County Council Meeting Minutes
October 20, 2009
County Council of
Regular Meeting Minutes
October 20, 2009
The County Council of Dorchester County met in regular session on October 20, 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,
The Council adjourned from a Regular Session and convened in a closed Executive
Session 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)(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.
INVOCATION AND PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Councilman Travers led the invocation and the pledge of allegiance.
CALL FOR ADDITIONS OR DELETIONS TO AGENDA
The Council approved the following additions to the agenda: a Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention Technology Initiative grant application request from the Sheriff’s Office and a request for capital equipment expenditure for
APPROVAL OF MINUTES-OCTOBER 6, 2009
The Council approved the minutes for October 6, 2009 as presented.
APPROVAL OF DISBURSEMENTS
The Council approved vouchers as presented.
FINANICAL REPORT: CASH AND INVESTMENTS
Councilman Newcomb reported total cash and investments as $4,581,245.24.
EXECUTIVE SESSION SUMMARY
The County Council of Dorchester County convened in an Executive Session at 5:00 p.m. on October 20, 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)(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 personnel issues relating to FY 2010 budget-took no action; 2) approved a request from the State’s Attorney to combine positions in the State’s Attorney’s Office by a 5 to 0 vote; 3) discussed with legal counsel a matter concerning contractual services – took no action; 4) discussed with legal counsel 911 altering procedures-requested additional information;
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.
Jane Baynard, County Manager, advised that at its September 22, 2009 meeting, the Council agreed to submit for the 2009 Maryland General Assembly legislative session a request to amend State law to require that the Dorchester County Superintendent of Schools take up primary residence in Dorchester County and within one year of appointment (placed on payroll). She noted that the Council also agreed to consider possible legislation to regarding the implementation of taxes/fees associated with projects regarding the transmission of electricity and will hold a work session on Monday, October 26, 2009 at 6:00 p.m. to discuss the matter.
Ms. Baynard advised that since the September 22, 2009 meeting the Sanitary District/Commission members have asked for the addition of a sixth member to that Commission to represent the newly established Madison-Woolford-Susquehanna District. She also stated that Steve Dodd, Planning and Zoning Director, during a recently Department Head meeting, recommended that the Council consider removing a cap placed on assessment of marshland in the County as a means of mitigating budget losses.
She explained that the cap of $37.50 has existed in the County for many years. She further noted that Jim Newcomb, Soil Conservation Director, at the Department Head meeting, suggested that any legislative request include grandfathering agriculturally used properties that are a part of a farm and classified as marshland.
The Council agreed to consider seeking State legislation to either remove or amend the existing cap on marshland assessments, which is currently $37.50 an acre, and requested additional information from the County’s Finance Office and the Assessments and Taxation office in order to best prepare that request.
The Council agreed to seek an amendment to Section 9-622(A)(ii) of the Environmental Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland to add a sixth member to the Dorchester County Sanitary to represent the newly established Madison-Woolford-Susquehanna District.
Ms. Baynard advised that the Board of License Commissioners has also provided recommendations to Council for two amendments to Article 2B, Alcoholic Beverages, of the Annotated Code of Maryland. Councilman Newcomb recused himself and left the meeting because he currently holds a liquor license.
The Council agreed to submit a request to local legislators for the following two changes to Article 2 B. First, to amend §6-301, Beer, Wine and Liquor License-Clubs, by reducing membership requirements for Class “C” Beer, Wine and Liquor licenses for armed forces organizations from 125 members to 50 and for fraternal organizations from 250 members to 125. The Council acknowledged that this proposed legislation will bring these organizations into compliance. Second, to amend §16-507, Local Penalties, to increase the amount of fines the Board of License Commissioners may impose in addition to or instead of suspending a license for a violation from an amount not to exceed $2,500 to an amount not to exceed $3,500.
The Council acknowledged that the Board of License Commissioners may be providing the Council with another recommendation for proposed legislation after the Board’s November 2009 meeting.
PUBLIC HEARING - BILL NO. 2009-11
AN ACT OF THE COUNTY COUNCIL OF DORCHESTER COUNTY, DECLARING THAT A CERTAIN PARCEL OF LAND SITUATE ON THE SOUTHEAST SIDE OF HIGH STREET, IN THE CITY OF CAMBRIDGE, CAMBRIDGE ELECTION DISTRICT OF DORCHESTER COUNTY, MARYLAND KNOWN AS 120 HIGH STREET, CAMBRIDGE, MARYLAND 21613, IS NO LONGER NEEDED FOR PUBLIC USE BY THE COUNTY PROVIDING FOR THE CONVEYANCE OF THE PROPERTY TO GARNETT MCCOY FOR THE CONSIDERATION OF TWO HUNDRED TWENTY FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS ($225, 000.00).
