Meeting Minutes

Meeting Minutes
posted: 09/10/10

County Council Meeting Minutes

August 24, 2010

County Council of Dorchester County

Regular Meeting Minutes

August 24, 2010


The County Council of Dorchester County met in regular session on August 24, 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 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 §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.





Council Nichols led the invocation and the pledge of allegiance.




The Council approved the removal of the Hoopers Neck Property Discussion from the agenda pending further review and to add a request from the Hoopers Island Volunteer Fire Company for paving work.



The Council approved the minutes of August 10, 2010.


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 $3,137,711.66.


The County Council of Dorchester County convened in an Executive Session at 4:30   p.m. on August 24, 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 §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 August 10, 2010 Regular Session meeting, the Council re-adjourned into Executive Session to discuss the following items: 1) discussed the possible declaration and sale of County owned property-agreed to continue discussions at its August 24, 2010 meeting; 2) discussed with legal counsel terms of EMS Intercept agreement-took no action and referred to August 24, 2010 open session; 3) agreed to designate an additional individual as temporary supervisor for EMS by a 5 to 0 vote; 4) discussed the current employee schedule at the 911 Communications Center-took no action; 5) conceptually agreed to participate in a DBED commitment to a local business and agreed to a local match contingent upon a conditional loan being offered and accepted by a local business by a 5 to 0 vote.  


Councilman Newcomb advised that the County Council of Dorchester County convened in an Executive Session at 4:30 p.m. on August 24, 2010 to discuss the following items: 1) received an update from Finance staff regarding FY11 payroll-took no action; 2) approved the request of Recreation and Parks Director for the continued use of a seasonal worker in that Department by a 4 to 0 vote; 3) discussed personnel issues with legal counsel-took no action; 4) discussed with legal counsel the possible declaration and sale of a County owned property-deferred pending further review; 5) discussed with legal counsel a matter relating to the noise control ordinance- took no action.

Councilman Newcomb announced that the Council will reconvene into executive session after regular session to discuss two personnel items.


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.



PROCLAMATION-PREPAREDNESS MONTH-SEPTEMBER 2010                                                              

The Council presented a proclamation declaring September 2010 as Preparedness Month.  Wayne Robinson, Emergency Management Director, and Steve Garvin, Emergency Management Planner, accepted the proclamation.




Dave Guignet, State Floodplain Delineation and Mapping Coordinator for the Maryland Department of Environment, provided the Council with information regarding new Flood Insurance Rate Maps which will be digitalized and the State model floodplain ordinance which will need to be adopted by the Council in the spring of 2011.   He acknowledged that Ed Copeland from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Michael Scott, PhD, Professor at Salisbury University, were present. 


In response to a question from Steve Dodd, Planning and Zoning Director, Mr. Guignet advised that 180 property owners will be notified by mail that their properties are now in the 100 year flood plain and there is a website available, from which to review the maps.  He noted that there will also be a series of public meetings held regarding the new maps before a flood plain ordinance is presented to the County Council for adoption and that the hearing dates will be included in the information provided to the 180 property owners.   Dr. Scott noted that WBOC TV station will also provide information to the public during news broadcasts about the new flood plan maps and informational meetings.


Mr. Guignet explained that the 180 property owners will have the opportunity to purchase flood insurance from FEMA at a reduced rate over a two to three year period.  Dr. Scott noted that the lower rate will continue even if the property is sold as long as the new owner maintains the insurance payments.


Nick Lyons, Codes Administrator, explained that the new website will allow individuals to view their properties online to determine whether they are in the 100 year flood plain which should decrease the number of residents who request that information from Planning and Zoning staff. 


Mr. Guignet said credit will be given to those local jurisdictions who adopt the digitalized maps through the Community Rating System program which offers reduced flood insurance rates to residents in areas that qualify under that program.   Mr. Lyons said that Mr. Guignet has offered Mr. Scott’s assistance to the Planning and Zoning staff in the County in attempting to obtain Community Rating System certification.


Councilman Newcomb expressed concern that although the State Highway Administration is able to raise roads in the South Dorchester area, MDE will not give authorization to the County to raise the roads in those areas which are frequently flooded.  Chuck Weber, Public Works Director, concurred.  Mr. Guignet offered to contact MDE on behalf of the County regarding whether or not permission can be granted to raise those roads.


