TO: Maryland Municipal Leaders
FROM: Scott A. Hancock, Executive Director
SUBJECT: Weekly UPDATE on MML’s Operational Commitment During COVID-19 Emergency
DATE: April 13, 2020
I trust this week’s update finds each of you healthy and successfully coping with the stress and strain of leadership in these challenging times. I keep reminding myself and our team that every day we persevere gets us one day closer to the end of the COVID-19 crisis.
Last week, Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot announced that Maryland is facing a potential $2.8B shortfall in revenues for the current fiscal year ending June 30th should the health crisis continue to the end of the fiscal year. That news translates into catastrophic shortfalls at the municipal government level, as well. As you may have read, federal funds appropriated in the Cares Act are not directed to municipal governments of less than 500,000 population. As a result, your Association staff is having conversations with the Hogan Administration to assure relief funds allocated from Washington, D.C. to the State of Maryland will reach Maryland’s cities and towns who are bracing for some unprecedented fiscal realities. (Please don’t forget to keep good records and receipts on all of your community expenditures related to responding to the COVID-19 emergency).
You may have read that Congress is considering a fourth stimulus package entitled the Community Relief Act that would allocate much needed financial assistance to local governments across the country. Last week, I wrote to the members of Maryland’s congressional delegation asking that they sign on as co-sponsors to the House bill currently under consideration. I encourage municipal leaders to personally reach out to your member of Congress and encourage them to co-sponsor the Community Relief Act if they have not already done so.
Also, as a reminder, if you are in need of personal protective equipment for your community’s first responders, please direct your requests to the Maryland Emergency Management Agency or your local county Emergency Operations Center, pursuant to Governor Hogan’s directives.
MML’s FAQ page in our COVID-19 Resource Center is constantly updated with new and more comprehensive information. Just last week, questions and answers were added regarding municipal budgeting, securing virtual meetings, and impacts of federal legislation. The Municipal Connections Forum provides inspiration for the FAQ page because we get a chance to hear solely from municipal leaders like you! MML staff can also provide helpful insights to member questions, so PLEASE keep posting! Networking is the best way to cope with the daily challenges of leading your community through this crisis!
Finally, I wanted to report that the Executive Committee held a virtual meeting on Wednesday, April 8th. Among the agenda items to be considered by the full Board of Directors on April 25th, the committee discussed the viability of holding MML’s Summer Conference, as planned, at the end of June. The committee very much hopes that the immediate crisis has passed in time for the June meeting but emphasized that the health and safety of the membership and others attending MML’s conferences will be the top priority. MML staff was asked to investigate several options if it is determined that an in-person meeting is not advisable.
Your MML staff team remains committed to supporting you in any way we can during this emergency. Please don’t hesitate to reach out.
Please stay well, safe and continue the social distancing practices. We will come through this together #MunicipalMarylandStrong!
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