Citizens Report: Sykesville Town Council Meeting – Feb 27, 2023
Here are the top take-a-ways from the Town of Sykesville Council Meeting:
Statement on Open Meetings Act
Mayor Stacy Link opened the meeting by reading a statement in regard four Council members attending Planning Commission meeting on February 7, 2022 and February 21, 2022 unannounced. The Commission was considering an application from Warfield Company requesting rezoning text amendment to develop the former hospital property entirely residential which the Council and majority of the residents find unacceptable. These Council members were at the meeting without communicating as a group directly or by texts. Warfield filed a claim with the Open Meetings Compliance Board of a violation of the Maryland Open Meetings Act as a “failure to publish a notice in advanced of the Planning Commission meetings that the Council members intended to attend”. The Planning Commission ultimately recommended the denial of the application and the Council voted unanimously to deny the application.
The Compliance Board found the Town Council guilty of meeting improperly and required the Town to make a statement publicly on the Board’s decision as well as to sign a copy of the decision to be returned to the Board. Because the Town disagreed with the Board’s opinion, the Town decided not to sign the “unsubstantiated” opinion. The Town also appealed to Carroll County Circuit Court where Judge Hecker said the Board made advisory opinions and the Town didn’t have to make the statement. The Mayor stated that the Board was incorrect and exceed its authority. She did however read a statement of this concern and the Town’s position to ensure residents that the Town is working in their best interest. The Mayor’s full statement can be watched below.
Minutes from February 13, 2023 were approved. Agendas and Minutes are posted on the Town website at https://townofsykesville.org/2235/Agendas-Minutes.
Trefor Evans, Aften Johnson, and Carmen McEvoy were appointed as Board of Election Supervisors for a term expiring February 2025 as well as Lauren Hanratty, and Isaac Nogueron as alternates. All were sworn in by the Mayor.
The Council unanimously set the pay rate of Board of Election Supervisors and Alternates to $15 per hour worked on Election Day.
The Council unanimously appointed Kerry Kavaloski, Town Clerk, as Assistant Election Secretary. Town Manager, Joe Cosentini explained his and the Assistant Election Secretary role in the election process.
For residents’ information, the Town of Sykesville will hold an election for 3 council member seats on May 2, 2023. Election information, Candidacy Filing Form, Mail-In Voting application, and Designation of Agent form can all be found on the Town website at https://www.townofsykesville.org/2259/Election-Information.
2023 Strategic Planning
The Report on 2023 Strategic Planning as the result of the Council’s work on February 4th was presented by Joe Cosentini. Core values have been added which are belonging, accountability, resourceful and ownership. There was some discussion about adding stewardship to the core values. This Plan helps inform the FY2024 budget which will begin in the next month or so. When complete this document will be on the Town website.
The work on Main Street is moving to the south location. Road closures will be necessary from 8am-3:30pm. Night work is complete on the upper part of Main Street. The Town has not received notification about night work on the south location at this time. Updates on the roadwork, schedules and closings will be posted on the website.
The Town Manager also spoke on behalf of the absent Council member Guroff about reimbursement for Maryland Leadership tuition. The Council would like to hear more about the program and its benefit to the Town from Guroff before voting.
Positions for Public Works and part-time Splash Pad will be opening. Watch the Town website for information.
Public Safety Report
Chief Spaulding presented the February 6-20 report with 488 events.
A fourth degree burglary (“unlawful breaking into a store house or out building” ) of the blue railcar behind Sykesville Station occurred. The lock was broken and trash was found inside. Public Works replaced lock. If needed for shelter, please come to Town for information about a shelter in Westminster.
Two overdoses occurred during in this time period. Both survived, one CPR/Narcan was administered by Lt. Kilgore. The Chief and Council discussed that through education and Narcan, there has been a significant reduction in overdose deaths.
There was a death investigation of an elderly resident with cardiac arrest. The Town’s new Officer Jacobs performed CPR but the resident didn’t survive.
Again Officer Jacobs, showing maturity, followed a speeding car heading south on Route 32. At the light at Springfield, Jacobs turned on lights but the car sped off. Rather than chasing the car, he notified Howard County as it was only a traffic violation.
Council member Carter attended the Historic District Commission meeting on February 22nd where they met with the new consultants who will update new guidelines.
Council member Schoefield mentioned the next Planning Commission meeting will be held March 6th.
Council member Keenan updated the Council that Downtown Sykesville Connection held an art show for Black History month in partnership with Barrier Free. Also, a Cocoa Crawl was held last weekend where 350 mugs were sold in advance.
Council member Grasley announced the Gatehouse Museum open house (across from the Splash Pad) will be held Saturday, March 4,12-4pm.
The Town has volunteer opportunities available on the Historic District Commission and Police Auxiliary. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
The Mayor moved to CLOSED SESSION pursuant to the General Provisions Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland, Section 3-305(b): (7) to consult with counsel to obtain legal advice on a legal matter in regard to the Warfield Contract.
The Town’s next meeting will be held Monday, March 13, 2023.