In their last session of the year, Howard County council members Monday night elected District 4 Councilwoman Mary Kay Sigaty as council chairwoman.
District 2 Councilman Calvin Ball will remain the vice-chairman of the council, and Councilwoman Jen Terrasa will remain the chairwoman of the Zoning Board.
The council passed several pieces of legislation as well, including granting $6,300 to the Department of Recreation and Parks for historic signs at the B & O Railroad Museum in Ellicott City. In September, the county's Department of Recreation and Parks took over management and operation of the museum from the B & O Railroad Museum in Baltimore.
Council members also approved a lease between the county and Merritt Properties for the county to store its voting machines in a warehouse operated by the company. The seven and a half-year lease agreement is worth more than $150,000 over the course of the lease; the county will pay rent on a monthly basis.
Merritt made donations to County Executive Allan Kittleman’s 2014 campaign; however, the county’s regulations do not prohibit private companies who have donated to officials’ political campaigns from signing contracts with the county.
The council approved a revised manual for the county’s Equal Business Opportunity Program after amending the legislation so that veterans are not added to the program as a “minority” group. When the resolution was initially introduced by former council Chairman Jon Weinstein at the request of the county executive, it included a clause to have veterans added to the program as a “minority individual.”
As the newly elected chairwoman, Sigaty ended the meeting on a light note, wishing residents a “peaceful” holiday season, filled with time to “rest and reflect.”
The council will begin its 2018 session on Jan. 2 with a legislative meeting. Ball, Weinstein and Terrasa are expected to reintroduce the county’s adequate public facilities ordinance legislation in January, after votes to approve the bill were declared void last month.