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Board of County Commissioners

February 26, 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 $5,599,509.00.


Correspondence was received from Kevin Flamm, Project Manager for Alternative Technologies and Approaches, Project Manager for Chemical Demilitarization, and Mardi Mark, Colonel, U.S. Army, Deputy Installation Commander, advising that plans to expedite the destruction of the mustard agent stockpile are underway and reported the status of the project. Colonel Mark and Mr. Flamm reported that negotiations are taking place with DuPont Chemical Solutions Enterprises who have indicated an interest in treating the neutralized byproduct of mustard agent destruction. Progress on the program may be obtained by contacting the Edgewater Chemical Stockpile Outreach Office at 410-676-6800.


Correspondence was received from Carla Martin, Community Planner, advising that on March 14, the Mayor and Council of the Town of Rock Hall, will review the application submitted by Kevin Flynn, requesting a flood plain variance to construct (move the building) from Bayside Public Landing (formerly Pelorus marina) property on Map 500, Parcel 527.


The Commissioners hosted a bi-county luncheon meeting with the Queen Anne's County Commissioners, George M. O'Donnell, President, and members, Marlene F. Davis and John T. McQueeney, Jr. Others in attendance were D. Steven Walls, Acting Administrator, and Margie A. Houck, Clerk to the Commissioners.

The following issues were discussed:

County Commissioners Election Procedure - By a 2-1 vote, the Board of County Commissioners for Queen Anne's County will be increased from a three to five member board beginning in the next term of office. Commissioner Fithian noted comparison that our Congressman has a constituency population of approximately 600,000 and Queen Anne's County will have five representatives to serve a population of 42,600. Senator Baker advised he would not support a five member board for Kent County having a population of 19,300.

Courthouse Security - Question was raised as to what security measures have been implemented in Queen Anne's County. Commissioner O'Donnell responded that a metal detector has been installed as well as placement of a deputy at times of a special/specific event. The Queen Anne's Commissioners did not agree to a full time deputy on guard at one specific building and not at other public buildings. Commissioner Fithian advised that request has been received to install metal detectors in the Kent County Courthouse as well as employing four part-time deputies for security. At this time a study is being conducted by Sheriff Price and Judge Price and recommendation will be submitted for further consideration.

Police Staffing - Commissioner Fithian questioned number of deputies/town officers in Queen Anne's. Commissioner O'Donnell advised that there are 40 sworn officers in the Sheriff's Office and the town of Centreville had approximately 8 totaling 48 for the County (with a population of 42,600). Commissioner Fithian advised that the Kent County Sheriff's Office has seventeen deputies, the Town of Chestertown has 12 officers and the Town of Rock Hall has 4 officers totaling 33 for the County (with a population of 19,300). It was also noted that for 30+ years, there are still only two Maryland State Police officers assigned to Kent County.

Chestertown Bypass - In response to question raised by Commissioner Beck, the Queen Anne's Commissioners did not agree to support the proposed Chestertown Bypass Project.


Correspondence was received from Frances Miller, Assistant Superintendent of Administrative Services, requesting the FY02 Budget be amended to reflect a $13,987.00 expenditure to replace door hardware to be in compliance with the American with Disabilities Act. The expenditure can be funded from the Board of Education FY02 Budget contingency fund. A motion was made by Commissioner Beck, seconded by Commissioner Newnam and made unanimous by Commissioner Fithian to approve the request.


It was brought to the Board's attention that the contract expired with the Middle

Department Inspection Agency (MDIA) on July 1, 2001. The Commissioners approved to renew this contract based on same conditions and cost ending on June 30, 2003. A renewal contract will be prepared for signatures.


In a follow up to interest expressed by representatives of the League of Women

Voters on December 18, 2001 to change the procedure for electing County Commissioners, the following persons were appointed to serve on a County Commissioners Election Procedure Study Committee: Carlton B. Starkweather, representing the First Election District, William S. Sutton, representing the Second Election District, Amy G. Moredock, representing the Third Election District, Alexander P. Rasin, III, representing the Fourth Election District, Thomas R. Bass, representing the Fifth Election District, G. Rudolph Brown, representing the Sixth Election District, and Marian E. Cooke, representing the Seventh Election District. The members of this Committee will be invited to meet with the Commissioners on March 5 to receive their charge.


The Commissioners received a copy of correspondence from Tom Beckett, directed to the members of the Chamber of Commerce requesting their opinion to support/address Senate Bill 323/House Bill 424, entitled Budget Reconciliation Act of 2002, relating to the transfer of funds negatively effecting the Maryland Tourism Budget, and Senate Bill 395, entitled Hunting - Regulation of Moorings - Blind and Blind Sites, on behalf of Kent County.


The County Administrator reported that on March 1, he and other Administrators will be meeting with Chesapeake College officials for a review of their FY03 proposed budget.


The Commissioners received a copy of correspondence from Charles "Chip" MacLeod, Project Consultant, directed to Frances W. Miller, Assistant Superintendent of Administrative Services, Kent County Public Schools, providing an update on the Kent County Community Center Project which is to be discussed at the March 4, Board of Education meeting.


Correspondence was received from Frank Dierker, Heart's Desire Farm, commending Ed, Spray, Superintendent, County Roads, and staff for promptly addressing the request to broaden the road entrance off of Bayshore Road to safely accommodate tractor trailers entering the premise. A copy of this correspondence was forwarded to Mr. Spray and Carter Stanton, Director, Public Works.


