Meeting Minutes

Meeting Minutes
posted: 09/06/12

County Council Meeting Minutes

August 21, 2012

County Council of Dorchester County

Regular Meeting Minutes

August 21, 2012


The County Council of Dorchester County met in regular session on August 21, 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)(5) to consider the investment of public funds; and pursuant to §10-508(A)(10)(ii) to discuss public security, if the public body determines that public discussion would constitute a risk to the public or to public security, including the development and implementation of emergency plans. 


Voting in favor of the closed Executive Session were all Council members present at the beginning of the meeting.





Councilman Travers led the invocation and Victoria Lyons, resident and daughter of retiree Nick Lyons, led the pledge of allegiance.




The Council agreed to add to the agenda the selection of individuals to represent Dorchester County at a State orientation meeting regarding the establishment of local early childhood advisory councils based on a request from the State Superintendent of Schools; the acknowledgement of the execution of a Maryland State Highway Special Event Permit with the Dorchester County Family YMCA for a bicycle race; and the following requests for personnel advertising due to current or pending vacancies: a Fiscal Clerk in the Finance Department due to a pending retirement, a Public Works administrative position for the Sanitary District and for Paramedics in the Emergency Medical Services Division.



The Council approved the minutes of August 7, 2012.


The Council approved vouchers with Councilman Travers abstaining for payments made to Simmons Center Market.




Councilman Newcomb reported total cash and investments as $3,642,313.10.


The County Council of Dorchester County convened in an Executive Session at 4:30   p.m. on August 21, 2012 in a closed session at Room 110, County Office Building, 501 Court Lane, Cambridge, Maryland, pursuant to the State Government pursuant to Article 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)(5) to consider the investment of public funds; and pursuant to §10-508(A)(10)(ii) to discuss public security, if the public body determines that public discussion would constitute a risk to the public or to public security, including the development and implementation of emergency plans. 


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) conducted two personnel hearings; 2) approved the request of the Finance Director to fill a Fiscal Clerk position by a 4 to 0 vote-agreed to consider a request to advertise the position in open session; 3) approved a request to fill three Paramedic positions in the Emergency Medical Services Division by a 4 to 0 vote-agreed to consider a request to advertise the positions in open session; 4) approved a request to fill an administrative position in the Public Works Department for the Sanitary District by a 4 to 0 vote-agreed to consider a request to advertise in open session; 5) discussed a public security matter relating to the development and implementation of emergency plans-agreed to continue discussion at a future 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.



COMMENDATIONS-RETIREMENT-NICK LYONS, STEVE MURPHY                                                                        

The Council presented a commendation to Eugene “Nick” Lyons on his retirement and recognizing his 22 years of dedicated service to Dorchester County.

The Council also presented a commendation to Steven Murphy on his retirement and recognizing his 30 years of dedicated service to Dorchester County. 



Jay Corvan, President, Historic Cambridge, LLC, said he was present to ask Council to consider donating the County owned property located at 206 Choptank Avenue, Cambridge, Maryland, to Historic Cambridge, LLC, a non-profit organization.  He stated that the mission of Historic Cambridge, LLC is to preserve, protect and enhance the historic resources of Cambridge through education and property rehabilitation.  He explained that one of the main priorities outlined in the incorporating documents of this organization is to establish a revolving loan fund to be used to renovate historic homes which will then be offered for sale thereby creating affordable housing opportunities for residents while enhancing the local economy.   Mr. Corvan provided a power point presentation showing proposed plans to renovate the property.   He explained that it is his intention to seek grant funding to restore the Choptank Avenue home, which has been condemned by the City of Cambridge, and to place an historical easement on the property prior to its sale.   Mr. Corvan said that pursuant to the State Department of Assessments and Taxation the property’s assessed value as of July 1, 2012 is $56,600 and that there is no plumbing, heating, electric or water systems installed in the house.   Mr. Corvan asked the Council to consider executing a letter of intent to hold the property for Historic Cambridge, LLC for a one year period so grant funding can be obtained to renovate the property.   


Based on an inquiry from Mr. Corvan, Jane Baynard, County Manager, confirmed that the Council has been provided a copy of a letter submitted by the West End Association members in support of the donation of the property to Historic Cambridge, LLC.  


