County Council Meeting Minutes
March 1, 2005
County Council of Dorchester County
Regular Meeting Minutes
County Council of Dorchester County
Regular Meeting Minutes
March 1, 2005
The County Council of Dorchester County met in regular session on March 1, 2005 with the following members present: Glenn L. Bramble, President; David Yockey, Vice President; Thomas A. Flowers; Effie M. Elzey; and Jane Baynard, County Manager. Molly Foreman, Administrative Specialist, was also present. E. Thomas Merryweather, County Attorney, was absent and Councilman William Nichols departed the meeting early due to illness.
The Council convened in a Regular Session with Councilman Bramble presiding.
The Council adjourned from Regular Session and convened in an Executive Session to discuss three economic development items, six personnel items and one legal item pursuant to § 10-506(a) of the State Government Article of the Maryland Annotated Code (see attached).
The Council adjourned from Executive Session and convened in a Regular Session with Councilman Bramble presiding.
INVOCATION AND PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Councilman Yockey led the invocation and Councilman Nichols led the Pledge of Allegiance.
REVIEW AND APPROVAL OF MINUTES
The Council reviewed and approved minutes from February 15, 2005 as amended. Councilman Bramble abstained because he was absent from the February 15, 2005 meeting.
EXECUTIVE SESSION SUMMARY
Councilman Bramble announced that the Council discussed three economic development items, six personnel items and one legal item pursuant to § 10-506(a) of the State Government Article of the Maryland Annotated Code.
APPROVAL OF VOUCHERS
The Council approved the County vouchers for March 1, 2005.
BUDGET TRANSFER REQUEST: COUNTY COUNCIL’S OFFICE
Based on a request from Ms. Baynard, the Council agreed to transfer $300 from the County’s Contingency Fund to the County Council’s Office’s budget in order to reimburse that office for costs associated with purchasing lunch for volunteer firefighters who assisted in extinguishing a fire at Koski Truck Company in Hurlock.
TERMINATION OF INVESTIGATION INTO THE PRIVATIZATION OF THE BEULAH LANDFILL
The Council agreed unanimously, as a result of written and verbal response from the public, to cease the investigation into the privatization of the Dorchester County Landfill at Beulah. Councilman Bramble requested that Department of Public Works staff make a presentation to the Council at its March 15, 2005 meeting concerning the financial status of the Beulah Landfill including cost estimates for capping old Beulah, monitoring costs, and new cell construction costs along with the deadline for the completion of those tasks.
Councilman Bramble noted that citizen comments and petitions regarding the investigation into the proposed privatization of the Beulah Landfill are on file in the Dorchester County Council’s Office for public review and inspection.
PROCLAMATION: NATIONAL OUTDOOR SHOW MONTH
The Council issued a proclamation proclaiming the month of March 2005 as National Outdoor Show Month in Dorchester County.
PROCLAMATION: PURCHASING MONTH
The Council issued a proclamation proclaiming the month of March 2005 as Purchasing Month in Dorchester County.
PRESENTATION OF VETERANS’ RECOGNITION DAY CERTIFICATE – RON OVENS, VETERANS’ COMMITTEE
Ron Ovens, Chairman of Veterans’ Affairs for the Veterans’ Recognition Committee, presented the Council with a certificate recognizing the Council for its continuous support of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, particularly the construction of the Eternal Flame monument at the Beulah Cemetery.
Councilman Nichols departed the meeting at this point due to illness.
FIRE/AMBULANCE TAX COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATION DISCUSSION
Steve Williams, Public Safety Director, presented the Dorchester County Fire and Ambulance Tax Committee’s presented a proposed budget which includes funding for the operation and maintenance of the three County funded ALS stations while continuing the current flat fee reimbursement per run for Cambridge Emergency Medical Services. The Council agreed to consider the Committee’s recommendation as a part of the County’s FY 2005/2006 budget deliberations.
DECLARATION OF SURPLUS RADIO EQUIPMENT
The Council approved a recommendation from Steve Williams, Public Safety Director, to declare as surplus radio system equipment which is compatible with the E.F. Johnson radio system the County formerly used and allow Mr. Williams to negotiate the sale of the equipment.
FY 2005 MOSQUITO CONTROL BUDGET
Based on a written request from Cyrus Lesser, Chief of the State of Maryland Department of Agriculture Mosquito Control Division, the Council approved the Mosquito Control Division’s FY 2006 budget which includes a County share of $252,000, which is consistent with FY 2005 funding levels.
REQUEST TO ADVERTISE VACANCIES – DETENTION CENTER AND TOURISM
The Council approved a request from Steve Williams, Public Safety Director, to advertise a vacant Maintenance position at the Detention Center.
The Council deferred a request to advertise a vacant Visitor’s Center Manager position pending additional clarification concerning the job description for that position.
