County Council Meeting Minutes
June 22, 2010
County Council of
Regular Meeting Minutes
June 22, 2010
The County Council of Dorchester County met in regular session on June 22, 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,
The Council adjourned from a Regular Session and convened in a closed Executive Session pursuant to §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 Council members.
INVOCATION AND PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Council Nichols led the invocation and the pledge of allegiance.
CALL FOR ADDITIONS OR DELETIONS TO AGENDA
The Council approved the following additions/deletions to the agenda: deferral of discussion regarding the implementation of a paper retention policy and the addition of an item to renew Memorandum of Understandings with several volunteer fire companies for the Housing of County ALS units.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES- JUNE 8, 2010
The Council approved the minutes for June 8, 2010.
APPROVAL OF DISBURSEMENTS
The Council approved vouchers as presented.
FINANICAL REPORT: CASH AND INVESTMENTS
Councilman Newcomb reported total cash and investments as $2,783,788.98.
BUDGET TRANSFER REQUESTS
The Council approved the following FY 2010 budget transfers: 1) $5,960 from Circuit Court office supplies ($400), Court Report-other expenses ($2,560) and Court Reporter Contractual ($3,000) to Circuit Court-other expenses ($5,560) to purchase a larger monitor for Courtroom 2 and to Postage ($400) to cover an overage; 2) $8,300 from Corrections salaries-other to building expenses for the emergency replacement of the phone system at the Dorchester Detention Center; 3) $5,000 from Highway Shop Contractual service to shop-tires and tubes in order to ensure sufficient funds through June 30, 2010.
The Council also approved the following FY 2010 budget transfer in the Recreation and Parks budget: 1) $24,500 from Recreation and Parks telephone 9$1,000), Recreation and Parks electric ($1,500), Recreation and Parks auto expenses ($1,000), Recreation and Parks auto fuel ($1,000), Recreation and Parks other expenses ($1,000), Recreation and Parks uniforms ($1,000), Seasonal salaries ($12,000), and Swimming pool salaries ($6,000) to Recreation program supplies ($4,000), Swimming pool maintenance and repairs ($14,500), Swimming pool other expenses ($2,000) and Swimming pool food ($4,000). The Council acknowledged that $14,500 transfer to swimming pool maintenance and repairs was to cover the unexpected cost of replacing one of the large filter tanks in the pool with the remaining transfers being made to ensure there are operating funds to cover necessary costs.
The Council further approved the following FY 2010 budget transfers for the Technology Department which consists of a transfer between the General and Capital Fund and offsetting adjustments to revenue and expenditure accounts: $14,842 from operating transfer in to 911 new vehicle and/or equipment and $14,842 from capital lease to operating transfers out. The Council acknowledged that this transfer is for the purchase of six new computers for the Dispatch Center at the Public Safety Complex.
Additionally the Council approved the following FY 2010 budget transfer for the Council’s Office: $200 from other expenses to rental equipment to offset an anticipated line item over expenditure.
FY11 CATEGORICAL BUDGET REQUEST-BOARD OF EDUCATION
Based on a request by Dr. Frederic Hildenbrand, Superintendent of Schools, the Council approved the following FY 2011 Categorical Budget Request in the amount of $49,245,188 for the Board of Education: Administration, $1,245,492; School Management & Support, $4,519,871; Instructional Salaries, $20,202,310; Instructional Supplies and Textbooks, $765,885; Instructional – Other, $665,417; Special Education, $3,721,565; Pupil Services, $398,062; Health Services, $432,572; Transportation, $3,053,748; Operations, $3,727,784; Maintenance, $842,776; Fixed Charges, $9,549,884; and Capital Outlay, $122,822. The Council also agreed to execute the FY 2011 Annual Budget Certification Statement. The Council acknowledged that the County budgetary contribution to the Board of Education for FY 2011 is $17,389,545. At the request of Councilwoman Elzey, Gary McCabe, Assistant Superintendent of Administration,
clarified that the instructional salaries category was increased by $1 million to retain grant funded employees for one year and was possible due to an increase in State funding. He explained that the grants for these positions expire June 30, 2010 and because the majority of the positions were elementary class room teacher positions, the Dorchester County Board of Education felt retaining these positions was imperative in order to limit class sizes based on parent concerns. He stated that funding in this category would not allow for staff salary increases.
