County Council Meeting Minutes
December 13, 2011
County Council of Dorchester County
Regular Meeting Minutes
December 13, 2011
The County Council of Dorchester County met in regular session on December 13, 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.
Voting in favor of the closed Executive Session were all present Council members.
INVOCATION AND PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Councilman Travers led the invocation and the pledge of allegiance.
CALL FOR ADDITIONS OR DELETIONS TO AGENDA
The Council acknowledged that the following items were added to the agenda since it was published: a request to schedule a public hearing for an amendment to the County’s Comprehensive Plan; a request to use Homeland Security grant funds to purchase a data backup system; and an Emergency Food Assistance Program grant award.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES- DECEMBER 6, 2011
The Council approved the minutes of December 6, 2011.
APPROVAL OF DISBURSEMENTS
The Council approved vouchers as presented with Councilman Travers abstaining for payments made to Simmons Center Market and Councilman Newcomb abstaining for payments made to Old Saltys.
FINANICAL REPORT: CASH AND INVESTMENTS
Councilman Newcomb reported total cash and investments as $5,400,808.13.
EXECUTIVE SESSION SUMMARY
The County Council of Dorchester County convened in an Executive Session at 5:00 p.m. on December 13, 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.
Motion made, seconded and carried to conduct a closed session pursuant to the above. All members of the Council voted in the affirmative to conduct the closed session for the purposes stated above and to discuss the topics listed above.
Councilman Newcomb noted that the Council convened into an Executive Session at 6:00 p.m. on December 8, 2011 to conduct second interviews of certain applicants for the Emergency Services Director and Public Works Director vacancies.
He said Council convened into an Executive Session at 5:00 p.m. on December 13, 2011 to discuss the following items: 1) approved the request of the Economic Development Director to fill an Administrative Associate position and to consider a request to advertise the vacancy in open session by a 5 to 0 vote; 2) discussed information pertaining to a personnel issue-took no action; 3) agreed to offer an individual the vacant Public Works Director position by a 4 to 1 vote; and 4) agreed to offer an individual the vacant Emergency Services Director position by a 5 to 0 vote.
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.
CALL FOR ADDITIONS OR DELETIONS TO AGENDA
The Council agreed, pursuant to a request from Ms. Baynard, to add one additional item to the agenda and approved a request to fill an Administrative Associate position in the Economic Development Office.
COMMENDATION-POP WARNER MIDGET FOOTBALL TEAM- EASTERN REGIONAL DIVISION III CHAMPIONS
The Council presented a commendation to the Pop Warner Midget Football Team members and coaching staff for capturing the Eastern Region Division III Midget Championship. Pete Brummett, Head Coach, Volunteer Coaches and Team Members accepted the commendation.
INTRODUCTION-KEN KOZEL, PRESIDENT/CEO-SHORE HEALTH SYSTEMS
Ken Kozel introduced himself as the new President and CEO of Shore Health Systems. He thanked everyone who provided the Dorchester General Hospital staff with assistance during Hurricane Irene. He advised that an expansion of the Behavior Health Unit at that hospital has commenced and should be completed by December 2012. He also updated Council on the expansion of Easton Memorial Hospital and said the facility will seek a Certificate of Need in September 2012 to construct the new regional medical center in Talbot County.
The Council welcomed Mr. Kozel.
The Council made the following Board appointments: 1) reappointment of Bobbie Aaron, Emergency Medical Services Advisory Council Chair, to the 911 Advisory Board, with a term expiration date of January 29, 2014; 2) reappointment of Sidney Johnson to the Agricultural Land Preservation Board with a term expiration date of January 9, 2015; 3) appointment of Jason Spicer to the Agricultural Land Preservation Board to replace Benito Lake with a term expiration date of January 2, 2017; 4) reappointment of Michael D. Nordstrom, Master Electrician, to the Electrical Examiners Board with a term expiration date of January 6, 2015; and 5) reappointment of Sheriff James Phillips to the Recreation and Parks Board with a termination date of December 31, 2015.
The Council acknowledged that William McDonnell, Social Services Director, has asked Council to not make appointments to the Citizens Review Panel pending further guidance from the State of Maryland on the continuation of that Board.
