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

Charles Co. Gov. News Briefs


Early Childhood Day Exhibitor & Sponsorship Opportunities Available

The Charles County Early Childhood Advisory Council welcomes local businesses and individuals to participate in the 2016 Early Childhood Day. This event will be held at the Capital Clubhouse (3033 Waldorf Marketplace) on Saturday, Aug. 6 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Exhibitors are invited to provide age-appropriate activities for children between birth and five years of age.

All exhibitors will have their names printed on the event program guide. An advertising or exhibitor display is $35 if registered by Monday, July 11. Display spaces after this date cost $50, and you will need to bring your own table.

Sponsorship opportunities are available, ranging from silver to gold levels. Sponsors are recognized in select advertising. Sponsorship registration deadline is Monday, July 11.

Exhibitor and sponsor registration information is available online at www.CharlesCountyMD.gov.

For more information, contact Ms. D. Mia Gray, at 301-388-5133 or earlychildhoodday@gmail.com.

Charles County Government Television Off Air May 23-27

Charles County Government Television (CCGTV), which broadcasts on Comcast channel 95 and Verizon channel 10, will be off air from Monday, May 23 through Friday, May 27 due to scheduled equipment replacement and upgrades. Meetings normally televised live during the week will be recorded and available for online viewing within 48 hours. To access the CCGTV digital library, visit www.CharlesCountyMD.gov/media-services/CCGTV/CCGTV and click on the "CCGTV Digital Library" link.

CCGTV cable access channel broadcasts County Commissioner, Planning Commission, Board of Appeals, Board of Fire and Rescue, and Liquor Board meetings; rebroadcasts of taped meetings; bulletin board notices of county events; and informational programming highlighting county services and programs.

For more information about the scheduled off-air period, contact Kim Dye, station manager, at DyeK@CharlesCountyMD.gov or 301-645-0728. Citizens with special needs may contact the Maryland Relay Service at 711, or Relay Service TDD: 800-735-2258.

Vehicle Weight Limits Change on Zekiah Swamp Run Bridge Beginning June 15

Starting Wednesday, June 15, the maximum vehicle weight requirements for Zekiah Swamp Run Bridge located on Poplar Hill Road will be modified. The maximum gross load for a single unit vehicle will be lowered to 15,000 pounds and the maximum gross load for a combination vehicle will be lowered to 20,000 pounds. Signs will be posted at the bridge.

For more information about the vehicle weight change, call the Roads Division at 301-932-3450. Citizens with special needs may contact the Maryland Relay Service at 711, or Relay Service TDD: 866-269-9006.

2015 Charles County Preservation Award Winners Announced

The Charles County Historic Preservation Commission hosted a Preservation Reception and Awards Ceremony on Saturday, May 7, at St. Paul's Episcopal Church (4535 Piney Church Road, Waldorf). As part of this event, the commission announced the 2015 Charles County Preservation Award winners. James G. Gibb; Denise and Kevin Grote; and D.W.Langley and Sons; were preservation award recipients.

James G. Gibb, Ph.D received a Preservation Service Award for his work on the Port Tobacco archaeology project, and for his efforts to promote public archaeology in Charles County.

A Preservation Project Award was awarded to Denise and Kevin Grote (craftsman; D.W. Langley and Sons) for the restoration of Ellerslie, a two-story Georgian style home built in the 18th century near Port Tobacco.

For more information, contact Beth Groth at 301-645-0684 or GrothB@CharlesCountyMD.gov. Citizens with special needs may contact the Maryland Relay Service at 711, or Relay Service TDD: 866-269-9006.

Thompson Receives Historic Preservation Award

Charles County's Community Planning Program Manager Cathy Thompson received Preservation Maryland's 2016 Gearhart Professional Service Award for her leading efforts in preserving and enhancing Charles County's history. The award is presented to an individual who has demonstrated extraordinary leadership, knowledge, and creativity while working to protect and preserve Maryland's historic buildings, neighborhoods, landscapes, and archeological sites.

"We could not be more proud of Cathy for her tireless efforts to preserve Maryland's past," said Peter Aluotto, Director of Charles County Department of Planning and Growth Management. "Thanks to Cathy and her staff, Charles County will establish an educational legacy for generations to come."

Thompson has worked with the Department of Planning and Growth Management for 16 years, and was instrumental in the creation of the Charles County Historic Preservation Commission. She assists with management of county-owned historic sites, including Stagg Hall in the Village of Port Tobacco and Rich Hill in Bel Alton.

Thompson has worked on the development of revitalization plans and associated physical improvements for the Benedict Waterfront Village, the Historic Port Tobacco Village, the Village of Hughesville, and Rich Hill Farm. She works closely in partnership with Friends of Rich Hill, a private, community group working to rehabilitate Rich Hill Farm's 18th century house. She has coordinated several special events, including those associated with the War of 1812 Bicentennial celebrations in Benedict and at Rich Hill Farm. Currently, Thompson is creating a heritage tourism plan to support additional land acquisition for protection and interpretation by the county, as well as writing the book entitled, Charles County's Historic Buildings and Landscapes.

The Best of Maryland Awards will be presented by Preservation Maryland on Thursday, May 12 at 6 p.m. at the Annapolis Maritime Museum (723 2nd Street, Annapolis). Tickets are available for members at $20 and non-members at $30. Visit preservationmaryland.org/programs/awards/ to purchase tickets or for more information.

Preservation Maryland has worked to provide advocacy, outreach, education, and funding to support Maryland's historic preservation for 84 years. For more information about Preservation Maryland, visit www.PreservationMaryland.org. For more information about the Planning Division or Charles County historic preservation, visit www.CharlesCountyMD.gov/PGM/Planning/Planning.

