Town of Brookeville
Commissioners Meeting Minutes
March 7, 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: Barbara Ray, Michael Acierno
Meeting called to order at 7:08 p.m. by Commissioner President Farquhar
ROUTINE TOWN BUSINESS:
Minutes: The February Commissioners Meeting Minutes were approved as edited.
Financial: The budget was emailed to the Commissioner prior to the meeting.
Treasurer Susan Johnson gave a budget update: Academy revenue is down and is lower than expected.
Question to Andrea Scanlon regarding Line item 6147 Maintenance – other: Do you think we will spend the funds in this FY? Probably – will be spending 15K on the fire alarm, 3K for automatic door, 1k for trees maintenance, maybe a new microwave for kitchen.
Question regarding Line item 6231 Road Maintenance – 16K has been budgeted. Road maintenance has not happened yet but will be happening late Spring / early Summer.
Question regarding Line item 6185 Professional Services – 40K. Money will be spent for lawyers, landscape architect, etc.
Commissioner Bartley would like to see the profit and loss report on the Town’s website every month so Town Residents can see where the money is being spent. After a discussion, it was agreed that a quarterly update will loaded onto the website. The Treasurer will prepare a quarterly report for the Town Clerk to upload onto the website.
Treasurer Susan Johnson advised the Commissioners that the Town needs to be starting on the FY 2016-17 budget now to preview in May at the Annual Town Meeting.
The date for the Annual Town Meeting was set for May 16th at 7:00pm. The Town Commissioners will hold their May meeting May 9th as scheduled.
There was a discussion of the Wynne Case and the financial impact to the Town. The Town should get a letter this month with the money the Town will owe. The amount could be $4200.00 total per the Town Auditor. Collection will start in November 2016 and will be in 9 incremental payments.
There was a lengthy discussion regarding “Net Transfer of Returns & Revenues from Subdivision Allocations”
The Town Commissioners are working with the Town’s attorney (Jody Kline of Miller Miller Canby), MML (Jim Peck), and other local municipalities (especially Dan Prats of Laytonsville). They are considering a joint lawsuit with other Towns. According to the State Comptroller, the Town was overpaid $274,029 between 2010 and 2014. The Town will need to repay the State. Collections are to start in February 2019, after all Wynne payments have been made. Within MoCo, 8 municipalities were overpaid and 14 were underpaid. The State will not release the data about how the over / under payments were calculated (i.e. what the street addresses are that may or may not have been included in the Town of Brookeville count of individual taxpayers) due to IRS confidentiality rules related to tax returns. The State expects the Town to have faith they made the right calculations about the amount the Town owes.
Michael Acierno presented his thoughts about this topic and its impact on the Town: the Town is being held responsible for a State Mistake. Paying back to the State will potentially cause Residents to pay increased taxes, reduction / elimination of services, and delays in infrastructure repairs. When put into perspective of the $40.4B State budget, a 15% cut would be $6B.???
Commissioner Bartley said we need to find the right lawyer to fight this.
Commissioner Farquhar said she is in contact with MML and other municipalities and there has been suggestion of a class action suit against the State.
The numbers do not make sense. The Treasurer will go back and pull the budget and tax payment information and find the variation. It will show the historical record of payment to the Town.
The Constant Yield Tax rate was discussed.
The Town’s tax rate is due to MoCo by May 4th. The Commissioners set the Town’s tax rate to 0.20 for 2 years starting last fiscal year. They will revisit the rate in 2017. Treasurer Susan Johnson will forward the confirmation that the BV tax rate is 0.20/$100 of assessed value.
Academy Update: 4-5 new rentals this month. There is a decrease in non-Resident rentals. Last year, there was 31 rentals; so far this year – 20.
There was a discussion about how to market the Academy for rentals and upgrading the interior, with no decisions.
The Academy Manager shared her proposal for rental rate increase.
Base Rental rate (5 hours event)
Friday – Saturday: Dining Room $300 $325
Lecture Hall $300 $325
Both Rooms $550 $600
Sunday – Holidays: Dining Room $250 $275
Lecture Hall $250 $275
Both Rooms $450 $500
Monday – Thursday: Dining Room $175 $200
Lecture Hall $175 $200
Both Rooms $300 $350
Any Day Town Residents $150 $150
The Commissioners unanimously approved the rate increase.
