Meeting Minutes

Meeting Minutes
posted: 07/23/12

County Council Meeting Minutes

July 3, 2012

County Council of Dorchester County

Regular Meeting Minutes

July 3, 2012


The County Council of Dorchester County met in regular session on July 3, 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.






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)(3) to consider the acquisition of real property for a public purpose and matters directly related thereto; and pursuant to §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.






Councilman Price led the invocation and the pledge of allegiance.




The Council approved the following additions to the agenda: a request to advertise a GIS Specialist position; a resolution regarding the Interstate Container Roof Replacement project; and an amendment to a previously approved grant application from the Tourism Department to submit a Recreation Trails grant for a shared bicycle facility.   The Council agreed to defer a request from the Tourism Director to redirect funding currently allocated in the FY10 and FY11 Grant Budget to support the FY13 mini grant program until its July 17, 2012 meeting. 




The Council approved the minutes of June 19, 2012.




The Council approved vouchers as presented.




Councilman Newcomb reported total cash and investments as $2,835,528.



The Council approved the following FY 2013 Categorical Budget Request of Dr. Henry Wagner, Superintendent of Schools, in the amount of $51,822,596 for the Board of Education: Administration, $1,277,425; School Management & Support, $4,582,083; Instructional Salaries, $20,342,897; Instructional Supplies and Textbooks, $854,294; Instructional – Other, $953,287; Special Education, $3,916,353; Pupil Services, $457,776; Health Services, $542,496; Transportation, $3,388,873; Operations, $3,832,203; Maintenance, $1,032,312; Fixed Charges, $10,585,955; and Capital Outlay, $56,642.  The Council also agreed to execute the FY 2013 Annual Budget Certification Statement. 




The Council approved the following FY12 budget transfers: 1) from Jane Baynard, County Manager, on behalf of the Council’s Office, to transfer $1,145 from Other Expenses to Automotive-Fuel and $280 from Advertising and $1,000 from Office Supplies to Telephone to cover unanticipated costs with surplus budgeted funds;  2) from Tom Moore, Public Works Director, to transfer $97,000 from various accounts in the Highway Division FY12 budget to cover unanticipated costs including costs for bushing, blacktopping, other State aid costs, striping, surface treatment, snow and ice removal and costs relating to the County’s boat ramps/docks;  3) from Brett Wilson, Circuit Court Judge, to transfer $640 from Other Expenses to Court Reporter Other Expenses for the purchase of a portable courtroom recording system and unanticipated office supplies; 4) from Mr. Moore to transfer $77,000 from various accounts in the Landfill Division FY12 budget to cover unanticipated costs from various line items including office expenses, repair parts, other materials, fuel oil and rental equipment; 5) from Steve Dodd, Planning and Zoning Director, to transfer $800 from Contractual Services to Auto Expenses to cover the cost of new tires.  The Council also approved the following FY12 budget transfer requests from Michael Faith, Emergency Services Director:  1)  to transfer $62,000 from Overtime to Salaries/On Call to partially balance actual staffing costs; 2) $39,484 from Salaries/Supervisor to Salaries/On Call to cover the compensation paid for the temporary supervisor position; 3) $6,967 from Special Events to Salaries/On Call to offset staffing costs for special events; and 4) $67,051 from EMS Billing Revenue to Medical Supplies to cover the purchase of five power stretchers, which acquisition was previously approved by Council on May 8, 2012.




The County Council of Dorchester County convened in an Executive Session at 4:30 p.m. on July 3, 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)(3) to consider the acquisition of real property for a public purpose and matters directly     related thereto; and pursuant to §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) discussed budget and liability issues with the Sheriff; 2) discussed personnel matter relating to the Emergency Medical Director; 3) discussed the request of the Emergency Services Director to hire an individual to fill an Administrative Specialist position-took no action; 4) agreed to fill a vacant GIS Specialist position in the Planning and Zoning Department and to consider advertising the position in open session by a 4 to 0 vote; 5) agreed to enter into a independent contractor  agreement for GIS services for a temporary period of time by a 4 to 0 vote; 6) confirmed the hiring of lifeguards for the Dorchester County Pool for the 2012 season; 7) discussed a legal issue relating to Dog Control; 8) discussed with legal counsel a matter regarding enforcement of nuisance control issues-agreed to discuss in regular session on July 17, 2012; 9) discussed with legal counsel clarification of Charter provisions as it pertains to redistricting; 10) discussed with legal counsel a matter relating to requests for proposals-agreed to continue discussion in open session.


