Meeting Minutes

Meeting Minutes
posted: 09/29/09

County Council Meeting Minutes


September 8, 2009

County Council of Dorchester County

Regular Meeting Minutes

 

September 8, 2009

 

The County Council of Dorchester County met in regular session on September 8, 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; Jane Baynard, County Manager 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 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.

 

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

 

REGULAR SESSION

 

INVOCATION AND PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

 

George Ames, Chaplain, led the invocation and Mr. Ames and members of the Veterans Recognition Committee led the pledge of allegiance.

 

EXECUTIVE SESSION SUMMARY

 

The County Council of Dorchester County convened in an Executive Session at 4:30 p.m. on September 8, 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.

 

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 the request of the Warden to promote an individual to a Sergeant/Shift Supervisor position at the Detention Center by a 3 to 1 vote;  2) discussed a proposed settlement of a Workers Compensation case regarding a County employee-took no action; 3) approved the request of the Emergency Medical Services Director to promote an individual to an EMT-1 by a 4 to 0 vote; and 4) confirmed the hiring of an individual as a Probationary Patrol Deputy by a 4 to 1 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.

Councilman Newcomb noted that Councilwoman Elzey left meeting due to a medical emergency.

 

CALL FOR ADDITIONS OR DELETIONS TO AGENDA

 

There were no additions or deletions to the agenda.

 

APPROVAL OF MINUTES-AUGUST 25, 2009

 

The Council approved the minutes for August 25, 2009 as amended.  

 

APPROVAL OF DISBURSEMENTS

 

The Council approved vouchers as presented with Councilman Travers abstaining from payments made to Simmons Center Market.

 

FINANICAL REPORT: CASH AND INVESTMENTS

 

Councilman Newcomb reported total cash and investments as $1,757,973.30.

 

REGULAR SESSION

 

PROCLAMATION-11TH ANNUAL VETERANS RECOGNITION DAY-SEPTEMBER 19, 2009

 

The Council presented a proclamation declaring September 19, 2009 the 11th annual Veterans Recognition Day.  Mr. Ames and the members of the Veterans Recognition Committee accepted the proclamation.   Commander Carlton Bryan, representing American Legion Post 87 was also present.  Mr. Ames invited the Council to the 11th annual Veterans Recognition memorial service on September 19, 2009.

 

LEGISLATIVE SESSION

 

The Council adjourned to legislative session.

 

PUBLIC HEARING                                                                            

 

BILL NO. 2009-9 AN ACT OF THE COUNTY COUNCIL OF DORCHESTER COUNTY, MARYLAND PURSUANT TO ARTICLE 25A, SECTION 5(S) AND ARTICLE 25A, SECTION 5(T) OF THE ANNOTATED CODE OF MARYLAND REPEALING AND REENACTING SECTION 82-12(B) OF CHAPTER 82 ENTITLED ELECTRICAL STANDARDS OF THE DORCHESTER COUNTY CODE, PROVIDING THAT AN ELECTRICIAN GENERAL IS ANY PERSON ENGAGED ONLY IN HOUSE WIRING LIMITED TO A DWELLING CONTAINING NO MORE THAN FOUR FAMILY UNITS, AND COMMERCIAL WIRING LIMITED TO CIRCUITS OF NOT MORE THAN SIXTY (60) AMPERES, THREE PHASE IN AN EXISTING COMMERCIAL STRUCTURE.

 

E. Thomas Merryweather, County Attorney, noted that the proposed bill repeals and reenacts Section 82-12(B) of Chapter 82 entitled “Electrical Standards” of the Dorchester County Code to provide that an electrician general is a person engaged only in house wiring limited to a dwelling containing no more than four family units and commercial wiring is limited to circuits of not more than sixty (60) amperes, three phase, in an existing commercial structure.

 

Jeff Bell, President of Dorchester County Electrical Examiners Board, expressed his support for the proposed amendment.  He explained that without the amendment electricians located in the County are only able to perform electrical work for single family dwellings. 

 

Rick McCollister, a Dorchester County resident and electrician, expressed his support for the amendment.

 

The roll call on the enactment of Bill No. 2009-9 was as follows:  Newcomb-aye;

Nichols-aye; Price-aye; Travers-nay.

