Commissioner Eric Colvin via Facebook

Leonardtown, Md, January 28, 2020- Commissioner Update: Today’s meeting began with the approval of the consent agenda and minutes of our last meeting and then the presentation of a proclamation for School Choice Week 2020.

We then had a brief ceremony recognizing and thanking all of the people who serve on the county’s various boards and commissions.

After that we held a Public Hearing for some minor changes to the ordinance allowing private landing strips and helipads in the RCA Critical Area Overlay to prohibit flight schools and commercial operations as defined in Federal Aviation Administration regulations—no one spoke.

Our first Main Agenda item was a State of the College address from Dr. Maureen Murphy from the College of Southern Maryland.

Our second Main Agenda item was approval of a public hearing for the Seventh District Volunteer Rescue Squad proposed rescue tax rate increase—the proposed increase from $0.011 for every $100 of assessed property value to $0.030 would have an average impact of $35.72 per household—the public hearing will be held at the Seventh District Volunteer Rescue Squad on February 18.

Our next item was an update on legislation in the Maryland General Assembly. We made motions to send letters of support for the following bills:

  • • College of Southern Maryland Unified Budget
  • • SB 26 – Partnership for Workforce Quality Program Alterations
  • • HB 210/SB 342 – Aquaculture Leases in Water Columns – Riparian Right of First Refusal
  • • Chancellor’s Point Community Sailing Center at Historic St. Mary’s City Bond Request
  • • Chesapeake Public Charter School Bond Request
  • • SB 68/HB 49 – Pretrial Risk Assessment Instruments – Letter of Opposition
  • • SB 197 – Correctional Facilities Individuals Subject to Immigration Detainer
  • • SB 82 – Reimbursement of Special Condition Costs for Pre-Trial Release – Letter of Opposition
  • • SB 91/HB 51 – Voter Registration of Individuals Released from Correctional Facilities – Letter of Opposition
  • • HB 88 – Alcoholic Beverages On-Site Consumption Permit – Letter of Support of Withdrawal of Bill
  • • SB 255 – Substance Abuse Assessment & Treatment of Pregnant Incarcerated Individuals
  • • SB 269 – Income Tax Subtraction Modification for Corrections Officers
  • • SB 356 – Prohibition of Cannabis in Local Correctional Facilities and Home Detention Programs
  • • Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission Capital Project Budget

Moving into County Administrator time, we started by reviewing the upcoming meeting agendas. We then received a presentation from the Department of Social Services on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)—formerly known as the Food Stamp program. We then received an update from Chris Kasellemis, the Department of Economic Development Director, and Jason Aul, the Executive Director of Visit St. Mary’s on the Visit St. Mary’s Sales and Marketing efforts. As a follow on, we then heard the recommendation from the Tourism Regulatory Task Force to increase the number of allowed events (primarily weddings) on farms from 20 to 30 per year. We passed a motion for the Department of Land Use and Growth Management to bring back a recommendation for needed text amendments.

Next, we approved a Rural Legacy Area Preference Letter that prioritizes the Mattapany Rural Legacy Area for funding over Huntersville (where most of the land has already been preserved). We then approved $64,000 for a management consultant to assist in the remediation of electrical grounding deficiencies in the 911 Back-Up Center.

We approved the Department of Public Works to submit a grant application to the Maryland Department of the Environment for $50,000 for a Golden Beach Flood Management Study and Pilot—the county already has an additional $50,000 budgeted in the CIP for this effort to cover the total cost of $100,000. We approved a letter of support for the Maryland Aviation Administration’s application to include an area of the county, including the airport, as a Foreign Trade Zone. This will provide benefits to businesses working in aviation, including unmanned aviation.

We approved an MOU for property acquisition by the MD Department of Transportation State Highway Administration for FDR Boulevard Phase 3B.

Next, we approved a budget amendment of $410,300 realigning $69,140 in salary and fringe accounts and transferring $341,160 to the Commissioners’ Emergency Reserve due to salary savings.

Our final item of business was the approval of a Solar Task Force that will gather information about state and local requirements and provide recommendations to the commissioners.

We then entered into Closed Session to discuss Personnel. Today’s meeting was very long. Enjoy the Superbowl and be safe!

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...