News Release, Charles County Public Information Office
On Tuesday, June 18, the Board of Commissioners voted 3-2 to amend the Charles County Board of Education’s fiscal 2020 Budget, with a $191,621,800 funding investment in the school system, which is above the state-mandated Maintenance of Effort minimum requirement.
A reduction of $452,200 was made to the Board of Education’s budget request, in certain categories that would pay for operations and staff at the Fresh Start Academy, a proposed program for children in kindergarten through second grade who demonstrate extremely disruptive behaviors in the classroom.
The Board of Commissioners learned recently that the Office of the Attorney General for the State of Maryland issued a written opinion concluding the Fresh Start Academy would not be compliant with State law. Commissioners directed that the funds be set aside in the contingency budget until the program is restructured or an alternative proposal is submitted that does comply with state law.
“The revised funding to the Board of Education far exceeds our maintenance of effort, provides pay raises for teachers, and invests in priorities that improve public education for our students,” stated Commissioner President Reuben B. Collins, II, Esq. “The amended budget will not affect the overall instructional and operational needs of the school system, and the funds are being held in reserve for the Board of Education to request once they confirm all legal concerns have been resolved.”
- Planning and Growth Management staff briefed Commissioners on the Homeowners Association Dispute Review Board. The Board provides an alternate forum for homeowners to resolve disputes with the homeowner’s association, instead of pursuing civil action in Circuit Court. Staff presented information about the Board’s appointees, terms of service, number of cases, current issues, and scheduled hearings.
- Planning and Growth Management staff presented information about the county’s Neighborhood Traffic Calming Program. The program’s goal is to reduce the speed of traffic on residential roads where there are documented issues with excessive speed. Residents can petition the county for traffic calming devices, such as speed humps and raised crosswalks. Staff outlined the process for requesting installation of traffic calming measures; and discussed existing barriers to obtaining approval. Commissioners requested staff to conduct additional outreach with the community and address concerns raised by residents about the issue.
- Economic Development staff presented a progress report on the Commissioners’ economic development priorities. They discussed strategic actions to attract targeted industries, expand commercial investments in opportunity zones, redevelop areas of Indian Head and Waldorf, promote international trade, support minority-owned and small businesses, help agricultural businesses thrive, and effectively market the county’s assets to recruit new businesses. They also highlighted the challenges of workforce development and shared strategies for encouraging residents to consider local jobs close to home.
Housing Voucher Public Meeting
Commissioners received public input on a policy change that would convert a portion of Housing Choice Vouchers to Project Based Vouchers. Current participants, landlords, and other stakeholders were briefed on the options that the county is considering and provided feedback that Commissioners will use in making a final decision.
Commissioners approved a cable franchise agreement with Comcast that extends coverage to areas of Newburg and Maxwell Hall, and to areas where there is an average of 15 potential customers per mile who agree to subscribe to Comcast’s service. It provides continued use of the Institutional Network, which connects 90 county, school, and public library facilities. It also ensures the availability of four county public, education, and governmental access channels. The agreement is effective on July 1, 2019 for a fixed term of 10 years.
Commissioners approved the following fiscal requests:
- A budget amendment increase of $400,000 to pay overtime salaries for emergency medical services staff.
- A budget transfer request of $240,000 with the Board of Education’s Capital budget to pay for renovations at Eva Turner Elementary School.
Commissioners also approved:
- A Memorandum of Understanding with the International Association of Firefighters Local 4658 regarding wages and merit increases from July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020.
- A Memorandum of Understanding with the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 24 regarding wages from July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020.
- A Memorandum of Understanding with the Charles County Sheriff’s Office regarding the collective bargaining negotiations process.
- A letter of support for the Historic McConchie One-Room School Project’s application for an African American Heritage Preservation Program grant.
- A letter of support to the Maryland State Highway Administration for the phasing of access permit at Waldorf Station.
- A letter of support for The Villages at Swan Point’s application for a State Non-Tidal Wetlands Permit.
- Commissioners presented a proclamation recognizing June as Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month. Representatives from the Alzheimer’s Association, Southern Maryland Office received the proclamation, and encouraged the community’s participation in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Charles County, scheduled on Saturday, Sept. 21.
- Commissioners proclaimed June 19 as World Sickle Cell Day in Charles County, and community members affected by sickle cell disease joined them to encourage blood and marrow donations to help those who suffer from it.
- Commissioners proclaimed June 26 as Emergency Medical Services for Children Day. Emergency Medical Services (EMS) staff received the proclamation and invited the community to join them at the Blue Crabs baseball game on June 26 to learn more about the ways that EMS trains and delivers emergency care to meet the unique needs of children.
- Commissioners presented the Local Government Insurance Training Grant Award to the Sheriff’s Office. The grant will support employee training to reduce liability claims and property damage.
- Commissioners recognized Charles County Government for achieving the silver level in the Healthiest Maryland Businesses (HMB) Wellness at Work awards. HMB is a statewide initiative through Maryland Department of Health that supports and promotes wellness in the workplace. Some of the initiatives include yoga, seated massages, and the annual Health and Wellness Fair. Charles County Government was one of six local governments to receive this award.
- Commissioners recognized outstanding instructional leaders in teachers in Charles County Public Schools, including Kathy Perriello, Washington Post Principal of the Year; Brooke Shnipes, Washington Post Teacher of the Year; Melinda Wright, Maryland Teacher of the Year, and Anthony Carroll, Maryland Outstanding Vice Principal of the Year.
- New employees were introduced, and Commissioners recognized employees who achieved milestones in years of service during May and June.
Photos from all official recognitions can be viewed, downloaded, and shared from the Charles County Flickr photo gallery.