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14 October 2013 | Approved: 11 November 2013

Mayor Cole called the regular meeting of the Town Council to order at 7:32 p.m. In attendance were Audrey Maskery, Joli McCathran, Carolyn Rapkievian, Bill Robertson, and Greg Silber. Also present were Treasurer Mary Challstrom, Planning Commission Chair Charlie Challstrom and residents Ann Briggs, John Hutchinson, Judy Mroczka, Bruce Rothrock and property owner Donna Shriner.

Approval of Agenda

Bill Robertson moved, Audrey Maskery seconded that the agenda be approved. Mayor Cole added a review of the Special Town Meeting minutes and accompanying resolution to the Deer Park Bridge updates under the Mayor’s Announcements. Vote: 5-0, as amended.

Public Appearances

There were no public appearances.

Approval of Minutes

Bill Robertson moved, Joli McCathran seconded that the meeting minutes for September 9, 2013 be approved. Vote: 5-0.

Treasurer’s Report

  • Bill Robertson moved, Joli McCathran seconded that the Treasurer’s Report for September 2013 be accepted. Treasurer Mary Challstrom fielded question about McCathran Hall repairs, lifeguard salaries and salaries for Summer In The Parks. Vote: 5-0.
  • Joli McCathran moved, Audrey Maskery seconded the motion to transfer $10,000 from savings to checking in order to pay bills. Vote: 5-0.
  • Treasurers Report 2013-10 pdf

Deer in Washington Grove – Discussion

Mayor Cole cited an e-mail from Kristin Perry officially asking that the Council be made aware of residents’ concern about deer which was the reason for the appearance of this topic on the agenda. However, no residents were present for this agenda item.
Bruce Rothrock said this topic as an agenda item was not disseminated well enough for good attendance. He went on to say that some people feel that the Town government is closed to the topic of reducing the herd because of past experiences.
Ann Briggs reminded everyone about the Woods Group Meeting on October 26th at 9:30AM and stated that this topic will be discussed at that meeting as well. She is hoping that this will open the door to a broader discussion. The Woods Group will bring information to the Council and put something in the Town Bulletin.
Bruce Rothrock stated that the Woods Group information doesn’t get disseminated well enough either.
Charlie Challstrom stated that the Town has a communication problem. He went on to say that it is an "us vs. them" issue concerning those who favor the Yahoo Group as an appropriate place for disseminating official information and those who do not. He stated that those responsible for the problem were in the Council Room.

Further discussion about communication to residents ensued.

Carolyn Rapkievian stated that she thought the Town did a pretty good job disseminating information and cited Shelley Winkler’s e-mail about the concussion grenades as an example. She went on to talk about some research that she was doing about deer management in other municipalities and suggested that the Town set up a deer task force to study the issue. She then volunteered to head the task force.
Audrey Maskery expressed the concern that if there were managed hunts all around us, the Town would end up with the ones that got away.
A discussion followed concerning over population of deer, destruction of our woods by deer browse, shooting deer, talking to other local municipalities, public vs. private land and consulting with the Department of Natural Resources.

Council Reports

  • Greg Silber moved, Audrey Maskery seconded that the September Council Reports be approved for posting on the Town website. A few corrections were made.
  • Carolyn Rapkievian reported that Judy Mroczka and John Hutchinson were attending to discuss the rule of no dogs at the lake. Hutch explained that the Lake Committee recently had a work session that focused solely on this topic. The current regulations are contradictory to the actions of residents and the Committee would like to fix this problem. There was a discussion about the Town process for making regulations that govern Town areas, ordinances, Montgomery County leash requirements, the use of chemicals, water testing, consultations with the Town Attorney and insurance carrier and the fact that the Town is governed by the Montgomery County Animal Control laws.
  • Joli McCathran spoke about clearing of Political Hill, an historical landmark in Wade Park that is covered by wisteria and other non-native invasive plants. The current plan is to clear the area. Audrey will discuss the plan with the residents in the area. After that, Town Maintenance will clear the area of invasives and more suitable screening material will be planted. Work is expected to commence during the winter 2013-14 season.
  • The Clerk brought up the issue of the snow removal contract and the need for clarity. There was confusion about the length of the contract and about when the contractor would be called to plow snow. This came about because of the new proposal for in-house snow removal. There was a discussion about notifying the current contractor, prices, back-up plan in the event that Steve Werts is ill or our equipment breaks down and the pay-scale for night work. Greg Silber, Steve Werts and Bill Robertson will arrange to meet soon and Greg will call Lion Contractors (our current contractor) and R.J. Landscaping (a potential backup contractor who submitted a bid last year). Vote: 5-0, as amended.
  • Town Council Reports – October 2013 pdf

Mayor’s Announcements

  • Washington Grove Meadow Park – Mayor Cole reported that the final Operation and Use Plan had been received. She is concerned about language referencing ownership and has asked the Town Attorney to review the document. M-NCPPC Senior Management will review the plan on October 22nd. Our M-NCPPC Park Manager, Mike Jones, will meet with residents at 7:30 tomorrow morning to discuss the new placement of the kiosk.
  • Deer Park Bridge Update – The Mayor and Council reviewed and made corrections to the minutes from the Special Town Meeting held on October 8, 2013.
  • Joli McCathran moved, Greg Silber seconded that the Special Town Meeting minutes be approved for posting on the Town website. Vote: 5-0, as amended.
  • Carolyn Rapkievian moved to introduce Resolution No. 2013-08; Resolution Regarding National Gateway Clearance Improvement Project (3). Audrey Maskery seconded the motion. A discussion ensued. A few corrections in grammar and formatting were made. Vote: 5-0.
  • Joli McCathran moved, Carolyn Rapkievian seconded that Resolution No. 2013-08 be adopted as amended. Vote: 5-0.

New Business

  • Ann Briggs asked about the topographic survey that CSX committed to giving the Town. Mayor Cole said that she would call Chip Dobson, the CSX Director of Strategic Operations with whom we’ve been working, and remind him we still want the survey data.
  • Carolyn Rapkievian asked about the upcoming Ethics Training Class. Mayor Cole asked for a head count. The training will take place on Friday, October 18 from 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM.
  • Joli McCathran announced that two (2) trees in Woodward Park; a Virginia Pine and a Black Jack Oak, are now registered as State Champion Trees as part of the Maryland Big Tree Program.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:28 p.m.

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