A meeting of the County Commissioners of Kent County was called to order at 6:00 p.m. with the following present: Ronald H. Fithian presiding, William W. Pickrum, and William A. Short. The meeting convened with the Pledge of Allegiance. Commissioner Fithian asked for a moment of silence for all the soldiers who have given their lives for our freedom and for all the suffering taking place across this great land.
Marty Hale, Director, Human Resources, acting as County Administrator was also present.
On motion by Commissioner Pickrum and seconded by Commissioner Short, the Commissioners unanimously approved the regular and closed session minutes from the July 9th meeting.
The Commissioners received a letter from John W. Johnson, Jr. Supervisor Environmental Services, Kent County Public Schools. Mr. Johnson thanked the County workers and Jim Wright, County Engineer for their help and cooperation with cutting grass and lining athletic fields on Worton Campus and removing some dead trees and clearing a large storm ditch. Mr. Johnson shares that the ability to partner and work together is a tremendous win and a great example of how government can be more efficient.
The Commissioners received a letter from Thomasina Hiers, Deputy Secretary for Programs, Maryland Human Services, dated July 5, 2013. Ms. Hiers gives official notification of the intention of the Maryland Department of Human Resources (DHR) to terminate the contractual agreement with the Kent County Board of Commissioners to serve as the local sponsoring agency for the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) provided by the United States Department of Agriculture. The contract will terminate effective September 30, 2013 as a result of DHR restructuring the administration of TEFAP. Commissioner Pickrum expressed his concern that the County continue to get its traditional share of the TEFAP allocations.
A letter was received from Tammy M. Brown, Executive Director, Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention, dated July 1, 2013. Kent County’s grant application entitled “Monitoring Support”, in the amount of $2,750.00 has received approval under the Sex Offender Compliance and Enforcement in Maryland program. Commissioner Fithian signed the Grant Award Acceptance form.
A letter was received from Tammy M. Brown, Executive Director, Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention, dated July 5, 2013. Kent County’s grant application entitled “Protective Order Entry/Service”, in the amount of $2,657.00 has received approval under the
Domestic Violence Unit Program fund (2000 HB 101) program. Commissioner Fithian signed the Grant Award Acceptance form.
Correspondence was received from Earl F. Hance, Secretary, Maryland Department of Agriculture, dated July 5, 2013. Mr. Hance announces a new program to help support agriculture tourism in the County. Mr. Hance explains as farmers diversify their operations and connect more directly with consumers, ag-tourism has become a growing segment of Maryland agriculture. The Maryland Ag-Tourism Signing Program will allow the Maryland State Highway Administration to post directional signs to an approved ag-tourism site on the nearest state route, after the County has agreed to participate in the program. A copy of the letter was forwarded to Bernadette Bowman, Director, Tourism and Economic Development.
A letter was received from Michael R. Honnick, Chief, Cost Accounting Section, United States Department of the Interior, dated, July 8, 2013. Mr. Honnick advises that the Refuge Revenue Sharing Act provides for annual payments to local governments for lands under the administration of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Kent County will receive $28,434.00, for fiscal year 2012 during the week of August 5, 2013.
SAMARITAN GROUP, INC.
Carol Droge, Board Chair, Samaritan Group, Inc., presented the Maryland Department of Housing Community Development (DHCD) Emergency Solutions Grant Application in the amount of $8,000.00 for the Commissioners’ review and approval. The grant does not require a County match and will provide emergency winter shelter and homeless prevention services. Funds will be available from October 1, 2013, to September 30, 2015. On motion by Commissioner Pickrum and seconded by Commissioner Short, the Commissioners unanimously approved the application and Commissioner Fithian signed the application.
Pat Merritt, Chief Finance Officer, presented the May 2013 Financial Statements and highlighting the favorable and unfavorable variances and their causes. Ms. Merritt also reviewed the cash flow as of June 30, 2013.
Commissioner Pickrum questioned when the contract with our current auditor expires. Ms. Merritt explained this is the last year and it will be bid in the near future.
Commissioner Short questioned the increase in meter fees from Choptank Electric in regard to the Solar project. Commissioner Pickrum asked for a cost analysis of how the increase was calculated. Ms. Merritt gave a summary of the billing issues and an update of what is still being addressed.
Robert Kramer, Resident, asked to have Standard Solar explain the figures presented at inception of the Solar Project compared to the actual figures obtained.
Jim Wright, County Engineer, presented recommendations to approve the purchase of two mowers for Grounds Maintenance and fund the expense from FY2014 Contingency Funds. After a discussion on the budget process and the pricing and maintenance of the mowers, a motion was made by Commissioner Short and seconded by Commissioner Pickrum, and Commissioners unanimously approved purchasing the Kubota mowers at $32,365.00. Mr. Wright also presented recommendations to approve the purchase of two tractors with mowers for County Roads that were included in the FY2014 budget. On motion by Commissioner Short and seconded by Commissioner Pickrum, the Commissioners unanimously approved recommendations.
Mr. Wright also advised the Commissioners that The Arts at Still Pond has requested installing a water conditioner at their expense. Mr. Wright stated he sees no issues with the installation and the Commissioners agreed to allow the installation, providing the County receives a letter from The Arts at Still Pond, stating the County is not responsible for any expenses associated with the water conditioner.
Mr. Hale presented employment recommendations to fill two full time Paramedic positions and one part-time fill in position in Emergency Services. On motion by Commissioner Short and seconded by Commissioner Pickrum, the Commissioners unanimously approved the recommendations, contingent upon successful completion of County employment requirements.
Mr. Hale on behalf of Bill Kerbin, Housing Planner, Planning, Housing and Zoning presented the July 2013, Semi-Annual Progress Reports for the Housing Rehabilitation and the Shared Opportunity Services’ - Job Readiness Program for the Commissioners review. Commissioner Fithian signed the Progress Reports.
PUBLIC COMMENT/MEDIA REVIEW
Dr. Karen Crouch, Superintendent, Kent County Public Schools, introduced herself to the audience and shared she will be attending as frequently as possible.
Commissioner Short requested waiving the sign permit fee for the Kent County Ag 4-H to install a sign at the Ag-Center in Tolchester. The Commissioners agreed to waive the fee.
Commissioner Pickrum announced that Home Depot is offering Hurricane Preparedness at all of their locations.
PERSONNEL (Closed Session)
At 7:00 p.m., a motion was made by Commissioner Short, seconded by Commissioner Pickrum, and carried unanimously to go into closed session to discuss the appointment,
employment, assignment, promotion, discipline, demotion, compensation, removal, resignation or performance evaluation of appointees, employees, or officials in accordance with State Government Article, Sections 10.508 (a) (1) (i) of the Annotated Code of Maryland.
Marty Hale, Director, Human Resources was also in attendance.
Topic to be discussed: Discussion of a retired employee’s eligibility for benefits.
At 7:09 p.m., a motion was made by Commissioner Short, seconded by Commissioner Pickrum and carried unanimously to adjourn the closed session.
In the closed session, no action was taken.
A motion was made by Commissioner Short, seconded by Commissioner Pickrum and carried unanimously to adjourn the meeting.
There being no further business to claim their attention, the Board adjourned 7:10 p.m. and agreed to meet again on Tuesday, July 23, 2013, at 6:00 p.m.
Sondra M. Blackiston, Clerk
Approved: Ronald H. Fithian, President
The County Commissioners
of Kent County, Maryland
Please contact the County Commissioner's Office at (410) 778-4600 or by e-mail with any questions or comments.