10 June 2005 | Approved: 12 May 2007
Mayor John Compton called the 70th annual Town Meeting to order at 8:10 p.m. Barbara Leng delivered the invocation. There were over 50 residents in attendance.
Approval of Minutes
Ann Briggs moved that the Annual Town Meeting minutes of June 11, 2005 be approved. Barbara Hawk seconded the motion. It passed unanimously.
Report from Town Forester Dan Landry
Mayor Compton introduced Dan Landry. Dan addressed the objectives of the Urban Tree Management Program and took questions from residents. Their concerns were about invasive ivy & vines growing on trees, maintenance of the east & west woods, gypsy moths, stump grinding, wildlife, and kudzu.
Mayor Compton thanked members of the Town Council, Planning Commission, Historic Preservation Commission, Board of Zoning Appeals, Board of Elections, Fire Board, and the Audit Committee. The Mayor talked about the importance of volunteer service and how much it benefits the Town. The Mayor specifically noted the following accomplishments by Grove volunteers:
- Bill Saar – Website Coordinator
- Vicki Erhart – Streetlight Czarina
- The Trash Brigade – specifically Dan Tutas and Jeanie Myers
- The Recreation Committee – specifically Missy Yachup and Mary Kay DuBois
- The Lake Committee – specifically John Hutchinson and Dodie Tippens
- The Forestry & Beautification Committee – specifically Carol Uhlendorf, Georgette Cole, Jeanie Myers, Audrey Maskery
- Summer In The Parks coordinators – specifically Tami Williams, Terry Strother, Carolyn Rapkievian, Missy Yachup
- Neighborhood Watch coordinators – Keith Gillis, Leigh Partington
- Mousetrap Concert Series coordinators – Ann Briggs, Alice Negin
- McCathran Hall Needs Committee – Ann Briggs, Chair
- Deer Park Bridge Committee – Ann Briggs, Chair
Mayor Compton also thanked Town employees Treasurer Mary Challstrom, Maintenance Supervisor James Fletcher and Town Clerk Kathryn Lehman for taking care of the Town.
Mayor Compton encouraged residents, old and new, to continue the Town’s strong volunteer tradition.
Mayor Compton said that although costs for certain services were rising, the state of the Town was good. He commented on the many issues and projects from the past year including:; WSSC water main replacement on Brown St., road repairs, tree work, the new beach at Maple Lake, basketball court improvements, the excellent condition of the tennis courts, McCathran Hall improvements, and the many community and cultural events that took place. Looking forward, Mayor Compton mentioned plans for the coming year including;: hiring a Code Enforcement Officer, the Master Plan revision, the annexation of the Cator/Harrison property (17050 Railroad Street), and paying close attention to the Deer Park Bridge issue. Mayor Compton also reviewed and updated the Casey Field (LOS) development issue. The Mayor explained that the Legacy Open Space field was saved from being a school site but that he still felt that Montgomery County could decide to place something else on this site without any input from the Town. He explained that the condemnation suit is on-going and its progress depends on the progress of the site plan. He also stated that a review of the site plan by M-NCPPC could happen in the fall.
Mayor’s Service Award
Mayor Compton announced that the recipient of this year’s award was Ann K. Briggs. The Mayor made note of all of Ms. Briggs’ efforts in Town and she was thanked with a round of applause. Ann was presented with a framed print.
The Town Clerk announced the election results: John G. Compton was unanimously elected Mayor and Darrell Anderson received 70 votes and Kathie Evans received 65 votes, for Town Council.
For the Record, the announcement should have been more specific stating the following:
- John G. Compton – 65 votes
- David Neumann – 3 votes
- Charlie Challstrom – 1 vote
- Dennis Opfermann – 1 vote
- No Confidence – 1 vote
Discussion of Town Council Reports
Chris Kirtz – Has Toll Brothers made an offer yet? (to the Town for purchase of the Casey property).
Mayor Compton – No offer has been made and all communications are going through the attorneys.
David Neumann – Darrell Anderson’s report says that the Town Survey is only monumenting block corners and changes of directions. Are there plans to do the streets and Town rights of way?
