Charles Co. Gov. News Briefs - Southern Maryland Headline News

Charles Co. Gov. News Briefs


Celebrate Feline Independence at the Tri-County Animal Shelter

Celebrate Independence Day with a new furry friend. Consider giving a cat or kitten their independence from the confines of the shelter by placing them in a forever home. The adoption fee for all cats and kittens are being reduced to $17.76 from Wednesday, July 1 through Saturday, July 11.

View available cats in the free-roaming cat room at www.CharlesCountyMD.gov/es/tcas/catcam.

The Tri-County Animal Shelter is located at 6707 Animal Shelter Road in Hughesville. Shelter staff can be reached at 301-932-1713 or 800-903-1992. Adoption hours are Monday-Friday, noon to 5 p.m. and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

To view animals available for adoption, visit www.CharlesCountyMD.gov/es/animalshelter/tri-county-animal-shelter or www.petfinder.com/shelters/MD112.html to find your “purrfect” pet.

Commissioners Adopt FY16 Budget with Education and Public Safety as Priority Funding Areas

The Charles County Commissioners today adopted the fiscal 2016 budget. The Commissioners approved a $365.7 million General Fund budget, an increase of only three percent over fiscal 2015, without raising property tax and income tax rates. More than 70 percent of the General Fund budget is allocated for education and public safety, including funding for the Charles County Public Schools, College of Southern Maryland, and Charles County Sheriff’s Office.

The fiscal 2016 budget closes an estimated $7.9 million gap. To balance the deficit, the Commissioners adopted several funding solutions, including enacting a one half of one percent real property transfer tax to fund education, specifically adding a fourth class to St. Charles High School. Other funding solutions included restructuring debt service and transferring funds.

The remainder of the transfer tax revenue will be used to offset Watershed Protection and Restoration Fund expenses. Residents will see a 25 percent savings in stormwater remediation fees. Final execution of the transfer tax will come after a public hearing on Wednesday, June 24 at 6 p.m. Seventeen Maryland counties, and Baltimore City, exercise their authority to levy a transfer tax on real property transactions.

Fiscal 2016 Operating Budget highlights:

-- Maintains the property tax rate at $1.141 for county and $0.064 for Fire and Rescue per $100 of assessed value.

-- Maintains the local income tax rate of 3.03 percent.

-- Increases funding for Charles County Public Schools to $3.9 million above the Maintenance of Effort level required by law and continue funding St. Charles High School, including the addition of a fourth class.

-- Increases the General Fund budget by only 3.2 percent over fiscal 2015 spending.

-- Reduces the proposed Stormwater Remediation Fee (“rain tax”) by 25 percent, from $47 to $35 per improved property.

-- Exempts first-time home buyers from the transfer tax for the first $50,000 of a primary residence home purchase.

-- Keeps the county’s fund balance reserve within policy limits.

-- Provides a $1,500 one-time salary bonus for county employees.

-- Increases VanGO transportation program funding by $330,770 to leverage state and federal funding of more than $1 million for capital purchases and enhanced routes.

-- Funds upgrades to portable radios to enhance communication between first responders.

-- Supports Curbside Recycling Collection Program expansion to provide more homes with recycling services.

Fiscal 2016 Capital Improvement Program highlights:

-- Continues support for the Board of Education’s priority renovation projects, including full-day kindergarten additions, maintenance on existing schools, and future renovation project studies.

-- Enables final-year construction of the College of Southern Maryland’s Center of Trades and Energy Training Building.

-- Upgrades the College of Southern Maryland’s current communications infrastructure.

-- Preserves and protects county land through the Rural Legacy and Agricultural Preservation programs.

-- Funds projects related to repairing and maintaining buildings, water and sewer facilities, and 1,650 miles of county roads.

-- Provides funding to construct the Popes Creek Rail Trail.

-- Provides funding to construct a Leachate Pretreatment Facility and stormwater management ponds at the County Landfill.

-- Funds stormwater retrofit/improvements associated with the federal Clean Water Act.

“The adopted budget represents the collective efforts of the Board of Commissioners and county staff. I appreciate the hard work of everyone involved, and I thank you for your careful thought and consideration throughout this budget process,” said Commissioner President Peter F. Murphy.

“I am pleased that we were able to pass a responsible and sustainable budget. The highlights for me are being able to compensate county employees for the outstanding jobs they do in serving the public and the amount of funds designated for school renovations. I am confident this budget will be looked on favorably by the bond agencies and help us maintain our excellent ratings,” said Commissioner Vice President Ken Robinson (District 1).

