Meeting Minutes

Meeting Minutes
posted: 06/01/10

County Council Meeting Minutes

May 11, 2010

County Council of Dorchester County

Regular Meeting Minutes

May 11, 2010


The County Council of Dorchester County met in regular session on May 11, 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; 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.





Councilman Travers led the invocation and the pledge of allegiance.




The Council agreed to remove from the agenda a request for the execution of a Memorandum of Understanding regarding the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway/State Park to allow staff the opportunity to obtain additional clarification for Council’s consideration.



The Council approved the April 27, 2010 minutes and the May 4, 2010 minutes.


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




Councilman Newcomb reported total cash and investments as $5,408,129.91.


The County Council of Dorchester County convened in an Executive Session at 4:30  p.m. on May 11, 2010 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; 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)  agreed to implement a volunteer program in Emergency Medical Services – requested staff prepare draft policy for review and consideration by a 5 to 0 vote; 2) agreed to continue a discussion regarding a personnel matter relating to Emergency Medical Services at a future meeting by a 5 to 0 vote;  3) discussed the implementation of a proposed personnel policy-took no action; 4) approved the hiring of an individual as a seasonal grass cutter through a temporary agency by a 4 to 0 vote; 5) approved the hiring of individuals as Emergency Medical Technicians, Emergency Medical Technicians I and Paramedics for the fourth County Emergency Medical Services station by a 5 to 0 vote and to fill a supervisor position by a 5 to 0 vote; 6) discussed with legal counsel a proposed revision to the County’s building excise tax ordinance – agreed to discuss at a future regular session meeting.


Councilman Newcomb noted that at the Council’s April 27, 2010 meeting an Executive Session Summary item was read into the record that there was no action taken after a discussion on staff impact due to grant reductions from the State for the Local Management Board.  He said that the summary for that item was read in error.


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.




The Council presented a proclamation declaring May 22, 2010 to May 28, 2010 Safe Boating Week.  John Buck, Flotilla Commander for Coast Guard Church Creek Auxiliary, and Tom Wolfe, Vice Commander Flotilla Staff Office for Public Affairs accepted the proclamation.


The Council presented a commendation to Dr. Lois Narr for participating in the Six Pillars Century 2010 Blackwater Tour on May 1, 2010 to promote the Character Counts program in Dorchester County.   Dr. Narr accepted the proclamation.


BUDGET PUBLIC HEARING                                                                                             


Councilman Newcomb noted that the proposed FY 2011 budget was presented to the Council at its April 20, 2010 meeting and that a budget public hearing is being held on that proposed budget.  


John Stackhouse, a Dorchester County resident, expressed concern about the need for dog control within the County.  He asked the Council to allocate the funds designated for the County’s Dog Control Division to the Humane Society so that they may provide dog control, care and housing of dogs in the County.


Suzette Stitely, Executive Director of the Dorchester County Humane Society, expressed an interest in having that organization take over dog control for the County at the same amount budgeted for the County’s Dog Control Division which is approximately $169,000.  She further offered a partnership between the Humane Society and the County in the event the Council does not choose to provide funding to the organization for dog control services.   She said that as part of the partnership they are willing to assist in efforts to foster and adopt dogs housed in the County’s facility and also spay and neuter the animals prior to adoption. 


Paul Asplen, a Dorchester County resident, expressed concern about the creation and funding of a new Emergency Services Director in light of County employees receiving temporary pay reductions and furloughs.  He suggested Council consider dividing up the funds allocated for this position to other entities, including the Sheriff’s Office, the Dorchester County Humane Society and local volunteer fire companies.   He said he believes that because the Sheriff and Sheriff’s Deputies have a large workload, they should not be charged with the responsibility of also providing dog control.


Councilman Newcomb clarified that the Sheriff only oversees dog control and that there are two County Dog Control Officers who handle calls for service.


Dr. Barbara Viniar, President of Chesapeake College, thanked the Council for providing level funding to the College in FY 2011. She noted that County funding has not increased since 2005 although enrollment by Dorchester County residents has steadily increased.  She said tuition at the College was increased by $3 per credit hour in the middle of the current year and that in the College’s budget for next year is a $5 per credit hour increase.  Dr. Viniar explained that larger enrollments may result in some individuals facing a delay in taking required courses to obtain a degree and that no funding has been identified for a new Cambridge Center.   She noted that in order to address recent security problems at the existing facility significant funds may have to be expended.


