Town of Emmitsburg
300A S. Seton Ave Emmitsburg, Maryland

Town Meeting Minutes
Emmitsburg Town Office
November 1, 2004

Commissioners' Comments

Commissioner Rosensteel: successful Halloween parade. Thanked the Fire Company and Ambulance Company and American Legion, VFW. Commissioner Walbrecker: added Emmitsburg Lions Club for the games. Commissioner Walbrecker was at the celebration for the US Fire Administration's 30th birthday, they praised Mayor for being a proactive friend of the US Fire Administration and the campus in general. Will be sending out letter to get support for Catoctin Mountains Scenic Byway. In honor of recycling day November 15, meeting scheduled after 1st of the year.

Mayor's Comments

Mayor Hoover reported that he attended the fall MML conference, attended several seminars; charter amendments, state budget process, flush tax (will put on next months agenda how to collect businesses). Spoke to SHA about speed limit sign on Main St from 40 mph at Timbermill Rd. where you go into Brookfield, he asked to move the speed limit sign back to 25mph, SHA is not real reluctant to do that, they will look into it. The goal is to have 25mph go out to Tract Road. The only way that SHA would be supportive is if the Town would support 30mph speed limit through town. SHA is getting pressure from their superiors, they want crosswalks signs to be placed in more places. Will probably see more on North and South Seton Avenue.

Ambulance Co. Presentation

John W. Compton, Deputy Chief Ambulance Volunteer Ambulance Co. 26 gave a presentation on "Subscription Club Billing". He stated that he was asked to speak by Mr. Elder yesterday. Briefly outlined how this subscription affects billing. Mr. O'Neil pointed out that the subscription is voluntary. Each individual fire company is broken down to sections in the County. The monies collected from the subscription club are in a sense donations to the Ambulance Co. Mr. Haller asked if the need for an ambulance involved in Frederick County will apply, even though the money goes to the home Ambulance Co. Mr. Compton: yes. Tawanda Bailey is in charge of the Frederick County subscription club she can be reached at 301 694 1306.


Manager's - reported on the public works department monthly activities to include a water production and consumption analysis.

Planner's - Michael Lucas enumerated parking citations and revenues, 22 permits issued to include 1 new home and the final 5 tap allocation for this year. Staff has solicited rebids for the Community Park bathrooms. He presented a departmental profile which will be posted on the internet site. It include staff bios, procedures and fees. Kudos from Bill and Dianne.

Treasurer's - Commissioner Elder 

Police:  Deputy Moxley presented the September incident report and introduced new resident deputy Roger Venzin. Detailed report at Exhibit B. Commissioner Walbrecker questioned the deputies about the 2 separate incidents of tire-slashing. They responed that they had heard about it, but the victims need to call 911 at the time of the incident instead of waiting a few days until the resident deputy is on patrol.

Committees:  Commissioner Walbrecker reported that the Planning and Zoning Commission met on October 25, re: making recommendation for membership on BOA positive. South Gate subdivision need for correction plat regarding basements. Mr. Haller added County regulations prohibits basements in flood plane. They've met requirements need to "houseclean" the plans. She also stated that they will be meeting with groups in town in regard to the comprehensive plan. Mr. O'Neil asked if there had been any discussion on taping meetings re: the comprehensive plan and showing it on channel 99. Commissioner Walbrecker agreed to maybe put it on next agenda. Representing the Water Committee, Commissioner Elder reported they had a small meeting.

Agenda Items

Catoctin High School "Safe 'n' Sane" Donation Request

Mr. Haller commented this is a request from the "Safe N Sane" committee for a donation. In the past have donated $500. It's an activity on graduation night, activities to celebrate in this environment vs. one that sometimes becomes disastrous otherwise. Since 1990. Motion: To donate $500 to Catoctin High School "Safe N Sane" committee. The motion made by Commissioner Walbrecker was seconded by Commissioner Elder. Vote: 4-0 in favor

Habitat for Humanity Request for Fees Waiver

Mr. Haller reported that this is a request by Habitat for Humanity of Frederick County related to a proposed project they are considering in the Town of Emmittsburg. They own 2 lots in the Flat Run subdivision, and they're asking for reduction relating to their water and sewer tap fee and impact fee and sewer surcharge. Total reduction request is $12,200.

