Hurlock receives workplace safety award

Dorchester Banner/Susan M. Bautz Town Manager John Avery and Police Chief Les Hutton hold the safety award recently received by the Town of Hurlock from the Chesapeake Employer’s Insurance Company. The town was one of only 14 recipients this year.

Dorchester Banner/Susan M. Bautz
Town Manager John Avery and Police Chief Les Hutton hold the safety award recently received by the Town of Hurlock from the Chesapeake Employer’s Insurance Company. The town was one of only 14 recipients this year.

HURLOCK — At the Dec. 10 Hurlock council meeting town manager John Avery announced that Hurlock was one of only 14 2018 recipients of the Chesapeake Employers Insurance Company’s Premier Partner workplace safety award. The company offers workman’s compensation insurance for about 10,000 Maryland employers.

Mr. Avery said he is very proud of the town’s safety record. “This is based on the amount of claims for workman’s comp. We have not had any significant claims. The ones we have had have been reported expeditiously. When there is a claim, instead of putting someone on workman’s comp and paying a salary, we put them on light duty and keep our claims down.” He added that he and Police Chief Les Hutton have worked together to make safety a priority. “The chief has helped with this for a few years now.”

Insurance premiums are based on a percentage of the payroll and a number assigned to the town based on claims performance. Mr. Avery said the average premium has been about $100,000 per year. He explained, “A few years ago there were some expensive claims and the annual premium rose to $140,000. Given the past couple of years and the number assigned to Hurlock based on low claims the premium is $80,000. The more we keep up with Workers Comp the better our numbers will be. That’s what this award means to us.”

Mayor Michael Henry reported he attended the recent county council meeting and saw new council members sworn in. He turned to new district 4 Councilman Lenny Pfeffer who was seated in the audience, and said, “Congratulations. We are ready to work with you and everyone else and continue this progress that we’re making.”

Progress included a meeting with the mayors of Secretary and East New Market; the legislative delegates, and State Senator Addie Eckardt to discuss “issues that affect us all. It’s part of our effort to collaborate with others and work towards common goals.”

In a public works report Mr. Avery said the force main replacement and road work are complete. “All the exposed areas have been seeded and straw applied. The company did an excellent job,” noting it was completed within eight months. He explained that the project’s cost of about $680,000 included the job, change orders, road repairs, some inspection costs and a small amount of administrative fees.

Police Chief Hutton reported that between Nov. 27 and Dec.10 there were four incidents: Three burglaries and one theft, all of which were closed with juvenile arrests; and two warrant services. He added that all mandated training for the year was accomplished. Chief Hutton added there were no reported incidents during the Dec. 8 parade and said, “I’m very proud of the citizens who were above and beyond courteous and polite and the visitors were the same way.”

Cederick Turner, representing Hurlock Main Street & Downtown Committee, an organization registered with the state of Maryland, asked for council approval to reimburse the group for the rental of a cotton candy and popcorn machine and 15 custom T-shirts during the parade. Per Mr. Avery the council had authorized $2,000 to promote the downtown area. He said he thought it should be up to the council to make sure that the expenses are in line with what was approved in the budget. The council approved payment.

The food truck permits issue that had caused a stir two months ago has not been resolved and the council voted to place a moratorium on all permit applications until a case in Baltimore regarding food truck permits is settled to avoid passing a charter resolution that might have to be changed in the future. The moratorium, passed unanimously, includes exceptions for special events.

Councilman Charles Cephas said the committee formed to bring a youth center to Hurlock to serve the north county will meet 6 p.m., Jan. 17 at the Full Gospel Church, 204 Academy St. with representatives from USDA (US Dept. of Agriculture) to discuss funding possibilities. The committee set a 5 year goal for completion. Rev. Cephas hopes the community and businesses will be involved. The meeting is for committee members but the public is invited to attend to follow the project’s progress.

The Dec. 8 Santa and Cookies at the firehouse, the evening parade, and lighting the Wheatley Christmas tree was a well attended event. Councilman Russell Murphy thanked the public works department for its work before the parade in setting everything in place ahead of time and for the rapid clean up response following the event.

Councilman Earl Murphy noted that over 100 handmade ornaments were hung on the Wheatley tree. He thanked C&J Market and Deli for use of its electricity for the tree and the Hurlock volunteer fire department auxiliary for their help.

The next council meeting is slated for Jan. 14.

Susan Bautz is a freelance writer for the Dorchester Banner.

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