County Council Meeting Minutes
August 16, 2011
County Council of
Regular Meeting Minutes
August 16, 2011
The County Council of Dorchester County met in regular session on August 16, 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,
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 Section 10-508(14) before a contract is awarded or bids are opened, discuss a matter directly related to a negotiating strategy or the contents of a bid or proposal, if public discussion or disclosure would adversely impact the ability of the public body to participate in the competitive bidding or proposal process.
Voting in favor of the closed Executive Session were all present Council members.
INVOCATION AND PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Councilmen Travers led the invocation and the pledge of allegiance.
CALL FOR ADDITIONS OR DELETIONS TO AGENDA
The Council agreed to add to the agenda a request to advertise to fill the Warden vacancy and a request to re-advertise requests for proposals for fuel.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES-AUGUST 2, 2011
The Council approved the August 2, 2011 meeting minutes.
APPROVAL OF DISBURSEMENTS
The Council approved vouchers as presented.
FINANICAL REPORT: CASH AND INVESTMENTS
Councilman Newcomb reported total cash and investments as $2,813,550.16.
EXECUTIVE SESSION SUMMARY
The County Council of Dorchester County convened in an Executive Session at 4:30 p.m. on August 16, 2011 in a closed session at Room 110, County Office Building, 501 Court Lane, Cambridge, Maryland, pursuant to the 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 Section 10-508(A) (14) before a contract is awarded or bids are opened, discuss a matter directly related to a negotiating strategy or the contents of a bid or proposal, if public discussion or disclosure would adversely impact the ability of the public body to participate in the competitive bidding or proposal process.
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 advised that the Council reconvened into an Executive Session at 7:20 p.m. on August 2, 2011 to discuss the following items: 1) met with an applicant for the Public Works Director position-took no further action; 2) discussed information obtained during second interviews of certain applicants for the Emergency Services Director position-agreed to allow those applicants to provide additional information/comments regarding their interest in the position for Council’s review and consideration at its August 16, 2011 meeting.
Councilman Newcomb stated that the Council convened into an Executive Session at 4:30 p.m. on August 16, 2011 to discuss the following items: 1) discussed information obtained during a meeting with an applicant for the Public Works Director – took no formal action; 2) discussed additional information provided by those applicants who participated in second interviews for the Emergency Services Director position- took no formal action; 3) discussed personnel issues relating to the Detention Center-discussed issues pertaining to Interim Warden position, approved the request of the Interim Warden to reclassify an employee to an Assistant Shift Supervisor, Corporal and agreed to add to open session a request to advertise to fill the Warden vacancy; 4) discussed with Highway Division Manager personnel issues relating to the Highway Division of the Public Works Department-took no action; 5) received expert advice on the negotiation strategy or the contents of a bid proposal-agreed to discuss in open session.
Councilman Newcomb stated that the Council was available for the personnel hearing scheduled for tonight at 4:00 p.m. but due to the request of the employee the hearing was postponed. He said the hearing will be re-scheduled for a future date.
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.
PRESENTATION-CENTER FOR ALLIED HEALTH AND ATHLETICS-CHESAPEAKE COLLEGE
Dr. Barbara Viniar, President, Chesapeake College, advised Council that the Chesapeake College Board of Trustees, at its most recent meeting, approved the submission of a request to the five supporting counties for use of $500,000 of the College’s fund balance to purchase a new phone switch and voice over internet protocol (VIOP) system. She explained that the current telephone system is 15 years old and certain parts to repair the system are not available. She said the VIOP system will also serve as an emergency alert system. Dr. Viniar advised that the College’s Board of Trustees that the supporting counties authorize use of $696,000 of the fund balance for the design costs for the Center for Allied Health and Athletics. She said this will reduce the financial burden on the counties for the overall project and will defer the local commitment for construction to FY 2014 while preserving the $27 million in State funding that has been committed to the project. Dr. Viniar explained that College staff have a meeting scheduled with the State Department of Budget Management staff on September 22, 2011 and she believes that if she cannot identify a commitment from the local supporting counties prior to that date the State funds may be reallocated to another project.
