Meeting Minutes
posted: 12/04/08

County Council Meeting Minutes

November 18, 2008

County Council of Dorchester County

Regular Meeting Minutes

November 18, 2008


The County Council of Dorchester County met in regular session on November 18, 2008 with the following members present: Present were William V. Nichols, President; Jay L. Newcomb, Vice President; Effie M. Elzey; Ricky Travers; and Rick Price. Also present were E. Thomas Merryweather, County Attorney; Jane Baynard, County Manager and Donna Lane, Executive Administrative Specialist.




The Council adjourned from a Regular Session and convened in a closed Executive

Session pursuant to §10-508(A)(1) to discuss the appointment, employment, assignment, promotion, discipline, demotion, compensation, removal, resignation, or performance evaluation of appointees, employees, or officials over whom it has jurisdiction; pursuant to §10-508(A)(7) to consult with counsel to obtain legal advice on a legal matter; and pursuant to §10-508(A)(3) to consider the acquisition of real property for a public purpose and matters directly related             thereto.


Voting in favor of the closed Executive Session were all Council members.





Council Nichols led the invocation and Council Elzey led the pledge of allegiance.




The Council agreed to the addition of Roads Board before Manager’s Comments to the agenda to discuss Palmers Mill Road and concerns and possible repairs to the County’s blacktop plant in Linkwood.




The Council approved the minutes for October 21, 2008 as presented.




The Council approved vouchers as presented with Councilman Newcomb abstaining for any payments made to Old Saltys.




Councilman Nichols reported total cash and investments as $12,614,834.18.



The County Council of Dorchester County convened in an Executive Session at 4:30 p.m. on November 18, 2008 in a closed session at Room 110, County Office Building, 501 Court Lane, Cambridge, Maryland, pursuant to the State Government Article §10-508(A)(1) to discuss the appointment, employment, assignment, promotion, discipline, demotion, compensation, removal, resignation, or performance evaluation of appointees, employees, or officials over whom it has jurisdiction; pursuant to §10-508(A)(7) to consult with counsel to obtain legal advice on a legal matter; and pursuant to §10-508(A)(3) to consider the acquisition of real property for a public purpose and matters directly related thereto.


Motion made, seconded and carried to conduct a closed session pursuant to the above.  All members of the Council voted in the affirmative to conduct the closed session for the purposes stated above and to discuss the topics listed above.


Action taken at the closed session: 1)  approved a request by the Warden of the Dorchester County Detention Center to offer a Correctional Officer position to the next individual on the department’s list of recommended candidates based on another individual declining the position by a 4 to 0 vote; 2) reviewed with staff a probationary report on an employee at the Highway Division of Public Works; 3) discussed with legal counsel easement requests included in a proposal to add additional parking to the Circuit Court House and took no action; 4) discussed issues regarding the Cambridge-Dorchester Airport with legal counsel and agreed to lease amendments for hangar facilities by a 4 to 1 vote; 5) consulted with legal counsel and staff regarding road litigation issues; 6) deferred a discussion on an Amendment to the Memorandum of Understanding for the Technology Park; 7) denied a request to transfer a two acre property located behind the Old St. Clair Elementary School by a 5 to 0 vote.


The above information is being provided to the public pursuant to and in compliance with Section 10-509(b) and (c) of the State Government Article.




The Council presented a proclamation to Bill Malchow for obtaining the rank of Eagle Scout.  Mr. Malchow accepted the proclamation.




Jane Baynard, County Manager, introduced Chuck Weber, Public Works Director.  Mr. Weber thanked the Council for its support.


Troy Hill, Dorchester Chamber of Commerce member, introduced Allen Nelson as the new Executive Director for the Dorchester Chamber of Commerce.  Mr. Nelson advised the Council that he was honored to be working with the Chamber members, Council and the community at large to make Dorchester County a better place to live, work and do business. 




Ms. Baynard noted that the Council had previously approved the recommendation of the Board of License Commissioners to submit several proposals for legislation to amend Article 2B of the Annotated Code of Maryland to local legislators for the 2009 Maryland General Assembly Legislative Session.   She explained that the Board of License Commissioners had forwarded two additional legislative proposals which include the addition of a Section 9-101(n) regarding pecuniary interest and an amendment to Article 2B, Section 9-210 entitled “Proximity to Churches and Schools”.  She explained that a proposal for the addition of a Class “W”, Winery license was still under review by that Board.