Mr. Copeland noted that FEMA has designated the Dorchester County Flood Mitigation Plan as the model for other local jurisdictions in the State and may become the National model.


The Council thanked Mr. Copeland and Mr. Scott for the presentation regarding flood plain maps and the adoption of a new floodplain ordinance.


FUTURE EAGLEMAN IRONMAN 70.3 TRIATHLONS-GERRY BOYLE                                                    

Gerry Boyle, Local Event Coordinator, Columbia Triathlon Association, provided the Council with information regarding future Eagleman Ironman 70.3 Triathlons.   


The Council approved Mr. Boyle’s request and agreed to send a letter of support to the World Triathlon Corporation for the continuation of the Eagleman Ironman 70.3 race in Dorchester County, Maryland for 2011 and 2012.   The Council acknowledged that Ironman has issued a license for the Eagleman to be a qualifying race for the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii and the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Florida for 2011/2012.  The Council also approved his request to send a letter of support to the World Triathlon Corporation for the application made by the Columbia Triathlon Association for the issuance of a license for 2013, 2014 and 2015 for the Eagleman Ironman 70.3 race to be held in Dorchester County, Maryland.


Councilman Nichols left meeting.


Samuel Yockey, President and CEO of the Secretary Volunteer Fire Company (SVFC), said he was present before Council to ask that they enter into an Advanced Life Support (ALS) Intercept Agreement with the fire company.  He explained that the agreement provides that if ALS services are needed for a patient while being transported by the Secretary Volunteer Fire Company to a medical facility a County ALS provider will transfer their equipment to Secretary’s unit and provide ALS services to the patient while he/she is being transported.  He noted that in turn for these services the SVFC will bill the insurance company and/or patient and pay the County $125 per call for the paramedic’s services provided that payment is received in full by that company.


Mr. Yockey noted that in 2004 the County entered into an ALS Intercept Agreement with the fire company and that until the second quarter of 2006 the County’s Emergency Medical Services Director submitted a request to SVFC’s billing company for reimbursement.    He advised that the 2004 agreement has since expired.   Mr. Yockey said that the new agreement he is asking the Council to enter into has no expiration date and includes the option for the County or the SVFC to periodically review the agreement.


In response to a question from Councilwoman Elzey, Ms. Baynard explained that the County Council has not entered into an ALS Intercept Agreement with any other volunteer fire company because the County bills for ambulance transport services for  those companies.


Councilwoman Elzey questioned whether SVFC’s books are audited periodically.  Mr. Yockey said the agreement can be amended so that audits are conducted on a regular basis.   In response to a question from Councilwoman Elzey, E. Thomas Merryweather, County Attorney, said he has reviewed the proposed agreement and that the last sentence should be amended to provide that either party has the right to terminate the agreement within thirty days. 


Mr. Yockey noted that the members of the fire company have authorized him to negotiate with the Council and that he is agreeable to amending the document to include the audit provision and the terminate clause.


Councilman Travers expressed concern that SVFC was the only volunteer fire company which bills for the services it provides.  He also expressed concern about language in the agreement that requires transferring patients from a County EMS unit to the SVFC ambulance and stated that, in his opinion, that there should be a provision in the agreement that the highest care-provider on the scene will determine patient care with regard to patient transports.


Henry Immanuel, a Dorchester County resident, expressed his concern that charging individuals to transport them to a medical facility may deter them from calling for ambulance services.  Councilman Newcomb noted that the County has a soft collection policy.   He explained that the policy is that if the insurance carrier of the patient does not pay the bill, the patient is sent three bills and if they do not pay the bill is written off.   Mr. Yockey said that the SVFC’s collection policy is the same as the County’s policy.


Councilman Newcomb questioned how SVFC can bill for services when they are a non-profit organization.


In response to a question from Mr. Tieder, Mr. Yockey said that the majority of the time patients are not transferred from ambulance to ambulance.


Suzanne Shimek, a Dorchester County resident, said that she and her husband have been transported to medical facilities by SVFC members and that the invoice for that service has always been sent to their insurance company and they have not been required to pay any of those bills.