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.








The Council agreed to accept a Governor’s Office of Crime Control & Prevention Grant Award titled “Protective Order Entry/Service” in the amount of $1,560 with no local match for the grant period of July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013 for the Sheriff’s Office to provide overtime salary support for the entry of protective orders into the MILES/NCIC database.  The Council further agreed that the hours spent by deputies specific to this grant are exempt from the 171 hour overtime threshold and to pay overtime for these hours to be charged to this grant.  Additionally, Council acknowledged that hours spent on duties outlined in the grant will be applicable to the 171 hours over a 28 day pay period overtime threshold once the grant period is over or grant funds have been depleted.




The Council approved the request of William McDonnell, Social Services Director, to reappoint David Wooten and Betty Lowe to the Social Services Board.  The Council acknowledged that Mr. Wooten’s term will expire on July 28, 2012 and Ms. Lowe’s term will expire on June 30, 2012.



The Council deferred the request of Amanda Fenstermaker, Tourism Director, to redirect funding currently allocated in the FY10 and FY11 Grant Budget to support the FY 13 mini grant program until its July 17, 2012 meeting.




The Council agreed to enter into a lease with the Dorchester Soil Conservation District for 284.3 square feet of net usable space at the County Office Building on 501 Court Lane from August 1, 2012 through July 31, 2013 at the annual rent of $3,411.60 ($12 per square foot).   The Council acknowledged that the lease includes a termination clause with 120 days written notice and entitles Soil Conservation District to renew the lease for one year with the lease renewal rate negotiable at the time of renewal.






E. Thomas Merryweather, County Attorney, noted that a public hearing is being held on the proposed Dorchester County Phase II Watershed Implementation Plan. 


Michael Moulds, Engineer, provided a summary of the draft plan, noting that it will be a component of the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for addressing nutrient loading reductions in Dorchester County.  He explained that the Council authorized the formation of a Local Team to develop the proposed plan which includes representatives from local government, the farming industry and environmental agencies.   He noted that copies of the proposed plan were made available to the public in several locations throughout the County and that a link to the plan was also posted on the County’s website.   He said advertisements placed in a local news publication on June 18 and June 25, 2012 requested that public comment on the plan be submitted by July 3, 2012.  


Mr. Moulds reminded Council that the plan targets a 22% reduction of nutrients and a 5% reduction of phosphorous and includes the proposed extension of public sewer to certain critical areas, where cost effective, as well as the conversion of existing systems for nutrient reduction.  He explained that pursuant to the proposed plan approximately 2,800 septic systems will need to be converted or extended to public sewer.  He said the anticipated cost for the implementation of the proposed changes for nutrient reduction and urban stormwater runoff is approximately $87 million.  


Mr. Moulds explained that if all recommendations regarding Bay Restoration funding outlined by the taskforce formed by Governor Martin O’Malley’s are implemented grant funding will provide 48% of the funding to meet the targeted reductions.  He stressed that this draft Watershed Implementation Plan is to be used as a framework for the development of programs and best management practices and may be adjusted dependent upon availability of funds. 


Robert Simmons, resident, 5023 Russell Road, Woolford, said he supports the proposed plan.   


Eric Fisher of 102 E. Dover Street, Easton, spoke on behalf of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation to express support for the plan citing that the implementation of the plan will enhance the local economy, strengthen the tourism industry in the County and protect the fishing industry.  He noted his understanding that the plan includes specific and measurable actions to reduce pollution that will be sufficient to meet requests for future years and encouraged the Council to adopt the plan.