She stated that the physical education building which will ultimately house the Allied Health Center is 45 years old, is the oldest building on the campus. She stressed that the renovation of the building will not include renovations to the swimming pool. She noted that the current building is also used for job fairs and summer camps.
Dr. Viniar explained that the project will provide employment for approximately 400 to 450 individuals over the next four years. She also reminded Council that 54% of students who graduate from Dorchester County schools attend Chesapeake College. In response to a question from Councilman Nichols regarding support from the other support counties, Dr. Viniar said she has not yet presented these requests to representatives of the other four counties.
Based on a question from Councilman Travers, Dr. Viniar expressed her belief that it is not feasible to renovate the old Easton Memorial Hospital building once the hospital is moved to its new location based on the study conducted by Shore Health staff that the cost to renovate that facility is approximately $8 million. She said it is her understanding that the existing building may be converted for other health care uses. Dr. Viniar also noted that $500,000 is received from the Shore Health each year to support the training facility.
Councilman Nichols said it has been his experience that large construction projects, such as the construction of the Dorchester Career and Technology Center, are typically awarded to an out of County firm who provide their own staff and therefore the creation of jobs may not benefit Dorchester County residents. Dr. Viniar noted that the College staff are required to follow the State bidding procedures and that, based on her experience, in the last two construction projects at the College, some of residents from the five supporting counties did obtain employment although she could not verify if any of those individuals were from Dorchester County. Michael D. Kilgus, Vice President for Administrative Services, said general contractors are required to obtain at least three bids when subcontracting out portions of the construction and can be encouraged to seek bids from local contractors.
The Council approved Dr. Viniar’s request, on behalf of the College, to use $500,000 of the College’s fund balance to purchase a new phone switch and voice over internet protocol system. The Council deferred Dr. Viniar’s request to use $696,000 of that fund balance for the design costs for the Center for Allied Health and Athletics. The Council members recognized their concerns that although each County’s share of the overall project will be reduced if College funds are used to cover the design component, the approval of the use of this funds will result in the Council to construction costs in FY 2014. The Council members stated that, based on the current fiscal climate and slow economic recovery, they face ongoing challenges in meeting budgetary needs and have eliminated all capital programs for several years. Council stated their desire to speak with County Finance staff prior to rendering a final decision and will reconsider the use of the fund balance for design costs prior to September 22, 2011
DISCUSSION-LEGISLATIVE INITIATIVES-2012 MARYLAND GENERAL ASSEMBLY LEGISLATIVE SESSION
Ms. Baynard reminded the Council that they will meet with local legislators on October 11, 2011 regarding legislative initiatives for the 2012 Maryland General Assembly Legislative Session. She noted that during the 2011 Maryland General Assembly Legislative Session Council sought “Privilege Tax” legislation but was unsuccessful. She explained that the legislation is intended to authorize the Council to impose by ordinance a privilege tax on certain public utilities, persons or corporations engaged in the business of transmitting electricity through one or more long distance, extra-high voltage electric transmission lines located in Dorchester County. She explained that the legislation sets a base rate and that tax proceeds would be designated for the following: 1) one-third for the benefit of ratepayers affected by the high voltage lines; 2) to manage quality, air, land and natural resources in the County; and 3) one-third for economic development and tourism. She advised that House Bill 1204 was withdrawn during the 2011 legislative session due to lack of support among the local delegation but noted that a first reading was held on Senate Bill 914 prior to the action to withdraw. The Council agreed to discuss the pursuit of this legislation with local legislators.