Lisa Crummitt, a Dorchester County resident, noted that she had reported to the County’s Dog Control Office that two dogs were being neglected and abused at two residences in the neighborhood where she lives and, although it is her understanding that visits were made to both of those residences, she does not believe any follow up has been completed.  She noted that the dogs are still being abused.  Councilman Newcomb asked Ms. Crummitt to give Jane Baynard, County Manager, detailed information regarding the two dogs in question and she will follow up with the Sheriff in order to get information to the Dog Control staff.


Les Simering, a Dorchester County resident, commended Council for developing a budget in light of the current economic climate.  He expressed concern about the creation of an Emergency Services Director in light of the implementation of furlough days for County employees and increased costs for health insurance coverage.  He estimated that the salary with benefits for that position will total approximately $125,000 and questioned whether included in the budget are costs for a secretary or a vehicle.   Councilman Newcomb noted that there are no funds identified in the proposed FY 2011 budget for a secretarial position for the Emergency Services Director.  Mr. Simering noted that when Steve Williams was Warden of the Dorchester Detention Center he was also the Public Safety Director over the Emergency Management and Emergency Medical Services Departments and the 911 Communications Center.   He suggested giving the three current managers in those departments the opportunity to be Emergency Services Director with a small increase in pay in order to save money.    He expressed concern about the economic climate in the upcoming year, particularly in light of the fact that, in his opinion, the State of Maryland budget is largely comprised of the use of federal government stimulus funds, which will not be available after FY 2011.   Mr. Simering questioned the timing of the proposed creation of this position and asked Council to keep an open mind while listening to public comments.


Wayne Robinson, Emergency Management Director, said he did not believe an Emergency Services Director is needed.  He noted that Department Heads serve at the Council’s pleasure and that if one of them is not doing their job they should be terminated.   He expressed concern that the new position is being created while employees are facing a temporary pay reduction of 3.125% with eight furlough days.  Mr. Robinson said it was his understanding the funds identified for the Emergency Services position is more than the budget of each of the three emergency services departments.   He also expressed concern that he may not be able to respond quickly to an emergency if he needs to obtain approval of a third party before proceeding. 


Maureen Harper, a Dorchester County resident, urged the Council to listen to residents and not move forward with the creation of the Emergency Services Director position during the current economic climate.


Councilman Newcomb noted that as a result of a State Department of Assessments revision to its constant yield certification requirements for Dorchester County it must include calculations for tax differential, a revised advertisement was published in today’s edition of the Star Democrat.  He said that the constant yield hearing will take place on Tuesday May 18th at 6 p.m. and that the public is invited to attend and provide comments.   He noted that copies of revised ad are on the back table.


ROADS BOARD DISCUSSION                                                                                                                       

Due to reductions in State highway user funds, the Council agreed to suspend separate Roads Board sessions and consider items that would historically be considered during that time frame under Manager’s Comments during its regular session meetings.  The Council acknowledged that this action is being considered because reductions in funding for the Highway Division have now required that the County’s General Fund cover costs for this division.  Council also noted that because the Council also serves as the Roads Board, it is more efficient to no longer separate those functions.


ROADS BOARD                                                                                                                                               




The Council approved the request of Chuck Weber, Public Works Director to transfer funds in the amount of $131,554.18 from the Landfill Enterprise Fund to the Highway Department to reimburse costs incurred when transporting clay material from Talbot County to the Cell 5 construction.  The Council acknowledged that these funds will be used to purchase stone and asphalt to tar and chip approximately 17miles of County roads that are in need of attention due to the winter weather and spring rains.  The Council further acknowledged that either the work will be completed or the purchase of the material will be made by June 30, 2010.  The Council requested that Mr. Weber work with Michael Spears, Finance Director to insure the proper transfer of the funds from the FY 2010 Landfill Capital Budget to the Highway Division Budget.  The Council recognized that the annual road survey results indicate that 53.4 miles need tar and chip and 52.37 miles need blacktop overlay.





The Council approved the request of Susan Lazur, Dorchester Showcase 2010 Coordinator, on behalf of the Dorchester Center for the Arts, to use the parking lot of the Dorchester County Office Building and the Court House grounds and electrical outlets for the Dorchester Showcase for performance and demonstrations to be held on Sunday, September 26, 2010 from noon until 5:00 p.m.