The Council did not approve the request of Mr. Yockey to enter into an ALS Intercept Agreement with the Secretary Volunteer Fire Company with Councilwoman Elzey and Councilmen Travers, Nichols and Newcomb opposing. 





The Council agreed to execute a Cooperative Lease Agreement between the County Council and Dorchester Soil Conservation District for 284.3 square feet of net usable space in the Dorchester County Office Building at the annual rent of $3,411.60 at the rate of $284.50 per month ($12.00 per square foot), based on its March 30, 2010 decision to lease the space.   The Council acknowledged that the term of the lease is from August 1, 2010 through July 31, 2011.




The Council approved the request of Tim Ellis, Cub Master, on behalf of Cub Scout Pack 209 to use the parking lot and electrical outlets at the County Office Building for parking, registration and concessions during its 9th Annual Cubmobile Derby on Sunday, October 3, 2010 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with the understanding that they will be responsible for cleaning the area.   The Council also agreed to the placement of two sets of recreational bleachers on the front sidewalk at the County Office building during the race.  The Council acknowledged the receipt of a certification of liability insurance for the event, which names the County as an additional insured.  Mr. Ellis confirmed that the City of Cambridge Council and Police have been contacted about this event.




At the written request of Santo Grande, President, Delmarva Community Services, the Council reviewed the updated Community Services Block Grant funding working plan for FY11 and approved the submission of a Refunding Application to the Division of Neighborhood Revitalization so Delmarva Community Services can remain in compliance with federal guidelines governing Community Action Plans.  The Council

also agreed to the execution of the Chief Elected Official Certification form which certifies that the Council received the plan and budget.




Ms. Baynard presented the Council with recommendations from the Traffic Safety Committee members based on items discussed at an August 11, 2010 meeting.  She noted that the Committee is comprised of Councilwoman Elzey, Sheriff James Phillips, Mr. Weber and herself. She explained that Councilwoman Elzey did not attend the August 11, 2010 meeting due to a schedule conflict.

School Zone Signs-Vienna

The Council approved the Committee’s recommendation to place school zone signs along Old Ocean Gateway near the Vienna Elementary School, based on a request from Jerome Harris, a Vienna resident.  The Council also approved the Committee’s recommendation for staff to work with the Sheriff on speed zone identification signage to be attached to those signs.  Additionally the Council approved the recommendation that staff work with the Safe Routes to School, Board of Education and Sheriff’s Office to continue to investigate the possibility of installing a student crosswalk.


No Parking Signs-Galestown Dam


The Council acknowledged that the Committee discussed the request of Mark Christopher, a Galestown resident, for the posting of no parking signs on Lakeshore Drive at the undesignated boat launch area by the Galestown Dam.   The Council concurred with the Committee members’ assessment that no signage is necessary at this time because it is not a significant problem and that staff should monitor the area to see if the request needs to be brought back before the Committee.


Stop Sign-Centennial Road/Cloverdale Road Intersection

Ms. Baynard noted that Brenda Era who lives on Centennial Road requested that a stop sign be placed on Centennial Road at the Cloverdale Road intersection based on concern that the height of the corn in the field on the west side of the road has restricted visibility.  Mr. Weber noted that he spoke with the farmer who said that he does not believe he will plant corn in that field after he harvests the crop.  He said that the farmer also volunteered to cut down a number of the rows to improve visibility until harvest.  The Council approved the Committee’s recommendation that no action should be taken at this time.


Deer Crossing Sign-Ravenwood Road


The Council further approved the Committee’s recommendation that one deer crossing sign be placed on Ravenwood Road near Middletown Branch Road pursuant to a request by Libby Nagel, a Dorchester County resident, with the understanding that she will pay for the sign.


No Trespassing Signs-Galestown Dam


Additionally, the Council approved the Committee’s recommendation that a no trespassing sign be installed at the culvert of the Galestown Dam.  The Council acknowledged that Ron James, Mayor for the Town of Galestown, had requested that sign.


Sign Depicting Child With Ball-Palmers Mill Road

The Council approved the recommendation of the Committee to place a sign depicting a child kicking a ball on Palmers Mill Road contingent upon Janice Rouse, the Dorchester County resident who requested the signage, pay 50% of the cost of the sign which is $75.  