 

PUBLIC HEARING                                                                                                    

 

BILL NO. 2009-10 AN ACT TO AUTHORIZE AND EMPOWER DORCHESTER COUNTY, MARYLAND, TO BORROW UP TO $14,297,298 ON ITS FULL FAITH AND CREDIT, AND ISSUE AND SELL ITS BONDS OR OTHER OBLIGATIONS IN ONE OR MORE SERIES FROM TIME TO TIME THEREFOR, TO BE USED TO FINANCE, REIMBURSE OR REFINANCE COSTS OF A CERTAIN SCHOOL PROJECT PROVIDED FOR IN THE FISCAL YEAR 2008 CAPITAL BUDGET AND COSTS OF ISSUANCE OF SUCH BONDS OR OTHER OBLIGATIONS; AUTHORIZING THE COUNTY COUNCIL TO ADOPT ONE OR MORE ADMINISTRATIVE RESOLUTIONS PRIOR TO ISSUING ANY SUCH BONDS OR OTHER OBLIGATIONS IN ORDER TO FIX, PRESCRIBE, DETERMINE OR PROVIDE FOR THE DETAILS OF SUCH BONDS OR OTHER OBLIGATIONS AND THE ISSUANCE AND SALE THEREOF; EXEMPTING SUCH BONDS OR OTHER OBLIGATIONS FROM THE PROVISIONS OF SECTIONS 10 AND 11 OF ARTICLE 31 OF THE ANNOTATED CODE OF MARYLAND; PROVIDING FOR THE LEVY OF TAXES UPON THE ASSESSABLE PROPERTY WITHIN THE COUNTY SUFFICIENT TO PAY THE DEBT SERVICE ON SUCH BONDS OR OTHER OBLIGATIONS; AUTHORIZING THE ISSUANCE AND SALE FROM TIME TO TIME OF ONE OR MORE SERIES OF GENERAL OBLIGATION BOND ANTICIPATION NOTES IN AN AGGREGATE PRINCIPAL AMOUNT NOT EXCEEDING $14,297,298 IN ORDER TO FINANCE, REFINANCE OR REIMBURSE PROJECT COSTS ON AN INTERIM BASIS; AND GENERALLY PROVIDING FOR AND DETERMINING VARIOUS MATTERS IN CONNECTION WITH THE GENERAL OBLIGATION BONDS, OTHER OBLIGATIONS AND BOND ANTICIPATION NOTES AUTHORIZED HEREBY.

 

Mr. Merryweather stated that a public hearing was being held on Bill No. 2009-10 which will authorize the County Council to borrow up to $14,297,298.  Michael Spears, Finance Director, explained that the funds will be used to fund construction costs for the School of Technology and any related bond issuance costs.

 

There was no public comment.

 

The roll call on the enactment of Bill No. 2009-10 was as follows:  Price-nay; Newcomb-aye; Travers-aye; Nichols-aye.

 

REGULAR SESSION

 

CITIZEN CONCERNS-BAY RESTORATION FUND     

 

Councilman Newcomb opened the floor to County residents to express concerns regarding their efforts to obtain funding through the Bay Restoration Fund to upgrade their septic systems using enhanced nutrient removal technology.  

 

David Schauber, a Dorchester County resident, stated that after receiving a notice from the Maryland Department of Environment (MDE) regarding the availability of funds to upgrade his septic system he filed the appropriate paperwork with the Dorchester County Health Department on April 6, 2009 to obtain funding.  He explained that after the application was filed, Eric Graafeiland, Sanitarian, inspected his septic system and advised him that he needed to install a new tank and drain field.  He said he was told on April 10, 2009 the funds granted to the Dorchester County Health Department had been depleted and that he must work directly with Maryland Department of the Environment representatives to obtain approval.  Mr. Schauber noted that he then received a preliminary approval letter on April 17, 2009 and paid permit fees for the new system in May.  He stated that despite being advised verbally by Joshua Flatley, Bay Restoration Fund Project Manager for MDE, in June and July of 2009 that funds were forthcoming;  in August Mr. Flately advised him that he missed the deadline to submit the application by one day.  Mr. Schauber said he had been told that funds may be available in October 2009 but noted that he will replace his septic system before then because he will be able to install an older style tank at the cost of $8,000 instead of installing a newer style tank using a nitrogen removal system at the cost of $20,000.  He explained that legislation becomes effective in October 2009 that prohibits the replacement of an on-site sewage disposal system unless the system utilizes nitrogen removal technology.  

 

Councilman Newcomb expressed concern that senior citizens living on a fixed income will not be able to pay for the installation of new systems without financial assistance.

 

Daniel Wood, a Dorchester County resident, stated that it is his understanding that 100 applications have been submitted for Bay Restoration funding with 60 of those being on file since approximately March 2009.  He said that he heard that $1 million of the Bay Restoration funds have been designated for Anne Arundel County and expressed his opinion that Dorchester County, being primarily composed of critical areas, is not receiving appropriate funding.  Mr. Wood stated that it was his understanding that although the funds were originally earmarked for low income individuals the funds are now available for individuals of any income level.

