River Hill Board of Directors
November 14, 2023
Opening (Agenda Item 2):
Mr. Bruening called the meeting to order at 7:04 p.m. The meeting was held remotely via Zoom. The following members attended: Kevin Bruening, Moe Imran, Mark Combs and Rob Mekelburg. Eric Greenberg (CA Representative), Elinor Tu (Student Member) and Renee DuBois (Village Manager) were present. The following guests attended the meeting: Leslie Barnett (CA Liaison), Dennis Kenez, Kelly Cao, Ron Briggs, Roger Caplan and Jennifer Lynott (Communications & Events Coordinator).
Approval of the (Agenda Item 3):
Mr. Bruening requested to amend the agenda to make Item 7D (Recharter Boy Scout Troop #618) the first item under New Business and to make Item 4C the Student Member report and to add Item 4D (Update from Leslie Barnett, CA Liaison to the Village)
Mr. Bruening made a motion to approve the agenda as amended. Mr.Mekelburg seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously. 4-0
Announcement of Executive Session Held/to be Held (Agenda Item 4A)
October 9, 2023, Minutes Approval (Agenda Item 4B)
Mr. Bruening made a motion to approve the October 9, 2023, Minutes. Mr. Mekelburg seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously. 4-0
Student Member Report (Agenda Item 4C)
Ms. Tu reported on the success of the Haunted Hallow’s Eve event and discussed the plans for the upcoming Snacks with Santa and Snow Much FunFest events on December 9. The Teen Advisory Committee members have committed to either serving on various RHCA committees this year such as the Development Advisory Committee and the Architectural Committee, or they will write a “Teen Talk” article for The Villager.
Update from CA Liaison Leslie Barnett (Agenda Item 4D)
Ms. Barnett shared several items related to CA programming for residents to consider such as the Afterschool program, CA Art Center events, Walk with a Doc program, Fairway Hills Annual Turkey Shoot, Youth & Teen Center Thanksgiving basket distribution, the Festive Fridays events at the Downtown Columbia Lakefront this December, and a Solar information session on Dec. 5.
Resident Speak Out (Agenda Item 5)
CA Budget Priorities Letter (Agenda Item 6A)
Items discussed for consideration are funding a staff position at RHCA to resume the Property Standards Evaluation Program initially begun in 2013, improvements to the Tot Lot System, and the installation of more trash cans along pathways throughout the Village. Ms. DuBois stated that she will continue to work on a draft of the letter and will send it to all RHCA Board members for approval for it to be submitted prior to the next CA Board Meeting on December 14. Mr. Greenberg mentioned that the CA Tot Lot Survey currently open for public input ends on November 26.
CA Management Contract Extension (Agenda Item 6B)
Two other Villages (Owen Brown and Hickory Ridge) have not signed the extension agreement due to the issue of the funding formula used by CA to determine each Village’s share of the assessment monies as well as the lack of an adjustment for inflation. Discussion was held about whether to wait to sign the contract extension until after hearing from Jackie Tuma, CA’s Director of Audit and Advisory Services, at the scheduled meeting of the Village Managers on December 13. Ms. DuBois will draft a letter to CA with questions and concerns related to the management contract extension and send it to the RHCA Board of Directors.
Mr. Bruening made a motion to table this item until after the Village Managers’ meeting on December 13. There was no second to the motion, however, all members agreed to table the item.
Recharter Boy Scout Troop #618 (Agenda Item 7D)
Ms. Kelly Cao, parent volunteer, reported on the many ways Boy Scout Troop 618 supports the community such as by serving as Traffic Marshals during the annual Independence Day Parade and participating in Pull & Plant events with RHCA and CA. Additionally, the troop is planning to plant trees at the Middle Patuxent Environmental Area (MPEA). The troop has 35 regular scouts, and 8 scouts have earned the Eagle rank.
Mr. Bruening made a motion to recharter Boy Scout Troop #618 for 1 year as is customary. Mr. Mekelburg seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously 4-0.
FY23 Audited Financial Statements (Agenda Item 7A)
An audit occurs once every three years. There were no adjustments to be made. Any other changes needed were considered to be immaterial. Once the Board reviews and accepts the financial statements, Ms. DuBois will notify CA.
Mr. Bruening made a motion to accept and approve the financial statements as presented. Mr. Imran seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously. 4-0
Police Liaison Letter (Agenda Item 7B)
The police liaison program was canceled for all Villages without notice. The draft of a letter was shared with all RHCA Board members that requests the reinstatement of the program.
Mr. Bruening made a motion to approve the letter as written to be sent to Chief Der, HCPD. Mr. Combs seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously. 4-0
HoCo Funding Letter (Agenda Item 7C)
Funding priorities for Howard County are requested and sent in once each year. RHCA will request sound barriers to block out the noise from the over 50,000 vehicles per day traveling along Route 32. Additional requests are to add more speed enforcement and community policing.
Mr. Bruening made a motion to approve the letter with minor changes as discussed. Mr. Imran seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously. 4-0
Development Advisory Committee (Agenda Item 8Ai)
Mr. Kenez spoke about Clarksville Commons and the proposed Phase 2 for that shopping center. He spoke to a representative from HoCo’s Department of Planning & Zoning (DPZ) and was told that the owners of the property haven’t yet submitted a formal file. They have one year from the date of the public meeting held on 7/6/23 to do so. DPZ agreed to notify Mr. Kenez of any changes.
Traffic & Safety Committee (Agenda Item 8Aii)
Village Manager (Agenda Item 8B)
Ms. DuBois reported that the association is advertising for Election Committee members to have them in place at the next Board meeting. Mr. Ron Briggs, Ms. April Battle and Mr. Eric Greenberg have already agreed to serve. Mr. Bruening and Mr. Lakhanpal have expiring terms as of April 30, 2023. Ms. DuBois reminded the Board members without expiring terms to be impartial (no signs in their yards, etc.). Additionally, Ms. DuBois stated that ballot questions (if any) will need to be shared by the next meeting date. She also provided an update on technology changes at Claret Hall in order to improve the capability to hold hybrid meetings beginning in January. She also stated that there are 2 pieces of legislation introduced by Terri Hill regarding Columbia Villages and possible changes to the covenants for voting. Ms. DuBois will invite her to come to an upcoming RHCA meeting. Ms. DuBois stated that she plans to begin using surveys monthly and would like the Board to suggest ideas for topics. Also mentioned were the Tree for Veterans lighting in front of Kendall Hardware and the Board of Education meeting where an update on Policy 5200 will occur. Mr. Bruening offered to put together talking points for Mr. Imran to present.
Council Representative (Agenda Item 8C)
Mr. Greenberg reviewed Delegate Terri Hill’s bill and discussed the upcoming vote by CA Board Members on the budget and rate cap to occur in February.
Board Chairperson (Agenda Item 8D)
Board Speak Out (Agenda Item 9)
Adjournment (Agenda Item 10)
At 9:44 p.m., Mr. Mekelburg made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 9:44 p.m. Mr. Imran seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously. 4-0