Council Meeting Highlights for January 23, 2024
Category: County Council
The Talbot County Council held their regular meeting on January 23, 2024 at 6 p.m.; all Council members were present.
Certificate of Recognition: William “Bill” H. Shrieves
The Council presented long-time local volunteer and community advocate, Bill Shrieves, with a certificate of recognition for his many contributions to the community.
Since retiring to the area in 1999, Shrieves has served as a member and former president of the Upper Shore Aging Board of Directors, spearheaded fundraising projects for organizations, including the Mustang raffle by the Rotary Club of St. Michaels, organized volunteers to help clean up neighborhoods and rebuild roads and homes, opened a business to provide customized home care to elderly individuals and other adults needing assistance, and much more.
“Bill Shrieves is a strategic thinker, a visionary, an effective manager of change, and he’s a leader who was able to bring the rest of the [Upper Shore Aging] board and organization along…to transform an organization that was severely resource constrained.” said Vice President Lesher. “As a consequence, we now have an effective [Aging] agency that does so much for our community.”
“People are living better lives in our community because of Bill Shrieves. Thank you for all that you do” noted Vice President Lesher.
Proclamation: National Human Trafficking Awareness Month
Staff from For All Seasons and Harriett’s House accepted a proclamation declaring January 2024 as National Human Trafficking Awareness Month.
The proclamation acknowledged the issue of human trafficking, and recognized that increased public awareness and education within organizations will provide more opportunities to identify and aid in the fight against human trafficking.
Human trafficking occurs when men, women, or children are targeted with the use of force, lies, and threats to work against their will, often for little or no pay, or to have sex for money or something of value such as food, shelter, clothes, or drugs.
“It is a serious issue, we see trafficking victims in our offices every day,” said Katie Theeke, Vice President of Marketing at For All Seasons. According to For All Seasons, there are several factors that make the Eastern Shore an attractive destination for traffickers including, proximity to large metropolitan areas and three international airports; location along the heavily traveled East Coast corridor; home to popular tourism and recreational activities; and a high rate of seasonal employment.
Individuals in the transportation, retail, tourism, law enforcement, farming, human services, and educational sectors are particularly helpful in identifying possible victims. More information on this issue can be found at forallseasonsinc.org.
Update by Talbot County Department of Social Servies and Children’s Advocacy Center
Department of Social Services (DSS) Director Linda Webb provided several updates on programs within the Department and the Talbot County Children's Advocacy Center (TCCAC) which the Department manages.
Webb noted that the federal Low-Income Housing Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) was extended through March 31, 2024. Since 2022, the program has served 70 individuals and provided over $20,000 in aid to Talbot residents. LIHWAP provides Maryland residents who meet income criteria with a one-time grant of up to $10,000 toward arrearages for residential water and/or wastewater bills. Anyone can apply online or reach out to the Department of Social Services for more information.
DSS also provides emergency funds for temporary housing, transportation, utilities and miscellaneous needs such as food, gas, personal items, and clothing through the Citizen’s Emergency Fund.
Webb provided a summary of their program “Empower Me”, which teaches children in an age-appropriate manner about the signs of sexual abuse. The program is a statewide requirement to incorporate sex abuse training into local programming. More information about the program can be found at https://healthytalbot.org/resources/empower-me/ or by contacting Paris Quillet at DSS (410-770-4848).
Finally, TCCAC provides child victims of physical and sexual abuse and their families and caregivers the services and supports they need. In 2023, the TCCAC provided 729 sessions with a family advocate, 180 individuals were served, 71 forensic interviews were conducted, and 27 medical examinations were conducted. The center is located in Easton in partnership with the University of Maryland Shore Medical Center at Easton. More information can be found at talbotcac.org.
The County provides annual funding to DSS to promote local programming. Council thanked Director Webb for the work of DSS to support the Talbot County community.
Presentation of Emergency Operations Plan
Brian LeCates, Director of Talbot County Department of Emergency Services and Geneva Schaffle, Emergency Management Division Chief, brought forth the proposed 2024 Emergency Operations Plan (EOP).
The EOP serves as a critical reference that is designed to guide actions before, during, and following major emergencies or disasters in Talbot County.
On speaking to the process of creating the EOP, County Manager Clay Stamp noted, “The emergency management system is a collaborative effort that addresses public safety, health and welfare, which is a key priority in addressing the ever-important public trust. It was really encouraging to see almost 45 different organizations present during the recent tabletop exercise as they walked through a scenario where a hurricane comes up the Chesapeake Bay.”
“It takes a team,” said Director LeCates. “There are many people that had input on that plan, the tabletop exercise, and the functional exercise [that will occur in the spring].”
