1. Call to order - Michael R. Leszcz, Chairman
2. 2. Approval of Minutes from Tuesday, February 23, 2021
3. 3. Community Garden - Speaker Frederick Smalls
4. 4. Update on Pencils
5. 5. Biodegradable Bags - Feedback
6. 6. Community Survey – Status
7. 7. Mayor’s Environmental Awards Program
8. 8. Next Meeting
9. 9. Adjournment
ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS COMMITTEE
TUESDAY, MARCH 30, 2021
Attendees: Mike Leszcz, Frederick Smalls, Kyla Clark, Bill Bailey, and Kenya Barno
Approval of Minutes for Tuesday, February 23, 2021. No quorum will revisit next meeting.
Mayor meeting with Council regarding the budget is next week. We do not know how much will be in the budget. Just issued the first report to the Mayor regarding the budget income and expenses and the effects of the pandemic on the budget. The one whole in the budget is “Pension” contribution. We cannot use money coming from the Federal Government for pensions there is a restriction in the law.
The other good news is that the theaters may come out of their lock down soon. This will be good for the City because we derive a large percentage of our budget other than real estate and income taxes from the amusement taxes. We are getting nothing now.
Speaker - Frederick Small – “The Community Garden started 9 years ago. This has been a huge success. It took speaking to the Mayor about the Garden and Council approving the funding that were needed. They looked at several different sites but after working with Parks and Recs they were able to find a nice place. The Community Garden does charge a fee, it is a nonprofit organization where all the money that is raised goes right back into the garden. One of the keys for choosing this location is that it has access to water on the property. Over the years some of the challenges that the Community Garden faced were the need of higher fences. They have found deer jumping over the fence eating the veggies and fruits along with vandals and keeping people out of the garden.
There are 50 plus plots and they are all sold out as of today. Individuals who planted there has had the opportunity to develop friendships. They share tips on how to harvest and have become a close-knit Community Garden. One of the plots that are there is called the LARS Plot. These fresh fruits go to LARS and Elizabeth House. In February they hold a training to teach gardeners how to plant seeds and harvest. Even during the non-growing period there are events that take place regarding the Garden.”
The City does contribute funding to having the water line placed for the community garden. The City has been very supportive and there are several City staff members that dedicate their time to assist.
Kyla Clark- “Update on pencils. Received a response from Sprout there were no government discount. Reached out to Treach Spart Industries minimum for custom print is 250 pencils and 28 cents per pencil plus shipping and screen set up fee. They appeared more reasonable the Spout Pencils.”
The Four elementary schools are Laurel Elementary, St. Mary’s School, The Baptist Church and Scotchtown Hills. Roughly 500 hundred students all together. Targeting the fourth and fifth grade due to that grade level learning about climate change and recycling.
Information that was sent stating 40 to 50 cent a pencil from the recycle newspaper company, the one from recycle wood is even more expensive. The City is getting a substantial amount of money from this last Relief Act. There are some things we can spend money on and some things we cannot. If we could consider, purchasing about 500 pencils and take them to the schools and give them a little education on it.
Will be talking the Mayor about funding regarding environmental efforts. The City is making some steps in the direction of sustainability and having a program.
The City of Laurel 150th anniversary in recognition to that they gave away 150 trees, this program is sponsored by Cheryl Dyer. These trees are native to Maryland.
The Bags Legislature, nothing has happened probably will die as it has in the past.
Researched biodegradable bags and purchased 500. Found out that 50% degrade within the first year they disintegrate, and they meet the European standard.
If the legislature doesn’t pass bag bill. Then the Environmental Committee will propose purchasing biodegradable bags and giving them to the different food banks within the City of Laurel. 500 bags cost $80.00. Did ask the company if they had a nonprofit program.
Environmental Awards Program, The Mayor is trying to expand the Golden Shovel Award. They Mayor is taken the steps. The gas station at the end of Montgomery street was the best-looking gas station over 50 years ago but now looks like a dump. The owner at that time spent a lot of money on that property. They did 2million gallons a year in gas. Currently all the landscaping is gone.
One of the major problems on route one is companies installing landscape but over time it disappears. For example, from the restaurant Popeyes Chicken to Laurel Town Center. It’s a great idea to award small business for great landscaping. Suggest having code enforcement go to those types of properties and check out the area. When it comes to Landscape and business, a great landscape bring business. People see a property that is well taken care of they are more willing to go in.
Letters will go out to those members who have not been attending the committee.
Meeting adjourned at 6:49PM
Administrative Assistant I