Northbound MD 4 Widening Project Nears Completion in St. Mary's County
Nighttime single-lane closures will allow crews to pave new merge lane
The Maryland Department of Transportation's State Highway Administration (SHA) has good news for St. Mary's commuters - the MD 4 widening project will be complete by late fall. In order to finish the final elements of the project, crews will close the right through lane on northbound MD 4 (Patuxent Beach Road) between MD 235 (Three Notch Road) and Oak Drive during overnight hours. The closure allows crews to remove the temporary barrier wall and pave the new traffic lane. Crews will begin on or about October 29 and work between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. through late November.
This work is part of the $3.3 million project to widen one mile of northbound MD 4 from MD 235 Patuxent Boulevard. When complete, northbound MD 4 will have two through lanes and a new dedicated right-turn lane to Oak Drive.
This project will improve traffic flow through the intersection and improve safety by providing motorists additional space to merge onto the northbound MD 4 travel lane approaching the Gov. Thomas Johnson Bridge. Remaining work includes milling (removing top layer) and paving of all lanes. Weather permitting; the project will be complete by late November.
Those who have questions about this work may call the SHA District 5 Office at 410-841-1000 or toll-free at 1-800-331-5603, or visit http://apps.roads.maryland.gov/WebProjectLifeCycle/ProjectInformation.aspx?projectno=SM2165118.
Kenny Dement Memorial to be Unveiled at Chancellor's Run Regional Park
The Commissioners of St. Mary's County and the Department of Recreation and Parks invite the public to the unveiling ceremony of the Kenny Dement Memorial at Chancellor's Run Regional Park.
"We hope citizens will join us at the park for the unveiling of the memorial and to officially dedicate baseball/softball field #3 at the park in memory of former County Commissioner Kenny Dement on Tuesday, November 3, 2015 at 1 p.m." stated Brian Loewe, Director of Recreation and Parks. "The memorial and the dedication of the field are fitting tributes to Commissioner Dement, who was affectionately known throughout the County as "Mr. Softball" and for being the driving force behind slow pitch softball in St. Mary's County."
The park is located at 21905 Chancellor's Run Road, Great Mills, Maryland. Any questions or comments regarding this ceremony should be directed to the St. Mary's County Department of Recreation and Parks at (301) 475-4200 ext. 1811.
St. Mary's County's AA+ Rating Affirmed
Fitch deems overall fiscal outlook "Stable"
As part of its routine surveillance review Fitch Ratings has affirmed St. Mary's County's AA+ credit rating on $70.5 million of outstanding unlimited tax general obligation bonds. The bonds are used primarily to fund school construction but have also paid for road construction and improvements at public facilities.
Though the county is not selling bonds at this time, the review is not considered uncommon. Rating agencies typically update their review whenever a county has not sold bonds in a few years. Fitch last issued a review of the county's rating in 2013. The last issuance of new bonds by the county was in 2009. The rating agency noted the likelihood that a moderate amount of bond issuance would be likely to fund the county's capital needs in FY2017.
In its review Fitch pointed to the county's "healthy reserves and budgetary flexibility," "low debt, modest pension liability" and "economic base concentrated in the military" as key rating drivers. Fitch also took note that the county has consistently maintained a separate reserve to preserve its bond rating at 6% of general fund expenditures and a constant $1.625 million rainy day fund. In addition, a minimum unrestricted fund balance policy of 15% of general fund revenue was established in August 2015.
"This is very good news. A strong, positive rating confirms that our conservative fiscal policies and practices are sound," said County Administrator Dr. Rebecca Bridgett.
The agency also pointed out the county's careful management of its capital spending program, issuance of debt and rapid amortization of debt. Fitch concludes the county is on track to reduce 86% of its current outstanding debt within 10 years and debt service represents a low 5% of governmental spending.
"This report is another indication of how county government and the Commissioners of St. Mary's County continue to be good stewards of the taxpayer dollar," said Commissioner President Randy Guy. "This review reaffirms our conservative approach to overall fiscal management as we continue to meet the needs of our ever growing community."
Health Officer Issues Standing Order to Increase Access to Naloxone
The St. Marys County Health Officer, Dr. Meena Brewster, has issued a standing order to pharmacies in St. Marys County for dispensing naloxone. Under this order, pharmacies are now able to issue naloxone to individuals trained through the Maryland Overdose Response Program (ORP) without requiring a personal prescription from a health care provider. This standing order allows ORP-trained individuals to take their training certificate to a community pharmacy to purchase naloxone without first having to get a prescription from a health care provider. Individuals should check with their health insurance plan about the cost of the medication.
Naloxone is a life-saving medication that can safely and effectively reverse an opioid overdose and prevent death. Opioids include heroin and certain prescription medications such as hydrocodone, methadone, morphine, and oxycodone. Naloxone is not a controlled substance.
The St. Marys County Health Department offers free classes for residents who want to learn more about recognizing opioid overdoses and how to administer naloxone to save lives. Individuals that complete the training receive an ORP certificate that allows them to lawfully carry and administer naloxone to someone experiencing an opioid overdose. Over 240 individuals have been trained through the ORP in St. Marys County this year, already resulting in several lives saved in our community. The ORP class is free; however, pre-registration is required. The 2016 class schedule and more information about the ORP is available at www.smchd.org/overdose
For more information about the Overdose Response Program in St. Marys County, please visit the St. Marys County Health Department website at www.smchd.org/overdose or call 301-475-4330.