The St. Mary’s County Commissioners at the annual State of the County Luncheon sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce.

Lexington Park, MD — St. Mary’s County Commission delivered a message of “economic diversification” to the St. Mary’s County Chamber of Commerce at the State of the County Luncheon. 

Just an hour before the event, commissioners unanimously agreed to accept a grant award of almost $2 million to establish a business incubator at the St. Mary’s County Airport. Commissioner Tom Jarboe (R – 1st District) touted the incubator as a way for the community to combat a potential future round of Base Closure and Realignment Commission (BRAC).

Jarboe credited Rep. Steny Hoyer for reaching out to the Technology Transfer Office at the Naval Air Warfare Center about using Navy-developed technology outside the base gates. That office funded the Maryland Technology Development Corporation, which in turn delivered the almost $2 million grant for the incubator at the county airport. 

S. Hunt Aero, LLC donated more than an acre of land at the airport to the county and agreed to build the headquarters for the incubator.

Director of Economic Development Chris Kaselemis told the commissioners, “This is a tremendous opportunity for the county to participate in creating a business incubator in the county.”

Business incubators, which are usually managed by entrepreneurs and growing small firms, help nurture start-up firms during their early months or years. The firms receive affordable office space, management training, mentoring, marketing support and access to capital resources.

Jarboe also talked about a trip he took to Huntsville, AL  with county business leaders earlier this year to learn more about their effective economic development efforts. Jarboe and the business leaders decided St. Mary’s needed to streamline its permitting process. Jarboe said because St. Mary’s is surrounded by water, it has to deal with more state regulations.

Some other takeaways from the State of the County Luncheon:

• Commissioner Mike Hewitt [R; 2nd District] favors the county taking over the Metropolitan Commission (MetCom). He said of the constant rate increases and agency turmoil at MetCom: “It’s holding down economic activity.” He said if Code Home Rule would facilitate bringing MetCom under county government he might support it.


• Commissioner John O’Connor {R: 3rd District} said he opposes a proposed apartment project in Charlotte Hall. He said citizens don’t want it. The county is beginning the process of developing a North County Master Plan.


• Commissioner President Randy Guy {R] says he doesn’t see a new Gov. Thomas Johnson Bridge anytime soon. He noted the bill that was vetoes by Gov. Hogan that removed state road funding from the area to the benefit of more urban areas.


• Commissioner Todd Morgan [R; 4th District] touted the county’s previous fund balance that allowed for the forward funding of Spring Ridge Middle School. He said to maintain the fund balance everyone “needs to be working in the same direction.”

Chamber Chairman Ernie Williams (see photo below) acted as the MC for the event and asked questions of the commissioners that were supplied by the audience.

During the lunch, Public Information Officer Tony Jones presented a video highlighting the past fiscal year accomplishments of the commissioners. A hard copy synopsis is also available on the website.

Contact Dick Myers at dick.myers@thebaynet.com