“I am convinced that my input regarding the budget is in line with what matters most to the majority of our citizens—quality education, public safety, solutions to traffic congestion, and a plan for economic development to stabilize our economy and to reduce reliance upon tax increases,” said Commissioner Debra M. Davis, Esq. (District 2).

“I thank our staff for their dedication and hard work throughout this difficult budget process. I am pleased with the final outcome, which resulted in a sound budget that supports education, infrastructure, and water and sewer within our community,” said Commissioner Amanda M. Stewart, M. Ed. (District 3).

“While I do not support the new transfer tax on homes and hoped we would have approved an alternative solution, I am pleased the Board of Education received their funding and all non-elected county employees, including the Sheriff’s Office, received the bonuses they deserve,” said Commissioner Bobby Rucci (District 4). “I am also disappointed the majority of the Board of Commissioners did not support my motion to fund the completion of the Western Parkway, as our citizens need traffic relief now.”

Each year, the budget process is used to determine how much money will be available and where those resources should be allocated. Adoption of the fiscal 2016 budget came after a public process. The process included the presentation of a baseline budget by the County Administrator, a series of budget work sessions held by the Board of County Commissioners starting in April, and a public hearing on May 20. The budget will go into effect on July 1, 2015, the start of the 2016 fiscal year.

Fiscal 2016 budget details are available online at: www.CharlesCountyMD.gov/fas/budget/budget.

Commissioners and Board of Education Recognize Spring Champions

The Charles County Commissioners, Charles County Public Schools Superintendent, and Charles County Board of Education members stand with our student honorees from Westlake High School. Pictured above (left to right): Mark Crawford, Barbara S. Palko, Margaret T. Marshall, Victoria T. Kelly, and Jennifer S. Abell, Charles County Board of Education; Jalen Elliot, Westlake High School; Pearson Benson, Westlake High School; Kevin McGill, Westlake High School; Michael Lukas, Charles County Board of Education; Commissioner Amanda M. Stewart, M.Ed. (District 3); Thomas Alcorn, Westlake High School; Virginia R. McGraw, Charles County Board of Education; Will Moten, Westlake High School; Commissioner Vice President Ken Robinson (District 1); Commissioner President Peter F. Murphy; and Dr. Kimberly Hill, Charles County Public Schools.
The Charles County Commissioners, Charles County Public Schools Superintendent, and Charles County Board of Education members stand with our student honorees from Westlake High School. Pictured above (left to right): Mark Crawford, Barbara S. Palko, Margaret T. Marshall, Victoria T. Kelly, and Jennifer S. Abell, Charles County Board of Education; Jalen Elliot, Westlake High School; Pearson Benson, Westlake High School; Kevin McGill, Westlake High School; Michael Lukas, Charles County Board of Education; Commissioner Amanda M. Stewart, M.Ed. (District 3); Thomas Alcorn, Westlake High School; Virginia R. McGraw, Charles County Board of Education; Will Moten, Westlake High School; Commissioner Vice President Ken Robinson (District 1); Commissioner President Peter F. Murphy; and Dr. Kimberly Hill, Charles County Public Schools.

On Tuesday, June 9, the Charles County Commissioners joined the Charles County Board of Education in recognizing the 2015 Spring State Champions from La Plata, North Point, and Westlake high schools for individual and team achievements in track and field. Westlake High student Pearson Benson was also sworn in as student board member during the recognition ceremony.

Commissioners Proclaim June 21 as Alzheimer’s “The Longest Day”

Pictured above front row (left to right): Patrick Goff, Options for Senior America; Carmella Davis Watkins, Nu Zeta Omega Chapter - Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.; Commissioner Vice President Ken Robinson (District 1); Natalie Hart, Nu Zeta Omega Chapter - Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.; LaKeysha Boyd-Moore, Alzheimer’s Association; Commissioner Bobby Rucci (District 4); J. Cecelia Spinks, Nu Zeta Omega Chapter - Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.; Commissioner Debra M. Davis, Esq. (District 2); Amelia Turner, Nu Zeta Omega Chapter - Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.; Commissioner President Peter F. Murphy and Commissioner Amanda M. Stewart, M.Ed. (District 3).
Pictured above front row (left to right): Patrick Goff, Options for Senior America; Carmella Davis Watkins, Nu Zeta Omega Chapter - Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.; Commissioner Vice President Ken Robinson (District 1); Natalie Hart, Nu Zeta Omega Chapter - Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.; LaKeysha Boyd-Moore, Alzheimer’s Association; Commissioner Bobby Rucci (District 4); J. Cecelia Spinks, Nu Zeta Omega Chapter - Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.; Commissioner Debra M. Davis, Esq. (District 2); Amelia Turner, Nu Zeta Omega Chapter - Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.; Commissioner President Peter F. Murphy and Commissioner Amanda M. Stewart, M.Ed. (District 3).

