CAMBRIDGE — Dorchester County was honored by the Maryland Association of Counties with the Academy for Excellence in Local Governance County Innovation Award at the Winter Conference held in December 2017.

Dorchester County was recognized for the outstanding success of the Tax Lien Property Repurpose Program, which was a solution devised to address blight, vacant housing, and deteriorating properties across the county. The program was established about two years ago by the County Council’s Tax Lien Property Committee.

The committee was an assembly of members of county staff, including County Manager Jeremy Goldman, Grants Administrator Cindy Smith, Finance Director Michael Spears, Tom Moore and Planning and Zoning Director Steve Dodd.

“We are extremely proud that a plan put together by our staff to conquer something like this, first of all, worked for us,” said County Council President Ricky Travers. “It did what it was supposed to do. Second, we went up against 23 other projects across the State of Maryland, and it won. We’re very excited that the staff was recognized for their hard work and the council for their commitment to move forward.”

The county says this program takes a holistic approach to housing. Not only are vacant properties repurposed as productive locations, but also counseling and services are offered to those at risk of displacement. In return, citizens within the community are able to retain or increase their property values and their overall quality of life.

While the county received recognition for this particular program, the council and county staff have worked diligently through several initiatives, in conjunction with municipalities, to tackle the issue of blight in Dorchester.

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