LETTER OF SUPPORT REQUEST-PUBLIC LANDS HIGHWAY DISCRETIONARY GRANT PROGRAM-BLACKWATER WILDLIFE REFUGE
The Council approved the request of Suzanne Baird, Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge Manager, for a letter of support for grant application under the Public Lands Highway Discretionary Grant Program for $150,000 for planning, design and engineering to lift approximately 1.4 miles of County road that crosses the Refuge, installing necessary culverts and adding wildlife viewing areas. The Council acknowledged that the County will not provide funding nor serve as the applicant for the grant and requested that a copy of the letter be provided to Senators Benjamin Cardin and Barbara Mikulski and Congressman Andy Harris.
The Council agreed to send a letter in support to Senator Richard Colburn to amend Title 13, “Gaming-Local Provisions”, Subtitle 12, “Dorchester County”, Section 13-1204, “Prohibited Acts”, of the Criminal Law Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland to allow non profit organizations to conduct Bingo events on Sundays as requested by a Dorchester County constituent. Councilman Nichols opposed. The Council acknowledged that the Dorchester County Volunteer Firemen’s Association agreed to take no position on this proposed legislation. The Council further acknowledged the receipt of correspondence from the Neck District Volunteer Fire Company and the Hoopers Island Volunteer Fire Company in support of this amendment.
A motion to support the request of Adam Tolley, President, on behalf of the East New Market Volunteer Fire Company, to amend Article 2B, “Alcoholic Beverages” of the Annotated Code of Maryland to allow a volunteer fire company, a volunteer ambulance company or a combined volunteer fire and ambulance company to obtain Class “C” beer, wine and liquor license died due to lack of second. The Council acknowledged that the Dorchester County Volunteer Firemen’s Association, as an organization, elected to take no position on this proposed bill and although local volunteer company members were asked to provide their comments none were received. Based on the lack of a seconded motion, Ms. Baynard advised that staff will provide appropriate notice to the Dorchester County Board of License Commissioners. Councilman Nichols noted that currently State laws allows a volunteer fire company the opportunity to obtain a one or two day Class “C” Special Event license and said, in his opinion, that fee is more economical for these organizations than having to hold the 40 or more events required to recover the application fee for a Class “C” license. The Council took no action to support legislation submitted by Delegate Adelaide Eckardt entitled “Dorchester County-Turkey Hunting-Sundays” to allow turkey hunting on private property on any Sunday during the Spring turkey hunting season.
AMENDMENTS TO HARRIET TUBMAN UNDERGROUND RAILROAD BYWAY PROJECT GRANTS-TOURISM
The Council approved the request of Amanda Fenstermaker, Tourism Director, to execute grant amendments to transfer unexpended funds from the completed FY 2009 “Harriett Tubman Underground Railroad Byway Interpretive Plan, Driving Tour Brochure & Website project” grant to the FY 2010 “Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway Wayside Signage and Installation Program” grant from the Maryland Heritage Area Authority and to amend the closeout date for the Interpretive Plan to March 2013 to coincide with the installation grant. The Council acknowledged that the Maryland Heritage Area Authority has approved the referenced grant amendments.
The Council approved request of Steve Dodd, Planning and Zoning Director, to schedule a public hearing on the County Water and Sewer Plan amendment filed by the Town of Secretary to reflect the replacement of the existing wastewater treatment lagoon with a new Enhanced Nutrient Removal Treatment Plant at the same location on Green Point Road.
BID AWARD-CRUSHED STONE
Pursuant to a request from Roy Mills, Highway Division Manager, the Council agreed to award the bid for supplying crushed stone to the Highway Division of Public Works for the 2012 season to Dorchester Dumpin’ contingent upon a 30 day termination clause being added to the contract.
SURPLUS PROPERTY DECLARATION
The Council agreed to declare the items on the attached memorandum from Robert Willey, Assistant Finance Director, as surplus property and to follow historic bid and advertising procedures. The Council acknowledged certain amendments to the proposed list, as indicated by strike throughs or handwritten additions.