Susan Dukes, resident, 122 Main Street, Secretary, said while she supports the plan she believes that the State and Federal governments should provide funding for implementation.  She expressed her opinion that local governments and municipalities cannot afford to implement these types of projects. 


Richard Ball, resident, 4825 Bucktown Road, Cambridge, said he is a volunteer Nanticoke Creek watcher and a member of the Dorchester Citizens for Planned Growth and, as such, monitors five sites on Little Blackwater, Transquaking River and Chicamacomico River.  He said is in favor of the proposed Watershed Implementation Plan.    


Fred Pomerory, Dorchester County resident, 5229 Stoney Ridge, Cambridge, said he is President of the Dorchester Citizens for Planned Growth, whose members support the draft plan.  He noted that he is also a waterman and that he participated on the Watershed Implementation Plan team.  Mr.  Pomerory asked the Council to support the plan. 


Ms. Baynard noted that the Council received written comments in favor of the plan in the form of post cards and letters and were provided those documents in advance of the hearing.  Councilman Newcomb advised that Council members also received emails in support of the plan.


Councilman Travers expressed concern about the proposed $87 million cost over 13 years and questioned how local jurisdictions will be able to manage that expense.   He said, in his opinion, the State and Federal government should provide funding since the plan is based on the legislative and regulatory actions taken by those entities.   Councilman Travers also noted that all local jurisdictions need to cooperate in efforts to clean the Chesapeake Bay.

Councilman Newcomb expressed concern that the State’s actions to open gates in the northern part of the Chesapeake Bay allows debris to travel the waterways to the lower counties, thereby polluting the waters and negates the good intentions of ongoing cleanup efforts.


Councilman Bradshaw expressed concern about the proposed cost to local governments to implement this plan and referenced a newspaper article on dated June 27, 2012 which stated that the estimated share for the implementation of a watershed protection plan in Frederick County is currently estimated at $200 million while the State cost for a plan is $1.5 billion. Councilman Bradshaw said it is his understanding that the State of Virginia had filed a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency.    He noted that this article also states that the Carroll County Planning staff will not proceed with the submission of a plan to the State based on its opposition to the Maryland Department of Environment’s anticipated costs to implement the plan and that the Worcester County Commissioners are protesting the requirements in light of the financial burden.   He questioned how funding will be identified for the implementation of the plan in Dorchester County, noting that the Council are stewards of taxpayers’ funds.


Councilman Price acknowledged that improving the water quality of the Chesapeake Bay is worthwhile but expressed concern about the amount of funding required to implement this plan particularly in light of current funding constraints.  He noted that local watermen have expressed concern about the amount of waterways that have prohibitions to oyster harvesting due to high bacteria and nutrient counts without specific information from the Maryland Department of Environment regarding what corrective actions are being implemented.  


In response to a question from Councilman Bradshaw, Mr. Moulds said he is unaware as to whether Talbot or Caroline counties, Pennsylvania, New York, Virginia and West Virginia have submitted a proposed plan at this time.   He expressed his understanding that the requirement now imposed on local jurisdictions stems from the fact that previous attempts to implement similar plans to clean the Chesapeake Bay have failed.    He said he is concerned that there may be possible consequences for any local jurisdiction that does not meet the required deadline’s to approve a Watershed Implementation Plan.


Councilman Bradshaw expressed concern about the regulatory actions taken by the State which have adversely affected farmers and watermen.  He said he believes farmers within the County are diligent in their efforts to protect the environment.


The Council deferred any decision regarding the Watershed Implementation Plan until its July 17, 2012 meeting and asked Mr. Moulds to provide a response to the comments and concerns expressed by the Council during this public hearing.




The Council, based on the concurrence of Pete Macinta, Redistricting Commission Chair, agreed to place the formal presentation of the Redistricting Commission’s plan on the Council’s September 18, 2012 agenda.   Mike Detmer, Commission Member, also agreed to delay the presentation.




