County Comment: National County Government Week Proclaimed
National County Government Week Proclaimed
by Norman Bassett
Washington County Public Information Officer
In the regular meeting of the Washington County Board of County Commissioners on April 24th, Commissioners' Vice-President Terry Baker presented a proclamation designating April 22-28 as County Government Week in Washington County.
National County Government Week is commemorated across America each year, and the theme of this year's recognition is "Protecting the Environment".
Washington County and its Communities work together in many ways to protect and enhance the health, welfare and safety of our citizens in sensible and cost-effective ways. With proximity to the Potomac River and its tributaries, Washington County has a duty other counties in the region may not have, that of making sure that environmental protection standards are followed to the letter and beyond to help protect not only the various local watersheds, but also the Chesapeake Bay.
County Administrator Greg Murray played a part in formulating standards for reduction of environmental nutrients that affect the fragile ecosystem that is Chesapeake Bay through his work with the Governor's Office and the Local Delegation to the Maryland General Assembly on Senate Bill 320, the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Act, and as an appointed member of the Governor's Bay Restoration Fund Advisory Committee.
As part of the Division of Public Works (DPW), the Department of Water Quality works closely with the Environmental Protection Administration and the Maryland Department of the Environment to improve the quality of wastewater processed by all County treatment facilities and ensure the quality of water supplied to customers on the County system.
The Department of Solid Waste works to meet and exceed all state and federal environmental guidelines in its construction and DPW and Solid Waste staff make sure that proper disposal of County-generated trash is carried out on a daily basis. Recycling of paper, plastics and metals mean greater landfill life, and special events such as Tire Amnesty Day and E-Recycling of computers and other electronic items help prevent contamination of soil and water, and eliminate areas where disease-bearing insects thrive.
Land Preservation Planners also do their part, by facilitating preservation of forestlands and promotion of re-forestation programs through the conservation process. Development of clean air plans and monitoring of air quality is also part of the Department of Planning and Community Development's duties in helping keep pour environment clean and safe.
Engineering assists in the effort by reviewing, approving, and inspecting all stormwater management ponds constructed. protecting water quality and reducing local flooding associated with the effects of land development through the use of best management practices.
Environmentally safe land, air and water are vital to our County. So much so that the County Commissioners are moving forward with new initiatives like the creation of a Division of Environmental Management that will help evaluate new processes such as alternative solid waste disposal methods, enhanced recycling programs, and environmental strategies that allow Washington County to further meet the goals of State Tributary Strategy initiatives for overall basin-wide nutrient management strategies.
In presenting the proclamation, the Commissioners asked that all County citizens do their share in preserving our County's quality of life by helping to maintain and improve our environment through proper management of air, water and land resources.
National County Government Week (NCGW) is an annual celebration of county government, first held in 1990, with a goal of raising public awareness and understanding about the roles and responsibilities of the nation's counties.