Mr. Corvan expressed his understanding that the Council has received another offer to purchase 206 Choptank Avenue.  Councilman Nichols confirmed that the Council did receive an unsolicited second offer and expressed his belief that the Council should talk to all parties prior to responding to Mr. Corvan’s request. 


The Council thanked Mr. Corvan for his presentation.  The Council instructed staff to extend an invitation to the party who submitted an offer to purchase the property to meet with them regarding that proposal and agreed to make a final decision regarding the disposition of this property as soon as possible.




E. Thomas Merryweather, County Attorney, explained that a public hearing is being held to recognize new fees for certain actions authorized under Bill No. 2012-1 based on a new procedure adopted by Council during the FY 2013 budget process to establish a County “Schedule of Fees” separately from the County’s 2012-2013 Annual Budget and Appropriation Ordinance.  Mr. Merryweather defined the additional fees as an Administrative Variance fee of $125 and a minimum buffer mitigation fee of $0.40 per square foot.


In response to a question from Richard Lalka, a Dorchester County resident, Steve Dodd, Planning and Zoning Director, noted that an administrative variance fee and a buffer mitigation fee established pursuant to Bill 2012-1, are a part of a text amendment to the County’s Zoning Ordinance and Subdivision Regulations for refinements to the County’s Critical Area Program, which Council adopted on May 8, 2012 contingent upon Critical Area Commission approval.  Ms. Baynard explained that if the Council amends the “Schedule of Fees,” those changes will not become effective until the Critical Area Commission approves the requested changes as the effective date of the bill was adopted based on a 60 day enactment period or the Critical Area Commission’s approval whichever is later.  Mr. Dodd clarified that the State had established a $1.50 per square foot (minimum) buffer mitigation fee and that the proposed fee for Dorchester County is $.40 per square foot (minimum).   In response to a question from Mr. Lalka, Mr. Dodd explained that the fee does not apply to properties located within a municipality.


The Council agreed to set the administrative variance fee at a flat rate of $125 and to

execute a resolution to amend the County “Schedule of Fees” to include that fee under the Appeal Cases category and to include the $0.40 per square feet minimum buffer mitigation fee under the Miscellaneous category.  Pursuant to the provisions of the bill, Council agreed that its approval to the minimum buffer mitigation fee is subject to Critical Area Commission approval.  Ms. Baynard noted that, under Chapter 155-4 of the Annotated Code, the Council has broad authority to set certain fees and explained that the Administrative review fee is, therefore, not subject to change by the Critical Area Commission.




The Council approved the request of Frank Bittner, resident, to use the platform and electricity at Spring Valley beginning at 11 a.m. on Saturday, August 25, 2012 for an Anna Ella Carroll Day event.





The Council approved the request of Mayra Maldonado, Executive Director, to execute a Resolution of Support for New Beginnings Youth and Family Services’ application for Maryland Tax Credits for 2012 of $50,000 to the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development under the Community Investment Tax Credit program to support the after school program the organization provides to children of residents of Bay Country Apartments and Parkside Village Apartments on Greenwood Avenue, Cambridge, Maryland.  The Council acknowledged that no local match or County funding is required.




The Council approved the FY 2012-2013 road program submitted by Tom Moore, Public Works Director, which reflects approximately 30 miles of resurfacing using tar and chip;  21.42 miles of hot mix and 8.55 miles of dry patch,  at the estimated cost of $224,377 in materials. 


Based on Mr. Moore’s recommendation, the Council agreed to advertise a request for bids for contractors to complete a 2.4 mile overlay of Smithville Road utilizing existing State Aid Funds of $160,000 with a 20% match of $40,000 from the FY 13 Highway Division’s blacktop budget.  The Council also approved Mr. Moore’s request to utilize the remaining $185,000 budgeted for blacktopping to pave 0.5 miles of Williamsburg Church Road from Route 307 northwest and the remaining 1.75 miles of Cokesbury Road near Eldorado and to advertise a request for proposals for this work.


In response to a question from Councilman Travers, Mr. Moore said there are approximately 630 miles of road in the County.  Councilman Travers noted that historically highway user revenue funds represented 100% of the funding for the Highway Division and that due to the significant reduction of those funds by the State there is limited funding to maintain County roads.




