17 May 2021 | Approved: June 14, 2021
The unprecedented emergency health crisis poses a challenge to all – individually and collectively. To protect ourselves and do our part to impede the spread of the coronavirus and COVID-19 disease, the regular meeting of the Town Council was held remotely via ZOOM Video Conferencing. The meeting was recorded.
- Ordinance 2021-05 (PDF) – Adopting the Town Budget for the Fiscal Year July 1, 2021 Through June 30, 2022 and Levying and Ad Valorem Tax on all Assessable Property Within the Town of Washington Grove. Mayor Compton called the Public Hearing to order at 7:31 p.m. He asked for public comment. There was none. The hearing was closed at 7:32 p.m.
- Ordinance 2021-07 (PDF) – Setting Fees and Expiration of Archeological Permits and Retitling of Article I. Mayor Compton called the Public Hearing to order at 7:32 p.m. He asked for public comment. There was none. The hearing was closed at 7:33 p.m.
Town Council Meeting
Mayor John Compton called the meeting of the Town Council to order at 7:33 p.m. In attendance were Councilors Darrell Anderson, David Cosson, Christine Dibble, Patty Klein, Barbara Raimondo and Gray Yachup. Also in attendance were Treasurer Mary Challstrom and Treasurer-designate Jean Moyer, HPC Chair Bob Booher, and residents Georgette Cole, Larry French, John Hutchinson, Robert Johnson, and Joan Mahaffey.
New Council Members Sworn In
Mayor Compton gave the oath of office to new Town Council members Christine Dibble and Barbara Raimondo.
Approval of Agenda
Patty Klein moved to approve the agenda. Darrell Anderson seconded the motion. Patty Klein asked for clarity concerning the appearance on the agenda of the bike path work group appointments, since it was decided in in April to defer consideration until June. Mayor Compton explained this was to report information on activity between meetings and remind all of this decision. Vote: 6-0, approved.
There were no public appearances.
Approval of Minutes
Christine Dibble moved to approve the April 12, 2021 minutes of the Town Council. Patty Klein seconded the motion.
The Town Council engaged in a very lengthy discussion touching on the following:
- How to handle a large number of personal appearances at a Town Council meeting.
- Requirements of the Maryland Open Meetings Act.
- Purpose of meeting minutes.
- Use of audio or video recordings, and/or transcripts of these, as official minutes, and whether the Town Council should adopt them.
- Public access to written statements submitted at any time to the Mayor and Town Council, which are routinely retained and filed as part of the public record.
- Including written personal appearance statements as be part of the Minutes.
- Potentially making all written testimony and other statements submitted to the Town Council available on the website.
- Adding footnotes in the Minutes that explain how to access written statements submitted at a Town Council meeting.
Christine Dibble moved to approve language amendments to the April 12th Town Council meeting minutes. Darrell Anderson suggested adding a statement to the Minutes that “any documents pertaining to meeting minutes can be obtained at the Town Office.” After further discussion, the motion was restated by Gray Yachup to approve adding a footnote with that statement to the April 12, 2021 Minutes and to approve as amended. Darrell Anderson seconded motion.
Vote: In favor (Yachup, Anderson); Opposed (Cosson, Klein); Abstained (Councilors Dibble and Raimondo). Mayor Compton broke the tie voting in favor.
Vote 3-2, Minutes approved as amended.
Gray Yachup left the meeting at 8:40 p.m.
Darrell Anderson moved acceptance of the April 2021 Treasurer’s Report (PDF). Patty Klein seconded the motion. Vote: 6-0, accepted.
Treasurer Mary Challstrom asked if there were questions concerning documents she provided the Town Council explaining the Town’s sources of revenue and funds accounts.
Bike Path Work Group Appointments – The MCDOT facilities planning study for the Washington Grove Connector and Crabbs Branch – Amity Way extension presented an interim briefing to the Montgomery County Planning Board on April 29 that included support for the Brown Street connection option. Mayor Compton was told that the MCDOT study was approximately one-third complete, and would be moving into a 12-month design and engineering phase with projected construction likely in FY24. Mayor Compton addressed timing for appointment of the Bike Path Work Group discussed at previous Council meetings. The work group should be specifically tasked to work with the MCDOT study to support the Town’s interests in design of the multiuser pathway (serving as liaison for the Town Council). The work group could also be asked to undertake review of issues and impacts of a bikeway on the Town and report to the Town Council and Mayor. Appointments to the Work Group are expected following the discussion on bikeway issues already scheduled for the June Town Council meeting.
Barbara Raimondo noted the Town Council’s position in support of the Brown Street connection (also favored by MCDOT in the briefing to the Planning Board) had been communicated to the County by letter, and questioned whether re-examination of connection options should be pursued as part of the group’s work. The Town Council agreed to defer further discussion until June.
