Town of Brookeville
Semi-Annual Town Meeting Minutes
May 16, 2016
Present: Katherine Farquhar, Buck Bartley, and Sue Daley
Quorum present? Yes
Present during all or portions of the meeting:
Academy Manager Andrea Scanlon, Treasurer Susan Johnson, and Town Clerk Cate McDonald.
Town Residents: David Yinger, Janet Taylor, Andy & MaryKay Spagnolo, Chris Scanlon, Sandy & Duane Heiler, Micole Haris, Chris Haris, Harry & Karen Montgomery, Barbara Ray, Debbie Wagner, Don DeWall, Iris Stratton, Jorge Chacon, Maggie Kay, Marti Andress, Michael Acierno, Bruce & Toni Evans, Stefan Syski, Garrett Anderson, Jennifer Roy, Fred Teal
Others: Leszek Syszki, Teri Hogan GONews
Meeting called to order at 7:00 p.m. by Commissioner President Farquhar.
Den 4 of Cub Scout Pack 434 gave a presentation on the Town’s recycling program and presented the Academy Manager with a plaque as a thank you for using the Academy for the Den meetings.
Call-out to new Brookeville Residents who arrived in 2015-16: : No new Residents were in attendance at this point in the meeting; new Residents will be introduced at the Town picnic on September 11.
Remembrances of Chad and Michael who move from Town this year and Pat Seibel who died recently.
Self-Introductions by Residents
Thank you and Recognition of Town Staff, Elected Officials, and Committee volunteers.
Commissioner Farquhar gave a PowerPoint presentation:
• The Town Commissioners continue to monitor the progress of the ByPass. At least one Commissioner is at every SHA meeting in Baltimore. The Commissioner stay in contact with SHA officials
• The Beyond the ByPass Taskforce (BTBTF), which has been decommissioned, has worked on a grant for new Town signage; a walkability study; suggested ways to improve communication; and started the process for a charrette.
• Streets and Sidewalks: WSSC has made the necessary repairs to the eastern portion of Market St.
CPH Corp has finished the test borings of the Water, North, South, and Market Streets.
The sidewalk in front of 209 Market has been repaired
Streetlight bulbs that are burnt out are replaced with energy efficient LED bulbs
CPH will be performing a water run off study
The Commissioners will work with the BPC regarding changing the gravel roads to tar & chip.
• Academy: The wooden lamp post is still being reconstructed; and automatic door opener will be install at the side entrance to the Academy; the fire alarm has been replaced; Academy Manager is researching alternative roof materials; the ash tree will be removed on Friday; rental revenue is down from last year – there were 73 rentals at this point last year, 50 rentals so far this year.
• Schoolhouse: work is still being performed to remediate the mold and to prevent further deterioration; a dehumidification system was installed; there is a proposed plan for use of the Schoolhouse that will be discussed at the June Commissioners Meeting.
• Town Services: The main way information is communicated is via the Brookeville Times; the Town hosts 2 parties annually – picnic and holiday party; 2 Town meeting a year in addition to the monthly Commissioners meeting.
The Town recently switched trash and recycle contractors. The new contractor is B&B, which is less expensive and provides a wheeled recycle bin
Commissioners Bartley and Daley gave an update on the ByPass:
Commissioners Bartley and Daley (with Farquhar) have been regularly attending the monthly SHA Partner meeting in Baltimore. At this point, the SHA has abandoned the alternative plan to close Brookeville Road. The design (Alternative 7M) that was publically presented in September 2015 is the SHA’s working plan. Commissioner Bartley shared that he feels the SHA has come to the correct conclusion to keep Brookeville Road open. He feels keeping Brookeville Road open is the better plan, from a circulation standpoint, and he gives his full support for this ByPass design. He will be attending the SHA meeting on Wednesday and will get the current status of the ByPass. Anticipated start date is late fall 2016 / early spring 2017. The Mandatory Referral meeting for the ByPass is scheduled for June 16 at 1:30pm. The meeting will be held M-NCPP building in Silver Spring in the auditorium. More information about the meeting will be shared to Town Residents as the details become available.
Question: Karen Montgomery wants to know what will be done concerning east / west traffic on Market Street. Commissioner Bartley stated the SHA traffic survey shows approximately 900 cars go east / west on Market Street daily and that the number most likely will not change.
