HB 1409 – 2019 (Howard County – School Facilities Surcharge – Rates Ho. Co. 03-19) receives a Favorable Report by the Budget and Taxation Committee in the Maryland State Senate. This moves the bill one step closer to passing in 2019. The summary text of the bill reads:

FOR the purpose of altering the amount of the school facilities surcharge in Howard County for certain types of residential new construction; prohibiting the County Council of Howard County from imposing a school facilities surcharge on a certain type of residential new construction; authorizing the County Council to enact a local law providing for an annual adjustment of the amount of the school facilities surcharge in a certain manner; prohibiting the County Council from imposing a school facilities
 surcharge on certain types of residential new construction of less than a certain amount; requiring the County Council to consider certain issues before enacting a certain local law; requiring the County Executive of Howard County to submit a certain report to certain persons each year including certain information under certain circumstances; and generally relating to the school facilities surcharge in Howard County.

The Maryland State Senate has two more days to pass this legislation or Howard County will be waiting another year on it.

This bill passed in the House of Delegates by a vote of 136 to 2 back on April 4th. The two votes against were from Howard County: Delegate Atterbeary (D13) and Delegate Miller (D9A).

The HOCO APFOP Facebook page has been following this issue closely and here is a post from April 4th:

Cliffhanger…..

It’s the guilty pleasure action thriller everyone is watching…

This afternoon, delegate Courtney Watson posted this picture of the school surcharge fee bill passing in the Maryland house before moving to the senate. (the one with the vote count.. not the cliffhanger parody). The bill passed 136-2 with only a few days until the session ends Monday. It’s clear looking at the votes that most delegates used local courtesy to pass the bill overwhelmingly, while two opposing votes from Howard County stand out. One of which is the original creator of the bill. Considering the bill has switched it’s intent from setting an overdue adjustment of a fee into an enabling bill that will need to clear the senate and the county council with uncertain outcomes and guaranteed exemptions, it might be understandable why a few votes were in the red. The bottom line is that this is the cliffhanger item that the entire building industry and educational advocates have been watching for years to see if it slips. You can practically hear the dramatic music ramping up as the county drops a meager capital budget announcement and developers try to slip in projects and long term protection contracts for thousands of new units this evening before the climatic ending scene that will determine if Howard County can provide adequate public infrastructure or not. How do you think this action/drama event is going to end? Are you playing a role in it’s outcome with your participation?

Here is the image noted in the text:

I expect there is a good chance this will pass by the 8th and see no reason the Governor would have any issues with it…so there will be many that see this as a good step forward for Howard County (especially the budget in the future).

Have thoughts? Let me know in the comments.

Scott E

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