The Council approved the request of Mr. Moore to execute a storm water sewer easement agreement with the City of Cambridge for a 15 foot wide easement across County owned property on School Street to allow the City, as part of its combined sewer separation project, to disconnect a storm water inlet that currently flows into the sanitary sewer system, contingent upon construction being delayed until November 15, 2012 in order to ensure that the soccer field that will be affected by this work can remain open during the upcoming fall season.  The Council acknowledged that Scott Eberspacher, Recreation and Parks Director, had requested this amendment.  The Council recognized that the closest feasible outlet is a drainage ditch on the County property that empties into a tributary of Pink’s Pond and that the City will be responsible for all costs of installation, ownership and maintenance.




The Council approved the request of Mr. Moore to waive bids and award a contract to Tiger Roofing, Inc., the company which submitted the lowest of the three bids obtained, for repairs to the sand shed roof located at the Highway Division on Handley Road that sustained wind damage during a prior storm, at the cost of $8,500.  The Council acknowledged that $7,500 of the total will be covered by insurance and that the remainder represents the County’s deductible and will be paid from the FY13 Highway Division budget. 




The Council approved the request of Mr. Moore to waive bids and to accept a proposal from Maryland Environmental Services for engineering and design services related to the capping of Old Beulah in the amount of $242,000 which will be funded through the Landfill Proprietary Fund.  Council recognized that the services will be contracted to KCE Engineering, Inc. by Maryland Environmental Services and that the bid price reflects all subcontractor costs.




The Council approved Mr. Moore’s request to identify alternative uses for the bags containing compost at the Beulah landfill that have deteriorated including the use of the material as a soil additive to cover areas of non growth at the Dorchester Regional Technology Park.  The Council requested that Mr. Moore contact Board of Education staff who have expressed an interest in possibly using the product for a horticulture project at the Dorchester Career and Technology Center.   The Council recognized that there are 325 pallets of compost remaining and that if the material were buried in a landfill cell there will be a loss of 500 cubic yards of airspace and an approximate loss of $30,000 in available revenue.  The Council acknowledged that Mr. Moore will also be exploring options to remove the product from the bags. 




Pursuant to information provided by Steve Garvin, Emergency Planner, the Council agreed to accept a Maryland Emergency Management Agency grant award for the FY 2012 State Homeland Grant Program in the amount of $60,599.49 which includes $15,258 for law enforcement and $45,301.49 to Dorchester County in Homeland Security Funds for the following: County Emergency Notification System, $16,000; equipment $15,000; exercise and training, $10,000; and Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosives (CBRNE) protection, $4,341.49. The Council also agreed to execute the 2012 sub-recipient agreement.  The Council acknowledged that the law enforcement funds will be distributed to the Dorchester County Sheriff ($8,849.64), Cambridge Police Department ($5,340.30), and Hurlock Police Department ($1,068.06).  The Council recognized that the grant period is September 1, 2012 through May 31, 2014 and there is no local match.




Ms. Baynard announced that in the interim between meetings Council, by means of a poll, agreed to declare the following additional items as surplus in order that they can be included in the pending surplus property advertisement:  16’ aluminum boat and boat trailer (Public Works), Bat Wing Mower (Airport); 4-door Crown Victoria (Sheriff’s Office), and 1993 ½ Ton Chevrolet Pick-up (Highway Division) by a 5 to 0 vote.  Ms. Baynard noted that these items and other surplus property will be advertised for sale and are listed on the County’s website at 



Ms. Baynard advised Council that pursuant to correspondence received by Councilman Newcomb regarding the State’s award of a Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge grant to be administered by the Maryland State Department of Education, with oversight by the Governor’s State Advisory Council on Early Childhood Education and Care, Councilman Newcomb along with Keasha Haythe, Economic Development Director, and Nancy Shockley, Dorchester Community Partnership for Children and Families Director, met with Dr. Henry Wagner, Superintendent of Schools;  Lorenzo Hughes, Assistant Superintendent for Instruction; and staff regarding the establishment of a local early childhood advisory council to oversee and coordinate activities on a local level.    Based on the recommendation of Councilman Newcomb, the Council agreed to designate Ms. Haythe and Ms. Shockley as Dorchester County’s representatives to attend an orientation meeting on October 1, 2012 regarding the establishment of a local childhood advisory council and to provide a report to Council.  




