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KENT COUNTY, MARYLAND


Board of County Commissioners

January 15, 2002

The Honorable Board of License Commissioners met today with the following present: Larry B. Beck, W. Michael Newnam, and Ronald H. Fithian, presiding.

T. Edward Robinson, County Administrator, was also in attendance.

Minutes of the previous meeting were approved.

W. Roger Williams, Treasurer, reported a balance of $ 4,741,718.00

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND

Correspondence was received from Kathy DeWeese, Public Affairs Office, advising that Aberdeen Proving Ground, U.S. Army Representatives, will be working with Maryland officials and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on a plan to accelerate the destruction of the chemical agent stockpile stored there. Under the accelerated schedule the stockpile could be destroyed as early as 2003. The County Administrator advised of a public meeting hosted by U.S. Army, Aberdeen Proving Ground, on this matter at the Chestertown Middle School on January 17.

BI-COUNTY MEETING

A bi-county meeting has tentatively been scheduled for February 12 in Kent County.

BOARD OF EDUCATION

The Commissioners received the Report and Recommendations of the Board of Education Enrollment Fact Finding Committee. The Committee, formed by Dr. Lorraine Costella, Superintendent of Kent County Public Schools, was charged to review the patterns and population and school enrollment as it relates to financial and instructional implications. With declining enrollment and lack of population and economic growth, the committee realized the cost of maintaining status quo will be far too great in the near future. Proposed strategies included a Central Middle School, pre-K through Grade 8 School and the reorganization of grades/building use. The findings have been forwarded to the Board Advisory Committee and eventually to the Board of Education for possible action.

CODE HOME RULE
MILLINGTON WATER AND SEWER PROJECT

Charles "Chip" MacLeod, Bond Counsel, appeared to discuss local legislation for the County to borrow funds for the Millington Water and Wastewater Expansion project. Wayne Morris, Director, Department of Water and Wastewater Services, Pat Merritt, Director, Budget and Accounting, and Roger Williams, Treasurer, were also in attendance.

Mr. MacLeod reviewed the basic Project Financing Schedule/Outline. Mr. MacLeod gave a general explanation of the process explaining Bond Anticipation Note (BAN), General Obligation Bond issued to Rural Utilities Service (RUS). He compared it to the bond issued for the Nicholson Landfill Closure Project. Mr. MacLeod cautioned of the inclusion of "tax exempt" when soliciting to local lenders. He advised tax exemption to banks was only viable for capital projects and tax exempt funds could not be used for operating expenses.

Mr. Williams expressed concern of using general funds monies for the project and according to this legislation, the County cannot borrow additional funds should the need arise without introducing legislation.

The County Administrator suggested a project finance committee be formed to follow the project financing schedule. He recommended Mr. Williams to solicit bank bids for loans, Mrs. Merritt to follow-up with payments, and Jeanne Edwards, Fiscal Supervisor, to maintain the schedule.

First reading was held on Code Home Rule Bill No. 1-2002, which is an Act to authorize and empower the County Commissioners of Kent County to borrow not more than One Million Five Hundred Thousand Dollars ($1,500,000.00) for the public purpose of financing, refinancing or reimbursing all or a portion of the costs of the acquisition, construction, improvement, installation, furnishing and equipping of components of a water system, together with related costs, as more fully described herein, and to evidence such borrowing by the issuance and sale, upon its full faith and credit, of its general obligation bond or bonds in one or more series in aggregate like par amount; empowering and directing the Board of County Commissioners to adopt a resolution or resolutions in accordance with Section 15(4) of Article 25B of the Annotated Code of Maryland (1998 Replacement Volume, as replaced, supplemented or amended) prior to issuing any such bond or bonds; providing that the principal of and interest on the bond or bonds will be payable in the first instance from revenues received in connection with the operation of the water system serving the County; empowering and directing the County to levy ad valorem taxes in rate and amount sufficient to provide funds for the payment of the maturing principal of and interest on the bond or bonds authorized hereby and pledging the County's full faith and credit and unlimited taxing power to the payment thereof; exempting the bond or bonds from the provisions of Sections 9 to 11, inclusive, of Article 31 of the Annotated Code of Maryland (1997 Replacement Volume, as replaced, supplemented or amended); authorizing and empowering County Commissioners of Kent County to borrow not more than One Million Five Hundred Thousand Dollars ($1,500,000.00) in anticipation of the issuance and sale of its bond or bonds, and to evidence such borrowing by the issuance and sale, upon its full faith and credit, of its general obligation bond anticipation note or notes in one or more series in aggregate like par amount; empowering and directing the Board of County Commissioners to adopt a resolution or resolutions in accordance with Section 15(4) of Article 25B of the Annotated Code of Maryland (1998 Replacement Volume, as replaced, supplemented or amended) and Section 12 of Article 31 of the Annotated Code of Maryland (1997 Replacement Volume, as replaced, supplemented or amended) prior to issuing any such bond anticipation note or notes; exempting the bond anticipation note or notes from the provisions of Sections 9 to 11, inclusive, of Article 31 of the Annotated Code of Maryland (1997 Replacement Volume, as replaced, supplemented or amended); providing that this title be deemed a fair summary of this public local law for all purposes; and relating generally to the issuance and sale of such bond or bonds and such bond anticipation note or notes.