E. Thomas Merryweather stated that a public hearing was being held on proposed legislation to declare 120 High Street, formerly occupied by the Dorchester Arts Center, as no longer needed for public use and authorizing the sale of the property to Garnett McCoy for $225,000 contingent upon buyer fully compiling with the requirements of the contract. Mr. Merryweather explained that the proposed legislation also authorizes the Council President and County Manager to execute deed and other necessary documents for the sale. He noted that one correction has to be made to the document to correct a typographical error.
There was no public comment.
The roll call on the enactment of Bill No. 2009-11 was as follows: Nichols-aye; Newcomb-aye; Elzey-aye; Price-aye; Travers-aye.
PUBLIC HEARING - BILL NO. 2009-12
AN ACT approving the issuance by the Dorchester County Sanitary District, Inc. (the “District”) of (1) a bond anticipation note of the District in the principal amount of $2,044,000 to be known as “Dorchester County Sanitary District, Inc. Sewer System Bond Anticipation Note (Madison-Woolford-Susquehanna Point Sanitary District No. 7) (the “Note”) and (2) two series of bonds of the District in the principal amount of $1,754,000 and $290,000 to be known as "
Mr. Merryweather stated that the proposed bill approves the issuance by the Dorchester County Sanitary District of a bond anticipation note of $2,044,000 and two series of bonds in the amount of $1,754,000 bond and $290,000, respectively, for interim financing of the Woolford-Susquehanna Point Sanitary District project. He explained that payment of the principal and interest on the note and the bonds shall be guaranteed by Dorchester County provided that they are issued upon the full faith and credit of the County until Sanitary District can sell bonds to the United States Department of Agriculture.
There was no public comment.
The roll call on the enactment of Bill No. 2009-12 was as follows: Newcomb-aye;
Elzey-aye; Nichols-aye; Price-aye; Travers-aye.
Council introduced AN ACT OF THE COUNTY COUNCIL OF DORCHESTER COUNTY MARYLAND PURSUANT TO THE AUTHORITY GRANTED BY SECTION 9-311(D) OF THE TAX – PROPERTY ARTICLE OF THE ANNOTATED CODE OF MARYLAND TO GRANT A PROPERTY TAX CREDIT AGAINST THE COUNTY PROPERTY TAX IMPOSED ON PROPERTY OWNED BY HABITAT FOR HUMANITY OF TALBOT & DORCHESTER COUNTIES, INC. BY ADDING ARTICLE XVII TO CHAPTER 144 OF THE DORCHESTER COUNTY CODE.
Mr. Merryweather advised that, pursuant to State law passed in the 2009 Maryland General Assembly, the County Council may grant a property tax credit against County property taxes on property only owned by Habitat for Humanity of Talbot & Dorchester Counties, Inc., which meets the following qualifications: 1) the relinquishment of ownership in the immediate future; 2) used exclusively for the purpose of rehabilitation and transfer to a private owner; and 3) not occupied by administrative or warehouse buildings owned by Habitat for Humanity. He said that the organization will have to submit annual reports and disclose its holdings. Mr. Merryweather advised that
the president of Habitat for Humanity forwarded a letter dated September 30, 2009 to the Council requesting a property tax credit on properties they currently own in Dorchester County. He noted that the State legislation provides that the property tax credit applies to all tax years beginning after June 30, 2009 and that the Council has the authority to make the property tax credit retroactive.
The Council agreed to proceed with publication of the public hearing on this matter.
DOG CONTROL DISCUSSION
Councilman Newcomb explained that Council, at its October 6, 2009 meeting, deferred consideration of a proposed contract submitted by the Humane Society to provide housing and care for 300 dogs for the remainder of FY 2011 and, instead, requested that Sheriff Phillips provide his recommendations regarding enforcement of the County’s Dog Control Ordinance for the remainder of the current fiscal year at this meeting. He noted that Sheriff Phillips and Ms. Baynard recently met with Tom Keating, Humane Society Board Member, to discuss the proposed contract presented by that entity.
Mr. Keating stated that the Humane Society Board members modified the proposed contract to recognize the funding already paid for the July 1 through September 15, 2009 time frame and to account for the 101 dogs already accepted by the shelter during that period of time.
Sheriff Phillips stated that, pursuant to the contract, the entire funded amount designated for dog control for FY10 will be provided to the Humane Society in monthly installments. He advised, however, that the County will be responsible for the care and control of dogs seized if the shelter was full which will cause on over budget situation. He explained that from September 15, 2009 to the present actual costs for dog control handled by his office was $876 which resulted in a savings of $12,545.63 based on the proposed monthly payment in the Humane Society contract.
