County Council Meeting Minutes
August 2, 2011
County Council of Dorchester County
Regular Meeting Minutes
August 2, 2011
The County Council of Dorchester County met in regular session on August 2, 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;
The Council adjourned from a Regular Session and convened in a closed Executive
Session pursuant to State Government Article 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
Councilman Bradshaw led the invocation and the pledge of allegiance.
CALL FOR ADDITIONS OR DELETIONS TO AGENDA
Jane Baynard, County Manager, noted that since publication a citizen’s request to speak on certain environmental issues was removed from the agenda and the confirmation for the record of the Council’s acceptance of a resolution implementing an open air burn ban in Dorchester County was added.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES- JULY 19, 2011
The Council approved the July 19, 2011 minutes.
APPROVAL OF DISBURSEMENTS
The Council approved vouchers as presented with Councilman Travers abstaining for payments made to Simmons Center Market.
FINANICAL REPORT: CASH AND INVESTMENTS
Councilman Newcomb reported total cash and investments as $4,507,867.01.
FY11 BUDGET AMENDMENT AND TRANSFER REQUEST-BOARD OF EDUCATION
The Council approved the FY 11 Operating Budget Amendment and Transfer Request of Henry Wagner, Superintendent of Schools, to transfer the following categorical expense funds: 1) $95,000 from Instructional Salaries and Wages to Other Instruction costs, due to higher expenses for software licenses, setup of a data backup system and copier usage primarily at elementary schools; 2) $6,000 from Student Personnel Services to Student Health Services to cover additional expense for substitute coverage of nurses on sick leave to maintain coverage at all District schools; 3) $95,000 from Operation of Plant to Student Transportation due to increased expenditures in substitute driver/assistant coverage, contractor mileage rates tied to fuel prices and fuel and oil based supplies for Special Education buses; 4) $195,000 from Operation of Plant to Maintenance of Plant to cover unexpected expenses related to failed electrical equipment at Cambridge South Dorchester High School, necessary upgrades to HVAC control systems and critical safety systems at the majority of the schools in the district. The Council also approved a request from Mr. Wagner for a budget alignment to remove the budgeted revenue and related budget expense for health insurance because, although reserves in the ESMEC Health Alliance will be utilized to cover up to $450,000 in health insurance claims expenses, the transaction will be recorded through the Alliance, not through the Board’s financial records. The Council acknowledged that the Dorchester County Board of Education members approved the FY11 transfers and the budget alignment at their July 21, 2011 meeting.
Gary McCabe, Assistant Superintendent for Administration, noted that at its July 5, 2011 meeting, the Council expressed its support of the EMT-Fire Fighter Program as part of the Dorchester Career and Technology Center curriculum and asked the Board of Education staff to work with the Dorchester County Volunteer Firemen’s Association to increase enrollment in that program to ensure it is offered during the upcoming school year. He acknowledged that Kermit Hines, Curriculum Supervisor/Principal, Dorchester Career and Technology Center, was present to provide an update regarding that program. Mr. Hines advised the Council that the program will be held during the upcoming school year. He explained that 13 students have enrolled in the program and that University of Maryland staff have provided an exception to Dorchester County to hold the program despite not having met the 15 attendee requirement. Mr. Hines noted that he will be contacting local volunteer fire company members and students to schedule a time to meet with them to discuss the program in general and overall objectives. In response to a question from Councilman Newcomb, Mr. Hines said he believes that meeting will be scheduled for Wednesday, August 10, 2011 at approximately 5:30 p.m. Mr. McCabe thanked the Council for working with the Board of Education to ensure that the program will be held during the upcoming school year.
FY11 BUDGET TRANSFER REQUESTS
The Council approved the FY11 Budget Transfer Request of Keasha Haythe, Economic Development Director, to transfer $1,300 to coverage overages in equipment rental and association dues from savings in office supplies. The Council also approved the FY11 Budget Transfer Request of Scott Wheatley, Interim Emergency Medical Services Director, to transfer $3,200 to cover overages in medical and office supplies from a savings in contractual services. Additionally, Council approved the FY11 Budget Transfer Request of Michael Spears, Finance Director, to transfer $3,980 to reflect increased tax sale advertising costs funded out of tax sale receipts.
