County Council Meeting Minutes
May 29, 2012
County Council of Dorchester County
Regular Meeting Minutes
May 29, 2012
The County Council of Dorchester County met in regular session on May 29, 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 and
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 Council members.
INVOCATION AND PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Councilman Bradshaw 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 execute a Special Events Agreement for the Blackwater Duathlon to be held on June 3, 2012 and a request to execute a Special Events Agreement for the Ironman 70.3 Eagleman Triathlon to be held on June 10, 2012.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES- MAY 8, 2012-MAY 15, 2012
The Council approved the minutes of May 8, 2012 and the minutes of May 15, 2012.
APPROVAL OF DISBURSEMENTS
The Council approved vouchers as presented.
FINANICAL REPORT: CASH AND INVESTMENTS
Councilman Newcomb reported total cash and investments as $2,383,575.92.
The Council adjourned into Legislative Session.
Bill No. 2012-3 AN ORDINANCE concerning: 2012-2013 Annual Budget and Appropriation Ordinance of Dorchester County
E. Thomas Merryweather, County Attorney, said a public hearing is being held on the 2012 – 2013 Annual Budget Appropriation Ordinance.
Jane Baynard, County Manager, stated that the Council held two public hearings, on May 8 and May 15, 2012, and this is the final legislative hearing.
There were no public comments.
The roll call on the enactment of Bill No. 2012-3 was as follows: Roll call – Bradshaw-aye; Price-aye; Newcomb-aye; Travers-aye; Nichols-aye.
The Council accepted a Resolution to establish a Schedule of Fees, to be effective beginning July 1, 2012 and ending June 20, 2013, which supports the purposes indentified in the 2012-2013 Annual Budget and Appropriation Ordinance of Dorchester County based on its previous decision to separate the fee schedule in order to have the ability to make any necessary changes throughout the fiscal year. The Council acknowledged that pursuant to the resolution any amendments to the FY 2013 Schedule of Fees shall be hereafter adopted only by resolution and only after at least one public advertisement in a local news publication of general circulation in the County to be followed with a public hearing conducted by the Council.
The Council adjourned into Regular Session.
SPECIAL EVENTS AGREEMENTS-BLACKWATER DUATHLON- IRONMAN 70.3 EAGLEMAN TRIATHLON
The Council agreed to execute a Special Events Agreement between the Columbia Triathlon Association, the County Council and the Sheriff’s Office under which the Sheriff’s Office will provide public safety services, including two patrol vehicles and two deputies, for the Blackwater Duathlon scheduled for June 3, 2012. Additionally, the Council agreed to execute a Special Events Agreement between the Columbia Triathlon Association, the County Council and Sheriff’s Office under which the Sheriff’s Office will provide public safety services, including 18 patrol vehicles and 18 deputies, for the Ironman 70.3 Eagleman Triathlon scheduled for June 10, 2012. The Council recognized that the fee for services for both agreements is calculated at an overtime rate on the average deputy salary and agreed to pay the Sheriff's Office deputies who volunteer for these events at an overtime rate regardless of whether a deputy reaches the 171 hour/28 day overtime threshold. The Council acknowledged that pursuant to these agreements the Columbia Triathlon Association will provide a Certificate of Insurance naming Dorchester County as the Certificate Holder for each event.
EXECUTIVE SESSION SUMMARY
The County Council of Dorchester County convened in an Executive Session at 5:40 p.m. on May 29, 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.
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 announced that the Council reconvened into an Executive Session on May 15, 2012 to discuss with the Emergency Services Director a personnel item relating to budget -took no action.
He also announced that the Council reconvened into an Executive Session on May 29, 2012 at 5:40 p.m. to discuss the following: 1) follow-up from Personnel Hearing conducted on May 15, 2012 for a decision by Council; and 2) requested that the Public Works Director restructure an Officer Manager position in the Public Works Department to an Administrative Specialist position and reclassify an Administrative Associate position by a 5 to 0 vote and to hire an individual to fill the vacant Administrative Specialist position by a 4 to 0 vote with one abstention.
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.
Pete Macinta, a Dorchester County resident, expressed his appreciation to the Council for not raising real property taxes in FY 2013.
Portia Johnson-Ennels, County resident, thanked Ms. Baynard and the Council for their efforts in preparing a budget for FY 2013 and expressed her belief that the Council took into consideration the needs of County residents when developing that budget.
Councilman Price read a statement regarding the FY 2013 budget, which is attached.
He thanked Ms. Baynard, Michael Spears, Finance Director, staff, Department Heads and agency representatives for working with the Council during the FY 2013 budget process.
Councilman Price commended the organizers for the recent Relay for Life Event held at the Cambridge South Dorchester High School and the organizers for the Veteran’s Memorial Service held over the weekend. He said there will be a Veteran’s Memorial Service at the Beulah Cemetery on May 30, 2012 in the evening and encouraged the public to attend that service. He also commended those students who recently graduated from local high schools.
Councilman Travers thanked staff for working with the Council during the FY 2013 budget process. He echoed Councilman Price’s concerns that the County Charter requirement to enact a budget no later than May 31st of each year (Section 507 of the County Code) needs to be amended in order to allow the Council the opportunity to incorporate any changes that may occur as a result of decisions made by legislators during the Maryland General Assembly. He noted that the Council was faced with having to identify funds to cover the last minute shift in teachers’ pension’s costs which was approved by State legislators during the Maryland General Assembly Special Legislative Session. Councilman Travers said the temporary employee salary reduction and resulting service reduction days have been eliminated and that the FY 2013 budget includes a 1% cost of living increase for employees. He also advised that there are no income or property tax increases in the budget. He noted that the budget also includes funding for the purchase of one vehicle for the Sheriff’s Office. He said, in his opinion, funding for additional vehicles should have been allocated based on his understanding that the cost to purchase a new vehicle may be less than maintenance costs for some of the currently owned vehicles. Councilman Travers expressed concern about the teachers’ pension shift to local jurisdictions and noted that the Council was able to identify funding to cover that cost without increasing taxes. He said he believes the FY 2014 budget process may be more difficult based on his understanding that real property assessments in the County will continue to decline, noting that those assessments are anticipated to decrease by $1.5 million in the last fiscal year. He stressed the need for the Council to continue to provide funding to maintain services to citizens. Councilman Travers thanked the Council and staff for their assistance and cooperation during the FY 2013 budget process.