Councilman Newcomb announced that the Council declared an open air ban for Dorchester County which went into effect on June 30, 2012 at 9:00 p.m.   He explained that the ban includes the use of consumer fireworks on private property and that clarification has been provided to the media that it does not ban public fireworks events scheduled by the City of Cambridge or any other municipality scheduled for the July 4th holiday.






The Council agreed to proceed to schedule a public hearing to consider the request of Don Eckrod, resident, to close .48 miles at the end of Hooper Neck Road.  The Council instructed that Mr. Eckrod’s request be forwarded to Public Works staff in order to obtain additional information required pursuant to Section 40-20 and to assist E. Thomas Merryweather, County Attorney, may draft the appropriate legislation.    


The Council members acknowledged their understanding that there are two properties abutting the road in the area to be abandoned, however, neither will be landlocked if Mr. Eckrod's request is granted.  Additionally the Council acknowledged that the owners of these properties will have an opportunity to speak during the public hearing on Mr. Eckrod's request.


Furthermore, the Council members acknowledged that there are three undeveloped waterfront lots in the "Holland Point Reserve" subdivision that are served by a portion of the road and understand that Mr. Eckrod does not intend to develop these lots.  The Council instructed Mr. Moore to work with Steve Dodd, Planning and Zoning Director, to determine whether these lots will be in violation of the County's Zoning Ordinance if the request to abandon a portion of Hooper Neck Road is granted.




The Council approved, at the request of Cindy Smith, Acting President and Treasurer of Snip Tuck, Inc., a letter of support and $4,000 matching grant funds for a grant to Two Mauds, Inc. for funds to continue its low cost spay neuter program in Dorchester County.

Council required that, in order to qualify for these matching dollars, the funds must support spay and neuter dogs rescued by Dorchester County Dog Control as well as the feral cat population.  The Council recognized that Snip Tuck, Inc. will place the $4,000 and any matching funds that organization receives from Two Mauds, Inc. up to an additional $4,000 in a separate escrow account for this purpose.   Based on clarification provided by Ms. Baynard, the Council acknowledged that Sheriff James Phillips is in support of providing matching funds from the FY 12 Dog Control budget to Snip Tuck.




The Council denied the written request of Santo Grande, President/CEO dated June 27, 2012 to expend $65,607 of the FY2013 appropriation the Council provided Delmarva Community Services as follows:  1) $15,000 to assist with the opening of the South Dorchester satellite program two days per month; 2) remaining balance of $50,507 to be used as a commitment for the required matching funds for the public transportation program.   Councilman Travers opposed.  The Council acknowledged that the following stipulations were placed on these funds as a result of the FY13 budget and communicated to Mr. Grande through correspondence dated May 31, 2012 and June 22, 2012,: 1) the use of $45,000 to fund the continued operation of each of the three adult day programs operated by Delmarva Community Services ($15,000 per program) and; 2) the remaining $20,507 to be designated for medical transportation.  The Council requested that Mr. Grande be asked to use $45,000 to restore all of the adult day programs to their original schedules.  Additionally, the Council requested a summary of the costs for each program.


In response to questions from Councilman Nichols, Jerome Stanley, Dorchester County Transportation Operations Manager, explained that it is Mr. Grande’s intention to reopen the South Dorchester adult day program on July 11, 2012 and noted that the program will be held every other Wednesday.  He explained that transportation will be provided if South Dorchester residents wish to attend the program in Cambridge and that transportation will also be available for those individuals on Tuesdays for medical appointments and to shopping centers.     Councilman Nichols and Newcomb noted that residents have expressed their concerns about the reduced schedule for all of the adult day programs provided by Delmarva Community Services.  Councilman Newcomb expressed his understanding that the church where the South Dorchester program is held donates the building and electricity and that most adults who attend that program do not have transportation.


