A COUNTY COMMISSIONERS' MEETING IS . . .
A county commissioners' meeting is the process of adopting and amending laws, developing policies
and making decisions for governing your county by citizens you
The Commissioners meet weekly on Tuesdays in the County
Commissioners' Hearing Room, First Floor, East Wing, Courthouse,
Market Street, Denton.
The Commissioners convene as the County Roads Board at 9 am.,
and as the County Commissioners at 9:30 am. You are welcome to
attend any of these meetings. Sometimes portions of the meetings
are conducted privately in closed session. A sign on the door
tells you whether or not you may enter the Hearing Room.
THE COMMISSONERS . . .
There are three County Commissioners, each of whom must be a
resident of Caroline County. Each is elected at large for a
four-year term to represent the interests of the entire county.
The Commissioners decide who among them shall serve as officers
of the various boards they constitute.
In general, the Commissioners' duties and responsibilities are to:
- Enact county laws and establish county policies
- Submit proposed changes of state law to the Maryland General Assembly
- Determine what taxes shall be levied and in what amount
- Determine how much money shall be spent and for what purpose
- Approve contracts and agreements
- Promote the welfare of Caroline County
THE AGENDA . . .
The Commissioners follow a regular order of business for the
conduct of their meetings. An agenda is prepared in advance and
items on it have usually been researched by the County Administrator
or other administrative officials to ensure that the Commisioners
have current information on the subject. If you wish to be included
on the agenda or have questions concerning agenda items, contact the
Clerk to the Commissioners no later than the Friday prior to the meeting.
COUNTY COMMISSIONERS' ACTION . . .
Two Commissioners constitute a quorum and may conduct County business.
Business presented to the Commissioners is disposed of by one of the
- County Law - In 1984, the citizens of Caroline County
voted to establish Caroline as a Code Home Rule county, Maryland's
fourth. Home rule allows Caroline to exercise the power of
self-government over purely local matters. The Maryland General
Assembly retains the ultimate authority regarding maximum limits
on property tax rates and the amount of indebtedness incurred by
the county. Despite home rule, laws in the certain areas, such as
education, health, alcoholic beverages, and judicial proceedings,
and those establishing new types of taxes or fees, must be passed
by the State. The County Commissioners have designated the second
and third Tuesdays of each month as legislative days for the purpose
of introducing and enacting new laws and amending or repealing
existing laws. The Commissioners are required to publish the local
newspaper a fair summary of each legislative bill, as the proposed
laws are called, once before the required public hearing and three
times after passage of the law. Any legislative action taken by the
Commisioners is subject to referendum by the voters. In order for
the referendum to take place, a petition carrying the signatures of
at least ten percent of the registered voters of the county must be
filed within a certain date after passage of the law. If the petition
is filed, the law will not go into effect until approved by a majority
of voters at the next general election. If no petition is filed. The
law becomes effective 45 days after passage.
In the event of a bona fide emergency, the Commissioners may hold an
emergency legislative day to introduce needed bills. The emergency day
must be advertised beforehand, and a public hearing held following
introduction of bills. Emergency bills take effect on the date of the
- Ordinance - An ordinance or amendment to an ordinance
is a legislative act and requires advertisement and a public
hearing. An ordinanceis binding and permanent, and can be changed
only by a subsequent ordinance. Ordinances may be passed using
the procedure described for legislative bills under County Law.
- Resolution - Generally expresses the policy of the
Commissioners or directs certain types of administrative action,
nd can be changed by a subsequent resolution.
- Motion - Indicates majority approval of a procedural
action, such as authorization of expenditures or acceptance of
recommendations. Also used to authorize administrative officials
to take certain actions. Most frequent form of action taken.
- Referral - When the Commissioners are not ready to take
definite action, the matter may be referred to the County
Administrator, County Attorney, or other administrative official
for further investigation and report.
- State Law - The Commissioners can request Caroline's
representatives in the Maryland General Assembly to sponsor
legislation in areas where the County has no law-making authority.
CITIZEN PARTICIPATION . . .
The President or Chairman of the board before which you have
requested appointment will call on you when it is your turn to speak.
Make your comments from the podium at the front of the room, speaking
slowly, clearly , and concisely. Precede your comments with your name
address, and speak only on the subject under discussion.
Persons without an appointment will recognized as time allows.
Comments in writing are welcomed, and should be given to the Clerk
after your presentation.
Any person making personal, impertinent or slanderous remarks, or
whose speech or actions become disruptive, may be requested to leave
Interested parties may address the Commissioners in writing at
any time in regard to any matter pertaining to County business.
If you wish to make a suggestion or complaint, first contact the
head of the department which handles the service or work concerned.
If you are then not satisfied with the way the matter has been handled,
contact the County Administrator or make an appointment to see the