Karen Montgomery stated the ByPass is not a true ByPass. Commissioner Bartley: The Town’s recent traffic survey showed approximately 700 cars go east / west on Market Street and the Town is working on strategies to mitigate east / west traffic: narrow Market Street, more speed bumps to name a few.
The Commissioners requested that at least 1 person from each household attend the Mandatory Referral meeting on June 16th. It is important the MoCo Planning Commission see that the whole Town supports the ByPass. Not everyone will get to speak but your presence is enough to show support.
Comment from Debbie Wagner: she supports the ByPass but the Brookeville Road connection is making her life hell. Traffic goes faster than it ever has and she wants Market Street to have holes to make the traffic go slower. She does not want the traffic to go by her house.
The Commissioners advised that any push back from the Town to SHA to have Brookeville Road closed will likely stall the ByPass project for several years.
The BPC is actively working on the traffic from North to South (the ByPass) but is looking at the post ByPass era and ways to mitigate traffic through Town (east / west traffic).
Janet Taylor’s question to BPC Chair: It is her understanding that Georgia north of the bridge, just past Yinger’s driveway, will be torn out. BPC Chair: That is the current plan. Mrs. Taylor is not sure why the road will be torn out since Georgia Ave is an historic road.
Michael Acierno said the Town might want to consider a speed camera, which might make a significant impact. The Town would need to work with SHA and MoCo. Other traffic calming measures to consider: speed bumps, traffic cameras, lower speed limits, and many other options. Force the traffic to lower their speed on the east / west route
Commissioner Bartley: People will drive a reasonable speed per MoCo; MoCo monitored the traffic and found most people drive 30-35mph from Brighton Dam Road onto Market St. The Town can look at lowering the speed limit after the ByPass.
Karen Montgomery is not in favor of speed bumps – they are too noisy; need to consider other traffic calming measures
Chris Scanlon states that MoCo has mandatory standards for speed bumps for emergency access vehicles that the Town would need to follow.
Brookeville Planning Commission: Chris Scanlon, BPC Chair, gave an update: the BPC ‘s focus this past years has been on the traditional: issuing permits and the ByPass. This coming year, the focus will be on the Comprehensive Plan. BPC has received feedback from Residents via the BTBTF. The Comprehensive Plan has largely been left unchanged in the past 22 years since it was created. Some areas of the Comprehensive Plan do need to be updates. He shared what characteristics make a great neighborhood from an article he recently read: accessibility, a variety of residential and commercial uses, interesting design and architecture, encourages human contact and social activities, promotes community involvement and a safe environment; environmentally and economic stable. He felt this is a good synopsis and Brookeville is doing a great job in these areas.
3 main items to be updated in the Comprehensive Plan:
1 – Transportation (bicycles, pedestrians, and cars) and streetscapes (traffic calming measures; sidewalks)
2- Environmental stewardship
3 – Community facilities (Schoolhouse and Academy uses)
Stefan Syski: regarding the Charrette this fall –everyone has an idea how to calm traffic. The idea of a charrette is to discuss, hopefully with experts, proposed solutions to traffic calming measures.
Charrette is set for Saturday, September 17th.
If there are any other issues Town Residents would like to discuss, please contact a member of the BPC.
Fred Teal: He is having a get together at his home May 16th at 7:30pm to discuss a community solar field. The State recently passed a bill stating solar panels does not need to be on your house. It is called the Community Solar Bill. Anyone interested in the Brookeville Solar Group, please contact Fred.
The Brookeville Times: (Cate McDonald, Editor) Anyone in Town is welcomed and encouraged to send articles and items of interested to be published. The Brookeville Times is the main source of communication to Town Residents.
Draft Town Budget FY 2017: Commissioner Bartley and Treasurer Susan Johnson
Question from Barbara Ray: Professional Services – $40K. This figure is really high; when do the Commissioners expect this amount to be diminished? It should down in the next 2-3 years. This years, the town should spend between $25K – $30K for professional services and will have a surplus in the budget.
Income to the Town has increased because income tax has increased.
The Town is facing a tax deficit from the State, $274K, for years 2010-2014. The State plans a “reallocation” process to recoup this money. However, State has not yet justified how they determined the amount the Town owes. The Town most likely will need to use a lawyer to help with the tax issues and the lawyer’s fees will come from Professional Services.
