ROCK HALL — The mayor and council passed a series of ordinances during the Thursday, Feb. 11 business meeting and introduced several others ranging from event permits to the authority to borrow money for new projects.
The Rock Hall council held two public hearings first: one pertaining to streets and sidewalks, the other for events and permits. Both were unanimously approved later in the meeting.
The first ordinance would amend chapter 196, streets and sidewalks, of the town code so that “any person desiring to tunnel under any of the streets, alleys or other public ways of the town” must first obtain a written permit from the mayor and council. Violation of chapter 196 is now punishable as a municipal infraction. Those in violation are subject to a fine of $250, and $500 for a repeat violation.
There was no public comment during the hearing.
The second ordinance amends chapter 142 of the town code in regard to special events. It requires applications for special events held within town limits be filed at least 60 days in advance and that applicants produce a certificate of insurance. It also establishes penalties for unlicensed events.
There was no public comment offered for the second ordinance.
Though the ordinance passed, Mayor Dawn Jacobs spoke against applicants being required to give at least 60 days notice of an event.
Town Manager Bob Resele said the town used to require 120 days notice. He said the 60 days notice helps provide adequate time for the Rock Hall Police Department to prepare for road closures or any other necessary planning.
Also during the meeting, the council introduced three ordinances that, if approved, will give them authority to borrow money for new projects, for the water meter upgrade project and to refinance existing debt.
Jacobs said these ordinances give the council authority, but do not commit them yet to “doing these borrowings.”
“I think that’s a very important point,” Jacobs said.
She recommended the public read through the details of the ordinances, which are available online at rockhallmd.com.
Jacobs said one bond the council is working to refinance is at $601,000 with an interest rate of 5% currently. The council is anticipating dropping the rate to 2.5%. Another bond is at 4.25% and they’re hoping to drop it to 2.5%, she said.
In regard to new projects, Jacobs said some the council is looking to build a new roof for the town hall and the drying bed at the sewer plant, among other projects at the plant.
The public will be able to provide input on these ordinances during a special meeting schedule for March 1. The council will hold three meetings that night beginning at 6 p.m. — the regular utilities board meeting, workshop and the special meeting.