EXECUTIVE SESSION SUMMARY
The County Council of Dorchester County convened in an Executive Session at 4:30 p.m. on June 22, 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.
Councilman Newcomb noted that after its June 8, 2010 Regular Session meeting, the Council re-adjourned into Executive Session to discuss the following personnel items: 1)
received information from staff regarding the implementation of overtime thresholds in FY 2011-took no action; 2) deferred discussion with Warden regarding personnel concerns to the June 22nd meeting. Councilman Newcomb then reported that the following items were discussed in Executive Session on June 22, 2010: 1) discussed personnel and budget concerns with staff regarding the Department of Corrections; 2) approved a request from the Public Works Director to hire an individual to fill a vacant Airport Technician position by a 4 to 1 vote and requested more information on using individuals as on-call employees; 3) discussed with legal counsel proposal regarding closure of Old Beulah Landfill- agreed to discuss in open session; 4) discussed with legal counsel proposed changes to the Dorchester County Code of Ethics and the State Ethics Commission review process-took no action; and 5) discussed with legal counsel a request from a local business for a waiver of a bond required as part of the Stormwater Management Permit process.
Councilman Newcomb noted that the Council will reconvene into Executive Session after the Regular Session meeting for one personnel item.
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.
COMMENDATION-JOHN NEWCOMB-RETIREMENT-SHERIFF’S OFFICE
The Council presented a commendation congratulating John Newcomb on his retirement and recognizing his 32 years of dedicated service to Dorchester County. Mr. Newcomb accepted the commendation. Sheriff Phillips thanked Mr. Newcomb for his service to the County.
REQUEST TO ATTEND PSSI GROUP CONFERENCE-TECHNOLOGY
The Council approved the request of Donald Keyes, Information Technology Director, to allow Chris Abbott, Information Technology Technician, to attend a PSSI Users Group Conference in Washington, DC at the Gaylord National Resort on September 27th through October 1st, 2010. The Council acknowledged that funds for the conference will come from a FY 09 Homeland Security Grant. The Council further acknowledged that PSSI is the Software provider for the Dorchester County 911 Center’s Computer Aided Dispatching system and by having Mr. Abbott attend this conference it allow him to work directly with the software’s end users to help further the development of the product as well as new products for use in Public Safety.
Based on a request made by Chuck Weber, Public Works Director, the Council agreed to enter into lease agreement with the State of Maryland, Department of Natural Resources, for the Bestpitch Ferry boat ramp at an annual rent of $1.00 for a term of 25 years. The Council acknowledged that the lease term will commence on the date the agreement is approved and executed by the Maryland State Board of Public Works. The Council further acknowledged that the execution of this agreement is necessary in order to obtain grant funding for continued maintenance of the ramp.
ROADWAY LINE STRIPING CONTRACT BID AWARD-HIGHWAY/PUBLIC WORKS
The Council approved the request of Mr. Weber and agreed to award the bid for roadway pavement line striping work to the lowest bidder, Alpha Space Control Company in the amount of $31,456.50 for 670,000 feet of line striping. The Council acknowledged that approval from the State Highway Administration for this bid award was received on May 26, 2010 and that funding for the project will be from a Maryland Department of Transportation American Recovery and Restoration Act Grant. The Council further acknowledged that because the contract came in under budget, Mr. Weber may submit a future request for approval of a change order to perform an additional 278,000 feet of line striping to fully utilize all grant funding.
