On Tuesday, Sept. 21, County Commissioners participated in a discussion with Associate County Attorney Danielle Mitchell on Maryland State House Bill 655- Local Elections- County Council and County Commissioner and County Boards of Education. Three options were presented, including amending the county code to remove Commissioner districts; amending the county code to require district Commissioners be voted by a plurality of votes in a district; or becoming a charter form of government. County Commissioners requested staff to draft a bill that would implement option two, amending the county code to require district Commissioners be voted by a plurality of votes in a district.
- Charles County Health Officer Dr. Dianna E. Abney and Department of Emergency Services Director Michelle Lilly provided an update on COVID-19 in Charles County. There are a variety of vaccination clinics in the community, which include mobile pop-up clinics, schools, congregate living facilities, churches, and vaccines for the homebound. Residents can make their own vaccination appointments and walk-ins are accepted. For a list of county vaccination clinics, visit the Department of Health’s website. For a list of pharmacies and other vaccination clinics available, visit the State of Maryland’s website. University of Maryland Charles Regional Medical Center provided an update on current COVID-19 hospitalizations and staff COVID-19 testing and vaccinations. Chief of Media Services Jennifer Harris provided an update on the county’s communications efforts, which are focused on informing residents about the importance and availability of COVID-19 vaccinations, as well as misinformation. Charles County Public Schools Director of School Safety and Security Jason Stoddard provided an update on the schools’ COVID-19 contact tracing process and case statistics. County Commissioners discussed COVID-19 vaccination mandates for County Government employees. County Commissioners directed legal and human resources staff to gather data on COVID-19 impacts on the workforce, explore implications of requiring vaccinations or weekly testing, and to return with an update.
- Department of Fiscal and Administrative Services Director Jenifer Ellin and Chief of Budget Jacob Dyer provided a presentation on the fiscal 2021 Fourth Quarter General Fund Review. The fiscal 2021 year-end estimate net operating gain is more than $32 million. County Commissioners approved new fund balance reserves for one-time items and revenue stabilization.
- Chief of Environmental Resources Frances Sherman and Department of Public Works Acting Director Bernard Wilson Cochran provided a presentation on litter control efforts in Charles County. Staff provided information on the three facets to an effective litter abatement plan, including enforcement, removal, and education and outreach.
Commissioners also approved:
- A fiscal 2022 budget transfer request of $31,500 to pay for the monthly recurring cost to install equipment on a radio tower.
- The community outreach tools, which included the Commissioner’s Office newsletter and website, as well as revisions to the Community Support Policy to include funding for the tools.
County Commissioners virtually met with the executive staff of the Charles County Public Schools to include Superintendent Dr. Maria V. Navarro, Deputy Superintendent Kevin Lowndes, Executive Director of School Administration Dr. Marvin Jones, Jr., and Coordinator of District Innovation Christina Miller. Superintendent Dr. Maria V. Navarro provided a presentation on the schools’ Blueprint for Maryland’s Future. The blueprint includes five steering committees based on five policy areas to include early childhood education; high quality and diverse teachers and leaders; college and career ready pathways; more resources to ensure all students are successful; and governance and accountability.
County Commissioners also participated in a discussion with Department of Planning and Growth Management Director Deborah Carpenter and Chief of Roads Stephen Staples regarding signage in western Charles County. County Commissioners discussed the benefit of a sign recognizing the entrance of Bryans Road to denote the area and approved for county staff to research costs and process for installing such as sign.
County Commissioners participated in a discussion with Department of Community Services Director Dina Barclay regarding the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP). Local non-profits including United Way of Southern Maryland; Southern Maryland Tri-County Community Action Committee, Inc; LifeStyles, Inc.; Maryland Legal Aid Bureau worked throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to assist residents through ERAP funds. Residents can find more about assistance resourcesonline.
County Commissioners participated in a follow-up work session on Bill 2021-02 Zoning Text Amendment 19-154 Single-Family Attached Residential and Multi-Family. Planner III Kirby Blass provided a presentation on updated language of the zoning text amendment. County Commissioners approved the zoning text amendment.
On Wednesday, Sept. 22, County Commissioners also provided a virtual public hearing on Bill 2021-04 Zoning Text Amendment 20-160 Processing Facility Transfer Station- Solid Waste in the IH Zone. County Commissioners approved the amendment.
County Commissioners provided a public hearing on Zoning Map Amendment 20-03 Hungerford Property. County Commissioners also provided a public hearing on Amendment to the 2016 Comprehensive Plan- Land Surrounding Maryland Airport. For both public hearings, the public record will be open until Thursday, Sept. 30. Residents can provide input by:
- Providing a E-comment at www.CharlesCountyMD.gov/government/public-comments
- Calling 301-645-0652 to leave a message.
- Providing written comment to Commissioners of Charles County, 200 Baltimore Street, La Plata, Maryland 20646.
Residents with special needs may contact the Maryland Relay Service TDD 1-800-735-2258.
Next Commissioners Session: Sept. 28, 2021 (held virtually)