Special meeting set for Galena budget
Special from the Kent County
— With town staff still working on the upcoming budget, the council plans to hold a special meeting later this month to ensure it stays on track to have a spending plan in place by the July 1 start of the new fiscal year.
The council will hold a special meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 25 to introduce the Fiscal Year 2017 budget, which takes effect July 1.
A public hearing on the budget is expected to be held at the council’s June 6 meeting, with a possible vote afterward.
Also during the May 25 meeting, the council will hold a workshop on a water and sewer rate study being conducted in conjunction with the long-running wastewater treatment plant project.
There are a couple of budget lines already expected to go up next year.
During the council’s Monday, May 2 meeting, Town Manager Sharon Weygand and Don Reed, of Maryland Environmental Service, spoke about the agency’s increased costs for monitoring the town’s water and wastewater plants.
The MES request for water services is $37,161, a $1,973 increase from the current year. For sewer, the cost will go up to $48,883, a difference of $3,034.
Reed said the majority of the rate hikes come from salary increases.
“I personally feel MES is doing a great job, and I think it really takes a burden off the town,” Weygand said.
Mayor Sam Sessa signed a new three-year trash contract with Republic Services that was previously approved by the council.
Town Attorney Tom Yeager said the service price per unit is increasing because of new costs of recycling.
Yeager said the costs go up incrementally each year of the contract, starting at $16.68 per unit for the first year. The second year, the per-unit price is $17.18, which goes to $17.69 for the final year of the contract.
“So this has a modest increase for the initial year of renewal and then it has a conditional increase for subsequent years,” Yeager said. In Other Business: • Clerk/Treasurer Barbara Shaw spoke about the first progress meeting on the town’s new wastewater treatment plant. She said much of the discussion held April 18 focused on how project payments will be made.
“It seems like everything is moving OK, and everybody seems happy,” Shaw said.
Sessa said the April 27 groundbreaking for the plant was a good event. He said it had been a long road just to get to that point.
“All in all, it was a really nice morning,” he said.
• Yeager said a draft fran- chise agreement submitted to Comcast a year ago was significantly shorter than the document currently under review. He said it appears Comcast is trying to subvert portions of the town’s ordinances through its proposed revisions.
“My overall opinion is that Comcast has made this much more complicated than it needs to be,” Yeager said.
• Councilman John Carroll said food trucks were a subject of discussion at last month’s Kent County Council of Governments meeting. He said that may be an issue for the town’s planning and zoning commission.
Yeager said since the zoning ordinance does not address food trucks, they are not allowed in town.
“It wouldn’t hurt to be prepared for it,” Sessa said.
• Chief Deputy James Culp gave the Kent County Sheriff’s Office report for the month of April. He said deputies performed 56 speed assignments in Galena, issuing 67 warnings and 89 citations.
Culp said April was a little busier in Galena than previous months. He said there were arrests for drinking and driving, drugs and an outstanding warrant, and a criminal complaint for a burglary at the Galena Pizzeria.
He said there were 12 hours of special overtime patrols in Galena, which does not have a municipal police department, at a cost of $568 to the town. He said there remains $2,647 in Galena’s overtime patrol budget for the remainder of the year.
• Judith Bielen was named a member of the elections board and Hazel Camp will serve as an alternate.
• Councilmen Bud Felty and Harry Pisapia were absent from the meeting.