Aberdeen mayor to co-chair BRAC panel

State committee to propose action plan for base relocation

August 12, 2007|By Madison Park | Madison Park,Sun reporter

Aberdeen Mayor S. Fred Simmons has been selected to co-chair a state subcommittee that focuses on local planning in the Base Realignment and Closure Commission process, known as BRAC.

The Local Government Subcommittee, made up of 20 members from Maryland counties and cities, selected Simmons and Bill Jones, the BRAC coordinator in Baltimore County, as its co-chairs.

"The purpose [of the subcommittee] is to look at various BRAC action plans of various counties and municipalities," said Jones. "It's to find where there are commonalities and trends to make recommendations to what the state plan should look like."

Maryland officials estimate that BRAC activity will create 60,000 jobs and up to 28,000 new households in the state. With the anticipation of growth, counties and municipalities have formulated action plans. The Local Government Subcommittee will review the plans to come up with a regionalized approach to prepare for BRAC.

"The state wants an action plan that reflects the best of the action plans of the counties and municipalities," Simmons said.

After seeing some of the counties' action plans, Jones said he saw a common theme on transportation.

The subcommittee expects to meet every two weeks. The state's action plan will be submitted to the governor Dec. 1.

Last week, Lt. Gov Anthony Brown held the first local government subcommittee meeting, which brought together municipal, county and state leaders to discuss the needs of local governments as officials prepare to create a statewide action plan for BRAC.

"We understand what is coming to Maryland and we are ready," Brown said in a release. "A major component of that readiness is our ability to work across party lines, to work past municipal and regional borders, and to work against the tide of local competition; all toward a common goal for one Maryland."

The committee has also been asked to identify how the state could better assist local governments in their efforts to meet the needs of BRAC and to suggest improvements for state operations and processes.

madison.park@baltsun.com

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