January 12, 2015 Commissioners Meeting Minutes

Town of Brookeville

Commissioners Meeting Minutes

Monday January 12 2015     

7-8 PM

Present:  Katherine Farquhar, Sue Daley, Buck Bartley, Susan Johnson, Andrea Scanlon, Diane Teague



  • Membership criteria, mission:  clarify  & have ready to discuss at February meeting
  • Discussion:  Enforcement of zoning code & HWP conditions/restrictions. HPC rulings are not always consistent.  The following have been identified as contributing factors:  property location (visibility from street), whether it is a contributing resource and the make-up of the Historic Preservation Commission. The character of the commission changes over time as membership changes.
  • Need to work with BPC to create method for communicating HPC requirements for work in historic district. Need to re-start the process of ensuring that every new household has a copy of the regulations and understands the requirements of a historical district.


  • December Meeting was cancelled.  Next meeting will be January 20, 10-12 PM in Baltimore.  Sue will try to attend.
  • 3 “Walk the ByPass” tours are now completed including “Jingle the ByPass”.
  • State budget deficit may impact bypass funding. Karen Montgomery has communicated an urgent need for town residents to write the governor’s office in support of the project.  Susan Johnson has tried however the new governor’s transition is not complete and it isn’t clear where to send such letters.  Katherine Farquhar suggests a target of 10-15 letters to the governor’s office including one from each commissioner.  Karen Montgomery suggested asking Quinn Anderson, father of Garrett Anderson at 2 High St. to write also. Buck Bartley will contact Aimee Zhang about real vs. perceived threats to the project.
  • Katherine Farquhar was invited by the Mayor of Clifton VA to visit their town and discuss issues in common to both municipalities. She will be planning a trip in mid-February and looking for interested residents to accompany her. Reason for this is it’s a similar sized historic town with a main road running through it and simply talking with the mayor and maybe some townspeople can give us ideas.   Katherine is also planning to talk with Mayor Dan Prats of Laytonsville, with particular focus on whether they have a maintenance staff/person whom we might hire for a day every two weeks or some similar arrangement.


  • Update from Sandy Hielor re:  final expenses/budget and grant reports nearly finished.
  • Still don’t have final invoice from Quinters or Video production company; virtually everything else done.  This is preventing Susan Johnson from closing out the bicentennial expense accounts.  Quinters have been unresponsive to several requests for final invoice covering bicentennial expenses. Buck will call and request that invoice be delivered no later than Jan 31, 2015.  This will be followed by a certified letter from Sandy. Video production bill is expected when video is complete.



  • December minutes: approved
  • Budget:
    • It is agreed that Susan will prepare the “budget report” summary of year to date expenses vs. budget at each meeting, but not print out the entire 60-something page details.   This will make it easier for the Commissioners to see any anomalies and they can ask for more detail from Susan as needed in the meetings.
    • Resolve issue of outstanding bicentennial expenses by Feb. Commissioners’ Meeting. Knowing the figures is necessary to rebudget our FY 2015 funds as needed for Town/Academy repairs/maintenance.
    • Compile and prioritize capital expenses to be made by end of FY June 1.
    • The Academy needs a new roof (estimated cost: $25,000), new fire alarm system (estimated cost: $15,000) and new walkway with steps.
    • The School House needs immediate attention to resolve water issues including regarding, roof cap and dehumidifier.


  • Academy Rental & Maintenance update:
    • Academy income approximately $5,000 for first half of current fiscal year.   Reaching $10K Goal for current year 2015. Andrea will put Academy sub-budget together for work needed. Rentals will slack off in February and March then pick up again in April.
    • Academy roof: Once bicentennial expenses are closed out and budget numbers are known commission will decide whether to do the roof in FY2014-2015. Discussion of whether we should replace the shake roof or look into replacing with a metal roof.  The latter costs more but lasts longer.   We believe that both are consistent with historic preservation.  Diane will check with Miche whether there is evidence that the Academy ever had a metal roof.
    • Grant: Sandy Heiler recommended applying for a grant that would cover interior work. Buck Bartley suggested that exterior work on walkway is more pressing because it is hazardous. Outstanding bicentennial expenses make budgeting more difficult. Katherine Farquhar stressed the need for a comprehensive vision/plan for Academy.

□   The new propane tank is in and working. The old will be removed when weather permits.  Sink hole has formed near site of tank.  Will coordinate repair with other exterior landscaping work planned for the spring. Buck will consult with landscape architect in the meantime.

□   Andrea has submitted a HAWP for exterior walkway work to replace existing problem of uneven pavers and collapsing steps that are creating hazards, particularly by the entrance. The Commissioners will review any HAWP that is prepared in the name of the Town.

  • Exterior Light: Andrea Scanlon and Miche Booz will look at options and pricing and make a recommendation by the February meeting.
  • Town Maintenance:
    • School House:

□   Waterproofing: Buck is getting estimates for re-grading. Miche Booz is preparing a detail of roof cap and Chris Scanlon will size humidifier. Permit is needed to re-grade and re-grading plan is needed to get a permit. Buck will follow up.