Stationary: New stationary and envelopes have been received. Still waiting on the new digital logos to order business cards and name tags.
Trash & Recycle: The Town Clerk received 2 proposals for trash & recycle collection:
B&B Refuse and AA Refuse. The Commissioners reviewed the proposals and requested modifications to the quote from B&B (one weekly trash pick-up vs. twice weekly). The Town Clerk will request a revised quote and email to the Commissioners for a decision.
Town Election: The Commissioners would like to include a note from the Election Supervisor in the upcoming newsletter regarding the election. The Election Commission will be Marti Andress, Carmen Harding, and Jeff Johnson (special appointment by Commissioners for this election cycle). The hours for the election are 3-7 PM per the Town Charter.
BYPASS & BEYOND:
Members of Beyond the Bypass Taskforce (BTBTF) will attend tomorrows BPC to give an outline of what the BTBTF has been working on. After that, the BTBTF will be decommissioned.
The Town will be hosting an SHA invitation only meeting for interested stakeholders to review the newly revealed Bypass design. The main focus of the meeting will be the impact on historical concerns of the Alternative 8 design. Commissioner Farquhar will invite the BPC Chair to attend.
There was a discussion if Town Residents should be surveyed about which design they support.
Academy Grounds Academy Manager had 2 companies come out to give estimate regarding the trimming of tress at the Academy: Care of Trees and Pogo. The 2 companies had vastly different ideas about the trees and what needs to be done so she will get a third company to come out for an estimate.
Care of Trees quote: $2,395
Pogo: will send quote
ADA door for the Academy: 2 options for the door opener
1 – The existing push bar to be “dogged” down to exit bar
2- Electric Strike (access controlled device for doors) for an extra $425 which will electronically enable the operator to turned the automatic door opener on /off via a switch.
The Academy Manager said it would be easier for renters to use the switch so it would be worth the extra money.
2 out of 3 Commissioners voted to approve the electric striker.
Spring Clean-up: The Town will not host a Spring Clean Up as it has in the past due to lack of interest.
The Town Clerk suggested awarding SSL (Student Service Hours) and will take the class through MoCo to be able to sign off on SSL hours for the Town
Bulk Trash: the Town will consider this option again this year. Once service is established with new trash collector, the Town Clerk will get rates.
The hill in front of the Madison House was discussed. Last year, Susan Johnson had someone weed the hill for about $500 per month. She will ask the same person to give a quote for the hill again this year. She will also set up an appointment for this person to take a look at the Academy grounds and gave an estimate / design proposal
Academy Interior: the Town needs to restart the process to find someone to look at the interior and give a quote for an updated interior. Commissioner Farquhar will talk with Heritage Montgomery and other historic sites like us for recommendations.
The Town Clerk will contact A.I.R to take a look at the lawn. A.I.R. was recommended by Barbara Ray for organic, natural lawn care.
Schoolhouse: No further repairs have been performed
At tomorrow’s BPC meeting, Sandy Heiler will outline her proposed use for the Schoolhouse, which was endorsed by the BTBTF. If the BPC approves, they will send their recommendations to the Commissioners.
Public Works (sidewalks, streets, lights)
• CPH – no update; Commissioner Bartley will have an update at the next Commissioners Meeting.
• Town street lights: Commissioner Bartley will go to Electrician Dennis Bogan with the lower quote and Bogan to match the rate.
• 308 Market / Pepco issue: The Treasurer will do more research for a fair rate to reimburse the Resident.
• “Slow Children at Play” sign for lower North Street: in the permit process
Heritage Days is June 25 &26. Sandy Heiler had requested to open the Schoolhouse to preview her proposed interpretive program. Since the Schoolhouse’s mold issue is not fully resolved yet, the Commissioners are opting not to have the Town participate in Heritage Days this year.
The meeting adjourned at 9:26p.m.
Cate McDonald, Town Clerk