Question from Stefan Syski: Property Tax annual revenue is estimated to be $50K. Has that income gone up over the years?
Property Tax is usually in the range of $40K
Town income taxes were increased for 2 years., and the need for this higher rate (.05/$100 assessed value) will be reviewed at the end of calendar year 2016.
Can’t compare Property Tax from year to year due to the housing collapse.
Will get input regarding the Town property tax increase later this year at the interim Town Meeting.
Question from Harry Montgomery: $20K for furniture. The furniture is good, why do we need $20K for new furniture? Seems to him that furniture can be eliminated from the budget.
The Town is trying to attract renters. Mr. Montgomery said he does not want to attract new renters. Mrs. Montgomery said the Academy should not be a source of revenue, it should be used as a community facility. Too much effort is being made to commercialize the Academy. There used to be clubs that met her for little money. She thinks it is wrong to rent out the Academy.
Question from Fred Teal: necessary repairs. What is in the budget for repairs to Eastern Market Street? Commissioner Bartley said the amount in the upcoming budget for all the Town streets is $10K. This is not for repaving with tar & chip. The Town is still needs to work on a design, getting a bid ready, applying for a HAWP. By the time all that is done, it will be next FY. The Town is investigating tar & chip for the gravel roads. Only road work in the coming months will be pothole repair.
Question from Harry Montgomery: he has seen a lot of surveying on Water Street recently. I thought that was for topography and water flow. Is the surveying suspended for a little bit?
The Town is working on ways to divert the water.
This FY, only pothole repairs on Water and North Streets and patching on Market Street will occur. The Town is waiting for the report from CPH before any more road work is done. Then the Town will work on funding sources.
One of issues to be mitigated is water flowing onto the end of Water Street to change direction.
Mr. Montgomery: to make the Town walkable again, narrow streets would be a plus. Would make cars find another route through Town. Try to get the MoCo to pay for some of this.
BPC will investigate streetscapes.
Question: What is the Wynne Tax thing? The Wynne case has to do with Maryland Residents that earned income in another State and were taxed in Maryland. The Town and State collected excess income tax. Maryland has to repay the overtaxed residents. Collection will start in November 2016 and will be in 9 incremental payments of $….. (Check with Susan)
Town Priorities for FY 2016-2017 (Commissioners)
By-Pass & High Street Sidewalk: Continue to monitor and advocate for progress on By-Pass by attending hearings/meetings, contacting officials, meeting with attorney, updating and hearing Town Residents. Take necessary actions to ensure ByPass proceeds per the approved plan.
Monitor the planning/construction by SHA of sidewalk on the West side of High Street.
1. Brookeville Academy:
i. Exterior: Continue work on major repairs (specs underway for replacement roof). Upgrade the Academy Lawn (request for design concept bids is drafted) and improve signage for Academy Parking at Salem Church.
ii. Interior: Improve appeal of this space by upgrading furnishings (our chairs, tables, furniture date from 1999), addressing acoustics issues in the Lecture Hall. Explore with caterer what equipment upgrades are needed.
iii. Income: Produce professional marketing materials and expand advertising to attract additional rental events such as weddings, celebrations, seminars, meetings, workshops. Improve Academy page on the Town Website; design & install Town of Brookeville exhibit at the Academy.
2. Schoolhouse: Goal: Stabilize the Schoolhouse for public access/use.
i. Interior: Complete the mold remediation, then refresh the interior.
ii. Exterior: Apply for HAWP and complete the re-grading of the site to route water away from foundation. Replace rotted sections of exterior, particularly at the doorways and the north façade.
iii. A proposal has been received from Sandra Heiler to develop an interpretation project for the Schoolhouse and North Street. Now vetted by the Beyond the ByPass Task Force & Brookeville Planning Commission, the proposal will be presented to the Commissioners at 7 PM on June 13, before their monthly meeting. Residents are urged to learn about this proposed use of the Schoolhouse.
Town Streets & Sidewalks:
• Complete necessary repairs to Market Street from High St. intersection to Brighton Dam Road. These include: patching potholes, cracks & the 2nd speed bump.
• Complete necessary annual repairs to Water and North Streets, with attention as needed to South Street.
