ROCK HALL TOWN COUNCIL 6/6/18 MEETING REPORT
Present: Jones, Kuechler, Andrews, Nesspor (Fithian, Loller, Porter)
ACTIONS TAKEN BY VOTE TO:
- Approve meeting agenda
- Approve April 2 meeting minutes (1 opposed)
ACTIONS TAKEN WITHOUT VOTE TO:
- Sewer allocation report not ready, but no changes from previous month
- Approve meeting agenda
- Approve April 2 minutes (1 opposed)
- Approve amendment to January 29 workshop minutes
- Approve amendment to February 26 workshop minutes
Most of the 2-hour meeting was taken up by a discussion of the proposed FY 2019 budget. At least 17 motions were made to amend certain line items. Councilwoman Andrews made many excellent suggestions to fund essential services and to cut non-essential services – most of these were ignored by the Council.
- Andrews made a motion to move $48,685 of unspecified miscellaneous expense to the Public Safety budget to fund a third full-time police officer; no one seconded this motion, so it died.
- Andrews made a motion to reduce the proposed $34,000 P/T Municipal Bldg (janitorial) Salary amount (51 hrs/wk at @12.79/hr) back to the 2018 budgeted amount of $12,979 (16 hrs/wk). After much discussion of the need for additional hours for Civic Center bathroom cleanup and trash removal during the 6 months of warm weather, the Council voted 2-1-1 (Andrews against, Jones abstained because the employee in question is his uncle) to fund this position for 30 hrs/wk all year, at $20,000. Payroll costs and benefits amounts will be adjusted to reflect the new salary cost.
- After Andrews questioned the proposed increase in Legal Counsel fees from $15,000 to $25,000, the Council voted to cap these expenditures at $20,000.
- Andrews moved to reduce proposed combined Mayor expenses and Mayor and Council expenses to $7,500. Council voted unanimously to reduce those expenses to $10,000 (from $12,000).
- Andrews moved to advertise for another full-time police officer; motion died.
- Motion was made and passed to move the $14,000 saved from the janitorial position to the P/T Police Patrol Salary line item, increasing this proposed amount from $7,000 to $21,000.
- The town manager will look into cancelling the new patrol car that has been ordered.
- Motion was made to put the RH app in service, requiring an increase of $1,000 in hosting fees in the Website Payment line item; motion passed with 1 abstention (Andrews).
- Andrews moved to reduce the proposed Parks & Rec Expense from $17,000 to $6,000, because there was $6,000 of Parks & Rec Income in 2018. Motion died.
- The proposed FY2019 budget includes 3% salary increases across the board. Andrews moved to instead fund salary increases for the 3 or 4 employees who have gone the longest without an increase. Motion died.
Several citizens spoke at the end of the meeting. One urged the Council to institute a modest $0.05 property tax increase to fund essential services; Rock Hall property taxes have not been increased in 20 years. Another urged the Council not to ignore Rock Hall’s lack of monetary reserves and the dangerously high proportion of debt and high cost of debt repayment. Another urged the Council and mayor to start running the town like responsible business owners.
The meeting adjourned at 9:05pm.
Compiled by Gren Whitman and Jan Plotczyk
FULL MEETING CAN BE VIEWED @
(Please note: sound quality of the recording may be bad; water damage was sustained at the municipal building several weeks ago, and the mayor has not gotten around to checking the microphones yet.)