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Date: April 13, 2021

Place: Video Conference Call Only Due to COVID-19

Time: 7:30 PM

Present: Greg Chernack, Pat Xeller, Maryann Luongo, Josh Galper, Ashley Kavanaugh, Julie Sparacino, and several Section 5 residents

Agenda Item: Greetings and Introductions

Chairman Greg Chernack called the meeting to order and welcomed those in attendance.

Agenda Item: Review and Approval of March Council Meeting Minutes

Chairman Chernack moved that the minutes from the March meeting be approved; there was a second, and the motion passed.

Agenda Item: Resident Comments

A resident mentioned an issue with the processing of his property tax rebate from 2020. He stated it was eventually resolved with the County staff, but he wanted to flag it in case others had a similar experience. Another resident asked about including the password information for the meeting on the mailed agenda. The Manager noted that we email the password information to all residents instead of mailing for security purposes.

Agenda Item: Discussion of Draft FY 2021-2022 Budget

The Town Manager presented a draft FY 2022 budget to the Council and residents in attendance. After a detailed discussion of all the line items, income, and expenditures, the draft was approved with no changes. The draft will be sent to residents for their review in advance of the Annual Meeting on May 4.

As part of this discussion the Section 5 Council also voted unanimously to donate $5000 each to the Chevy Chase Fire Department and the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rescue Squad.

Agenda Item: Manager’s Report

-The Town Manager noted there were three building permits issued this month, as well as one tree removal permit.

-Since there were only three open Council seats up for election this year, and only three candidates who submitted and declared their nomination, Greg Chernack, Patricia Xeller, and Philip Giordano will be automatically elected at the May meeting with no need for a ballot election.

-The next Bulk Trash Collection will be Saturday, June 5.

-The Manager provided an update on the impending sale of the 4-H Conference Center located at 7100 Connecticut Avenue. This parcel is over 12 acres and located within the Town of Chevy Chase. The Town has certain regulatory authority over all development within the municipal Town limits that includes a Memorandum of Understanding that governs various matters regarding the use of the 4-H site. The Town held a conference call in mid-March that detailed the reason for the sale. The Chair of the 4-H said they had owned the land since the1950s. As a result of the pandemic, they have been closed since last March. Realistically, they do not see a path for youth to return to the center for another two years, possibly more. With no income, the building and facility are a heavy operational burden, and they are under extreme financial stress. They asked CBRE to list the property. A CBRE executive noted the property went on the market on March 16. They assume a six-to-eight-week process, with first offers received by the end of May, a buyer selected by June, and they would close on the property by the end of the year. They are mindful of prospective buyers and pursuing two types of groups. Those that would buy and use it “as is” which would include things like a school, or medical center, etc. Alternatively, a typical residential group that would purchase the land and build houses on it. The lots are all zoned as R-60. Both the 4-H Chair and CBRE executive said their intent is to work with the Town to find buyers that will fit well within the established community.

-The Manager said that Section 5 received an audit engagement proposal from Lindsey and Associates for FY 2021. Lindsey and Associates has conducted the Section’s annual audit for several years. The new proposal shows a modest fee increase of $200. This is in line with other municipalities’ audit costs. The Manager recommends agreeing to the proposal. The Council agreed, and the Manager will notify Lindsey and Associates.

-Lee’s Trees who has served as the Section’s leaf vacuuming contractor for many years recently informed the Manager that they will no longer offer this service. As a result, the Section will put out an RFP and accept bids on this in the next few months.

-As part of the American Rescue Plan for COVID-19 relief, Section 5 may receive almost $585,000. The Section will need to consider how to use this money. There are certain restrictions on how the money can be spent. Allowable uses of Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds include: to respond to or mitigate the COVID-19 health emergency or its negative economic impacts, including assistance to households, small businesses, nonprofits, and aid for tourism, travel, and hospitality; to provide essential workers with premium pay; to cover revenue loss as a result incurred as a result of the COVID-19 emergency; or to make necessary investments in water, sewer, or broadband infrastructure. There is supposed to be further guidance from the U.S. Treasury Department regarding the guidelines in the coming weeks. We will share this information as it becomes available. The Section is not budgeting for this money.

-The Section continues to hear from residents regarding stormwater issues. Many properties do not drain properly, and the residents would like to pump the water to the street which is disallowed in our regulations. Alternatively, many residents who are making improvements to their properties by upgrading yards, patios, or driveways are facing significant costs to meet the allowed stormwater management methods. There are no great answers, but it is important to continue to stress to County officials that stormwater is a growing concern for Section 5 and many of the surrounding municipalities.

-The Manager provided an update on Thrive Montgomery. The area municipal coalition received a response to its letter regarding the Thrive Montgomery “process” to Chairman Casey Anderson. In short, the County believes they have provided ample time to review the plan and they do not plan to change course. They said this has been in the works for several years and the staff has spent significant time on it. There are follow-up meetings with some of the Montgomery County Council this week.

-At our March meeting the Manager discussed the need to rewrite part of our current fence regulations. We had hoped to have a draft completed this spring and possibly approved by the Council before summer break. Despite best efforts, we will need more time on this. We will use the summer months to work on this and plan to present at the September Council meeting.


Chairman Chernack adjourned the meeting. The next meeting will be held May 4, 2021, at 7:30 PM via GoToMeeting. Everyone is welcome.