Dee Danmeyer, Executive Director spoke a little about Habitat for Humanity. She said the higher the fees they have to pay, the less affordable it becomes for the families. They have had success in Brunswick and Walkersville having fees reduced. Mr. Lucas reminded Board that the fees are set by ordinance, the staff recommendation is not to reduce fees unless the Board has the intention to amend the ordinance. Staff has no objection if Commission would consider contributing to Habitat and Humanity a like amount of money. Mr. Haller added with clout of potential litigation, would also agree with a cash donation rather then a waiver, it would lessen the Towns legal exposure if it is done in that manner. Are there sufficient funds to do that asked Mr. O'Neil, also said don't like to waive funds. Mr. Haller responded the source he would look into would be savings from previous years. Commissioner O'Neil feels this issue of contribution should be a separate item at the next meeting. Need time to determine how much, and where the money is coming from. Mayor Hoover agrees not to waive the fees, but agrees to a donation, give staff a direction to determine such. Commissioner Walbrecker we should hold off when the Board can see the result of recent re-appropriations. Commissioner Walbrecker proposed a donation around $1000. By acclamation, not to waive fees. Public Comments: Chris Staiger 1230 Brookfied Dr.-passed. By unanimous consent waive of fees not approved.

Motion: To complete a review of funds and come back with a suggested amount for donation to Habitat for Humanity. The motion made by Commissioner Walbrecker was seconded by Commissioner Rosensteel. Vote: 4-0 in favor

Review and Consider Bid for Demolition of Old Water Treatment Plant

Mr. Haller reported this item is a request by Staff for commissions review, consideration and possible approval of our lowest responsible bid to demolish the old water plant. Received 7 bids ranging form $46,412 to $8500. After review, consideration and phone calls, Staff would like to suggest MidAtlantic Demolition bid of $8500. Commissioner Walbrecker why huge difference? Mr. Haller responded he really doesn't know, he spoke with the 3 lowest bidders, and they offered the same thing. Commissioner Walbrecker commented that the wording on the quote needs to be cleared up, missing words. Commissioner Rosensteel asked for clarification in regards to the fence. Mr. Haller said the fence needs to stay in place. Commissioner Elder commented that he agrees that the building needs to come down.

Motion: To accept the $8500 bid by MidAtlantic for demolition The motion was made by Commissioner Walbrecker and seconded by Commissioner Elder. Vote: 4-0 in favor

President O'Neil proposed to move up agenda items Pembrook Paving and the Election Rules because of number of people signed up to speak. No objection. Unanimous consent.

Paving Conditions of Pembrook Woods

Mr. Haller explained because of concern of citizens, he brought this to the Board related basically to paving conditions, would Board accept the paving or set specific conditions on the paving that must be met so that the paving can be accepted, under ordinance those roads cannot be plowed unless they are accepted. Mr. Lucas referred the Board to a memo he prepared on October 20, specifically relates to the plowing of the streets .Gave breakdown of conditions of section 2 and 3. With exception of a few minor repairs, generally pleased. The Emmitsburg code in section 16.12.070 sets forth the criteria by which the Board may do a public release of funds. Also required under the ordinance to hold those funds for a year after the Body responsible finds them acceptable. With regards to section 2 and 3, will continue to monitor those along the process that been established. Section 1 has many infractions. As to whether the Town should assume any responsibility for plowing or maintenance of these streets, staffs opinion, such work should remain a private responsibility until formally accepted by town as set forth by ordinance 16.12.070. Mr. Lucas also presented an opinion from the town attorney.

Commissioner O'Neil reported that he did some reading of memos associated with phase 1. He stated that he has a "personal problem when you divide the communities into separate parcels." Mr. Lucas responded that the town has 3 separate contractual agreements with the contractor and therefore, must consider them separately. Mr. O'Neil quoted portions of those engineering notes related to phase 1. Paving construction, in detail, was discussed between Commissioner O'Neil, Mr. Lucas and Mr Haller. Mr. O'Neil\ asked if it would it be well for us to have an objective, specialty engineer to assess these streets? Mr. Haller answered that he had intended to request same to present an outline of what work needs to be completed. Mr. Lucas recommended that the Town not plow snow this season until the roads are formerly accepted. Commissioner Elder stated when the HOA is satisfied then I'll be satisfied, they should have a say in this. Fran Denmark of Buckeye Development spoke to the history of the development and their cooperation with the town–everything that the town has asked, they have done.

