Stallings re­signs from Pre­ston com­mis­sion

Times-Record - - News - By CON­NIE CON­NOLLY cconnolly@ches­pub.com

PRE­STON — At a time when the Pre­ston town com­mis­sion­ers are tack­ling the chal­leng­ing waste­water treat­ment plant up­grade project, their pres­i­dent re­signed Mon­day, Dec. 19, at the last work ses­sion of the year.

Jerry Stallings, who has been a mem­ber of the com­mis­sion since Septem­ber 2013, is mov­ing out­side the town lim­its and no longer can serve as a com­mis­sioner.

“I’ve loved work­ing with the com­mis­sion­ers and the plan­ning and zon­ing com­mit­tee,” Stalling said as his eyes filled with tears. “I ap­pre­ci­ate the op­por­tu­nity to work on the town com­mis­sion.”

“You can al­ways vol­un­teer to serve on com­mit­tees; you don’t have to live in town.” com­mis­sioner Doug Vanderveer said. “You will be missed.”

The same sen­ti­ment was ex­pressed by town man­ager Stacey Pin­dell, who has worked closely with Stallings on find­ing funds for the waste­water treat­ment plant up­grade project.

“Well, Jerry, we ap­pre­ci­ate your ser­vice,” Com­mis­sioner Gary Wal­te­meyer said, as the four other com­mis­sion­ers and 11 at­ten­dees nod­ded.

In other busi­ness, Chris Rogers, a pro­fes­sional plan­ner with AECOM over­see­ing the WWTP up­grade, asked the com­mis­sion­ers to give their bless­ing to the draft im­ple­men­ta­tion sched­ule.

Rogers handed out copies of the draft sched­ule to the com­mis­sion. Now that the fea­si­bil­ity study has been com­pleted, the de­sign, bid­ding and con­struc­tion phases of the WWTP up­grade will take almost three years to com­plete.

The WWTP de­sign phase is ex­pected to take about a year, from the date the de­sign con­tract was signed on Nov. 17 to its com­ple­tion on Nov. 1, 2017.

“MDE wants you to ad­dress cer­tain mile­stones,” Rogers said. “That’s why we’re giv­ing our­selves a year to get the de­sign done and get per­mits. We’ve al­ways said we want to be con­ser­va­tive in your fa­vor.”

The draft sched­ule projects ad­ver­tise­ment for the con­struc­tion phase to be­gin Dec. 1, 2017, with bids open­ing three months later. Con­struc­tion is pro­jected to be­gin April 18, 2018. The com­mis­sion will vote on the sched­ule at the Jan. 9 meet­ing.

Other in­di­vid­u­als and groups re­ported to the com­mis­sion­ers. Rus­sell Dukes, a vol­un­teer fire­fighter for 49 years, is be­gin­ning his third stint as pres­i­dent of the Pre­ston Vol­un­teer Fire Com­pany.

“What lapse of judg­ment did you have?” Vanderveer asked Dukes, prompt­ing laugh­ter from the at­ten­dees.

“We’re work­ing on 253 calls this year,” Dukes said. “I think Stacey (Pin­dell) has got my num­ber on speed dial.”

Dukes told the com­mis­sion­ers in­vi­ta­tions for the fire com­pany’s an­nual ban­quet on Feb. 18 will be sent out af­ter the hol­i­days. Dukes wished ev­ery­one a “nice, quiet new year.”

Bunky Luff­man, the new Sal­is­bury-based In­ter­gov- ern­men­tal Af­fairs Eastern Shore Li­ai­son for Gov. Larry Hogan, in­tro­duced him­self and stayed for the en­tire meet­ing. The for­mer mayor of Del­mar, Md., Luff­man’s ter­ri­tory in­cludes the nine coun­ties of the Eastern Shore and their 56 mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties. The Del­mar na­tive said he will “fa­cil­i­tate is­sues towns may be hav­ing” and at­tend­ing town meet­ings on the Eastern Shore four days a week.

Con­cerns about un­de­sir­able busi­nesses lo­cat­ing in Pre­ston prompted plan­ning and zon­ing com­mit­tee Chair­man Bob Lorenz to ask the com­mis­sion­ers to look into es­tab­lish­ing an adult busi­ness or­di­nance sim­i­lar to Den­ton’s. Town at­tor­ney Wal­ter Palmer, who lives in Den­ton, said he will email Den­ton’s or­di­nance to the com­mis­sion­ers.

Lorenz up­dated the com­mis­sion­ers on con­struc­tion within the town lim­its. Eight pieces of play­ground equip­ment were to have been in­stalled in the town park by mid-De­cem­ber, but weather has de­layed the in­stal­la­tion of five pieces. Stallings said they should be in­stalled “this week or next.”

At the Dec. 5 town meet­ing, Lorenz had re­ported the ex­ist­ing la­goons an­nexed to the town were zoned R2, sin­gle fam­ily and two-fam­ily res­i­den­tial. In the mean­time, how­ever, Lorenz de­ter­mined that the new WWTP is a per­mit­ted use in an R2 zone.

A Caroline County tax dif­fer­en­tial meet­ing has been sched­uled for Mon­day, March 7 at the Pre­ston Fire Hall.

Vanderveer said that with two years and four months left in Stallings’ term, a spe­cial elec­tion would re­quire a 30-day ad­ver­tise­ment pe­riod.

Town res­i­dent Kath­leen Barry said she was go­ing to bring up the topic any­way, but in light of Stallings’ res­ig­na­tion, she asked the com­mis­sion­ers to con­sider re­duc­ing the num­ber of com­mis­sion­ers back down to three from five. “It’s one way we can be­gin to cut the bud­get down,” she said.

As he ad­journed his last meet­ing, Stallings wished his fel­low com­mis­sion­ers and at­ten­dees a “merry Christ­mas and a happy new year.”

PHOTO BY CON­NIE CON­NOLLY

Jerry Stallings, cen­ter, re­signed from the Pre­ston Town Com­mis­sion at its work ses­sion on Dec. 19. Elected three years ago, Stallings was com­mis­sion pres­i­dent. Chat­ting with him af­ter the meet­ing were Bunky Luff­man, the new in­ter­gov­ern­men­tal af­fairs Eastern Shore li­ai­son for Gov. Larry Hogan, and Pre­ston res­i­dent Kath­leen Barry. In the back­ground is Com­mis­sioner Gary Wal­te­meyer.

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