Meeting Minutes

Meeting Minutes
posted: 03/15/07

County Council Meeting Minutes


February 27, 2007
County Council of Dorchester County
Regular Meeting Minutes
February 27, 2007
 
The County Council of Dorchester County met in regular session on February 27, 2007 with the following members present: Present were William V. Nichols, President; Jay Newcomb, Vice President; Effie M. Elzey; Ricky Travers; Rick Price. Also present were E. Thomas Merryweather, County Attorney; Jane Baynard, County Manager and Donna Lane, Administrative Specialist.
 
REGULAR SESSION
EXECUTIVE SESSION
The Council adjourned from a Regular Session and convened in a closed Executive
Session pursuant to paragraph (1)(i) of Section 10-508(a) to discuss the appointment, employment, reassignment, promotion, discipline, demotion, compensation, removal, resignation, or performance evaluation of appointees, employees, or officials over whom it has jurisdiction;  pursuant to paragraph (4) to consider a matter that concerns the proposal for a business or industrial organization to locate, expand, or remain in the State; and pursuant to paragraph (7) of Section 10-508(a) to obtain legal advice.
 
Voting in favor of the closed Executive Session were all Council members.
 
REGULAR SESSION
 
INVOCATION AND PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Councilwoman Elzey led the invocation and Councilman Newcomb led the pledge of allegiance.
 
CALL FOR ADDITIONS OR DELETIONS TO AGENDA
 
The Council agreed, for the record, to declare a special legislative day, pursuant to the County Charter in order to introduce two legislative items.
 
APPROVAL OF DISBURSEMENTS
The Council approved vouchers as presented.
 
FINANCIAL REPORT: CASH AND INVESTMENTS
 
Councilman Nichols reported total cash and investments of $8,191,318.38.

COMMENDATION-DAVID WIELGOSZ     
 
The Council presented a commendation to David Wielgosz commending the fact that Mr. Wielgosz is one of the youngest volunteer members in the history of the East New Market Volunteer, the Volunteer of Year in 2005, for his unselfish and heroic efforts in ensuring the safeguard of others and for his determination to keep his family tradition alive by becoming a certified firefighter and paramedic.  Mr. Wielgosz accepted the commendation.
                                               
COMMENDATION-EAGLE SCOUT MATT WILLIAMS
 
The Council presented a commendation to Matt Williams for receiving the rank of Eagle Scout and for his commitment in cleaning and renovating the Hurlock Community Park.  Mr. Williams accepted the commendation.
                                               
COMMENDATION-TOWN OF HURLOCK CHRISTMAS PARADE ORGANIZERS       
 
The Council presented a commendation to Paul Cooper, Michelle Murphy, Earl Murphy and Paul Grahe for reviving and organizing the Hurlock Christmas Parade, which was held on December 16, 2006.  Mr. Cooper, Ms. Murphy, Mr. Murphy and Mr. Grahe accepted the commendations. 
 
Mr. Grahe advised the Council that the Town of Hurlock will be holding its 2007 Christmas parade on December 15, 2007.  
                 
EASTERN SHORE 2010 AGREEMENT-EASTERN SHORE LAND CONSERVANCY   
 
Robert Etgen, Executive Director of Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, noted that John Seward, Planner, was present with him to request that the Council agree to sign the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy’s Eastern Shore 2010 agreement. 
 
Mr. Seward advised the Council that the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy is a regional non-profit organization with 33 directors and nearly 1,000 members.  He stated that the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy has permanently reserved 39,357 acres of land on 209 properties on the Eastern Shore.  He said that there are currently six farms under contract for preservation on the Eastern Shore and that in Dorchester County three farms had resulted in 745 acres being preserved. 
 
Mr. Seward noted that in 2002 six counties on the Eastern Shore, namely Caroline County, Kent County, Cecil County, Queen Anne’s County, Talbot County and Dorchester County signed an Eastern Shore 2010 agreement.  He explained that the agreement is an inter-county agreement that sets common use goals to establish a shared vision for future land use on the Eastern Shore. Mr. Seward stated that one of the goals outlined in the 2002 Eastern Shore 2010 agreement was to preserve 50% of rural lands by 2010 and that the goal has been increased to 80% in the revised Eastern Shore 2010 Agreement.
He said that it is his belief and the belief of the members of the ESLC that there is need to strengthen these goals in order to prepare for an expected large increase in growth that is projected for the Eastern Shore, to respond proactively to the possibility of another Chesapeake Bay crossing and to provide support for the regions transportation need due to the influx of growth.
 
