On Tuesday, March 23, Department of Emergency Services Director Michelle Lilly and Health Officer Dianna E. Abney provided the Board of County Commissioners with an update on the COVID-19 public health emergency. COVID-19 vaccinations are being scheduled for eligible individuals in Phase 1A, 1B, 1C, and 2A. The Department of Health is providing this information on their website and a recorded hotline message, at 301-609-6710.
The mass vaccination site in Southern Maryland has opened at the Regency Furniture Stadium and Maryland residents who are eligible can register for a vaccination at the site and other locations in the county online. The State of Maryland has a call center number for those who need assistance registering one of the state mass vaccination sites or need help locating a vaccination site. The state call center number is 855-MDGOVAX (855-634-6829), available 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Those who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should get tested through their medical provider, urgent care center, or local pharmacy. The University of Maryland Charles Regional Medical Center provided an update on the hospital operations.
Charles County Public Schools Director of School Safety and Security Jason Stoddard provided an update on social distancing in classrooms and in-person instruction which has begun in correlation with the reopening plan. Chief of Media Services Jennifer Harris provided an update on the county’s communications efforts, which are focused on informing residents about the upcoming COVID-19 vaccinations and answers to their frequently-asked questions.
- Department of Fiscal and Administrative Services staff provided information to Commissioners about the House Bill 396 Property Tax Optional Installment Payments.
- Chief of Media Services Jennifer Harris and CCGTV Lead Producer Brent Huber provided an update on the Charles County Government Television Virtual and Hybrid Meetings capabilities. The division anticipates the ability to record to air and live for meetings in the County Government Blue Room, expected by May.
- Deputy County Administrator Deborah Hall, Chief of Information Technology Evelyn Jacobson, Network Specialist III Matt Jacobson, and Assistant Property Acquisition Manager Gina Markovich provided an update on the Rural Broadband Task Force, including the Nanjemoy Cobb Neck Broadband Buildout. The fiber-optic cable for Phase 1 of the build has been delivered, pole surveys are being conducted in Nanjemoy and Cobb Neck, and road markups have begun. ThinkBig Networks will begin visiting neighborhoods this week to talk with residents about granting easements. An interactive map has been developed for residents to track the progress of the fiber build in their areas. A groundbreaking is expected this spring.
- Department of Planning and Growth Management Director Deborah Carpenter provided an update on the Commissioners’ Goal 3 Environment of their Goals and Objectives, which included conservation programs, natural resource management, and environmental management.
Associate County Attorney Danielle Mitchell discussed the 2021 legislative bills being considered by the Maryland General Assembly, including House Bill 1018, House Bill 1024 and House Bill 414. The County Commissioners approved sending a letter of opposition to House Bill 1262/Senate Bill 762 and requesting an amendment to House Bill 655. The County Commissioners will be accepting spring legislative proposals until March 26, 2021.
The County Commissioners participated in a Fiscal 2022 Budget Work Session on the remaining Enterprise Funds Operating and Capital Improvement Projects, including the Landfill Fund, Environmental Service Fund, Watershed Protection and Restoration Fund, and Inspection Fund. The fiscal 2022 proposed fees and charges was also provided.
Commissioners also approved:
- A fiscal 2021 budget transfer request of $100,000 for the demolition of Strawberry Hills’ standpipe.
- A fiscal 2021 budget transfer request of $2,748,000 for construction costs of Benjamin Stoddert Middle School’s renovations.
- A fiscal 2021 budget transfer request of $93,500 for Election Board deficit.
- The lease for the Board of Election building and using $263,700 of fund balance towards continuing the lease for the additional space.
- A letter of support for the certification of Charles County’s Land Preservation Program.
- The 2021 Transportation Priority Letter to the Maryland Department of Transportation.
- Staff to respond to the state to accept funds from the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development’s grant, Maryland Recovery Now: Non-Profit- Local Government, with the Charles County Charitable Trust administering funds for the county.
The County Commissioners held a public hearing to consider an amendment to the 2011-2021 Charles County Comprehensive Solid Waste Management Plan. Resolution 2021-05, which authorizes adding the amendment to the plan, and it was approved.
The County Commissioners held their first quarter virtual Town Hall Meeting, which was viewable online through the Charles County Government Television Channel, county’s website, and webinar registration link.
Next Commissioners Session: April 13, 2021 (held virtually)
Citizens with special needs may contact the Maryland Relay Service at 711, or Relay Service TDD: 800-735-2258.