EXECUTIVE SESSION SUMMARY
The County Council of Dorchester County convened in an Executive Session at 4:30 p.m. on August 2, 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 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 personnel issues with the Warden- agreed to fill two vacant Correctional Officer positions by offering the positions to the next applicants on the list from the Warden based on the most recent advertisement for vacant Correctional Officer positions by a 4 to 1 vote; 2) approved a request of Maintenance Director to hire an individual to fill a Custodian vacancy in the Maintenance Department by a 4 to 0 vote; 3) conducted second interviews of certain applicants for the Emergency Services Director position – took no action; and 4) discussed with legal counsel State requirements relating to the County’s local ethics ordinance-took no action with legislation scheduled for introduction in open session. Councilman Newcomb noted that the Council agreed to reconvene into executive session after regular session 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.
PUBLIC HEARING-WATER AND SEWER PLAN AMENDMENT-BRYAN
E. Thomas Merryweather, County Attorney, advised that a public hearing is being held on a request submitted by Perry Otwell, on behalf of Mark Bryan, to amend the County’s Comprehensive Water and Sewer Plan.
Steve Dodd, Planning and Zoning Director, explained that Mr. Bryan owns two parcels abutting the easterly boundary of the Town of Secretary on Tax Map 21, Parcels 37 and 157, and is requesting a change in the designation of both parcels in the County Comprehensive Water and Sewer Plan designation from S-2, W-2 (community sewer and water is planned in 2 to 5 years) to S-1, W-1 (community sewer is available now or will be made available within two years). He further explained that Mr. Otwell, on Mr. Bryan’s behalf, has contacted the Town of Secretary regarding the annexation of these parcels into the Town limits with the intention of developing the property as a residential subdivision with approximately 50 building lots for single family homes. He said in order to obtain construction permits from the Maryland Department of Environment (MDE) to extend the Town’s water and sewer lines, the subject parcels must be designated as S-1, W-1 in the County’s Water and Sewer Plan. Mr. Dodd advised Council that agency comments have been received which include a letter from Hugh Carter Vinson, Town of Secretary Attorney, noting the Mayor and Commissioners are amenable to the annexation contingent upon statutory requirements being met, including the enactment of a resolution.
He noted that through written correspondence, John Leocha of the Maryland Department of Planning objected to the application on the premise that it is premature to amend the Water and Sewer Plan until the subject parcels are first designated as in a Priority Funding Area (PFA). He explained that the final agency to review the application will be MDE and it is possible that MDE staff may not approve the request based on Mr. Leocha’s objection. Mr. Dodd explained that Mr. Otwell has been made aware that there is a possibility that MDE staff will reject the application.
He noted that William Forelifer, Environmental Health Officer, Dorchester County Health Department, responded in writing to the request for agency comments that he has no objection to the application while Michael Moulds of the Dorchester County Public Works Department provided a written memorandum in which he noted he had no comments. Mr. Dodd explained that a portion of parcel 157, which consists of 10.2 acres, is located within Critical area and is designated Resource Conservation area (RCA) which allows one house per 20 acres. He noted that in order for Mr. Bryan to develop the Critical area portion of this parcel he will need to make application for growth allocation under the County’s Critical Area Program. In response to a question from Mr. Merryweather, Mr. Dodd said any growth allocation must be obtained from the County and not the Town of Secretary.
