MACo provides chance for legislators to tackle big issues

OCEAN CITY, Md. – The Maryland Association of Counties (MACo) Conference kicked off Wednesday in Ocean City providing a chance for lawmakers from both the state and local level to tackle some big issues for the state while also enjoying the resort town.

The conference’s theme this year is “winds of change”, meant to focus on the future of changing technology in the state. However, the name is also ironic because off-shore wind energy is a hot button topic for Ocean City with wind farms scheduled to be built off the coast.

According to Sen. Addie Eckardt, off-shore wind energy will certainly be discussed during MACo.

“Wind is a great, great resource and I know we want to move in that direction. How do we get there and at what speed do we get there and do we make sure we’ve covered our bases,” said Sen. Eckardt.

On the list of the concerns about off-shore wind turbines is the possible impact on tourism because of their visibility and the possible impact on commercial fishing.

“I’m really concerned about that because that industry has been hard hit across the board and then finally 082502 what is the true cost to ratepayers and to taxpayers,” said Sen. Mary Beth Carozza.

The MACo conference is set for three days, wrapping up on Saturday. On top of off-shore wind energy, the legislators and local government officials from all across the state will also tackle other big issues.

“We’ll be working on continuing to roll out broadband and last-mile coverage, we’ll get an update and have everybody in the room at one place at one time and be able to hammer it out,” said Sen. Eckardt.

Down in Ocean City, the work won’t just be done inside the OC Convention Center. Many legislators say side events at venues across the shore provide chances to work across the aisle in a more relaxed setting than Annapolis while also getting a head start on bills they plan to introduce next session.

“The opportunity to sit down and just become friends with people, honest to goodness friends and when you need something in Annapolis it’s always easier to go to a friend and say hey can you help me out then having to go introduce yourself to somebody and ask for a favor,” said Del. Carl Anderton Jr.

Categories: Local News, Maryland