OVERVIEW OF THE MARYLAND RURAL COUNTIES COALITION
On December 12, 2011, an historic “First” occurred when the governing bodies of Allegany, Carroll, Frederick and Washington Counties announced the creation of the Maryland Rural Counties Coalition – with an eye towards other rural counties joining their ranks – for purposes of strengthening their policy-related standing in the Halls of Annapolis.
Rural Maryland often finds itself at a competitive disadvantage from policy decisions made by the Maryland General Assembly because the non-rural counties often speak as one, thus prevailing. The intent of the Maryland Rural Counties Coalition is to help balance the decision-making process in Annapolis so rural Maryland’s interests are equated to the interests of non-rural Maryland. And this can only be accomplished through a strengthened alliance between Maryland’s rural counties.
The Coalition now consists of Allegany, Caroline, Carroll, Cecil, Dorchester, Frederick Kent, Somerset, Washington and Wicomico Counties, representing 939,980 rural Maryland residents.
During the Coalition’s inaugural year in 2012, the four original member jurisdictions each contributed $5,000 for an operating budget of $20,000 for use during the 2012 Session of the Maryland General Assembly. Allegany County served as the de-facto Treasurer of the group.
Out of these appropriations, $17,000 was expended to retain two highly respected Annapolis consultants who advocated on behalf of the Coalition and reported on a nearly daily basis with our organization and worked in tandem with the Maryland Association of Counties. The Coalition also hosted a breakfast reception at the beginning of the 2012 Session in which every legislator was invited to attend as well as a Sine Die event on the last day of the Session. During the 2013 Session of the Maryland General Assembly, the Coalition has retained Mr. Bruce Bereano to work on the important issues on our behalf.
Of singular importance to the Coalition this Session was the retention of land use planning authority. This was accomplished. The Coalition was successful in working with the Maryland Association of Counties and other partners in passing and enacting House Bill 1201 (Chapter Number 708 of the Laws of Maryland 2012), Department of Planning – State Development Plan – Use and Conflicts of Law sponsored by Appropriations Committee Chairman Norman Conway.
For the 2013 Session of the Maryland General Assembly the Coalition is once again active in promoting local land use autonomy and control and is active on several pieces of legislation.
The goal of the Maryland Rural Counties Coalition is to grow and to present a greater voice for the residents of Maryland’s rural counties.
Member Jurisdictions: Allegany, Caroline, Carrol, Cecil, Dorchester, Frederick, Kent, Somerset, Washington, and Wicomico Counties.