BYRNE JUSTICE ASSISTANCE GRANT PROGRAM APPLICATION AND INTERLOCAL AGREEMENT
The Council approved a written request from Valerie Mann, Community Development Consultant, to submit a grant application to the Byrne Justice Assistant Grant program for grant funding in the amount of $15,609 with the Sheriff’s Department to receive $7,804.50 and the Cambridge City Police Department to receive $7,804.50 to fund overtime costs for those agencies.
REQUEST TO USE STONE BOUNDARY ROAD FOR ANNUAL H.O.P.E. RUN/WALK
The Council approved a written request from Sheriff James Phillips, Jr. to allow the Eastern Shore Hospital Auxiliary Center to use Stone Boundary Road as a part of the racecourse for the Third Annual H.O.P.E. Run/Walk on May 7, 2005 provided that the Sheriff’s Department will provide patrols in that area and make accommodations for agricultural vehicles.
REQUEST FOR TAX ABATEMENT – CITY OF CAMBRIDGE
The Council approved a written request from Mayor Rippons and the Cambridge City Council to abate real property taxes for 606 and 608 Schoolhouse Lane and 703 and 705 Wright Street totaling approximately $302.31 including County interest. Ms. Baynard stated that Councilman Nichols expressed his opposition to the approval of a tax abatement by proxy vote. Ms. Baynard noted that the City of Cambridge is in the process of purchasing those properties from Madison Bay Properties, LLC as a part of the City’s effort to clean up and rehabilitate areas within the City’s borders.
COUNTY MANAGER’S INQUIRY: CONTINUE INVESTIGATING LANDFILL PRIVATIZATION
Councilman Bramble announced for the benefit of members of the public who arrived at the meeting late that the Council agreed unanimously, as a result of written and verbal response from the public, to cease the investigation into the privatization of the Dorchester County Landfill at Beulah. Councilman Bramble requested that Department of Public Works staff make a presentation to the Council at its March 15, 2005 meeting concerning the financial status of the Beulah Landfill including cost estimates for capping old Beulah, monitoring costs, and new cell construction costs along with the deadline for the completion of those tasks.
SAILWINDS PROPERTY ACCEPTANCE
The Council executed a Resolution, approved Articles of Transfer, and approved a Confirmatory Deed accepting the gift of 2.70 acres of land from Sailwinds Park, Inc. to the County. The Council acknowledged that appropriate clarifying documentation will be forwarded to the County Attorney for final disposition.
APPOINTMENT OF MARYLAND’S MOST BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE VOLUNTEER PROJECT COORDINATOR
The Council deferred consideration of the appointment of a coordinator for Dorchester County’s Maryland’s Most Beautiful People Volunteer Awards pending the submission of nominees for Council’s consideration by Natalie Chabot, Tourism Director. Councilman Bramble asked Ms. Chabot to contact Ron Ovens of the Veterans’ Committee to see if he would be interested in serving.
HERITAGE TOURISM COUNCIL PRESENTATION – NATALIE CHABOT AND KAREN TOLLEY
Karen Tolley stated that she is assisting Heart of Chesapeake Country Heritage Area Board Members and community leaders in establishing the Heart of Chesapeake Country Heritage and Economic Enrichment for Dorchester County non-profit group. Ms. Tolley explained that the group’s non-profit status would enable the County to obtain grant funding without providing a cash match. She stated that the County has been a certified Heritage Area since July 2002 but noted that the planning process for the establishment of the non-profit organization took two years. She stated that the group has been modeled after the Friends of Blackwater non-profit entity. She stated that the Tourism Office has received approximately $500,000 in grant funds to date since the establishment of the Heart of Chesapeake Country Heritage Area. She noted that the County has also leveraged approximately $500,000 and has received contributions of approximately $200,000 from the community. Natalie Chabot, Tourism Director, stated that one initiative the non-profit entity will pursue is the establishment of the Historic Resource Enrichment Fund which will provide funding for the preservation of historic sites. In response to a question from Ms. Baynard, Ms. Tolley stated that the non-profit group will take its direction from the Heritage Area Management Board. Pursuant to a question from Ms. Baynard, Ms. Tolley explained that no procedure currently exists but she will prepare a procedure for the appointment of Board members for the non-profit group. Ms. Tolley stated that a minimum of four members will be required for the non-profit organization’s Board of Directors to include a President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer. In response to a question from Councilman Flowers, Ms. Tolley stated that the non-profit organization is being set up in such a way that the County could not be held legally responsible for errors made by that entity. The Council thanked Ms. Tolley for her presentation and took no other action.
REVISED PUBLIC ROAD CONSTRUCTION AGREEMENT
The Council approved an amended Road Construction Agreement submitted by Steve Dodd, Planning and Zoning Director, which provides that no building permits will be issued on lots in a subdivision until the public road for ingress and egress is constructed, approved and accepted by the County Council. The Council agreed to schedule public hearings concerning the acceptance of new County roads on a quarterly basis in order to address concerns expressed by developers regarding delays associated with the County’s current annual acceptance schedule. The Council asked Department of Public Works staff to revise the local Code to include protections to the County while facilitating growth opportunities.
