Meeting Minutes

Meeting Minutes
posted: 02/24/12

County Council Meeting Minutes


February 7, 2012

County Council of Dorchester County

Regular Meeting Minutes

February 7, 2012

 

The County Council of Dorchester County met in regular session on February 7, 2012 with the following members present: Present were Jay L. Newcomb, President; William V. Nichols, Vice President; Ricky Travers; Rick Price and Tom Bradshaw. Also present were E. Thomas Merryweather, County Attorney; Jane Baynard, County Manager and Donna Lane, Executive Administrative Specialist.

 

REGULAR SESSION

EXECUTIVE SESSION

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; pursuant to §10-508(A)(10) to discuss public security, if the public body determines that public discussion would constitute a risk to the public or to public security, including: 

(i) the deployment of fire and police services and staff; and 

 (ii) the development and implementation of emergency plans; pursuant to §10-508(A)(3) to consider the acquisition of real property for a public purpose and matters directly related thereto; §10-508(A)(

4) to consider a preliminary matter that concerns the proposal for a business or industrial organization to locate, expand, or remain in the State; and §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.

 

REGULAR SESSION

 

INVOCATION AND PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

Councilman Travers led the invocation and the pledge of allegiance.

 

CALL FOR ADDITIONS OR DELETIONS TO AGENDA

 

The Council approved the addition of a request to advertise a Correctional Officer III vacancy at Detention Center to the agenda.

 

APPROVAL OF MINUTES- JANUARY 17, 2012

The Council approved the minutes of January 17, 2012.

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 $9,387,525.24.

EXECUTIVE SESSION SUMMARY

The County Council of Dorchester County convened in an Executive Session at 4:30 p.m. on February 7, 2012 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; pursuant to §10-508(A)(10) to discuss public security, if the public body determines that public discussion would constitute a risk to the public or to public security, including: 

(i) the deployment of fire and police services and staff; and 

 (ii) the development and implementation of emergency plans; pursuant to §10-508(A) (3) to consider the acquisition of real property for a public purpose and matters directly related thereto; §10-508(A) (

4) to consider a preliminary matter that concerns the proposal for a business or industrial organization to locate, expand, or remain in the State; and §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)  received an update on a possible economic development project-requested additional information; 2) discussed with Emergency Services Director information pertaining to public safety and personnel - took no action; 3) deferred a discussion of a possible volunteer opportunity for employees; 4) approved the request of the Warden to promote and reclassify an employee to Lieutenant and to fill the resulting vacancy by transferring another employee by a 4 to 0 vote and agreed to consider a request to advertise a Correctional Officer III vacancy based on the approved employee transfer in open session by a 4 to 0 vote; 5) approved a request from the Public Works Director to promote a part-time Landfill employee to fill a vacant Motor Equipment Operator III position at the Landfill by a 4 to 0 vote; and 6) discussed with legal counsel an issue pertaining to real property. 

 

Councilman Newcomb announced that Council will reconvene to executive session for one personnel item and one legal item after the regular session meeting. 

 

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.

 

REGULAR SESSION

COMMENDATION-RESPONSE TO EMERGENCY-SONYA BURTON; JOHN MARINE

 

The Council presented a commendation to Sonya Burton for maintaining contact with a victim and simultaneously dispatching emergency response units to ensure the safety and security of two victims.   The Council also presented a commendation to Chief John Marine, Eastern Shore Hospital Center, for his emergency response to ensure the safety and security of those individuals.  

 

Sheriff Phillips also commended and thanked Ms. Burton and Chief Marine for their bravery and service.  Randy Bradford, Chief Operating Officer of Eastern Shore Hospital Center, presented citations to Ms. Burton and Chief Marine on behalf of Senator Colburn.  Councilman Bradshaw presented a citation to both on behalf of Delegates Adelaide Eckardt, Rudolph Cane and Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio.  Councilman Nichols presented them a Citation on behalf of Governor Martin O’Malley.

 

PROCLAMATIONS-CHILDREN’S ORAL HEALTH MONTH

 

The Council presented a proclamation declaring February 2012 Children’s Oral Health Month.  Sara Rich, Vice President Community Programs, accepted the proclamation.

 

PROCLAMATION-NATIONAL OUTDOOR SHOW MONTH              

 

The Council presented a proclamation declaring February 2012 National Outdoor Show Month.   Marlene Menninger, Susan Windsor, Jen Curran, Lori Huber, Megan Newman, and Bud Fowl, Little Miss Outdoors 2011 Kadence Robinson, Little Mr. Outdoors 2011 Daniel Hessen and Miss Outdoors 2011 Amanda Robinson accepted the proclamation.

