Meeting Minutes

Meeting Minutes
posted: 08/16/10

County Council Meeting Minutes


July 20, 2010

County Council of Dorchester County

Regular Meeting Minutes

July 20, 2010

 

The County Council of Dorchester County met in regular session on July 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 Jane Baynard, County Manager and Donna Lane, Executive Administrative Specialist.

 

REGULAR SESSION

 

EXECUTIVE SESSION

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; pursuant to §10-508(A)(4) to consider a preliminary matter that concerns the proposal for a business or industrial organization to locate, expand, or remain in the State; 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.

 

REGULAR SESSION

 

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 removal of the introduction of legislation relating to the County’s Ethics Code in order to obtain further legal clarification and the addition to the agenda of a request for the extension of a Community Development Block Grant with Delmarva Community Services relating a housing grant.

 

APPROVAL OF MINUTES- JULY 6, 2010

The Council approved the minutes of July 6, 2010 and the Emergency Medical Work Session minutes of July 15, 2010.

 

APPROVAL OF DISBURSEMENTS

The Council approved vouchers as presented with Councilman Travers abstaining for payments made to Simmons Center Market and the addition of the payment of the FY 2011 budget appropriation of $5,000 to the Cambridge Housing Authority.

 

FINANICAL REPORT: CASH AND INVESTMENTS

 

Councilman Newcomb reported total cash and investments as $1,871,886.04.

FY 2010 CATEGORICAL TRANSFER REQUEST-BOARD OF EDUCATION

 

The Council approved the FY10 Categorical Budget Transfer request  made by Dr. Henry Wagner, Superintendent of Schools on behalf of the Board of Education transferring $$45,000 from Operation of Plant and $97,000 from Fixed Charges to the following categories: Administration ($23,000) due to additional expenses relating to employee retirement and staff turnover; Instructional Salaries and Wages ($39,000) due to additional expenses relating to substitute teachers; and Maintenance of Plant ($80,000) for unexpected HVAC repairs, installation of emergency/handicap door openers at the high schools, and project mounts for new classroom technology. 

 

EXECUTIVE SESSION SUMMARY

The County Council of Dorchester County convened in an Executive Session at 4:30 p.m. on July 20, 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; pursuant to §10-508(A)(4) to consider a preliminary matter that concerns the proposal for a business or industrial organization to locate, expand, or remain in the State; 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) discussed recommendations of a hiring panel to hire an individual to fill an Emergency Services Director position- took no action.

 

Councilman Newcomb noted that pursuant to the agenda the Council will reconvene into executive session after the meeting.

 

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.

 

REGULAR SESSION

COMMENDATION-TYLER TRAVERS-EAGLE SCOUT RANK

 

The Council presented a commendation to Tyler Travers for obtaining the rank of Eagle Scout.   Mr. Travers accepted the commendation.

COMMENDATION-DR. FREDERIC HILDENBRAND-RETIREMENT

 

The Council presented a commendation to Dr. Frederic Hildenbrand congratulating on his retirement and recognizing his 37 years of service to Dorchester County as Superintendent of Schools. Dr. Hildenbrand accepted the commendation.  He expressed his opinion that during his tenure the relationship between the Board of Education and County Council has improved.

 

MANAGERS COMMENTS

FUNDING AGREEMENT-DEPARTMENT OF MENTAL HEALTH AND HYGIENE

 

The Council approved the written request of Roger Harrell, Health Officer of the Dorchester County Health Department, to execute the FY11 Funding Agreement totaling $735,000 which includes required matching funds of $178,972 and a local match of $556,028 to provide local health services at the Health Department between the County and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.  The Council acknowledged that the County funds are equal to the $735,000 appropriation in the County Council’s FY11 budget.

 

SUPERINTENDENT ADVISORY COUNCIL-BOARD OF EDUCATION

 

Based on a request from Dr. Wagner for a Council representative for the newly established Superintendent’s Advisory Board, the Council agreed that Councilwoman Elzey will attend the September 1, 2010 to represent the Council.  That Council took no action on appointing a Council member to attend the January 5, 2011 and April 13, 2011 Board meetings until the new County Council members take office.   The Council acknowledged that the Board will consist of business, government, faith-based and community leaders and that the members will discuss issues regarding the youth and the school system in the County.

 

DORCHESTER COUNTY LOAN REVIEW COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATIONS-ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

 

Based on information provided by Keasha Haythe, Economic Development Director, the Council approved the Dorchester County Revolving Loan Fund Review Committee’s recommendations to extend a loan to R&M Performance, LLC in the amount of $24,000 at an interest rate of 5.5% for five years to renovate the facility and purchase equipment and to Bay Country Bakery in the amount of $20,000 at an interest rate of 5.5% for five years to pay off a credit card and to purchase additional equipment.   The Council instructed Ms. Haythe to advise the Committee of its decision.  Council recognized that the funds identified for these loans are set aside specifically for Dorchester County business based on the original funding source being Dorchester First!