FY 2011 TAR AND CHIP/BLACKTOP SCHEDULE-HIGHWAY/PUBLIC WORKS
At the request of Mr. Weber, the Council approved the FY 2011 Tar & Chip/Blacktop Schedule. The Council acknowledged that approximately 30.79 miles of roadway will be tar & chipped with funding from the approved FY2011 budget. The Council also approved the addition of tar & chipping a section (0.10 mile) of Punch Island Road. The Council further approved the paving of approximately 3.0 miles of road with funding approved in the FY2011 budget and the production of 400 tons of cold patch material for the upcoming winter. The Council acknowledged that 2.0 miles of Smithville Road will be paved as part of the State Aid funded project. The Council noted that the roads scheduled to be blacktopped are the outside lane on the east side of Woods Road from Chesapeake Drive to US 50, 0.7 mile on Brannock’s Neck Road from Gregory Road to the cul-de-sac, 1.6 miles on Airey’s Road and 0.3 mile on Cabin Creek to Hurlock Road and 0.1 mile on Indiantown Road.
BILL NO. 2010-12 AN ACT OF THE COUNTY COUNCIL OF DORCHESTER COUNTY, MARYLAND PURSUANT TO THE AUTHORITY OF THE ENVIRONMENT ARTICLE, TITLE 4 SUBTITLE 2 OF THE ANNOTATED CODE OF MARYLAND AND PURSUANT TO ARTICLE 25A, SECTION 5(S) OF THE ANNOTATED CODE OF MARYLAND TO REPEAL AND REENACT CHAPTER 134 OF THE DORCHESTER COUNTY CODE ENTITLED “STORMWATER MANAGEMENT” PROVIDING FOR THE PROTECTION, MAINTENANCE AND ENHANCEMENT, PUBLIC SAFETY AND GENERAL WELFARE BY ESTABLISHING MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS TO CONTROL THE ADVERSE IMPACTS ASSOCIATED WITH INCREASED STORMWATER RUNOFF.
E. Thomas Merryweather, County Attorney, said that a public hearing was being held on Bill No. 2010-12 to repeal and reenact Chapter 134 of the Dorchester County Code entitled “Stormwater Management” providing for the protection, maintenance and enhancement, public safety and general welfare by establishing minimum requirements to control the adverse impacts associated with increased stormwater runoff.
Mr. Merryweather said legislative action is required to recognize new State regulations. Michael Moulds, Engineer, said that that the legislation incorporates the regulations outlined in the Storm Water Management Act of 2007 and will require a three step storm water management planning process which will increase review time.
There was no public comment.
The roll call on the enactment of Bill No. 12 was as follows: Nichols -aye; Newcomb- aye; Elzey-aye; Price-aye; Travers-aye.
The Council introduced Bill No. 2010-14 AN ACT OF THE COUNTY COUNCIL OF DORCHESTER COUNTY, MARYLAND FOR THE PURPOSE OF CLARIFYING THE APPLICABILITY OF THE BUILDING EXCISE TAX TO ADDITIONAL CONSTRUCTION OF RESIDENTIAL AND NONRESIDENTIAL STRUCTURES IN DORCHESTER COUNTY, MARYLAND BY AMENDING CHAPTER 144 (TAXATION), ARTICLE X (BUILDING EXCISE TAX), SECTION 144-30 (DEFINITIONS) TO MODIFY THE TERM “ADDITION CONSTRUCTION” AND ADD THE TERM “DWELLING UNIT”.
Mr. Merryweather advised that Bill No. 2010-14 will clarify the applicability of the County’s Building Excise Tax to additional construction of residential and nonresidential structures in Dorchester County by amending Chapter 144 entitled “Taxation”, Article X entitled Building Excise Tax and Section 144-30 “Definitions” to modify the terms “addition construction and “dwelling unit”. He said that the proposed legislation is based on recommendations from Board of Appeals and Charles (Chip) MacLeod, Special Legal Counsel, in light of a recent question of interpretation.
The Council agreed to proceed with publication of a public hearing on this matter.
BILL NO. 2010-13 an act of the county council of dorchester county, maryland pursuant to section 40-20 of chapter 40 of the dorchester county code closing and abandoning a thirty (30) foot wide strip of land situate in the fork election district of dorchester county, maryland, crossing the land of steven j. ochse and shari s. ochSE, his wife, known as 2890 mowbray creek road, federalsburg, maryland 21632, conveyed to them by deed dated december 14, 2001 and recorded among the land records of dorchester county, maryland in liber 486, folio 385.