Speed Limit Reductions

Ms. Baynard noted that the Committee agreed to recommend that the speed limit at the end of Henry’s Cross Road to Elliotts Island not be reduced to 40 m.p.h. and to 45 m.p.h. where the road is open to a marsh.  Mr. Immanuel advised Council that he was the individual who requested the speed reduction based on his concerns about trucks crossing the line on that roadway.  He asked the Council to reduce the speed limit on that roadway.  Mr. Weber said he is working with the contractor whose staff is using that roadway to travel to their construction site to have the drivers reduce their speed and navigate the road safely.  He said that additional complaints about the trucks using that roadway have been received and that he has notified the Sheriff, who has advised that deputies will patrol the area more frequently with radar as of August 25, 2010.


The Council approved the Committee’s request to not reduce the speed limit at the end of Henry’s Cross Road to Elliotts Island or where the road is open to a marsh.  Additionally, the Council approved the Committee’s request to not reduce the speed on Maiden Branch Road and to place a traffic counter on that road.  The Council acknowledged that Carole Spicer who lives on that road had requested the speed reduction.


Signage-Green Point Beach Access Road


Mr. Baynard advised the Council that several residents of Green Point Road provided recommendations as to what signage should be placed on the Green Point Beach access road which include Beach Parking Only, No Overnight Parking, Do Not Park in Beach Access Lane, $500 Fine for Littering, No Alcoholic Beverages, No Glass Containers, and Take Your Trash With You When You Leave. She noted that the Committee members reviewed those requests and agreed that they are beyond the scope of the group’s authority.  She said that the members also agreed that the Council should first make the decision on whether to install those signs and second, how that signage, if approved, should read. 


Dan Creighton, a Green Point Road resident, addressed the Council and explained that he owns the property on one side of the beach access road and Kathleen H. Carmean owns the property on the other side of the road.  He noted that in 2008 there were several individuals who caused a disturbance at the beach and that after several discussions, the County accepted the property into the County’s road system.  He expressed his opinion that signs restricting parking should not be erected on that road.  He said that the Creighton family has parked on that beach access lane since they purchased the property in 1940.   He said it is his understanding that residents in the area have parked on that road since 1924. 


In response to a question from Councilwoman Elzey, Mr. Creighton explained that he does not have a driveway on his property but that he can park his vehicles on the property.  He said that he has the deed for his property which gives him access to his property from the beach access road.   


Mr. Creighton suggested that signs stating “Closed Sunset to Sunrise” and “No Alcohol” be erected on the beach and that a “No Blocking Access to River” sign be placed on the beach access lane.   He noted that other Maryland State Parks have a “No Alcohol” policy and that signs erected at Sandy Point State Park, Chesapeake Beach, North Beach and  Elms Beach in the State are all open from to sunset to sunrise only.  Mr. Creighton said there is a sign at Sailwinds that the property is closed dusk to dawn and there is no alcohol allowed on the premises.


Ms. Shimek, a Green Point Road resident, expressed concern about Mr. Creighton parking on the road and suggested that he park on his own property, as other residents in the area.


Ted Marshall, a Green Point Road resident since 1952, expressed his opinion that all of the properties on Green Point Road are basically the same size and that most residents on the road park on their property.  Mr. Marshall said he has witnessed Mr. Creighton’s father parking on the property in the past and noted that the property is now fenced off.  He noted that the East New Market Fire Company has provided a letter to the Council in the past asking that access to the roadway be made available in case of an emergency.   Mr. Marshall suggested “No Profanity”, “No Alcohol” and “No Littering” and “No Parking” signage. 


Glenn Payne, a 35 year Green Point Road resident, expressed his opposition to Mr. Creighton using the beach access lane for parking and his opinion that no one other than Mr. Creighton has used the road as a permanent parking area since he moved to the area. 


John Creighton introduced himself as Mr. Creighton’s father and said he used to own the property.  He explained that because he did not own a vehicle when he was the owner of the property, he did not park on the beach access lane but noted that since 1940 several members of his family have parked on the road.   He said that in the past there have been individuals who used the beach area that have been disorderly but that he and other members of his family usually solved the problem with police or other interference.


In response to a question from Councilwoman Elzey, Mr. Payne said he is in favor of placing a limited parking sign on the beach access lane as well as “No Alcohol” signage.  He said that to his knowledge since 2008 there have been no problems with disorderly individuals using the beach.