Ms. Baynard noted that correspondence was sent to Department Heads, elected officials and the municipalities in the County asking them to forward any legislative proposals to Council prior to this meeting. She said Michael Moulds, Engineer, has submitted on behalf of the Local Watershed Implementation Plan Phase II Team, which includes Mr. Moulds, Michael Bonsteel, Environmental Planner, and Jim Newcomb, Soil Conservation Director, a request that the Council discuss with the legislators their following recommendations: 1) that updated regulations be developed for septic system replacement to provide for statewide consistency; 2) that legislation be submitted to provide funding for the implementation of the County’s TMDL Watershed Implementation Plan; and 3) their concerns that the deadline for local approval of the County’s TMDL Watershed Implementation Plan by November 1, 2011 and the State’s decision to implement the plan statewide by 2020 are too aggressive.
The Council, based on a request from the Dorchester County Sanitary Commissioners, agreed to seek an amendment to State law to allow the County’s Finance Office to assume the responsibility of invoicing and collection of the Bay Restoration Fee on behalf of the Sanitary District.
At the recommendation of Councilmen Newcomb and Price, the Council agreed to discuss with local legislators the restoration of highway user funding and the possible transfer of teachers’ retirement costs to local governments. Councilman Newcomb encouraged the public to provide any proposed legislative initiatives they believe should be addressed to the Council for its review and consideration. Ms. Baynard noted that the Council will continue discussions regarding proposed legislative initiatives at its September 6, 2011 meeting.
RESERVE DOCKAGE REQUEST-CHOPTANK HERITAGE SKIPJACK RACE 2011/UPDATE ON SKIPJACK NATHAN ACTIVITIES
Captain Frank Newton, Skipjack Nathan of Dorchester, provided an update on Skipjack Nathan activities on the Chesapeake Bay. The Council approved Captain Newtons’ request on behalf of the Dorchester Skipjack Committee to reserve the bulkhead in front of the
AN ACT OF THE COUNTY COUNCIL OF DORCHESTER COUNTY, MARYLAND PURSUANT TO THE AUTHORITY OF ARTICLE 25A(5)(J) AND ARTICLE 25A(5)(S) OF THE ANNOTATED CODE OF MARYLAND AMENDING SECTION 121-7(D) AND SECTION 121-8 OF CHAPTER 121 OF THE DORCHESTER COUNTY CODE ENTITLED PROPERTY MAINTENANCE PROVIDING FOR THE DESIGNATION OF PERSONS THAT SHALL BE SERVED A VIOLATION NOTICE AND PROVIDING THAT ALL COSTS OF WORK PERFORMED BY THE COUNTY AND OTHER EXPENSES INCURRED BY THE COUNTY, INCLUDING LEGAL FEES, SHALL BECOME A LIEN ON THE LAND AND PROPERTY AND SHALL BE COLLECTED IN THE SAME MANNER AS ARE THE ANNUAL COUNTY PROPERTY TAXES COLLECTED.
Mr. Merryweather explained that Bill No. 2011-5 is to amend Section 121-7(D) and Section 121-8 of Chapter 121 of the Dorchester County Code entitled “Property Maintenance” to provide for the designation of persons that shall be served a violation notice and to provide that all costs of work performed by the County and other expenses incurred by the County, including legal fees, shall become a lien on the land and property and shall be collected in the same manner as are the annual County property taxes collected as well as providing for additional due process notice. He said that this legislative amendment is being pursued in light of recent situations that have occurred over the past nine months for which the Council felt the need to expand notice proceedings so that anyone interested in a property will have prior notice before a property maintenance cleanup is conducted.
The Council agreed to proceed with publication of a public hearing on this matter.
REQUEST TO EXECUTE
The Council approved the written request of Patti Tieder, on behalf of the Taylors Island Volunteer Fire Company, and agreed to execute a State Highway Administration Special Events Permit for the 2011 Taylors Island Boat Docking Challenge at the privately owned Slaughter Creek Marina on Sunday August 28, 2011.
