County Council Meeting Minutes
August 15, 2006
County Council of Dorchester County
The County Council of Dorchester County met in regular session on August 15, 2006 with the following members present: Present were Glenn L. Bramble, President; David Yockey, Vice President; Effie M. Elzey; Ricky Travers; William Nichols. Also present were Jane Baynard, County Manager and Donna Lane, Administrative Specialist.
INVOCATION AND PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
CALL FOR ADDITIONS OR DELETIONS TO AGENDA
Ms. Baynard stated that the agenda was amended to move the Revision of the Dog Control Ordinance to the Legislative Session so if Council decides to move forward a public hearing on the amendments can be held.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES-AUGUST 8, 2006
The Council approved the minutes for August 8, 2006 as presented.
FINANCIAL REPORT: CASH AND INVESTMENTS
Councilman Bramble reported total cash and investments as $6,116,014.68.
Council approved the payment authorization requested by Barbara Hall, Acting Elections Director to use $2,797.00 from the fund balance remaining in the Election’s FY06 budget towards the purchase of an additional Cannon 3080CII Scanner for that office.
BUDGET TRANSFER AND AMENDMENT REQUEST-BOARD OF EDUCATION
Council discussed the Board of Education’s Budget Transfer and Amendment Requests, requested by Dr. Frederic Hildenbrand, Superintendent of Schools, with Gary McCabe, Operations Director and Tim Brooke, Controller.
Councilman Bramble advised that he was concerned that the Board of Education was just bringing to their attention an unexpected increase in miscellaneous revenue two months after the Council and the Board of Education had collaborated to develop a FY07 budget for the Board of Education. He stated that there were several areas in which he thought needed more funding and that those were included the purchase of textbooks, the funding of an alternative school and sending a Board of Education representative to Germany. Councilman Bramble said that he was contacted by several teachers who expressed their concerns about homework assignments having to be written out, copied and given to students instead of letting students take home textbooks due to a text book shortage. He also said that he believed that the Board of Education should send one representative to Germany to gather information on how their school system works and how that information could be used to better the Dorchester County school system.
Councilman Travers stated that he was concerned that the Council members and the Board of Education met only two months ago to discuss the FY07 budget needs for the Board of Education and he questioned why these funds were not considered for these needs. He also stated his concern at such sizable requests for transfer and/or amendments from unanticipated miscellaneous revenue to the operation of plant category and the maintenance of plant category.
Mr. McCabe stated that an audit is currently in progress and that the budget transfer and budget amendment requests are to close the books on their FY06 budget.
Tim Brooks, Accountant for the Board of Education, stated that the Board of Education received a significant increase in interest income due to an increase in interest rates but that this increase is not typical and that in the past the increase has not been substantial. He said that E-rate funds are a rebate that the Board of Education applied for from the Federal government and because there is no guarantee that they will be awarded the receipts are not included in budgeted revenue projections. Mr. Brooks stated that the out of county transfer funds are funds received when there are students who attend Dorchester County Schools although they live in other school districts. He stated that in 2005 the Board of Education only received an additional $16,000 of interest income and $88,000 in E-rate funds. He stated that in 2004 there was an increase in miscellaneous funds of only $6,000 and that these increases are hard to project.
Mr. McCabe stated that the Council member’s concerns were valid concerns and stated that in the past the unanticipated revenues have been minimal. He said that if the Board of Education relied on receiving the same amount next year problems could develop if the monies are not received so therefore they do not take in account any unanticipated revenues when developing their budget. He said that the good news was that these extra revenues were available to cover the extra expenses that have already been incurred. In response to a question from Councilman Travers, Mr. McCabe stated that the unanticipated revenues were already spent prior to requiring the budget actions. He said that some of the revenue was spent on correcting problems with HVAC systems at several of the schools in Dorchester County due to failure of the systems plus additional maintenance that was required due to the age of the systems at the cost of over $76,000. He said that gym floors in the schools were in desperate need of repairs at a cost of $45,000; that there were electrical problems at two schools that cost $16,000 to fix; that there was equipment purchased as part of the transition of maintenance being managed by an outside firm to the staff of Board of Education doing the work themselves including trucks, vans and replacement of old tractors and mowers at a cost of $88,000 in many years; and that there were bleacher repairs and other maintenance supplies purchased in the amount of $40,000.
