Talbot County Council Meeting Highlights Tuesday, September 12, 2023
The Talbot County Council held their regular meeting on September 12, 2023, at 5 p.m.; all Council members were present.
Proclamation: National Senior Center Month
Childlene Brooks, Manager for Brookletts Place, Talbot Senior Center, Ann DeMart, Manager for Bay Hundred Senior Center, and Andy Hollis, Executive Director of Upper Shore Aging, accepted a proclamation declaring September 2023 National Senior Center Month.
The proclamation celebrates the two senior centers in Talbot County and recognizes the impact that senior centers make toward the betterment of our communities. “Senior centers act as a catalyst for mobilizing the creativity, energy, vitality, and commitment of older residents of our communities through a wide array of services, programs, and activities.”
Amendments for the Comprehensive Water and Sewer Plan
During the meeting, the Council introduced four (4) resolutions amending the County’s Comprehensive Water and Sewer Plan (CWSP). Amendments to the County’s CWSP can only be made four times a year, in the months of March, June, September, and December.
Amendment applications are reviewed by the Planning Commission for consistency with the Talbot County Comprehensive Plan, Public Works Advisory Board, Health Department, and ultimately the Maryland Department of the Environment for compatibility with use and planning policies and facility permit restrictions in effect.
- Resolution 345 – Amends CWSP to add a $12 million capital project to replace or rehabilitate the Town of Easton’s sewer collection system. All Council members introduced the resolution.
- Resolution 346 – Amends CWSP to add an $8 million capital project to replace or rehabilitate the Region V (Tilghman) sewer collection system to mitigate inflow and infiltration. All Council members introduced the resolution.
- Resolution 347 – Amends CWSP to provide the Equivalent Dwelling Units (EDUs) for all phases of the Lakeside Development. The resolution was introduced by Council Members Haythe and Stepp.
- Resolution 348 – Amends CWSP to clarify and confirm the water and sewer classifications of certain parcels incorrectly shown in Exhibits A and B to Resolution No. 281, as amended. While the water and sewer classifications from Resolution No. 281 do not change with this resolution, it will adjust the visual maps (Exhibit A and B) that were included in Resolution No. 281, as amended. The resolution was introduced by Council Members Haythe and Stepp.
Public hearings for the 4 proposed amendments are scheduled for Tuesday, October 10, 2023, at 6:30 p.m. The amendments will also be referred to the Planning Commission and Public Works Advisory Board for review and recommendation to Council prior to the public hearings.
- Through adoption of an Administrative Resolution, Council changed the starting time of legislative meetings to 6 p.m. The change will go into effect in October 2023.
- Resolution No. 349, introduced by Council, requests to change the name of “Lincoln Road” and “Shellmill Avenue” in Bellevue (both “paper streets”), to “Bellevue School Road” and “Turner Avenue”, respectively. The public hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, October 10, 2023, at 6:30 p.m.
- A bill to authorize a loan agreement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development was introduced by Council as Bill No. 1548. The bill authorizes Talbot County to borrow not more than $880,000 to fund improvements to wastewater facilities in the county through the consolidation, refinancing, and sales of general bonds. The Finance Department has been working with the County’s bond counsel and USDA on all steps of the loan process. This bill serves as the final step to move forward in the loan process.
- A public hearing, and subsequent vote, was held for Bill No. 1547. The bill proposed amendments of Chapter 11, Alcoholic Beverages for Class I Alcohol Dispensary Bistros liquor license holders, that includes extending hours of service and seating options. The bill was approved unanimously.
