Meeting Minutes

Meeting Minutes
posted: 09/16/09

County Council Meeting Minutes


August 25, 2009

County Council of Dorchester County

Regular Meeting Minutes

August 25, 2009

 

The County Council of Dorchester County met in regular session on August 25, 2009 with the following members present: Present were Jay L. Newcomb, President; William V. Nichols, Vice President; Effie M. Elzey; Ricky Travers; and Rick Price. Also present were E. Thomas Merryweather, County Attorney; and Donna Lane, Executive administrative Specialist.

 

REGULAR SESSION

 

EXECUTIVE SESSION

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

Session pursuant to 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)(3) to consider the acquisition of real property for a public purpose and matters directly related thereto;   pursuant to §10-508(A)(4) to consider a preliminary matter that concerns the proposal for a business or industrial organization to locate, expand, or remain in the State; and pursuant to §10-508(A)(7) to consult with counsel to obtain legal advice on a legal matter.

 

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

 

REGULAR SESSION

 

INVOCATION AND PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

Councilman Nichols led the invocation and the pledge of allegiance.

 

CALL FOR ADDITIONS OR DELETIONS TO AGENDA

 

There were no additions or deletions to the agenda

APPROVAL OF MINUTES-AUGUST 11, 2009

 

The Council approved the minutes for August 11, 2009 as presented.

APPROVAL OF DISBURSEMENTS

The Council approved vouchers as presented with the exception of a payment to G & J Clean 4 U, LLC which should be for $50.00 instead of $262.50.


FINANICAL REPORT: CASH AND INVESTMENTS

 

Councilman Newcomb reported total cash and investments as $2,139,916.56.

 

BUDGET TRANSFERS-COUNTY DEPARTMENTS

 

The Council approved the budget transfer request for FY09 of Chuck Weber, Public Works Director, to transfer $26,000 from the Highway Division of Public Works fuel oil account to various smaller expenditure accounts within that division to cover additional unexpected costs as follows: $10,000 to repair parts, $3,500 to tire/tubes, $2,500 to shop supplies, and $10,000 to office supplies.

 

The Council approved the FY 09 budget transfer request of Mr. Weber to transfer $8,536 from rental of equipment from the Solid Waste Division of Public Works budget to the following accounts to cover additional unexpected costs: $4,571 to insurance-liability and property and $3,965 to electric.

 

The Council approved a FY09 budget transfer request from Steve Dodd, Planning and Zoning Director, to transfer $1,185 from legal expense to auto expense to cover additional unanticipated costs.

 

The Council approved the budget request of Wayne Robinson, Emergency Management Director to transfer funds between the following accounts to balance the Emergency Management Department budget for FY09: 1) $200 from office supplies to other; 2) $300 from auto expense to auto fuel; 3) $1,000 from contractual to auto expenses; 4) $300 from printing and publishing to water; and 5) $250 from building to electric.

 

CAPITAL PAYMENT AUTHORIZATIONS-BOARD OF EDUCATION

 

The Council approved a capital payment authorization request from Dr. Frederic Hildenbrand, Superintendent of Schools, in the amount of $35,374.78  from General Funds/PAYGO 2007 for the following: 1) School of Technology design ($2,203.81); 2) non-systemic projects ($171.62); 3) portable classrooms at Warwick Elementary ($4,045.77); 4) portable classrooms for Vienna Elementary ($8,898.11); 5) South Dorchester building envelope ($8,900);  and 6) for planning and design for the North Dorchester Middle School, ($11,155.47).

 

The Council approved a capital payment authorization request from Dr. Hildenbrand, in the amount of $35,117.60 from General Funds/PAYGO 2008 for the following: 1) paving/sidewalks ($16,297); 2) phone system at Hurlock Elementary School ($12,000); 3) library book replacement ($3,730.60); and 4) printers ($3,090).

 

The Council approved a capital payment authorization request from Dr. Hildenbrand, in the amount of $34,077 from Bonds of 2008 for costs associated with the design of the School of Technology.

