Finally, construction has been initiated in Churchville for two fields and additional parking to serve both new and existing fields.

Parks and Recreation also partnered with the non-profit Chesapeake Therapeutic Riding to create a facility for therapeutic riding for children with a variety of physical and developmental disabilities.

The facility will be located at Oakington Farms, repurposing the existing building and constructing an indoor riding arena.

The Department of Public Works, which many believe to be the "back bone" of government service to our citizens, completed a year which saw us make significant improvements to our county's infrastructure, both water and highways.

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In June, the Abingdon Wastewater Treatment Plant was upgraded and expanded to a capacity of 20 million gallons per day. With this upgrade, the safe capacity of the County system has been increased to 30 million gallons per day, which will enable us to meet the projected peak system demands for the next 10 to 15 years.

Additionally, DPW successfully negotiated the purchase of an additional five (5) million gallons of water from the City of Baltimore, which also will aid the county in meeting future demands for water.

DPW continues to reinvest in our infrastructure and add capacity in measured stages to ensure adequate facilities for an expanding customer base. In 2012 they completed the upgrade and expansion of two major pumping stations, Bush Creek and Church Creek. Such upgrades are vital to maintaining our system for years to come.

With respect to highways, the Division of Highways completed several major initiatives including Robinhood Road from MD Rt. 40 to Titan Terrace; Wheel Road from Laurel Bush to Patterson Mill and Cedar Lane from the Bynum Run tributary to Cedar Lane Park.

These projects and many others throughout our county help to improve traffic flow and provide enhanced safety for the motoring public.

Financial management

As mentioned earlier, the Administration continually explores opportunities to improve on efficiencies and economy.

This past year, the Department of Procurement saved the taxpayers over one million dollars through various purchases and cost saving measures which included fuel purchase, fleet management and through other operational cost cutting measures.

The Office of Budget and Management Research continues to perform in an outstanding manner. I am pleased to report that for the 25th consecutive year, the Office of Budget and Management Research has been awarded the Government Finance Officers Association "Distinguished Budget Award" for the FY 2013 budget. This award is the highest form of recognition in governmental budgeting.

The award for the FY 2013 budget includes 26 "outstanding" ratings in four overall budget categories.

The Department of Treasury also enjoyed another highly successful year of operation. During the past year, Treasury continued to implement and improve the new receivable system for billing and made improvements to the web interface for citizens.

We were successful last year in reaffirming our highly coveted AAA bond rating from two of New York's bond rating agencies and we are optimistic of retaining the rating again this year.

Finally, the Department of Treasury received the Certificate of Excellence for Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association for the previous year.

Unfunded state mandates

The cost of operating government this has increased and will likely to increase even further.

Why – because of the continual onslaught of unfunded mandates from Annapolis.