April 16 at 6 p.m. 

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 389House Bill 388House Bill 438House Bill 400: These bills requested by the Board of License Commissioners are scheduled for a hearing before the Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee on Mar. 28 at 1 p.m. Representatives from the Board are being scheduled to participate.
  • Senate Bill 634: The bill regarding use of public rights-of-way for communications activities passed the Senate and a hearing was held in the House. It is anticipated it will receive final approval.
  • Senate Bill 280House Bill 166: The minimum wage bill has been passed, and it’s waiting on the Governor’s signature.

Recognitions

  • Commissioners issued a proclamation recognizing Arab American Heritage Month in April. The month celebrates the culture, influence, and contributions Arab Americans have made throughout generations.
  • Commissioners recognized Leslie Davies-Hilliard for being the Eagle Naming Contest Winner, as well as the Southern Maryland Audubon Society and the Port Tobacco River Conservancy for their volunteer efforts to answer questions and assist with the live Eagle Cam. View photo in Flickr.
  • Commissioners recognized new employees and honored county staff who achieved milestones in employee years of service.

Following their regular meeting, Commissioners toured the Mattawoman Wastewater Treatment Plant and Landfill Operations.

Next Commissioners Meeting: Tuesday, April 2, beginning at 9 a.m.

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/Editor

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in...