County Council Meeting Minutes
September 4, 2012
County Council of Dorchester County
Regular Meeting Minutes
September 4, 2012
The County Council of Dorchester County met in regular session on September 4, 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;
The Council adjourned from a Regular Session and convened in a closed Executive Session pursuant to State Government Article pursuant to §10-508(A)(7) to consult with counsel to obtain legal advice on a legal matter; 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)(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.
Voting in favor of the closed Executive Session were all present Council members.
INVOCATION AND PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Councilman Price led the invocation and the Veterans attending the meeting for a proclamation on Veterans Recognition Day (September 8, 2012) led the pledge of allegiance. A moment of silence was held for Henry Parker, a former Wicomico County Council Member, who recently passed.
CALL FOR ADDITIONS OR DELETIONS TO AGENDA
The Council agreed to defer a continued discussion with Santo Grande, President/CEO, Delmarva Community Services, regarding his request to expend FY13 budget funds and the continuation of the South Dorchester adult program to its September 18, 2012 meeting, based his request, in order to allow the committee, which Council appointed at its August 7, 2012 meeting, to meet again.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES- AUGUST 21, 2012
The Council approved the minutes of August 21, 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 $4,092,882.94.
REQUEST TO USE UNEXPENDED FY12 COUNTY FUNDS-COOPERATIVE EXTENSION OFFICE
The Council approved the request of Conrad Arnold, Director, to retain and use unexpended FY12 County funds which were provided to the Cooperative Extension Office in the amount of $5,054.14 in 2013 to support office and program materials and supplies, volunteer and youth training support, travel expenses and support for after school 4-H youth programs.
EXECUTIVE SESSION SUMMARY
The County Council of Dorchester County convened in an Executive Session at 4:30 p.m. on September 4, 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)(7) to consult with counsel to obtain legal advice; 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)(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.
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 with special legal counsel a matter regarding potential litigation; 2) conducted a personnel hearing; 3) discussed a matter relating to a real estate matter specific to a property previously offered at tax sale; 4) approved the request of the Warden to reclassify an individual to a Shift Supervisor, Sergeant position, to post in-house the resulting vacancy by a 5 to 0 vote; and 5) discussed a public security matter relating to the Sheriff’s Office.
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.
PROCLAMATION-VETERANS RECOGNITION DAY-SEPTEMBER 8, 2012
The Council presented a proclamation declaring September 8, 2012 as Veterans Recognition Day. George Ames from the Veterans Recognition Committee, and Carlton Bryan representing Post 87 of the American Legion accepted the proclamation along with representatives from American Legion Post 243, Post 91 and Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post 7460.
BILL NO. 2012-4 – AN ACT OF THE COUNTY COUNCIL OF DORCHESTER COUNTY, MARYLAND PURSUANT TO ARTICLE 25A, SECTION 5(S) OF THE ANNOTATED CODE OF MARYLAND REPEALING AND REENACTING THE DEFINITION OF RESIDENTIAL AREA IN SECTION 116-3 OF CHAPTER 116 OF THE DORCHESTER COUNTY CODE ENTITLED NUISANCE CONTROL.
E. Thomas Merryweather, County Attorney, explained that Bill No. 2012-4 repeals and re-enacts the definition of “residential area” in Section 116-3 of Chapter 116 of the Dorchester County Code entitled “Nuisance Control” from forty thousand (40,000) square feet or less per dwelling unit to two (2) acres per dwelling unit.
Troy Wheedleton, a Dorchester County resident, spoke in favor of the proposed legislation. He explained that he lives in Rhodesdale next to a property that has been abandoned by its owner and is overgrown with grass and weeds. He said he contacted the bank and was advised by bank representatives that there are no existing plans to foreclose on the property. He explained that he has previously contacted William Forlifer, Environmental Health Officer, regarding the property and was advised that the lot is over 40,000 square feet and therefore is not covered under the County’s existing Nuisance Control Ordinance. In response to a question from Mr. Merryweather, Mr. Wheedleton said it is his understanding the neighboring property is over an acre in size.
In response to an inquiry from Donald Gray, resident, Mr. Merryweather explained that every effort is made to ensure that all property owners are promptly notified of any violation of the County’s Nuisance Control Ordinance in order to allow them the opportunity to clear the property of any nuisance before corrective measures are taken by the County.