 

LEGISLATIVE DISCUSSION-2012 MARYLAND GENERAL ASSEMBLY LEGISLATIVE SESSION        

 

Request to Speak-Kevin Compton, Tudor Farms President-Sunday Spring Turkey Hunting

 

Kevin Compton, Tudor Farms President, provided Council with a copy of House Bill 144 entitled “Dorchester County-Turkey Hunting on Private Property-Sundays” and letters of support for the proposed legislation to allow the hunting on five Sundays in Spring.  He noted that Bob Long, Maryland Department of Natural Resources Upland Game Bird Project Manager, supports the legislative request.  Mr. Compton encouraged the Council to support House Bill 144 noting that, although the turkey count declined in Dorchester County recently, it is his understanding that the County has the third highest density of turkeys in the State.  He noted the proposal only authorizes that male gobblers can be hunted and also said that the Spring season takes place after the majority of the breeding season.  Mr. Compton expressed his belief that allowing hunting on Sundays in the spring will encourage more youth to become involved in hunting and will economically benefit the County because hunters will use services in the County.  

 

Discussion-MACo Legislative Committee Recommendations-Teacher Pension Shift

Jane Baynard, County Manager, explained that the Maryland Association of Counties Legislative Committee members have discussed Governor Martin O’Malley’s FY 2013 Budget proposal to shift a portion of pension costs for certain members of the Teachers’ Retirement System or the Teachers’ Pension System (a 50/50 share) to county governments which will result in a total cost to all counties of approximately $239 million and is projected to increase to $300 million in FY 2014.  Ms. Baynard explained that the shift includes pensions for teachers and employees of community colleges and libraries.   She advised that Dorchester’s County share is $1.5 million in FY 2013 and explained that the Governor’s proposal includes a single year revenue solution to offset those costs, which if approved, is projected to result in a zero impact on Dorchester County in FY 2013.   However, she noted that the revenue estimates are suspect either because they appear overinflated or may not be acceptable to the General Assembly.  Ms. Baynard explained that it is a common misnomer that these pension costs are determined by local County officials explaining that decisions regarding teachers’ pay and raises are approved solely by the Board of Education and that the State and Maryland State Retirement System control pension benefits and the system’s return on investments.   She said that the Board of Education has advised Council that it is also not in favor of the proposed pension shift.  She explained that the MACo Legislative Committee members are encouraging each local jurisdiction to send a letter asking its respective local legislators to oppose mandating these costs to local governments and have provided talking points.

Councilman Nichols said he attended the MACo meeting on behalf of the County Council and that MACo does intent to oppose the legislation.    He noted that in his five terms of office the Council has not participated in teacher salary negotiations.  He suggested that the Council members ask the Board of Education to join them in sending a letter in opposition to the General Assembly, both to the local delegates and to the appropriate Senator and House Committee Chairs and members, to the Governor’s Budget proposal to shift these pension costs to local governments.  He also suggested the Council speak with the local legislative delegation personally regarding this proposal.  Councilman Price noted that he also attended the MACO Legislative Committee and expressed his opposition to the proposal particularly since there is uncertainty on whether any of the revenue solutions are feasible.  

Councilman Bradshaw said it is his understanding that in the past four to five years many private sector businesses are offering employees participation in a 401K without providing a cash match instead of offering retirement benefits.

 

Councilman Travers advised that he will be attending a Taste of the Shore event in Annapolis, Maryland on Thursday, February 9, 2012 and will add the Council’s opposition to the proposed pension shift to the list of key legislative items he will be providing to local legislators who will attend that event.

 

Councilman Nichols expressed his understanding that counties may also be faced with providing post retirement benefits as a result of the General Accounting Standard known as GASB45 if the State is successful in passing this cost to local governments.   He referenced the County’s loss of over $4 million reduction in State Highway User Revenues.  Councilman Bradshaw said it is his understanding that if any profits from the Maryland State Retirement System are realized it is the Governor’s intention to direct them into the State’s General Fund.

 

The Council members agreed to ask the Board of Education members to join them in sending a letter to the local legislative delegation in opposition to the Governor’s pension shift proposal.  The Council also agreed to send a separate letter to the local delegation asking them to attend a future meeting regarding this proposal.

