Outgoing Carroll commissioners Rothschild, Howard talk last MACo conference

Outgoing Carroll commissioners Rothschild, Howard talk last MACo conference
Carroll County Commissioners Richard Rothschild, left, R-District 4, and Doug Howard, center, R-District 5, with Carroll County Clerk of Court Donald Sealing, right, in the Westminster County Office Building in 2014. The two commissioners will finish their last terms this year. (Ken Koons / Carroll County Times file)

Carroll County’s five commissioners are away this week to talk about water at the Maryland Association of Counties Summer Conference in Ocean City.

Although three of the five might return to their seats after elections this fall, Commissioners Richard Rothschild, R-District 4, and Doug Howard, R-District 5, are approaching the end of their second terms and representing their districts at the conference for the last time.


The topic of this summer’s conference includes “infrastructure, treatment, and regulations that ensure safe and healthy water flows through our pipes,” and “floods and other natural disasters, and ways to put the wind back in the sails of a tight budget,” according to MACo’s website.

Rothschild said Wednesday he has three key objectives in coming to the MACo conference four months before his term ends.

“No. 1,” he said, “as one of the four commissioners that founded the Maryland Rural County Coalition, I want to address the group — at least address certain members in the group — and make sure that the organization continues on in perpetuity after my term is over.”

The coalition, which was created in 2011, now includes 16 counties — including Carroll County as an original member — with the goal to provide a voice for Maryland's rural counties, allowing them to offer their perspectives on state and federal policy issues.

Likewise, Rothschild said he also wants to address the Clean Chesapeake Coalition as one of its charter members.

“I want to share my expectations for that group after my term ends,” he said, "and ensure that that group continues on.”

Carroll County has been a member of the coalition since 2012. The objective of the Clean Chesapeake Coalition, according to its website, is to pursue improvement to the water quality of the Chesapeake Bay in the most prudent and fiscally responsible manner — through research, coordination and advocacy.

Lastly, he wants to discuss dredging at the Conowingo Dam.

“The Maryland Department of the Environment has indicated it’s going to have to recomplete the dredging for the Conowingo Dam. I'm hoping to talk to Secretary [of the MDE] Ben Grumbles about the dredging contract,” Rothschild said.

“What happens at Conowingo has a direct effect on Carroll County taxpayers. I would estimate we spend about $5 million a year, and the majorities of the problem [originate] in the Suquehanna and flow to the Conowingo Dam.”

Howard said he also has unfinished business and would like to get as much done as he can before his term ends.

“Well, you know one of the things we try to do whenever we come down here, we get access to folks that are hard to catch up with,” he said.

“This morning I already had a meeting with Secretary [of the Maryland Department of Commerce Mike] Gill about Warfield and [Pete] Rahn, secretary of transportation, about roads projects. My interest in particular is Ridenour Way down by Nells Acres. I'm trying to get a solution to that, although we are having some challenges.”

The intersection that leads from Ridenour Way to Liberty Road through Fallon Road in Eldersburg is unsafe, he said.


“But there’s certain criteria the state has for when they'll [put in] a traffic signal and make changes. Fortunately, we haven't had a fatality or other things that would cause immediate action, but we’ve looked at alternatives: a parallel on Ridenour Way that would run parallel to Liberty Road,” Howard said.

“It’s like anything else — some of these things take years of conversation before the right solution comes up. We want to make sure the folks who know best how to do something [can help us]. The folks at the [Maryland Department of Transportation] have been so helpful.”

And although Marylanders go to Ocean City for vacation, Howard said the commissioners are working.

“It’s always good for folks to get a perspective to see that we are here to get things accomplished,” he said.