Mr. Seward advised the Council that the four goals outlined in the revised Eastern 2010 agreement are: 1) obtaining a County land preservation funding commitment equal to 1.5% of each County’s budget; 2) implementing economic development plans for resource industries which include promoting agriculture, maritime and forestry industry in the County; 3) raise the goal for new growth from 50% to 80% in growth areas; and to develop alternatives for a non automotive oriented Chesapeake Bay Crossing.
 
Mr. Etgen noted that Dorchester County has done much better than the counties that signed the original agreement in land preservation.
 
He said that the deadline for making a decision on the execution of the revised Eastern Shore 2010 Agreement is March 31, 2007.
 
In response to a question from Councilman Travers as to whether or not signing the agreement is voluntary with each County, Mr. Etgen stated that signing the agreement was voluntary and noted that the agreement has helped Congressman Wayne Gilchrest in the past to obtain federal funds for land preservation.
 
Councilman Travers questioned why the agreement contained references to affordable housing and transportation and not just land conservation.  Mr. Etgen stated that land preservation is the main focus of ESLC and its members.
 
Ms. Baynard noted that Steve Dodd, Planning and Zoning Director, was present.
 
In response to a question from Councilwoman Elzey, Mr. Dodd stated that the percentage of land that is either in permanent preservation or is owned by the Federal Government is a little over 31% countywide.
 
Councilwoman Elzey expressed her concern that by giving funds to the ESLC for land preservation, there would be no dedicated funding for farm land preservation to the County’s Planning and Zoning department.
 
In response to a question from Councilman Travers as to when the 1.5% funding would be needed, Mr. Etgen clarified that they are requesting that the County annually designate funds equivalent to at least 1.5% of the County general operating budget for land preservation by 2010.
 
Mr. Dodd advised the Council that based on the FY07 operating budget the 1.5% funding commitment would cost the County $924,000.  He stated that it was his opinion that a dedication funding source would have to be identified and that he did not feel that raising the property taxes would be popular with the residents of the County. 
 
In response to a question from Mr. Dodd as to whether the agreement would include only the property in Dorchester County that is not located in a municipality or would include the municipalities in the County, Mr. Etgen stated that the agreement included all County property and that they were asking that the County to coordinate with the municipalities in order to achieve this goal.
 
Mr. Dodd advised that in order to accomplish the 80% goal he believed the County would have to cap how many houses would be built per year which would be difficult to accomplish.  Mr. Etgen stated that Dorchester County’s growth projections were not as alarming as the other five counties. 
 
In response to a question from Councilwoman Elzey as to how much growth Dorchester County has seen in the last fifty years, Mr. Dodd stated that growth in the County has remained flat throughout those fifty years.
 
Mr. Etgen thanked the Council for the opportunity to present them the Eastern Shore 2010 Agreement for their consideration.
 
The Council agreed to consider executing the Eastern Shore 2010 Agreement during its ongoing budget deliberations.
 
RICHARDSON MUSEUM PRESENTATION
 
Victor MacSorley, a Richardson Museum Board Member, advised the Council that he was requesting, on behalf of the Richard Museum, a letter of support from the Council to include the Richardson Museum in the target investment zone classification so that it may present that letter with their request to the Heritage Area Management Board.  He explained that the museum was started in 1991 and that its purpose is to continue the maritime tradition of boat building.
 
Jay Corvan, Architect and Richardson Museum Board Member, discussed the plans for the construction of a new building to house the museum and stated that they included the construction of a ship building shed, the museum and a gallery facility.  He advised that if Heritage Area Management Board determined that the museum should be in a target investment zone there would be more opportunities to apply for funding for the construction of the museum and other buildings. 
 