Mr. Merryweather said a public hearing is being held on Bill No. 2010-13, pursuant to Section 40-20 of Chapter 40 of the Dorchester County Code closing and abandoning a thirty (30) foot wide strip of land situate in the Fork Election District of Dorchester County, crossing the land of Steven J. Ochse and Shari S. Ochse, his wife, known as 2890 Mowbray Creek Road, Federalsburg, Maryland 21632, conveyed to them by deed dated December 14, 2001 and recorded among the Land Records of Dorchester County in Liber 486, Folio 385.
Thomas E. Valkenet, legal counsel for Mr. and Mrs. Ochse explained that he filed a petition with the Circuit Court of Dorchester County against William Henry and Jessice Henry and Dorchester County to abandon the 30 foot wide strip in question.
He explained that Circuit Court Judge Brett Wilson has ruled that the County has an interest in the strip of land. He noted that the lawsuit is now under appeal and that the case has been stayed in order to give the County Council the opportunity to consider a request by the Osches to abandon and close the strip of land as indicated by the proposed legislation. Mr. Valkenet provided the Council with copies of exhibits introduced during the Circuit Court case which depict areas along the roadway.
In response to a question from Mr. Merryweather, Mr. Valkenet expressed his opinion that the closure of the 30 foot wide strip will not affect the ingress or egress of other property owners in that area. He noted that the William and Jesse Henry have the right to use a private drive to access their property and that the property owners below that property to the south border a paper street which travels south to North Tara Road.
Mr. Steven Osche showed the Council pictures of a culvert over Mowbray Creek, constructed by the Henrys who previously owned the property he owns, which has been washed out, a fence installed by Mr. Henry, and pictures of his house and the strip of land in question. He said that after owning the property for four years he and his wife realized that there was a provision in their deed that allowed other individuals right to use the strip of land for ingress, egress and regress over their property. Mr. Osche said that no motorists have crossed his property since he purchased it. He explained that he and his wife asked the Henrys’ to sign a release of the strip of land and they refused. He said they also asked Public Works staff if the County owned Mowbray Creek Road and that Council could find no records of that roadway. Mr. Osche noted that they then filed the lawsuit. He explained that the majority of the roadway is not accessible and is blocked with trees and barbed wire. He thanked the Council for considering their request to close and abandon the 30 foot wide strip of land.
Jack Hall, Attorney for Haynes v. Holdt, a successor trustee under Trust of Roberta Holdt, explained that his client is also involved in the Circuit Court case which has now been appealed. He said that Mr. Holdt, as trustee owns property, that fronts of Mowbray Road which consists of 84 acres and is divided by Mowbray Road at north most end. He said that closing the strip of land will result in fire equipment having to take a longer route, approximately 5 miles longer, to Mr. Holdt’s property. Mr. Hall explained that his client does not want the County to asphalt, repair and maintain the roadway but wants it to remain accessible to the Federalsburg Volunteer Fire department and fire equipment in case of a fire.
Haines B. Holdt who lives at 3223 Holt Street, Federalsburg, Maryland stated that as long as he can remember the road has existed and that he remembers trucks hauling gravel using the roadway. In response to a question from Mr. Merryweather, Mr. Holdt confirmed that it is her recollection that trucks hauling gravel used the road that crosses the Osche property.
John Billmyre, Attorney, said he represented William and Jessie Henry in the litigation that led to the petition to abandon and close the 30 foot wide strip of land. He expressed dismay that the Osches did not submit a request to abandon and close this strip of land before moving forward with extensive legislation that has resulted in substantial legal fees being incurred by his clients and the other individuals who have participated in the lawsuit. He said that Mr. and Mrs. Henry have offered to resolve the dispute several times to no avail. He said that the Henry family does not oppose the Osche’s request to abandon and close the 30 foot wide strip of land referenced in the proposed legislation. Mr. Billmyre noted that the road has always bisected a large stretch of timberland and quarry property.
