8 May 2010 | Approved: 14 May 2011
Mayor Darrell Anderson welcomed everyone and called the 75th Annual Town Meeting to order at 8:05 p.m. There were over 50 residents in attendance.
Mayor Anderson asked if there were any additions to the agenda. He added a discussion about General Delivery at the end. A streetlight update and Maintenance Committee report were also added. It was moved and seconded to approve the agenda. The vote was unanimous.
The Reverend Judy Young delivered the invocation and asked for a moment of silence.
Approval of Minutes
It was moved that the Annual Town Meeting minutes of May 9, 2009 be approved. The motion was seconded and passed.
Mayor Anderson reported that it had been an interesting and active year and that was good. He went on to say that our Town did not suffer from lethargy which is what sets us apart from most Towns. He said that, even in these challenging times, our Town remains strong. He noted the following municipal issues, both internal and external, that the Town faces for the coming year.
- Legacy Open Space Field Litigation (trial set for October 2010)
- Properties known as Casey 6 & 7 (mandatory referral in May 2010)
- Deer Park Bridge (currently in limbo)
- InterCounty Connector Highway (sight and sound remediation)
- Gaithersburg West Master Plan
- Roberts Oxygen (sale of part of the property)
- Road Repairs
- Maintaining Town parks
The Mayor thanked Town employees Treasurer Mary Challstrom, Maintenance Supervisor James Fletcher and Town Clerk Kathy Lehman for taking care of the Town. He announced that, after 24 years of employment, Jim Fletcher would be retiring on June 30, 2010. There will be a Town party to honor Jim on June 5, 2010.
Mayor Anderson thanked the Town volunteers and stated that they are all amazing. He mentioned by name, members of the Town Council. He also thanked the members of the
Annual Planning Commission and the Historic Preservation Commission. The Mayor presented Charlie Challstrom with a parting gift of John Deere accessories as a small token of appreciation for his service on the Town Council.
The Mayor spoke about all of the other volunteers who beautify our Town, organize activities and help take care of our Town. He specifically mentioned the following committees;
- The Recreation Committee – Missy Yachup & Mary Kay Du Bois, co-chairs
- The Lake Committee – John Hutchinson “Hutch”, chair
- The Forestry & Beautification Committee – Audrey Maskery & Carol Uhlendorf, co-chairs
- The Summer In The Parks Coordinators – Emily Cavey & Samantha Beres
- The Mousetrap Concert Series Coordinators – Ann Briggs & Alice Negin
- The Audit Committee – Ernie Kawasaki, John Klinger, Carolyn Sanford
- Memorials – David Stopak
- The McCathran Hall Needs Committee – Ann Briggs
He also mentioned and thanked the following Boards;
- The Board of Supervisors of Elections – Mary Kay DuBois, chair
- The Board of Zoning Appeals – Marc Hansen, chair
- The Fire Board – He announced that two (2) new members would be appointed at the May 17th meeting.
He mentioned and thanked the following;
- The Woods Group – Ann Briggs, chair
- Website Coordinator Bill Saar
- Woodward Park Coordinator – Bill Robertson
- The Trash Brigade
- The Drain Uncloggers
There was as hearty round of applause for all of the Town volunteers.
Mayor Anderson announced that this year’s Outstanding Volunteer of the Year Award will go to Craig English for his work on and dedication to the Annual Labor Day Events for over 20 years.
Community Liaison Group Report: Kathie Evans gave a brief history of this group. She mentioned the other Town residents who participated; Joe Clark, Paula Puglisi and Judy Young. She explained that this group is committed to the idea of neighbors helping neighbors. The local group is called Neighbor Corp and their goal is to educate people in need about County resources and how to take advantage of them. She urged those present to get involved and said those interested should give her a call.
Election Results: The election results were announced by the Town Clerk. For the record:
- Darrell Anderson » 128 votes
- *Charlie Challstrom » 1 vote
- *Eric Gleason 1 » vote
For Town Council
- Marida Hines » 80 votes
- Joli McCathran » 68 votes
- Bill Robertson » 96 votes
(* = Write-in)
Discussion of Town Council Reports
Mayor Anderson asked for questions.
Kathie Evans asked about the recommendations from the Maintenance Committee. Mayor Anderson explained that they would be discussed later in the meeting.
John Compton asked about the decrease in the road fund money. He asked about a plan.
Charlie Challstrom explained that the Town took a 95% cut in our State Highway User Revenues. Major Town road work will be delayed but inexpensive things like graveling were proceeding as planned. He stated that the Town will try to preserve our roads as they are and look into the possibility of partnering with other municipalities to cut costs.
There were no further questions about the Council Reports.