Ms. Baynard explained that the Board of License Commissioners was recommending the addition of Article 2B, Section 9-101(n) to require that a liquor license for a corporation or limited liability company must be issued to, at minimum, three of the officers or authorized persons of those entities who hold a pecuniary interest in the corporation or limited liability company, as individuals.  She noted that if there were less than three officers, directors or less than three authorized persons holding a pecuniary interest all of those individuals holding a pecuniary interest are required to be applicants for the liquor license but recognized that a manager or supervisor of the applying entity who will be physically present on a full time basis on the licensed premises to conduct the daily business involving transactions that individual is not required to have a pecuniary interest in the business. Ms. Baynard stated that the proposed legislation further defined the documentation required in event a corporation of limited liability corporation is not a member of the security exchange, which documentation would include a schedule of ownership and information on which individuals had stock in the corporation or limited liability company.  Ms. Baynard advised that the proposed legislation does not apply to any license issued prior to July 1, 2009.


Ms. Baynard explained that the proposed amendment would require those individuals who are listed as applicants for corporations or limited liability companies to have a minimum of 51% of stock in a corporation or controlling interest (pecuniary interest) in a limited liability company. 


Based on a question from Councilman Newcomb as to why the Board of License Commissioners agreed to require a 51% controlling interest instead of a 50% interest, Gloria Dolan, Vice Chair of the Board of License Commissioners, explained that the Commissioners wanted to ensure that those individuals who had a controlling interest were represented on the license.  Councilman Newcomb expressed concerns that the individual with the most controlling interest may not be a County resident and would therefore be unable to be an applicant for the liquor license.    He suggested that the Council consider changing the percentage of pecuniary interest required to 50%. 


The Council approved the Board of License Commissioner’s recommendation to submit proposed legislation to add Section 9-101(n), “Dorchester County”, to State legislators for the 2009 Maryland General Assembly Legislative Session with the amendment that the applicants shall hold a minimum of 50% of the stock of a corporation or have a controlling interest in the limited liability company.  Councilman Newcomb recused.


Councilman Nichols advised that the Council had received a recommendation from the Board of License Commissions to amend Article 2B, Section  9-210, “Proximity of Churches and Schools” and that the recommendation was before the Council to discuss with the Board of License Commissioners.  He explained that there would be no public comment on the proposed legislation as the Council had already received comments from the public in the form of letters and emails and noted that public hearings had previously been held on the proposed legislation by the Board of License Commissioners.


Ms. Baynard explained that Article 2B, Section  9-210 stated that a liquor license could not be obtained for an establishment that is located within 300 feet of a church or public school and advised that the proposed amendment that was considered by the Board of License Commissioners would allow a bona fide restaurant to obtain a Class "B" Beer, Wine & Liquor License (On-Sale) within 300' of a church in the Arts and Entertainment District of the City of Cambridge.  She noted that the Board of License Commissioners voted 3 to 2 against recommending the amendment to the Council for the 2009 Maryland General Assembly Legislative Session.


Councilman Nichols advised that the Council had just received from the City of Cambridge at 4:15 p.m. a request to amend Article 2B, Section 9-210 that contained two proposals.  He explained that the County Council and the City Council met on November 17, 2008 to discuss the proposed amendment and that the proposals were as a result of that meeting.  At Councilman Nichols’ request the Council agreed to refer the amendment to the Board of License Commissioners for its review and consideration. Councilman Travers opposed and Newcomb recused himself as he holds a liquor license in Dorchester County.  Councilman Travers stated that he believed the Council should vote on the amendment before the Council and not defer the issue to the appointed Board.   The Council requested that the Board of License Commissioners provide a report on the proposed legislation to the Council for its December 2, 2008 meeting.  The Council acknowledged that the next meet of the Board of License Commissioners was scheduled for December 1, 2008.


In response to a question from Councilman Newcomb, Mr. Merryweather clarified that the County Council has the final vote on whether or not to forward any proposed legislator to State legislators for the 2009 Maryland General Assembly Legislative Session.


Patty Tieder, member, Board of License Commissioners expressed concern that she would not be able to attend the Board’s December 1, 2008 meeting.  Ms. Saunders advised Ms. Tieder that she recalls that in the past members of the Board of License Commissioner had been allowed to vote either by phone or proxy but advised Council that the meeting date change was formally approved by a majority vote of the Board.