Mr. Valkenet thanked Mr. Billmyre for allowing Henrys to join in petition to close and abandon the 30 foot wide strip of land. He said it is his understanding that access to the Holt property has always been from the south and that Anne Ogletree, who was legal counsel for Ms. Roberta Holdt at one time said that the property is accessed by traveling down North Tara Road onto River Road. He said that the 30 foot wide strip of land goes through the center of the Osche’s property and in his opinion, devalues the property. He also expressed his understanding that closing the strip of land will not inhibit primary access for other property owners in that area. He noted that, in his opinion, allowing the strip to remain open in case the fire company wants to use it to respond to any future calls is not appropriate.
Mr. Hall noted that Ms. Ogletree was not acting as counsel for Ms. Holdt and that she only filed a deed for her. He said that the culvert over Mowbray Creek has been washed out since 2008. He expressed concern that abandoning and closing the strip of land will eliminate the quickest fire emergency route to the property. Mr. Osche said that trees block access to the Holdt property.
Mr. Hall suggested a site visit. Mr. Osche questioned whether anyone from the Council visited the site. Mr. Weber explained that he visited the site and that he believed there a fire truck would not be able to use the roadway in question to access the Holdt property.
In response to a question from Councilman Travers, Mr. Weber said County staff has not been able to find any evidence that the Council owned or maintained the roadway in question. Mr. Hall noted that Mr. Holdt’s deed references a County road. Mr. Weber said that that there may have been a road 50, 60 or even 80 years ago but that the Public Works Department has not records of that roadway being owned by the County.
In response to a question from Councilwoman Elzey, Mr. Merryweather said that approving the bill will result in the closure of the 30 wide strip of land from the Caroline County Line to the end of Osche property and no other portion. Based on a question from Councilman Nichols, Mr. Merryweather noted that based on the testimony presented the closure of the strip of land will not affect any other properties in that area.
The roll call on the enactment of Bill No. 2010-13 was as follows: Nichols-aye; Newcomb-aye; Elzey-aye; Price-aye; Travers-aye.
OLD BEULAH LANDFILL CLOSURE CAP-SOLID WASTE/PUBLIC WORKS
The Council approved Mr. Weber’s request to contract with Geosyntech to update the existing 2005 Waste Relocation Plan to include the new cell liner design standards and the option of using an exposed geo-membrane to cap the Old Beulah landfill and to assess the feasibility of adding a solar application option, including addressing availability of energy companies that perform that work. The Council acknowledged that the cost for this work is $27,057 and will be paid from the Capital Account for the Cell 5 construction and closure of the “Old Beulah” landfill. The Council further acknowledged that Maryland Department of Environment staff has indicated their willingness to review and approve the exposed geo-membrane capping system provided it meets the State’s design and environmental parameters.
RESOLUTION-PRIMARY LAW ENFORCEMENT UNIT-JUNK DEALERS/SCRAP METAL PROCESSING
Pursuant to Senate Bill 911, which was passed in the 2010 Maryland General Assembly, and requires counties and municipalities to designate a primary law enforcement unit for enforcement of regulations pertaining to junk dealers and scrap metal processing, the
Council agreed to execute a resolution designating the Easton Barracks of the Maryland State Police as the primarily law enforcement unit for
FY11 SCHOOL BASED
The Council approved the request of Nancy Shockley, Local Management Board, for the submission of the School Based Health Center Program Continuation application issued by the Maryland State Department of Education for FY11 in the amount of $432,445 for the period of July 1, 2010 through June 30, 2011. The Council acknowledged these funds will provide for the continued operation of existing school based health center programs and will enhance compliance with the new 2006 Maryland School Based Health Center standards. The Council further acknowledged that the Dorchester County Health Department is the lead agency and they will provide the local match. Additionally the Council acknowledged that no funding is required by Dorchester County.