• Review and act on engineering input regarding drainage systems, storm-water run-off and erosion on Water, North & E. Market Streets, and make decisions about repaving all of these “town streets.” Develop specs, get permits and start construction by summer 2017. It is likely that significant funds will be spent in FY 2017 & 2018 for these purposes. Seek matching funds/grants.
• Monitor the pre-construction process for the High Street sidewalk.
• Remain engaged in SHA/Park & Planning discussions & design for sidewalk and streetscape on North Market Street.
• Services: Monitor the transition to B&B Refuse for Waste/Recycling. Continued services as in the past: snow & leaf removal, periodic cleanups, essential road maintenance & tree care, maintenance/upkeep of town properties, sidewalks, plantings.
Question to Town Residents: Do you want a dumpster this year? Not currently in the budget. Yes to dumpster and the amount will be added to the budget.
• Communications: The Brookeville Times remains the high priority means of communication within Town. A Social Media strategy and the possibility of announcement board at the Academy Lawn are under consideration. (Twitter, FaceBook). We plan to upgrade the website.
Garrett Anderson: next door app.
Maggie Kay: we need to get serious about our messages to MoCo and the State and get a unified message out. Why this is such a great Historic Town. You can live a modern life in an historic setting.
• Social: The 2 annual Town parties (Holiday and Picnic) will continue. There are 2 Town Meetings per year: Annual in May, Interim in October-November.
Any other priorities?
Sandy Heiler: we are affected by the potholes on eastern Market Street. Commissioner Bartley met with the contractor today about getting the potholes on Eastern Market fixed.
Debbie Wagner: the Academy furniture is usable, even if it is 20 years old. Do not spend my tax money on furniture.
Barbara Ray: what would the new furniture look like? She would like to see the new furniture before it is purchased.
The table and chairs are heavy, are hard to move, and scratch and cause damage to the wood floors. It makes it harder to rent out the Academy with the existing furniture.
Karen Montgomery suggests we tear the building down and build a bigger home.
There was a lengthy discussion regarding the Academy and if it would be self-sustaining as a rental facility without the Town’s support. There was a suggestion for the Academy to have its own budget and see what the revenue would be.
Academy Manager: the Town’s office space is here, phones, archives, storage – the Town would need to pay for these items if there was no Academy. The Academy is paid for and host functions like this Town Meeting.
The Academy was renovated in 1996 – 20 years ago. There was not regular maintenance plan until 5 years ago. The Town will need to pay to replace the roof, heating weather we rent the building or not.
The estimate for the new roof is $50K
Jorge Chacon: to attract more renters, use some of the funds for a new kitchen instead of furniture.
Questions: how much revenue has the Academy generated over the past 5 years?
Estimates: 7K, 8K, 12K, 10K for the last 4 years
This topic is not on the Charrette for September but it is a good topic to discuss: what improvements would you like to see to the building? How to show off Brookeville history? Need input from the town to build a Town consensus. Do we charge more for rentals? There needs a bigger Town discussion to make choices. The Commissioners make sure there are funds available to make repairs so the building does not deteriorate.
Jorge Chacon; The Academy is a nice gathering place for the Town – there should be more events scheduled for the Town. There are maybe 10 times per years that the Town uses the Academy. There are 2 events a year – Picnic and Holiday Party. There should be a monthly gathering for Town events.
The Town Clerk said Residents need to let the Town know what events the might want to attend. At the recent movie night, no Town Residents showed up.
Many Town Residents use the Academy for significant events.
The Academy is used by community groups and Town Residents have the use of the Academy when they request it.
The use of the Academy will be discussed at a future meeting after more information is gathered.
The Commissioners are looking at outside conditions of the Academy and moving forward on plans to upgrade the lawn facilities. The kitchen may or may not get a new microwave but will get a caterer’s input before the kitchen is upgraded.
Garrett Anderson: once the ByPass is complete, rentals of the Academy will increase.
Sidewalk: at the recent SHA sidewalk meeting there was talk of a sidewalk ending at SUMC
Question: What is the net revenue of a rental?
Cleaners come before rental; rental cost vary depending on length, day of the week, how many rooms.
Town Residents pay $150 flat fee for a rental for the entire building. Cleaning cost $150 each cleaning
The meeting adjourned at 8:45p.m.
The video produced in 1988 by Bill Wagner was shown.