 

BID AWARD-ROADWAY RECONSTRUCTION-ROADS/PUBLIC WORKS

 

The Council approved the recommendation of Chuck Weber, Public Works Director, to award a bid to American Paving for widening and resurfacing work on Hambrooke’s Boulevard, Linkwood, Maple Dam and Sandy Hill Roads at the cost of $922,943.60.  The Council acknowledged that funding for the project will be from a Maryland Department of Transportation American Recovery and Restoration Act Grant.  The Council further acknowledged that pursuant to the grant the State Highway Administration approved the bid award on July 12, 2010.

 

LEGISLATIVE SESSION    

PUBLIC HEARING                                                                                                  

 

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”.

 

Ms. Baynard explained that a public hearing is being held on 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”. 

 

Steve Dodd, Planning and Zoning Director, noted that the 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.  He explained that approximately six months ago a developer in City of Cambridge converted an existing structure from five apartments to ten within the confines of that structure and that he, as Planning and Zoning Director, determined that the County’s current Excise Tax Ordinance will apply to those five additional dwelling units.  He noted that the developer filed an appeal of his decision with the Board of Zoning Appeals and that the Board members upheld his interpretation of the ordinance.  He said that the amendment does not change how the building excise tax is applied to individuals who are adding on or remodeling their residence.

 

Brian Roche, a Dorchester County resident, expressed his appreciation of Council’s efforts to clarify the language in the County’s Ethics Ordinance but noted that the proposed amendment may conflict with the City of Cambridge Draft Comprehensive and Economic Development Plans which encourage decreasing or removing impact fees or excise taxes to spur investment and new business growth in the City.   He suggested that Council defer consideration of the proposed amendment in order that the potential impacts of the change in the language of ordinance be studied so that it does not conflict with the City’s plans or, if amended, excludes the City’s downtown business district.   

 

Gage Thomas, a Dorchester County resident, said that he although he does not disagree with the amendments to the definitions in the ordinance he questions how those definitions are applied in determining the amount of excise due.  He said that in some instances although the amount of units may change there may be the same number of occupants that remain in the structure, i.e. making two bedroom apartments into one bedroom apartments, with no increased impact to capital costs of additional or expanded public works, improvements and facilities required to accommodate new construction or development including emergency services, the Sheriff’s Office and schools. 

 

He suggested that the County consider assessing residents in the City of Cambridge and Town of Hurlock at a lower excise tax rate in order to compensate for duplicative services.

 

Allen Nelson, a Dorchester County resident, also expressed concern about the proposed amendment which may discourage economic development growth in Dorchester County.  He said that before the excise tax is applied, it should be determined if there will be an increased demand of services when dwelling units are occupied.  He asked that Council to defer action on the proposed bill and re-evaluate the ordinance as a whole. 

 

The Council deferred consideration of Bill No. 2010-14 to 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”.  Councilman Nichols opposed.

        

INTRODUCTION                                                                                                       

 

AN ACT OF THE COUNTY COUNCIL OF DORCHESTER COUNTY, MARYLAND PURSUANT TO THE AUTHORITY OF SECTION 15-803 OF THE STATE GOVERNMENT ARTICLE OF THE ANNOTATED CODE OF MARYLAND AMENDING SECTION 88-5 OF CHAPTER 88 OF THE DORCHESTER COUNTY CODE RELATING TO PUBLIC ETHICS ON A LOCAL LEVEL AND CONFLICTS OF INTERESTS

 

The Council deferred the introduction of this legislation in order to obtain further clarification from legal counsel.

 

INTRODUCTION                                                                                                      

 

AN ACT OF THE COUNTY COUNCIL OF DORCHESTER COUNTY, MARYLAND PURSUANT TO THE AUTHORITY OF SECTION 15-803 OF THE STATE GOVERNMENT ARTICLE OF THE ANNOTATED CODE OF MARYLAND TO ADD NEW SECTION 88-5.1 TO CHAPTER 88 OF THE DORCHESTER COUNTY CODE TO PROVIDE COUNTY EMPLOYEES SHALL NOT SUPERVISE IMMEDIATE FAMILY MEMBERS TO AVOID CONFLICT OF INTERESTS.

 

The Council deferred the introduction of this legislation in order to obtain further clarification from legal counsel.

