St. Mary's County Commissioners Report July 21

The St. Mary's County Commissioners were in the Chesapeake Building on Tuesday, July 21. At the meeting, the Board of County Commissioners approved minor budget adjustments for the Board of Education and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Bylaw revisions were passed for what Chairperson, Gerald Davis calls, "a very active plumbing and fuel gas board." The BOCC signed off for additional grant funding to offset salary expenses for three Environmental Planners dealing with development projects in Critical Areas. 

The commissioners approved the changes made to St. Mary's/Charles County Memorandum of Understanding regarding the disposal of residential and municipal waste, as well as the request for a public hearing concerning the public use of land in the Spring Ridge Subdivision and a 60-day extension on the Proposed Winery Zoning Text Amendment .

A $5,000 award was added to the JARC Sunday Public Transportation Route. The funds are to ensure an adequate bus schedule for the California and Great Mills Road areas. Commissioner Jarboe stated that such public transportation availability is good for area businesses and addresses needs of the workforce. 

George Erichson, P.E., Director of the Department of Public Works and Transportation provoked some lively discussion on alternative energy sources when he proposed the addition of solar panels to the Emergency Equipment Shelter Project. The pilot program requires a small investment that may lead to potential paybacks, allows the county to assess green energy usage for the future. Commissioner Mattingly mentioned seeing a news story on wind turbines in Carroll County, while others seemed interested in reducing consumption and investigating more sustainable energy sources.

The Department of Parks and Recreation Director, Phil Rollins teamed up with members of the Unified Committee for Afro-American Contributions and the United States Colored Troops Memorial Monument Committee to offer the commissioners a concept plan presentation.

The plan for Carver Heights Community Park included a new playground, picnic pavilion with restrooms and improved parking.  Other amenities like a rehabbed basketball court, additional athletic fields and nature trails were discussed as well.  The Save the Village organization plans to place a commemoration for the recently demolished USO building near the Rt. 235/Lincoln Ave. intersection. 

Rollins also presented plans for the proposed UCAC/USCTMMC Civil War Memorial which will be located in Lancaster Park near a pavilion and restroom facilities. The proposed memorial would include a colored troop statue by sculptor Gary Casteel along with the names of all SMC Union Army Service members and two locally born Congressional Medal of Honor recipients. The memorial will be integrated into the park's walkway project and may include a cherry tree grove. As part of their aggressive fundraising for the project, the USCTMMC will host a banquet at the Hollywood Firehouse August 23.

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