Mr. Otwell stated he is the engineer for the proposed development of Mr. Bryan’s property and that he followed the same application process for this project as he has other projects. He noted that this is the first time that an objection has been made by the Maryland Department of Planning staff regarding that process. He noted that Mr. Bryan will apply for a growth allocation but cannot do so until the property is designated as a Priority Funding Area. He said it is his understanding that in order to obtain a PFA designation annexation must occur and there must be water and sewer access to the property therefore the Comprehensive Water and Sewer Plan must be amended. Mr. Otwell noted that the Mayor and Commissioners of the Town of Secretary have expressed their support for the annexation and are in support of the water and sewer amendment for the property. Councilman Price concurred, nothing that the Mayor and Commissioners have provided written correspondence to Council regarding their support. Mr. Merryweather read that letter into the record. Mr. Otwell asked Council to approve the application to change the water and sewer designation for the properties owned by Mr. Bryan and to allow MDE and the Maryland Department of Planning staff to render their own decision on the application.
There were no other public comments.
The Council approved the request of Mr. Otwell to change the water and sewer designation for the two parcels owned by Mr. Bryan, which abut the easterly boundary of the Town of Secretary, from S-2, W-2 to S-1, W-1 in the County Comprehensive Water and Sewer Plan designation.
AN ACT OF THE COUNTY COUNCIL OF DORCHESTER COUNTY, MARYLAND
PURSUANT TO THE AUTHORITY OF TITLE 15, SUBTITLE 8 OF THE STATE
GOVERNMENT ARTICLE OF THE ANNOTATED CODE OF MARYLAND TO REPEAL CHAPTER 88 OF THE DORCHESTER COUNTY CODE ENTITLED CODE OF ETHICS AND TO REENACT CHAPTER 88 OF THE DORCHESTER COUNTY CODE ENTITLED ETHICS PROVISIONS FOR THE PURPOSE OF ENACTING A NEW PUBLIC LOCAL ETHICS LAW FOR DORCHESTER COUNTY ELECTED OFFICIALS, EMPLOYEES OR APPOINTEES, RELATING TO PUBLIC ETHICS ON A LOCAL LEVEL, INCLUDING CONFLICTS OF INTEREST, FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE AND LOBBYING DISCLOSURE, ESTABLISHING A LOCAL ETHICS COMMISSION; AND SPECIFYING CERTAIN PERSONNEL AND CHARACTERISTICS OF IT; PROVIDING CERTAIN DUTIES, RESPONSIBILITIES, POWERS AND PROCEDURES TO THE LOCAL ETHICS COMMISSION, TO PROVIDE FOR THE ENFORCEMENT OF THE ORDINANCE; AND
GENERALLY RELATING TO THE REGULATION, CONTROL AND SUBJECT MATTER OF CONFLICTS OF INTEREST FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE, LOBBY DISCLOSURE AND ETHICAL CONDUCT ON THE PART OF DORCHESTER COUNTY OFFICIALS,EMPLOYEES AND APPOINTEES.
Mr. Merryweather explained that pursuant to a change in State law, which amendment was passed during the 2010 Maryland General Assembly Legislative Session by Senate Bill 315, all counties in the State are required to review and update their local ethics ordinances. He noted that as a result of the State requirements for amendments he has drafted legislation to repeal and re-enact Chapter 88 of the Dorchester County Code entitled “Code of Ethics”. Mr. Merryweather said the intent of the new State law is that local jurisdictions’ Ethics Ordinances must be at least “equal” to State law where prior State law only required a local jurisdiction’s Ethics laws to be “similar” to the State. He said he used the State Ethics Commission Model B draft ordinance, specifically designed for rural counties, to develop the local bill for introduction. Ms. Baynard explained that once the proposed bill is introduced by the Council it will be provided to the State Ethics Commission for review and approval. He further explained that the State law cites a local enactment date of October 1, 2011. Ms. Baynard said that, if introduced at this meeting, a public hearing will be scheduled on September 6, 2011 with the hope that comments from the State Ethics Commission will be available for review by Council prior to that date. She said the legislation will also be provided to the local Ethics Commission for review and comment. In response to a question from Councilman Nichols, Mr. Merryweather clarified that the amendment is mandated by the State based on the 2010 General Assembly actions.
The Council agreed to proceed with publication of a public hearing on this matter.
