In compliance with and pursuant to Section 6-308 of the Tax Property Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland, the County Commissioners of Kent County held a public hearing on Tuesday, June 5, 2012, at 6:30 p.m. in the Commissioners’ Hearing Room, Kent County Government Center, 400 High Street, Chestertown, Maryland, on the proposed Fiscal Year 2013 Budget beginning July 1, 2012.
County Commissioners, Ronald H. Fithian, William W. Pickrum and William A. Short, were in attendance as well as Susanne Hayman, County Administrator, and Patricia Merritt, Chief Finance Officer.
Notice of the public hearing was read into the record by Commissioner Fithian.
Ms. Merritt presented the budget highlights in a power point presentation. The budget hearing presentation can be viewed by accessing a link entitled “Fiscal Year 2013 Proposed Budget Presentation” at www.kentcounty.com/gov/ or by contacting the Commissioners’ Office at 410-778-4600, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
In attendance were thirty-three persons comprised of various department heads, county employees, members of the media, and citizens.
Commissioner Pickrum stated the education system is most significant in the County’s FY13 budget. Commissioner Pickrum expressed the Commissioners’ strong support of the educational system as being very, very important; however, education is not the only extremely important service that the County or local government must fund. Twenty-five percent of the County’s population is over the age of sixty compared with approximately 2,000 public school system students.
Commissioner Short expressed his disappointment in the Board of Education’s decision to increase faculty and staff salaries, which are recurring costs. Commissioner Short stated the County is going to move forward and work together with the Board in order to achieve as much cost savings as possible.
Commissioner Fithian invited the individuals who signed the testimony log to comment on the budget. The following individuals provided comments:
Linda Webb, Director, Department of Social Services thanked the Commissioners for their support for the critical services provided to the citizens of Kent County.
Leslie Raimond, Executive Director, Arts Council, said thank you to the Commissioners for flat funding of $7,000.00, and expressed the funding was confirmation that the Commissioners understood the importance of the Arts in the Community.
Bill Blake, Chair, Commission on Aging recognized other Commission on Aging representatives present: Muriel Cole, Nancy Fernwalt and Art Wolfe. Mr. Blake stated that the County has twice as many seniors in comparison to school aged children. Mr. Blake expressed gratitude for funds provided by the County but also concerns that the funding is not keeping up with the rising demands for senior services.
Tom Hollidge expressed concern for the Humane Society of Kent County (HSKC), the new Director, the direction/commitment of the organization, and issues with the feral cat program. Commissioner Pickrum stated his deep concern with the loss of talent at the HSKC. Commissioner Pickrum further expressed his concern that the County does not have a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the HSKC.
Barbara Viniar, President, Chesapeake College thanked the Commissioners for the support and commitment to funding for the Allied Health and Athletics Building project.
Jackie Adams, Executive Director, Public Library thanked the Commissioners for their continuing support on behalf of the Board of Trustees and the library staff, which has enabled the trustees and staff to provide essential services to citizens of all ages. Commissioner Fithian thanked the Board and staff for the turn around the library achieved in during difficult financial times.
The Commissioners received an email dated June 4, 2012 from Ginger Camp requesting support of the Chesapeake College Center for Allied Health and Athletics Building Project.
The Commissioners are scheduled to adopt the Fiscal Year 2013 Budget and Tax Rate on June 12, 2012 at 6:10 p.m.
This hearing was taped for reference and adjourned at 7:19 p.m.
Sondra M. Blackiston, Clerk
Approved: Ronald H. Fithian, President
The County Commissioners
of Kent County, Maryland