In response to a question from Councilman Travers as to how the unanticipated costs and repairs would have been paid for if no additional miscellaneous revenue was received, Mr. McCabe stated that they would have had to defer some payments. Councilman Travers questioned whether the expenditures were critical or necessary.
In response to a question from Councilman Travers, Mr. McCabe stated that these changes will not change the Board of Education’s projected 10 year Capital Plan. He stated that a lot of the requested costs were due to a need to implement preventive maintenance.
In response to a question from Councilman Nichols concerning the amount of a raise the teachers received in FY07 Mr. McCabe stated that a 5% raise was put into teachers contract that allowed them a 1 ½% step increase and that every employee received at least a 3.5% pay raise. He said that 5% in new money was given to each employee including support and professional staff.
Councilman Nichols stated that he did not agree with classroom separations particularly with classroom structures at Maces Lane Middle School. Mr. McCabe explained that they are using the school as a test to see if the idea is feasible for other locations.
In response to a question from Councilman Yockey as to the starting salary for new teachers, Mr. McCabe stated that the salary for new teachers in Dorchester County is $38,00 and that this is the first time that he can recall that the salaries of new teachers in all of the counties on the Eastern Shore are within a few hundred dollars of each other. He said that three other counties on the shore have a starting salary of $38,000.
Council approved the Budget Amendment request from Frederic Hildenbrand, Superintendent of Schools for the Board of Education, to transfer an unexpected $263,987 increase in miscellaneous revenue which includes interest income ($122,890), E-rate funds ($89,216) and transfers from other boards of education for out-of-county placements ($51,881) to the Operation of Plant category in the amount of $43,987 and to the Maintenance of Plant Category in the amount of $220,000. Council acknowledged that the monies will be used to pay for HVAC repairs at several schools, replace worn out grounds equipment and purchase vehicles to replace those previously supplied through the Aramark contract with the condition that each one of the concerns expressed by the Council members be taken into consideration by the Board of Education.
Council approved the Categorical Budget Transfer Request from Frederic Hildenbrand, Superintendent of Schools for the Board of Education transferring $75,000 from Mid-Level Administration due to vacancies and other salary adjustments; $125,000 from contingency under Instructional Salaries and $86,000.00 under available funds under Instructional Salaries; $31,000 in contingency money from Other Instructional Costs
EXECUTIVE SESSION SUMMARY
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) Hiring of a 911 Dispatcher; 2) Dorchester First! discussion; 3) Property on Elliott’s Island-discussed; 4) Request for access to County property-denied; 5) Annexation for Airport Expansion-discussed.
The above information is being provided to the public pursuant to and in compliance with Section 10-509(h)(2) of the State Government Article.
Council adjourned to Legislative Session.
PUBLIC HEARING BILL NO 2006-6 PROPERTY TAX CREDIT FOR SHORELINE EROSION CONTROL STRUCTURES
AN ACT TO AMEND DORCHESTER COUNTY CODE CHAPTER 144 SECTION XI PROPERTY TAX CREDIT FOR SHORELINE EROSION CONTROL STRUCTURES.
Ms. Baynard stated that the amendment to Bill No. 2006-6 was to add among the allowable structures eligible for the Property Tax Credit for Shoreline Erosion Control Structures Credit vinyl bulkhead in addition to steel bulkheads, timber bulkheads, concrete walls, stone masonry walls, stone revetments, stone reinforcement, stone breakwaters, jetties, or groins.
Councilman Bramble stated that the public hearing was open to public comment.
Mr. Joe Coyne, a resident of Dorchester County, stated that he support the amendment because vinyl bulkhead was more environmental friendly and looked better. He said that it was a technical change and that the change in is keeping with the changes in the construction of shoreline erosion devices
The role call on the enactment of Bill No. 2006-6 was as follows: Bramble-aye; Elzey-aye; Nichols-aye; Yockey-aye; Travers-aye.