 

MANAGERS COMMENTS

 

NOXIOUS WEED CONTROL COOPERATIVE AGREEMENT-MARYLAND DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

 

The Council approved the written request of  Mary Ellen Setting, Deputy Secretary, Maryland Department of Agriculture and agreed to execute a Grant Agreement between the Maryland Department of Agriculture and Dorchester County with no funds being provided by the County or the Maryland Department of Agriculture for the control and eradication of specific noxious weeds (Johnsongrass, shattercane, thistles, multiflora rose) for the period of July 1, 2010 through June 30, 2011. 

 

PROPOSED POLICY-SCHOOL STREET FIELD PARKING-RECREATION AND PARKS

 

The Council approved the recommendation of the Dorchester County Recreation & Parks Board, presented by Scott Eberspacher, Recreation and Parks Director to implement a policy effective July 20, 2010 that no parking and/or riding will be allowed on the athletic fields/areas on School Street in Cambridge owned by the County.  Councilman Travers opposed.  The Council acknowledged that the policy includes all motorized vehicles including but not limited to cars, trucks, motorcycles, ATVs, scooters, RVs and dirt bikes with the exception being the Recreation and Parks County vehicles to prepare/monitor the site and emergency vehicles such as ambulances, police vehicles, and/or state helicopters in an emergency situation. 

 

GOVERNOR’S OFFICE OF CRIME CONTROL & PREVENTION - SHERIFF’S OFFICE GRANT APPLICATION ACKNOWLEDGEMENT/GRANT AWARD – GUN VIOLENCE REDUCTION

 

The Council acknowledged the submission of a Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention Gun Violence Reduction –Cease Fire Grant by the Sheriff’s Office and accepted the grant award of $19,500 with no local match to be used to pay for overtime support for implementing and developing strategies specifically intended to reduce gun related crime. 

 

The Council agreed to exempt the hours spent by Deputies specific to this grant from the 171 hour overtime threshold and to pay overtime for these hours to be charged to this grant. Hours spent on duties outlined in the grant will be applicable to the 171 hours over 28 day pay period overtime threshold once the grant period is over or grant funds have been depleted.  The Council reserved the right to review any future grant renewals to determine the policy regarding hourly pay for the provision of the services in regard to overtime polices.   

 

The Council further agreed that Ed Bozel, Grants Coordinator, will be responsible for updating this grant account and will advise you when the grant funds are near depletion or have been expended.

 

GOVERNOR’S OFFICE OF CRIME CONTROL & PREVENTION GRANT APPLICATION – COMMUNITY PATROL

 

The Council approved the submission of a Byrne Justice Assistance Grant Program application through the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention entitled “Community Patrol in Outlying Areas of Dorchester County” by the Sheriff’s Office in the amount of $50,841.  The Council acknowledged that $39,550 will be used for overtime to increase a police presence in communities with no municipal police force and $11,291 will be used for the purchase of laptops. The Council also acknowledged that there is no local match and the grant period will be October 1, 2010 to September 30, 2011.   Additionally, the Council acknowledged that time applied to this grant was excluded from the overtime threshold as a function of budget.

 

FARM SERVICE AGENCY LEASE EXTENSION REQUEST

 

Based on a written request from Lisa Pole, Contracting Officer, Management Services Division, Real & Personal Property Maintenance Section of the United States Department of Agriculture, the Council agreed to extend the lease between the Farm Service Agency and Dorchester County for 24 months at the existing lease rate of $12 per square foot for annual rent of $25,765 at the rate of $2,147 per month.

 

REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS-HARRIET TUBMAN UNDERGROUND RAILROAD WEBSITE-TOURISM

 

The Council approved the request of Amanda Fenstermaker, Tourism Director, to begin soliciting bids to seek the services of an experienced professional consulting team to develop two websites with one being a consumer website designed for potential visitors to the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway and the other being a community website, designed for local businesses and community members interested in or located along the byway. The Council further acknowledged that these professional services will be funded through a Federal Highway Administration grant that was awarded to the State Office of Tourism and that, as agreed upon in a previous Memorandum of Understanding, Dorchester County will act as the State’s local agent to implement this and several other byway-related projects outlined in the grant.

 


MARYLAND ENERGY ADMINISTRATION GRANT AWARD AMENDMENTS/ REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS-REPLACEMENT OF LIGHT FIXTURES

 

Based on a request made by Mr. Bozel, the Council accepted an amendment to the Empower Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Award Agreement from the Maryland Energy Administration and to execute the revised Attachment D American Reinvestment and Recovery Act Addendum.  The Council acknowledged that the amendment reflects new provisions in the Buy American Prevailing Wage and Davis-Bacon Act requirements. Additionally, the Council acknowledged that the grant is for $183,000 with no local match and a grant period ending June 1, 2012 and that the funds are to be used for projects that increase energy efficiency or for renewable energy projects to benefit facilities owned or operated by local government. 