□   Door knob is still needed and buckled hatch needs repair. It was suggested that this could be done by Our House as part of a larger contract.  However, replacement doorknob needs to be period-appropriate .

  • Flags: It has been very difficult to find someone to get the flags down. Some have been lost/stolen.  Buck will contact Our House to see if contract or other arrangement can be made to put flags up and take them down when needed. This would be part of a larger contract with Our House.  Katherine, Buck & Benny will meet.
  • This issue prompted a discussion about whether the Town should be relying so heavily on volunteers.  We discussed the challenges to young working families of giving up volunteer time on weekends; the fact that a number of older residents aren’t able to do the physical work.  And we discussed the question of what the Town SHOULD ask of its residents versus what is really town responsibility and we should take care of this. Later, in the Executive Session, the Commissioners agreed to put together a surveymonkey to get input from the town about preferences and priorities, and to get a sense whether a raise in the tax rate would be appropriate. Katherine agreed to have a draft SurveyMonkey to the Commish and town employees by end of Tuesday.
  • WSSC leak on Market St.: The water continues to leak on Market St. by North St. intersection. With the freezing temperatures it is causing ice to form all the way to the Madison House and further down the hill creating hazardous walking conditions. Diane reported the leak and followed up but no work has been done.  Diane will contact WSSC again and ask Karen Montgomery to contact them as well. Water is also leaking on Market St. by the South Street intersection. It is being forced up through the pavement and creating a large area of ice expanding along the curb in front of 208 and 206 Market St.  This occurred last year with ice expanding up and over the sidewalk.  It was reported but not fixed.  Diane will call and report it again.  It was suggested that we contact Michael, as well, and see if he can exert some pressure on WSSC, especially since Karen is busy at start of the legislative session.  We agreed that Katherine should write a letter from the Town Commission to WSSC to back up any contacts that Karen/Michael/Diane have. Concern was expressed that this underground water activity could result in a sinkhole.  
  • Trash & Recycle: Will continue to work with Waste Management on service interruptions due to snow and ice.  We did not make a decision at this point to put out a bit;  the general consensus seemed to be that while WM is big and bureaucratic, the service is at a fair level.  When we examined the calls that Diane is making to WM, it seemed that the problems are generally focused on North Street at the bottom of the hill, with occasional service lapses elsewhere in town.   Katherine Farquhar will ask residents at the end of North St. (House numbers: 1, 2 & 4) to bring their trash to the School House parking lot when during winter months.  The precedent for this is Church Street, where Residents bring their trash/recycle to the street corner weekly.   Diane, will notify Waste Management that we are doing this starting next week, during the winter months.   
  • E. Market Street curb damage:  There is a piece of curb damaged by a WSSC truck by 198 Market St. that falls into the road creating a hazard. Debbie Wagner has also asked again (in a text during the meeting) whether the TOWN will fix her stone wall that was damaged by WSSC.  The Commissioners discussed this earlier and agreed it was too much trouble to get WSSC involved – that this is something the Town can take care of.   Katherine will remind Buck of this so that he follows up on both items.
  • Pot holes/ruts on North St.: In spite of recent road work seasonal snow, rain and ice have caused ruts and pot holes again.  Need to consider having an engineer evaluate the problem. In particular, we discussed the recurring pothole right below the Aciernos’ parking space.   Water runoff from the top of the hill goes in a channel right through to North Street. Buck suggested consulting Mark Friis who is an engineer; we should get him to look at the North Street situation.  There was discussion as to whether this is Town responsibility.  The issue of whether to get our house or another contractor on a “retainer” or contracted agreement to help with this kind of issue was brought up but not fully resolved.  Buck & Katherine will talk with Bennie of Our House.
  • Responses to incoming business + need for letterhead, digital + paper. We did not resolve this. Responses to incoming business + need for letterhead, digital + paper.
  • Other Business:
    • Katherine Farquhar will be writing Donation letters/acknowledgements to donors of the desks, the Unglesbee family.   NEED STATIONERY
    • Karen Montgomery presented an Official Citation in appreciation of the Town of Brookeville Commissioners and staff at the MML dinner.  A letter will be sent thanking Karen.
    • Dave Yinger donated a Town of Brookeville commemorative coin from the bicentennial of the Revolutionary War in 1976. A letter thanking David will be sent.
    • The Bullard and Hussman families made a gift of 2 small children’s desks with attached chairs to Brookeville for the Schoolhouse.


  • Open Discussion:
    • Karen Montgomery has urged that a representative from the town be present at GOCA meetings.  Buck Bartley thought that attending meetings regularly was important but didn’t agree that every meeting required attendance.  Katherine agreed to be the primary representative of the Town at GOCA; however she won’t be able to start with the February 10 meeting.   Will have to start in March.   Will find a “sub” for February.



Adjourn: 9:05


Commissioners held executive session until 9:50 PM


Respectfully Submitted by: Diane Teague