 

Potential  Legislation-Critical Areas-Tidewater Buffer Regulations

 

The Council agreed to send a letter of support for Senate Bill 860 entitled “Critical Area Commission-Buffer Standards-Hydric Soils” to exempt any County whose land area consists of 50% or more hydric soils from the March 8, 2010 regulations requirement that the tidewater buffer needs to be expanded for hydric soils, based on the current National Cooperative Soil Survey by the United States Department of Agriculture and Soil Conservation Service, in cooperation with the Maryland Agricultural Experiment Station.    

 

Senate Bill 236 entitled “Sustainable Growth and Agricultural Preservation Act of 2012

The Council agreed to send a letter in opposition to Senate Bill 236 entitled “Sustainable Growth and Agricultural Preservation Act of 2012” which will limit residential subdivisions served by septic systems and will give State agencies, including the Maryland Department of Planning, the authority to review local subdivisions.

 

House Bill 36 entitled “Department of Planning-State Development Plan-Approval of Modification by the General Assembly”

 

The Council agreed to sent a letter in support for House Bill 36 entitled “Department of Planning-State Development Plan-Approval of Modification by the General Assembly”

which will require that PlanMaryland be submitted to and approved by the Maryland General Assembly before the plan can be implemented which will give elected officials the opportunity to debate the bill.

Proposed Budget Reduction to Maryland Heritage Area Authority

The Council agreed to send a letter in opposition to the State’s FY2013 Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act reduction to the Maryland Heritage Area Authority funding for heritage tourism projects across the State.  She noted that Tourism Department staff are asking if any Council member will travel to Annapolis to attend the Senate hearing on the proposed budget reduction on February 10, 2012 at 1 p.m. or the House hearing on February 15, 2012 at 1 p.m.   She asked the Council to contact Tourism staff directly if they are able to travel with them.

 

MANAGERS COMMENTS

SURPLUS PROPERTY BID AWARDS-VEHICLES AND EQUIPMENT

 

Ms. Baynard noted that on January 13, 2012 bids were opened for vehicles and equipment that were declared surplus on December 13, 2011.  She said she has provided Council with scrap metal price estimates from two recycling businesses based on the gross weight of each vehicle pursuant to a directive from Council when the property was originally declared surplus.  Ms. Baynard cautioned that the scrap metal prices do not include the cost of labor or disposal fees to drain all fluids from the vehicles and are based on delivery to the provider rather than incurring pickup fees.  She further clarified that the scrap metal prices were, at best, estimates and final amounts would be dependent upon the daily rate at the time of disposal and the actual calculated weight of the vehicle.  

 

The Council agreed to award the bids for vehicles and equipment to the following individuals/businesses: 1968 American Mobile Crane-Mid Shore Recyclers, highest bidder, $4,360; 1968 track Gradall-Mid Shore Recyclers, highest bidder, $4,170; 1977 6 wheel dump truck-Mid Shore Recyclers, highest bidder, $1,240; 1986 Chevrolet Suburban-Mid Shore Recyclers, highest bidder, $500 with Councilman Price opposing; 1988 International 10 wheel dump truck-Mid Shore Recyclers, highest bidder, $2,280; 1991 Ford Ambulance-Mid Shore Recyclers, highest bidder, $1,060; 1995 Ford Ambulance-William Beckwith, Jr., highest bidder, $1,201; 1997 Dodge Caravan-0 William Carpenter, highest bidder, $2,560 with Councilman Newcomb abstaining; 2001 Dodge Ram 1500-William Carpenter, highest bidder, $3,180 with Councilman Newcomb abstaining; 2005 Chevy Malibu-William Carpenter, highest bidder, $3,188 with Councilman Newcomb abstaining; 4,000 gal fuel tank-Mid Shore Recyclers, highest bidder, $790; and Sheep  Foot Compaction Roller-Mid Shore Recyclers, highest bidder, $1,260.  NOTE:  Please see a reconsideration of a portion of the bid award later in these minutes.

 

FY13 RURAL LEGACY APPLICATION APPROVAL REQUEST-PLANNING AND ZONING                        

 

The Council approved the request of Rodney Banks, Assistant Planning and Zoning Director, to submit applications for the Marshyhope Rural Legacy Focus Area and Nanticoke Rural Legacy Focus Area to the State for FY 2013 Maryland Rural Legacy Program grant funds with the Marshyhope area being the priority application for the year and the Nanticoke Rural Legacy Area being priority two.

FARM LEASE BID AWARD         

 

The Council deferred a bid award for a proposed farm lease for 90 tillable aces of County owned land adjacent to Cordtown Road (Parcel 90, Tax Map 42), until its February 21, 2012 meeting in order to obtain additional information about the property.