REVISION OF CHAPTER 78, DORCHESTER COUNTY CODE-DOG CONTROL
Ms. Baynard stated that the Steve Williams, Public Safety Director has made some amendments to Section 78, Dog Control, of the Dorchester County Code and that those amendments are proposed by Mr. Williams after much research and study of ordinance of other counties and cities as well as assistance from local residents. She explained that the amendments include an enhanced definition of potentially dangerous dogs and dangerous dogs with specific requirements for the owner of such dogs in the interest of public safety as well as requirements to ensure that dogs in vehicles are provided adequate ventilation and that chained dogs are provided adequate food and water. She acknowledged that the proposed amendments also included a set of fees for violation of the ordinance as well as escalating fees for multiple violations.
In response to a question from Councilman Travers regarding citations, Mr. Williams stated that the new language added to the Dog Control Ordinance would allow Dorchester County’s Animal Control Officers to write civil infractions. He said that the revenues from those civil infractions would be collected by Dorchester County. Mr. Williams stated that the amendments include the provision that if a resident does not agree with a civil infraction they can appeal that infraction in the District Court of Maryland for Dorchester County.
Council agreed to proceed with publication of the public hearing on this matter on the amendments to the Dog Control Ordinance on September 5, 2005.
Council deferred the appointment of an economic development member to the Dorchester First! Revolving Loan due to resignation of Tyrone Bullock as a voting member on the Committee until certain proposed replacements can be contacted regarding willingness to serve on the Dorchester First! Revolving Loan Fund Committee.
ADDITIONAL FUNDING REQUEST-HUMANE SOCIETY
Ms. Baynard stated that there is currently a contractual agreement with the Humane Society of Dorchester County in which the County provides money for the housing of animals picked up by Animal Control and that the Human Society is requesting additional funds in the amount of $15,000 to cover additional costs for medical care and to continue operations for this year. She stated that Mr. Williams has reviewed and the request and provided comments.
Mr. Williams stated that he increased all of the service categories for the Humane Society in the County’s FY07 Animal Control Budget and increased the grant by $2,000 from $32,000 last year to $34,000 for FY07. He said that additional funds for this request are not allowed in the FY07 Animal Control Budget, therefore, he recommended to deny the request for additional funds.
Based on a question from Councilman Nichols concerning the need for more money to compensate for services provided to the Dorchester County Animal Control division, Cindy Smith, President, said that when the letter was submitted for additional funding for operations it was not intended to target animal control but to help compensate them for providing other services to the members of the community including spaying and neutering services and behavioral services. She said that the Humane Society cared for 286 animals received from Animal Control last year but provided services to 1500 other animals at the shelter.
Council denied the request from Cindy Smith, President of the Humane Society of Dorchester County, for additional funding in the amount of $15,000 in order to continue their operations due to a lack of award funding but agreed to revisit the funding request in January 2007. Council agreed to allow the Humane Society of Dorchester County to review the surplus equipment and furniture that is housed at the old Maces Lane School building prior to publicly advertising for bids to see if they could use any of the equipment or furniture.
Based on a request from Tonna Phelps, Director, Single Family Housing the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, the Council agreed to forward correspondence to the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development irrevocably transferring to the Community Development Administration for use in issuing housing bonds on behalf of Dorchester County the entire $875,023 of its tax exempt housing bond allocation as set forth in the 2006 allocation. The Council agreed to assign the funds for use in the Community Development Mortgage Loan Program.
MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING WITH WICOMICO COUNTY-PUBLIC SAFETY
Ms. Baynard discussed with Council a Mutual Aid Agreement between Dorchester County and Wicomico County. She said that the agreement is to allow for prompt resources and services provided to each jurisdiction in the event of an emergency or disaster. She said that the agreement includes a chain of command notification in that either the Dorchester County Manager or the Public Safety Director, or both, will enact the sharing of resources based on a formal request for assistance. She said that the agreement also allows for denial of a request for help in case of an emergency or disaster if no resources were available and allows for reimbursement of costs pursuant to procedures set out in the Maryland Emergency Management Assistance Compact.
