Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Westminster MD Mayor and Common Council Meeting of January 12, 2015

Westminster MD Mayor and Common Council Meeting of January 12, 2015

AGENDA CITY OF WESTMINSTER, MARYLAND Mayor and Common Council Meeting of January 12, 2015

My running rough notes from the meeting – Kevin E. Dayhoff January 13, 2015

Update, Heather Cobun has published a well-written and informative article in the Carroll County Times about the council meeting. Find the article here:,0,2701792.story

Westminster selects fiber network operator

Toronto-based Ting began as mobile service provider, expanding to fiber networks

By Heather Cobun, Times Staff Writer

9:59 p.m. EST, January 12, 2015

Some areas of Westminster could see high-speed Internet by the spring if the pilot phase of the city's fiber network stays on schedule.

The Mayor and Common Council voted unanimously Monday to select Toronto-based Ting, a subsidiary of Tucows Inc., as its Internet network operator. The firm will devise a fee structure and manage a fiber optics network being built by the city, which will retain ownership of the network. Though the fee structure has not been set, Ting officials hope to keep the price under $90 a month.

The city budgeted $6.3 million in the current fiscal year for network construction.

"From the very beginning, it was obvious that they understood what we were trying to do," said Council President Robert Wack. "We got a lot of feedback from other responses that was questioning to flat-out skeptical."


This was a really good meeting. Lots of exciting things happening and everyone seems to working well together – at least as far as the public face of the mayor and council and department heads. This is in stark contrast with the openly hostile disagreements aired publicly at the county state of the county event Tuesday morning January 13, 2015.

There appears to have been a reception before the meeting. I think that maybe it was for the broadband initiative.

Lots of folks here. Roy Chiavacci, Sam Greenholtz, Lisa Breslin, Missy Wilcox, Lyndi McNulty…

This is the first council meeting that I have attended for some time. Many of the positions have changed…. Some have not… Tammy Palmer is the finance director, Jeff Spaulding is the police chief. Steve Horn is the planning director, Marg Wolf is the city administrator, attorney Elissa Levan, public works director Jeff Glass, recreation and parks director Abby Gruber, and … …

1.   CALL TO ORDER: Council president Dr. Robert Wack brought the meeting to order at precisely 7 p.m. with the Pledge of Allegiance and a moment of silence.

2.   APPROVAL OF MINUTES OF THE MEETING DECEMBER 8, 2014 Motioned and approved,

3.   PUBLIC HEARINGS No public hearings

4.   CONSENT CALENDAR Motioned and approved.

Approval of November 2014 Departmental Operating Reports

Approval of 4th Amendment to LaserCraft Agreement – Chief Spaulding

Approval of Delta Plus Licensing Agreement – Chief Spaulding

5.   REPORT FROM THE MAYOR Welcome the new council member. Attended the NAACP breakfast. Meetings with the county commissioners


Paul Whitson attended the NAACP breakfast.

Suzanne Albert Welcomed the new council woman.

Tony Chiavacci mentioned a positive meeting with Mayor Utz, Chief Spaulding and the new State’s Attorney Brian DeLeonardo... 

Dr. Becker… NAACP breakfast, the Civil Rights tour…

8.   BIDS

Approval of the selection of the broadband network services operator—Dr. Wack

A discussion of the history and the initiative. Unique approach. Interviewed all the folks back in October.

Right from the very beginning, it was clear that Ting Fiber … they were interested in a partnership.

“We’re thrilled with the opportunity… It makes sense that the municipality own the infrastructure… Customer service a strong point. We have a unique business model in that we specialize in going to places where the customer service is poor and we are nicer.




Approval of the establishment of a Broadband Policy Group

Mayor’s announcement of a policy group… Barbara Biller, Sam Greenholtz, Jason Stambaugh, Mark Krider, Davis…. et al. It was approved.


Tonight is the culmination of six month’s concerted effort by the city to bring the most expansive infrastructure project in our area to fruition. This project will bring jobs, allow for telecommuting, encourage technology startups and broaden business markets and will be the first open access gigabit municipal broadband network in the Mid-Atlantic region. The President of the Common Council, Dr. Robert Wack, was the visionary on this project and he convinced the Common Council that this investment in a broadband network would result in a diversity of services and competition which will provide the best quality and pricing for City residents. Dr. Wack will provide more detail on this project later in the agenda.

To assist the City with this Broadband network project by providing advice and guidance as we move to connect every residence in the City to the network, I am asking Council for a motion to approve the appointment of a Broadband Policy Committee composed of the following residents and business owners with specialized knowledge of the broadband community:

Barbara Biller
Samuel Greenholtz
Josh Kohn
Jason Stambaugh
Mark Krider and
Patti Davis

This Committee will provide advice and guidance to the City as we move forward with the implementation of this city-wide project.

Presentation of Financial Statements and Audit Report – Tricia Bush, McGladrey LLC

A report on the financial statements and audit report…

Auto Zone @ 140 Village Shopping Center; Public Works Agreement (A-1087)—Steve Horn

Cactus Willys will be razed and replaced with an Auto Zone. Motioned and approved…

Weis Market Gas-N-Go; Public Works Agreement (A-1088)—Steve Horn Motioned and approved…


Jeff Glass Hyde’s Quarry

Abby Gruber various events; working through minimum wage increased… Jacob’s latter exercise equipment.

Finance Director Tammy Palmer RFP for a new auditor and working on the budget… Assessment lagging.

Jeff Spaulding new Main Street police officer. Mike Beaumont… Spends 40-hours a week working with the businesses… Working on the heroin challenges in the community. The polar plunge.

Steve Horn – reminding folks to clean the sidewalks

Elissa Levan no report

Marg Wolf budget issues.

5 pm Wednesday at Calvert House for a legislative reception.

13. CITIZEN COMMENTS 7:45 pm There were no citizen comments.

14. ADJOURNMENT: We adjourned at 7:45 p.m.

It was a good meeting. Lots of new and exciting approaches and initiatives. 
Kevin Dayhoff is an artist - and a columnist for:

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