The Council agreed not to enter into a new contract with the Dorchester County Humane Society for the dog control services and, instead, the Council charged Sheriff Phillips with the responsibility of enforcement of the ordinance for the remainder of the year based on funds remaining in the budget. The Council acknowledged that the Sheriff is confident that there are sufficient funds in the FY10 budget to undertake this task. The Council also acknowledged that Sheriff Phillips may provide an update regarding the purchase of a building and more cages in order to provide a separate area to house quarantined dogs.
Mr. Keating thanked the Council’s for considering the Humane Society Board member’s offer and extended his assistance to the Sheriff.
Pat Wilcox, a Dorchester County resident, expressed concern about the Humane Society’s administration.
In response to a question from Lisa Crummett, a Dorchester County resident, Councilman Newcomb noted that the County only has a dog control ordinance.
Leslie Sherklin, a Dorchester County resident, and Ms. Wilcox questioned if the Council may be interested in working with another organization for dog control. Councilman Newcomb advised that they can submit a proposal to the Sheriff.
Peggy Sanger, expressed concern about the current management of the Humane Society.
The Council agreed to post an amendment to the County’s Rules and Regulations in all departments to reduce the number of holidays returned to County employees who are scheduled to work a regular shift on either Thanksgiving Day or Christmas Day from two holidays to one holiday, an even exchange.
BUCKTOWN ROAD WATER AND SEWER PROJECT-ADDITIONAL ENGINEERING SERVICES-PUBLIC WORKS
The Council approved the request of Chuck Weber, Public Works Director, to
increase the Buck town Road water and sewer project engineering service contract with Andrews, Miller & Associates by $7,550 to include the following: 1) costs to assist the City of Cambridge Department of Public Works in preparing an easement exhibit and legal description for the water and sewer mains crossing the Americans Best Value Inn property ($1,600); 2) cost for the preparation of separate water main profile drawings required by the Maryland Department of Environment ($3,950); and 3) cost to include additional provisions for use of stimulus funding in the contract documents ($2,000). The Council acknowledged that the $7,550 is reimbursable from the United States Department of Agriculture approved loan for this project.
STORMWATER MANAGEMENT AGREEMENTS-CHOO CHOO ACRES, DAVID & CYNTHIA
The Council approved the request of Mr. Weber to enter into the following Storm Water Management Facilities and Sediment Control Construction, Inspection and Maintenance Agreements between the County Council and: 1) Kimberlee Ann Bisker for two lots at Linkwood and Hawkeye Roads in the Choo Choo Acres Subdivision; 2) David and Cynthia Ferguson for five lots on Horns Point Road.
REQUEST TO PURCHASE CLAY-BEULAH LANDFILL CELL #5
The Council agreed to waive bids and approved the request of Mr. Weber to purchase 16,000 cubic yards from Barkers Landing at a cost of $148,000 ($9.25 per cubic yard) for use in the construction of the landfill liner for Cell #5 at Beulah Landfill. The Council acknowledged that the costs for the material will be paid with funds in the capital budget set aside for the construction of a new landfill cell at the Beulah Landfill and from existing cash reserves from the Landfill Enterprise Fund. The Council further acknowledged that the material will be transported from the vendor to the Beulah Landfill by County personnel using County equipment.
REQUEST TO AMEND/REDIRECT FUNDING- MICHENER’S
Based on a request from Amanda Fenstermaker, Tourism Director, the Council agreed to execute a letter to Mr. Terry Maxwell of the State Highway Administration’s Maryland Byways expressing the Council’s support for the development of a Corridor Management Plan for “Michener’s Chesapeake Country Scenic Byway” but noting that Dorchester County will provide in-kind services rather than a cash match of $14,500. Additionally, the Council approved her request to reallocate $12,000 of the $14,500 set aside in the Tourism Budget for this grant to hire a contractor to place Tourism advertisements in accordance with the department’s advertising plan and coordinate with external advertising representatives, handle public relations requests via phone and e-mail, update community information on the TourDorchester website and assist in the development of needed advertising pamphlets and products.
The Council concurred with Ms. Fenstermaker’s proposal and agreed to the creation of a six-panel Dorchester County pamphlet for 2010 instead of a full-blown Visitor’s Guide to communicate information and direct individuals to Tourism’s website for more detailed information in order to conserve funds. The Council recognized this action as a cost savings during difficult economic times.
REQUEST TO GRANT EXPEND
The Council agreed to waive bids and approved the request of Jason Shorter, Emergency Medical Services Director, to expend Maryland Bio-Terrorism Hospital Preparedness grant funds in the amount of $14,300 by sole sourcing with Southeastern Medical to purchase two hundred sixty (260) MARK I kits. The Council acknowledged that no County match is required.
