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April 3 Board of Garrett County Commissioners Public Meeting Summary

Garrett County Government

The Board of Garrett County Commissioners held its recent public meeting on Monday April 3, 2023.


In the public meeting session, Paul Edwards served as Chairman. The following items were discussed:
Proclamation: April 2023 is Child Abuse Prevention Month
Proclamation: April 5, 2023 is Arbor Day in Garrett County
The winners of the 5th Grade Arbor Day Poster Contest were announced:
1st Place County Winner, 3rd Place State Winner: Emma Secrist
2nd Place County Winner: Codyn Alvarado
3rd Place County Winner: Elodie Morel
Resolution Approval of the 2023 Garrett County Online Tax Sale Dates & Times
Registration opens May 1, 2023 and closes May 19, 2023
Bidding begins on May 22, 2023 and ends on May 26, 2023
Payments must be completed by May 26 at 4:00 PM
Bid # 23–0316 for precast concrete box culvert for a culvert replacement on Bethlehem Road was awarded to Concrete Pipe and Precast in the amount of $63,684. This project is within budget.
Bid # 23–0302 for the purchase and installation of ceramic tile at the courthouse was awarded to Success Floor Covering in the amount of $74,920.98; selecting Option 1. This project is within budget.
Bid # 23–0309 for the Friendsville Wastewater Treatment Plant roof and gutter replacement was awarded to Rough Roofing and Sheetmetal in the amount of $39,030. The project is within budget.
The 2023 Garrett County Transportation Priority Letter was approved.
Public comments were accepted.

A complete recording of the meeting can be found here.


Garrett County Health Officer Bob Stephens presented the budget (beginning at 40:40 in the recording) on behalf of the Garrett County Health Department (GCHD)
Mission: To promote, protect and improve the health of citizens and visitors of Garrett County.
Vision: Garrett County, a healthier place to live, work and play
Total GCHD operating budget is $16,707,797 and the request from the county government is $2,436,815
Due to fee-for-service programs, GCHD can return money to the county
Maryland Department of Health reconciled 2022 figures and GCHD will return $915,429 to the county
Sheriff Bryson Meyers presented the budget (beginning at 56:02 in the recording) on behalf of the Garrett County Sheriff’s Department
Public safety and law enforcement is an ever-challenging environment.
Overall, the increase to the budget is $15,335
There are mandates the office has to support financially but they have found grants thus far
Body cameras aren’t mandated until 2025 but were grant funded so they are implemented
Requesting department cell phones to utilize the full functionality of the body cameras
Medicated-Assisted Treatment is now mandated; hopefully can continue to be funded by grants
Alison Sweitzer, CPA, Director of Finance and Dr. Nicole Miller, Chief Academic Officer, presented the budget (beginning at 1:04:05 in the recording) on behalf of the Garrett County Public Schools.
Many changes are occurring because of the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future legislation
“To transform Maryland’s education system from early childhood through secondary education to enable performance and ensure all students receive a world-class education”
Pillar 1: Early Childhood
Pillar 2: High Quality & Diverse Teachers and Leaders
Pillar 3: College and Career Readiness
Pillar 4: More Resources for Students to be Successful
Pillar 5: Governance and Accountability
MSDE (Maryland State Department of Education) is calculating some of these formulas for the first time so it is a bit of a moving target to develop the budget request.
FY 2024 local share (county budget requirement) is $28,584,423. The complete meeting can be viewed here.
Public issues or concerns that are to be presented to the Board of Garrett County Commissioners during any Public Meeting should be scheduled with Carol A. Riley-Alexander, Executive Assistant to the Board of County Commissioners/County Administrator, by 11:00 p.m. on Monday one week prior to the Public Meeting Day.

The Board of Garrett County Commissioners next scheduled Public Meeting will be Tuesday, April 18, 2023, at the Garrett County Courthouse beginning at 4:00 p.m.

March 6 Board of Garrett County Commissioners Public Meeting Summary

Garrett County Government

The Board of Garrett County Commissioners held its recent public meeting on Monday, March 6, 2023.

At the administrative session proceeding the public meeting, the following appointments were made:
Youghiogheny River Advisory Board – 1 member & 1 County Representative (filling unexpired terms through 2025)

Molly Rikhye – Land Owner
Siera Wigfield – County Government
Garrett County Emergency Services Advisory Board – 3 County Representative Members (2-year terms)
Lou Battistella
Bill Ingram
New Appointment
Chris Nichols
Also, a property tax exemption for the Avilton Community Association for Fiscal Year 2024 was approved, as authorized in the Maryland Tax Code, Section 9-313.