In response to a question from Councilman Travers Ms. Baynard stated that the County Attorney has reviewed the agreement.
SECURITY ENHANCEMENT PROPOSAL TO INSTALL CAMERA IN ELEVATOR-CIRCUIT COURT
Council approved the request of Sheriff James Phillips to accept the security enhancement proposal by Reed Security Systems, Inc. and contract with Reed Security Systems, Inc. to install a camera in the elevator of the Circuit Court building and monitors to record and view the holding area and the second floor holding area at the cost of $7014.60, from transfer tax and agreed to waive bids provided Ms. Baynard satisfactorily receives clarification as to why the handwritten proposal provided in their weekend pack and the typewritten proposal received at the meeting do not agree on cost for the project.
SENIOR CARE SYSTEM ANNUAL PLAN RENEWAL-SOCIAL SERVICES
Based on a request from William McDonnell, Director of Social Services, the Council approved the continuation of the Senior Care System Annual Plan and agreed to accept the FY07 Senior Care System Annual Plan Review and Approval update for the time period of July 1, 2006 to June 30, 2007 in the amount of $109,846. Council acknowledged that the Department of Social Services is the lead agency in case management and in providing funds and services for those over the age of 70. Council also acknowledged the agreement is a partnership between the Dorchester County Council, the Dorchester County Health Department, the Area Agency on Aging and the Dorchester County Department of Social Services.
HABITAT FOR HUMANITY REQUEST FOR RESOLUTION OF SUPPORT
Council approved the request of Jackie Noller, Core Steering Committee Chair of Habitat for Humanity to execute a resolution in support of Habitat for Humanity of Dorchester County receiving incentive tax credits from the State of Maryland to help finance the building of more affordable housing in Dorchester County.
MHAA 2005 AND 2006 OPERATING ASSISTANCE GRANT EXTENSION
Council deferred request of Natalie Chabot, Tourism Director, to extend the Maryland Heritage Area Authority (MHAA) Operating Assistance Grants for 2005 and 2006 until the August 29, 2006 meeting.
Council approved the request of Ms. Chabot to purchase the FOREST! software application from Exclamation Labs!, the sole manufacturer, to serve the electronic kiosks being placed in the County and agreed to waive bids due to the specificity of the program. Council acknowledged that the cost of the software is covered by the grant for the Travel Destination Website/Electronic Kiosk Program.
DORCHESTER COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES BOARD
Based on a written request from Mr. McDonnell, Council approved the appointment of Shirley Moore to fill the vacant position due to the passing of Reverend Leon Hall on the Dorchester County Department of Social Services Board. Council also approved the reappointment of Sandy Saunders and Arbutus Fehsenfield to the Dorchester County Department of Social Services Board. Council acknowledged that the terms of Ms. Moore, Ms. Saunders and Mr. Fehsenfield expire on June 30, 2009.
Ms. Baynard stated that a Seafood Reconciliation Committee was formed as a part of the Right to Harvest Seafood bill and that there are currently two members appointed to that Board, Roger Morris and Robert Jones. She stated that there must be another appointment and that the person Council appoints should be involved with the harvesting of seafood.
Council appointed Jack Brooks to the Seafood Reconciliation Committee and asked staff to contact Mr. Brooks to verify if he would accept the appointment. Council acknowledged that Mr. Brooks’ term will expire on August 15, 2008. Council further agreed that staff will ask the other members of the Right to Harvest Seafood Committee who originally drafted the legislation to see if they would also serve on the Seafood Reconciliation Committee.
Council deferred the appointment and reappointment of members to the Agricultural Land Preservation Board until their August 29, 2006 meeting to give Council time to review prospective appointments.
Council reappointed Joseph Layton and James Spicer to the Agricultural Reconciliation Committee. Council acknowledged that the term for Mr. Layton will expire on August 31, 2009 and the term for Mr. Spicer will expire on August 31, 2009.