Public Comments: Richard Kapriva 3230 Stonehurst Court - not a public issue, but a Town issue. Carlton Mazaaleski 3240 Stonehurst Ct. - make them accountable. Chris Staiger, 1230 Brookfield Drive - from public policy standpoint, feels town would have accepted the roads long ago if it hadn't been for the efforts of the HOA . "Shame we had to push this issue for so long". Hope that commissioners will support your public policy .Commissioner O'Neil made statement: winter approaches, town receives large amount of taxes from Pembrook Woods, "When people pay taxes they deserve services." Do right by the citizens and plow the roads. Mr. Haller commented that he brought this matter to the Board as he does not have the authority to plow streets, although happy to do it, not owned by the town. The Board has the opportunity to direct him to plow them. Commissioner Walbrecker commented she feels the Town should get an engineer and get final determination and get a move on it.

Motion: To instruct staff to contract with an engineer, not previously employed by the town or by Buckeye, to render an opinion with the assistance of Mr. Lucas and Mr. Haller for acceptability requirements for Pembrook Woods as soon as possible.

Mayor Hoover stated have the engineer look at the whole development, developer said they would plow the roads, need to hold them responsible for that. All agreed. The motion by Commissioner Walbrecker was seconded by Commissioner O'Neil. Vote: 4-0 in favor.

Motion: For Town Manager Dave Haller to complete the bid process. Motion made by Commissioner Walbrecker and seconded by Commissioner Elder. Vote: 4-0 in favor .

Proposed Election Rules

Mr. O'Neil stated because of late hour, will take public comment on proposed election rules for later deliberation by Board.

Mr. Lucas had one Point-of-order before proceeding, He has been asked rather or not it is appropriate to release Mr. Clapp's memo. Public document. No objection.

Public Comment on the election proposal:  Sr. Eleanor Casey re:"recall" election 25% is a very small , any further research done? Commissioner O'Neil stated the last time the Board talked 50% was discussed. Pat Boyle 337 East Main - last election was a farce. If 25%, then why not the other referendum be changed also, should be same standard. Don't need pollwatchers, not partisan election. Chris Staiger - 1230 Brookfield Dr. - referendum every 3 years, not necessary to have a recall–over politicizes it, opposed to pollwatchers, impinge on individuals when they go into vote. Denise Etris 4015 Carrick Ct. - in favor of pollwatchers. They have to be pre-approved by board of elections. They can't interfere, just observe. Part of checks and balances, not a question of judges' integrity or ability. Re Ids: in favor. Sabrina Paxton-Daley- 12 Zanella Dr. on behalf of COPE overdue, in favor of poll watchers. As a private citizen: last 2 elections was disturbed. Sr. Eleanor Casey: person can not be made to present an ID, be very careful that were not imposing that federal is not imposing. Forrence -has copy of Maryland law re: election judges, appreciate Mr. Boyle's comment on 25% of voters recall. Hentricks - municipalities can have own voting laws re: ID. Commissioner Walbrecker believes that the referendum percentages in state law and our law refers to the state code on that. Mr. Lucas responded for annexation that is the requirement of article 66b state law. Mr. O'Neil said the idea behind the initial draft is just to give a framework. Feel free to send any comments, changes, edits, anything. Want to act quickly as possible. A lot of work still has to be done.