- The County Manager presented the following board and committee nominations for Council’s consideration:
- Adult Public Guardianship Review Board – Council unanimously approved the appointment of Rachel Smith (Commission on the Aging); Carrie Ottey, RN (Talbot County Health Department); Kate Stinton (lay representative); Dr. Michael Flaherty (physician representative); Sam VanNest (representative of disabled community); and the reappointment of Suzanne Ludwig (Talbot County Health Department Disabilities Coordinator); and Michael Crowley, MD (physician representative)
- Animal Control Board – Council unanimously approved the reappointment of Joan Trudy Lee and Steven Harris, DVM
- Commission on the Aging – A majority of the Council approved the appointment of William Boos, Amy Keller, Anne Shannahan, Brenda Stone, and Sandy Wieland
- Mid-Shore Behavioral Health Regional Advisory Committee – The Council unanimously approved the appointment of Crystal Miller and Shawn Hart
- Parks and Recreation Advisory Board – The Council unanimously approved the appointment of Jay Kilbourne as the Cordova District representative
- Historic Preservation Commission – The Council unanimously approved the appointment of Earl Asche and John Renda.
- Talbot County Health Officer, Dr. Maria Maguire, requested Council consideration to officially certify the FY24 local matching funds from Talbot County in the increased appropriation amount of $123,658 above the $2,693,924 approved by Council in Bill No. 1529, as amended, the FY24 Annual Budget and Appropriation Ordinance. The Maryland Department of Health provides each county health department with a funding allocation (referred to as “core” funding) derived from the State general funds. As a condition of distributing these funds to the local health departments, the State requires a certain amount of local “matching” funds. The increase would allow the Health Department to comply with COMAR 10.04.01.04 regarding required funding levels. The request, which usually would be considered during normal budget season, was received late (after the County’s FY24 budget was already adopted) due to changes in the matching fund percentages at the State level, resulting in a new higher requirement from the local Health Department and subsequently the Talbot County FY24 budget. A motion to approve the request was made by Council Vice President Pete Lesher; as there was no second, the motion failed.
- Ray Clarke, County Engineer, requested approval to negotiate with the lowest responsive and responsible bidder, Willow Construction, LLC, for Bid No. 23-07, Talbot County Public Safety Complex Phase I – Building Renovations. The project includes renovations and updates to the building located at 28640 Marys Court in Easton. The original quote was $4.269M. By working with Willow Construction on value engineering, the County hopes to find some cost savings in the project. The request was approved unanimously.
- Department of Public Works requested to award Change Order No. 23 for Bid No. 17-09, St. Michaels Sewer Collection System Improvements, to Schummer, Inc. in the sum of $321,673.80; said improvements are contingent upon receipt of grant funding from USDA Rural Development. The request was unanimously approved, contingent upon receipt of the grant funding.
- Department of Parks and Recreation requested to award a contract for the Perry Cabin Ball Field Fencing Project to Long Fence Company by piggybacking on a University of Maryland contract, in a sum not to exceed $100,000. The fencing project will be paid for through a Community Parks and Playground grant in the sum of $100,000, which the Town of St. Michaels has received, and which was previously approved by Council. The request was unanimously approved.
- Roads Department requested approval to piggyback on a Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) contract with David A. Bramble for paving and resurfacing of Almshouse Road from U.S. Rt. 50 to MD Rt. 565 and White Marsh Road to MD Rt. 333 in the amount of $182,000. The request was unanimously approved.
- The Maryland Department of Transportation requested a Letter of Support for the Reconnecting Communities and Neighborhoods program. If approved, grant funds would be used to add new sidewalks, raise landscape mediums, remove crossovers, and install new pedestrian signals at MD Rt. 328, MD Rt. 331, and U.S. Rt. 50; No County funds are required, as this is a State-run project. The request for a Letter of Support was unanimously supported.
- Clay Stamp, County Manager, stated that Talbot County residents will have an opportunity to dispose of old and unwanted tires at the Citizen Scrap Tire Drop-off Event scheduled for Saturday, September 30, 2023, between the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Midshore Transfer Station located at 7341 Barkers Landing Road in Easton. For more information about the event: Drop Off Old Tires at Residential Scrap Tire Event - Talbot County, Maryland (talbotcountymd.gov)
The Talbot County Council will meet with the Board of Education on Tuesday, September 19, 2023, at 5:00 p.m. in the Talbot County Free Library Easton Branch Meeting Room. The meeting is open to the public.
The Council’s next legislative meeting will be held on September 26, 2023, 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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