Additional concern was raised over the impacts on the Town and surrounding community if construction of the Crabbs Branch Way extension to Amity Drive was recommended. It was suggested to schedule extra time at the June or a future Town Council meeting to complete this discussion.
- American Rescue Plan Funds – Mayor Compton reported the Town has access to money from the American Rescue Plan. He asked the Council to consider ways to use the funds. Stormwater management came to many members’ minds.
- Election of Mayor Pro-Tempore – Dave Cosson moved to approve the appointment of Darrell Anderson as Mayor Pro-Tempore. Patty Klein seconded the motion. Vote: 5-0.
- Confirm Mayor’s Appointment of Sara Jean Moyer as Treasurer effective 1 July 2021 – Darrell Anderson moved to approve the Mayor’s appointment of Sara Jean Moyer as Town Treasurer. Dave Cosson seconded the motion. Vote: 5-0.
- Change of Signers for all Town Financial Accounts – Patty Klein moved to remove retiring Treasurer Mary Challstrom as a signer, and add Sara Jean Moyer as a signer on all Town accounts effective 1 July 2021. Dave Cosson seconded the motion. Vote: 5-0.
- Orientation and Ethics Training Resources for the Town Council – Mary Challstrom referenced her earlier e-mail about links to Maryland Municipal League training for new Council members. She explained how helpful the League is and encouraged all to visit their website.
- Open Meetings Act Training for Council, Mayor, Planning Commission and Historic Preservation Commission – Mayor Compton asked all members to take the training within the next few months. The Town Clerk will provide a link.
- Council Responsibilities – Mayor Compton reported Council members have agreed to undertake the following responsibilities:
Darrell Anderson: Mayor Pro-Tempore, Historic Preservation Commission, Maintenance, Maryland Municipal League
Dave Cosson: Contracts, Lighting, Woods, Washington Grove Conservation Park
Christine Dibble: Dog Park, Planning Commission, Playgrounds, Website and Communications
Patty Klein: Border Committee, Emergency Preparedness and Safety
Barbara Raimondo: Forestry & Beautification, McCathran Hall, Racial an Social Equity Committee, Shady Grove Crossing
Gray Yachup: Maple Lake, Montgomery Municipal Cable, Recreation, Roads and Walkways
Ordinance 2021-05 Adopting the Town Budget FY 2022 – Adoption
Darrell Anderson moved to adopt Ordinance 2021-05 (PDF) . Dave Cosson seconded the motion. There was no discussion. Vote: 5-0.
Ordinance 2021-07 Setting Fees and Expiration of Archeological Permits and Retitling of Article I – Discussion and Possible Adoption
Dave Cosson moved to approve Ordinance 2021-07 (PDF). Darrell Anderson seconded the motion. There was no discussion. Vote: 5-0.
Opening RFP for Road Work – Discussion and Award of Contract
Mayor Compton reported that bids were received from A.B. Veirs and Sons and from Ross Contracting. Each bid, however, was a single total cost for the total work in the RFP. The RFP failed to make clear the intention of the Town Council that bids would be broken down as separate dollar amounts for each of the three work areas. After some discussion about process and best practices for hiring, the Mayor asked the Town Clerk to call the two companies and ask them to revise their bids to include an amount for each work area. A contract will be considered for awarding at the June Town Council meeting.
Re-opening McCathran Hall
In view of the relaxation in restrictions on gatherings per Montgomery County’s health orders (expected to be rescinded entirely May 28), Mayor Compton proposed that McCathran Hall be re-opened to rentals and event use under the County’s guidelines for safe use by vaccinated and unvaccinated persons. There was a discussion about the following:
- Adequate ventilation by requiring windows and doors to remain open.
- Masks requirements for unvaccinated individuals.
- Limits on occupancy.
- Requiring a responsible person (renter or host) to certify participants are vaccinated.
- The need for a revised liability statement and updated Hall use form.
- Requiring renters of the Hall to wipe down and disinfect bathrooms upon departure.
- Summer In the Parks – Emily Cavey reported the Montgomery County guidelines for camps are extensive and will be difficult for the Town volunteers to manage. She cited directives requiring assigned pods (groups) of campers, a County Health Department approved COVID plan, and masks as a few potential obstacles. Because of the number of unknowns and not feeling confident enough to run the camp this year, it is unlikely Summer In The Parks will be held this year.
Action: It was agreed by consensus that McCathran Hall would be re-opened to public use after May 31st, or when a revised use and liability form is prepared, whichever comes later. Dave Cosson will review and suggest language for the revised form, and the Town Attorney will be asked to review it.
There was none.
Robert Johnson has agreed to step into the role of our FEMA representative, a role previously filled by Charlie Challstrom.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 10:20 p.m.
Kathryn L. Lehman