A public hearing has been scheduled on this proposed legislation for Tuesday, January 29, 2002, at 10:30 a.m. at the County Commissioners' Hearing Room, County Government Center, 400 High Street, Chestertown, Maryland.

First reading was held on Code Home Rule Bill No. 2-2002, which is an Act to authorize and empower the County Commissioners of Kent County to borrow not more than One Million Five Hundred Thousand Dollars ($1,500,000.00) for the public purpose of financing, refinancing or reimbursing all or a portion of the costs of the acquisition, construction, improvement, modification, expansion, extension, installation, furnishing and equipping of components of a wastewater system, together with related costs, as more fully described herein, and to evidence such borrowing by the issuance and sale, upon its full faith and credit, of its general obligation bond or bonds in one or more series in aggregate like par amount; empowering and directing the Board of County Commissioners to adopt a resolution or resolutions in accordance with Section 15(4) of Article 25B of the Annotated Code of Maryland (1998 Replacement Volume, as replaced, supplemented or amended) prior to issuing any such bond or bonds; providing that the principal of and interest on the bond or bonds will be payable in the first instance from revenues received in connection with the operation of the wastewater system serving the County; empowering and directing the County to levy ad valorem taxes in rate and amount sufficient to provide funds for the payment of the maturing principal of and interest on the bond or bonds authorized hereby and pledging the County's full faith and credit and unlimited taxing power to the payment thereof; exempting the bond or bonds from the provisions of Sections 9 to 11, inclusive, of Article 31 of the Annotated Code of Maryland (1997 Replacement Volume, as replaced, supplemented or amended); authorizing and empowering County Commissioners of Kent County to borrow not more than One Million Five Hundred Thousand Dollars ($1,500,000.00) in anticipation of the issuance and sale of its bond or bonds, and to evidence such borrowing by the issuance and sale, upon its full faith and credit, of its general obligation bond anticipation note or notes in one or more series in aggregate like par amount; empowering and directing the Board of County Commissioners to adopt a resolution or resolutions in accordance with Section 15(4) of Article 25B of the Annotated Code of Maryland (1998 Replacement Volume, as replaced, supplemented or amended) and Section 12 of Article 31 of the Annotated Code of Maryland (1997 Replacement Volume, as replaced, supplemented or amended) prior to issuing any such bond anticipation note or notes; exempting the bond anticipation note or notes from the provisions of Sections 9 to 11, inclusive, of Article 31 of the Annotated Code of Maryland (1997 Replacement Volume, as replaced, supplemented or amended); providing that this title be deemed a fair summary of this public local law for all purposes; and relating generally to the issuance and sale of such bond or bonds and such bond anticipation note or notes.

A public hearing has been scheduled for Tuesday, January 29, 2002, at 10:45 a.m. at the County Commissioners' Hearing Room, County Government Center, 400 High Street, Chestertown, Maryland.

COMMUNITY CENTER

Commissioner Fithian reported a meeting took place on January 11 at Parks and Recreation Facility with Delegate Mary Roe Walkup to tour the current building and enlist her support for a bond bill request. Others in attendance were Ed Robinson, County Administrator, Anne Livie, Director, Local Management Board, Chip MacLeod, Project Consultant, and Jeff Troester, Director, Parks and Recreation. The bond bill proposed will request $750,000 to replace Worton Arena and eventually expand into a community center. Commissioner Fithian advised that Delegate Walkup agreed to pledge her support and he plans to obtain an appointment with the Lt. Governor to further discuss the matter.