2011 HEALTHY FAMILIES GRANT RENEWAL APPLICATION-LOCAL MANAGEMENT BOARD
The Council approved the request of Ms. Shockley to submit the 2011 Healthy Families Dorchester application to the Maryland State Department of Education in the amount of $363,132 for the period of July 1, 2010 through June 30, 2011. The Council acknowledged that this funding will offer support to all families expecting a baby through a Home Visiting Program and targets 50 families with 2.5 full time workers. The Council further acknowledged that the Health Department is the lead agency and will provide the local match. The Council recognized that no funding is required by Dorchester County.
REQUEST TO EXPEND PROGRAM OPEN SPACE FUNDS-TOWN OF SECRETARY-RECREATION AND PARKS
Scott Eberspacher, Recreation and Parks Director, advised he was before Council to present a request on behalf of the Town of Secretary for the use of County Program Space funds in the amount of $77,400 to build a pavilion which will be used for outdoor town/community functions and events. He said that these funds are not being used in light of there being no capital program for FY 2011. He explained that Town representatives have advised that they will pay the cost for the project up front and will provide the required 10% match. He said that he spoke to the Regional Program Open Space Coordinator for Dorchester County and that he expressed his opinion that it is very possible the request for the Town of Secretary to use these funds will be granted.
In response to a question from Councilwoman Elzey, Mr. Eberspacher said if the Council approves the use of the funds by the Town he will prepare a grant to the State of Maryland to approve the transfer of the funds.
Based on questions from Councilman Travers, Mr. Eberspacher advised that Program Open Space funds can only be used for capital projects and cannot be used for maintenance and repairs, such as the repairs to a tank recently made at the Dorchester County pool.
In response to questions from Councilman Newcomb, Mr. Eberspacher said that the funds are available until July 2012 and can be used to replace playground equipment.
The Council denied the request Mr. Eberspacher made on behalf of the Town of Secretary to use Program Open Space funds allocated to the County in the amount of $77,400 for its pavilion project. Councilman Nichols and Councilman Price opposed. The Council acknowledged that this decision was made in light of the fact that new funding will not be available until 2012.
PROPOSED PAPER RETENTION POLICY-TECHNOLOGY
The Council deferred discussion regarding a proposed County paper retention policy.
BOAT MOTOR REPLACEMENT-PUBLIC WORKS
The Council approved the request of Mr. Weber to purchase a replacement 25 HP electric start outboard motor from Budd’s Marine, which submitted the lowest quote out of three vendors, in the amount of $2,870 using funds from the contractual line item in the Engineering budget. The Council acknowledged that this motor will be used to operate one of the two used johnboats owned by the County in order to allow the County’s engineering and marine facilities maintenance crew more water access to safely inspect and maintain County facilities, including navigation light replacement, inspection of pilings and bottom survey. The Council further acknowledged that more water access is needed in light of recent State Waterway Improvement Fund reductions and the elimination of the Department of Natural Resources bottom survey crew. The Council recognized that some of the funding under the Engineering budget contractual line item will be used to repair and title the boat trailer, install a battery, fuel tank, depth finder and to provide the required safety equipment and asked Mr. Weber to work with the Finance Office staff to ensure that the appropriate budget transfers are executed to use these funds for those purchases.
MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING-HARRIET TUBMAN UNDERGROUND RAILROAD BYWAY-TOURISM
The Council approved the request of Amanda Fenstermaker, Tourism Director, to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding between the State Highway Administration, acting for and on behalf of the Maryland Department of Transportation and the Dorchester County Tourism Office, for funds in the amount not to exceed $460,000, of which $92,000 is a local match, to implement the following four Harriett Tubman Underground Railroad Byway projects: interpretive wayside system, audio tour, centennial map-guide and consumer website. The Council acknowledged that the Heritage Area Management Board has already secured matching funds for the audio tour and the production and installation of wayside markers and will apply for grant funds or use in-kind services to cover the match requirement for the map guide and consumer website.
Additionally, the Council requested that Ms. Fenstermaker meet with Councilman Nichols, Councilwoman Elzey and State representatives to discuss the County’s involvement in the formation of a management team for the Harriett Tubman projects in Dorchester County.
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