Council Highlights for May 28, 2024


Category: County Council

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Talbot Thrive accepted proclamation for National Trails Day.

Talbot Thrive accepted proclamation for National Trails Day.

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Department of Corrections discusses audit process. The department recently received 100% compliance on the first inspection.

Department of Corrections discusses audit process. The department recently received 100% compliance on the first inspection.

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Department of Corrections receives Council Commendation for audit success.

Department of Corrections receives Council Commendation for audit success.

The Talbot County Council held their regular meeting on May 28, 2024 at 6 p.m.; all Council members were present.

Proclamation: National Trails Day

The Council designated June 1, 2024 as National Trails Day.  

The proclamation encouraged people across the country to get outside and enjoy trails in their communities, explore trails in their region, and encouraged the community to invest and improve trail systems.

“Maryland’s Eastern Shore has fewer off-road rails for its 456,815 residents than other parts of the state, and the 75 million visitors who come to Maryland for outdoor recreation and fun,” reads the proclamation. “Residents on the Eastern Shore ranked having places to walk and bike safely among their top priorities in land preservation and parks and recreation plans, and expressed support for building more trials in their counties and towns.”

Members from Talbot Thrive and the Eastern Shore Trails Steering Committee attended the Council meeting to accept the proclamation and shared a few updates on their current commitment to trail projects in Talbot County.

The Oxford Parks Connector project is a shared-use recreational trail that will connect two parks in the Town of Oxford with the adjacent County owned Oxford Conservation Park. Recently, A feasibility study was completed to reimagine a portion rail line that runs from Easton to Queen Anne into a multi-use path.

To see current or anticipated trails in our region, community members can visit the Eastern Shore Regional Trails Network to see an interactive map of the Eastern Shore region at Eastern Shore Regional Trails Network (

Landfill, Trash, and Recycling Services Update from Maryland Environmental Services (MES)

Talbot County is a partner in an 80-year landfill agreement with Caroline, Queen Anne’s, and Kent counties. Through the agreement, each county is responsible for hosting the landfill for 20 years.  Previously, the landfill was located in Talbot County, and was known as MidShore I Regional Landfill. This landfill was closed December 31, 2010, and trash is now taken to the Midshore II Regional Landfill located in Ridgely, MD. 

Maryland Environmental Service (MES) representatives provided an update on tipping fees, changes to the four-county landfill agreement, trash and recycling service usage numbers, and community outreach.

In FY2025, tipping fees, or “gate rates” are expected to increase by $0.50, making the trash rate $70 per ton and the brush rate $45 per ton, respectively. A portion of the rate supplements the Midshore Regional Recycling Program. Fees are established to offset projected expenses while continuing to remain competitive with other landfills.

MES also indicated that the current regional landfill, located in Ridgely has sufficient permitted airspace to operate into the early 2040s, well beyond the contractual closure date of December 31, 2030. Their update denoted that the Midshore counties and MES reached an agreement to extend the MidShore II landfill service period, contingent upon paying a host fee to Caroline County of $3 per ton through December 31, 2030 and $6 per ton for the next12 years thereafter.

MES highlighted its community outreach programs, which included “Tidy Up Talbot” where they provided bins, trash bags, and other items for a community trash pick-up event; providing recycling services at MACo and MML conferences, the Waterfowl Festival and other local events.

MES staff also highlighted that the next upcoming Household Hazardous Waste Drop-off Day will be held on Saturday, October 26, 2024, at the Midshore I Transfer Station located at 7341 Barkers Landing Road in Easton. During this event, Midshore residents can drop off their household hazardous waste such as latex paint, gas or oil mixtures, empty propane tanks, etc. free of charge. More information on this event can be found at

Update on Chapel District Elementary School Expansion and Renovation Project

Kevin Shafer, Director of Operations for Talbot County Public Schools (TCPS), provided an update on the Chapel District Elementary School Expansion and Renovation Project located in Cordova and requested support for the “Guaranteed Maximum Price” contract amendment.

TCPS is utilizing the Construction Management at Risk (CMR) delivery method for the project. This type of process allows for pre-construction savings, contingency management, potential cost savings, and approval of a guaranteed maximum price.