More information about the EOP process can be found here: Emergency Services Hosts Tabletop Exercise, and Awaits Approval of Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) from County Council - Talbot County, Maryland (talbotcountymd.gov)
The Council introduced an administrative resolution to adopt the new plan, and subsequently unanimously approved the resolution.
- Kevin Shafer, Director of Operations at Talbot County Public Schools provided a presentation on the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Maryland Stadium Authority for their Build to Learn (BTL) Act Funding which will include both Talbot County Public Schools and Talbot County as signatories as well as the Construction Document Submission for Chapel District Elementary School renovation and addition project to be submitted to the Maryland Interagency Commission on School Construction program. The Council unanimously approved both requests.
- Council Vice President Pete Lesher proposed Amendment No. 2 to Resolution No. 347. The amendment incorporates the language from Resolution No. 338 and Amendment No. 1 into Resolution No. 347. The amendment was introduced by Vice President Pete Lesher and Member Lynn Mielke. The public hearing will be held on Tuesday, February 13, 2024 at 6:30 p.m.
- Clay Stamp, County Manager presented board nominations for the Council’s consideration:
- Board of Appeals – Council approved the reappointment of Frank Cavanaugh.
- Short Term Rental Review Board – Council approved the reappointment of Cindy Reichart to represent the vacation rental management industry.
- Agricultural Resolution Board– Council unanimously approved the reappointment of Kevin Moran.
- Frederick Douglass Park on the Tuckahoe Committee – Council unanimously approved the appointment of Commissioner Nate Hoxter as the Town of Queen Anne representative.
- The Department of Emergency Services requested support for the renewal of three no-cost contracts with Crowder Gulf, AshBritt and DRC Emergency Services that would assist with debris removal in the event of a severe storm. The contracts are no-cost until activated if needed. The council unanimously approved the request.
- The Department of Public Works requested approval to award architectural engineering design services for a two-tier driving range structure at Hog Neck Golf Course to Davis, Bowen, and Friedel, Inc. in the amount of $144,700. Council President Callahan expressed brief concern that the bids that were received were dramatically different. Following discussion, the request was unanimously approved.
- The Department of Public Works requested approval to award construction phase engineering services for Bid No. 23-11 for Res. 250, Sewer Extension Project (Bozman, Neavitt) to Century Engineering, Inc. in the amount of $86,196.80, and to award construction inspection services for the same bid to Lane Engineering, Inc. in the amount of $192,000. Both requests were unanimously approved.
- The Department of Public Works requested approval to apply for funding from the Maryland Water Quality Finance Program and the USDA Rural Development for emergency replacement of a portion of the Martingham Vacuum Sewer Collection System. The request was unanimously approved.
- The Department of Public Works requested Council approval to forward a letter to the City of Cambridge requesting discussion of trading phosphorus credits for nitrogen credits in relation to the Ferry Point project. In order to build the ENR facility at Ferry Point, the County will need to get additional phosphorus load from the surrounding community. This request, if approved, would open discussion on the issue. The Council unanimously approved the request.
- The Department of Public Works also announced the closure schedule for the Goldsborough Neck Road culvert replacement project. The section of Goldsborough Neck Road from Glebe Road to Villa Road will close on or about February 12, 2024, and should reopen once work is completed in approximately thirty days. More information can be found at talbotcountymd.gov/goldsboroughneckcip
- Clay Stamp, County Manager, requested support for the approval of additional funds for the renovation of the Doverbrook Apartment Complex located on Dover Street in Easton. Funding has also been provided by the Town of Easton and the State to support the project. The request of an additional $150,000 from the County will come from American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, contingent upon the Town of Easton matching the County’s allocation. In total, Easton and the County will have provided $800,000 toward the project. The request was unanimously approved.
- The Department of Planning and Zoning requested support to participate in the FY2024 Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation (MALPF) Easement Acquisition Matching Funds Program. Through participation in the program in the past, the County has preserved 13,000 acres of farmland. The Department requested a matching fund amount of $100,000 for the program. The request was approved unanimously. More information can be found at talbotcountymd.gov/land-preservation.
The Council’s next legislative meeting will be held on February 13th beginning at 6:00 p.m. in the Bradley Meeting Room located in the South Wing, Talbot County Courthouse, 11 North Washington Street, Easton. The Council will be meeting on Tuesday, February 6th at 3:00 p.m. for a work session with County staff and representatives from TischlerBise on the proposed update of the County’s development impact fees. Both meetings will be held in the Bradley Meeting Room.
Also on February 6th, the Council will be meeting with elected officials from Easton, Oxford, Queen Anne, St. Michaels and Trappe at 5:00 p.m. in the Meeting Room of the Talbot County Free Library – Easton branch. All meetings noted are open to the public.Return
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