Meeting Minutes

Meeting Minutes
posted: 07/21/11

County Council Meeting Minutes

July 5, 2011

County Council of Dorchester County

Regular Meeting Minutes

July 5, 2011


The County Council of Dorchester County met in regular session on July 5, 2011 with the following members present: Present were Jay L. Newcomb, President; William V. Nichols, Vice President; Ricky Travers; Rick Price and Tom Bradshaw. 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 pursuant §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 §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; 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.





Councilmen Travers led the invocation and the pledge of allegiance.




There were no additions or deletions to the agenda.  


The Council approved the minutes of June 21, 2011 with an amendment to the Resident Concern-Tawes Harper item credit comments regarding the use of satellite by the State to assess poultry farmers’ compliance with current regulations to a resident instead of a Council member. 


The Council approved vouchers as presented with Councilman Travers abstaining for payments made to Simmons Center Market.  The Council also approved a May 26, 2011 voucher which was previously withheld to Shawn’s Window Tinting for window tinting for 11 vehicles in the amount of $1,650 and a June 24, 2011 voucher to Wet Dog Cambridge for car wash sales for 63 vehicles in the amount of $505.49, both for the Sheriff’s Office.  Councilmen Newcomb and Price opposed.  The Council requested that Sheriff James Phillips be asked to consider having the Sheriff’s vehicles washed at the Detention Center to achieve a savings.   



Councilman Newcomb reported total cash and investments as $5,778,520.83.


The County Council of Dorchester County convened in an Executive Session at 4:30 p.m. on July 5, 2011 in a closed session at Room 110, County Office Building, 501 Court Lane, Cambridge, Maryland, pursuant to the State Government Article pursuant §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 §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; 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 personnel issues with the Warden-no decision made and the discussion was deferred; 2) met with certain applicants for Public Works Director vacancy-took no action; 3) received information from staff regarding interviews conducted for Emergency Services Director vacancy-agreed to meet with certain applicants at a future meeting; 4) discussed the commitment of a local match for a conditional loan to a local business – agreed to consider potential legislation at a future open session; 5) discussed with legal counsel property maintenance notification procedures –agreed to consider possible legislative action at a future open session; 6) discussed with legal counsel a proposal relating to a County owned park –agreed to consider at next open session.





Councilman Newcomb noted that concerns were raised at a recent Dorchester County Volunteer Firemen’s Association meeting regarding the stipulations the Board of Education has implemented for individuals to qualify to participate in the Fire Fighter-EMT Program to be held at the Dorchester Career and Technology Center, specifically that participants must be seniors.


Henry Wagner, Superintendent of Schools, thanked the Council for their support of the Dorchester Career and Technology Center (DCTC) and Councilmen Price and Bradshaw for attending the Dorchester Future NOW event at the school.  He noted that Kermit Hines, Curriculum Supervisor/Principal of DCTC and Gary McCabe, Assistant Superintendent for Administration, are also present.    He said he and the Board of Education staff are willing to work with the volunteer fire company members to ensure that the program continues.  He explained that it is now being offered to juniors provided their parents submit a form recognizing credit requirements for graduation and that the class is also open to adult participants.


In response to a question from Councilman Newcomb, Mr. Hines said eight students have signed up for the program including six from Cambridge South Dorchester High School and two from North Dorchester High School.   Councilman Newcomb questioned why the program was not originally offered to underclassmen students as well as seniors based on the number of junior volunteer fire company members within the County. 


Keith Adkins, Dorchester County Volunteer Firemen’s Association  President, noted at the Association’s last meeting there were approximately six to eight junior fire members who were not aware that the program was being offered and after inquiring about the program were advised they could not transfer to the class.  Mr. Wagner explained that some students are unable to participate in the class because they are required to take other courses in order to meet graduation requirements.   He asked Mr. Adkins to provide him the names of those individuals who expressed an interest in the program and noted that staff will work with them to determine if they can amend their schedules for the next school year.   In response to a question from Mr. Wagner, Mr. Adkins explained that information on the program has been posted at each fire company station with a note for individuals to contact the Board of Education regarding enrollment. 