ROAD CONSTRUCTION AGREEMENT-WRIGHT’S CREEK ESTATE-PLANNING AND ZONING
The Council, pursuant to the request of Steve Dodd, Planning and Zoning Director, agreed to execute a Public Road Construction Agreement between the County Council and Cedar Grove Properties, LLC, for the Wright’s Creek Estates subdivision located on Cedar Grove Road, which provides that the developer will construct the road within one year of the date of the agreement. The Council acknowledged that this agreement also provides that the owner shall not sell or offer for sale any lot in the subdivision until such time the road is completed and accepted into the County’s road system.
GOVERNOR’S OFFICE OF CRIME CONTROL & PREVENTION GRANT AWARD-BODY ARMOR REPLACEMENT-SHERIFF’S OFFICE
The Council accepted a Governor’s Office of Crime Control & Prevention Body Armor Replacement Grant Award in the amount of $5,500 with a local match of $2,750, which is covered by a U.S. Department of Justice Body Armor Partnership Grant, to purchase 10 replacement vests. The Council acknowledged that the grant period is July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2012.
BOARD APPOINTMENTS-MID SHORE MENTAL HEALTH SYSTEMS
The Council approved the request of Holly R. Ireland, Executive Director, Mid-Shore Mental Health Systems, to appoint Neil Dodrill as a consumer representative on the Board of Mid Shore Mental Health Systems, Inc. to replace Ms. Carol Asplen-Masden, who resigned.
MARYLAND DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT-BOND ALLOCATION
The Council approved the written request of Tonna Phelps, Director of Single Family Housing, Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), to transfer Dorchester County’s tax-exempt housing bond allocation of $1,079,277, as set forth in the 2011 allocation of the Maryland State Ceiling made by the Secretary of Business and Economic Development, to DHCD’s Community Development Association for the CDA Maryland Mortgage Program.
BOARD APPOINTMENTS- CHARTER REVIEW COMMISSION
Ms. Baynard noted that based on the resignation of Kele Turner, due to personal issues, there is now a District 5 vacancy on the Charter Review Commission. Councilman Bradshaw said he will have a recommendation for Council’s review and consideration at its August 16, 2011 meeting.
Ms. Baynard noted that Susan Dukes, the District 4 Republican Representative on the Redistricting Committee has resigned due to being sworn in as a Commissioner on the Secretary Town Council effective July 1, 2011. Ms. Baynard noted that the Republican Central Committee Chairman has been advised on the resignation and asked to submit the name of an individual to fill this vacancy pursuant to the requirements of the Charter.
REQUEST TO USE HARRIET TUBMAN UNDERGROUND RAILROAD LOGO-DELAWARE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION-TOURISM
The Council approved the request of Amanda Fenstermaker, Tourism Director, to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Delaware Department of Transportation to allow that entity to use the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway logo to promote the continuation of Maryland’s byways into Delaware. Ms. Baynard stated that Delaware is currently drafting its Corridor Management Plan.
FY11 EMERGENCY SHELTER GRANT APPLICATION REQUEST-DELMARVA COMMUNITY SERVICES
The Council approved the request of Santo Grande, President/CEO, Delmarva Community Services, to submit an FY11 Emergency Shelter Grant application to the Department of Housing and Urban Development for funding in the amount of $50,000 with a $2,000 local match to assist families through Emergency Assistance programs and Transitional Housing Shelter programs offered through the Delmarva Community Action Center. Based on comments made by Jerome Stanley, Dorchester County Transportation Operations Manager, regarding the use of the entire County budget allocation, less the day habilitation funds to match the 2012 Transportation Program, at Council’s July 19, 2011 meeting, the Council acknowledged that staff has clarified that the $2,000 allowed for the local match of this FY11 Emergency Shelter Grant will be from the County’s appropriation to Delmarva Community Services with the remainder of that funding being allocated to the FY12 Maryland Transit Administration Operating grants.
TRAFFIC SAFETY RECOMMENDATIONS
Ms. Baynard presented the Council with recommendations from the Traffic Safety Committee members based on items discussed at a July 7, 2011 meeting. She noted that Sheriff James Phillips is currently unable to participate in the Committee meetings but has agreed to provide written comments which have been forwarded to Council.
