Cumberland Times-News

Local News

October 15, 2013

Rural counties coalition plans economic summit

CUMBERLAND — A coalition of rural counties wants to get the word out about the importance of rural counties to Maryland’s economy. To that end, the Maryland Rural Counties Coalition plans an economic summit for Nov. 15 in Annapolis at the Governor Calvert House.

The keynote speaker will be Anirban Basu of the Sage Policy Group, Inc., who will speak on the topic “The Economic Impact and importance of Maryland’s Rural communities.” The summit will be part of the organization’s annual meeting, said Allegany County Commission President Michael McKay, the chairman of the rural counties organization.

Basu is a well-known economic analyst who has worked for a variety of government agencies and nonprofit organizations.

The event will run from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. A roundtable with legislators and interest group representatives is also scheduled for the meeting, along with the election of officers. The coalition will also determine its legislative priorities for the 2014 General Assembly session, McKay said at the Allegany County Commission meeting last week.

The coalition will hire a lobbyist, as it has for the past two legislative sessions. For the 2013 General Assembly session, the coalition paid lobbyist Bruce Bereano $10,000 for his services, according to the coalition’s annual report. For the 2012 legislative session, the coalition hired two separate lobbyists, in part because Allegany County commissioners said they didn’t want to work with Bereano.

Among the groups and individuals contributing a total of $1,500 to the coalition who were not county members were, from Allegany County: Richard Carder, IBEW, Local 307, $100; Janice Keene, $100; CBIZ, $500 and the Maryland Coal Association, $100. From Frederick County came the following contributions: Stop Agenda 21, Maryland, LLC. $100: Thomas Browning, Locust Grove Farm, Frederick $100 and L-3 Services, $500, according to the annual report.

The annual report showed the coalition had $48,000 in total revenue and $36,078.69 in expenses, with a $11,921.31 cash balance on hand as of May 10. The report appeared to cover all transactions from the coalition’s first income and expenditures as a new organization in January 2012.

McKay said there is no formal dues structure and that each county was encouraged to donate the amount they believe to be “necessary and able.”

“We’re very transparent,” McKay said.

Funds forwarded by member counties are primarily used for lobbying efforts including a reception for legislators.

The coalition now includes 10 member counties, including Allegany, Caroline, Carroll, Cecil, Dorchester, Frederick, Kent, Somerset, Washington and Wicomico counties. That includes elected officials representing nearly a million Marylanders.

For 2013, three member counties contributed the bulk of funds for the coalition, with Allegany, Washington and Frederick contributing $5,000 each. Other members, not all of them members for the full year, contributed varying amounts. Dorchester and Cecil each contributed $2,000; Kent $1,500 and Caroline $1,000, according to the annual report.

The coalition has only three committees, one on land use, one for the organization’s bylaws and a legislative committee, said McKay.

The organization is not meant as a rival to the Maryland Association of Counties, McKay has said. He said there is a need, though, for the rural coalition as an independent organization.

The annual report and other coalition news can be found at:

Matthew Bieniek can be contacted at

Text Only
Local News
  • BOSTON PERSEVERES Solemn tributes mark one-year anniversary of marathon attack

    Survivors, first responders and relatives of those killed in the Boston Marathon bombing marked the anniversary Tuesday with tributes that combined sorrow over the loss of innocent victims with pride over the city’s resilience in the face of a terror attack.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Two offers for former Footer Dye Works site

    Canal Place Preservation and Development Authority officials announced Tuesday that two proposals have been received for the development of the Footer Dye Works building.

    April 15, 2014

  • Legislation strengthens prison guard investigations

    Legislative efforts to improve prison security were overshadowed this year by marijuana and minimum wage bills, but supporters say they will help prevent another high-profile scandal like the Black Guerrilla Family case at the Baltimore City Detention Center.

    April 15, 2014

  • Maryland simplifies rules for domestic violence victims seeking issuance of protective orders

    People seeking protective orders for domestic violence should have an easier time proving the case for issuing an order after Gov. Martin O’Malley signed a bill into law that changes the standard of proof used in court.

    April 15, 2014

  • Mineral County students return to class Aug. 14

    The first bell of Mineral County’s 2014-2015 school year will ring on Aug. 14. That’s if the West Virginia Department of Education approves a calendar voted on by school system employees and approved unanimously by the Board of Education on Tuesday night.

    April 15, 2014

  • Talk with Tennant Talk with Tennant

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • PSC investigating five energy suppliers over high bill claims

    Winter electric bills hit many consumers hard, but most complaints to the Maryland Public Service Commission involved so-called variable rate contracts. While the contracts can result in savings, they can also hit consumers hard during times of high electrical demand.

    April 15, 2014

  • Cottontail sale Cottontail sale

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Latest warrant sweep results in 33 arrests

    The Cumberland Police Department’s Safe Streets latest warrant initiative resulted in 33 arrests last week with 36 warrants served.

    April 15, 2014

  • DANIEL RADKO Radko candidate for Mineral County Board of Education

    I am running for the Mineral County Board of Education. My goal is to continue to help students reach their potential. I have lived and worked my adult life in Mineral County as a special education teacher. My wife, Susan, is a community services manager in Mineral and Hampshire counties for the Department of Health and Human Services. We have two children; son Sean teaches social studies at Keyser High School and daughter Dr. Lindsay Knuth is an audiologist in Charlotte, N.C. We have a grandson Aidan who attends Keyser Primary School.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo