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News Release, Charles County Public Information Office

On Tuesday, July 21, the Board of Commissioners received a briefing on Charles County’s Climate Resilience Action Strategy and approved the staff recommendation to engage the community in sharing their feedback and holding a public hearing on the plan. Charles County has been discussing strategies to prepare for, adapt to, and recover from the impacts of climate change. The county is also one of three Maryland jurisdictions collaborating directly with the University of Maryland to develop a financing plan to pay for climate resiliency efforts.

Planning and Growth Management staff reported on the county’s workgroup efforts to assess risk, identify affected county assets, and draft a plan with goals and strategies to address adverse impacts of climate change. The workgroup is also evaluating options for a financing strategy and establishing a Climate Resilience Authority to administer its implementation. A Resilience Authority would be responsible for financing resilience infrastructures such as flood barriers, green spaces, building elevation, and stormwater infrastructure.

Community Forum on Criminal Justice Reform in Charles County

Commissioners received public comments at a virtual community forum on criminal justice reform in Charles County. Commissioners will keep the record open for additional e-comments from the public until July 28, 2020.

Open Session Briefings

  • Director of Emergency Services Michelle Lilly and Dr. Howard Haft, who manages the COVID-19 response for the Charles County Department of Health, presented the latest statistics on the COVID-19 public health emergency. The public is encouraged to get tested through their medical provider, urgent care center, local pharmacy, or Waldorf VEIP station where residents can schedule an appointment online. County staff are prioritizing compliance with state executive orders and best practices for business and industry; public adherence to facial coverings, social distancing and hygiene; testing and contact tracing; and keeping vulnerable individuals safe.
  • Fiscal staff presented an update on expenditures from the CARES Act funding that is designated for costs related to the county’s COVID-19 public health emergency. Funds can be used to pay for a variety of expenses such as government building renovations, safety measures for public transportation, technology to support remote work, rental assistance, home-delivered meals, and needs for first responders. 
  • Planning and Growth Management staff briefed Commissioners on the proposed ?amendments to the school allocation policy.  Commissioners are considering whether to add certain revisions to the Zoning Ordinance and the Adequate Public Facilities Manual. These revisions are being recommended to improve the allocation process and provide incentives and additional flexibility to accommodate priority projects, including mixed-used development and affordable workforce housing. Commissioners approved the request to move forward with a public process to review and provide feedback on the proposed revisions before they are considered for final approval.
  • Vincent DeMarco, President of the Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative, briefed Commissioners on options for prescription drug affordability. He provided data on why prescription drug costs are rising, discussed the impact on state and local budgets, and reviewed a legislative proposal for a statewide Prescription Drug Affordability Board. Commissioners approved a resolution supporting the establishment of this Board.

Approval Items

Commissioners approved the following items:

  • contingency transfer request of $203,000 to reimburse the State Highway Administration for costs related to relocating the sewer main on the new Cobb Island Bridge.
  • contingency transfer request of $85,000 to reimburse the State Highway Administration for costs related to a support system to accommodate a future water main on the new Cobb Island Bridge.
  • budget transfer request of $100,000 to hire part-time staff for litter control to replace the loss of inmate labor from the Maryland Pre-Release Program.
  • budget amendment increase of $5,000 resulting from a SMECO donation of $2,500 and a matching donation of $2,5000 from CoBanks to provide support for Emergency Services’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • change order in the amount of $115,200 for construction inspection and surveillance services related to the Detention Center Intake Area project.
  • resolution to approve the Solid Waste Management Plan with amendments, effective July 7, 2020.
  • A renewal of the Local Declaration of Emergency for COVID-19, extending it to August 28, 2020.
  • resolution to establish the Charles County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC) as an advisory board to the Board of County Commissioners, pending future resolution of issues related to the CJCC by-laws that were raised by the board during its discussion of the agenda item.
  • letter of support for a grant that would provide commuter ferry service as a transit alternative between several location in northern Virginia, southern Maryland and Washington, DC.
  • standard operating procedure for a Roadside Memorial Program, which would allow the Sheriff’s Office to establish a roadside memorial in memory of a deputy who died in the line of duty while responding to an emergency call.
  • revised standard operating policy for Monuments on Charles County Government property. The revisions would allow the county to explore establishing a COVID-19 memorial on county property.
  • lease for the Charitable Trust to rent space in the Bel Alton Multi-Service Center.
  • resolution for a zoning change to allow higher density on the Land of Mallard’s Pond, which was annexed into the Town of La Plata on December 19, 2017. The applicant submitted a memorandum regarding the impact on school seat allocation as part of its presentation.

Next Commissioners Session: September 1, 2020 at 9 a.m. (held virtually)

The Board of County Commissioners also tentatively held Tuesday, August 25 as an additional meeting date, if needed, to consider time-sensitive items that require Commissioner approval.

Citizens with special needs may contact the Maryland Relay Service at 711, or Relay Service TDD: 800-735-2258.