REQUEST TO SCHEDULE HEARING-COUNTY COMPREHENSIVE PLAN AMENDMENT-PLANNING AND ZONING
The Council approved the request of Rodney Banks, Assistant Planning and Zoning Director, to schedule a public hearing for an amendment to the County’s Comprehensive Plan to update the Land Use Chapter to add maps identifying future growth areas for the Towns of Hurlock, East New Market, Secretary, Vienna, Church Creek and the City of Cambridge. The Council acknowledged that the maps were revised as mandated by State statute as part of the Municipal Growth Element and that the Planning Commission has reviewed and forwarded to Council with a favorable report.
PUBLIC SAFETY DATA BACKUP SOLUTION RECOMMENDATION
The Council agreed to waive bids and purchase components for a data backup system from Dell Corporation in the amount of $12,433.68 and CDW Government in the amount of $11,682.53 for a total of $24,116.21. The Council agreed that funding will be provided from the FY10 Homeland Security Grant Program from funds allocated for the Sheriff’s Office with no County funding requirement. The Council recognized that this backup solution will save the County an estimated $5,000 per year by moving the off-site backup of the DocStar Imaging System from the current paid service and will enhance the County’s Continuity of Operations plan.
The Council accepted an Emergency Food grant award from the United States Department of Agriculture in the amount of $15,000 ($5,000 per year) with no local match for period of October 1, 2011 to September 30, 2014 with Delmarva Community Services acting as the implementing agency.
REQUEST TO ADVERTISE-ADMINISTRATIVE ASSOCIATE POSITION-ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
The Council agreed to advertise an Administrative Associate position in the Economic Development Office due to an employee resignation.
Wendell Foxwell, a Dorchester County resident, commended Council for its recent decision to lease approximately 90 tillable aces of County owned land adjacent to Cordtown Road.
Mr. Simering thanked the Council members for their decision to support his request for a State law amendment to allow Bingo on Sundays to benefit local non profit organizations.
Councilman Bradshaw advised that as a citizen is sending a letter to Governor Martin O’Malley regarding his concerns about State regulatory actions which prohibit property owners from enjoying their land and causes hardship to farmers, including poultry farmers, and watermen in the County. He read that letter for the public in attendance.
Councilman Nichols expressed concern regarding one of the proposed plans submitted by the City of Cambridge’s Redistricting Committee to the City Council on December 12, 2011. He also expressed concern about the potential for State legislators to pass additional costs to local jurisdictions during the 2012 Maryland General Assembly Legislative Session and said such actions would hinder the Council in developing a balanced budget for FY 2013. He said he will be actively discussing his concerns with other local and State representatives at the Maryland Association of Counties Winter Conference in January 2012.
Councilman Price noted the recent decision by several Western Shore rural counties to form a coalition to mount opposition to the proposed statewide PlanMaryland development plan. He said he will be very active in the upcoming months in opposing current and proposed State regulations that adversely affect citizens, including PlanMaryland, which will have a negative impact on rural counties.
Mr. Simering called Council’s attention to the fact that the State Comptroller, and not local jurisdictions, is now responsible for regulating the operation of slot machines by certain eligible organizations in certain counties, including Dorchester County. He expressed concern that this change may result in higher costs being assessed against the Cambridge Elks, Moose Lodge and American Legion for the use of these machines, particularly in light of the current economic climate. Councilman Travers said it is his understanding that legislation transferring regulatory authority of slot machines for certain nonprofit organizations to the State Comptroller occurred late in the 2011 legislative session. He said he attended a meeting at which a representative of Comptroller Peter Franchot said there will be no change in the reporting process or fees in the next two years unless mandated through legislation. Reverend George Ames, a lifetime member of the American Legion, said the passage of the legislation was unexpected.
Mr. Foxwell said he is opposed to the proposed PlanMaryland plan.
Councilman Travers expressed his belief that legislators should be focused on improving the economy and increasing employment opportunities during the 2012 legislative session instead of the passage of new regulations or costs to local jurisdictions.
The Council wished all Dorchester County citizens a Merry Christmas.
Councilman Newcomb noted that the next County Council meeting is scheduled for January 3, 2012 and that the Maryland Association of Counties Winter Conference will be held from January 4 to January 6, 2012. He said County offices will be closed on December 23, December 26 and December 30, 2011 and January 2, 2012 for holiday and service reductions days.
With no further business to discuss, the Council adjourned.
William V. Nichols, Vice President
Approved the ______day of ___________________, 2012.