At the public meeting session, Paul Edwards served as Chairman. The following items were discussed:

Proclamation: National Vietnam War Veterans Day will be celebrated on March 29, 2023. The proclamation was presented to Denise Shay.
Bid #23–0209 Visitors Center Deck and Handrail Replacement
Bid requested five (5) options. And, after reviewing the bids for compliance, the recommendation was to reject bids for Option 1, 2, 4 and 5.
The five bids for Option 3 (Composite Lumber & Vinyl) were: Daystar Builders, Inc-$29,500, Mill Creek & Company-$27,506, Beitzel Corp-$37,344, EARN Contractors, Inc.-$45,700 and Colossal Contractors, Inc-$68,600.
Bid # 23-0209 awarded for Option 3 to Mill Creek & Company in the amount of $27,506.
Duane Yoder, on behalf of the Garrett County Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Committee, announced the availability of the Public Participation Survey (linked here: https://tripetto.app/run/F02RWK5O9Z)

PUBLIC HEARING: Siera Wigfield presented the 2023 Water & Sewer Master Plan Amendment on behalf of the Garrett County Department of Public Works – Utilities Division. This presentation is primarily “housekeeping” with text amendments and map updates:
Map Updates: Combining McHenry & Thayerville Water areas into Deep Creek Lake Service Area and Sewer Service Expansion Sewer Service in Deep Creek
Text and Map Amendments: Grantsville Water Service Updates?
Text and Map Amendments: Relating to the Trout Run/ Oakland WWTP, to replace Trout Run WWTP and combine Service for communities at a modern WWTP in Oakland ?
The complete presentation is linked here.

The public comment period will be open until Tuesday, March 21, 2023. To make a comment, please email gccomments@garrettcounty.org or swigfield@garrettcounty.org or call 301-334-7477.


Public Comments were accepted
Public issues or concerns that are to be presented to the Board of Garrett County Commissioners during any Public Meeting should be scheduled with Carol A. Riley-Alexander, Executive Assistant to the Board of County Commissioners/County Administrator, by 11:00 p.m. on the Monday one week prior to the Public Meeting Day.

The Board of Garrett County Commissioners’ next scheduled Public Meeting will be Tuesday, March 21, 2023, at the Garrett County Courthouse beginning at 4:00 p.m.

Overlook Pass

The county commissioners approved to maintain the road Overlook Pass including Winter Maintenance.

Overlook Pass – Overlook Pass is a roadway leading to and from Marsh Hill Road and Wisp Mountain Road and, while not part of the county road system, was utilized by the general public as if it were a public road. The prior Board of Commissioners agreed to partially fund winter maintenance of the road, a practice that the current Board continued. Since the road did not meet “current” County specifications the road was not accepted into the County road system. The Board of Commissioners have agreed to accept Overlook Pass as a County road; 1) has always been used as a public road and is “grandfathered” into specifications and 2) serves a number of homes and businesses as well as future development in the area.

Read More Here:  https://www.garrettcounty.org/resources/commissioners/pdf/minutes/2015/08-24-2015.pdf

Garrett County in negotiations regarding ASCI

FRIENDSVILLE — Garrett County is in negotiations regarding the Adventure Sports Center International, county commission chairman Paul Edwards told a constituent during Monday’s public meeting.

County resident Ken Jasko asked what is going to be done about ASCI in McHenry.

 “There is a hole in Garrett County’s arm with a needle that our money is going through — it’s called ASCI. When are we going to take that out — smash it, throw it away?” asked Jasko.

Garrett commissioners urged to undertake fracking study

FRIENDSVILLE – Elliott Perfetti, operations manager at Blue Moon Rising, an eco-friendly getaway at Deep Creek Lake, urged the Garrett County Commission on Monday to consider conducting an economic study on the impacts of fracking.

During a commission meeting held at Friendsville, Perfetti stressed that the study shouldn’t be co-opted by either those who were pro- or anti-fracking.

“It has to be a down the middle study …,” Perfetti said.

Commission chairman Paul Edwards said the county is considering such a study.

“We do need an economic study — it’s not been done specific to Garrett County,” said Edwards. “It’s going to be difficult to commission this study. I think we have to trust the people that are involved in making the decision.”

Edwards said it was going to be challenge to find someone who was in the middle on fracking.

“I think the challenge of admitting we need to do a study has been met,” said Edwards, who noted that the commissioners were trying to come up with money to fund it.