Speed Limit Signage
Based on the Committee and Sheriff Phillips’ recommendation, the Council agreed to
send a letter to the State Highway Administration (SHA), pursuant to a request from Councilman Bradshaw for a speed limit reduction on Reid’s Grove/Route 331 Rd, asking that the State address this request to determine if any action is required on behalf of the Council since Route 331 is a State road. The Council further agreed that the written correspondence to SHA should include a request that the agency conduct its own study to determine if appropriate signage can be placed in the area, if it is determined that no action needs to be taken by the Council.
Road Signage Installation
The Council approved the Committee and Sheriff’s recommendation for the placement of Child at Play signs on Cedar Grove Road in two locations provided the property owners pay for 50% ($75) of the signage cost, based on the request of Teresa Cheezum and Penny Boyle.
Additionally, the Council, based on the recommendation of the Committee and Sheriff Phillips agreed to obtain a legal opinion from Mr. Merryweather to determine if there may be County liability due to reported poor visibility in that area of Cordtown Road/Aireys Road/Aireys Road Spur, based on concerns from a constituent.
Miscellaneous Traffic Discussion
Ms. Baynard noted that the Committee, based on continuing concerns expressed by area residents, readdressed their February 2011 request to lower the speed limit on Cabin Ridge Road from 30 mph to 25 mph. She explained that the Committee is recommending that an additional traffic study be conducted in the area while Sheriff Phillips does not agree with spending additional resources to study an area that was found to not be substantiated in February. The Council agreed to take no further action and referenced its February 15th decision to not reduce the 30 mph speed limit on Cabin Creek Ridge Road, based on the traffic study conducted on that road between the intersections of Ridge Crest Road.
REQUEST TO ADVERTISE BIDS-INTERSTATE CONTAINER BUILDING ROOF REPLACEMENT AND ROLL ROOM FLOOR MODIFICATIONS
The Council approved the request of Bob Tenanty, Senior Engineer, to advertise for bids for the replacement of the roof and for building roll room floor modifications to the County owned building located at 903 Woods Road, Cambridge, which is currently occupied by Interstate Container. The Council acknowledged that the design documents for the roof replacement have been submitted to the Economic Development Administration (EDA) for review and approval and that the design documents for a second contract for the roll room floor modifications will be submitted to EDA the first week of August 2011. The Council also acknowledged that the construction contract is funded with a combination of EDA grant funds of $607,750 and funds from the tenant, Interstate Corrpack, LLC, of $607,750. The Council recognized that an amendment to the Agreement of Lease between the County and Interstate Corrpack, LLC is being finalized.
REQUEST TO SEEK BIDS-GASOLINE, DIESEL FUEL AND HEATING OIL-PUBLIC WORKS
The Council approved the request from Roy Mills, Highway Division Manager, to advertise for bids for gasoline, diesel fuel and heating oil to be supplied to the Department of Public Works, Highway Division; the Cambridge Dorchester Airport; and the Dorchester County Board of Education for the period of September 1, 2011 through August 31, 2012. Additionally, the Council approved a second advertising for a Request for Proposals to provide gasoline and diesel fuel on a County-wide basis, based on its FY12 budget directive. The Council instructed that the County-wide request for proposals include an allowance for a pre-bid meeting to allow prospective participants an opportunity to seek guidance or offer comments. Furthermore, the Council acknowledged that on either bid, there is an allowance to reject any and all bids in the best interest of the County or to seek contract provisions that will facilitate best pricing and contract terms.
REQUEST TO ADVERTISE BID-2011 PAVING-VARIOUS COUNTY ROADS-PUBLIC WORKS
The Council approved the request of Mr. Mills to advertise for bids for the blacktopping of the following seven county roads, for an approximate total of eight miles: Williamsburg Church Road, 1.0 mile; Maple Dam Road, 1.2 miles; Robbins Road, 1.0 mile; Cokesbury Road, 1.0 mile; Galestown Reliance Road, .08 mile; Cordtown Road, 1.0 mile; and Elliott Island Road, 2.0 miles. The Council acknowledged that it is staff’s intention to use funding from the Elliott Island Shoreline Erosion Project for the paving of Elliott Island Road.