Pursuant to a request made by Mr. Weber, the Council agreed to enter into a Second Amendment to the lease between the Dorchester County Council and URS Corporation to for office space at the Cambridge Dorchester Airport terminal building for a month to month term at $300 per month, the same lease amount paid since May 1, 2006, with a thirty day termination clause.




The Council confirmed the City of Cambridge Commissioners’ April 26, 2010 decision to award the bid for the extension of water and sewer down Bucktown Road to David A. Bramble, Inc., the lowest bidder, at a base bid of $2,524,868, with alternate #2 (water and sewer to Airport) at the cost of $385,581 for a total bid of $2,910,449. 




The Council approved the request of Steve Dodd, Planning and Zoning Director, to enter into an Amendment to a Road Construction Agreement for the Pine Top Village subdivision extending the time frame for completing the road in that subdivision to December 31, 2011.




Based on a proposal presented by Gary McCabe, Assistant Superintendent for Administration, Board of Education, the Council agreed to accept a proposal from the Board of Education to return $400,000 in FY 2010 to be set aside for future appropriation to support school projects or for other school system needs in FY 2011. 


Mr. McCabe explained that the funding was originally budgeted to fund the Dell Lease.  He explained that, due to an unanticipated fund balance in the current fiscal year of approximately $800,000, the Board of Education can pay that expense in order to abandon the project and return the funds to the County.  He stated that, should the Council agree to accept these funds, the Board of Education would only be able to move forward if assured that the Maintenance of Effort will be funded in the next fiscal year. He explained that if the Council achieved a waiver of that commitment in FY 2011, the Board of Education would have to use these funds to cover that shortfall. 


Based on Mr. McCabe’s comments,  the Council agreed to withdraw its request for a Maintenance of Effort waiver for FY 2011 which has been submitted to the Maryland State Board of Education based on the understanding that the Board of Education can only make this offer if there is full funding for Maintenance of Effort in FY 2011 for the payment of the Dell Lease for the school system.  The Council acknowledged that the $400,000 will have to be transferred from the Board of Education’s operating budget to its capital expense fund in order to affect this transfer and will require the approval of the Board of Education and final authorization by the Council. 


The Council welcomed Henry Wagner as the new Superintendent of Schools effective July 1, 2010.




The Council approved the request of Santo Grande, CEO/President of Delmarva Community Services, to submit a Community Development Block Grant application for FY 2011 in the amount of $330,000 with a $25,000 local match to be paid from the FY 2011 County budget appropriation to DCS for the continuation of the Housing Rehabilitation program.  The Council also agreed to execute a local resolution which must be submitted with the application.   




The Council approved the request of Amanda Fenstermaker, Tourism Director, to advertise a request for proposals for printing 2010 Visitors Guide which is fully funded through the sale of advertisements in that publication.




Ms. Baynard explained that the City of Cambridge Council members have agreed to transfer all four ambulances currently serving Cambridge Emergency Medical Services at no charge to the County, should the Council adopt the FY 2011 budget including staffing and equipping a fourth full time County EMS station.  She stated that the3 2007 unit does still have an outstanding loan and, at the time of transfer, approximately $38,000 balance will remain on the debt.  Ms. Baynard advised that questions have arisen as to how future payments will be handled once the unit is transferred to the County.


The Council agreed to accept the balance on the loan for the 2007 unit and to assume all future loan payments as of August 2010 based on ownership as of July 2010.  Councilman Price opposed.  Councilman Nichols opposed stating that he believed the County should only be responsible for two-thirds of the August payment which is for the June to August 2010 period, because the City still owns the vehicle for 30 days of the payment period. 


The Council acknowledged that two ruggedized computers currently located in two ambulances and one ruggedized computer in the day room of the City of Cambridge Public Safety Building will be transferred to County.  The Council further acknowledged that a total of four ambulances equipped with medical equipment and supplies will be transferred to the County at no cost.  The Council recognized the chase vehicle utilized by CEMS will not be transferred.    The Council requested that Mr. Spears provide a recommendation to Council to settle the debt on the units.




The Council approved the request of Nancy Shockley, Local Management Board, to submit a request to the Governor’s Office of Children for authority to use $79,500 in earned re-investment funds in FY 2011 to maintain Director and Program Manager positions due to State reductions to the Local Management Board Administrative Budget.


