Town of Brookeville
Commissioners Meeting Minutes
Present: Katherine Farquhar, Buck Bartley, and Sue Daley
Quorum present? Yes
Present during all or portions of the meeting:
Town Clerk Cate McDonald, Academy Manager Andrea Scanlon, and Treasure Susan Johnson
Town Residents: Barbara Ray, Duane Heiler, Sandy Heiler, Jorge Chacon, Nick Roy, Harry Montgomery, Michael Acierno, and Micole Haris
Others: Terri Hogan, Greater Olney News; Vikki Garcia, Community Outreach for John Sarbanes; Donna Will
Meeting called to order at 7:00 p.m. by Commissioner President Farquhar
Welcome to our guest, Vikki Garcia, Community Outreach Specialist for Congressman John Sarbanes.
Donna Will gave an overview of her proposed use of the Academy for school fieldtrips and teas. Fieldtrips will be scheduled seasonally on T / W/ Th. She has a tea scheduled at the Academy on Sept. 24th. She does business as Woodlawn Manor Museum. She may rename her teas, but will discuss that with Academy Manager. Fieldtrips and teas will be during the daylight hours. There was a discussion about the Underground Railroad and whether there is evidence if it came through Brookeville.
Brookeville one-room Schoolhouse proposal: Sandy Heiler gave an overview of the proposed plan to utilize the Brookeville one-room schoolhouse in partnership with Heritage Montgomery. This proposal was presented to the July 25, 2016 Commissioners Meeting.
Summary: This proposal from Heritage Montgomery would provide an interpretive program for the schoolhouse, focused on the early 1800s history of the town’s Quakers, especially as relates to slavery, the anti-slavery movement, and the free black population. The program would be an integral part of a larger effort involving Woodlawn’s (stone barn) Visitor Center and Oakley Cabin and geared to educating school groups. Heritage Montgomery would research and then develop the program, materials, and signage; provide funding for making the schoolhouse lot attractive; and assist with recruiting volunteers and collaborators as needed. There would be a mulch pathway installed along North Street from Acierno property to the School house. The concept is to make the approach to the schoolhouse park-like and have a bird sanctuary (Audubon Society would be a partner) – no pesticides will be used — and provide a bench. A porta-potty needs to be installed at the top of the hill.
There were questions / concerns / comments raised during the North Street walk on August 28th:
• Tree removal: trees not in good health would be removed.
• Parking lot: would be cleaned up
• The Tilting Street light: could be moved
The above items would not be paid for by Heritage Montgomery. They will pay to clean up the schoolhouse lot.
Question: how big is the parking lot? Not part of the schoolhouse plat; the lot is part of the Town’s property
Mrs. Heiler has the plat of the schoolhouse lot. She also has pictures of porta potty enclosure from other historic facilities.
• Walking path: the Town will maintain the path after it is cleaned up. The Town will be responsible for maintenance of the path, which could be done with volunteers or by landscapers.
• Fence along pathway: Heritage Montgomery will pay for the installation; the Town will be responsible for the maintenance.
• Porta potty: The Town will pay for this expense. Mrs. Heiler and Miche Booz visited the Schoolhouse to discuss facilities and formed the following opinion: the west side of the parking lot, north of the maple tree, is the best location for a porta potty. The enclosure would look similar to the one at Woodlawn but taller with a gate that locks. She is not sure that Heritage Montgomery will pay for the initial screening of the porta potty. Mrs. Heiler cannot speak for Heritage Montgomery but believes they will pay for site prep and possibly the enclosure. Facilities would be needed at the Schoolhouse if the Town hosts an event there.
• Parking: only handicap or very small buses would park at the schoolhouse lot. All other parking would be at the SUMC lot.
Question: is there an on estimated visitor traffic? Not yet; Heritage Montgomery would use the schoolhouse in collaboration with school groups twice a month and the SchoolHouse would be open on same monthly hours as Oakley Cabin. A lot depends on the Town’s wishes.
Question / concern: person owns the lot adjacent to the schoolhouse. When trees fall down you just leave them there. Animals like to play there and live there. His yard has a lot of butterflies, fireflies because he does not poison them. Chainsaw the trees and putting mulch down is not beautiful. Be careful about how much we cut out. He does not want the lot clear cut.