 

The Council approved a capital payment authorization request from Dr. Hildenbrand, in the amount of $84,186.51 from Transfer Tax Fund/PAYGO 2008 for the following: 1)Board of Education replacement of steam traps ($59,748.59); 2) North Dorchester High School bleacher system replacement ($11,667.47); 3) two portable classroom units for South Dorchester School ($1,1502); 4) septic pumps for South Dorchester School ($389.45); 5) windows, walls, floors and doors ($7,195); and 6) HVAC controls for Sandy Hill Elementary School ($3,684).

 

The Council approved a capital payment authorization request from Dr. Hildenbrand, in the amount of $141,641.10 from Transfer Tax Fund/PAYGO 2009 for the following non-systemic projects:   1) library book replacement (56,236.31); 2) paving/concrete site work (1,764.77); 3) capital equipment (45,398.02); and 4) windows, walls, floors, doors ($38,242).

 

The Council approved a capital payment authorization request from Dr. Hildenbrand, in the amount of $27,694  from General Funds/PAYGO 2009  for the following technology projects:  1) Smart classrooms Interwrite school pad and student response system ($7,554); 2) Smart classrooms Interwrite School Pad ($19,750); and 3) printers ($390).

 

The Council approved a capital payment authorization request from Dr. Hildenbrand, in the amount of $157,086.61 from General Funds/PAYGO 2010 for a computer lease.

 

EXECUTIVE SESSION SUMMARY

 

The County Council of Dorchester County convened in an Executive Session at 4:30 p.m. on August 25, 2009 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)(3) to consider the acquisition of real property for a public purpose and matters directly related thereto;   pursuant to §10-508(A)(4) to consider a preliminary matter that concerns the proposal for a business or industrial organization to locate, expand, or remain in the State; and pursuant to §10-508(A)(7) to consult with counsel to obtain legal advice on a legal matter.

 

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) discussed proposed amendments to the County’s Rules and Regulations-action to be taken in open session; 2) approved the request of the Economic Development Director to offer an Administrative Associate position to the next applicant on the department’s list of recommended candidates to fill a vacancy, as an individual declined the position, by a 3 to 2 vote; 3) discussed an offer regarding the disposal of County owned property; 4) received an update from staff on the Dorchester County Technology Park-took no action; 5) received an update from Public Works regarding a legal matter pertaining to a road project; 6) discussed with legal counsel a request for an incentive payment for work performed; 7) discussed with legal counsel a matter relating to tax deductible expenses.

 

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.

 

REGULAR SESSION

BOARD OF EDUCATION INTERVIEWS-DISTRICT 4 VACANCY                                                             

Councilman Newcomb stated that Parker Durham and Glenn Payne submitted expressions of interest to fill a District 4 Dorchester County Board of Education vacancy due to the resignation of Michelle Jackson.  He noted that both Mr. Durham and Mr.  Payne was given a chance to review the interview questions 30 minutes in advance of the meeting.  An interview of the applicants was conducted as follows. Councilman Newcomb posed the questions.

 

“Give examples of your prior experience in a leadership role.”

 

                    Mr. Payne

                                   Retired Maryland State Police Officer with 30 years of service. Previous member of County Council.  Appointed by Governor to serve on Homeland Security Board, presently security officer for the Maryland Workers Compensation Commission and in charge of entire Eastern Shore.

 

                  Mr. Durham

          Worked as administrator in public school system as a Director of Technology for six years.  Currently works for County government as Director of Technology.  Worked as a School Teacher for ten and a half years.  Served on Various clubs and offices.

 

“What experience do you have when it comes to developing and implementing a budget?”

 

      Mr. Durham

 

          Has been successful in preparing and implementing budgets during his employment with the public school system and County government.  Reviewed budgets of various organizations and made recommendations to improve or modify them.  Budgets need to be planned well in advance.

 

                  Mr. Payne

                                   Was involved in preparing budget when he was a member of the Dorchester County Council.

 “Tell us what the primary responsibilities of a Board of Education member are? Can you meet these requirements?”

 

                  Mr. Payne

                                   Need to focus on reading, writing, math and other academics and involving families.  Also need qualified and certified staff.

 

      Mr. Durham

                                  Major responsibility of school board is setting policies and making sure they are followed.    Also plan and approve budgets and approve projects. 

 

“Tell us one improvement you feel is necessary for the Board of Education for

Dorchester County.”