Commissioner Jim Hinebaugh said he suggested that the Garrett County Marcellus Shale Natural Advisory Group be formed. The group, which was formed last month, is charged with researching, analyzing, opining and providing updates to the commissioners on topics regarding Marcellus shale drilling.

Read More Here:  http://bakken.com/news/id/236501/garrett-commissioners-urged-to-undertake-fracking-study/

Md. county wants more info on fracking's economic impact

FRIENDSVILLE, Md. (AP) – The Garrett County Commissioners say they want an objective study of the potential economic impact of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas in western Maryland.

The Cumberland Times-News (http://bit.ly/1GHFEkS ) reports that board members expressed support for such a study Monday after hearing from some businesses near Deep Creek Lake that depend largely on tourism and second-home buyers.

An economic study done last year by Towson University said there is a dearth of usable data about the impact of fracking in tourist areas

For More Information Click Here:  http://www.myfoxdc.com/story/28739968/md-county-wants-more-info-on-frackings-economic-impact

Rascovar: Fracking follies at the State House

For MarylandReporter.com

Shakespeare, as usual, had it right. “Full of sound and fury signifying nothing.” That describes the squabbling in Annapolis over hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as “fracking.”

It is a phantom issue in Maryland.

Environmentalists and do-gooder legislators are panicked that fracking will mean earthquakes, tainted drinking water, dirty air, despoliation of pristine farmland and other biblical plagues. They want to bar this drilling procedure forever in Maryland.

Never mind that wide-spread fracking has been going on since 1950. In those 65 years, more than one million wells have been fracked, in which a combination of water, sand and chemicals is pumped under high pressure deep into shale formations. This fractures the rock and sends deposits of oil and/or natural gas gushing to the surface.

Low oil prices = No fracking

There’s only a tiny part of Maryland where hydraulic fracturing into the gas-rich Marcellus Shale formation is viable — in far Western Maryland, i.e., portions of Garrett County and a bit of Allegany County. The number of farmers who might benefit from oil and gas royalties is very small.

Read More Here:  http://marylandreporter.com/2015/03/29/rascovar-fracking-follies-at-the-state-house/

Maryland chambers approve separate fracking bills

ANNAPOLIS, Md.—Legislation that limits when and how fracking could take place in Maryland passed Tuesday in both chambers of the state legislature.

Senators voted 29–17 for a bill that holds drilling companies strictly liable for injuries to residents or their property, and in the case of legal action companies would have to disclose what chemicals they use for drilling.

In a 93–45 House vote, delegates supported a three-year moratorium on the drilling practice and called for establishing a scientific review panel to look at impacts to public health and the environment.

“These bills are not mutually exclusive. I think there’s much more study that needs to be done on this, particularly the public health effects and environmental effects of fracking,” said Sen. Robert Zirkin, a Democrat from Baltimore County who sponsored the liability legislation. “The law we just passed from the Senate holds the correct people responsible if there is damage. Why should taxpayers be on the hook for environmental damage caused by the industry?”

Read More Here:  http://www.fredericksburg.com/news/va_md_dc/maryland-chambers-approve-separate-fracking-bills/article_52cbd7fb-3f33-588c-9054-7550344edc60.html

Fracking in Maryland needs to be stopped before it begins

Well it looks as if hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is going to make its debut in Maryland in the near future. After conducting a three-year long study concerning the potential effects of fracking on Maryland, former governor Martin O’Malley declared the state fit to frack just before leaving office. His successor Larry Hogan has also expressed his desire to start drilling in the very near future. While fracking might create short-term jobs and tax revenues, Maryland needs to realize the costs will far outweigh the benefits. Fracking will only destroy the state’s environment and worsen its already outdated infrastructure.

The process of fracking involves drilling about a mile and a half into the ground, injecting water into the well created by the drill in order to crack the shale bedrock and extract the gas within it. It’s a process that threatens the environment above and below the ground.

The biggest danger inherent in the fracking process is the possibility of leakages in the pipes, which would cause gas to seep into shallow rock layers and private wells, creating the possibility of it ending up in peoples’ faucets. When the contaminated water arrives at the tap, it becomes flammable.

The chemicals in the byproducts of the gas consist of benzene, xylene toluene, and methane; all of which are known to cause cancer, birth defects and nervous system disorders. Since fracking is such a recently developed process, there are also possible long-term risks that are still largely unknown. According to the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, a non-profit devoted to “building a movement to solve the climate crisis in Maryland, D.C., and Virginia,” doctors are already connecting fracking to numerous health problems like respiratory illness and increased infant mortality.

Read More Here:  http://silverchips.mbhs.edu/story/12863