WALKERSVILLE BURGESS & COMMISSIONERS TOWN MEETING
February 27, 2013
The Town meeting of the Walkersville Burgess & Commissioners was called to order on Wednesday, February 27, 2013, at 7:30 p.m. Those in attendance included Burgess Ralph Whitmore, Commissioners Gary Baker, Donald Schildt, Chad Weddle, Russell Winch, and Debbie Zimmerman, Town Manager Gloria Long Rollins, Planning and Zoning Administrator Susan Hauver, Public Works Director Bob DePaola, TFC Nick Farioli, County Commissioner Liaison David Dunn, 25 citizens, and Kelsi Loos of the Frederick News-Post.
The meeting was called to order with the Pledge of Allegiance and prayer offered by Commissioner Chad Weddle.
Commissioner Debbie Zimmerman made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Russell Winch, to approve both the Town meeting minutes and the Closed Legal meeting minutes of February 13, 2013. The motion passed by a vote of 5-0.
2. BOY SCOUT TROOP 1070 PRESENTATION TO THE TOWN
Mr. Mark Jeffrey, representing Troop 1070, reviewed their acquisition of a beautiful bronze Boy Scout emblem with the "BE PREPARED" motto. He presented the artifact to the Town to display and protect. Commissioner Russell Winch will investigate a location of prominence for the item.
3. CONSTANT YIELD TAX RATE DISCUSSION
Ms. Rollins reviewed the Memorandum from the Department of Assessments and Taxation regarding the 2013/14 Constant Yield Tax Rate Exemption. The letter certified that the jurisdiction has been exempted from the provisions of §6-308 of the Tax-Property Article. The Town’s constant yield tax rate is 0.1702 and the Town’s current tax rate is 0.17, less than the constant yield.
4. TRAFFIC STUDY DISCUSSION
Commissioner Chad Weddle noted that although the study indicates that a four-way stop is not warranted, he is still interested in mitigating the Main Street residents’ concerns. Burgess Whitmore noted that the cobblestones in Burkittsville do slow people down, but building issues have developed for the nearby residences due to the vibrations. Commissioner Russell Winch reported that his discussions with the engineering firm revealed that cobblestones are not recommended, but introduced the idea of sidewalks that project further into the road causing people to slow down. Commissioner Debbie Zimmerman expressed her concerns regarding the fire trucks and rescue vehicles and snow plows traversing cobblestones or being forced to slow down for speed humps. She also noted the Maryland State Police Resident Troopers’ evaluation of the intersection. Commissioner Donald Schildt expressed his support for no changes to the intersection. Commissioner Russell Winch noted that the mitigation measures would probably cause more widespread complaints than are currently received. Burgess Whitmore noted that cars are not speeding that much and we paid all that money for a study that said exactly what he knew it would say and it’s all over.
Mr. Charles Combs, 82 Sherwood Drive, who works at Galaxy Control Systems, noted four accidents as people from the Galaxy parking lot have exited onto Frederick Street. He and Burgess Whitmore engaged in a terse exchange regarding the loss of life that could occur should no traffic slowing measures be taken.
5. LIBRARY DISCUSSION
Burgess Whitmore started the discussion with some history regarding the Frederick County CIP, which included design in 2009 and construction in 2010 of a new library in the Walkersville area. As the economy tanked, the project was pushed back a year and back a year and is now scheduled for design 2016 and construction 2017. Burgess Whitmore noted that after a suggestion from his daughter, he began to survey the community as to the feasibility of expanding the current location, rather than construction of the new facility. He noted that he found support for the idea and expressed it to the County Commissioners.
Karen Lewns, a library employee and Town resident, noted that the current library serves a large region of the County, and had 52,000 visitors in the period of July 1 through December 31, 2012. She said the Walkersville library would be the same model as Brunswick’s new library. Discussion regarding viability of building at the current location, the adequacy of a 1,000 sq. ft. expansion, the close proximity to four schools ensued. Ms. Lewns noted the convenience of having a spacious library with plenty of seating and equipment. She encouraged a visit to the Brunswick branch.
Mary Ann Brodie-Ennis, 118 Challedon, Drive, emoted that we have needed expansion of services at the current library forever. Bigger libraries offer lots more services for our citizens.
Somebody shouted from the audience asking Burgess Whitmore exactly where he is proposing the space for an expansion to take place. Burgess Whitmore contends there is plenty of land to keep the new library at the current location.
Commissioner Chad Weddle emotionally retorted that he is sick and tired of the Town of Walkersville being treated like second class citizens. He wants them to build something somewhere now, not in 2016.