 

Bill Forlifer, Environmental Health Officer, explained that in the spring of 2008 a block grant request to MDE was submitted on behalf of the Dorchester County Health Department for Bay Restoration Funds for approximately $400,000 and that verbal confirmation was received that the funds were approved in December 2008.  He explained that staff started processing applications upon receiving that approval and shortly thereafter MDE sent out postcards to residents regarding the availability of funds.  He said the demand for applications increased in March 2009 and that the funds allocated to Dorchester County in that block grant were quickly expended.  Mr. Forlifer explained that staff then referred individuals who expressed interest in obtaining funding directly to MDE.   He noted that 185 applications were processed through the health department and that some County residents have received funding and have installed new systems.  Mr. Forlifer said he had no knowledge about the status of any of the applications filed directly to MDE or whether there are still funds available for Dorchester County residents through that agency.  He noted that he heard that new applications have been placed on hold by MDE staff because of changes in funding based on legislation passed during the recent Maryland General Assembly legislative session.   

 

In response to a question from Councilman Newcomb, Mr. Merryweather stated that Bay Restoration Funds can be re-allocated to offset other State expenses.   Mr. Graafeiland explained that a fee known as the “flush tax” is collected from citizens and businesses in the State and is placed in the Bay Restoration Fund, which was established in 2005.  He noted that for the first several years of the program the annual contribution to that fund from this tax was $7.5 million.    Mr. Graafeiland advised that at the end of 2009 the submission of applications for funding through the Bay Restoration Fund increased dramatically.  (Mr. Forlifer said he heard recently that based on current estimates there are enough funds to cover the cost to repair all of the septic systems in the critical areas.)  Councilman Newcomb noted that approximately 50% of Dorchester County is located in the critical areas.

 

Roger Harrell, Health Officer, said that during the Maryland Association of Counties summer conference Delegate Jeannie Haddaway stated that MDE has placed all Bay Restoration Fund applicants on a waiting list.   He said he had also heard that funds were moved from the Bay Restoration fund when the State budget was balanced and that he believes they were transferred to the Program Open Space Fund.   He recommended that the Council send a request to the Secretary of MDE to meet with representatives at a work session to discuss the matter.

 

Councilman Travers expressed his concern that State legislation that prohibits the replacement of an on-site sewage disposal system unless the system utilizes nitrogen removal technology was passed without providing residents an avenue for funding.

 

The Council agreed to send letter to the Secretary of MDE to meet with Council to discuss the matter with copies being distributed to Governor Martin O’Malley and the Eastern Shore delegation.

 

Councilman Nichols left meeting.

 

PRESENTATION-USE OF SCHOOL STREET FIELDS- ZENTGRAF/MCALLISTER                       

William “Sandy” McAllister, presented a proposal to lease property from the County on School Street to renovate the athletic fields behind the Sandy Hill Elementary School into an athletic complex.  He said that the lease will be between the County Council and the Dorchester Foundation for Athletic & Academic Excellence, Inc., a non-profit organization, which will operate the complex.    

 

Mr. McAllister stated that the foundation will be responsible for raising and providing funding to create athletic fields and to pay for ongoing maintenance at no cost to taxpayers.  He said the lease will include the provision that the property and any improvements thereon will revert to the County if the foundation is unable to meet its obligations or is disbanded.  He said that he and the other foundation members have been working closely with the Dorchester County Recreation and Parks staff and Board on the project and that Dorchester County’s youth leagues will have first rights to utilize the complex for games and practices for that department’s programs.  Mr. McAllister explained that the existing fields will be replaced with three well drained, artificial turf fields and that a parking area will be constructed.  He said that the estimated cost of the project is $1,250,000 with construction hopefully commencing in 2010 but noted the project will not begin until full funding has been identified to construct the entire project.  He explained that the fields will be used for soccer, field hockey, football and other sports and tournaments.  He expressed his opinion that hotels, restaurants and other local business in the County will benefit from this renovation.  Mr. McAllister noted that there has been an outpouring of support from residents regarding this project and acknowledged that in the audience were civic leaders, community leaders, parents and coaches who are in favor of the project including some of the individuals who will be involved in the construction phase. 

 

In response to questions from Councilman Travers, Mr. McAllister stated that the main field will be fenced in order to protect the turf and to control crowds in the event of championship games but that the other fields will be open for public use. 

In response to a question from Councilman Newcomb, Scott Eberspacher, Recreation and Parks Director, noted that the Recreation and Parks Board voted in April 2009 to support the proposal.  He expressed his belief that the project will greatly enhance Dorchester County and will create economic development and tourism opportunities, particularly in light of the fact that Program Open Space funds and general operating funds are decreasing. 