Based on a question from Sandra Spedden, a Dorchester County property owner, Councilman Newcomb clarified that the proposed legislation will increase the allowed lot size definition to apply to two acres in order for the County to mitigate tall grass and weeds. He explained that a property owner will receive a written notice of any nuisance and will be provided appropriate time to abate the problem as defined in law. He further explained that if the property owner fails to take action, Health Department staff will contact the approved vendor to correct the violation and an invoice for the cost of those services will be sent to the property owner. Councilman Newcomb said if the invoice is not paid a lien will be placed on the property.
In response to a question from Councilman Price, Mr. Merryweather clarified that the increase in the residential lot size will result in more properties being subject to the County’s Nuisance Control Ordinance.
Mr. Forlifer concurred, noting that it will increase the Health Department staff’s workload. He said there have been 27 nuisance complaints filed in the current year of which six are for properties over one acre and said this is compared to 24 complaints in 2011 and 17 complaints in 2010. He explained that most cases can be handled expeditiously and involve receiving the complaint, viewing the site and contacting the property owner to request that corrective action be taken. He said the majority of the property owners notified abate the nuisance and noted that only one property had been mowed this year. However, he clarified that there are certain cases that cannot be resolved quickly and typically involve properties that are in foreclosure. He advised that the majority of residential lots in Dorchester County, outside of city limits, are one to two acres in size. In response to a question from Councilman Newcomb, Mr. Forlifer said there may have been some complaints regarding overgrowth on larger parcels that were not recorded at the Health Department.
The role call on the enactment of Bill No. 2012-4 was as follows: Nichols-aye, Newcomb-aye, Bradshaw-aye, Price-nay, Travers-aye.
BILL NO. 2012-5 – AN ACT OF THE COUNTY COUNCIL OF DORCHESTER COUNTY, MARYLAND PURSUANT TO ARTICLE 25A, SECTION 5(S) OF THE ANNOTATED CODE OF MARYLAND REPEALING AND REENACTING SECTION 150-14 ENTITLED “SUNKEN VESSELS” OF CHAPTER 150 OF THE DORCHESTER COUNTY CODE PROVIDING THAT THE OWNER OF ANY SUNKEN VESSEL WITHIN THE WATERS OF ANY PUBLIC WHARF OR PUBLIC HARBOR OR PUBLIC MARINA SHALL REMOVE AND RAISE SUCH SUNKEN VESSEL AND UPON FAILURE TO DO SO, AUTHORIZES THE COUNTY TO REMOVE SUCH SUNKEN VESSEL AT THE COST AND EXPENSE OF THE OWNER OF THE SUNKEN VESSEL.
Mr. Merryweather said Bill 2012-5 is to repeal and re-enact Section 150-14 entitled “Sunken Vessels” of Chapter 150 of the Dorchester County Code to provide that the owner of any sunken vessel within the waters of any public wharf, harbor or marina shall remove and raise such sunken vessel in the identified time limits in the proposed bill and, upon failure to do so, authorizes the County to remove such sunken vessel at the cost and expense of the owner.
No public comment was made.
The role call on the enactment of Bill No. 2012-5 was as follows: Nichols-aye, Newcomb-aye, Bradshaw-aye, Price-aye, Travers-aye.
WEST NILE VIRUS CONCERNS-ROGER HARRELL, DORCHESTER COUNTY HEALTH OFFICER
Roger Harrell, Health Officer, provided information regarding the West Nile Virus. He explained that mosquitoes obtain the West Nile virus from infected birds and transmit the disease to humans. He said there is no cure and that 20% of those infected, or 1 in 150, may experience serious symptoms. He noted that as of today eight individuals on the Eastern Shore have been infected and there has been one fatality related to the virus. He stated that since 1999 there have been 230 cases of the West Nile virus.
Mr. Harrell explained that the most effective way to avoid contracting the West Nile virus is to prevent mosquito bites and encouraged the public to either stay inside during dawn and dusk hours or use insecticide. He said citizens should also drain wading pools when empty and refresh water in pet bowls, bird baths and plants weekly. He commended the Council for the continuation of the mosquito spraying program in Dorchester County which, in his opinion, reduces residents’ exposure to mosquitoes who are carrying the virus.