The Council agreed to the request of Mr. MacSorley and Mr. Corvan to execute a letter of support to the Heritage Area Management Board for the inclusion of the Richardson Museum in a target investment zone.
                                                           

ROADS BOARD       
 
APPROVAL OF MINUTES-JANUARY 9, 2007      
 
The Council approved the January 9, 2007 minutes.                                                  
 
GUARDRAIL REPLACEMENT-STORM DAMAGED AREAS-
HIGHWAY/PUBLIC WORKS
 
The Council approved the request of Bob Tenanty, Public Works Director, and agreed to award the guardrail replacement in the storm damaged areas in Dorchester County to Guardrail Etc., Inc., the lowest bidder, for the amount of $29,362.75.   The Council acknowledged that funds are available in Federal Emergency Management Agency reimbursements for small projects for the guardrail replacement. 
 
LIQUID BITUMINOUS BID AWARD-HIGHWAY/PUBLIC WORKS
 
The Council approved the request of Mr. Tenanty to award the liquid bituminous bid to E. Stewart Mitchell for hot mix oil at the price of $1.61 per gallon and for tar and chip oil at the price of $1.48 per gallon and cold patch oil to Fleet Supply, Inc. at the price of $2.55 per gallon. The Council acknowledged that the prices for these materials were locked in from March 1, 2007 through December 2007.
 
OTHER
 
Based on Councilman Price’s comments that he believed the Maryland Army National Guard may be willing to place temporary budgeted on the roads that were flooded at no cost to the County, the Council requested that Mr. Tenanty contacted that Maryland Army National Guard.
 
In response to Councilman Price’s question about the status of the repairs of Taylor Avenue, Mr. Tenanty stated that his staff is researching what easements they have from residents on that road and what easements still need to be obtained.
 
Councilman Price requested that Mr. Tenanty check into the following items: 1) a clogged ditch on Warwick Road near New Beginnings; 2) roadside trash on Mt. Zion Road and Skinners Run Road; and 3) whether there are an appropriate number of speed limits signs on Cabin Creek Road and Wrights Wharf Road.
 
Councilman Newcomb requested that Mr. Tenanty have his staff clean up the intersection at Andrews Road and Route 336 and to repair potholes on Riverside Road, Hoopers Island Road and Elliotts Island Road.
 
LEGISLATION-SEE ATTACHED LEGISLATIVE AGENDA
              
Council adjourned to Legislative Session.
              
Council introduced A RESOLUTION OF THE COUNTY COUNCIL OF DORCHESTER COUNTY, MARYLAND AUTHORIZING THE EXECUTION AND DELIVERY OF AN EQUIPMENT LEASE AGREEMENT, AND RELATED INSTRUMENTS, AND DETERMINING OTHER MATTERS IN CONNECTION THEREWITH
 
Ms. Baynard advised the Council that the request to introduce a legislative resolution is pursuant to Charter requirements that recognize a Capital Equipment Lease in the same fashion as debt therefore requiring a legislative action by Council.
 
The Council agreed to proceed with publication of the public hearing on this matter.
 
Council introduced  AN ACT OF THE COUNTY COUNCIL OF DORCHESTER COUNTY MARYLAND PURSUANT TO CHAPTER 155, ENTITLED ZONING SECTION 155-B OF THE DORCHESTER COUNTY CODE REZONING A PARCEL OF LAND OWNED BY MARSHYHOPE PROPERTIES, LLC, A DELAWARE LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY, LOCATED ON THE NORTH SIDE OF OLD ROUTE 50, CONTAINING 2.20 ACRES OF LAND, MORE OR LESS, IN THE LINKWOOD ELECTION DISTRICT OF DORCHESTER COUNTY, MARYLAND FROM AN SR, SUBURBAN RESIDENTIAL DISTRICT TO A B-2, GENERAL BUSINESS DISTRICT.
 
Ms. Baynard stated that in order to rezone a property in the County, pursuant to Chapter 155 of the County Code, legislation was needed and that a bill to rezone a parcel of land owned by Marshyhope Properties, LLC was before the Council for introduction.
 
The Council agreed to proceed with publication of the public hearing on this matter.
 
REGULAR SESSION
 
MANAGER’S COMMENTS 
 
DISCUSSION ON SENATE BILL 402-MUNICIPAL HOTEL TAXES
 
The Council agreed to send a letter opposing Senate Bill 402 entitled “Municipal Hotel Taxes” to the Maryland Association of Counties.  The Council acknowledged that the proposed bill enables municipalities to impose additional taxes on overnight visitors, which the Council feels may limit the amount of visitors to Dorchester County and other counties in the State of Maryland because it imposes another fee on visitors. 
 