Review Employee Handbook

Mr. Haller related to discrepancies between town code and employee handbook related to probationary period. The Mayor is the one that originally requested this. Chapter 2.5 of the code mentions that an employee must have 6 months of satisfactory employment, probation period is six months. Employee Handbook page 3 dated February 2, 2003,states that the probationary period for new employee is 3 months. Mayor Hoover discussed ordinance chapter 2.50 item I, new employees 6 months probationary period, feels it should be referred back to the 3 months. Commissioner O'Neil :personal leave would like to see from 3 to 7 days, add Columbus Day, vacation leave needs to be looked at, need to give incentives, awards to long service. Commissioner Walbrecker: no problem with rewarding employees but not prepared tonight to discuss those items. Mr.O'Neil stated that the Board has already discussed before and tabled. He feels the items he brought up would be a good beginning. Mr. Haller feels they are appropriate.

Motion: to replace chapter 2.5 item I under employee salary chart that it would say 3 month probationary period. Motion made by Commissioner Walbrecker and seconded by Commissioner Rosensteel.   Vote: 4-0 in favor

There was discussion on vacation days and benefits.

Motion: to adopt, as presented, the proposed benefits amendments to the Employee Handbook. Motion made by Commissioner O'Neil, seconded by Commissioner Elder, but would have like to had more time.

Commissioner O'Neil- these are the same as discussed before but time constraints postponed a discussion/decision. Commissioner Walbrecker stated that the Board is responsible that taxpayers' money is well spent and more time should be spent on it. Commissioner O'Neil support it because how is it going to change, if more then a concern, no one wanted less. Vote: 4-0 in favor .

Discussion Related to Creation of a Mayoral Discretionary Fund

Commissioner O'Neil feels this should be looked at to review/establish a procurement policy. Mayor Hoover agrees, that the establishment of a discretionary fund is not the proper direction to go, although the purpose of the agenda item is a very valid item. These issues were discussed: Some latitude has to be given when can't always wait for a meeting. What is a budget item, what is not? A ceiling amount and why a limit would not be practical or applicable in many cases. What things are/are not authorized. Setting aside specific line items. The need for some definitions as to when items should be brought before the Board. As long as it's a standard item and there's budgeted funds. It's for those few things, no intention by the board to withhold funds. The Mayor stated his agreement. It was agreed as Mr. Haller stated that they come out of a miscellaneous fund – to control somewhat. Commissioner Walbrecker asked if when to bid, etc. would be included in the procurement process? Yes. Commissioner Elder commented that he just wants some protection, money not voted on. Mayor Hoover and Mr. Haller responded that the Town is not making expenditures not voted on, but are approved within the budget by practice out of miscellaneous funds budgeted for those miscellaneous items. Mr. Haller explained that those allowances are not directed to the level that a manager might see- - that's why he proposed a "fund"- - an amount that can be used at the discretion, without individual approvals, those expenses not specified in the budget or as an routine expense. Commissioner Walbrecker proposed to get some ideas on the table and modify them as the Board works on it. Mr. Haller agreed. The Mayor reiterated that a procurement process is very needed. Public Comment: Pat Boyle spoke to the inclusion of an emergency caveat - that staff and the mayor would have authority. Motion: To direct staff to develop a procurement process or fund for approval at the first meeting in December. The motion made by Commissioner O'Neil was seconded by Commissioner Elder. Vote: 4-0 in favor

Set Agenda Items for November 15 

  • Election ordinance. 

Mr. Lucas, towards the December meeting agenda, interjected that he needs approval to be able to advertise for the December consideration of the amendment involving BOA membership. To proceed with BOA advertise re membership of BOA
Motion: to proceed with Board Of Appeals advertise. Re membership of BOA. Motion made by Commissioner Walbrecker and seconded by Commissioner Rosensteel. Vote: 4-0 in favor 

  • Habitat for Humanity Donation-- how much and where it's coming from.

  • Flush tax: determining business application Commissioner Walbrecker suggested that EBPA can help get it out to the businesses. 

  • Water committee appointment

Commissioner O'Neil: thanks to Dave, dispense w/election ordinance over the next 2-3 meetings.

Public Comments

Pat Boyle: follow ups: when I left office streets parking meter head increasing price and time limits, Exxon and McDonald's should have been done this summer, small restroom still not put up, all purpose field must get started, re water hook up his well to use for his business, "get with it", changed to 2 meetings a month. Something wrong with running these meetings.

With no further Business, the November 1, 2004 Town Meeting was adjourned at 11:08 p.m.