Eastern Shore leaders discuss county priorities at MACo Conference
CAMBRIDGE, Md. – The Maryland Association of Counties Conference, known as MACo, draws in hundreds of leaders across the state to formulate ideas to make our communities better. This three day conference includes multiple sessions ranging from the opioid epidemic to school facility funding.
Because local matters, we spoke to leaders on the shore to see what was eye opening for them and what still needs to be done.
47 ABC spoke to Wicomico County Council President John Cannon, who says that one of their main issues is education. He tells 47 ABC that he wants to see how the state is dealing with costs and how the Kirwan Commission will affect them on a county level.
Cannon also attended a workshop about public private partnerships and he thinks this can be beneficial for them. “I’m very anxious to see how we can improve infrastructure, how we can improve education through public private partnerships where it saves the taxpayers money and allow us to accomplish the same goal,” Cannon says. Another interesting topic at MACo, how to deal with legalizing marijuana in the workplace. Cannon says if it’s legalized for medicinal purposes, they are going to have to see how that will work on a county level with employees.
Also while we were at MACo, 47 ABC spoke with officials from Somerset County who tell us they’ve been looking for innovative ways to deal with their unemployment issues.
County commissioner president Craig Mathies Sr. tells 47 ABC, as other counties across the state have improved, Somerset is still higher on the scale when it comes to unemployment, so they are looking to try new things to attract businesses to the area. “To help attract more technology and so forth into the county, which we’re working on ways to improve and attract different industries to the county to help provide jobs,” Mathies Sr. says.
The Dorchester County Council also made it’s way to MACo. We caught up with former president and current council member Ricky Travers to hear the concerns.
We’re told the biggest problem for Dorchester is funding.
Concerns range from funding on county roads to the impact of the Kirwan commission. Beyond that, they want to make sure they are keeping up with the times and have the money to keep up with technology.
Travers attended a Next Generation 9-1-1 workshop and says this could be the future. Travers says, “We’re trying to figure out what 9-1-1 is going to look like in 3-4 years or 5 years with the texting or things like that so we need to be aware of the funding and be prepared when it happens.”
Travers says the next step after MACo is working on the budget, so all of this information is useful for those planning purposes.
Leaders will meet again for MACO’s Summer Conference in August.