Meeting Minutes

Meeting Minutes
posted: 05/04/10

County Council Meeting Minutes

April 20, 2010

County Council of Dorchester County

Regular Meeting Minutes

April 20, 2010


The County Council of Dorchester County met in regular session on April 20, 2010 with the following members present: Present were Jay L. Newcomb, President; Effie M. Elzey Vice President; William V. Nichols; 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 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 present Council members.





Councilman Price led the invocation and the pledge of allegiance.




There were no additions or deletions to the agenda.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES- APRIL 13, 2010 and APRIL 20, 2010

The Council approved the minutes of April 13, 2010 and of April 20, 2010.


The Council approved vouchers as presented.



Councilman Newcomb reported total cash and investments as $10,740,837.74.


The County Council of Dorchester County convened in an Executive Session at 5:45 p.m. on April 20, 2010in 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) discussed personnel issues relating to the budget.


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, presented to the Council the proposed FY 2011 budget which includes a $54.0 million Operating Budget, a $2.9 million Capital Budget and a $1.9 million grant budget for a $58.8 million overall budget proposal.   Ms. Baynard noted that, the budget proposal includes significant impacts from both declining revenue and State local aid reductions. 


Ms. Baynard explained that pursuant to County Charter budget public hearings will be held on May 4th and May 11th with a legislative public hearing on May 18th during which the budget bill will be presented to the Council for consideration.  Ms. Baynard noted that the budget cannot be amended until the end of the second public hearings required by Charter as a part of the budget process on May 11th. She explained that pursuant to the Charter a balanced budget should be adopted by the Council for FY2011 by May 30, 2010. 


Among the budget highlights, Ms. Baynard noted that, as a result of State budget gaps, County Highway User Revenues are down $1.7 million over the FY 2010 budgeted appropriation which has historically funded the Highway Division of the County’s Public Works Department.  She said that the budget proposal does include a $1 million increase for real property tax revenues.  She advised there are only two capital projects to be funded which include the Apron improvement project at the Cambridge Dorchester Airport ($2.8 million) and $47,000 for the County’s share of renovations at the Kent Humanities Building at Chesapeake College.   She explained the Council elected to move forward with the Airport improvement project because funds have already been expended and because the County’s commitment is 2.5% with the Maryland Aviation Administration and the Federal Aviation Administration provided funds for the remaining costs.


Ms. Baynard said the Council successfully sought legislation during the Maryland General Assembly that removed the sunset provision on County transfer tax allowing the maintenance of that designated revenue stream.   She explained that use of those funds is restricted to maintenance and security of Circuit Court House with provisions for limited spending on school construction.


Ms. Baynard recognized that the first citizen survey was conducted for Dorchester County government with 636 responses being received representing 2% of the population.  She said that the top calls for improvements were for jobs (84%), quality of education (68%) and conditions of roads and streets (54%).    Ms. Baynard advised that 40% of the respondents were satisfied with the current level of taxes and services.  She noted that with the reduction in Highway User Funds maintaining roads and streets within the County will be challenging.


She advised that temporary pay reductions of 3.125% for County employees will continue in FY 2011 and to offset that reduction the Council agreed to implement eight furlough days.  Ms. Baynard explained that original health insurance cost estimates were 32% over the FY 2010 premium but were ultimately reduced to 15%.  She said by making plan design changes, the final health insurance increase is 2.4%.   She noted that the changes include increasing co-pays for office visits, inpatient hospital care, emergency room care and prescriptions.  She stated that the County will pay 85% of those costs with employees subsidizing the remaining 15%.


Ms. Baynard cautioned that there will be a  FY 2012 structural deficit of approximately $2.6 million with only $2 million left in the reserve fund.  She said that during the Maryland General Assembly it was apparent that there is a desire to shift some of the cost for teachers retirements to local government.  She explained that if the entire cost is shifted to Dorchester County there will be another budget deficiency of $3.8 million for FY 2012.   She said that another major impact to the FY 2012 budget will occur if the $2 million in disparity grant funding the County receives is reduced or eliminated.


Ms. Baynard said that it is anticipated that in FY 2012 there will be a continued decline in real property assessments, loss of stimulus funding at both the County and State level.  

possible permanence to loss of highway user revenue.

The PowerPoint presentation which includes the details of the proposed Fiscal Year 2011 budget is attached to these minutes.



The Council adjourned to Legislative Session.



Mr. Merryweather stated that the 2010-2011 Annual Budget and Appropriation Ordinance of Dorchester County was being provided to the Council for the purpose of introduction.  He explained the bill will adopt the County budget which consists of an Operating, Capital and Grant budget for the appropriation of funds for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2010 and ending June 30, 2011.


The Council agreed to proceed with publication for public hearing to be held on May 18, 2010.


There was no public comment.


Councilman Price said that he attended the Social Service Board meeting earlier in the day on behalf of the Council and that they received reports on Adult Protective Services, Habitat for Humanity and the Girls and Boys Club located at Souls Harbor Church.  He explained that there are current six Habitat for Humanity housing projects underway and there are currently 22 members in the Girls and Boys Club.  Councilman Price noted that in the future a presentation and update regarding the Girls and Boys Club will be presented to the Social Services Board members.


Councilman Newcomb noted that a groundbreaking ceremony was held earlier in the day for the new Technology Park. 


He said that at the recently held Chamber of Commerce meeting the following individuals received awards: Jack Brooks for his assistance in the pursuit of legislation to ensure there are seasonal H2B workers for the County’s seafood industry, Amanda Bramble for her new business, Jimmie and Sooks,  Greg Whitten for his insurance business and expansion and Jackie Vickers for her many contributions to the County.


With no further business to discuss, the Council adjourned.



ATTEST:                                                         DORCHESTER COUNTY COUNCIL:


______________________________            ____________________________________

Jane Baynard, County Manager                       Jay L. Newcomb, President



                                                                        Effie M. Elzey, Vice President



                                                                        William V. Nichols



                                                                        Ricky Travers



                                                                        Rick Price


Approved the ______day of    ­­­­_______________, 2010.