The Council thanked Mr. Harrell for providing information regarding the West Nile Virus.
FY13 GOVERNORS OFFICE OF CRIME CONTROL & PREVENTION GRANT AWARD-SCHOOL BUS SAFETY ENFORCEMENT-SHERIFF’S OFFICE
The Council approved a FY13 Governor’s Office of Crime Control & Prevention Grant Award entitled “School Bus Safety Enforcement” to the Sheriff’s Office in the amount of $22,000 with no cash or in kind match to pay for overtime for deputies to enforce school bus safety laws and for public service announcements for the period of August 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013. The Council agreed to exempt the FY13 School Bus Safety Enforcement Grant from the 171 hours overtime threshold over a 28-day period and to pay overtime for hours to be charged to this grant with the understanding that once the grant period is over or grant funds have been depleted hours spent on duties outlined in the grant will be applicable to the overtime threshold. The Council reserved the right to review any future renewals to determine the policy regarding hourly pay for the provision of services in regard to overtime policies.
TRAVEL REQUESTS-ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT/ PUBLIC WORKS/TOURISM
The Council approved the request of Amanda Fenstermaker, Tourism Director, to travel to Charlotte, North Carolina for the American Bus Association Marketplace from January 5 to January 10, 2013 at the estimated cost of $3,000, including the registration fee, lodging, employee meals and transportation, which will be charged to a Maryland Heritage Area Authority grant for marketing the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway.
Based on the request of Mr. Moore, the Council approved a Technical Assistance Grant Award in the amount of $20,000 from the National Fish and Wildlife Federation to perform a Septic Management District Feasibility Study with no local match and agreed that the study regarding septic management programs can be developed by the Center for Watershed Protection under the terms of the grant. Councilman Price opposed.
Councilman Price said he is concerned about proceeding with the study when Council has not yet approved a Phase II Watershed Implementation Plan for Dorchester County. Councilman Bradshaw expressed his understanding that if septic management districts are established, residents will be required to provide funding annually for the maintenance of their septic systems.
Mr. Forlifer said he worked with members of the local Watershed Implementation Plan Team and expressed his belief that even if a Watershed Implementation Plan is not adopted, future State mandates may require local jurisdictions to establish septic management districts.
REQUEST TO ADVERTISE FOR PROPOSALS-WINGATE DOCK MARINE FACILITY MATERIAL-PUBLIC WORKS
The Council approved the request of Mr. Moore to advertise for proposals for material to complete the second and final phase of the Wingate Dock Marine Facility bulkhead replacement with funding being provided by a Maryland Department of Natural Resources Waterway Improvement Fund grant.
REQUEST FOR SELECTION OF COUNTY REPRESENTATIVES-PARTICIPATING IN WORKING GROUP-CAMBRIDGE MARINE TERMINAL PROJECT
The Council, pursuant to the request of Katherine Parks, Assistant Director, Real Estate Services, on behalf of the Maryland Department of Transportation, designated Ms. Haythe and Jane Baynard, County Manager, as County representatives to participate in a Working Group for the Cambridge Marine Terminal project, to be comprised of representatives from the Maryland Department of Transportation, Maryland Port Administration, Jerome J. Parks Company, the City of Cambridge and Dorchester County.
SPECIAL EVENTS AGREEMENT-HORN POINT SPAT DASH-HORN POINT LABORATORY/CONFIRMATION-CAMBRIDGE SOUTH DORCHESTER HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL GAMES
Pursuant to written information provided by
The Council confirmed the execution of a Special Events Agreement between the Cambridge South Dorchester High School, the County Council and the Dorchester County Sheriff to provide emergency medical services in the form of one committed Basic Life Support (BLS) ambulance at the rate of $150 per game and two BLS providers for the following home footballs games hosted by the school: August 31, September 14, September 21, October 5, October 19 and November 2, 2012. The Council recognized that a Certificate of Insurance naming Dorchester County as the Certificate Holder for the event will be provided by Cambridge South Dorchester High School.
