By: St. Mary’s County Commissioner Eric Colvin

Our day began this morning with a “Closing In Ceremony” for the new Leonardtown Library and Garvey Senior Center—Commissioner President Randy Guy, Library Board President Carolyn Guy, Library Branch Manager Mary Lee Russell, Commission on Aging Chairman Gail Murdock and Garvey Senior Center Council President Dale Taylor all made remarks before we signed the final piece of gypsum board to close in the building. The new building is scheduled to be opened in March 2020.

We returned to the Commissioner’s meeting room and began our regular meeting at 10 am with the approval of the consent agenda, which included the minutes from last week and the Emergency Services Board Scholarship Fund recipients for FY20.

Next, we voted to approve the following 2020 Legislative Proposals that will be presented to our state delegation members in a joint meeting next week:

1. De-coupling of the METCOM and County Debt Limits in order to return to pre-2017 standards
2. Request for $812,320 State Bond Bill for the design of the renovation of our Health Department
3. Request for $350,000 State Bond Bill for St. Clement’s Island Museum Renovation
4. Request for $118,150 State Bond Bill for the US Army Corps of Engineers St. Jerome’s Creek Jetty project
5. Request for authority for a commercial property tax reduction in county growth areas for properties that have been renovated, rehabilitated or upgraded
6. Request amendment to the St. Mary’s County Open Meetings Act to align with the State Open Meetings Act in allowing for closed session discussions on Cybersecurity, consulting with counsel for legal advice and proprietary information in the investment of public funds
7. Request amendment to add the SMC Library Board, Metropolitan Commission and Housing Authority to the St. Mary’s County Open Meetings Act
8. Request to remove subcommittees from the St. Mary’s County Open Meetings Act
9. Request for the authority to increase Public Accommodations Tax from 5% to 7%
10. Allow for Animal Control Officers to wear body-worn cameras
11. Removal of outdated language from the County’s Agricultural Land Preservation Program – Installment Purchase Agreement Authority
12. Request an exception to the Tax Code to allow for an excise tax on Vaping, E-Cigarettes, and Electronic Nicotine Delivery System
13. Allow for St. Mary’s County to designate Emergency Snow Routes
14. Allow for St. Mary’s County rescue squads the ability to have alternative funding sources without penalty
15. New language in the Alcoholic Beverages Article to allow for On-Site Consumption Permits for Distilleries
16. Modification to the College of Southern Maryland Budget Process that would create one budget for the entire system
17. Revision of Public Local Laws of St. Mary’s County to provide non-substantive and clarifying revisions for the Metropolitan Commission
18. Alteration of the funding formula for the Tri-County Council to require all three counties to fund $125,000 a year

We tabled our vote on the Public Facilities Bond Request until we have had more time to work through our budget requirements. We also tabled our vote on the Social Host Ordinance to allow for more time for study and education.

If you are interested in reading more details on each of these proposals, they can all be viewed at the county’s BoardDocs site under today’s meeting.

We then shifted gears and approved support for the Board of Education six-year capital plan in order to send a letter of support to the Interagency Commission on School Construction. The plan requires local funding of $57,930,000 over 6 years, with the state providing 58% of funds for their approved projects, in order to replace roofs and HVACs that have exceeded their life expectancy.

After that, we approved the 5-year financing agreement for $2,650,000 for vehicles approved in the FY20 budget. We approved a grant application to the Emergency Services Number Board for $58,207 for a UPS back up power source for the Back-Up 911 Center.

We approved a budget amendment to fund $24,995 for the Piney Point Emergency Pier Repair project and we approved Permanent Storm Drainage Easements and Temporary Construction Easements for $1,605 for the Patuxent Park Neighbor Revitalization Project.

After adjourning our meeting we will attend the State of the County luncheon with the Chamber of Commerce. Happy Fall!

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...