Councilman Travers read into the record the City of Cambridge’s request to amend Section 9-210 of Article 2B.  He explained that City Council members were proposing that an exemption be created to the 300 foot setback requirement in Article 2B, Section 9-210 for establishments that are located within incorporated municipalities of Dorchester County and met the definition of “bona fide restaurant” as defined in Article 2 B, Section 6-201(k), which definition included a seating capacity at tables of 75 or more persons.  He noted that the legislation required that  the average daily receipts from sale of food exceed the average daily receipts from the sale of alcoholic beverages.  He explained that incorporated towns would be able to determine whether their zoning ordinances define the locations allowed for bona fide restaurants but clarified that the alcohol license determination remains vested with the Board of License Commissioners.


Councilman Travers noted that the City also provided a second option for an amendment to Article 2B, Section 9-210 which incorporated the changes in option one and allowed for amending the seating capacity from 75 to another figure to accommodate smaller businesses in the municipal areas of Dorchester County to qualify for the exemption from the 300 foot setback. 


Councilman Newcomb noted that legal counsel had advised him in the past to not vote on any issues pertaining to alcohol as he currently holds a liquor license in Dorchester County and, therefore, recused himself from voting until an opinion can be obtained from the Ethics Commission on his ability to participate.  He explained that a request for the Ethics Commission to convene had been received from Miles and Stockbridge to rule on his ability to vote on the amendment to Section 9-210.  He further requested that a ruling be obtained from the Commission on his ability to vote regarding alcohol or Article 2B issues to be considered by the County Council.  He explained that the Ethics Commission ruling could not supersede State law.


The Council commended the Board of License Commissioners for their service to the County and its residents.







The Council approved the request of Chuck Weber, Public Works Director, to purchase approximately 300 tons of blacktop from David A. Bramble at the cost of $64.00 using Highway User Funds to finish the blacktopping of Suicide Bridge Road as the County’s hot mix plant is currently not operational due to a broken exhaust fan. The Council acknowledged that County staff and equipment would be used to haul the material and blacktop the road.


The Council also requested that Mr. Weber review actions taken during the prior paving season to contract work normally done by County Highway crews to David A. Bramble and respond as to long-range goals regarding maintain an efficient paving program in Dorchester County. 




The Council approved a recommendation of Mr. Weber to move the existing guardrails at the curve located on the Rhodesdale end stream crossing of Palmers Mill Road two feet back from their existing location and to move and reset a portion of the guardrails on the curve on the Williamsburg end stream crossing of Palmers Mill Road in order to widen that road to a width closer to the distance between the guardrails prior to the June 2006 storm damage.  The Council agreed that the road could be closed at either location while the work is being performed and that the posted speed limit on those curves would remain at 20 mph.  The Council acknowledged that L.S. Lee will remove and reinstall the guardrails at the maximum cost of $21,340 at both locations and that County staff  would be responsible for the preparation of the work site including removal of stone with County equipment at a cost not to exceed $5,000, with the costs being paid from Highway User Funds.   The Council further acknowledged that Mr. Weber would work with L.S. Lee and County staff to keep the costs for these relocations at a minimum.




The Council request that Mr. Weber have staff view and, if necessary, fill in the potholes on Old Route 50 and near Pep Up at the location where the stop sign is located and to ensure that the necessary work is completed to correct the voids in the area on Suicide Bridge Road which paving was recently laid.




The Council approved the request of John Burton, Director, Dorchester County Farm Service Agency, to renew the lease between the Dorchester County Council and the Dorchester County Farm Service Agency effective October 1, 2008 on a month to month basis at $2,147 per month or $12.00 per square foot for the 2147 square feet of office space leased on the second floor of the County Office Building.  The Council agreed to increase the monthly rent from the current $8.00 per month based on the additional services the County provides the agency including custodial service, utilities and security.  The Council agreed to reserve the right to terminate the lease or decrease the amount of space by giving at least 120 days notice in writing.  The Council acknowledged that the State will be making a decision in the future to put out to bid a request for expressions of interest in leasing space to the Dorchester County Farm Service Agency.




The Council approved the request of Conrad Arnold, County Extension Director, Maryland Cooperative Extension, to retain and utilize an unexpended balance of  previously budgeted and paid County funds from FY 2008 in the amount of $8,267.36 for the operation, maintenance and improvements of the Thendara 4-H Center.




The Council approved the request of Dee McDonald, Chief Executive Officer, of the Dorchester County YMCA to host a ½ Marathon “Crab Run” on Saturday, April 11, 2009 with the start and finish of the race being at the YMCA.  The Council acknowledged that Ms. McDonald had contacted and received approval from the Cambridge Police Department, the Maryland State Police and the Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office to hold the event.