 

The Council also approved Mr. Bozel’s request to advertise a request for proposals under this grant award to replace 500 light fixtures at the Dorchester County Office Building including 250 on the first floor and 250 on the second floor with more efficient light fixtures.   

 

REQUEST FOR SUMMER ENRICHMENT PROGRAM SUPPLIES – LOCAL MANAGEMENT BOARD

 

The Council approved the request of Nancy Shockley, Local Management Board Director, to allocate earned reinvestment funds to Visions America in the amount of $275 from the Governor’s Office for Children to purchase supplies for the following summer enrichment programs: Good Idea to Help Young People (Resource book & Video from Character Counts); The Six Pillars of Character Series (6 cross curriculum resource books); Team Building System (Systems for building teams through physical challenges).

 

TELEPHONE POLL CONFIRMATIONS

 

Ms. Baynard advised that in the interim between meetings the Council, by telephone poll,agreed to conduct quarterly Financial Work Sessions beginning the month of September 2010 by a 5 to 0 vote.  She noted that the first work session will be held on Tuesday, September 28, 2010 at 6 p.m.

 

REQUEST FOR EXTENSION – MARYLAND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANT-DELMARVA COMMUNITY SERVICES

 

The Council approved the request of Santo Grande, President, Delmarva Community Services, and agreed to seek a six (6) month extension from the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development for the Housing Rehabilitation Community Development Block Grant awarded to DCS which is due to expire on July 31, 2010 by extending the grant award period to January 31, 2011 in order to complete projects already in progress and expend the remaining balance of the grant award.

 


PUBLIC COMMENTS

Donald Gray, a Dorchester County resident, expressed concern that although the assessment of his property decrease, his real property taxes increased by $276.  He said that it is his understanding from talking with Dianna Willey, Supervisor of Assessments, of the local State Department of Assessments and Taxation that unless the tax rates are decreased his taxes will increase annually.

   

Jim Dolan, a Dorchester County resident, expressed concern about several individuals over 50 years old who have been laid off and are leaving Dorchester County to open businesses in other areas due to an increase in taxes.

 

Charlotte Hughes, a Dorchester County resident, said it is her understanding that Caroline County and several other surrounding counties have decreased their property taxes.  She questioned why six houses in Dorchester County have been condemned when there are grant rehabilitation funds available from Delmarva Community Services.  Councilman Newcomb noted that those funds are already encumbered.

 

Ms. Hughes noted that Dobson Road is in need of repair and that Ralph Young, a bus driver, who drives a bus on that road, is repairing the road at his expense.  She expressed concern that no repairs have been made to the roadway in the past several years and that it is her recollection that during the 2009 and 2010 snow storm events the road was not plowed.   The Council asked Mr. Weber to have staff view, and if necessary make repairs to Dobson Road.

 

Susan Dukes, a Dorchester County resident, noted that increases to an individual’s real property taxes are not paid in full each year but are limited to no more than a 5% increase due to the County’s Homestead Tax Credit and said that, because of this credit, it may take several years for an individual to actually pay the full value of an assessment increase. 

 

In response to a question from Mr. Dolan, the Council noted that there are beaches from which the public may choose to swim located at the radio station, in Hoopersville, at Great Marsh, at Sailwinds Park and at the Visitor’s Center.

 

COUNCIL’S COMMENTS/ADJOURNMENT

Based on the concerns expressed by the public relating to real property taxes and property assessments, the Council requested that Finance Office staff check with other surrounding counties and provide information on whether property assessments are decreasing and to ask Ms. Willey for information regarding the impact of reassessments.  

 

Councilman Price shared with Mr. Weber the compliments of several residents on the improvements made to Cabin Creek Road and Brannocks Neck Road.

 

The Council requested that staff obtain information regarding why a separate bill was sent for the Bay Restoration Fee from the Sanitary District from the quarterly invoice.

 

Based on a request Councilman Newcomb made on behalf of Bruce Coulson, a Dorchester County resident, the Council agreed that a tent can be placed on the Taylors Island County dock to check in individuals for a woman’s fishing tournament to be held on August 8, 2010.    The Council instructed Mr. Weber to contact Bruce Coulson regarding the placement of that tent.

 

Councilman Newcomb stated that it was his understanding that the nine day closure period for harvesting female blue crabs may be eliminated by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.  He said that he called Secretary John Griffin regarding this possible closure and that he has returned his call but the Council meeting was already in session.  He advised Council that once he has spoken to Secretary Griffin he may ask that a letter be sent to DNR in support of the elimination of the closure for harvesting sooks.

 

Ms. Baynard noted that there is two week break between meetings with the next County Council meeting being held August 10, 2010.  

 

With no further business to discuss, the Council adjourned the regular session and went into executive.

 

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.