APPOINTMENTS-MACO LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE NOMINEE/ALTERNATE
The Council appointed Councilman Nichols as the Maryland Association of Counties Legislative Committee Representative for Dorchester County and Councilwoman Elzey as the alternative Legislative Committee Representative for one year.
APPOINTMENT - PLANNING COMMISSION
The Council re-appointed William Giese, Jr. to the Planning Commission as an at large member. The Council acknowledged that Mr. Giese’s term will expire on September 30, 2014.
GYPSY MOTH SPRAYING COST ESTIMATES LETTER OF ACCEPTANCE/PARTICIPATION-MD DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Based on a written request from Robert L. Tatman, Program Manager, Forest Pest Management, Maryland Department of Agriculture, the Council agreed to participate in a survey and monitoring cost share program to determine gypsy moth populations in Dorchester County for FY 2009 at an estimated cost of $676. The Council acknowledged that the 50% cost share will be charged to Weed Control. The Council further acknowledged that the estimated cost does not include the cost of spraying that may be needed based on the result of the surveys.
LETTER OF INTENT-MARYLAND HOUSING REHABILITATION PROGRAM FUNDS
The Council agreed to send a letter of intent to the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development to reserve the County’s allocation of Maryland Housing Rehabilitation Program funds for FY 2010 in the amount of $51,247. The Council further designated Delmarva Community Services as the local administrator.
TELEPHONE POLL CONFIRMATIONS
Ms. Baynard advised that in the interim between meetings the Council, by means of telephone poll, decided not to submit a letter of support for the Boys and Girls Club’s application for funding though the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention for Prevention and Education programs by a 4 to 1 vote.
GRANT APPLICATION-TECHNOLOGY INITIATIVE-SHERIFF’S OFFICE
The Council confirmed the submission of a grant application to the Governor’s Office of Crime Control by the Sheriff’s Office entitled “Technology Initiative” for funds in the amount of $91,405.00 with no local match. The Council acknowledged that these funds will be used to purchase five breath tester units, new computer switches, a computer file storage unit, a link balancer, four Tough Book computers and surveillance systems for two elementary schools.
The Council denied the request of Warden Don Satterfield to sole source to purchase a replacement unit for the roof mounted HVAC unit located on the Sheriff’s Office side of the Public Safety Complex. Councilman Travers and Councilman Nichols opposed. The Council authorized him to proceed immediately to bid for this unit and that he provide a response for Council’s review as soon as possible. The Council requested additional clarification on the health hazards of the continued use of the HVA system based on the information provided by Warden Satterfield on the possible emission of carbine deoxidize. The Council also requested that Warden Satterfield submit a facilities maintenance plan for the Public Safety Complex.
Bruce Coulson, a Dorchester County resident stated that the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) has started the design for the Barren Island restoration project. He asked the Council to send a letter of support to State legislators requesting the inclusion of the Mid Bay Island project in a Water Resources Development Act or for special authorization of the project in order to receive funding. The Council acknowledged that Mr. Coulson will provide a copy of the letter he sends to legislators. Mr. Coulson advised that he will also provide an Army Corp of Engineers schedule for the projects to the Council.
Mr. Coulson asked for a list of the legislative initiatives for the 2010 Maryland General Assembly Legislative Session the Council will discuss with local legislators on November 10, 2009.
Councilman Price asked Mr. Weber to advise Highway Staff that a resident expressed his appreciation for the work they performed on Cabin Creek Road.
Councilman Nichols stated that it was his understanding that one of the projects to be undertaken by the State Highway Administration staff is the paving of Washington Street using stimulus funds.
Councilman Newcomb noted that the Council recently received an unsigned letter and requested that all correspondence to the Council be signed in order that the items in that correspondence can be addressed.
Councilman Newcomb read into the record a list of the payments in lieu of taxes made for property owned by Blackwater Wildlife Refuge from 1987 to 2009. He said they currently own 27,214.09 acres and paid $53,336 in 2008. The Council requested that Suzanne Baird, Blackwater Wildlife Refuge Manager, be contacted to obtain an explanation on why the payments are decreasing while the amount of acreage owned by the Refuge is increasing.
Councilman Newcomb requested that a discussion regarding the tides and Great Marsh Road be added to the list of items to discuss with State Highway Administration representatives on November 10, 2009 based on concerns expressed by citizens.
With no further business to discuss, the Council adjourned.
William V. Nichols, Vice President
Effie M. Elzey
Approved the ______day of November, 2009.