Shafer indicated that the renovation project had gone out for bid, but unfortunately, the bids submitted were much higher than had been anticipated in the budgeting process. To mitigate costs, TCPS and the Board of Education have considered several alternatives for the project. Shafer presented the accepted alternatives, which include a third classroom for Critchlow Adkins Children’s Center which will be paid for by grants and Critchlow Adkins; site awnings to allow for covered walkways; and a solar array that is anticipated to offset 50% of the energy consumption of the Chapel complex. During Council discussion, Mr. Shafer noted that the Return on Investment (ROI) for the solar energy array was approximately 14 years of the anticipated 30-year life of the system.

With the included alternatives, the total guaranteed maximum price (GMP) stands at $37,925,000. The State of Maryland will pay $13.35M, with the rest coming from local sources including from the FY25 County Budget.

The Council approved the GMP, with accepted alternatives, by a vote of 4-1.

Other Business

  • The Department of Corrections received a Certificate of Commendation for their recent 100% compliance audit conducted by the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services for Adult Detention Centers. More information on the audit can be found here: Corrections Facility Receives Recognition of Achievement Award - Talbot County, Maryland (
  • The Department of Public Works requested approval to apply for a grant/loan package through USDA Rural Utility Service to extend sewer services to lots in and around the villages of Bar Neck and Fairbank, located in Tilghman Island. The project as proposed will extend sewer service to approximately 127 residential structures. “This part of the county has very high groundwater and poorly drained soils which cause effluent from the septic systems in the area to have a major impact on the water quality of the Chesapeake Bay,” said Ray Clarke, County Engineer, in his statement to Council. The total estimated cost of the project is $2.1M with homeowners paying for the connections to their properties. Council unanimously approved the request to apply for funding through USDA.
  • A public hearing, introduction of Administrative Resolution, and subsequent vote were held for the County to partner with For All Seasons, Inc. on a State FY2025 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) application. For All Seasons, which provides behavioral health and rape crisis services to the Midshore region, is seeking $750,000 to partially fund capital improvements to their facility in Easton, MD. The improvements will include updates to their HVAC system, bathroom renovations, and room reconfiguration so they can increase capacity and continue to serve the community. The Council unanimously approved the submittal of the SFY25 CDBG application.
  • Resolution No. 358, introduced by Council, authorizes the closure of Segars Corner Road located in Cordova. The .2± mile roadway serves as an alternate connector between Lewistown Road and Coveys Landing Rd. County Roads Superintendent, Brian Moore, stated maintaining the road is not necessary and that the road is in bad condition with poor sight distance and that closure of the road will result in cost savings to the County. If the resolution is adopted, the County will be authorized to transfer the County’s interest in the road and underlying lands to the adjacent property owners (Swann and Milby) via quitclaim deed. The public hearing for the Resolution will be held on Tuesday, June 25, 2024, at 5:30 p.m.
  • The Council also introduced Resolution No. 359, which if approved, will authorize placing a question on the 2024 General Election ballot for the purpose of amending the Talbot County Charter to allow, but not require, the Council to add up to one cent ($.01) per $100 of assessed property value above the revenue cap for an additional five years beginning July 1, 2026. Currently, residents pay what has been coined as the “penny tax” to supplement public safety funding. The additional funding has allowed the County to invest in its public safety workforce and capital improvements over the last 5 years, including the funding of new positions in emergency services, providing improved retirement plans for Department of Emergency Services employees and Department of Corrections employees, and more. If the resolution is approved by a supermajority (4/5) of the Council, the question will be added to the 2024 General Election Ballot, leaving the decision of additional funding “in the citizens’ hands”, as was stated by Council Member Dave Stepp. The public hearing for Resolution No. 359 will be held on Tuesday, June 25, 2024, at 5:30 p.m.
  • Council considered one amendment to Bill No. 1553, AN ACT TO ESTABLISH THE 2024-2025 ANNUAL BUDGET AND APPROPRIATION ORDINANCE. The amendment does not change the FY25 budget total but does shift some appropriations around to account for increased costs on the Chapel District Elementary School project. The amendment was introduced and subsequently approved by Callahan, Lesher, Stepp, and Haythe.
