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County Briefs 05/08/2015

(May 8, 2015) The Worcester County Commissioners also discussed the following issues during their most recent regular meeting.

OCDC presentation

Executive Director Glenn Irwin and President Bob Givarz delivered a presentation highlighting the services and programs provided by the Ocean City Development Corporation

The façade program, model block, seasonal housing for beach patrol and police, public art and painted utility boxes were all featured.

EA Engineering expenses

Two bills from EA Engineering prompted Commissioner Joe Mitrecic to wonder if the engineering firm that does a substantial amount of business with the county was “nickel and diming us to death.”

Public Works Director John Tustin disputed that assertion, defending the firm as reliable and trustworthy.

An additional $6,321 had been charged to the county for a service extension related to inspection and administration services at the Mystic Harbour plant.

Tame hurricane season

The commissioners were told by emergency services personnel that a report by Dr. William Gray of Colorado State University estimates a .01 percent chance of a category three or greater storm hitting the shore this season. However, he also predicted an 88.9 percent chance of the shore experiencing tropical storm force winds.

Library matching funds

The state has notified the county that it will provide about $1.08 million in funds, provided the county matches this amount, toward the new Berlin library project.

Budget Manager Kathy Whited noted that there is almost $1.6 million in assigned funds to support the project.

Should the state reduce its funding amount, the county would do the same.

Effluent disposal design

The commissioners, at their previous meeting, approved design work for the irrigation at Eagle’s Landing and to spend the county’s own on that phase with the promise of reimbursement from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

This week, they decided to advertise for the balance of the design work, again, on the promise of reimbursement from USDA funds, including $750,000 in grants and $2.4 million in loans at an interest rate of 2.75 percent over 40 years.

Public hearings June 2

The June 2 meeting of the commissioners will have three public hearings at this point. One for the Water/ Wastewater Department enterprise fund budgets, one for the Solid Waste Division and finally for the Department of Liquor Control.

PMT questions provided

Environmental Services Director Bob Mitchel provided the commissioners with a list of questions the county has yet to gain answers to from state officials. Secretary of Agriculture Joe Bartenfelder will hold a meeting for elected officials concerning the phosphorus management tool regulations at the Tri-County Council meeting room in Wicomico County today beginning at 11:30 a.m. Commission President M. Jim Bunting said he would be attending.

Critical area grant

The commissioners renewed the annual critical area grant, which requires, according to department head Bob Mitchell, “no additional work.” The grant instead offsets costs of services already provided.

The funding level for this year’s grant is $13,000.

Insurance loophole closed

County employees retiring with disabilities can breathe a little easier as the county tightened its code regarding health insurance after a loophole was discovered.

An employee applied for state benefits, County Attorney Sonny Bloxom said, and was denied, which was then appealed. In the interim between the successful appeal and the denial, the employee’s job ended, leaving that person without insurance. The new process will allow employees to keep their insurance and will be applied retroactively to Aug. 31, 2013.

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