 

      Mr. Durham

                      Communication is the strongest area that needs improvement.  Need to involve community, student, parents, Board members, administration and Council.

 

                  Mr. Payne

           Need to communicate more with parents and form a Committee to improve the school dropout rate and attendance.

Since the County Council provides the majority of funding for the school system, what accountability does the Board of Education have to provide to the County Council who funds a significant portion of local revenue to the Board of Education.”

                                   

                  Mr. Payne

           School board should be honest with the County Council as they provide funds to the Board of Education.  Should keep the Council informed and work with them regarding budgets and projects.  

     

      Mr. Durham

          Aware that the Council would like the power to veto Board of Education line items although they cannot.  School board and Council should work together.  Council should be informed regarding budget matters.

 

“Why do you believe you are qualified for this appointment to the Board of Education?”

 

     


Mr. Durham

          Have had experience in public school systems from teaching to central office.  Also has experience in working in between County Government and the public school system in Talbot County.  His three children attended Dorchester County schools. 

            Mr. Payne

           He, his, wife and his daughter attended Dorchester County schools.  Patrolled Dorchester County for the entire 30 years he was a Maryland State Police Trooper.  His wife is a retired school teacher and his daughter is currently a school teacher in Dorchester County.  Born and live in District 4.  Have participated in many committees throughout the County.

 

“Do you have any concerns about the current condition of existing schools?

            Mr. Payne

           Expressed concern about the lack of security in schools.  Noted that several schools were in disarray.  A real estate agent at a hearing last week regarding the revision of City of Cambridge’s comprehensive plan noted that the schools in the County were in disarray.

Mr. Durham

          Will need more information before citing concerns about the conditions of existing schools.  Does not want to limit his concerns to only one area in the County.

Councilman Newcomb thanked Mr. Payne and Mr. Durham.

Councilman Nichols stated that the individual chosen to replace Ms. Jackson on the Board will be in a position of authority and should strive to remain truthful and honest while holding that position. 

Councilman Travers noted that the appointment is for one year only.  Both Mr. Payne and Mr. Durham acknowledged that the position is up for re-election in a year.

Councilman Price thanked Mr. Payne and Mrs. Durham for volunteering to fill the position and for the candid answers they gave.

By ballot, the Council voted 4 to 1 to appoint Glenn Payne to fill the District 4 Board of Education vacancy due to the resignation of Michelle Jackson.  The Council acknowledged that Mr. Payne’s term will expire on December 1, 2010.

GENERAL DISCUSSION-LEGISLATION

 

Councilman Newcomb explained that a general discussion on proposed legislation for the 2010 Maryland General Assembly Legislative Session was being held prior to the Council meeting with local legislators on November 10, 2009.  He said that a second general discussion (September 22, 2009) and a final discussion (October 20, 2009) on proposed legislation will also be held. 

 

Councilman Newcomb advised that correspondence was sent to Department heads, elected officials and the municipalities in the County asking them to forward any legislative proposals and that no responses were received.

 

Council Newcomb explained that in FY 2008 the Council agreed to consider the following items for the 2010 legislative session: 1) meeting with the Sanitary Commissioners to discuss a possible amendment to amend the powers of the Sanitary District to become a function of local government; 2) implementation of Taxes/Fees associated with projects regarding the transmission of electricity; 3) requesting a review of requirements placed on charter counties which require a number of printed copies of the Code and supplemental updates to be provided to several State agencies at the cost of the County; and  4) amending Section 4-201 of the Education Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland to require that, upon appointment, the Dorchester County Superintendent of Schools must reside in Dorchester County.

 

Based on a question from Councilwoman Elzey, E. Thomas Merryweather, County Attorney, confirmed that the Council can ask local legislators to introduce legislation to amend State law to require that a Superintendent of Schools must reside in Dorchester County once appointed. 

 

Councilman Newcomb advised that several residents have expressed to him their opinion that the Superintendent of Schools should reside in Dorchester County.  Councilman Travers noted that the individual selected for the position does not need to move to Dorchester County until after being appointed.  He explained that the County Manager is required to reside in the County once appointed.  Councilman Newcomb noted that the Dorchester County Sheriff, Circuit Court Judge and State’s Attorney also must be residents of the County once elected. 

