On Tuesday, March 14, Commissioners received a briefing on the results of a community survey conducted from October through December 2022. The survey measured residents’ overall satisfaction with life in Charles County, satisfaction with county government services, and areas where they wanted to see improvements. Residents ranked schools and affordable housing as top priorities for Charles County Government to focus on in the next three years.
Associate County Attorney Danielle Mitchell provided a legislative update regarding the 2023 General Assembly session. House Committee hearings are scheduled on March 14 regarding the bill providing motor vehicle registration exceptions for golf carts and low speed vehicles on Cobb Island, and the bill enabling the county to regulate off-the-road motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles.
Additionally, staff provided a presentation on Senate Bill 130, which would authorize the Maryland Stadium Authority (MSA) to issue up to $45 million in bonds to construct a Charles County Sports and Wellness Center. Once built, MSA would transfer ownership of the center to Charles County, and the county would be responsible for generating revenue to pay back bonds and operate the center. Fiscal staff provided information regarding the county’s responsibility for the estimated capital and operating costs related to Senate Bill 130. Staff will return to session on March 15 with a revised letter of support that incorporates the Commissioners' suggested changes.
- Associate County Attorney Danielle Mitchell provided a briefing on Senate Bill 92, the Partition of Property Act. The legislation passed in 2022 and addressed several issues that arise when a property owner dies without a will, and the property is transferred to heirs without title or deed in their names. It provided for notice requirements, property valuation, buy out options, and the option to partition rather than sell, so that heirs of property can better protect and manage the land that they own in Maryland. Commissioners directed staff to discuss options for creating a board to oversee this process locally and return with a formal proposal.
- Associate County Attorney Danielle Mitchell, Director of Public Works Martin Harris, and Director of Fiscal and Administrative Services Jeni Ellin briefed Commissioners on the current county law regarding a prevailing wage. Staff explained where a prevailing wage applies in construction work, how it is determined, existing exclusions, and recordkeeping requirements. Staff provided a summary of recent changes to state law, options on how to expand the local prevailing wage law, and fiscal and administrative considerations regarding possible changes. Commissioners provided consensus for staff to return with a draft legislation to include mechanical systems service contracts in the local prevailing wage law.
- Department of Fiscal and Administrative Services staff and Principal, Clifton, Larsen, Allen LLC representative Remi Omisore provided a briefing on the fiscal 2022 annual comprehensive financial report.
- Economic Development staff provided an update on the Sister-City Partnership with Mozambique, which is intended to spur international exports and investments and foster cultural exchanges. Commissioners provided consensus to approve moving forward with the Mozambique Sister-City Partnership, with a visit from their representatives in 2023 and a possible trade mission visit to Mozambique in 2024. Commissioners also agreed to explore visiting the county’s other Sister City – Waldorf, Germany. Commissioners also approved a letter of invitation for a new Sister-City partnership agreement, to be signed and sent to the Mayor of Matola, the largest suburb of the Mozambique capital, Maputo.
- Staff from the Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commissioner and the Department of Social Services provided a briefing to Commissioners on how low-income families can access local foods through federal programs. SNAP customers purchasing SNAP eligible food items from the Maryland Market Money Program (SMADC) registered farmers markets or food stands, can double their buying power at these markets as a result of the State financial support of these markets. SNAP Emergency Allotments enhanced these benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic, but these extra benefits will end this month. They also highlighted the Maryland Market Money program which provides matching funds for purchases that are made at local farmers markets, using federal nutrition benefits.
County Commissioners held a hybrid public hearing on the 2022 Charles County Comprehensive Water and Sewer Plan. Commissioners voted to keep the record open for seven days.
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Next Commissioners Session March 21, 2023
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