Response: no trees will come down without permits. The Town likes trees as well.
Concern: people are capable of misrepresentation and afraid too much will be cut out. He likes things wild.
Response: Audubon Society is an interested party; nobody will clear cut North Street. The Commissioners will talk about trees in the negotiations with Heritage Montgomery and consult an arborist.
Concern / Comment: when people make decisions, the more information the better the quality of the decision. He fears we are ignorant and decision will be made very quickly, like the privy, without regard for the cost. He thinks we should precede slowly.
Response: The Town has taken cost into consideration and has preliminary budgets for a variety of scenarios for the Schoolhouse. The Schoolhouse interpretation proposal is not a done deal. Tonight’s vote is whether to continue negotiations with Heritage Montgomery. The Town still needs to get the schoolhouse into shape, which will take a few more months. Current estimate to open the Schoolhouse with the Heritage Montgomery proposal will cost the Town an additional $8K annually. Commissioner Bartley would like to trim that estimate down to about $4K annually. It is generally accepted that the Schoolhouse needs to be used to prevent further deterioration.
Barbara Ray comments that she has followed this proposal from the beginning and she is favor of it. She would like to get in writing who pays for what.
Response: that is what the Commissioners are voting for tonight: to move into serious negotiations with Heritage Montgomery and determine terms for a contract, after it is reviewed by the Town’s lawyer.
Michael Acierno: For many years, the Town spent $250 annually on Schoolhouse maintenance. The question every year is what to do with the Schoolhouse and there was never a solution. The recession hit in 2008 and the budget cuts were made to services (landscaping, dumpster, etc.) and maintenance to the Schoolhouse was deferred. The Town started saving for the 2014 Bicentennial event. Most of the 2014 event was covered by grants and the Town paid little out of budget. We are now coming out of the recession and having to pay for all the deferred maintenance to the Schoolhouse. Now the Town has a large capital expense to bring the Schoolhouse up to standard. The questions becomes again: what do you do with the Schoolhouse? He would like to see his tax money paid to the Town to go something that serves a purpose. He feels it is worthwhile to pursue this proposal. It allows the building to be used the way the Town agreed to use it. The 2014 event put Brookeville on the map, it allowed the Town to leverage support for the ByPass. The Schoolhouse, although small, will show that the Town is making a commitment to historic preservation. It is a plus for the Town to pursue the proposal.
As a tiny Town, the Town will need funds from the State to help pay for road improvements.
The Town has had a long relationship with Heritage Montgomery and they have been good supportive partners. They have provided the Town with several grants over the years.
Miche Booz: The Schoolhouse is a valuable historic resource. He would like to see the building used for something. The proposed used would not bring in many people. If not the Heritage Montgomery program, then what program?
Sandy: all the exhibits are movable, so the Town will be able to use the building for other purposes if needed.
Harry: could Heritage Montgomery be approached to fund some of the maintenance?
Response: Nothing has been finalized yet; this is very preliminary proposal. We need to find a use for the building.
Motion: The Commissioners initiate discussion with Heritage Montgomery to advance the One-room Schoolhouse proposal to the point of a draft agreement at which point the Commissioners will come back to the Town for feedback before a final decision is made.
Vote: 3 yes – unanimous.
New Town entrance signs: signs have been delivered. At the suggestions of the BPC, replace the 2 existing entrance signs and the 3rd sign to be installed where Brookeville Rd enters Market St.
Commissioner Farquhar thanked the Town staff and volunteers for the successful Town picnic yesterday. At least 75 people attended the picnic – record attendance.
ROUTINE TOWN BUSINESS:
Minutes: The July Commissioners Meeting were approved as edited.
This year the Town received $1300 more in municipal tax duplication.
Academy rental revenue is high
Large expenditures are coming: new chairs for the Academy and Schoolhouse repairs.
• CPH Engineering: Water St – contract approved to redesign the roadway for storm water remediation at the end near the Roys’.
• CPH Engineering: Topological survey for Academy has been approved.
Harry Montgomery is upset that the Town is only looking at the problem at the end of Water St.
Response: CPH is looking at all of Water St. for drainage issues and was discussed at length at last month’s Commissioners Meeting, where CPH made a presentation. Neighbors on Water St will be consulted before anything is done.