REQUEST TO USE COUNTY PARKING LOT/ELECTRICAL OUTLETS-HEALTH FREEDOM CELEBRATION WALK
The Council approved the request of William Jarmon, Local Organizer, of the Health Freedom Celebration Walk and Jeanne Charlestown Director/Founder of Health Freedom, Inc. Community Health Awareness & Monitoring Program, for use of the Dorchester County Parking Lot on Saturday, September 10, 2011 from 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. for parking and non-profit vendors and the outdoor electrical unit for the PA system, use of picnic tables, patio area facing the creek and trash receptacles. The Council acknowledged that organizers will provide tables, chairs and trash bags and will rent and place a portable toilet in a designated area.
TRAVEL REQUESTS –TECHNOLOGY/PLANNING AND ZONING
The Council approved the request of Don Keyes, Information Technology Director, for authorization for Chris Abbott, Technician, to attend a Public Safety Software Incorporated Users Group Conference in
The Council approved the request of Steve Dodd, Planning and Zoning Director, and agreed that he can attend a four day training course on the Community Rating System at the Emergency Management Institute in Emmetsburg, Maryland from September 26 to September 29, 2011. The Council acknowledged that the course is free and that lodging and meals on the campus of the facility will be paid from the Planning and Zoning Department FY 2012 budget.
RESOLUTION ACCEPTANCE-WATER AND SEWER PLAN AMENDMENT-BRYAN
The Council agreed to execute a resolution to reflect its August 2, 2011 approval to change the water and sewer designation for two parcels owned by Mr. Bryan, which abut the easterly boundary of the Town of
GIS DATA SHARING MEMORANDUM OF AGREEMENT-PLANNING AND ZONING
The Council approved the request of Kate Donovan, GIS Specialist, and agreed to execute a Memorandum of Agreement between Dorchester County and the Maryland Department of Planning to use the County level databases and collections of images, including State property maps that are licensed to the State, to maintain the County’s Cadastral Maps. The Council acknowledged that the product created will be owned by the Council and in exchange the Council agrees to provide the Maryland Department of Planning the updated parcel database, reflecting new plats and subdivisions on a yearly basis to be used to update State Property Maps.
REFERRAL TO PLANNING COMMISSION-SOLAR ENERGY SYSTEMS UTILITY SCALE-PLANNING AND ZONING
The Council approved the request of Rodney Banks, Assistant Planning and Zoning Director, to refer draft legislation for a text amendment to Chapter 155 entitled “Zoning Ordinance” of the County Code to add solar energy systems, utility scale as a special exception use in the Agricultural Conservation (AC); Agricultural Conservation-Resource Conservation Area (AC-RCA), Resource Conservation (RC), General Business (B-2), Light Industrial (I-1) and Heavy Industrial (I-s) zoning districts; to add definitions of solar energy scales, utility scale and solar array and include supplemental use regulations, to the Planning Commission for its review and recommendation. At the suggestion of Councilman Travers, the Council requested that the Planning Commission members consider establishing set-backs so that smaller parcels of land may be utilized. Additionally, the Council requested that the members review the regulations of surrounding counties to ensure that Dorchester County’s regulations are similar to those jurisdictions so that the County can remain competitive.
EARLY VOTING MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING REQUEST-ELECTIONS OFFICE
The Council approved the request of Karin Kuntz, Elections Director, and agreed to execute an Early Voting Memorandum of Understanding between the County Council and the Dorchester County Board of Elections for access and use of the lobby of the Dorchester County Office building for early voting for the 2012 Primary and General Elections. The Council acknowledged its June 21, 2011 approval of the dates for early voting. In addition to those dates the Council approved Ms. Kuntz request to use the lobby on Friday, March 23, 2012 and Friday, October 26, 2012 to set up for early voting.