TELEPHONE POLL CONFIRMATIONS
Ms. Baynard noted that in the interim between meetings Council, by means of a poll, took the following actions: 1) authorized Councilman Newcomb to execute a letter on behalf of the Council inviting staff from the U.S. Department of Energy, who are coordinating an Environmental Impact Study for the Mid Atlantic Power Pathway project, to the Legacies of Land-2011 Tour of Dorchester County on September 7, 2011 by a 5 to 0 vote; and 2)agreed to submit a letter to the Maryland Department of Environment in support of the continuation of open burning of mill residue at sawmill sites in Dorchester County by a 5 to 0 vote, based on a vendor request.
OPEN AIR BURN BAN CONFIRMATION
Ms. Baynard noted that on July 21, 2011 Council agreed to not proceed with an open air burn ban based on comments from Scott Daniels Forester by a 4 to 1 vote. She explained that the Council members reconsidered their decision on July 27th, based on conversations with Mr. Daniels, and did agree to institute an open air burn ban effective July 31st at 8 a.m. Ms. Baynard noted that the ban will continue until Council takes action to lift the ban. She explained that she will stay in contact with Mr. Daniels in order to determine when conditions will warrant taking that action.
The Council confirmed its decision to institute an open air burn ban effective July 31st and agreed to formally execute the resolution implementing the ban with an exception for the use of gas or charcoal grills in addition to legislative authorized exclusions.
Les Simering, a Dorchester County resident, said he attended a Redistricting Commission meeting recently and questioned whether the Council has the right to reject the Commission members’ final recommendations. Councilman Nichols noted that according to Mr. Merryweather the Council has the right to seek alternative proposals to the recommendation from the Committee members. In response to an inquiry from Mr. Simering, Councilman Newcomb noted that Mr. Merryweather’s legal opinion has already been provided to the Committee members.
In response to a question from Mr. Simering, Councilman Bradshaw expressed his understanding that overtime costs due to the Presidential visit on January 21, 2011 totaled approximately $10,000. Both Councilmen Bradshaw and Newcomb noted that those funds were not reimbursed by the Federal government. Mr. Simering expressed his opinion that the County should not be responsible for the payment of those overtime costs.
Amy Craig, Clerk of Circuit Court, noted that the State of Maryland approved filling two vacant positions in the Clerk’s Office which were the result of an employee resignation and promotion. She said 150 applications were received and that Marcie Wooters was hired to work in Land Records and Terrance Murray was hired as Judicial Clerk. She invited the Council to welcome the new employees, noting that Ms. Wooters is a prior County employee. She explained that she also received grant funding for two temporary seasonal positions at the Clerk’s Office at the hourly rate of $7.25 and that advertising of the position within the community only will begin in November or December 2011.
The Council, based on the recommendation of Councilman Price, appointed David Andrews as the District 4 representative on the Planning Commission fill the remainder of the term of Leolin Dockins, Jr. who passed. The Council acknowledged that Mr. Andrews’ term will expire on June 6, 2013.
Based on a request from Councilman Newcomb, the Council agreed to send a letter to the Board of Education and the Dorchester Career and Technology staff to express appreciation for them working to ensure that the Fire Fighter-EMT program would be held during the upcoming school session.
Councilman Newcomb noted that the County Council members will meet with the City Council members on August 4, 2011 at Kay’s Restaurant and that the next County Council meeting is scheduled for August 16, 2011.
Ms. Baynard clarified that Council will be reconvening into executive session to discuss two personnel issues.
With no further business to discuss, the Council adjourned regular session.
William V. Nichols, Vice President
Approved the ______day of _________________, 2011. Tom Bradshaw