Action on FY 2010 Budget and Tax Rates
Mayor Anderson stated that significant reductions in income had left a gap of $55,000. The proposed budget allows the dwelling tax to remain the same at $224 per household and raises the tax rate to $.201 per $100 of assessed valuation. Georgette Cole moved to adopt the budget as recommended by the Council. Joe Clark seconded the motion. There was a brief discussion about legal expenses for the Legacy Open Space Field litigation. There was a lengthy discussion about the $35K placeholder for the salary of the Maintenance Supervisor which resulted in the following motion:
Kathie Evans moved to change the Town Maintenance Lead salary from $35,042 to $45,042. Jane Seegal seconded the motion. The discussion included Federal dollars vs. local dollars, benefits (not included in total), uncertainty of the figure, last year’s tax rate vs. this year’s, increases, low-balling the figure, austerity, realistic numbers and budget shifting. The question was called. Vote: 22 For; 42 Against. The motion failed.
David Neumann moved to change Item 2C-1.13 Repaving from $25K to $0 and item 1Z-1.0 Road Paving from $23,123 to $0. Kathie Evans seconded the motion. There was a discussion about the high cost of road repairs and the importance of continuing our routine patching.
Vote: 5 For; Majority Against. The motion failed.
There was another discussion about projections, deficit budgets, Town reserves (ours is higher than recommended), use of reserves, anticipated cash balance and perceived inadequacy of the proposed raise in the tax rate. The question was called. Vote: Majority For; 1 Against. The budget was adopted as presented. Joe Clark moved to accept the proposed tax rate increase of $.02. Eric Gleason seconded the motion. David Neumann said that this wasn’t enough of a raise and asked to amend the original motion by another $.02.
David Neumann moved to accept a tax rate increase of $.04. Paula Puglisi seconded the motion. There was another discussion about inflation, assessments, staying with the original motion and raising taxes again next year by another $.02. The question was called and the vote was taken on the amendment. Vote: 38 For; 33 Against. The amendment passed.
It was moved and seconded to set the new tax at $.04 per $100 assessed valuation, making the new rate $.2201. Vote: 43 For; 23 Against. The motion passed.
Special Town Meeting Request – Mayor Anderson addressed a request for a Special Town Meeting concerning the legal expenses associated with the LOS litigation. Residents wanted to know how much it would cost to finish out the trial. Mayor Anderson reported that he spoke with the attorneys and they presented a soft number ranging from $220,000 – $275,000. There was a discussion about appeals, the cost of buying the field and the process for approval of the expenditure.
Kathie Evans moved to call a Special Town Meeting if the cost would exceed the amount presented by the lawyers. There was no second. The motion was withdrawn.
Mayor Anderson took this moment before the Planning Commission report to recognize Chairman John McClelland, who resigned in January, for his many years of service to the Town. There was a round of applause for Mr. McClelland.
Planning Commission Report
Chairman Bob Evans recognized each member by name. He also thanked Missy Yachup for her years of service as both secretary and alternate. He explained that for the purpose of fairness and integrity, the Commission made some important changes;
- Contracted a Town Code Inspector who will be responsible for two (2) inspections; a foundation and a final.
- Raised the fees to cover expenses.
- Implemented a Boundary Survey requirement for major building permit applications.
There was a brief discussion about the purpose of the Town Code Inspector and County vs. Town inspections.
Historic Preservation Commission Report
Chairman Bob Booher thanked the HPC members for their service. He explained the term “mansionization” and the on-going joint PC/HPC meetings. He also mentioned the Town Master Plan and its contents about mansionization. He encouraged residents to attend the June 16th Town Forum on Mansionization. He also encouraged residents to come to the HPC for an early review when planning house projects. Bob thanked retiring member Ed Mroczka for his service on the Commission.
This year’s Historic Preservation Commission Award went to Howard Harary and Wendy Weisbard for their renovations at 119 Grove Avenue.
Maintenance Committee Report
Councilman Joe Clark introduced the members and summarized their mission statement. In terms of the Maintenance Supervisor’s job, the Committee looked at what to add, what to remove and what the future may hold. He went on to discuss the priorities for maintenance, contracting out the mowing, treating the lake like a swimming pool (in terms of maintenance), eliminating brush pickup by Town Maintenance and developing a long-range landscaping plan for common areas, entrances, Town Hall etc… He thanked the Committee for their service.
Charlie Challstrom reviewed the current lighting situation and the issues that come along with change. He also brought up an Energy Grant for which the Town will apply at some point in this process. There was a discussion about types of lighting. Charlie encouraged residents to look at the induction light bulb on Chestnut Road across from the Town Office and to provide feedback about this bulb.
With no further new business, the meeting was adjourned at 9:45 p.m.