 

INTERSTATE CONTAINER BUILDING ROLL ROOM FLOOR MODIFICATIONS BID AWARD-PUBLIC WORK

 

The Council approved the recommendation of Tom Moore, Public Works Director, and agreed to award the bid for the construction of the Interstate Container Building Roll Room Floor Modifications for the County owed building at 903 Woods Road to the lowest bidder, Harkins Concrete Construction, Inc., in the amount of $233,972 contingent upon the approval of the Economic Development Administration and Interstate Container Cambridge, LLC and Interstate Resources, Inc.  (“Interstate”).   The Council acknowledged that funding for this contract is through a 50/50 matching Economic Development Administration Grant with the local match being provided from Interstate Corrpack.

 

TRAFFIC SAFETY RECOMMENDATIONS

 

Ms. Baynard noted that the Traffic Safety Committee met on January 27, 2012 and presented to the Council the following recommendations.

 

Request for Speed Limit Signage-Thompsontown Road (East New Market)

 

She noted that based on a resident’s request for speed limit signage on Thompsontown Road, particularly along the 5700 block of the road, County staff  have reviewed the road to determine what signage is in place.  She said the Committee members agreed that if there was no evidence of prior signage they would recommend the placement of a 35 mph sign on Thompsontown Road.  Ms. Baynard noted that Roy Mills, Highway Division Manager, has provided the Council with a memorandum since the Traffic Safety Committee meeting noting that a 35 mph sign is currently installed on Thompsontown Road and two 35 mph signs exist on Messick Road.  The Council confirmed that there is existing signage and took no further action.

 

 

Request for Speed Limit/Child at Play Signage-Fallon Road (Wingate)

 

The Council approved the Committee’s  recommendation to offer to a resident who requested either a 15 mph speed limit sign or the installation of a Child At Play sign, the installation of the Child At Play sign under the County’s standard policy, which is a 50% cost share between the owner and County.

 

Safety Concerns-Airey’s Road/Cordtown Road/Airey’s Spur Road Recommendations

 

Ms. Baynard advised that Committee was advised that staff reviewed the layout of the Cordtown Rd/Airey’s Rd/Airey’s Rd Spur intersection in detail and obtained additional input from the State Highway Administration (SHA).    She noted that the Committee members believe that the intersection was not designed under current standards but is the culmination of years of use of what most likely began as “cart paths”.  She further noted that the Committee members had only identified two possible solutions; either restricting parking along the Airey’s Road spur in front of the restaurant or relocating the intersection of Cordtown Road and Airey’s Road, southward.    She explained that the Committee members did not recommend either solution citing hardship for the business owner and a lack of funding that would be required to reengineer the intersection.  Council took no action but requested that this issue be referred back to the Traffic Safety Committee regarding Councilman Nichols’ suggestion that stop signs be installed on the eastbound lane of Aireys Road.   

 

TRAVEL REQUEST-TOURISM

 

The Council approved the request of Amanda Fenstermaker, Tourism Director, to expend for overnight travel to attend the Maryland Destination Marketing Organization meeting in Annapolis, in order to conduct meetings with legislators regarding Heritage Areas, attend the Mid Shore Regional Council’s legislative reception, and attend a Senate budget hearing for the Maryland Department of Planning.  The Council acknowledged that costs will be split between the Heritage area grant and the Tourism Department’s Operating Budget.

 

UNDERAGE ALCOHOL STING CONTRACT APPROVAL REQUEST-DORCHESTER COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIP FOR CHILDREN

 

The Council approved the request of Nancy Shockley, Local Management Board Director, for approval of a contract between the Dorchester Community Partnership for Children and the Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office, for an allocation of $3,500 from the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention Grant to conduct underage alcohol investigations for the period of February 2012 through June 2012.  

 

The Council agreed to exempt the hours spent by Deputies specific to this allocation from the 171 hour overtime threshold and to allow these hours to be charged as overtime since the function would be in addition to existing duties with the understanding that once the grant period ends or grant funds have been depleted the hours would no longer qualify for overtime except as pursuant to the Department’s policy.  The Council reserved the right to review any future grant renewals to determine the pay policy with regard to overtime.