On Tuesday, June 16, the Charles County Commissioners proclaimed June 21 as “The Longest Day” in support of Alzheimer’s research and education. Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive neurodegenerative brain disorder that destroys memory and leads to progressive mental and physical impairments. Approximately five million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease.

The Longest Day is an event to raise funds and awareness for the Alzheimer's Association. This event is held annually on the summer solstice. The duration of this sunrise-to-sunset event symbolizes the challenging journey of those living with the disease and their caregivers. Teams are encouraged to fund raise and participate to honor someone facing Alzheimer’s disease. Funds raised during “The Longest Day” event will support research initiatives and education programs aiming to make a difference in the lives of those facing Alzheimer’s disease.

To learn more, visit act.alz.org.

Commissioners Proclaim Emergency Medical Services for Children Day

Pictured left to right: Commissioner Vice President Ken Robinson (District 1); Commissioner Amanda M. Stewart, M.Ed. (District 3); Commissioner Bobby Rucci (District 4); Brent Huber, Charles County Volunteer Fire and EMS; William Stephens, Department of Emergency Services; Commissioner Debra M. Davis, Esq. (District 2); and Commissioner President Peter F. Murphy.
Pictured left to right: Commissioner Vice President Ken Robinson (District 1); Commissioner Amanda M. Stewart, M.Ed. (District 3); Commissioner Bobby Rucci (District 4); Brent Huber, Charles County Volunteer Fire and EMS; William Stephens, Department of Emergency Services; Commissioner Debra M. Davis, Esq. (District 2); and Commissioner President Peter F. Murphy.

On Tuesday, June 16, the Charles County Commissioners recognized Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMSC) Day. EMSC is a vital community-based public service that recognizes the special needs of children in medical emergencies.

EMSC assists the development of training programs and guidelines for emergency care providers to ensure children receive timely and appropriate care. EMSC works with physicians, nurses, social workers, psychologists, emergency medical technicians, paramedics, firefighters, and educators to address pediatric emergency care.

The Commissioners recognize the value and accomplishments of the dedicated men and women of Emergency Medical Services, and are proud of the success and participation of the community during the EMSC Day on Friday, June 12.

For more information about the Charles County Department of Emergency Services, visit www.CharlesCountyMD.gov/ES/welcome. For a list of the Charles County Volunteer Association of Fire and Emergency Medical Services, visit www.CharlesCountyMD.gov/Maps/Volunteer-Fire-and-EMS.

Commissioners Recognize June as Elder Abuse Awareness Month

Pictured left to right: Commissioner Vice President Ken Robinson (District 1); Commissioner Amanda M. Stewart, M.Ed. (District 3); Delia Meadows, Charles County Department of Social Services; Commissioner Bobby Rucci (District 4); Tamica Wells, Charles County Department of Social Services; Theresa Wolf, Charles County Department of Social Services; DeNeane Chase, Charles County Department of Social Services; Timothy Asantey, Charles County Department of Social Services; Commissioner Debra M. Davis, Esq. (District 2); and Commissioner President Peter F. Murphy.
Pictured left to right: Commissioner Vice President Ken Robinson (District 1); Commissioner Amanda M. Stewart, M.Ed. (District 3); Delia Meadows, Charles County Department of Social Services; Commissioner Bobby Rucci (District 4); Tamica Wells, Charles County Department of Social Services; Theresa Wolf, Charles County Department of Social Services; DeNeane Chase, Charles County Department of Social Services; Timothy Asantey, Charles County Department of Social Services; Commissioner Debra M. Davis, Esq. (District 2); and Commissioner President Peter F. Murphy.

On Tuesday, June 16, the Charles County Commissioners proclaimed the month of June as Elder Abuse Awareness Month. Elder Abuse Awareness Month exchanges solutions in reducing violence towards elders and increasing reports of such abuse, and promotes awareness of the challenges and opportunities of the aging population.

The Charles County Department of Social Services Adult Protective Service Program strives to create and maintain partnerships with elderly people, court system, biological families, service providers, and the community.

The Commissioners recognize the Charles County Department of Social Services workers and all adult services workers for their collaborative achievements in enhancing the lives of elderly residents of Charles County. The Commissioners encourage residents to recognize June as Elder Abuse Awareness month.

For more information about the Charles County Department of Social Services, visit www.dhr.state.md.us/blog/?p=213.

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