DEPARTMENT OF WATER AND WASTEWATER SERVICES

Wayne Morris, Director, Department of Water and Wastewater Services, appeared to report on the following issues:

General - Bill Short, Operator, II, and Marty Davidson, Operator I, both having recently passed Class IV Water Operator Certification Exam and Class I Water Operator Certification Exam, respectively, appeared with Mr. Morris. Mr. Morris acknowledged their accomplishments and advised both are an asset to the Department of Water and Wastewater Services. The Commissioners concurred and thanked both for their efforts in furthering their certification which will prove most beneficial to the County.

The Commissioners requested Mr. Morris to arrange for publicity in presenting the certifications when they arrive from the State in order to give them due recognition.

Millington Water/Wastewater Expansion Project - Copies of correspondence directed to Iraj Amini, Millington and Albert Aaron, Baltimore, from Dennis Hager, Mayor, Millington, advising that property they own is a primary site for one of two water storage towers. Mayor Hager requested an opportunity to discuss the acquisition of a portion of their land. The County Administrator and Mr. Morris have scheduled a meeting with the Superintendent of Schools on January 17 for discussion as to possible placement of the second water tower on the Millington School property.

Mr. Morris requested further discussion relating to the specific details concerning the administration and maintenance of the future Millington wastewater plant. The Commissioners requested Mr. Morris to delineate his recommendations for the future plant.

Tolchester Service Area - Mr. Morris advised that the Easter Seals Fairlee Manor Recreation and Education Center Project has been completed with the acceptance of a flow meter at the Tolchester Plant.

Piney Neck Service Area - Mr. Morris advised of a sewer leak on Grays Inn Creek Road. He reported that the leak was due to unstable ground beneath the sewer connection. Mr. Morris reported that action was taken to stabilize the area as well as repair the leak. He advised that Health Department had been notified of the sewage leak.

DETENTION CENTER

The County Administrator advised that the State changed the age requirement for employment of correctional officers from 21 to 18. Commissioner Fithian inquired if this change in regulation applied to educational requirements. The County Administrator will confirm the extent of the regulation changes. The Commissioners approved to change the age requirement from 21 to 18 on any future employment advertisements.

Correspondence dated January 8, was received from Thomas Mallon, Deputy Director Office of Financial Services, Department of Public Safety and Corrections, relating to the per diem amount based on the FY 01 audit, the Detention Center was overpaid $15,162 and deficit will be adjusted on a quarterly payment.

Additional correspondence dated January 9, was received from Mr. Mallon, advising that based on FY01 audit, a credit in the amount of $1,423.56 will be paid to the Detention Center in the next monthly distribution.

EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT

The Commissioners received correspondence from Anthony Myers, Acting Chair, Emergency Numbering Systems Board, requesting data on Kent County Emergency Management in order to assess the readiness and responsiveness of 9-1-1 centers throughout Maryland. The County Administrator distributed copies of the survey completed by Robert Rust, Director, Emergency Management.

HOUSING AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

Correspondence was received from Jack Canan, Coordinator, Housing and Community Development, discussing the administration of and potential need for additional staff, should the Homeownership Opportunities for Individuals with Disabilities Program be initiated in Kent County. The Commissioners concurred with Mr. Canan's recommendation not to enroll/apply for this program at this time.

HUMANE SOCIETY

The Commissioners received correspondence from Douglas Crites, Director, Humane Society, advising of financial assistance to be requested in FY03 budget as follows: 1)in replacement roofing shingles on the Humane Society Shelter building for the estimated amount of $9,350 as well as 2) replacing the animal control vehicle for the estimated amount of $20,000 plus kennel cages and associated equipment.

The County Administrator was instructed to contact Mr. Crites and inform him that if the expenditures are approved in the FY03 budget, all purchasing procedures should be followed.

KNOCKS FOLLY

In follow-up to the issues raised by Maryland Historical Trust concerning Knocks Folly buildings, Commissioner Fithian advised that according to Senator Baker, the Governor was to intercede and negate the Maryland Historical Trust's mandate. He noted that correspondence dated January 10 directed to Mr. and Mrs. Mullen, Curators, from the Department of Natural Resources was received stating the original Maryland Historical Trust's issues and not Senator Baker's verbal confirmation. The County Administrator advised that he would investigate the matter.

LAND USE ORDINANCE

Commissioner Fithian confirmed with Gail Owings, Director, Planning and Zoning Administration, the status of the Land Use Ordinance. Mrs. Owings confirmed its progress and that the Planning Commission will meet tonight and will resubmit the ordinance after additional modifications were made.