Council acknowledged that an Annexation Petition was submitted to City Hall today, August 15, 2006, to annex certain parcels of land along Bucktown Road including the Dorchester County Tech Park and Airport.
ANNUAL TRANSPORTATION GRANT ACCEPTANCE
Council approved the Annual Transportation Grant Application Acceptance request from Santo Grande, Director of Delmarva Community Services, and agreed to execute the following grant agreements between the County and the Maryland Department of Transportation for the period of July 1, 2006 through June 30 2007: Capital Grant – Section 5311 in the amount of $69,476 which includes a Federal match of $55,580, a State match of $6,948 and a local match of $6,948; Job Access and Reverse Commute Grant – Section 3037 in the amount of $259,250 which includes a Federal match of $99,540, a State match of $87,210 and a local match of $72,500; American with Disabilities Act (ADA) Assistance Grant in the amount of $55,720 with a State match of $50,000 and a local match of $5,720; Rural Public Transportation Operating Grant – Section 5311 in the amount of $326,182 which includes a Federal match of $163,205, a State match of $74,184 and a local match of $88,793; Statewide Special Transportation Assistance Program (SSTAP) Operating Assistance Grant in the amount of $ 164,077 which includes a State match of $122,724 and a local match of $41,353. Council acknowledged that the local match has been historically met by Delmarva Community Services. Council also acknowledged that it will take approximately six months to receive the grants back and once they are received Delmarva Community Services will hold a public hearing and will then come back before Council for their approval in late fall.
SCHOOL BASED WELLNESS EXPANSION APPLICATION-LOCAL MANAGEMENT BOARD
Council approved the request of Nancy Shockley and agreed to execute the School Based Wellness Expansion Application in the amount of $25,445 to increase the funding to make the part time contractual clinician’s position at the School Based Health Centers of North Dorchester Middle School and North Dorchester High School to a full time merit position in order to attract and retain an experienced clinician and to increase administrative support at Cambridge South Dorchester High School School Based Health Center. Council acknowledged that the monies are awarded to the Dorchester County Health Department and not the individual schools.
CRITICAL AREA COMMISSION REQUEST FOR EXTENSION-GROWTH ALLOCATION TO CITY OF CAMBRIDGE
Based on a request from the Critical Area Commission for an extension to make a decision on the growth allocation of the City of Cambridge for the Blackwater Resorts, LLC development, Council agreed to an extension of 60 days with a decision date of the Critical Areas Commission to be rendered at the first meeting of November, 2006. Council agreed that they would consider no additional extensions for this application to the State.
LETTER OF SUPPORT-MD PORT ADMINISTRATION-POPLAR ISLAND EXPANSION/JAMES & BARREN ISLAND RESTORATION
Council agreed to execute of Letter of Support to the Maryland Port Administration for the Poplar Island Expansion and the James and Barren Island Restoration.
Rick Price, a Dorchester County resident, asked Council if they would contact the Board of Education to ensure that bus schedules for the new school year had been prepared and would adequately accommodate the recent road closures due to flooding in June 2006.
Charlotte Hughes, a resident of Dorchester County, stated that she lives on Dobson Road in Hurlock and has spoken to residents who agree that they want to close the throughway off of Dobson Street and questioned what process she should take. Councilman Bramble stated that in order to close a road there needs to be a hearing and advised Ms. Hughes to contact the Roads Board.
Councilwoman Elzey stated that she and Phil Bramble attended a meeting of residents in Galestown, Maryland about the Galestown Pond and that the residents expressed their amazement that getting help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to rebuild the pond took so long. She advised that she told the residents that the County is committed to rebuilding the pond but that in order to consider the safety of the residents, there must be careful planning before such reconstruction. She stated that there has been an association formed by 42 families to continue to improve the pond and that they expressed concern about making sure there are no invasive species plants in the pond.
Councilman Bramble stated that he attended the National Association of Counties last week on behalf of the Council.
Councilman Travers stated that Newhart Mill Road was opened this week and congratulated the staff of Dorchester County for their work on this and other roads that are still closed due to the recent flooding.
With no further business to discuss, the Council adjourned.
Approved the ______day of August, 2006.