REQUEST TO ADVERTISE FOR PROPOSALS-AFTER SCHOOL SERVICES-LOCAL MANAGEMENT BOARD
The Council approved the request of Nancy Shockley, Local Management Board Director, to advertise for proposals to solicit potential vendors for after school services. The Council acknowledged that the Governor’s Office for Children has approved funding in the amount of $91,976 to support after school programming in
REQUEST TO SUBMIT PROPOSAL FOR GRANT FUNDS-GOVERNOR’S OFFICE OF CRIME CONTROL & PREVENTION-LMB
The Council approved the request of Ms. Shockley to submit a grant application entitled “Therapeutic Intervention” to the Governor’s Office of Crime Control & Prevention for funds in the amount of $4,200 with no funds required from the County to cover the cost of services for youth being transitioned to the Health Department while the certification of the Health Department as a Youth Services Bureau is finalized. The Council acknowledged that as a part of the FY 2012 budget the Youth Services Bureau is no longer part of County Government.
DISCUSSION-OPEN AIR BURN BAN-POSSIBLE AMENDMENT
Ms. Baynard noted that pursuant to the legislation that established the Council’s authority to issue an open air burn ban, the ban cannot go into effect until a notice is published in a local news publication at least once which makes it difficult to initiate an open air burn ban in an emergency situation or by short notice, as evidenced by the recent decision made over a weekend to institute such a ban. She advised that the last ban was issued Friday evening and could not be advertised in a local newspaper until Sunday. Mr. Merryweather expressed his opinion that the publication requirement is a due process issue and that following due process is critical in effectively issuing a violation. The Council requested that Mr. Merryweather draft legislation amending the notification requirements for its consideration. Councilman Price opposed.
Based on information Ms. Baynard provided from Scott Daniels, Forester, in partnership with the Eastern Shore Fire Manager, the Council agreed to lift the County-wide burn ban which prohibited the burning of any materials in the open or in receptacles in light of the recent amount of rainfall and the decline in the drought index and fire danger index.
HEATING VENTILATION AND AIR CONDITIONING (HVAC) SERVICE CONTRACTS
Ms. Baynard advised that during budget the Council discussed Councilman Nichols’ request that bids for a County-wide HVAC service contract be sought. She said that upon discussing this matter with C.R. Newman, Maintenance Director, he advised that he has existing preventive maintenance contracts directly with Carrier, the manufacturer for the systems at the County Office Building, Health Department and the Court House rather than with a local vendor or sales representative. In response to a question from Ms. Baynard, Robert Willey, Assistant Finance Director, said that although Bob Tenanty, Airport Manager, advised that he has a contractor for the HVAC units at the Cambridge Dorchester Airport, he recommends Council include the Airport, Public Safety Complex and the Highway Division in a request for proposals for service contracts.
The Council agreed to allow Mr. Newman to maintain the HVAC contracts for the Dorchester County Office Building, the Circuit Court House and the Health Department with the manufacturer and requested that a request for proposals for the units at the Airport, Public Safety Complex and the Highway Division be prepared.
Les Simering, a Dorchester County resident, expressed his opinion that the Council should consider contracting with local service companies for HVAC services in order to contain costs.
REQUEST TO PURCHASE PORTABLE AIR CONDITIONING UNITS-911 CENTER
A motion to approve the request of Kim Vickers, 911 Communications Chief, to sole source the purchase of two portable air conditioning units from Spot Coolers under the United States General Services (GSA) Contract for the 911 Center Equipment room and the police dispatching side of the room died due to lack of majority. The Council deferred Ms. Vickers’ request and asked her to seek quotes from three vendors for an additional air conditioning unit to be added to the existing HVAC system in lieu of two small units for its review and consideration at an upcoming meeting.
CHARTER REVIEW COMMISSION APPOINTMENT-DISTRICT 5
The Council, based on the recommendation of Councilman Bradshaw, agreed to appoint Jeffrey Gabrielsen to serve on the Charter Review Commission as the District Five member to fill the unexpired term of Kele Turner.
HUMAN RESOURCE/FISCAL POLICIES
Ms. Baynard noted that Council members previously held a work session on policies and procedures on August 1, 2011 and have now been provided with draft Human Resource and Fiscal policies for review and consideration prior to this meeting. She noted that resolutions for any policies approved will be provided to the Council for acceptance at its September 6, 2011 meeting.