Darrell Anderson – No
Ann Briggs – There are huge piles of brush being left out for Town Maintenance to pick up. She noted that our trash contractor would take brush if it was properly prepared. She reminded residents to do this rather than relying on Town Maintenance to do it.
Mayor Compton – The Mayor reminded residents that brush piles should be the size of a pick up truck or less.
Ann Briggs – Could Town Maintenance leave a form on top of a pile that violated the rules?
Jim Fletcher – Town Maintenance took 3,000 lbs. of brush to the transfer station during the current week and 28,000 lbs. during the last four (4) months.
A discussion about ways to help with the brush pick up ensued. Ideas included;: stopping the Town pick up altogether, putting a full-page reminder in the Town Bulletin, putting a
time frame e.g. “as of August 1st the Town will not pick up brush”, and clarifying our policy.
Ed Roberts – Shouldn’t a motion be put forth to change the policy?
Mayor Compton – Not at the Town Meeting. This should be done at a regular meeting of the Town Council.
Ned Helme – Do we have the authority to put speed humps on Railroad Street? Both exiting Washington Grove by car and crossing Railroad St. on foot have become very dangerous.
Mayor Compton – The Town does not have the authority, but Montgomery County does. In the past, there have always been objections to this idea by the Department of Public Works and Transportation. Perhaps it is time to ask again.
Jim Fletcher – Maybe Montgomery County could provide more adequate signage.
Action on FY2007 Budget & Tax Rates
Mayor Compton announced that the increase in the dwelling tax was directly related to the increase in our refuse and recycling contract. He also noted that $.202 is not a constant yield tax rate, assessments are up, and electricity is up as well. Barbara Hawk asked about the $5,000 in property acquisition and Mayor Compton explained that the Town has put money in the budget to acquire the last privately owned piece of land located in Woodward Park. There were questions about the legal expenses. Mayor Compton explained that the Town Attorney’s expenses were up because the Town needed much more legal advice this year and because he was engaged in fighting violations as well. Ann Briggs moved to approve the FY2007 budget and tax rate. Charlie Challstrom seconded the motion. Discussion…
Satoshi Amagai – It looks like the Town reserve will be zero in a few years.
Mayor Compton – No it won’t. We usually under spend but this year we won’t.
Darrell Anderson – Remember, that we did cut some programs in order to get the $84K reserve number.
Leila Keese – It looks like summer help for Town Maintenance was cut. How could we restore it?
Mary Challstrom – We aren’t down any hours. It’s just a question of where is appears in the budget.
John Klinger – If we do get a deal on the Legacy Open Space property, where is that in the budget?
Mayor Compton – This would be figured out at a Special Town Meeting.
Keith Gillis – Couldn’t we save money by changing our street lights?
Mayor Compton – Changing all of the fixtures would be very costly.
Charlie Challstrom – Lighting has changed a lot in the last few years. Perhaps the street light committee should start up again.
Mary Challstrom – Our street lights are un-metered. We pay whether they work or not.
Sarah Steel – How much does a speed hump cost?
Mary Challstrom – $2,000.00 each.
The question was called.
The FY2007 budget and tax rate was passed unanimously.
Planning Commission Report
Chairman John McClelland reported that the Mayor said it all and asked Charlie Challstrom for an update on the Master Plan revisions. Charlie stated that there were nine (9) focus groups set up with each group having a Planning Commission liaison. Charlie also explained that there would be work sessions with open participation and discussion in the fall.
Historic Preservation Commission Report
Chairman Bob Booher thanked Bruce Rothrock for his service and Bill Saar for this website help. He also thanked Missy Yachup and Mary Challstrom for their help with the Town Archives. Bob explained that the contributing structure photo project was being organized and would be completed in the coming year. The goal is to do this type of thing every 10 years or so. Bob called for volunteer help with the historic preservation part of the Master Plan and with the potential problem of "Mansionization" in Town. The Historic Preservation Award for this year was presented to George Paine (15 The Circle) for his front porch renovation/restoration.
There was no new business for discussion.
The meeting was adjourned at 11:05 p.m.