The Council approved the request of Neck District Volunteer Fire Company for the execution of a letter of support for the grant application submitted by The Neck District Volunteer Fire Company to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Community Facility Loan/Grant Program for grant funding to assist in the purchase of a rescue boat in the amount of $21,000.  The Council acknowledged that there was no local match and that the applicant would be Neck District Volunteer Fire Company.




The Council agreed to execute a water and sewer amendment resolution, based on a request from Beaver Run MD, LLC, for a text amendment to the Dorchester County Comprehensive Water and Sewer plan by changing the sewer designation for its property located at Tax Map 43, block 9 and Parcels 197, 198 and 201 from no planned service to S-1 (service existing or planned within two years) in order to allow Beaver Run MD LLC to upgrade the sewerage treatment method for phases 3-5 of the Beaver Run Mobile Home Park, which includes 32 existing manufactured homes.  The Council acknowledged that on January 22, 2008 the Council held a public hearing and adopted the amendment.




The Council approved the request of Mr. Weber to renew the Environmental Monitoring Services contract with GCI Environmental Services in the amount of $46,400 annually beginning fall 2008 through spring 2010.  The Council acknowledged that four additional monitoring wells at the Old Beulah site were being added which would increase the yearly cost by $2,810.




The Council approved the request of Mr. Weber to submit an application for grant funding in the amount of $1.84 million dollars to assist with the relocation of approximately 6,600 feet of rail line that is being displaced as a result of the project to extend the Cambridge-Dorchester Airport runway with a local match of 10%.  The Council agreed that the local match would need to be identified if the County receives the funds from the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Railroad Administration.  The Council acknowledged that the Federal Aviation Administration would provide funding for the removal of the existing rail line in order to extend the roadway but cannot provide funding for the relocation of the rail line.  The Council further acknowledged that the funds are proposed to be available in the second quarter of 2009 and will be made on a reimbursement basis as the County incurs costs.  The Council requested that Mr. Weber work with Keasha Haythe, Economic Development Director in determining, whether or not the Town of Ridgeley, has any rail lines available to donate to Dorchester County to assist with the relocation of the rail lines adjacent to the runway extension project at the Cambridge-Dorchester Airport and if those rail lines as suitable for the County’s needs.




The Council approved the request of Mr. Weber to amend the existing design services contract with Andrews Miller & Associates for design services for the Bucktown Road water and sewer extension to include the following items: 1) utilizing a recent water model developed by the water utility to determine projected fire flow conditions at the Tech Park; 2) include a potential water line interconnection to boost fire flows if determined to be advisable as a result of the water modeling; 3) include bid alternate specifications for ductile iron and HDPE pipe to possibly save material costs, which will result in an increase of $5,500 in design services fees.  The Council requested that Mr. Weber provide a report to Council once the work has been completed as to any additional cost to be added to construction costs.




The Council approved the request of Amanda Fenstermaker, Tourism Director, to advertise requests for bids for a professional graphic designer to layout and design the County’s 2009 Visitor’s Guide.  Ms. Baynard noted that the upper level of the Visitor’s Center was opened last week after receiving water damage and that the lower level would continue to be closed until repairs can be made.




The Council approved the request of Ms. Fenstermaker to execute a letter of support for the nomination of the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway as an All American Road.  The Council acknowledged that if the Byway receives the designation as an All American Road the County would be eligible to apply for funding for the preservation, and implementation of the byway and to be used to obtain technical assistance to market byway.




The Council approved the request of Jason Shorter, Emergency Medical Services Director, to advertise a vacant Shift Supervisor position in house to on call paramedics, and if no response, to advertise the vacancy in a local news publication.  The Council acknowledged that the filling of this position was in process prior to the Council’s October 7, 2008 decision to suspend the filling of vacant positions.






The Council appointed Councilman Nichols as the Maryland Association of Counties Legislative Committee Representative for Dorchester County and Councilman Price as the alternative Legislative Committee Representative for one year.




Councilman Nichols appointed Octavene Saunders to the Senior Council as the District 2 representative.  The Council acknowledged that Ms. Saunders' term will expire on December 31, 2011.  Councilman Newcomb and Councilman Travers advised that they were still seeking interests from individuals for the Senior Council. 




The Council agreed to cast a ballot for Donald Pinder to represent Dorchester County on the Farm Service Agency Committee.




The Council agreed to nominate Phyllis North as the County representative and Ronald Jones as an alternative to the Governor’s Office for appointment to the Property Tax Assessment Appeals Board.  The Council acknowledged that one of the requirements in nominating individuals to the Board was that three names were to be submitted for each appointment and requested that a letter be sent to the Governor’s Office with the nominations noting that the Council was unable to locate County residents willing to serve on the Board.