 

Councilwoman Elzey stated that the Council should discuss the census process with local legislators.

 

Councilman Nichols noted that historically local legislators do not submit any legislation that will directly affect Dorchester County without first obtaining the Council’s support.  He stated despite this historical precedence, local legislators submitted legislation during the 2009 Maryland General Assembly legislative session without Council’s support and he believed the Council should talk with the local delegation regarding this unprecedented matter.

 

In response to questions from Councilwoman Elzey, Mr. Merryweather stated that local legislators can submit legislation without Council’s support if it pertains to a section in Maryland law which includes County liquor laws.

 

Councilman Price noted that he and Councilwoman Elzey meet with local farmers quarterly and that he will ask if they have any ideas or suggestions on pursuing legislation to provide assistance to the farming community in the County.

 

The Council agreed to not pursue legislation during the 2010 legislative session to amend the powers of the Sanitary District to become a function of local government.

The Council requested that legal advice be obtained from Charles McLeod, Special Legal Counsel, about whether to pursue legislation to implement taxes/fees associated with projects regarding the transmission of electricity during the 2010 legislative session.

 

The Council agreed not to request a review of requirements placed on charter counties which require a number of printed copies of the Code and supplemental updates to be provided to several State agencies at the cost of the County unless Harford County or other counties in the State of Maryland submit requests.

 

The Council agreed to pursue legislation amending Section 4-201 of the Education Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland to require that, upon appointment, the Dorchester County Superintendent of Schools must reside in Dorchester County.

 

MANAGERS COMMENTS

 

TAYLORS ISLAND DOCK-BOAT SLIPS-PUBLIC WORKS

 

Based on the recommendation of Chuck Weber, Public Works Director, the Council

approved the establishment of up to three boat slips for lease at the County owned Taylors Island Dock at the annual rate of $425 per year.  The Council authorized Mr. Weber to notify those boat owners who are currently using the facility that they will either have to rent a slip or vacate.   The Council acknowledged that the area at the end of the dock will still be available for loading and unloading. 

 

REQUEST TO ADVERTISE BID-ELLIOTT ISLAND SHORELINE RESTORATION AND WETLANDS PROJECT-PUBLIC WORKS

 

The Council approved the request of Mr. Weber to advertise on August 30, 2009 requests for expressions of interest for the Elliott Island Shoreline Restoration and Wetlands project construction.  The Council acknowledged that verbal notification has been received that the County is in line to be awarded a $2.35 million grant from the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) using American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds and that these funds coupled with a Department of Natural Resources Shore Erosion Control Loan will fully fund the estimated project cost.   The Council further  acknowledged that the MDE  grant is contingent on the County meeting a strict deadline schedule for bidding and awarding the project which includes advertising the project for 30 days and receiving bids prior to September 30, 2009. 

 

AMENDMENTS TO RULES AND REGULATIONS-HARASSMENT-HUMAN RESOURCES 

 

Based on the recommendation of Becky Dennis, Human Resources, Director, the Council

Agreed to post amendments to the County’s Rules and Regulations regarding harassment in all departments for the required time period of ten days in order to provide an opportunity for employee comment prior to the adoption of the amendment.

The Council acknowledged that the amendment will revise the rules and regulations to cover all forms of harassment in the workplace and will include a universal complaint form for employee use.

 

MARYLAND TOURISM AND TRAVEL SUMMIT REQUEST-TOURISM

 

The Council approved the request of Amanda Fenstermaker, Tourism Director, to travel to Ocean City for the Maryland Tourism and Travel Summit from November 4 to November 6, 2009.  The Council acknowledged that the total cost for the trip including conference registration fee, lodging, food and transportation will be $730 and will be paid from the Tourism budget.

 

STATEMENT OF CONCURRENCE-UPPER SHORE WORKFORCE INVESTMENT BOARD         

 

The Council approved the written request of Daniel McDermott, Executive Director of the Upper Shore Workforce Investment Board, to execute a Statement of Concurrence to support the Board's request for additional funding in the amount of $1,086,509 for the period of July 1, 2009 through June 30, 2010 from the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation under the Trade Assistance Act.  The Council acknowledged that the funds will be used to assist economically disadvantaged adults ($188,217), economically disadvantaged youth ($191,539) and dislocated workers ($598,102) with job training job placement and job retention services and includes project administration funds of $108,651.