LEGAL COUNSEL

At 10:25 a.m., a motion was made by Commissioner Beck, seconded by Commissioner Newnam and made unanimous by Commissioner Fithian to go into executive session with Ernest S. Cookerly, County Attorney, for legal counsel in accordance with State Government Article, Section 10.508 of the Annotated Code of Maryland. Carter Stanton, Director, Public Works,was also in attendance.

The executive session adjourned at 10:45 a.m.

LEGISLATION
LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS

Ann Hoon and Davey McCall representing the League of Women Voters appeared to discuss proposed legislation. In follow-up from last week, when Mr. McCall and Ann Hoon appeared to report that Senator Baker advised all findings from the formation of a committee to evaluate the procedure for electing County Commissioners would be needed by mid-February, Mr. McCall advised that he confirmed the mis-communication and no urgency was needed on this matter. The process involved in the proposed change in the County Commissioners election procedure will take approximately two years to complete and then would be ready for placement on the ballot in the following election year (two years).

Mrs. Hoon questioned the structure of the committee to be formed to assess the election procedure. Commissioner Fithian advised that a mission statement would be forwarded to the committee and it would be self regulating.

LOCAL MANAGEMENT BOARD

The Commissioners appointed Candy L. Edwards to the Local Management Board to serve an unexpired term expiring on June 30, 2004 and Deborah Schelts to serve an unexpired term ending June 30, 2002.

MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. CELEBRATION

Commissioner Fithian reported that he attended the January 13 Martin Luther King, Jr., at Kent County High School. He reported on the increased participation this year.

MID-SHORE MENTAL HEALTH SYSTEMS, INC.

Dr. John A. Grant, Health Officer, appeared to give status report in a follow up to discussion held on November 13, 2001 as to mental health funding issues. As a result of meetings held with Oscar Morgan, Director, Mental Hygiene Administration, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the State has expressed willingness to keep all clinics open (including Talbot County clinic) and to grant a 15% increase in State funding. Dr. Grant is pleased with this proposal, however, he would like to see condition approved whereby the State will share equally with the four counties in any liability for deficit occurring at the end of any fiscal year. Dr. Grant will seek agreement with Mr. Morgan that guarantees equal limitations of liability among the counties and to guarantee clearance of deficit.

Commissioner Newnam inquired as to his projection of possible deficit. Dr. Grant advised that an increase in rates, less building expenses and in-kind match. Dr. Grant also advised that Gary Fry has recently been appointed as Regional Mental Health Director in addition to his duties as Deputy Health Officer. By this appointment Kent County will be contributing in-kind match with Mr. Fry's salary, a portion of Dr. Grant's salary and rent-free space at the Mental Health Hospital.

Dr. Grant advised that the business aspect of the clinics was now better managed and recovering.

As recommended by Dr. Grant, the Commissioners approved and Commissioner Fithian signed Letter of Agreement describing the responsibilities of the Mid Shore Mental Health Systems, Inc (Core Service Agency, CSA).

NUISANCE ORDINANCE

Correspondence was received from Cynthia McCann Mulligan, Esq. Funk & Bolton, advising that a Complaint for Injunctive Relief relating to violation(s) of the Nuisance Ordinance at property located 12018 Augustine Herman Highway.

PERSONNEL

At 10:05 a.m., a motion was made by Commissioner Newnam, seconded by Commissioner Beck and made unanimous by Commissioner Fithian to go into executive session to discuss personnel matters in accordance with State Government Article, Section 10.508 of the Annotated Code of Maryland.

The executive session adjourned at 10:15.

PLANNING AND ZONING ADMINISTRATION

Gail Owings, Director, Planning and Zoning Administration, reported that Howard Johnson, State Highway Administration, inquired as to possible projects eligible for the System Preservation Program. She recommended the following three projects: 1) Chestertown bypass, 2) Sidewalks constructed in Butlertown, 3) MD 291 - Rt. 20 Intersection.

PRISONER BOOKING FACILITY

The Commissioners made a site visit to the Detention Center to further discuss and view the proposed prisoner booking facility. The site visit resulted in confirmation to continue with the original pre-fab building for the prisoner booking facility project. Chestertown Police Chief Coryell will work with the County Engineer to secure bids for the project. The Commissioners requested all future meetings about the project include Warden Darling.

PRIVATE ACTIVITY BONDS

The Commissioners received correspondence from David Innaucci, Secretary, Department of Business and Economic Development, providing the 2002 Private Activity Bonds Initial Allocation of the Maryland State Ceiling.