  • Council considered one amendment to Bill No. 1553, for the FY2025 budget AN ACT TO ESTABLISH THE 2024-2025 ANNUAL BUDGET AND APPROPRIATION ORDINANCE. The amendment does not change the expenditure FY25 budget total but does shift some appropriations around to account for increased costs on for the Chapel District Elementary School project. The amendment was introduced and subsequently approved by Callahan, Haythe, Lesher, and Stepp, and Haythe.
  • The Council then approved Bill No. 1553, as amended, by a vote of 4-1 with Mielke voting against. FY2025 budget details can be found at
  • In July 2023, Council approved Bill No. 1544 regarding code changes for historic inns within the Critical Area. Subsequently, the Critical Area Commission (CAC) reviewed the bill and found some issues that would prevent their approval. Planning and Zoning and the attorney for the applicant worked with the County to draft amendments to the legislation which may satisfy the requests of the CAC. The CAC reviewed the suggested amendments, and formally requested an opinion from Council on proposed changes. Council reviewed the proposed changes during their May 28 meeting and approved the requested changes. Council Member Mielke abstained from voting.
  • Micah Risher, Manager for Easton Airport, Jeff Lankford, Business Manager for Easton Airport, and Jack Pettit, President of the Talbot County Airport Board, provided a summary of activity at the Airport, including the progress on the Airport Modernization Program.  The Airport Modernization Program is well underway.   Phase I includes construction of airport service roads, grading and drainage adjustments, creation of new wetlands, and preparations for the shifting of Runway 4-22 1,900 feet southwest of its current location to establish a 1,000 ft. safety area on each end of Runway 4-22. Phase II, expected to begin in January 2025, will include the demolition of the Talbot Business Center building, major utility relocation, completion of wetlands, and bringing the 58-acre parcel up to grade. As part of the update, the Airport requested approval of four items: to apply for and accept funding from the Federal Aviation Airport Infrastructure Program (FAA AIP) and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law: Airport Infrastructure Grant BIL AIG) in the sum of $5,874,910; to award Bid No. 24-03, Package 2 to Reynolds Excavating Inc.low bidder, Reynolds Excavating, Inc in the sum of $5,184,150; to approve Airport Consultant, AECOM’s, price proposal in the amount of $423,070 for professional engineering and construction phase services for Bid No. 24-03; and to approve AECOM’s price proposal in the amount of $234,635 for professional engineering, design, and bid services for Package 3: Extend Runway 4-22 and Improve RSA. All requests were approved unanimously and are contingent upon FAA AIP and BIL AIG grant funding.  For more information on Easton Airport, including education and events, visit
  • The County Manager requested support for the following appointments:
    • Commission on Aging – Council unanimously approved the reappointment of Terry Satchell and Jennifer Pierson.
    • Public Works Advisory Board – Council unanimously approved the reappointment of Ed Sclichter to represent the 3rd Election District.
  • The Council unanimously approved a request to transfer the County’s 2024 Housing Bond Allocation in the amount of $1,659,525 to the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development for use in issuing housing bonds on behalf of Talbot County.
  • The Talbot County Free Library, represented by Director Dana Newman, requested a letter of certification that verifies the County will be providing a minimum of $2,803,000 in matching funds in their 2025 budget for the expansion and renovation of the St. Michaels Branch of the Talbot County Free Library. The request was unanimously approved, the letter will be sent to the Maryland State Library Agency to pursue additional grant funding.
  • The Department of Corrections requested approval to extend two contracts for an additional fiscal year. The first agreement, with Trinity Services Group, Inc. will provide inmate meals in the amount of $352,700. The second agreement, with WellpathTM, will continue to provide inmate mental and medical health services in the amount of $642,534.  There are sufficient funds in the FY25 budget for the contract renewals.

The Talbot County Council will hold a work session to discuss the timing of the update to the County’s Report of the Review, Comprehensive Plan and Comprehensive Water and Sewer Plan on Tuesday, June 11, 2024, at 2:30 p.m. in the Bradley Meeting Room.  The work session is open to the public.

On Tuesday, June 4, 2024, at 5:00 p.m., the Council will be meeting with elected officials from the towns of Easton, Oxford, Queen Anne, St. Michaels, and Trappe.  The meeting will be held in the Wye Oak Room located at the Talbot County Community Center, 10028 Ocean Gateway, Easton.

The Council’s next legislative meeting will be held on Tuesday, June 11, 2024, beginning at 5:00 p.m. in the Bradley Meeting Room located in the South Wing, Talbot County Courthouse, 11 North Washington Street, Easton.  The meeting is open to the public.  Please note the updated meeting time for the months of June – September.

council highlights corrections finance budget tcps tcfl public service emergency services


Page last modified Friday, May 3, 2024 11:38:20 AM