 

The Council expressed its support of the project and requested that Mr. McAllister work with Mr. Merryweather in preparing a lease for the Council’s review and consideration. The Council acknowledged that Mr. Merryweather was currently working with the Board of Education on the conveyance of the property to the County.

 

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT FY09 ANNUAL REPORT PRESENTATION

 

Keasha Haythe, Economic Development Director, provided the Council with a presentation on the FY09 Economic Development Annual Report.

 

She noted that in FY09 Dorchester County experienced a net gain in micro-business startups in the following industry sectors: financial, education, health services, leisure and hospitality.  She explained that one manufacturer closed its Pennsylvania location and moved its operation to Dorchester County which resulted in an additional 35 new jobs.  Ms. Haythe expressed her opinion that the worst of the County’s economic downturn may be over based on the fact that only 246 jobs were lost in FY 2009 compared to 800 in FY 2008.  She said that job growth should also occur once the new Technology Park is developed.  She said that the Technology Park will be marketed to diverse business sectors including information technology, geographical information system, value added agriculture, aquaculture, advanced manufacturing and green technologies.  Ms. Haythe explained that the County’s first economic development summit was held in December 2008 with 160 state, local and regional officials and County business leaders in attendance.

 

She stated that in 2009 the Economic Development Office staff completed several critical tasks to move the business and technology park forward including initiating the completion of the demolition of the Webster House and Farm and working with the Mid Shore Regional Council to submit an Economic Development Administration grant request for funding.

 

Ms. Haythe advised that business attraction and expansion services provided by staff in FY 2009 included the organization of a job fair for the seafood industry and visiting 40 businesses.  She said that staff is currently working with existing companies to create over 150 new jobs in FY 2010.  Ms. Haythe stated that staff also assisted 38 start up businesses, nine of which became fully operational in FY 2009.   She explained that as part of these efforts a contact management database has been established to track services provided to existing and possible future business, increase productivity and to measure the effectiveness of the business attraction and expansion services.

 

Councilman Nichols rejoined meeting.

 

She advised that copies of the report were available at the Economic Development office.

 

In response to a question from Councilman Price, Ms. Haythe stated that one of the economic development objectives of 2010 was to market the empty buildings in the County as potential business locations.   She said staff has recently been in contact with the owner of the old Kmart building about the possibility of another business occupying that space.

 

The Council thanked Ms. Haythe and her staff for their hard work.

 

MANAGERS COMMENTS

 

REQUEST TO USE LOBBY/MEETING ROOM-EARLY VOTING-ELECTIONS

 

The Council approved the request of Karin Kuntz, Elections Director, to use the County Office building lobby for early voting training, early voting, training for primary/general elections and filling election supply bags on the following dates: September 3 to September 9, October 22 to October 28, September 14 and November 2, 2009.

The Council also approved Ms. Kuntz’s request to use Room 110 for training and return of supply bags on September 14, 2009 and November 2, 2010.  The Council requested that Ms. Kuntz be responsible for maintaining the areas condition.

 

RESERVE DOCK REQUEST-COUNTY OFFICE BUILDING-SKIPJACK RACE-CAMBRIDGE MAIN STREET

 

The Council approved the written request from Gage Thomas, Skipjack Race Chairman, Cambridge Main Street, to reserve the County Office Building’s bulkhead from Friday, September 25, 2009 through Sunday, September 27, 2009 for the Annual Choptank Heritage Skipjack Race to be held Saturday, September 26, 2009.  The Council acknowledged that signage noting the reservation will be posted.

 

BOARD APPOINTMENT-UPPERSHORE WORKFORCE INVESTMENT BOARD

 

The Council approved the request of Dan McDermott, Executive Director, to appoint Dr. Gwen Handy to the Uppershore Workforce Investment Board for a three year term to represent the Kindergarten through 12th Grade Public Education System.  The Council acknowledged that Ms. Handy’s term began on July 1, 2009 and will end on June 30, 2012.

 

BOARD APPOINTMENT-SISTER COUNTY PARTNERSHIP COMMITTEE

 

The Council approved the request of the Dorchester County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors to appoint the following individuals to the Sister County Partnership Committee:  Gale Collins, Troy Hill, Megan Nabb, Allen Nelson, Jackie Noller, John Nussear, Rosie Travers and Debbie Herr, as Chairman of the Committee.  The Council also agreed to appoint Keasha Haythe to the Committee to replace David Yockey, as a local citizen appointee.