Amoss 508 Fund Management
The Council agreed to consider a resolution to implement a policy on the management of Amoss Fire, Rescue and Ambulance Funds (508 Funds) to require that the County disburse all 508 Funds directly to vendors eligible for funding under the program, on behalf of the local volunteer companies, in order to provide better administrative efficiency, internal control and cost effectiveness in the management and expenditure of this State appropriation. Councilmen Travers and Price opposed. The Council acknowledged that Finance staff with work with local fire company members to expend funds with a targeted policy implementation date of July 1, 2012.
The Council agreed to consider a resolution to implement a “Debt Management” Policy to establish conditions for the use of debt and create procedures and policies that minimize the County’s debt service and issuance of costs, retain the highest practical credit rating, and maintain full and complete financial disclosure and reporting. The Council acknowledged that pursuant to House Bill 811, which as passed during the 2009 Maryland General Assembly Legislative Session, a debt policy must be submitted to the State Treasurer’s Office for each local jurisdiction and once adopted this policy will be sent to that office.
The Council agreed to consider a resolution to establish a “Business Meals” policy to adopt guidelines for identifying appropriate County business expenses relative to business meals including how and when expenses may be incurred by the County and/or County employees in order to ensure the proper use of County resources and the compliance with federal regulations. The Council recognized that the proposed policy includes the following amendments: 1) amending Definitions to include retention of existing businesses and meals with travel writers ; 2) removing redundant language from the alcoholic beverages section; and 3) removing the final bullet under definitions to clarify that the intent of the policy is that employees will be responsible to pay for meals while traveling overnight if meals are not included as part of a conference or meeting. The Council acknowledged that the policy exempts the Sheriff’s Office for overnight extraditions and meals for employees required to work in excess of their scheduled shifts during emergency events. The Council further acknowledged that currently employees are responsible for paying for meals during a day conference or meeting if the meals are not included in meeting registrations.
Purchasing Policies and Procedures
The Council deferred consideration of a “Purchasing Policies and Procedures” policy until its September 6, 2011 in order for staff to provide a better definition of services meeting. The Council acknowledged that the original intent of this policy is to remove the purchase order program in light of a 5% budget reduction in the Finance Department’s FY 2012 budget.
Ms. Baynard noted that the Council has been provided a proposed travel policy that covers the use of public funds for travel expenses incurred while traveling for County business. She said the policy requires Council’s approval for overnight travel unless it is emergency in nature and also includes the definitions for rental vehicles and lodging allowances. She explained that comments have been received from elected officials who are concerned with the application of this policy in their offices based on the constitutional authorities of their offices. In response to a question from Councilman Price, Ms. Baynard clarified that she has received comments from Judge Brett Wilson, Sheriff James Phillips and William Jones, State’s Attorney, The Council agreed to not implement a travel policy and acknowledged that a statement of policy which has been provided to Department Heads is already in effect which requires approval of overnight travel
Vehicle Use for
The Council agreed to the establishment of a “Vehicle Use for County Business” policy which defines the purpose for which vehicles may be used to conduct County business with the following amendments: 1) adding the definition for a violation; 2) removing the definition “De Dimimis Personal Use” which is not referenced in the policy; and 3) amending the Driver Safety paragraph to allow aerosol containers to be carried in a vehicle. The Council acknowledged that the policy sets forth specific penalties for employees with violations, defines improper use and safety requirements and clarifies when personal vehicles may be used.
Ms. Baynard stated that the Council has received a copy of a draft “No Smoking” policy to prohibit County employees from smoking on County owned or leased property, including in vehicles and equipment located on said property. She explained that two suggestions received from Department Heads were to include all tobacco products and to apply the policy to the public as well as employees. Councilman Price recommended that the policy be revised to allow employees to smoke in their personal vehicles, based on comments he has received from several County employees. Amy Craig, Clerk of Court, said she supports the proposed policy. She noted individuals who park along the Court House property dispose their cigarette butts on the ground, particularly sinc