Mr. McCabe said several individuals expressed concern that the program was only being offered to twelfth grade students.  He noted that while eleventh graders in Worchester County and Queen Anne County public schools can take the program it is only offered to senior class members in Talbot County, Caroline County and Kent County.    He explained that in order to meet graduation requirements some eleventh grade students may not be able to enroll into the program.   He said if the program does not begin this year, they can revisit the program the following school year or offer the program every two years.   Mr. Wagner reiterated that students in other grades are now eligible to enroll into the program.


Joseph Ward, Regional Coordinator for the Lower Eastern Shore, Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute, University of Maryland, said this will be the third Fire Fighter-EMT program to be held on the lower Shore.  He explained that the program was combined in Somerset County and Wicomico County in order to maximize enrollment and that a program is also offered in Worchester County.  He noted that although there was some consideration given to include Worchester County in that combined program no action was taken due to lack of transportation.  Mr. Ward advised that students 16 years old or older are allowed to participate in those programs.  He said the majority of the public schools in Maryland allow eleventh grade students to take the program.  Mr. Ward expressed his understanding that by the time they are in the junior year of high school, most students have met their high school requirements and are choosing elective courses to take.    


Mr. Hines said it is his understanding that in Talbot County the students provide their own transportation to and from the program and that the local volunteer fire companies reimburse their mileage costs.  He explained that the University of Maryland pays the costs for the program but does not provide funds for transportation or text books.  Mr. McCabe said transportation is also an issue in Dorchester County.   


Mr. Hines noted that there are three program paths students can follow including a career path, a technology preparation path and a post secondary path.  Mr. Wagner explained that these are considered completer programs and students not only have to obtain a certain amount of class credits they have to complete requirements for these programs.   He said parents of eleventh grade students will be required to sign a release acknowledging the requirements their children need to meet for graduation and for their completer program.


Mr. O’Connor advised that his child is enrolled in the Fire Fighter-EMT program and expressed his belief that many of the students who were interested in the program were under the impression that it was not going to be offered in the fall due to lack of enrollment.  Mr. Wagner asked Mr. O’Connor to provide Mr. Hines with the names of those students so that he may contact them to determine if they are still interested and can transfer into the program.


Robert Clum, Engineering Technician, Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute, University of Maryland, said one option would be to start the program during the second semester in either January or February instead of September.  In response to a question from Mr. Hines, Mr. Clum explained that if the class does start in the second semester, the program will be continued the following fall which will allow juniors to complete the program during school hours.  He clarified that any senior who wants to finish the course must take the remainder of the program at night.   Mr. Wagner expressed his opinion that the best option is to begin the program in September.


Calvin Stack, a local volunteer fire company member, noted that a member of the Rescue Fire Company is a senior in high school and was advised that he could not take the program.  Mr. Hines said he spoke with that individual and the reason he is unable to participate in the program is because he is currently halfway through a career and technology diesel program.  


Mr. McCabe encouraged all of the local volunteer fire company members to contact Mr. Hines directly with the names of those interested in taking the program.  Mr. Hines said in order to begin the program there must be 15 participants.  Mr. Wagner stated that the deadline to enroll in the program will be extended from July 15 to July 31, 2011.  In response to a question from Mr. Hines, Mr. Ward said if enrollment goes below ten participants the University of Maryland will require either the Board of Education or the County to pay a portion of the cost of the program at a pro-rated amount per student.  He explained, in response to an inquiry from Councilman Newcomb, that the cost of the class is approximately $7,000 per year.    Mr. Hines noted that individuals who participate in the program must maintain a 70% average to receive certification as a Fire Fighter I or an EMT and those who receive an average of 60% to 70% will only receive a grade but no certification


Councilman Travers suggested that the guidance counselors at local schools be provided with the tools and training so that they are able to discuss with students available options if they elect to pursue a career after school instead of attending college. 


