Leonardtown, MD – The St. Mary’s County Board of Commissioners returned to a busy session in the Chesapeake Building following their morning meeting with the Board of Education. The June 18 agenda, staggered with over 15 different recognitions, action items, and presentations, provided for a busy lineup before the commissioners take off for a two-week hiatus with no meetings.
The commissioners started their regular meeting with a proclamation for the retirement of Joyce Raum from the Department of Aging and Human Services.
This proclamation was followed by a presentation of the “2019 Safety Matters Awards” presented by the Chairman of the County Safety Committee. The recipients included: Kelly Bell who is a Fire and EMS recruiter, Glenn Hall who works as a maintenance foreman for Recreation and Parks, Todd Rice who acts as an I.T./ Helpdesk employee, and Jeff Wood who is a Coordinator I in Public Works and Transportation.
Following that, the commissioners were confronted with presentations from nearly every local government sector. From requests for a public hearing regarding a potential land swap in Coltons Point, to an extended briefing regarding the 457(b) Deferred Compensation Plan.
However, quite a number of the items that were seeking action under the County Administrators time are worthy of noting. For instance, the Sheriff’s Office request to submit to the state their capital improvement request for funds towards a new adult detention and rehabilitation center.
“This project brings along… a well needed female dormitory, program space for pretrial services which we know is a model for the state and a trend across the country, laundry services that is [currently] failing,” Assistant Sheriff Major Michael R. Merican said during the presentation. “[Also,] some remodel of our kitchen, and most importantly with the opioid epidemic [a] medical ward and services there. Along with the main control which replaces all our failing locks in the detention center, which obviously is a detention center, is one of the most important things we should be paying attention to.”
The Atlantic Broadband Vice President, Scott Randall, went before the commissioners during their meeting, assuring that the company has accomplished a number of major achievements since their acquisition of Metrocast back in January of 2018.
“We moved to significantly increase the speeds of the internet that we are offering to our customers,” Randall stated. “Over the last 15 or so months, we have added over 1200 new addresses in the county that can now receive our service. We have collected and remitted to the county just under $900,000 in franchise fees… We also started offering service appointments seven days a week. Our service appointments are now within two-hour windows and generally, it’s either that day or the next day that we are available to come out and take care of the customer.”
The commissioners saw multiple presentations from many other departments as well. The Department of Public Works and Transportation received approval on four separate items such as a nine-month lease agreement with AIRTec at the Captain Walter Francis Duke Regional Airport Terminal, and the approval of funds for traffic signals on the third phase of FDR Boulevard.
The Department of Economic Development found its expected renewal to the agreement between the College of Southern Maryland and the Small Business Development Center(SBDC).
“I feel like we have a strong handle on the needs of the businesses here in St. Mary’s County, ”SBDC Regional Director Ellen Flower-Fields said.”We have served about 207 businesses as of this morning since July of last year…74 of those businesses are brand-new first-time clients.”
In response to an inquiry by Commissioner Mike Hewitt [R-District 2] about what industries the SBDC has seen growing in St. Mary’s County, “administrative and professional services rose to the top” with transportation, agriculture, and information technology also getting listed.
Additionally, the commissioners approved an amendment to pick up the tab of additionally needed funds for the Tri-County Animal Shelter. This amendment comes following the refusal of Calvert County to renew their shared portion of responsibility after the recent construction of their county’s independent animal shelter. The shelters costs will be shared at a 50/50 split with Charles County, although they too are planning to construct an independent shelter in the somewhat immediate future.
The boards next meeting have been tentatively scheduled for July 9.