The Council also approved the FY 2011 program proposal for FY 2011 of $372,172 for the following programs:  after school ($90,500), Teen Pregnancy ($50,000), School Based Behavioral Health ($80,000), Substance abuse ($22,000), Gang Initiative ($1,476), Youth Services Bureau ($65,296) and Local Access Mechanism ($62,900)-managed by Queen Anne’s County.   The Council acknowledged that the overall program funding for FY 2011 is $34,050 less than the funding provided in FY 2010.




The Council declared May 25, 2010 as a special legislative day for the introduction of a bill regarding dangerous dogs and for a request to close Mowbray Creek Road.  The Council also agreed to declare June 22, 2010 as a special legislative day for public hearings on these bills.




Ms. Baynard advised that in the interim between meetings the Council, by means of telephone poll, took the following actions: 1) agreed to hold a budget work session on May 13, 2010 by a 5 to 0 vote; 2) after reconsideration approved the request of the Emergency Management Director for himself and the Planner in that department to attend the Maryland Emergency Management Association conference in Ocean City from June 1, 2010 to June 4, 2010 with the understanding that the hotel expenses will be covered through the Maryland Emergency Management Agency and Homeland Security grant funding by a 4 to 1 vote; 3) confirmed its direction to consolidate the oversight of the Volunteer Fireman’s Workers Compensation Policy with the Human Resources Department being charged with that responsibility by a 5 to 0 vote; 4) agreed that the vacant Economic Development Administrative Associate position can be advertised instead of filling the position with a temporary employee from a temporary employment agency by a 3 to 2 vote.




Based on a request from Don Satterfield, Warden, the Council agreed to waive bids and purchase new phone system from Directech to be funded from the Detention Center budget.  Councilwoman Elzey opposed.  The Council acknowledged that this purchase is necessary because the current facility phone system computer/mother board crashed on May 7, 2010 and is not repairable.  The Council further acknowledged that Directech will waive the cost of the emergency repairs and the cost of leasing equipment until the new phone system is installed. 


The Council requested that any future requests to sole source for emergency repairs must be accompanied by at least one price for comparison.  The Council recognized that these requests can be made by telephone, email or fax instead of being published in an advertisement in a local news publication.  




Pursuant to a request from Scott Eberspacher, Recreation and Parks Director, the Council agreed to waive bids and contract with Clearwater Pool for the removal of the old filter tank and the purchase, shipping and installation of a new tank for $13,450 for the County pool.  The Council acknowledged that gaskets will also have to be replaced which will bring the total cost to approximately $14,000.    The Council recognized that the replacement of the pool filter tank is necessary because it is cracked and not salvageable and needs to be replaced in order for the pool to be opened for the summer. 



Phyllis North, a Dorchester County resident, expressed concern that a new Emergency Services Director position is being considered when it is her understanding there may internal employees issues that need to be addressed in the existing Emergency Medical Services, 911 Communications Center and Emergency Management Department. 


Wendell Foxwell, a Dorchester County resident, said it was his understanding that Dr. Wagner’s contract specifies that he and his spouse will receive health insurance benefits for life.  The Council agreed to meet with the Dorchester County Board of Education members and the Superintendent to discuss the contract.  The Council acknowledged that several residents, including Mr. Foxwell, have questioned the contents of that contract. 


Councilman Travers noted that the Council has very limited control over how the Board of Education funds are spent.  He explained that the State of Maryland advises each local government the amount of Maintenance of Effort funding that must be paid to their respective school system each fiscal year.   Councilwoman Elzey said the Council can make some adjustments to the Board of Education’s categorical budget.  Ms. Baynard explained that the Council can consider how to fund the seven categories but cannot select which line items in those categories to fund.


Libby Nagel, a Dorchester County resident, said that there is a meeting regarding the proposed route selected by Pepco Holdings for the Mid Atlantic Power Pathway project on May 12, 2010.  She said it is her understanding that Pepco will have to submit three proposed routes to the Public Service Commission, and that the Commission’s members will pick the route from those choices.  She also expressed her understanding that most of land and right of ways in the County along the route chosen by Pepco have been purchased and that they will be reimbursed for the purchases even if the route is not selected because the cost will be passed on to consumers.


Ms. Nagel noted that an open house will be held at the County’s first winery, Layton’s Change Vineyard and Winery, on Friday, may 21, 2010 at 12:30 p.m.



Councilman Price expressed his concerns and reservations regarding the discontinuation of the Roads Board but noted that the Council has limited budgetary control of the Highway Division with the 90% reduction in State highway user revenues.  He said he will continue to keep abreast of the conditions of the roads. 


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.