Board of County Commissioners' Actions: Commissioners Visit Playcamps, Discuss Ordinances, Revise Policies

Board of County Commissioners' Actions
Commissioners Visit Playcamps, Discuss Ordinances, Revise Policies
Tuesday, July 28, 2009

In its regular meeting on July 28th, The Washington County Board of County Commissioners conducted its annual visit to summer campers in programs offered by the Recreation Department, at Marty Snook Park in Halfway. Over 400 children ages 5 through 12 participated from camps located through out the county. The Recreation Department holds camps in parks and other facilities in Smithsburg, Boonsboro, Williamsport, Halfway, Maugansville, and Hancock.
A workshop session was conducted on County Ordinances regulating Animal Control and Control of Noxious Weeds. The Animal Control Ordinance was last revised in 2001 and experience with administering the Ordinance and the Animal Control Authority revealed certain deficiencies that needed to be remedied. Changes to definitions include the creation of a "Potentially Vicious and Dangerous Animal" designation, definition of "Secure Enclosure", and several others. The comprehensive update includes changes to duties and organization of the Animal Control Authority, licensing of dogs and kennels, pet shop license requirements, kennel standards, requirements of animal owners, enforcement, criminal penalties and control of rabies. Changes to the Ordinance will be taken to public hearing prior to adoption.
The Board discussed changes in the County's Weed Control Ordinance, to further clarify definitions and language in the document. Among items discussed were allowing modification of the current 18-inch height limitations for grasses and weeds if certain requirements were met. Undeveloped land of three acres or more, forested land, land utilizing environmental management practices for storm water or pest control , or to reduce pollutants to the Chesapeake Bay under applicable state or federal regulations, and land with buffers equal to minimum building restriction setback lines would be exempt. The County Attorney's Office will develop a draft Ordinance reflecting the proposed changes and submit the document to the Commissioners for further review.
The Commissioners approved the results of the bid award to Washington Gas Energy Services of Timonium, Maryland for Natural Gas Supply Services to County buildings for a three-year period. The Price per Therm for Year 1 is $0.6930; Year 2 is $0.8680; and Year 3 is $0.9250 with Year 1 beginning July 1, 2009. Compared to the previous contract, the new bid award is expected to save approximately $385,000 over the three-year period.
Changes to the County's Debt Management and Reserve Policies were approved.
The major Debt Management policy changes included: Rating agency recommendation for a ceiling on trend ratios for debt affordability in addition to peer targets. Capitalized interest policy was added regarding time frame and material thresholds on construction in process for debt financed projects. The financing team term from three to five years was revised to reduce bid and service costs. The major reserve policy changes included a clarification that 17% was the reserve target and not the peer group rate. Changing equity to net assets reflected an accounting terminology change with the Government Accounting Standards Board and the Highway reserve was reduced from 30% to 25%. Clarification was made on supplemental cash reserve use and total cash accounting. Elimination of budget transfers from the reserve policy to a separate policy was included. The Office of Budget and Finance reviews financial policies on an annual basis to see if the need exists to update existing policies due to regulatory, additional internal control procedures placed into effect during the course of the year, or other issues requiring a change.
The Commissioners denied an Application for Rezoning by Martin Marietta Materials, Inc. The applicant requested that the property, 77.08 acres located on the south side of Maryland Route 68, west of its intersection with Bottom Road be rezoned from Agricultural (Rural) to Agricultural (Rural) with an Industrial, Mineral Overlay. The Planning Commission had recommended approval of the request with certain conditions. A motion to deny was approved on a 3-2 vote with Commissioners Barr and Kercheval dissenting. The County Attorney's Office will prepare a draft Decision and Findings of Fact to be presented for formal approval at a later date.
The Board approved advance funding of approximately $250,000 from the FY 2011 Pavement Maintenance Program into the FY 2010 Pavement Maintenance Program for the Broadfording Road Pavement Maintenance Improvement Project. Joe Kroboth, Director of Public Works reported that a proposed private development project would like to move forward prior to the FY 2011 schedule. As such, the developers have asked the County to consider advancing the pavement maintenance work to coincide with the adjacent private development activity. The existing pavement is in poor condition and is scheduled for patching and overlay in FY 2011 by Washington County.
The Commissioners heard County Attorney John Martirano's report that Judge Dana Moylan has resigned from the Washington County Ethics Committee and that a replacement would be needed.
Advertisement of a Budget Analyst position in the Office of Budget and Finance was approved by the Board.