REQUEST TO REVISE PROPOSED LEGISLATION-BOARD OF LICENSE COMMISSIONERS
 
Ms. Baynard advised the Council that a request to revise proposed legislation entitled “Dorchester County – Alcoholic Beverages – Issuance of Additional Class “A” Beer Licenses” was received from the Board of License based on comments received at a hearing in the Maryland General Assembly and noted that James Lurz, Liquor Inspector, was present to discuss the amendment with Council.
 
Mr. Lurz explained to the Council that during a hearing on House Bill 65 entitled   “Dorchester County – Alcoholic Beverages – Issuance of Additional Class “A” Beer Licenses”, Steve Wise lobbyist for the Maryland Beverage State Licensing Association, advised the legislators that he was opposed to including those establishments that have a Class “C” license, on the list of eligible establishments that can receive an additional Class “A” beer licenses.  He stated that Mr. Wise’s opposition was based on the fact that those establishments that have Class “C” licenses are non profit organizations which should not be allowed to compete with other businesses for the off sale of beer.   Mr. Lurz said that the same bill is also filed in the Senate as Senate Bill 453.  He advised the Council that the Board of License Commissioners had requested that the Class “A” beer license legislation be amended to include all Class “B”, Class “C” and Class “D” license holders in order to bring those establishments into compliance that were erroneously issued an additional Class “A” beer license based on an misinterpretation of the Dorchester County Liquor Laws.  He said that the Board of License Commissioners agreed that Class “C” license holders should be removed from the proposed legislation but have requested that language be added to make an exception for the one Class “C” establishment that was erroneously issued a license due to the fact that the organization has had an additional Class “A” beer license since 1974 and allowing the Board to limit the number of additional Class “A” license issued.
 
The Council agreed to prohibit the inclusion of Class “C” licenses from obtaining an additional Class “A” beer license, with the exception of any Class “C” license holder who already holds an additional Class “A” beer license until such time as that license is relinquished back to the County.
 
REQUEST TO HOLD 5TH ANNUAL H.O.P.E. RUN/WALK-EASTERN SHORE HEALTH CENTER AUXILIARY
 
Council approved the request of Kathryn G. Oddis, Director of Volunteer Services of the Eastern Shore Health Center Auxiliary, to hold the 5th Annual H.O.P.E. Run/Walk on May 5, 2006 contingent upon the Auxiliary members coordinating with the Dorchester County Sheriff to make the necessary arrangements to use Stone Boundary Road for the run/walk.
 
ROAD CONSTRUCTION AGREEMENTS-PRESERVE AT WRIGHTS WHARF; LORDS CROSSING; MARSHYHOPE BRANCH; MILLPOND AT CABIN CREEK; NEWHART MILL ROAD-PLANNING AND ZONING
 
The Council agreed to the request of Mr. Dodd and approved the execution of the following road construction agreements: 1)  Public Road Construction Agreement between the County Council and DMS Hurlock, LLC to construct a public road in the Preserve at Wright’s Wharf subdivision at Jayar Way and Bens Lane, which agreement will expire on December 1, 2007 ; 2) Public Road Construction Agreement between the County Council and Goose Crossing Farm, LLC  to construct a public road in Section I of the Lords Crossing subdivision for Lots 1-13 and 39-43, which agreement will expire on February 27, 2008; 3) Public Road Construction Agreement between the County Council and Goose Crossing Farm, LLC. to construct a public road for Section II of the Lords Crossing subdivision for Lots 14-38 and 44-62 , which agreement will expire on February 27, 2009; 4) Public Road Construction Agreement between the County Council and LNR Development, LLC to construct a public road at Marhshyhope Branch Road, which agreement will expire on March 1, 2008; 5) Public Road Construction Agreement between the County Council and Cabin Creek, LLC to construct a public road at Millpond at Cabin Creek, Section I, which agreement will expire on February 27, 2008; 6) Public Road Construction Agreement between the County Council and Cabin Creek, LLC to construct a public road at Millpond at Cabin Creek, Section II, which agreement will expire on February 27, 20089; 7) Public Road Construction Agreement between the County Council and Gary Wilckens, the Personal Representatvie of the Estate of Lena Wilckens to construct a public road known as Plantation Road, which agreement will expire on January 1, 2008.
 