The Council declared several CRTs (large monitors) and computers, a server and an IBM AS400 surplus property to be cleaned and disposed of properly as the equipment was antiquated.




The Council approved the attached the budget adoption schedule for the adoption of the FY 2010 budget.  The Council agreed that no presentations would be held during the FY 2010 budget process unless the Council asked a department head or agency to provide a presentation.  Councilman Travers and Councilman Price opposed.




Ms. Baynard advised that in the interim between meetings the Council unanimously approved the following by means of telephone poll: 1) approved the execution of a letter of support for the application of George and Lynch, Inc. for an award for the construction of the Galestown project to the National Association of Contractors by a 5 to 0 vote;

2) agreed to send letter congratulating George & Lynch, Inc. on being awarded the 2008 Construction Excellence Award for the Galestown Road Dam reconstruction from the State of Delaware, Office of Management and Budget and the Delaware Contractors Association by a 5 to 0 vote; 3) approved a request by Roy Mills, Highway Division Chief, to contract with Custom Welding of Cambridge to fabricate a hot oil line for the County's hot mix plant at the cost of $900 to $1,000 dollars, to be paid with funds from the Highway Division's budget by a 5 to 0 vote. The Council acknowledged that the fabrication and purchase of the hot oil line was a necessary expenditure in order for the hot mix plant to function and paving to resume; 4) approved the disbursement of $7,207.50 to Lausen Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc., which represents the 30% deposit due at the signing of the contract, for the new heating system at the Highway building, in order for the installation of the system to continue, by a 5 to 0 vote; 5) approved a request from Amanda Fenstermaker, Tourism Director, to submit a grant application to the Chaney Foundation for funds in the amount of $5,500 to record interviews with selected local residents about Dorchester's heritage and incorporate them into the audio visual component of the new "Where Land and Water Meet" exhibit at the Dorchester County Visitor Center by a 5 to 0 vote. The Council acknowledged that there was no local cash match; 6) approved a request to purchase an Automated Weather Observation system for the Airport in the amount of $600 by a 5 to 0 vote, which system provides information and weather to pilots to facilitate their landing at the Airport; 7) agreed meet in a work session on November 17, 2008 with the Cambridge City Council to discuss various Economic Development and Public Safety issues by a 5 to 0 vote; 8) approved a request from the Cambridge City Council and Mayor Victoria Jackson Stanley to apply for funding under the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development Neighborhood Conservation Initiative in the amount of $350,000 to be used by the City of Cambridge in conjunction with a nonprofit Community Development Corporation and Habitat for Humanity of Talbot and Dorchester Counties to purchase foreclosed homes to rehabilitate or to raze and replace with newly constructed homes; 9) by a 4 to 1 vote the Council agreed not to relocate the November 18, 2008 meeting to another location by a 4 to 1 vote and to not allow public comments during the discussion concerning the report on proposed legislation received from the Board of License Commissioners due to time constraints by a 3 to 2 vote; 10) approved a request from Sheriff James Phillips to execute a Mutual Aid Agreement between Dorchester County and Kent County for providing mutual law enforcement aid and assistance in emergency situations by a five to 1 vote.




Portia Ennals, a Dorchester County resident, noted that the Council had previously declared computer equipment as surplus.  She advised the Council that she believed the Health Department was collecting old computers in order to update them and provide them to handicapped children to use.   Ms. Baynard said that there were two laptop computers without hard drives that had not been sold at a recent surplus sale that the Council may consider donating.  Ms. Ennals advised that she would contact the Health Department to determine if they were still accepting old computer and would get back to the Council.




Based on a recommendation from Councilman Travers, the Council appointed Andrew Pasden to the Ethics Commission to replace Shirley McWilliams, who has moved out of the County.  The Council acknowledged that Mr. Pasden’s term will expire in November 2010.


The Council agreed to send a letter to Governor Martin O’Malley expressing concern about the proposed regulations for poultry producers in the State of Maryland which would require producers to expend more money at a time when there is an economic downturn.


Councilman Nichols announced that the Council would be meeting on December 2, 2008 and that on that date the Council intended to meet in executive session.


With no further business to discuss, the Council adjourned.



ATTEST:                                                         DORCHESTER COUNTY COUNCIL:


______________________________            ____________________________________

Jane Baynard, County Manager                       William V. Nichols, President



                                                                        Jay Newcomb, Vice President



                                                                        Effie M. Elzey



                                                                        Ricky Travers



                                                                        Rick Price


Approved the ______day of                      , 2008.