News Release, Charles County Public Information Office

On Tuesday, April 30, Deputy County Administrator Deborah Hall, Chief of Information Technology Evelyn Jacobson, and members of the Broadband Task Force  provided an update on its progress. The group continues to refine its maps of County areas that do not have broadband access. Residents are encouraged to complete a questionnaire to confirm the map data. A web page has been developed to keep the community informed.

Staff have explored federal and state grant opportunities, and received a Rural Broadband Feasibility Grant to partially pay for a broadband consultant,CTC Technology & Energy, to write a broadband strategic plan. The strategic plan will include an assessment of current infrastructure, evaluation of demand, estimation of design and cost, identification of funding strategies, development of a public-private partnership strategy, and completion of a financial analysis and business plan. The strategic planning work will begin by Aug. 1 and be completed within six months.

FY2020 Budget Work Session

Budget staff presented information on theGeneral Fund,Capital Outlay, andSpecial Revenue Funds. Commissioners provided input on theCapital Improvement Program. Executive leaders from the College of Southern Maryland presented theirrequest for county fundingto support their operations.

Open Session Briefings

  • New Animal Shelter Project:Staff briefed Commissioners on the proposed plan for the newAnimal Shelter. A new animal shelter was approved in 2017 and it would operate independently. A site has been designated on Piney Church Road for the facility and the design process is underway. The shelter is anticipated to open by 2022.
  • Lifestyles Homeless Shelter Project:Lifestyles staff discussed the need fora year-round homeless shelterin the county. They highlighted the increased demand for the Safe Nights program, which provides emergency shelter through local churches during the winter. State funds have been granted to extend the Safe nights program but those funds cannot be used until a facility is secured. A permanent homeless shelter is needed to provide a stable location for emergency housing and client services. Lifestyles has requested $845,000 to partially support operating and one-time costs to open the shelter.
  • Billingsley Road Improvement Project:Staff provided information on a preliminary study conducted to determine where safety improvements are needed onBillingsley Road. The Commissioners reviewed the study recommendations that are being implemented and those that required additional funding to complete. Staff reported on current projects that are underway to reduce safety concerns at the intersections of Billingsley Road and Prince Edward Drive, Pearl Street, and Acquinsicke Place. Alternative road alignment options and cost considerations for Billingsley Road were also presented.

Approval Items

Commissioners received abriefingand approved a request from the Economic Development Department to sign a regional memorandum of understanding to collaborate on common issues and challenges in Charles, Calvert and St. Mary’s counties in southern Maryland. The counties are working together on the Southern Maryland 2025 initiative, for which a work plan will be developed and implemented regionally to promote quality of life, coordinate efforts to grow entrepreneurial and technology startup support systems and develop programming and funding to grow small businesses.

Commissioners approved the following fiscal requests:

  • Waldorf Senior & Recreational Center:Abudget amendment increaseof $300,200 to pay for land and rights-of-way needed to expand the parking lot; achange orderfor $153,000.99 to pay for audio/visual and information technology equipment acquisition, installation and training; abudget transfer requestof $316,870 to pay for additional construction services and contingency reserve for future budgetary needs; and abudget transfer requestof $116,380 for contract services needed for audio/visual equipment.
  • Closed Loop Project:Change order #14in the amount of $297,152.99 andchange order #15in the amount of $242,200 to pay for rental, operations and maintenance of a bypass system and anticipated fuel costs at the Mattawoman Wastewater Treatment Plant; and a budget transfer request of $513,280 from contingency into construction to pay for the remaining balance of a contract with American Contracting & Environmental Services.
  • Courthouse Satellite Building:Budget transferof $27,000 in salary savings to pay for repairs to the Courthouse Satellite Building.

Appointments

Commissioners appointed the following individuals to the Rural Land Use and Zoning Task Force: Russell Shlagel, Timothy Lessner, Briana Dunbar Bowling, Franklin Robinson, Michael Sullivan, Paco Blake, Bonnie Rothell, and David Lines.

Recognitions

Commissioners recognized new employees, honoredcounty staff who achieved milestonesin employees’ years of service, and announcedemployees of the quarter.

Public Hearing

Commissioners held a public hearing to receive comments on the proposedFY2020 Constant Yield. The record will remain open to receive comments until close of business, Friday, May 10.Video recording of the hearing is available in theDigital Library.

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...