Council Meeting Highlights, July 9, 2024


Category: County Council

The Talbot County Council held their regular meeting on July 9, 2024, at 5 p.m.; Council Member Haythe was absent.

Public Work Session on Bike and Pedestrian Trails

Prior to the regularly scheduled meeting, the County Council held a public work session to discuss bike and pedestrian trails in Talbot County, specifically a proposed trail that would repurpose the former Pennsylvania Railroad and Maryland & Delaware Railroad trackage as a 10-foot-wide shared use path.

The proposed route would begin just north of the Town of Queen Anne in Queen Anne’s County and would end at the former rail line intersection with Black Dog Alley just north of Easton in Talbot County. The total project length is approximately 9.5 miles.

The work session began with an overview by Cassandra Vanhooser, Director, Talbot County Department of Economic Development and Tourism, followed by information presented by Heather Grant, Executive Director, Talbot Thrive, a nonprofit that aims to complete a Bike and Pedestrian Master Plan for the County; Owen Bailey, Director, Land Use and Policy, Eastern Shore Land Conservancy who leads the Eastern Shore Regional Trails Steering Committee; Thomas Mackay, Rail Program & Policy Manger, Rail & Intermodal Freight Section, Office of Planning and Capital Programming, Maryland Department of Transportation; John Thomas, Deputy Director – Program Development, State Highway Administration Transportation Office of Planning & Preliminary Engineering, who manages train lines and railbanking for the State; and Phil Starkey, Mayor of the Town of Queen Anne, which is a stakeholder in the proposed route.

Members of the public in attendance were given the opportunity to ask questions about the proposed route and voice their opinions. The entire work session was recorded and can be viewed on the County website.

Talbot Thrive and Eastern Shore Land Conservancy encouraged the public to sign up for their newsletters to receive communications about future meetings regarding trails and bike and pedestrian safety in Talbot County and the Eastern Shore Area.

American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Additional Funding Recommendations

In May 2021, Talbot County was allocated $7.2 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. The County is required to obligate these funds by December 31, 2024, and to fully expend all funds by December 31, 2026.

The previous Council designated an ARPA Subcommittee chaired by Council Vice President Pete Lesher with members: County Manager Clay Stamp, Assistant County Manager Jessica Morris, Finance Director Matha Sparks, Assistant Finance Director Kaitlin Foster-Clarke, Director of Economic Development and Tourism Cassandra Vanhooser, County Engineer Ray Clarke, Talbot Family Network Executive Director Nancy Andrew, and Grants Administrator Mary Kay Verdery.

The Council, by recommendation from the subcommittee, previously granted over $4.9 million in ARPA funds, with a balance of just over $2.3 million remaining to allocate. In 2024, the subcommittee reviewed additional requests from County Departments and other agencies, as well as requests from 27 local nonprofits. The new funding requests totaled over $5.5 million.

Consistent with the priorities of the countywide ARPA community survey completed in January 2022, the ARPA subcommittee requested Council consideration to invest $2,290,950 in projects that ranged from broadband, cybersecurity, and sewer expansion to kitchen renovation and financial assistance for non-profit programming.

The full list, including all applicants, can be found on the County Website. Council will consider the recommendations at their next meeting on Tuesday, July 23, 2024.

Other Business

  • Resolution No. 361, introduced by Council members Callahan, Lesher, Mielke and Stepp and, proposed to amend the Talbot Family Network Bylaws to provide for the Treasurer’s designee to attend meetings if the Treasurer is absent. The public hearing for the resolution will be held on Tuesday, August 13, 2024, at 5:30 p.m.
  • A public hearing was held on Resolution No. 360, which proposed to amend the County’s Comprehensive Water and Sewer Plan to provide an alternate location for the pump station and expand the potential route for a restricted access force main to provide sanitary sewer service to the new Shore Regional Medical Center and the Talbot County Community Center located at 10000 Longwoods Road and 10028 Ocean Gateway, Easton MD, respectively. The Public Works Advisory Board and the Planning Commission both recommended approval by Council. Easton Utilities also provided feedback on the proposed location, showing support for the resolution. The Council members unanimously voted to approve the Resolution.
  • The public hearings on Bill Nos. 1554-1574 were held, with no opposition. These bills will authorize funding for capital projects included in the FY2025 budget.  The bills are eligible for vote on Tuesday, July 23, 2024.
  • The County Manager presented two board nominations for the Council’s consideration:
    • Local Drug and Alcohol Abuse Council (LDAAC) – Council unanimously approved the reappointment of Katie Dilley and Ann Simpers (both of Mid-Shore Behavioral Health) to the LDAAC.
    • Social Services Board of Directors – Council unanimously approved the reappointment of Elaine Wilson and the appointment of Dean Kenderdine.
  • Talbot County’s Landing Superintendent, Eric Lane, requested Council approval to award Bid No. 23-13 to the lowest bidder, Sweitzer Marine LLC, in the amount of $68,200. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources will reimburse the County for this project, designed to replace the pier at Windy Hill Landing in Trappe, MD. Council unanimously approved the request.
  • The Department of Planning and Zoning requested a letter be sent to the Maryland Environmental Trust in support of a perpetual conservation easement of 111.08 acres of property located at 27247 Trippe Road, Easton, MD 21601owned by a Frank Ebaugh Mason, III. The request was unanimously approved, and Council expressed their appreciation to the landowner for his generous donation.
  • Critchlow Adkins Children’s Centers (CACC) requested a letter of support for their grant application to the Rural Maryland Council in the amount of $300,000. The funding, if approved, will be used to support the expansion of CACC located on the Chapel District Elementary School campus in Cordova, Maryland. The Cordova site currently has a waitlist of over 100 children. The Council unanimously approved the request.

The Council’s next legislative meeting will be held on July 23, 2024, beginning at 5:00 p.m. in the Bradley Meeting Room located in the South Wing, Talbot County Courthouse, 11 North Washington Street, Easton.  The meeting is open to the public.

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Page last modified Friday, May 3, 2024 11:38:20 AM