PUBLIC LANDINGS AND FACILITIES BOARD

Carter Stanton, Director, Public Works, reported on the January 14 Public Landings and Facilities Board (PLFB) meeting. He advised that Herschell Claggett's request for mooring buoys was postponed for further discussion. He also advised request was received from Worton Creek Marina to temporarily store an old PT boat (until May) at the Worton Creek Public Landing for restoration and then to be transported to a museum in Texas. The current law prohibits storage of any kind for no more than 15 consecutive days at public landings. In order not to set a precedent, the PLFB denied this request. The Commissioners concurred with this action.

RECOGNITION

The Commissioners signed a Proclamation in honor of Kitty Akers celebrating her 100th Birthday on January 26, 2002. This proclamation will be presented to Mrs. Akers by her family at a special birthday celebration given in her honor.

RISK MANAGEMENT

Correspondence was received from Richard Furst, Senior Loss Control Manager, Local Government Insurance Trust, (LGIT) providing the results of the Hazard Evaluation Survey performed on December 13-14. Mr. Furst requested a response reporting the status of recommendations within sixty days. Recommendations will be addressed by each department.

SCENIC BYWAY

Gail Owings, Director, Planning and Zoning Administration, appeared to advise that Carla Martin, Community Planner, submitted the application for Kent County to be included in the National Scenic Byway. Mrs. Owings reported that Ms. Martin deserves credit for this accomplishment since it was a comprehensive application to be completed in a short period of time. The Commissioners expressed their gratitude for her efforts.

STATE HIGHWAY ADMINISTRATION

The Commissioners received the State Highway Administration's new publication, When Main Street is a State Highway.

TERRORIST ATTACK

The Commissioners received notification from the U.S. Corp of Engineers that all military assets will implement force protection during threat conditions; this includes the temporary establishment of restricted areas around military assets located adjacent to navigable waters in Maryland.

TOURISM

The Commissioners received a copy of the December - Tourism progress report, prepared by Bernadette Van Pelt, Director, Office of Tourism.

The County Administrator reported on discussion with Berndette Van Pelt, Director, Tourism, relating to a grant award that did not include funding for associated expenses. In order to continue with the grant project, Mrs. Van Pelt requested approval to redirect funds within her budget. The Commissioners concurred.

UPPER SHORE AGING
SENIOR CENTER

Correspondence was received from Carl Burke, Executive Director, Upper Shore Aging, providing an update on the construction of the Senior Center. Mr. Burke requested the need to address the details of funding during the initial stages of construction. He also requested the County to manage ongoing cash flow for this project. Mr. Burke will be requested to meet with the Commissioners for further discussion.

Mr. Burke forwarded correspondence advising that Upper Shore Aging would be relocating into their new administration building located on Morgnec Road on January 22.

U.S. GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION
SURPLUS PROPERTY

The Commissioners received correspondence from James Brandon, Chief, Northern Branch, Property Disposal Division, General Services Administration, advising of two properties located in the Town of Chestertown, suitable for homeless use by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The County Administrator was instructed to have Mr. Canan investigate these properties for clarification.

WORTON PARK

In follow-up from the December 11 meeting approving the closure of Worton Park Road from sunset to dawn, Carter Stanton, Director, Public Works, and Jeff Troester, Director, Parks and Recreation, Jeff Troester, Director, Parks and Recreation, appeared for further discussion. Mr. Stanton advised that the procedure to close a County road requires a public hearing; if not, may jeopardize funding for its maintenance.

Mr. Troester again expressed concern in not having a procedure to preserve and protect the investment of renovating the ballfields from vandalism during park closure. Commissioner Newnam requested a letter go forth to the State Highway Administration inquiring as to obtaining a waiver of the restrictions for closing a road in this particular instance. Since the road is considered to be a driveway to the park rather than a thoroughfare, he felt issues associated with a public road do not apply. Commissioner Beck concurred and stated that the road is used only for entrance to the park and any use after the park is closed would be for illicit purposes. Commissioner Fithian concurred and a letter go forth advising of the specific circumstances and reasons for precaution requested.

Mr. Troester also noted that he had been advised by the Sheriff's Department that underage drinking was reported at the park after park closure.

There being no further business to claim their attention, the Board adjourned to meet again on Tuesday, January 22, 2002

Please contact Joyce Laskey or Janice Fletcher at (410) 778-7435 or by e-mail with any questions or comments.




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