The Council approved the request of Ms. Fenstermaker to accept a FY13 Maryland Heritage Areas Authority Management Grant Award of $96,611 for the continued operation and management of the Heart of Chesapeake Country Heritage Area under the Dorchester County Tourism Department with an in-kind match of $24,066 and a cash match of $72,545 from the following sources: $57,545 from the Tourism Operating Budget; $5,000 from Dorchester County Heritage Area Implementation Fund; and $10,000 from the private sector.
REQUEST FOR BID WAIVER AND USE OF CAPITAL FUNDING FOR RECOATING ROOF-PUBLIC SAFETY BUILDING/DETENTION CENTER
The Council approved the request of Warden Steve Mills to waive bids and use $15,000 from the approved FY2013 Capital budget to purchase 175 five gallon buckets of roof coating/sealer from Lowes at the cost of $10,473.75 and brooms. The Council acknowledged that inmate labor, supervised by Detention Center maintenance staff will be utilized to complete the recoating project.
LEASE RENEWAL REQUEST-SOJOURNER DOUGLAS COLLEGE
The Council agreed to extend the lease agreement with Sojourner-Douglas College for the County owned property located at 824 Fairmount Avenue, Cambridge for a term of 10 years commencing on September 1, 2011 and ending on September 30, 2021 under the same terms and conditions as the lease expired on September 30, 2011 including subletting privileges.
TELEPHONE POLL CONFIRMATIONS
Ms. Baynard announced that in the interim between meetings Council, by means of a poll agreed to allocate an additional $1,000 from the Dog Control budget as a match for a Two Mauds, Inc. grant award to Snip Tuck, contingent upon these funds being used to spay and neuter dogs rescued by Dorchester County Dog Control as well as feral cats in the County by a 5 to 0 vote. The Council acknowledged its July 3, 2012 approval to provide a $4,000 contribution to Snip Tuck as a match for this grant.
Sandra Spedden, a resident, advised Council that she owns a property in Cambridge and a property in Salisbury, Maryland. She noted that she received two real property tax bills from the County’s Finance Office for her property in Cambridge. She said she was living part time in Dorchester County and in Salisbury at that time and now resides in Salisbury. She explained that she received the second invoice for an additional $1,321.10 in real property taxes because she was not eligible for the State of Maryland Homestead Tax Credit. Ms. Spedden said she sent the payment for the additional amount to the County Finance Department in December 2012 but was advised by County staff that the payment was not received until January 17, 2012. She asked the Council to waive interest accrued on her account of $66.53 and noted that she has paid her current tax bill in full including the additional billed amount. Councilman Nichols recalled that Ms. Spedden attended a previous meeting regarding this matter and was advised to contact Robert Willey, Assistant Finance Director. Ms. Spedden said she spoke with Mr. Willey who advised her that she has to seek Council’s approval for the interest to be waived. In response to a question from Councilman Newcomb, Ms. Spedden stated that she has not applied for a State Homestead Tax Credit. Councilman Newcomb encouraged Ms. Spedden to apply for the credit since she is a full time resident in Salisbury.
The Council asked Ms. Baynard to verify the date of receipt of the payment and if interest is continuing to accrue and to provide that information for its review and consideration at a future meeting.
Councilman Price explained that he voted to not accept a grant award for technical assistance to conduct a septic management study based on his concerns about the cost to implement strategies outlined in the proposed Phase II Watershed Implementation Plan for Dorchester County.
Councilman Newcomb, on behalf of the County Council, recognized the donation of Christiana Cunningham-Adams of photographs of Dorchester County taken by her late husband, George W. Adams. He said these photos have been placed along the corridor of the County Office Building. He explained that Mr. Adams was an avid photographer of Dorchester County marshes and wildlife and his work was shown in galleries in Annapolis and Salisbury. Councilman Newcomb noted that the Council will present a commendation to Ms. Cunningham-Adams for her generous and thoughtful donation at its September 18, 2012 meeting.
Councilman Newcomb said the next County Council meeting is scheduled for September 18, 2012.
With no further business to discuss, the Council adjourned into executive at 7:45 p.m. for one public safety item.
ATTEST: DORCHESTER COUNTY COUNCIL:
Jane Baynard, County Manager Jay L. Newcomb, President
William V. Nichols, Vice President
Approved the ______day of _______________, 2012.