The Council acknowledged that the road construction agreements will affect the following lots: all 73 lots in the Preserve at Wrights Wharf  subdivision; all 62 lots in the  Lords Crossing subdivision; all eight lots in the Marshyhope Branch subdivision; all 55 lots in the Millpond Subdivision; and six of the nine lots in the Newhart Mill subdivision.  
 
The Council acknowledged that the sale of lots will be prohibited until the road has been accepted into the County system.
 
AMEND YMCA FUNDING-ROOFING PROJECT-DORCHESTER COUNTY FAMILY YMCA
 
The Council approved the request of Andrew Pasden, President of the Board of Directors of the Dorchester County Family YMCA (YMCA) to amend the award of $50,000 to the YMCA for a roofing project to allow for $27,628 to be used for the repair of the roof and the redirection of the remaining $22,372 for mold remediation due to the extensive damaged received due to leaks in the roof. 
 
REQUEST FOR LETTER OF SUPPORT-BOND BILL-DORCHESTER COUNTY FAMILY YMCA
 
Mr. Pasden advised the Council that he was requesting, on behalf of the YMCA, a letter of support from the Council for their request for a bond bill in the amount not to exceed $750,000 to be used for the renovation of the YMCA building.  He noted that Dee MacDonald, YMCA Executive Director, was present at the meeting to speak to Council about this request.  He stated that he had also requested that funding for the YMCA building be included in the supplemental budget of the Governor but was advised by Delegate Adelaide Eckardt that the YMCA would not be granted both requests and would receive less than he requested.
Mr. Pasden noted that: 1) in 2006 over 18% of County’s population used the YMCA facilities and that 37% of those individuals were under the age of 18; 2) there were 3100 registered members of the YMCA; that there were 42,000 visits in 2006; 3) summer camps for health children, after school programs and programs for the disabilities are offered by the YMCA; and 4) that the Cambridge High School swim team uses the pool for practice at no cost.  He stated that the YMCA building roof has been repaired and that there are no longer any leaks or falling ceiling tiles.
 
Ms. MacDonald noted that the third annual YMCA fundraiser will be held on March 31, 2007 at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Resort at 6 p.m. and personally invited the Council to attend the fundraiser.
 
Mr. Pasden advised the Council that the hearing on the bond bill in the Maryland General Assembly will be on either March 10, 2007 or March 12, 2007 and requested that a Council member attend the meeting in support of the bill if possible.  Councilman Travers asked Mr. Pasden to advise him of the exact date and that he would try to attend the hearing.
 
The Council approved the request of Mr. Pasden, on behalf of the Dorchester County YMCA, and agreed to send a letter of support for the YMCA’s bond bill request for an amount not to exceed $750,000.
 
REQUESTED FY07 MOSQUITO CONTROL BUDGET
 
The Council agreed to the written request of Cyrus Lesser, Chief of the State of Maryland Department of Agriculture Mosquito Control Division, and approved the Mosquito Control Division’s FY 2007 budget but modified the County’s share to $300,000 instead of $325,000 as requested. 
 
RECONSIDERATION OF REQUEST FOR LANDFILL TIPPING FEE CREDIT-CITY OF CAMBRIDGE
 
Ms. Baynard advised the Council that they had previously deferred the request of the City of Cambridge for a landfill tipping credit to dispose of debris from the demolition of two houses until bids had been opened by the City that shown a more accurate estimated cost of the demolition due to the fact that the City was receiving a grant in the amount of $4,500 for the clean up and were requesting that the County provide the rest of the cost of the cleanup by granting a landfill tipping fee credit.  Ms. Baynard noted that the City was now requesting a landfill tipping fee credit in the amount of $1,250.
 
In response to a question from Councilwoman Elzey, about the current tipping fee, Mr. Tenanty stated that the tipping fee has been $48 a ton for the past two and a half years.
 
Councilwoman Elzey expressed concern that if the Council members kept giving abatements to the landfill tipping fee credit, the tipping fee would have to be increased.
 
Councilman Newcomb and Councilman Travers expressed concern that the demolition could be handled through a controlled burn which, in their opinion, would significantly reduce debris for disposal.
 
The Council denied the request of the City of Cambridge for a landfill tipping credit to dispose of debri