Staff Recommends One -Time Incentive Pay

November 16, 2011

The Board of County Commissioners for Calvert Countywas given a recommendation from staff at the public hearing, to give a one- time pay increase for eligible county employees to be taken from health care savings.

In 2010 and 2011 there were no step increases or Cola given. For 2012, the staff devised a plan to take $540,000 in savings from health care expenses and give a pay incentive instead of salary increases or Cola due to declining revenue. This pay incentive would be given in the employees pay check on December 15th. The savings is realized from estimated total claims filed. When the claims exceed what is estimated, there is a settlement at the end of the period and if it is less the amount is refunded. Elected officials as well as employees making more than $85,000, those who do not get step increases or Cola, and federal employees are not eligible. Enterprise and self-sustaining funds would reimburse the county as well as The Calvert Marine Society and Board of Governors and the Housing Authority. This pay incentive, if granted, would give $750 to full time employees and $375 to part timers. The record will be left open until November 28th for anyone wishing to provide comment. This item will be voted on November 29th at their regularly scheduled meeting.

A presentation was given by the Sustainable Agriculture Workgroup. The group coordinates efforts to promote local farming with training, communication, new products and regulatory reform.Southern MarylandAgriculture Development Commission, through grant funding, acquired two commercial frozen meat trailers for transporting meat from processing and packaging locations and farmers market hand washing stations for product tasting. A new license was established at farmers markets to allow tasting.  The trailers can be rented and are kept in St. Mary’s andPrinceGeorgesCounties. The Farmers’ Markets are held at Prince Frederick,NorthBeach, Solomons,CalvertMemorialHospitaland Makers Market atAnnMarieGardens. For 2012, the workgroup is focusing on addressing food policy issues for vulnerable populations as well as public communication and education. Some possibilities might be supporting venison distribution from farmers and hunters and EBT machines in farmers markets.

Veronica Cristo and Mark Willis gave out Sustainability Awards. The builder of the year went to Wayne Tabor of Absolute Quality Contractors for building a green house out of straw bales and solar panels. Sustainable Farmer of the Year went to Jim and Patty Bourne of Lamb’s Quarter. They raise organic produce, eggs, chickens and meat products. Green Grocer of the Year went to William Kreamer of Chesapeake Bounty.  This stand offers seasonal local produce, plants, local seafood, local canned goods, free range eggs, dairy, meats, breads, firewood, straw and decorations. Buy Local Restaurant of the year went to the Hardesty family at Hardesty Haven Catering. The Hardesty family raise and purchase local meats, breads and produce fromSouthern Marylandfarmers. And the last award, Sustainable Meat Producer of the Year, was awarded to two persons, Dale Jones of Windy Willow Farm andBryanand Chris Dowell of Crooked Branch Farm. WindyWillowproduces beef, goat (also called mutton), lamb and pork. Crooked Branch produces beef.

In other business, the commissioners voted to take to public hearing, fees and civil citation procedures. The Department of Public Works, Project Management Division said that violations of utility permits can not be enforced as called for in the road ordinance. The department would like to establish a fee for the permits to cover inspections, issuing citations and attending court trials. Based on the Utility Inspector’s rate per hour, a fee of $240.00 would cover the cost. Based on an average number of 170 permits a year, this fee could generate $40,800 a year.

The Board of Commissioners voted to reimburse the Solid Waste EnterpriseFund for $31,215.38 for debris collected from Hurricane Irene. The BOCC had recommended the fees for the residential collection of debris from August 29th to October 27th be waived at the Appeal landfill. The fiscal impact will be to the contingency fund.

The last item for discussion was regarding launching kayaks and canoes at Nan’s Cove. The Maryland Department of Natural Resources looked at the site and recommended a floating launch dock and went ahead and secured wetland permits. The DNR said there is grant money available for the improvement. There are two applications available for $5,000 each. The board voted in favor of having President Shaw sign the applications.