REQUEST FOR LETTER OF SUPPORT – TRANSPORTATION ENHANCEMENT FUNDS PROGRAM
Based on a request from Ms. Chabot, the Council agreed to forward correspondence supporting a grant application submitted by the Maryland Office of Tourism Development and the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge to the State Highway Administration for approximately $1,500,000 in Transportation Enhancement Program Funds to facilitate the conversion of the Linthicum House into the Harriet Tubman Discovery Center. Ms. Baynard noted that the Harriet Tubman Organization has submitted correspondence expressing support of the grant application.
Councilman Flowers read the financial report which reflects County cash and investments at $4,748,607.88.
DORCHESTER FIRST! FUNDING REQUEST/MARKETING PLAN
Natalie Chabot, Tourism Director, stated that, in November 2004, she submitted a request for $10,000 in funding for the Dorchester First! Program and noted that the County Council agreed to provide $5,000 of the funding requested from the County’s Contingency Fund. The Council asked Ms. Chabot to seek the remaining $5,000 in funding from the City of Cambridge. Ms. Chabot stated that the Cambridge City Council denied her request on February 14, 2005. The Council approved Ms. Chabot’s request for an additional $5,000 in funding for the Dorchester First! program based on the Cambridge City Council’s denial of Ms. Chabot’s request for funding. The Council agreed to fund the expenditure from the County’s Contingency Fund.
MARYLAND HERITAGE AREA GRANT AGREEMENT
Based on a request from Ms. Chabot, the Council approved the FY 2005 grant agreement for the Maryland Heritage Areas Operating Grant in the amount of $65,000 with the stipulation that no personnel changes associated with the grant application will be implemented until the Council agrees to their implementation based on additional clarification from Ms. Chabot.
VIDEO LOTTERY TERMINAL CONCERNS
Cheryl Michael stated that a Statewide faith based initiative is being planned in Maryland in March 2005 in which churches, mosques, synagogues, temples, and faith based organizations will be encouraged to select the first or second Sunday of March to inform congregations and assemblies about the impact of video lottery terminals. She asked the Council to consider forwarding correspondence to State legislators opposing slots in Dorchester County.
Monroe Quailes, Ministers and Citizens for Change, reiterated Ms. Michael’s comments, and added that the lottery currently has a negative impact on residents. He also expressed concern regarding the impact video lottery terminals would have on Dorchester County’s reputation as an historic County. He asked the Council to consider forwarding correspondence to State legislators opposing slots in Dorchester County.
Reverend Dickerson, Ministers and Citizens for Change, expressed his opposition to the establishment of a slots facility in Dorchester County because of the impact to citizens.
REQUEST FOR CORRESPONDENCE SUPPORTING WEST END CITIZENS’ ASSOCIATION GRANT APPLICATION
Based on a request from Councilman Flowers, the Council agreed to forward correspondence to the West End Citizens Association expressing support of the Association’s efforts to obtain grant funding which would be used to make renovations to the Wallace Building on the Dorchester County Library’s property in order that the Association could utilize that facility for its regular meetings.
CORRESPONDENCE TO SENATOR COLBURN – CONCERNS REGARDING INTRODUCTION OF LEGISLATION WITHOUT PRIOR NOTICE TO COUNCIL
Based on a motion from Councilwoman Elzey, the Council agreed to forward correspondence to Senator Colburn expressing the Council’s concern that he did not contact the Council prior to introducing legislation which would provide for a straw poll on the ballot at the general election in November 2006 to obtain the sense of the voters concerning the establishment of a video lottery terminal facility in Dorchester County. Councilman Bramble opposed.
CORRESPONDENCE TO STATE OFFICIALS OPPOSING SLOTS IN MARYLAND
Based on a motion from Councilwoman Elzey, the Council agreed to forward correspondence to the President of the Maryland State Senate, the Speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates, and Governor Ehrlich expressing the Council’s opposition to the establishment of a video lottery terminal location in Dorchester County and in the State of Maryland. Councilman Bramble opposed.
Councilman Yockey thanked his fellow Council members for agreeing to send correspondence based on concerns expressed by members of the public concerning slots.
Councilman Bramble stated that he has separated his personal and professional feelings concerning slots and that he strongly supports a referendum on the issue in order that County voters may have an opportunity to voice their opinions.
With no further business to discuss, the Council adjourned.
ATTEST: DORCHESTER COUNTY COUNCIL:
Jane Baynard, County Manager Glenn L. Bramble, President
David Yockey, Vice President
Effie M. Elzey
Thomas A. Flowers
William V. Nichols
Approved the _____ day of ___________________________, 2005.