 

BOARD APPOINTMENT-REDISTRICTING COMMISSION

 

Ms. Baynard advised that on December 6, 2011 Council deferred the appointment of the Redistricting Commission's At Large Member and the appointment of the Committee Chair, which became vacant due to the resignation of Barbara "Bobbie" Hall.  She said the Council also continued its previous directive that the Redistricting Commission members suspend meetings until the necessary appointments are made.  She noted that based on previous Council dicussions William Spicer was contacted but declined.  Based on Mr. Spicer’s comments, Mr. Baynard stated that Thomas Spicer may be interested in serving on the Commission as the at large member but not serving as Chair; Council asked staff to inquire whether he would accept that appointment.  Council further requested that staff ask Pete Macinta whether he is willing to accept appointment as the Chair of the Redistricting Commission.  

 

REQUEST TO DEFER CHESAPEAKE COLLEGE ALLIED HEALTH PROJECT-CAROLINE COUNTY COMMISSIONERS

 

Based on correspondence received from the Caroline County Commissioners expressing concern that the five supporting counties for Chesapeake College support that County’s inability to fund the Allied Health/Physical Education project on the Wye Mills Campus, the Council agreed to advise the partnering counties that the Council shares the same fiscal concerns and does not intend to make any funding commitment to the College’s capital request for the FY 13 budget.

 

RENEWAL OF ACS SERVICE AGREEMENT REQUEST-FINANCE

 

The Council approved the request of Michael Spears, Finance Director, to renew the agreement between the County and ACS Enterprise Solutions, LLC, for hardware and software for the County’s ACS financial system for a three year period.  The Council acknowledged that the agreement includes the replacement of current IBM server, upgrade of system software, maintenance of hardware and software and licensing of the software package.

 

TELEPHONE POLL CONFIRMATIONS

 

Ms. Baynard stated that in the interim between meetings Council, by means of a poll, agreed, by a 3 to 2 vote, to release the payment to Wet Dog Carwash in the amount of $701.25, which Council deferred for further review at its January 17, 2012 meeting.


REQUEST TO ADVERTISE-DETENTION CENTER

 

The Council agreed to advertise a vacant Correctional Officer III in-house due to an approved promotion.

 

RECONSIDERATION OF SURPLUS PROPERTY BID AWARDS-VEHICLES AND EQUIPMENT

 

After obtaining a legal opinion, the Council rescinded the bid awards for the 1991 and the 1995 Ambulance and agreed to sell the vehicles as scrap to Salisbury Scrap Metal, Inc.

 

PUBLIC COMMENTS

Libby Nagel, resident, said it is her understanding that Pepco Holdings, Inc. will not be seeking approval for the Mid Atlantic Power Pathway Project until at least 2017. 

She advised Council that, after speaking to Mr. Compton, she does not oppose the proposed legislation to allow turkey hunting on Sundays during the spring season in Dorchester County.  The Council agreed to send a letter in support of House Bill 144 entitled “Dorchester County-Turkey Hunting on Private Property-Sundays”.

 

Les Simmering, resident, expressed his understanding that a member of the Redistricting Commission may have to step down due to health reasons but Ms. Baynard clarified that the Council’s office has received no notice. 

 

George Ames expressed concern about the Governor’s proposal to increase the State fuel tax.

 

COUNCIL’S COMMENTS/ADJOURNMENT

Councilman Bradshaw read an email from Senator Edward J. Pipkin in which he lists the increases in fees and taxes Governor Martin O’Malley has sought since 2000.

 

Councilman Price expressed his support for the dedication of highway user revenues to the State Transportation Fund and for the construction of a new Dover Bridge.  He also commended Michael Moulds, Civil Engineer, and staff on providing Council information on the draft County Watershed Implementation plan at a recent work session.

 

Councilman Bradshaw said it is his understanding that the American Farm Bureau filed a lawsuit in opposition to the proposed State Watershed Implementation Plan and TMDL regulations.   

 

Councilman Newcomb noted that the City of Cambridge speed cameras have been moved, to the Cambridge South Dorchester High School and Open Bible Academy and requested clarification as to whether the speed limits in those areas will remain the same.  Logan Anderson, Daily Banner Editor, expressed his understanding that the speed limits will not change.

Councilman Newcomb noted that a budget work session is scheduled for February 16, 2012 at 4:30 p.m. and the next County Council meeting is set for February 21, 2012 at 6 p.m.  

 

With no further business to discuss, the Council adjourned from regular session and reconvened into executive session.

 

ATTEST:                                                         DORCHESTER COUNTY COUNCIL:

 

______________________________            ____________________________________

Jane Baynard, County Manager                        Jay L. Newcomb, President

 

                                                                        ____________________________________

                                                                        William V. Nichols, Vice President

 

                                                                        ____________________________________

                                                                        Ricky Travers

 

                                                                        ____________________________________

                                                                        Rick Price