Councilman Newcomb expressed concern as to who will monitor and enforce parking on the roadway and if it will place an undue burden on the Sheriff’s deputies based on the fact that Green Point residents are divided on what parking restrictions to place on the lane.


Mr. Creighton said that neither he nor his family block access to the river and that they will continue to limit their parking to the side of the road.


In response to a question from Councilwoman Elzey, Mr. Merryweather said that there are no size restrictions for signs placed on County roadsides.  


A motion to erect a sign that states “Beach Parking Only”, “No Blocking of River Access”, “No Overnight Parking” and any additional wording deemed necessary by Council provided the cost of the sign is paid by private donation failed with Councilmen Newcomb, Travers, Nichols  and Councilwoman Elzey opposing.


A motion to erect signage that states “Closed Sunset to Sunrise”, “No Alcohol”, “No Blocking of River Access” and any additional wording deemed necessary by Council provided the cost of the sign is paid by private donation failed with Councilmen Nichols, Travers and Newcomb opposing.


Based on a suggestion posed by Councilman Nichols the Council asked Mr. Marshall and Mr. Creighton to provide a recommendation as to what signage should be placed on the roadway prior to the end of the meeting.




Based on the request of Robert Tieder, Sanitary Commission Chair, the Council reconsidered its March 30, 2010 decision to not make payment of repairs made on February 12, 2010 to a valve box in the Suburban and Spring Drive area, which the Sanitary Commission members allege was damaged by a County snow plow.   The Council agreed to pay the cost of the repairs of $1,722 from the County’s FY11 Contingency Fund.  The Council acknowledged that when the valve was repaired it was installed flush to the ground as will all future valve installations.




The Council discussed the request of Scott Eberspacher, Recreation and Parks Director to  repair the main line for the Dorchester County Pool by sole sourcing with Clearwater Pool and Spa, the current contractual pool service and repair provider.  The Council requested that Mr. Eberspacher contact at least one more vendor to obtain a proposal to either repair or replace the main line and a cost estimate for its review and consideration at its September 7, 2010 meeting.   The Council also requested that the date on the Clearwater Pool and Spa proposal be updated.  The Council acknowledged that it is Mr. Eberspacher’s intention to seek approval to use available unobligated POS funds remaining due to the cancelling of the tennis court rehabilitation at McCarter Park.  

Council further acknowledged that this will require a 10% local match and acknowledged that Recreation and Parks can provide a portion of that required amount from its FY11 Recreation and Parks Operating budget.   The Council members requested that Mr. Eberspacher advise them once concurrence has been received from POS that these funds can be used for this project.




The Council approved the request of Chuck Weber, Public Works Director, based on the recommendation of Roy Mills, Highway Supervisor, to reduce the rental rate on boat slip three and boat slip four at the Taylors Island dock from $425 per year to $300 per year due to shallow water.  The Council acknowledged that this decision is in keeping with its prior decisions to lower the lease rate for slips at the Elliott Island Marina that are similarly located in shallow water.




Based on a request from Mr. Weber, the Council agreed to execute Change Order No. 1 for the Elliott Island Wetland Restoration project to adjust the proposed quantities of clean sand and dredge material by moving $283,992 in funding from the amended dredge material replacement, line number 3 of the contract, to clean sandy fill for marsh planting base, line number 4.  The Council acknowledged that there will no be change in the total cost of the project based on this amendment. The Council further acknowledged that the Change Order request will be forwarded to the Maryland Department of Environment for approval as it is the funding agency for the project.




The Council approved the request of Mr. Weber to enter into a lease agreement between Charles W. Wright, Ella L. Wright, Henry K. Erich, Winona D. Erich and Thomas I. Bojko and Dorchester County for the Taylors Island Boat Ramp for a term of 30 years from May 4, 2010 to May 3, 2040 at the total rental of $1.00 to allow for continued eligibility for waterway improvement funding.  The Council also approved the execution of the plat of the property by Councilman Newcomb as President and acknowledged that it will be recorded among the Land Records of Dorchester County.




The Council approved the request of Mr. Weber to award the bid for gasoline, diesel fuel and heating oil to CATO Gas & Oil at the following prices: .0450 by transport and .13