Councilman Bradshaw echoed the comments of Councilmen Price and Travers and commended staff for their participation in the budget process. He also expressed his belief that more funding should be provided to purchase new vehicles for the Sheriff’s Office based on maintenance versus replacement costs. A motion made by Councilman Bradshaw to allocate additional funding from the County’s Excise Tax fund for the purchase of another two vehicles failed with Councilmen Price, Nichols and Newcomb opposing. Councilman Newcomb expressed his concern that deputies are continuing to use those vehicles for personnel use, despite the Council’s directive to Sheriff Phillips to eliminate that usage. He said a resident recently provided him pictures of a deputy picking up his/her children from a local school.
Donald Gray, resident, said after he observed deputies using their work vehicles for personal use he contacted Ms. Baynard who advised him he should contact the Sheriff’s Office. He explained that he spoke to Sheriff Phillips and provided him the number of the vehicle and was advised that the Sheriff would speak to the deputy. He expressed his belief that a savings in fuel consumption and maintenance costs can be achieved if personal use of Sheriff’s Office vehicles was eliminated and noted that the savings can then be used to purchase additional vehicles. He stated, in his opinion, smaller, more fuel efficient vehicles should be purchased. He also thanked the Council for not raising taxes.
Councilman Nichols expressed his opinion that instead of reducing spending to balance the State FY 2013 budget Governor Martin O’Malley and State legislators shifted the burden of certain costs previously borne by the State to local jurisdictions. He encouraged the public to hold legislators accountable for their actions. He echoed the comments of Councilmen Bradshaw and Price. Councilman Nichols said he believes the FY 2014 budget process may be even more challenging, particularly if the State continues to shift costs to local jurisdictions. He expressed concern that State legislation passed during the 2012 Maryland General Assembly Session allows local jurisdictions the opportunity to increase real property tax rates above any approved tax caps in certain jurisdictions and noted that the Talbot County Council agreed to exceed its tax cap for FY 2013. He questioned the State’s authority to override the votes of local residents. Councilman Nichols noted that the Council reduced its workforce during the last fiscal year to offset costs that were shifted from the State to the County. He thanked the other Council members for working together during the FY 2013 budget process and Ms. Baynard, Mr. Spears and Robert Willey, Assistant Finance Director as well as the public for attending budget work sessions and the budget public hearings. Councilman Nichols noted that the Council agreed to consider an amendment to the County’s Charter to extend the budget adoption deadline. Ms. Baynard advised that the Council will consider this amendment as well as the recommendations of the Charter Review Commission at a June 7, 2012 work session.
Councilman Newcomb noted that it was one of his FY 2013 goals and objectives to eliminate the temporary employee pay reduction and resulting service reduction days and to provide a salary increase. He noted that during the last fiscal year the County’s workforce was reduced by 30 to 40 employees, some of which were due to retirement. He commended Council and staff for the assistance they provided during the budget process. Councilman Newcomb said he supports take home vehicle use but does not support personal use of Sheriff’s Office vehicles.
Councilman Newcomb said based on increased costs and loss of revenue due to decreased landfill activity, the Council agreed to increase the Landfill tipping fee and the cost of a residential landfill sticker. He said the cost of the residential sticker will be $65 for residents 62 and over and $100 for other users. Councilman Newcomb noted that preliminary estimates indicated a $1 million increase in the cost to renew the County’s health insurance plan and commended staff for identifying an alternative solution.
Ms. Baynard thanked the Council members for their hard work during the budget process as well as Mr. Spears, Mr. Willey and Finance Office staff. She stated that the action to eliminate the temporary salary reduction is most appreciated by staff.
Mr. Willey, as a County employee, thanked the Council for providing a cost of living increase and for eliminating the temporary pay cut and resulting service reduction days.
Councilman Newcomb said a survey of the County’s landfill and transfer stations was conducted and it was determined that there was limited usage of those facilities at certain times throughout the work week. He explained that in order to conserve funds while continuing to provide this service, the Council agreed to change the hours at these facilities, effective July 1, 2012. He advised that a press release with the new hours will be issued.
Tom Moore, Public Works Director, explained that the reduction in hours, including the implementation of eight hours shifts, will reduce labor, fuel consumption, and equipment costs. He noted that the hours at the Golden Hill Transfer Station will be reduced from six days a week to five days a week and will be closed Thursday and Sunday. He said the Neck District Transfer Station will be open on Wednesday and Saturday while the Secretary Transfer Station will be open five days a week and closed on Wednesday. He said Beulah landfill will close an hour early with residential hours on Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and from 7:00 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday. He noted that the scales at the landfill will be open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and from 7:30 a.m. to noon on Saturday.
Reverend George Ames, resident, expressed admiration for the Council’s continued dedication to the County and its citizens.
With no further business to discuss, the Council adjourned.
ATTEST: DORCHESTER COUNTY COUNCIL:
Jane Baynard, County Manager Jay L. Newcomb, President
William V. Nichols, Vice President
Approved the ______day of __________, 2012. Tom Bradshaw