In response to a question from Councilman Newcomb, Mr. Hines said participants of the program must be members of local fire companies.


Mr. Adkins and Mr. Wagner expressed their appreciation to the Council for allowing them the opportunity to discuss possible ways to increase enrollment in the Fire Fighter-EMT program in order to be able to hold that program during the upcoming school year.





The Council approved the written request of Roger Harrell, Health Officer, Dorchester County Health Department, to execute the FY12 Funding Agreement between the County and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene totaling $698,250 which includes required matching funds of $178,972 and a local match of $519, 278 to provide local health services at the Health Department.  The Council acknowledged that the County funds are equal to the $698,250 appropriation in the County Council’s FY12 budget.




The Council approved the request of Bruce Coulson, on behalf of the Island Grille and Taylors Island Family Campground, to use the Taylors Island Dock as a check-in station for the 2011 Original Ladies Power Puff Tournament to be held on Saturday, August 6, 2011 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  The Council acknowledged that Island Grille and Taylors Island Family Campground staff will coordinate with any waterman who will be using the facility that day to ensure that the tournament will not interfere with their operation.




The Council approved the request of Michael O’Connor, Chair, on behalf of the Cub Scouts of Choptank District and Delmarva Council, 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 2, 2011 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. with the understanding that they will be responsible for cleaning the area.  The Council also approved the placement of two sets of recreational bleachers on the front sidewalk at the County Office building during the race to be provided by Recreation and Parks. The Council acknowledged the receipt of a certification of liability insurance for the event, which names the County as an additional insured. 




Based on the written request of Sandy Russum, on behalf of the Neck District Volunteer Fire Company, the Council approved the execution by Councilman Newcomb as Council President of a Special Event Permit for the Trek in the Neck Cycling Event, which will be held on July 16, 2011.




The Council approved the request of Michael Moulds, Engineer, to enter into a Shore Erosion Control Project Loan Agreement with the Department of Natural Resources for the design of the Rooster Island Restoration for a no interest loan in the amount of $160,000 to be paid in annual installments of $8,000 with the first payment due on July 1, 2012.  Councilman Price opposed.  The Council acknowledged that the agreement does not commit Dorchester County to proceed with the construction of the project.  Council recognized its agreement to proceed with the design phase of this project at its June 21, 2011 meeting and to use the design data to evaluate feasibility for future construction.




Roy Mills, Highway Division Manager, advised Council that three bids were received for supply and delivery of Aluminized Type 2 Metal Pipe and HDPE Plastic Pipe to the Highway Division of the Public Works Department for 2011-2012.  The Council, based on Mr. Mould’s recommendation, agreed to award the contract to Lane Enterprises.  The Council acknowledged that although Lane Enterprises was not the lowest bidder on all of the different sizes of pipe to be supplied it was for some of the products and the prices between this company and the other county who qualified to bid were very competitive.  Additionally, the Council acknowledged that the Lane Enterprises’ products are most compatible with the pipe currently being used in the County.   The Council also acknowledged that the pipe will be purchased with funds from the FY12 Highway Division budget.  Additionally, the Council recognized that the third bid was rejected because the required bid bond was not included.




The Council approved the FY 2011-2012 road program (attached) which reflects approximately 35 miles of resurfacing and tar and chip and approximately 8.2 miles of hot mix. The Council recognized that approximately 66.41 miles of tar and chip and 56.71 miles of hot mix will not be performed this year due to lack of funding.  Based on an inquiry made by Rufus Todd, a Dorchester County resident, Councilman Newcomb noted that the road program includes the application of 1.2 miles of four inches of hot mix on Shorters Wharf Bridge Road in an effort to bring the road out of high tide waters.