Fiscal Clerk Position-Finance


The Council approved the request of Michael Spears, Finance Director, to advertise a Fiscal Clerk position pursuant to County policy due to the pending retirement of an employee.


Advanced Life Support Positions-Emergency Medical Services


The Council approved the request of Pete Brelia, Interim Emergency Medical Services Manager, to advertise vacant Paramedic positions in the Emergency Medical Services Division pursuant to County policy. 


Sanitary District Clerk Position-Public Works


The Council approved the request of Robert Tieder, Sanitary Commission Chair, to advertise a Sanitary District Clerk position due to the resignation of an employee.  The Council acknowledged that pursuant to a Memorandum of Understanding between the Council and the Dorchester County Sanitary District dated May 8, 2012 this position is a full time County position under the County’s Public Works Department which is assigned exclusively to the Sanitary District.




The Council acknowledged that the Dorchester County Family YMCA will be holding a bicycle race on Sunday, September 16, 2012 starting at the YMCA at 10:00 a.m. and ending at approximately 4:00 p.m.  Dee McDonald, YMCA President, explained that a Fall Festival will be held at the end of the race and extended an invitation to each Council member to participate in the dunk tank at that event. 


Ms. McDonald noted that 175 County employees and their families in addition to 308 Board of Education employees and their families received YMCA membership discounts in the current year for a total savings of $15,317. 


Councilman Price asked the Council to consider waiving fees to municipalities for trade permits under the Building Code.  The Council recognized that historically municipalities were not required by our previous Codes Official to obtain trade permits, including plumbing, electrical and HVAC permits, for municipal-owned property.   Ms. Baynard said it is her understanding that Middle Department Inspection Agency, Inc., has interpreted the issuance of these permits as required under the law. The Council requested the following information be provided regarding these permits prior to their considering this waiver request: 1) the cost of each permit; 2) whether Middle Department Inspection Agency, Inc. will be obligated to inspect the subject property if no permit is issued; and 3) an estimate of the anticipated revenue losses if trade permit fees are waived. 


Councilman Price said he attended meetings during the Maryland Association of Counties Summer Conference regarding the establishment of Watershed Implementation Plans.    He said Council members from other local jurisdictions expressed their concerns regarding the financial commitment that will be necessary in order to implement Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load strategies in light of current funding constraints.   He advised Council that Senator Benjamin Cardin spoke at one of those meetings and said there is funding available through the new Federal Farm Bill and the Nutrient Program to implement these strategies. 


Councilman Price expressed concern that the County’s infrastructure needs are unmet due to declining highway user revenues.    


Councilman Bradshaw cited an article in the Gazette in which it was stated that during the Special Maryland General Assembly Legislative Session legislators agreed to allow the construction of a new casino in Prince George’s County and the fact that only union labor will be used to build that facility.  He noted that the article also references the fact that only 11% of the construction workers in Maryland are unionized and expressed concern that as a result many of the jobs created will be filled with out of State workers.


Based on the request of Councilman Bradshaw, the Council agreed to send a letter of support for the Nause Waiwash Band of Indians’ grant application to the Heart of Chesapeake Country Heritage Area Management Board under its mini-grant program for $3,000 for its 20th Annual Native American Festival to be held on September 15 and September 16, 2012. 


Councilman Nichols noted that he also attended the Maryland Association of Counties conference during which he spoke to Charles “Chip” MacLeod, Special Legal Counsel regarding the Mid Atlantic Power Pathway project.  He explained that Mr. MacLeod advised him that a final notification regarding the termination of that project is forthcoming.  Based on a recommendation from Councilman Nichols, the Council agreed to invite the members of the Dorchester Citizens for Safe Energy to a future meeting to express appreciation for their efforts in joining the Council in opposing the project after receipt of that notification.


Councilman Newcomb advised that there have been reports that individuals were recently diagnosed with the West Nile virus, including cases on the Eastern Shore.  He said the Dorchester County Health Department staff has provided copies of information regarding to prevent the virus that are available for the public in the Council’s Office.   He said weather permitting the Maryland Department of Agriculture will conduct truck mosquito spraying in Cambridge later this evening and have also truck sprayed in the East New Market/Secretary areas and will conduct aerial spraying in South Dorchester later this week. 


Councilman Newcomb announced that the next County Council meeting is scheduled for September 4, 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.