ROCK HALL TOWN COUNCIL MEETING REPORT UTILITIES BOARD & WORKSHOP

December 3, 2018

Present: Jones, Kuechler, Andrews, Edwards, Nesspor (Fithian, Porter)

UTILITIES BOARD

ACTIONS TAKEN BY VOTE TO:

Approve agenda
Approve October 29 meeting minutes (3-1)
Accept proposal from Tyler Technologies for utilities billing software
Increase utilities fee by 30%

ACTION TAKEN WITHOUT VOTE TO:

Keep the Town’s utilities hook-up fee at $12,000

OTHER:

Date for public hearing on utilities fee increase not yet set
Council will amend FY2019 Town budget after new utilities fee is finalized
Fithian will provide “pretty extensive” list to Council for needed repairs and purchases associated with utilities, including pumps, bar screen, water plant filters, etc.
Fithian to address 10-year-old drainage problem associated with pipe from Liberty Street that runs under water plant into Harbor Woods

WORKSHOP

ACTIONS TAKEN BY VOTE TO:

Approve agenda
Approve October 29 meeting minutes (3-1)
Have Town partner at no cost with Discovery Education to publicize “Operation Prevention,” a program to prevent opioid abuse and addiction

OTHER:

Suzanne Einstein reported changes in organizational structure for Pirates and Wenches event
Nesspor asked Einstein to have Greater Rock Hall Business Association propose new financial structure to make tram operations, maintenance, and repairsself-sustaining from fares, advertising, and contributions instead of Town taxpayers
Christmas decorating contest will be funded by Osprey Capital (Dave May), with prizes set at $300 to winner, $200 second, and $100 third; displays assisted by Town equipment are not eligible
Town to apply for USDA grant to repair/replace Municipal Building roof

Compiled by Gren Whitman

FULL MEETING CAN BE VIEWED @

https://5bbb19a5c6aad.streamlock.net/vod/_definst_/mp4:rock_hall_md/2018-12-03_6735256_UtilitiesWorkshop_Meeting.mp4/playlist.m3u8?wowzaplaystart=0

 

One response to “ROCK HALL TOWN COUNCIL MEETING REPORT UTILITIES BOARD & WORKSHOP”

  1. Gren Whitman says :

    ON COUNCIL’S VOTE TO INCREASE UTILITIES RATE
    Because of concerns raised by a local bank regarding Rock Hall’s critically weak financial status, the Town Manager advised the Town Council on December 3 to increase the utilities rate by 30% immediately.
    The Council voted to do so, and will conduct a public hearing ASAP.
    If enacted, a 30% rate increase will add an estimated +/- $200,000 to the Town coffers over the next four quarters.
    The $200,000 will be likely be spent on such immediate needs as pumps, filters, bar screen, etc.; the Town Manager agreed to provide the Council with a prioritized list of infrastructure needs, which he described as “pretty extensive.”
    Once the Council OKs a rate increase, the budget for FY19 will need to be amended. This will be the opportunity for the public and Council to decide how to spend the additional $200,000 AND to decide how to reduce or eliminate non-essential, discretionary spending.
    (On a related subject, according to the Town Manager, a USDA grant will be sought to repair the Municipal Building’s roof.)
    IN MY OPINION, a utilities fee increase is regressive; an increase in the Town’s property tax would be more equitable for Town taxpayers, but a property tax increase cannot be enacted before the next budget cycle, which begins July 1.
    ALSO IN MY OPINION, what the Mayor ought to do, but probably won’t, is scratch all his big spending plans for New Year’s Eve and instead start 2019 by belt tightening.
    THANKS to Councilman Nesspor for inviting GRHBA to propose how to restructure the trams’ finances (raise fare, solicit advertising, ask for contributions from businesses, etc.) to reduce or eliminate the burden on taxpayers.
    THANKS to Dave May (Osprey Capital) for donating $600 for Xmas decorating contest (with displays assisted by Town equipment not eligible for prizes).

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