 

RESOLUTION-APPOINTMENT OF DORCHESTER COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION MEMBER

 

The Council agreed to execute a Resolution to formalize its August 25, 2009 action to appoint Glen Payne to fill the vacancy of Michelle Jackson on the Dorchester County Board of Education due to her resignation.

 

ELLIOTT ISLAND LIVING SHORELINE RESTORATION PROJECT-AMERICAN RECOVERY AND REINVESTMENT ACT GRANT AGREEMENT

 

The Council approved the request of Chuck Weber, Public Works Director, to execute a grant agreement for $2,448,251 in funding using American Recovery Reinvestment Act Funds in the Maryland Department of Environment Water Quality Revolving Loan Fund to construct a living shoreline restoration on Elliott Island Road.  The Council acknowledged that remaining costs for the project will be paid through a loan in the amount of $175,000 from the Department of Natural Resources to the County at no interest for 15 years.  The Council further acknowledged that only engineering costs may need to be funded by that loan amount.

 

BID AWARD-GALESTOWN DAM FISH LADDER

 

The Council approved the request of Mr. Weber to award a bid for the construction of the Galestown Dam fish ladder to George & Lynch, the lowest bidder, at the cost of $138,000 and agreed to issue a notice of intent.

 

SENIOR CARE ANNUAL PLAN APPROVAL REQUEST-SOCIAL SERVICES

 

The Council approved the request of William McDonnell, Social Services Director, to continue the Senior Care Program with Maryland Department of Aging funding in the amount of $109,846.00 for the period of July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2010 with no local match.  The Council acknowledged that the Dorchester County Department of Social Services is the lead agency for the Senior Care Program and is partnering with the Maryland Department of Aging, the Dorchester County Health Department, the Department of Social Services and the Dorchester County Council.  The Council acknowledged that the funding will provide services for individuals over sixty-five years of age who are moderately to severely disabled who may be at risk of nursing home placement.

 

REQUEST TO HOLD PROMOTIONAL BOARD/REQUEST TO ADVERTISE POSITIONS-DETENTION CENTER

 

The Council approved the request of Don Satterfield, Warden, to hold a Promotional Board for a Corporal Assistant Shift Supervisor position at the Detention Center based on the recent promotion of an individual from a Corporal to Sergeant.  The Council also approved Warden Satterfield’s request to advertise two vacant Probationary Correctional Officer positions due to the resignation of Trina Brisco and the promotion of a Correctional Officer I to a Corporal position.

 

REVOLVING LOAN FUND APPROVAL REQUEST-ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

 

The Council approved the recommendation of the Dorchester County Revolving Loan Fund Review Committee to loan $35,000 to Chesapeake Service Solutions at 5% for five years to purchase the remaining franchise (Chem Dry) for the area and to provide funds to add Bio-cleanup services from the Revolving Loan Fund.    The Council also approved the recommendation of the Committee to loan $20,000 to Bay Country Bakery at 5% for five years to purchase new equipment to improve productivity and profit from the Revolving Loan Fund.   The Council acknowledged that the funds will be dispersed from a United States Department of Agriculture grant.  The Council requested that information be provided regarding the Committee’s recommendation not to loan funds to a third Dorchester County business. 

 

TELEPHONE POLL CONFIRMATION

 

Ms. Baynard stated that in the interim between meetings the Council, by telephone poll,

accepted an offer on 120 High Street with certain contingencies by a 4 to 1 vote.

PUBLIC COMMENTS

 

There were no public comments.

 

COUNCIL’S COMMENTS/ADJOURNMENT

 

Councilman Travers recognized that members of the Humane Society were present.  Sharon Keutmann, Board President, Dorchester County Humane Society, stated that she and other members of the Board were present because they believed the Council was going to discuss their request for additional funding during the regular session budget review.  In response to a question from Councilman Travers, Ms. Keutmann confirmed that the Humane Society Board members were scheduled to meet with County staff regarding their funding request later in the week and will address their comments to them.

 

At the request of Councilman Price, the Council agreed to send a letter to the State Highway Administration regarding resident concerns that the street lights at the Route 14/Route 16 (Secretary) intersection are not providing enough illumination.

 

With no further business to discuss, the Council adjourned.

 

 

ATTEST:                                                         DORCHESTER COUNTY COUNCIL:

 

______________________________            ____________________________________

Jane Baynard, County Manager                       Jay L. Newcomb, President

 

                                                                        ____________________________________

                                                                        William V. Nichols, Vice President

 

                                                                        ____________________________________

                                                                        Effie M. Elzey

 

                                                                        ____________________________________

                                                                        Ricky Travers

 

                                                                        ____________________________________

                                                                        Rick Price

 

Approved the ______day of September, 2009.