 

REQUEST FOR CONTRIBUTION-MARYLAND STATE FIREMAN’S VOLUNTEER COMPANY ASSISTANCE FUND-ELDORADO-BROOKVIEW

 

The Council approved the request of Robert A. Murphy, Chief, Eldorado-Brookview Volunteer Fire Company, Inc.,  for a one time contribution of $5,000 from the FY10 Contingency Fund as a commitment to that fire company’s loan through the Maryland State Firemen’s Volunteer Company Assistance Fund towards the purchase of a new engine.  The Council instructed that proof that the loan or grant has been obtained and proof that funds have been expended be forwarded to the Finance Office before the funds are released to the fire company.

 

REQUEST TO USE PARKING LOT/ELECTRICAL OUTLETS-CUBMOBILE DERBY-CUB SCOUTS

 

The Council approved the request of Mike O’Connor, Assistant Cubmaster Pack  209 and Cubmobile Committee Chair, to use the parking lot and electrical outlets at the County Office Building for parking, registration, concessions, and displays during its 8th Annual Choptank District Cubmobile Derby on Sunday, October 4, 2010 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.   The Council requested a certification of liability insurance for the event, which names the County as an additional insured, be provided and that they be responsible for cleaning the area.  The Council acknowledged that they have received approval from the City of Cambridge.

 

RESOLUTION OF SUPPORT REQUESTS-MARYLAND TAX CREDITS-GIRL SCOUTS OF CHESAPEAKE BAY COUNCIL; NEW BEGINNINGS YOUTH AND FAMILY SERVICES

 

The Council approved the execution of a Resolution of Support of the Girl Scouts of the Chesapeake Bay Council’s (Girl Scouts) application for Maryland Tax Credits for 2010 to the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development for support under their Community Investment Tax Credit program.  The Council acknowledged that the tax credits will encourage business and individual donors to contribute to Girl Scouts in Dorchester County and will ensure the continuation of programs that allow disadvantaged girls to participate in programs at no cost to their families.  The Council acknowledged that there is no financial obligation required of the County.  Councilman Price abstained.

 

The Council approved the execution of a Resolution of Support of New Beginnings Youth and Family Services application for Maryland Tax Credits for 2010 to the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development for support under their Community Investment Tax Credit program.  The Council acknowledged that there is no financial obligation required of the County.

 

MARYLAND ENVIRONMENTAL TRUST CONSERVATION EASEMENT-BLUE WATER FARM, LLC

 

The Council approved a request from Blue Water Farm, LLC, for a proposed conservation easement donation of its 152 acre property on Horns Point Road to the Maryland Environmental Trust and Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, Inc. and acknowledged that the easement may provide a 15 year tax credit on the land.  The Council acknowledged that the impact to the County’s property tax base will be $9,767.71 annually.

 

TRAFFIC SAFETY COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATIONS

 

The Council considered the Traffic Safety’s Committee’s recommendations for several issues discussed at its July 30, 2009 meeting.   Based on these recommendations the Council approved the placement of a sign depicting a child kicking a ball on Cannon Road and to replace the yield sign with a stop sign at the River Road and Whitely Road intersection (Williamsburg).  The Council also agreed that the speed limit shall remain at 25 m.p.h. on Creamery Road and that speed bumps will not be placed on the road.

The Council further agreed that street lights should not be placed on Phyllis Drive.  The Council acknowledged that there is currently no existing electrical power or poles on that road.

 

TELEPHONE POLL CONFIRMATIONS    

 

Councilman Newcomb advised that in the interim between meetings the Council, by telephone poll, approved the request of Sheriff James Phillips and accepted the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention Byrne-Justice Assistance Grant (American Recovery & Reinvestment Act of 2009) for the project titled “Portable Radios-LETR” in the amount of $32,886 with no cash match for the period of August 1, 2009 to June 30, 2010 to purchase ten portable radios.

 

PUBLIC COMMENTS

 

Bruce Coulson, a Dorchester County resident, advised the Council that the Chief of the Army Corps of Engineers has signed off on the Mid Bay Island restoration project report.  He explained that if f