Harford County Retains Triple-A Bond Ratings; Highest Possible Ratings Reduce County Borrowing Costs

Harford County has retained its Triple-A bond rating from all three of the nation’s major independent bond-rating agencies. Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s, and Fitch have each reaffirmed their highest possible rating for Harford County, citing the county administration’s “very strong” management and healthy local economy. Triple-A bond ratings reduce the cost of borrowing to fund capital projects such as school buildings, road improvements and stormwater management projects. Harford County is among an estimated 2% of counties nationwide to earn the top rating from all three major rating agencies. (Dagger Press)

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Baltimore commissioner pick Harrison to meet with residents in each police district before formal nomination

Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh said Monday that her new choice to become police commissioner will hold community meetings in all nine of the city’s police districts in the coming weeks, as part of a plan to build support for her pick. In the meantime, New Orleans Police Superintendent Michael Harrison will begin work as acting commissioner by Feb. 11, Pugh said — and possibly earlier. “The community meetings are going to be the most important for him,” Pugh said. “He wants to meet the people. He wants to get to know Baltimore.” (Balt. Sun)

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Maryland Public Service Commission denies motion to dismiss power line case

Plans for new power lines will continue, but the Maryland Public Service Commission has extended the deadline for testimony about parts of the case. The commission handed down that ruling Tuesday in the case involving Transource's plans to build two new lines from Pennsylvania into Maryland. PJM Interconnection, which directs the operation of the region's electrical grid, hired Transource to build the lines to address what has been called "congestion" of the grid in certain areas. (Herald Mail)

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Pittman defends immigration policy decision at Glen Burnie town hall

Citing a chilling effect on crime reporting and redundancy in other federal programs, County Executive Steuart Pittman defended his decision to stop participating in a controversial immigration program Monday evening at the first of two town halls on the subject. Comments were not solely focused on the 287(g) program in question, but generally on immigration — “illegal” was the word used most often by the audience at the Pascal Senior Activity Center in Glen Burnie. (Capital)

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Taneytown Council adopts ethics, campaign finance amendments

The Taneytown City Council on Monday adopted amendments to the city’s ethics and campaign finance laws in an effort lawmakers say will improve transparency among candidates during elections and elected officials. Amendments to Taneytown’s ethics ordinance will require select city staff and all elected officials to complete more stringent financial disclosure forms, while changes to the campaign finance ordinance will allow the city’s Ethics Commission to fine candidates that do not comply with campaign finance reporting requirements. (Carroll County Times)

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Annapolis City Council tightens stormwater standards

Annapolis City Council on Monday night passed legislation tightening stormwater treatment standards in the city, a boon for the city’s damaged creeks and the Chesapeake Bay, but potentially prohibitive regulation for developers building in city limits. The legislation requires builders to treat 125 percent of stormwater on newly developed properties and 75 percent on redeveloped properties. Introduced as a resolution, the measure is little more than a declaration of intent, but it carries the power to significantly change the way developers do business in Annapolis. (Capital)

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He helped put Prince George’s on the map for environmental issues. Now he’s focused on Montgomery County.

The official who won environmental accolades for Prince George’s County has set his sights on the county’s neighbor and sometimes rival, drawn by the progressive vision of new Montgomery County executive Marc Elrich (D). Adam Ortiz, who has led the Prince George’s Department of the Environment since 2012, helped catapult the county to the top of state rankings for recycling and waste diversion. He oversaw the development of one of the largest municipal composting facilities on the East Coast, created a partnership with minority businesses to address storm water runoff and built an online tool to track litter. (Wash. Post)

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M&T Bank, Baltimore mayor announce fees waived, payments deferred for furloughed federal workers

Workers affected by the partial government shutdown are eligible for financial relief such as fee waivers and payment deferrals, area lenders and Baltimore officials said Monday in separate announcements. M&T Bank said it’s working with customers who have missed paychecks because of the shutdown, offering special arrangements to business and commercial borrowers as well as to consumers with mortgages, loans, credit cards and lines of credit. Also on Monday, Mayor Catherine Pugh approved the waiver of late fees on water bills for furloughed federal employees and contractors who are customers of the city water system. (Balt. Sun)

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