The Talbot County Council held their regular meeting on November 14 at 6 p.m.; all Council members were present.
Certificate of Recognition: Talbot Arts
Talbot Arts President Amy Steward and Past President Nancy Larson joined the Council to celebrate in the success of Talbot Arts.
Talbot Arts is committed to improving equitable access, diversity, and inclusion in the arts for all citizens and welcomes artists and creators of all ages, all mediums, and from all walks of life. Since 1987, grant funding totaling over $2.5M has been distributed by Talbot Arts to local organizations, art projects, and arts education in schools.
They continue to bring art opportunities to our community, having awarded 20 community art development grants, 12 school grants, 11 summer arts scholarship grants for students, 4 mini grants, and 5 special project grants in the past year.
The certificate of recognition stated, “We the County Council of Talbot County do hereby award…in appreciation of [Talbot Arts] contributions to the culture, quality of life, and economic development in Talbot County for the benefit of all residents and visitors.”
Talbot Arts will host the first annual Arts Showcase on November 15, 2023, which will celebrate innovative visionaries who have provided enriching cultural opportunities to their communities. The Council will be providing additional recognition for two honored members of our community, James Redman, Title 1 Coordinator and Curriculum Supervisor of Talbot County Public Schools and Don Buxton, Former Executive Director of Chesapeake Music.
- The Council introduced and subsequently voted on an Administrative Resolution to authorize the issuance and sale of bonds from United States Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, in the amount of $880,000 to assist with projects in the St. Michaels Sanitary District.
- Resolution No. 351, introduced by Council, establishes a vehicle weight limit on Black Dog Alley. The intention of the bill is to reduce heavy truck through traffic on the road. The public hearing will be held on Tuesday, December 12, 2023 at 6:30 p.m.
- Bill No. 1550, introduced by Council, amending Chapter 11 of the Talbot County Code (Alcoholic Beverages), would allow the Board of Liquor License Commissioners to issue a Class E license regardless of population count under certain conditions. The request comes at the request of a local business that would like to open a liquor store in the Trappe area. Currently, residents must drive either to Easton or to Cambridge. The public hearing will be held on Tuesday, December 12, 2023 at 6:30 p.m.
- A public hearing, and subsequent vote was held for Bill No. 1549. This emergency bill will allow the County to replace the roof of the North Wing of the County Courthouse. There is no additional capital cost, the bill was presented as an emergency bill in hopes of completing work before winter weather disrupts construction services. Bill No. 1549 was unanimously approved by Council.
- Clay Stamp, County Manager presented board and committee nominations for the Council’s consideration:
- Parks and Recreation Advisory Board – Council unanimously approved the reappointment of Walter Chase as the Town of Trappe representative on the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board.
- Economic Development Commission – Council unanimously approved the reappointment of Rob Straebel as the Town of St. Michaels representative on the Economic Development Commission.
- Emergency Services Advisory Board – Council unanimously approved the appointment of Capt. Steve Elliott to the Emergency Services Advisory Board.
- Maryland Association of Counties Legislative Committee – Council unanimously approved the appointment of Council Member Keasha Haythe as the Council’s primary liaison. Council Member Lynn Mielke will serve as the alternate.
- Planning and Zoning Commission – Council unanimously approved the reappointment of Michael Strannahan to the Planning and Zoning Commission.
- The Finance Office and Public Works Department requested approval for a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Loan Resolution related to the County’s financing of improvements to wastewater facilities in St. Michaels collection system. This request is the next step following the approval of the administrative resolution earlier in the meeting. The Council unanimously approved the request.
- The Department of Public Works requested approval to award Bid No. 23-11 to Schummer Inc. in the amount of $5,813,450 for Phase 1-A and to Spring and Associates in the amount of $663,810 for Phase 1-B and $1,640,750 for Phase 1-C. Work outlined in Bid No. 23-11 will support the extension of sewer from the Region II Wastewater Treatment Plant (St. Michaels) to the Mount Pleasant Area, under Broad Creek, and to the villages of Bozman and Neavitt. Once completed, the project will supply sewer support to over 600 residents. Award of the bids is contingent upon approval by Maryland Department of the Environment who will be providing a loan for the project. The Council unanimously approved the request.
- The Department of Public Works requested approval to award Bid No. 23-12 to Orenco, in the amount of $2,082,000, to purchase 300 Septic Tank Effluent Pump (STEP) System Equipment units contingent upon approval by Maryland Department of the Environment. The Council unanimously approved the request.
- Donna Pardieu, Director of Administrative Services, requested a Letter of Intent to join the Time to Care Act Insurance Collaborative with the Maryland Association of Counties (MACo). The request is a result of the passage of SB275, which requires employers to provide paid family leave to employees. “The legislation, while good in intent, is a large cost burden on the County. Joining the Collaborative is the most cost-efficient way for us to meet the requirements of the legislation,” said Pardieu. By joining the collaborative, the County would not be required to pay into the system until Employee benefits go into full effect in January 1, 2026.
The Talbot County Council will hold a work session with the Planning Commission on Monday, November 20, 2023 at 4:00 p.m. to discuss pending legislation (Resolution No. 347 and Resolution No. 348) concerning the Talbot County Comprehensive Plan and the Lakeside development project. The work session is open to the public.
The Council’s next legislative meeting will be held on November 28, 2023 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 meeting is open to the public.