Pat Kelly, President of the Friends of the Walkersville Library, reviewed the functions of a modern day library. It includes computers and technology that students and adults use, it houses reading groups from preschool to high school students, home school users rely on library and services for educating their students, story times are huge, and Friends of the library group sponsors a yearly book sale to enhance the summer read program. The library serves a large area, not just the Walkersville town. She noted our library will be the same footprint as the Brunswick library.
Commissioner Russell Winch noted that Walkersville gave the land to the County to build the library and everyone up here is for the library.
Sheila Thompson, resident of the Walkersville area, went door to door in the 70’s to get a library. We have outgrown the current site. We need parking, think of the future, build for future needs. It serves a wider population than just the schools. The new location is great and would serve us better for the future.
Burgess Whitmore asked for a show of hands for supporting the new location for the new library. Unanimous show of hands in the room.
Another employee of the library reported that the current building is 2,000 sq. ft and the new building will be 15,000 sq. ft. She noted challenging parking situation at the current site and can’t envision the new building fitting on the current site.
Commissioner Donald Schildt made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Russell Winch, to send a letter to Frederick County Commissioners notifying them of the consensus and support for the new library at the location donated to the County by the Town. The motion passed by a vote of 5-0.
Burgess Whitmore and Commissioner Donald Schildt also encouraged citizens to contact the County Commissioners with their views as to the new library.
Former Burgess Orley Bourland noted that in the 20 years that he was Burgess and through his successors, this County has given us nothing. He reiterated we need a new, up to date library. He pointed out that the Burgess and Commissioners are the negotiators with the County and it is their responsibility to represent the interests of the citizens and they are not doing their jobs if they neglect to fight for the citizens.
6. AWARD ON-CALL ENGINEERING CONTRACT
Commissioner Chad Weddle made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Gary Baker, to award the contract to RK&K in light of their past performance and competitive rates, per staff recommendation. The motion passed by a vote of 5-0.
7. ACCOUNTS PAYABLE
Commissioner Russell Winch made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Gary Baker, to pay the attached bills. The motion passed by a vote of 5-0.
8. COMMISSIONERS’ CONCERNS
Commissioner Donald Schildt reported that the middle school is starting their annual mud driveway from the side of the school onto Frederick Street. Staff will place barriers to the homemade entrance as per previous resolution of the problem, thereby nipping the practice in the bud before Spring.
Commissioner Donald Schildt reported on an article he read in the paper regarding the Town of Brunswick considering an Adopt-A-Park program, whereby local individuals volunteer to be responsible for monitoring and maintaining the beauty of Town parks. He noted if we could implement this we may be able to free up Town staff for other endeavors.
Commissioner Russell Winch made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Gary Baker, to hold a closed legal meeting to discuss property acquisition. The motion passed by a vote of 5-0.
Commissioner Russell Winch reported on progress in moving forward on the Walkersville Economic Development Commission. He and Commissioner Gary Baker are working on contacting businesses and implementing some tips received from the County Economic Development Commission.
Ms. Rollins notified commissioners that Dr. Terry Alban is scheduled to attend the April 24th Town meeting for a presentation and a question and answer period for citizens.
9. CITIZENS’ QUESTIONS AND CONCERNS
George Rudy, formerly of Walkersville, noted that there are quite a few deficiencies in the traffic study. He also notified commissioners that he is working on Rt. 194 issues with SHA. He also introduced Mr. Ed Kruse who is doing a comparison of cancer cases within a 3 mile radius of Ft. Detrick with results from Middletown and Walkersville.
Commissioner Chad Weddle made a motion, seconded by Commissioner Russell Winch, to get a legal opinion from the Town Attorney as to the Town operating the fire and rescue companies. The motion passed by a vote of 5-0.
Former Burgess Orley Bourland reported that there is a $10,000 pot of unclaimed money being held by the State in an account opened by the Heritage Preservation Society. Burgess Whitmore noted that the Town had given the group three payments of $25,000, for a total of $75,000, still unaccounted for. Commissioner Weddle will continue to work on claiming the funds that are to revert to the Town of Walkersville when the organization terminated.
POLICE REPORT – TFC Nick Farioli introduced himself to citizens who had not yet met him. He also noted that the rash of auto break-ins has been decreasing and reminded everyone to lock their cars.
Commissioner Chad Weddle read the statement and content of the closed legal meeting held on February 13, 2012 after the Town meeting.
Burgess Whitmore introduced Frederick County Liaison David Dunn and directed citizens to contact him with issues regarding the County and he would relay the information to the County Commissioners.
The meeting adjourned at 8:55 p.m.
Gloria Long Rollins