Commissioners Adopt Balanced Fiscal 2017 Budget with No Tax Rate Increases

On Tuesday, May 3, the Charles County Commissioners adopted the General Fund fiscal 2017 budget at $375.5 million, an increase of just 2.7 percent over fiscal 2016.The balanced budget was adopted without raising property tax and income tax rates. Funding for education and public safety accounts for more than 71 percent of the General Fund budget. The budget adoption also supports an investment in the county government workforce, as well as a fiscal 2017 Capital Projects budget of $94,833,000.

Budget highlights:

Taxes

• No increase in fiscal 2017 property and income tax rates.

• Real property tax rate is maintained at $1.141 for county government and $0.064 for Fire and Rescue per $100 of assessed value.

• Local income tax rate is maintained at 3.03 percent of the state liability.

Education

• A $4.4 million funding increase for Charles County Public Schools, 2.6 percent more than fiscal 2016. The county's $170.5 million investment, to support salary raises for teacher and other public schools employees, is the largest ever for Charles County Public Schools.

• Continued funding for the Board of Education's priority projects, including a new elementary school on Billingsley Road; renovations to Dr. Samuel A. Mudd and Eva Turner elementary schools, and Maurice J. McDonough High School; various full-day kindergarten additions; and existing schools' maintenance.

• College of Southern Maryland funding increase to $120,100 for network security system enhancements and increased mediation services.

• Initial funding for the College of Southern Maryland's Health Care Training Facility at the new regional campus in Hughesville.

• The Commissioners approved the Charles County Public Library's request for a bookmobile, contingent on an operating cost agreement with the Library Board.

Public Safety and Health

• A $2.8 million funding increase for the Charles County Sheriff's Office, 3.5 percent more than fiscal 2016, to support hiring additional officers, capital/equipment purchases, and a salary increase for staff.

• Five new Emergency Medical Service (EMS) employees, to improve public safety services in underserved areas of the county.

• Additional funding for the Department of Health to offset a decrease in state grant funding.

Environment

• Preservation and protection of county land through the rural legacy and agricultural preservation programs.

• Continued funding for development of the Popes Creek Rail Trail.

• Expansion of the Curbside Recycling Collection Program to serve 1,500 more homes.

• Funding to pay for stormwater management requirements associated with the federal Clean Water Act.

Government Operations

• A 3 percent overall county department budget increase, including salary raises for eligible employees and capital/equipment purchases to improve operating efficiencies.

• A new online and mobile application for landfill and recycling programs will benefit Charles County residents.

• A rate per ton increase from $70 to $75 to support county landfill expansion.

• An additional $1 million for water and sewer operations, with just a 2.6 percent rate increase for the average customer.

• Addition of a litter removal crew to improve the appearance of county roads.

• Replacement of the county's financial software program.

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 2017 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 March, and a public hearing on Tuesday, April 19. The budget will go into effect on Friday, July 1, 2016, the start of the 2017 fiscal year.

Fiscal 2017 budget details are available online at: www.CharlesCountyMD.gov/fas/budget/budget.

Hurricane Season Begins June 1: Are You Prepared?

Maryland Hurricane Preparedness Week is May 15-21 this year. Prepare for the Atlantic hurricane season that begins June 1 and lasts until Nov. 30. Hurricane hazards come in many forms: storm surge, high winds, tornadoes, and flooding. Preparation is the best protection against the dangers of a hurricane. Take the time today to ensure you and your family are ready for all hurricane and severe storm disasters.

Watch vs. Warning: What’s the Difference?

• Hurricane Watch—A hurricane watch means hurricane conditions are a threat within 48 hours. Review your hurricane plans, keep informed, and be ready to act if a warning is issued.

• Hurricane Warning—A hurricane warning means hurricane conditions are expected within 36 hours. Complete your storm preparations and leave the area if directed by authorities.

How to Prepare for a Hurricane:

• Prepare an emergency kit that contains: a three-day supply of water (one gallon per person per day); a three-day supply of non-perishable food; a battery-powered radio and batteries; flashlight with extra batteries; first aid kit; medications and medical items; toiletries and personal hygiene items; cell phone and chargers, family and emergency contact information; extra cash; and baby/pet supplies.

• Develop a family communication plan. Know how you will contact one another and reconnect if separated.

• Trim trees and shrubs around your home so they are more wind resistant.

• Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and drain spouts.

• Consider installing a generator for emergencies.

What to Do When a Hurricane Is Approaching Your Area:

• Check your emergency kit and replace or restock as needed.

• Bring in loose items that can be picked up by the wind (bicycles, lawn furniture, etc.).

• Close your windows and doors.

• Turn off propane tank.

• Fill your car’s gas tank.

• Listen to a NOAA weather radio for critical information from the National Weather Service.

• Obey evacuation orders. Avoid flooded roads and washed out bridges.

Visit the following websites for more information on hurricane and severe storm safety tips:

• Are You Ready?: www.Ready.gov 

• Turn Around; Don’t Drown: www.Weather.gov/os/water/tadd/ 

• Tornado Facts and Safety Tips: www.spc.noaa.gov/faq/tornado/safety.html 

• Severe Storm Facts and Safety Tips: www.weather.gov/om/severeweather/index.shtml 

Severe weather notices are posted on the Charles County Government website, on Facebook, and on Twitter. Weather updates are also aired on CCGTV, which broadcasts on Comcast channel 95 and Verizon channel 10. Sign up for the Citizen Notification System (CNS) to receive inclement weather and traffic alerts by text message, email, or phone. For information on power outages, view the SMECO outage map. Call 877-747-6326 to report a power outage. Call 9-1-1 in the event of an emergency.

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