Baltimore County Now
Gregory Wm. Branch, MD, MBA, CPE
Director, Health and Human Services | Health Officer
On Friday, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz announced that the County will issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) soliciting non-profit organizations to provide animal sheltering services for dogs and cats on a long-term basis.
It makes perfect sense for the County to take a fresh, creative approach to solving problems associated with animal care by establishing public-private partnerships with non-profit organizations that provide animal sheltering and adoption services.
Organizations would receive grant funding to offset a portion of the cost of the services and the balance of the cost would be covered by fees, sales, and other revenues from fund raising events, charitable contributions, interest earnings and endowments. The County would continue to run its own shelter, focusing on public health concerns such as rabies and cases of animal cruelty.
Public-private partnerships are agreements between private organizations and government agencies for the provision of services to the community. These partnerships cut costs, support local businesses, increase public satisfaction, and when it comes to animal care, they save lives.
Baltimore County has been studying this issue for more than a year, and this kind of private-public partnership is a blueprint for success in addressing our animal care needs. It will allow non-profits to do what they do best – providing long-term care and adoption services – while the County continues to focus on the public health issues associated with animal care.
The RFP will be formally posted online this week on the County website.
Baltimore County Chief of Highways
Okay, let’s get real about emergency websites – you know, those dot-coms and dot-orgs and dot-govs that nobody ever remembers… especially when you need them. Fortunately you can get the latest information by just doing an Internet search for Baltimore County, Snow. It’s the fastest way to find the latest information about road conditions, closings, and emergency measures.
Google© (or any search engine for that matter) is a short-cut to a variety of County web pages active this winter. For instance, a search for Baltimore County, Snow will take you to BC Snowfighter (www.baltimorecountymd.gov/snowfighter), which provides hourly updates on winter storm operations and offers an interactive map with road conditions as well as the percentage of County-maintained streets that have been plowed.
When there’s a significant winter weather event that affects transportation and safety, the County’s emergency operations go live with the activation of the Baltimore County Emergency Operations Centers. When necessary, this multi-agency “mission control center” is staffed 24-hours a day and information specialists post regular updates to Twitter. Follow Baltimore County Emergency Management on Twitter @BACOEmergency for the most current information to help keep your family safe.
In addition, you can find out about inclement weather closings at the Severe Weather and Closing Information site www.baltimorecountymd.gov/News/weather/index.html. This site posts school closings, court schedules, jury duty cancellations, and trash and recycling pickup.
You can be connected to important news when you need it – online or through social media. So this year there’s no excuse to be out of the loop. Just think Baltimore County, Snow.
By Steven A. Walsh PE, Chief
Engineering & Construction, Department of Public Works
The older my kids get, the more questions I get about my job. I realize more and more that it’s hard for them to understand what I do because you just can’t see much of the end result.
Our Bureau’s job in DPW is to plan, inspect, design, and construct water, sewer, storm drainage, roads and bridges in the County. We call this infrastructure. Some may call it critical. Life would be very different without these things that most people take for granted. We work hand in hand with Public Work’s other Bureaus (Utilities, Highways, Traffic, and Solid Waste), all of which maintain this infrastructure once it’s constructed.
The County understands the importance of, and invests heavily in, its infrastructure. Unfortunately the importance of the investment and our work goes largely unnoticed and unseen by the public…as well as my kids, unless I point it out to them.
It’s understandable. Who really cares about what you don’t see? You expect clean water to flow from the spigot. You expect the stuff going down the commode, and the trash you put out in front of your house, to just go away. You expect the bridge you are driving over – if you even notice it – to not do anything…like move. Unless someone is unhappy with the disruption of a construction project or work being done on the sewer system, infrastructure probably doesn’t come up much in casual conversation.
With the upcoming National Engineers Week (February 19-25), I thought it appropriate to acknowledge the work of the men and women of DPW who take care of the County’s critical infrastructure.
It’s not magic that causes the water to come out of the spigot – it’s decades of system planning and a whole lot of engineering, construction, and hard work by Public Works’ staff. Even though you can’t see it, it is still very important to our lives.