Carroll Report Citizens Report Commissioners Featured Uncategorized

Citizens Report: County Commissioner Meeting – Feb 9, 2023

Here are the top take-a-ways from the county commissioner meeting:

“New motto of the state ought to be if you don’t like it, too bad.” Commissioner Mike Guerin

Commissioners receive legislative update, focus on the cannabis reform bills – In just one more example of the State of Maryland usurping local control, Legislative Liaison Mike Fowler provided an update to the commissioners about the cannabis reform bills that are currently before the legislature in Annapolis.  Maryland legislators have a short time to develop the framework for distribution and taxation before recreational use of marijuana becomes legal in the state of Maryland in July 2023. According to Fowler, the goal of the legislature is to not make the legalization of cannabis a revenue maker, but instead the sponsors of the bills aim to provide restitution to communities that have been adversely affected by cannabis enforcement. Carroll County will have some control over reasonable zoning and the revenue that is generated through a small local tax, although the amount is expected to be miniscule.  The commissioners voiced concerns over the unknowns involved, such as the current inability to prohibit delivery into the county from other jurisdictions, which according to Guerin would be “extremely problematic”

Commissioners hear an update from Legislative Liaison Mike Fowler

Budget Update – Department of Management and Budget director, Ted Zaleski gave the commissioners a budget overview.  He expressed cautious optimism about where the county stands and feels confident that his team will be able to provide a better starting point to the budget work sessions than previous years.  He warns however that the county is in good standing for one time expenditures and that does not apply to adding positions or expanding services.  He previewed a policy proposal that he intends to recommend that would establish a 5% unassigned fund balance that would not be used in any specific budget for unplanned situations. Zaleski used COVID as an example, where if it were not for federal funds, the county might have had to pull back on budgeted services in the middle of the year.

Department of Management and Budget Director Ted Zaleski gives a budget update

Presentation of new illustrative guides to zoning – Lynda Eisenberg, director of the Carroll County Department of Planning and her team presented the new Citizens Guide to Carroll County Zoning Districts and Illustrated Guide to Zoning.  The new packets are a clear way for the layperson to better understand zoning regulations but do not replace the zoning administrator’s opinion or the county zoning code.  All four commissioners in attendance were incredibly thankful to Eisenberg and her team for their work on this important project. The guides are available on the county’s website and can be available in printed form for anyone who requests them.  Commissioner Rothstein suggested having printed copies available at the libraries.

Planning Director Lynda Eisenberg and team present new guides for zoning regulations
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