The Council agreed to execute an Economic Development Administration Grant Amendment to extend the construction completion date for the George & Lynch contract for the Dorchester Regional Technology Park project from June 19, 2011 to December 19, 2011 due to poor sub service conditions and weather related delays.   The Council further agreed that this approval is contingent upon the extension being for “phase two” of the project, which is the contract with George and Lynch for infrastructure inside the park.  The Council requested clarification as to whether approving this extension will eliminate any opportunities regarding possible penalties that might otherwise be assessed to the contractor once this construction completion date is extended.  


The Council also requested the status of negotiations with David A. Bramble regarding the imposition of liquidated damages to cover additional inspection costs as well as certain repairs to Bucktown Road based on that company not completing its “phase one” portion of the project to install infrastructure to the Dorchester Regional Technology Park by the contracted construction deadline.   Additionally, the Council requested that a report for all of the proposed completion dates as currently estimated for the both phase one and phase two of this project, including estimates of reimbursements by MEDCO for the original purchase price of the property, be provided.




The Council approved the request of Nancy Shockley, Local Management Board Director, and accepted a FY 12 Governor’s Crime Control and Prevention grant award on behalf of the Dorchester Community Partnership for Children and Families to implement the Hope Community Project under the Collaborative Supervision and Focused Enforcement Initiative in the amount of $29,000 for the grant period of July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2012.  The Council acknowledged that $3,250 will be provided to the Local Management Board for reporting purposes and $22,750 will be used to support police overtime for the Cambridge Police Department to conduct foot and bicycle patrols.




The Council agreed to execute an Interlocal Agreement between the County, the City of Cambridge and the State of Maryland for the acceptance of a 2011 Byrne Justice Assistance Grant program in the amount of $11,882, with no local match, for the grant period of June 1, 2011 to September 30, 2012 to be used by the City of Cambridge Police Department to be applied to areas that need funding including the purchase of equipment and patrolling high crime areas.  The Council acknowledged that this grant will be a pass-through and that it is a requirement of the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant program that the grant award be provided to the County despite the Sheriff’s Office not being eligible for these funds.   Additionally the Council acknowledged that the City is responsible for reporting and grant compliance in partnership with Ed Bozel, Grants Coordinator.




The Council approved the request of Karin Kuntz, Elections Director, to use Room 110, the Council’s meeting room, for the 2012 Presidential Election on April 3, 2012 and to modify the meeting schedule in April 2012 to hold meetings on April 10th and April 17th

to accommodate this request.  The Council acknowledged that the first and third Tuesday meeting schedule will resume in May 2012 unless amended due to the budget adoption schedule.   The Council recognized that it previously withheld approval of this date at its June 22nd meeting in order to ascertain how the meeting schedule will be impacted if the request was granted.




The Council deferred consideration of the renewal of the lease between the Council and the State of Maryland for the use of Room #101 for the Veterans Office for an additional two year term to allow for time for Councilman Newcomb to receive a response to his inquiry to Major General James Adkins, Adjunct General of the Office of Veterans Affairs,  as to whether the Veteran’s Office staff can relocate to another location, particularly since that office is only utilizing the space once a week.  




The Council, based on a request from Steve Garvin, Emergency Planner, agreed to accept an extension from the Maryland Emergency Management Agency of the FY 2010 Emergency Management Performance Grant to September 30, 2011 in order to allow staff time to identify items that could be eligible for reimbursement under the grant guidelines.



The Council deferred the awarding of a bid for a multidisciplinary team to perform site design, graphic design, historical research and interpretive writing for a system of 23 interpreted stops along the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway.  The Council requested that Amanda Fenstermaker, Tourism Director, provide clarification as to the recommendation to award the bid to the highest bidder.   The Council acknowledged that the Heart of Chesapeake Area, Dorchester County Tourism, Caroline Economic Development Corporation and the Maryland Office of Tourism are working together on this project.






Pursuant to Section 213 of the County’s Charter, the Council appointed Mike Detmer as the District 3 representative on the Redistricting Committee, based on the submission of his name by the Republican Central Committee, to replace George “Philip” Reed, who resigned.




