Southern Maryland Notebook

Chilly Budget Climate in Annapolis Forces Hiring Freeze in St. Mary's

By Christy Goodman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, August 30, 2009

Because of significant state budget cuts, St. Mary's County has instituted a hiring freeze.

"Gov. [Martin] O'Malley has outlined more than $450 million in budget reductions, and $210 million of these cuts will be passed to local county governments," County Administrator John Savich said.

"The reduction to St. Mary's County is approximately $4.3 million. This amount is significant, especially because the current budget is already $3.3 million below last year's."

Public safety positions, such as sheriff's deputies, correctional officers and emergency 911 communications specialists, will be exempt from the freeze, as will appointed positions in the state's attorney's office and Circuit Court.

"The county commissioners want to maintain services and keep us prepared for the future," Savich said. "That means we need to increase our efforts to reduce costs in order to avoid more drastic action later."

Aquatic Center to Be Named For Former State Senator

The Calvert County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved naming the county's aquatic center, which is under construction, after longtime state senator Edward T. Hall.

Hall, a Republican, served the district covering Calvert and much of Anne Arundel County for 20 years, beginning in 1958. He was Senate minority leader from 1963 until 1974. He was also one of the founding editors of the Calvert Independent newspaper, which was established in 1940. He died in 1979.

"In addition to serving in Annapolis, [Hall] served down here," said Commissioner Barbara A. Stinnett (D-At Large). "He recognized the individual."

This is the first building that the county has named after a person.

Oyster Viability Is Tested In Mill Creek Watershed

Members of the Southern Maryland Oyster Cultivation Society and the Calvert Marine Museum recently deposited more than 200,000 oysters on test sites in the Mill Creek watershed. The test will help scientists identify locations most likely to support viable oyster communities.

"This milestone is particularly exciting," said Len Zuza, chairman of the oyster society, "because we are not only restoring native oysters to the local creeks where members raised them, but also because we are following the practice of putting young oysters on mounds of shells. Recent scientific observations suggest that a mound structure is likely to enhance their chances of survival."

The oyster society recently received state funding and supplies to continue its oyster-raising efforts through the governor's Marylanders Grow Oysters program. For information, visit http://www.smocs.org.

St. Mary's College Building Receives LEED Certification

Goodpaster Hall, the new administration building at St. Mary's College of Maryland, was recently recognized for its "green" features by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design system.

The hall, designed by SmithGroup, is a teaching and research lab for programs in chemistry, psychology and education. The project earned a LEED Silver rating and is the first state-owned facility to achieve LEED certification under a state mandate.

The building has an energy flywheel that removes noxious fumes while returning heat to the building. Additionally, the use of waterless urinals, dual-flush toilets and rainwater systems will save 300,000 gallons of water a year, a 30 percent reduction in water use and sewage output.

The lumber used in the building was harvested from environmentally managed forests, and only low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints, adhesives and sealants were used in the construction.


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