Harry Montgomery thinks tar & chip is stupid.
No decisions have been made because there are no design plans. Work on lower Water St is being accelerated and will be consistent with what work needs to be done on Water and North Streets.
• Next Commissioners Meeting changed to Tuesday, October 18 – APPROVED
• Website: deferred until October
• Town Staff Job Description project is underway; will be drafted by next Commissioners Meeting
• Codification: compile and organize the Town’s ordinances in clear numbered list.
Town Clerk: The ordinances are not located in one spot; there is a numbering system in place. She spoke to the lawyer, Patrick Thomas, who give the MML presentation. Once we locate all the ordinances, lawyer would review the codes and bring them up to date. Attorney Jody Kline has told the Town that we do not need to locate/organize ordinances before 1991.
• Open Meeting Requirements: there is a new law taking effect in MD on Oct. 1 – agendas: all public bodies will be required to make an agenda “available” to the public with “reasonable” notice before each meeting. The agenda must contain “known items of business or topics to be discussed at the portion of the meeting”; agendas to be available no later than 24 hours before the meeting. Agenda for the Town will be posted to the Town’s website.
Next Partnership meeting is September 28th – Commissioners Bartley & Daley will attend.
• Current status: working on permitting with County, Meadow Branch bridge design, etc. MOA for historic mitigation is signed by Town but held up for a month while Park/Planning consults lawyers (our Town Attorney reviewed the draft MOA on Brookeville’s behalf).
• Academy Metal/Shingle-Shake Roof: Academy Manager has met with Miche Booz, Sandy Heiler and has gotten input from BPC Chair regarding the roof. She has the specs to publish to everyone and get revised quotes. Cedar, painted metal, copper: she hopes to get pricing for each and a mix match. With the revised price quotes, will be able decided roofing material to go with and apply for a HAWP.
• Academy lawn: will be a simpler design.
a. Will get a topographic survey for Academy lawn
b. Will consult an arborist about the trees on the property and their health. There was an arborist report done in 2008 for the Town; have the report updated. Town Clerk will get estimates to update the Town’s tree report.
Design plan for the Academy lawn is grading, create a focal point, and make more functional.
• Academy Interior
a. Accessible Door System is now installed at side door
b. Chairs: Chiavari Chairs are not suitable. Sandy Heiler proposed to head to New Market to look at sets of used Windsor chairs. The Academy needs 70-75 chairs for the dining room. The current chairs in the dining room would be moved upstairs to the Lecture Hall. The current Lecture Hall armchairs would be sold. The Academy will possibly get new, lighter tables. If the Windsor Chairs are found suitable, Sandy Heiler can ask for a written quote and the Town will pay by check. Why buy used chairs? Chiavari Chairs are not sturdy and we need sturdy chairs; chairs should be historically accurate. The Townspeople will be able to take a look at samples before they are purchased. Why not have renters rent chairs? The added cost would price potential renters out of the Academy; also is a logistical problem for renters for drop off / delivery times.
c. Academy kitchen: need to get input from caterers before any upgrades.
• Academy Marketing:
a. Olney Community Night October 10 4:30-8 PM; Academy Manager will try to split a table with SUMC
b. Rack Cards: no meeting yet with graphic artist
c. Luca Casaretto photos: has not taken any photographs yet – no appropriate events.
Public Works (sidewalks, streets, lights)
a. ATR completed the critter removal work last week. They sealed the building and will be by several times to check the traps; after all clear of rodent, interior work– drywall and paint and floors, exterior – chimney cap
b. Grading at north side of Schoolhouse: need to get this moving and get a HAWP.
Town Lights: street light out in front of Montgomery’s: LED bulb was a sample, and not popular. It was replaced with incandescent bulb that burned out within a month. It was replaced with another incandescent bulb just to have light. The Academy Manager order “turtle safe” bulbs, which are amber bulbs to try. She will advise when they are installed.
1) Review & give formal approval to CPH Proposal to do water management design for Water Street – estimated cost $3K.
Vote: 3 yes – unanimous
2) North Street “Children at Play” sign – has not been moved yet
• Auditor will be in the Town Office tomorrow.
• Holiday Party will be Saturday, December 3rd at 6pm
The meeting adjourned at 9:09p.m.