Councilman Price noted that several residents have expressed their concerns about the lack of ridership on Delmarva Community Services vehicles.  Based on a question from Councilman Price, Mr. Stanley said pursuant to the Maryland Transportation Authority ridership in Dorchester County has increased by 6%.  He explained that transportation provided by Delmarva Community Services is primarily for the disabled, senior citizens and for the Meals on Wheels program.


Councilman Bradshaw expressed concern that a Delmarva Community Services representative was not at a meeting during which the closing of the South Dorchester senior program was discussed.




Jane Baynard, County Manager, noted that in the interim between meetings the Council approved the following items by telephone poll: 1) agreed by a 5 to 0 vote to approve a request submitted by a family to conduct a memorial service on Monday, June 25, 2012 at the corner of Willis Street and Park Lane, property located by the County's Recreation and Parks Office, with the understanding that individuals will not be permitted to park vehicles on the Recreation and Parks parking lot nor the County owned property adjacent to the facility; 2) agreed by a 5 to 0 vote to designate Councilman Bradshaw to serve as the Council's voting representative on the Joint Land Use Study (JLUS) Committee and agreed by a 4 to 1 vote to designate Michael Faith, Emergency Services Director, as the alternate JLUS Committee representative. 




Ms. Baynard advised that staff involved in the procurement  regarding the Interstate Container Building Roof Replacement Project, Contract No. 12-01, which was awarded on June 5, 2012, has recommended to the Council that, by resolution, the Council clarify its decision to award the contract to RBCI, Inc., recognizing the following considerations: RBCI was the low bidder; RBCI’s past experience with construction/repair projects at the Interstate Container Building; and Interstate Container Cambridge, LLC’s due diligence and preference for RBCI given their familiarity with the contractor and it is in the best interest of the County to waive the defect in RBCI’s bid permitting the work of subcontractors to exceed 33% of the contract amount (a limitation specified in the bid documents).  The Council adopted the resolution.




The Council acknowledged its June 19, 2012 approval of the submission of a Recreational Trails grant through the Maryland State Highway Administration in the amount of $25,000 which would allow for the installation of a self contained bike share facility at the Visitor Center.  Additionally, the Council recognized that the $5,000 cash match for the grant originally intended to be provided from Choptank Heritage Trails, a non-profit organization, which will maintain the bike facility is not in place at time of application as required by the granting authority.  Council approved an amended grant application increased to $31,100 from $25,000 with a local match of $6,220 which includes an in-kind contribution of $2,500 to be provided from volunteer hours and the remaining $3,720 cash match to be identified in the Tourism Department FY13 Operating Budget.




The Council agreed to advertise a GIS Specialist position in the Planning and Zoning Department which will become vacant due to an employee resignation.




Councilman Newcomb noted that the Council has decided to advertise a formal request for proposals for the development of a solar facility in the County.  He said Council is committed to an environmentally sound solution that will save on electricity costs, but believe, in reviewing all documentation required to implement that solution, that a full blown search for the optimum rate is in the best interest of the County and the taxpayers.   Ms. Baynard said a proposed request for proposals will be provided to the Council in the near future.




There were no public comments. 




Councilman Bradshaw said he is in favor of improving the water quality in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries, however he is concerned about the proposed cost to implement of the Watershed Implementation Plan.    


Councilman Price echoed Councilman Bradshaw’s comments.  He expressed concern about the unspecified timeline to implement the plan and the Council’s ability to identify funding for the project based on current funding constraints. 


Ms. Baynard advised that she was notified via email by Tourism State during this meeting that Dorchester County has placed on a list developed by the National Park Service for a national monument for Harriet Tubman with a proposed site on Taylors Island.  She said the National Park Service will hold a meeting on July 11, 2012 at Chesapeake College from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. regarding support for this project.


Councilman Newcomb announced that the next County Council meeting is scheduled for July 17, 2012.  


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



                                                                        Ricky Travers



                                                                        Rick Price



                                                                        Tom Bradshaw


Approved the ______day of _______________, 2012.