The Council approved the recommendation of the Dorchester Community Partnership for Children & Families to reappoint Cory Fink to the position of Chair of that entity and Kathleen Wise-Ridley to the position of Vice Chair for FY 12.




The Council appointed Pat Comella's to replace Harriet Hankins on the Coastal and Watershed Resources Advisory Committee as the County’s citizen representative because Ms. Hankins no longer resides in the County.  



Ms. Baynard noted that in the interim between meetings, the Council, by telephone poll, based on a request by local watermen, agreed by a 5 to 0 vote to send an additional letter to Governor O'Malley and Department of Natural Resources Secretary John Griffin expressing opposition of removing prime public bottom from local watermen as it will jeopardize the seafood industry and the families and businesses that depend on that industry.



Les Simering, a Dorchester County resident, questioned whether any of the companies that submitted a bid to supply and deliver culvert pipe were local.  Councilman Newcomb said that the addresses on the bid award documents were from Virginia, New York and Connecticut.   He clarified that he did not know if the addresses listed on those documents were the corporate headquarters and if either of those business had a local company/facility.


Wendell Foxwell, a resident, noted that he recently read in a local news publication that there is State funding available to upgrade failing septic systems and questioned whether the Council applied for any of that funding for Dorchester County.  Councilman Newcomb said residents apply for funding through the County Health Department and expressed his understanding that 60 systems in Dorchester County will be replaced in the near future, some by local companies.



Based on the recommendation of Councilman Bradshaw, the Council agreed to appoint Jeremy Reid to replace Harry Reid on the Agricultural Land Preservation Board.  The Council acknowledged that Mr. Reid’s term will expire on April 23, 2016.


Councilman Bradshaw advised that several residents have expressed their opposition to the development of the property on which Governors Hall is located and their opinion that the port should be made viable for economic development and job growth.  He said he concurs with them.  He noted that there are only two ports on the Eastern Shore, with the other port being in Pocomoke. 


In response to a question from Councilman Price, Mr. Spears said residents may receive a Homestead Tax Credit on their real property bills from the City, State and County or from one or neither of those entities.  He noted that the amount may vary based on the taxable assessment of the real property and if that overall assessment decreases or becomes equal to the prior years’ taxable assessment then the Homestead Tax is eliminated.


Councilman Price advised that Council recently received correspondence in which it was noted that Governor Martin O’Malley has selected members for the Redistricting Advisory Committee.  He expressed concern that there is no one on the Committee from the Eastern Shore and encouraged the Council and the public to monitor the State’s Redistricting Advisory Committee activities and attend public hearings to provide input on the impact redistricting will have on Dorchester County.


Councilman Travers reiterated his request that clarification be obtained as to whether the Technology Park Economic Development Administration Grant Amendment the Council agreed to execute is for phase two of the Dorchester Regional Technology Park project.   He stressed the need to obtain funds to make repairs to Bucktown Road which has been damaged during construction.   Robert Willey, Assistant Finance Director, said he believes the construction completion extension for phase two is specific to the construction of infrastructure in the Park. 


Councilman Nichols expressed his understanding and concern that the Redistricting Committee members are not allowing public comment during their meetings and that they are planning to present a redistricting plan after only two meetings.   He also expressed his understanding that Committee members believe they must submit a proposed plan by November 2011 when, according to his interpretation of the County’s Charter, the plan must be presented by November 2013.


Councilman Newcomb noted that the next County Council meeting is scheduled for July 19, 2011 at 6 p.m.


With no further business to discuss, the Council adjourned.



ATTEST:                                                                               DORCHESTER COUNTY COUNCIL:


______________________________          ____________________________________

Jane Baynard, County Manager                      Jay L. Newcomb, President



                                                                                                William V. Nichols, Vice President



                                                                                                Ricky Travers



                                                                                                Rick Price



                                                                                                Tom Bradshaw


Approved the ______day of ___________________, 2011.