Correspondence was received from Judge J. Frederick Price, Kent County Circuit Court Judge, requesting approval for an additional $9,013.50 for drapery replacement in order to continue project underway in the Circuit Courtroom and adjoining Jury rooms replacing 32 year old decor. Judge Price advised that the expenditure can be funded within current budget from the Petit Jury Account. The Commissioners approved this request.


Correspondence was received from Richard Ayella, Chief, Tidal Wetlands Division, advising of application received from Worton Creek Marina, LLC, to expand three existing piers, mechanically dredge the area, and remove 77 existing anchored moorings.


John D. Porcari, Secretary, Department of Transportation, forwarded the Maryland Department of Transportation's (MDOT) Annual State Report on Transportation and Attainment Report on Transportation System Performance. The State Report on Transportation is comprised of the Maryland Transportation Plan (MTP) and Consolidated Transportation Program (CTP).


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

Spring Cove/Green Lane - Mr. Morris advised of a request from Anne Fithian for wastewater allocation on her property located at Spring Cove Gardens, Lot 8, Rock Hall. The Commissioners approved this request.

Worton Well Project- Mr. Morris reported that the rehabilitation of Worton Well No.3 is currently under way.

Water Storage Tank Maintenance Contract - In follow-up from last week, Mr. Morris provided an update on the water storage tank maintenance bid and after review, he recommended Corrosion Control Corporation for the eight year contract. He noted that Corrosion Control Corporation was the lowest bidder and Utility Service, the second bidder, failed to comply with the Request for Proposal requirements. A motion was made by Commissioner Newnam, seconded by Commissioner Beck and made unanimous by Commissioner Fithian to award the bid for the eight year contract to Corrosion Control Corporation for a total amount of $290,974.43.

Commissioner Beck inquired as to the budgeted amount for the project and if this contract was within means to move the Department of Water and Wastewater Services toward fiscal solvency. Mr. Morris extolled the virtues of maintaining the water storage tanks on a yearly basis. He advised that the responsibility of compliance rested with the contractor and the resulting long term cost savings. Commissioner Fithian affirmed that failing to maintain water storage tanks proved to be very costly.

Mr. Morris advised that a well maintained water storage tank should have approximate 60 year life span.

Mr. Rex Kershall, Rock Hall, inquired if a study had been done to confirm antennas atop water storage tanks did not create an electrolysis type of reaction causing damage to the tank. Mr. Morris confirmed that although electrolysis is possible, should an electrical leak occur, however, the maintenance contract includes inspection for any occurrence that may result in damage to the tank.

Millington Water and Wastewater Expansion Project - Mr. Morris advised of the results of the survey canvassing home owners along Chesterville/Millington Road (northwest of Millington) and homeowners along Maryland Route 313 of their willingness to participate in the project clearly indicated a majority resistance to public water and sewer services. In that light, and although the Commissioners believe the entire project will benefit all property owners, Commissioner Fithian and Commissioner Beck voted to yield to citizens' preference and have approved (in a 2 to 1 vote) to exclude this area from the project.

Commissioners Beck and Fithian stated that they concurred with Mr. Morris in that expanded public service to this area is justified, however, wished to afford the citizens the right to make their own decision that impacts personal finances and households.

Mr. Morris reiterated his opinion that current project plan reflects State and County Planning goals, as well as the objectives of Smart Growth. Commissioner Newnam advised that he supported Mr. Morris' recommendation and believed that other areas did not have the option to decline public service and the scope of this project was fitting.

Commissioner Fithian requested a letter go forth to all survey participants advising of the exclusion of their property from the project. Later in the day, correspondence went forth so advising the effected residents.

General - The Commissioners made a site visit to the Public Works Complex relating to the possible relocation of the Department of Water and Wastewater Services as being requested by Mr. Morris.


In follow-up from the request reported on January 15 to complete the survey to assess Emergency Management's capabilities for responding to and recovering from an act of terrorism on a large scale, the Commissioners received correspondence from Donald Keldsen, Acting Director, Maryland Emergency Management Agency, acknowledging receipt of the completed survey. Mr. Keldsen reported that Kent County has been allocated $62,089.22 in FY 01 Office of Justice Program funds. He advised that the purpose of these funds is the acquisition of personal protective equipment, communications, agent identification and decontamination equipment to be used in response to a catastrophic incident.


Correspondence was received from Catherine "Kay" Daggett, American Legion Auxiliary, Betterton, requesting support for the Flag Protection Act of 2001, House Bill 2313, 107th Congress. Also included in this correspondence were questions relating to the Board of Education. Commissioner Beck requested the correspondence be forwarded to the Board of Education.


The Commissioners received a copy of correspondence from Jack Canan, Housing and Community Development, directed to James E. Proctor, Jr., Chairperson, House Appropriations Committee, Ulysses Curries, Chairperson, Senate Budget and Taxation Committee, expressing his opposition to the proposed demise of the FORVM For Rural Maryland.


The Commissioners approved a Raffle Permit for the Kent and Queen Anne's Hospital - Medical Staff to hold a fund raising event on March 9 at the Lifetime Fitness Center, Washington College, Chestertown.


At 10:12 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.

Items of discussion included Ethics Commission regulations, and issues relating to a Nuisance Ordinance violation.

The executive session adjourned at 10:35 a.m.


Commissioner Fithian provided an update on SB 395, entitled Hunting - Regulation of Moorings - Blind and Blind Sites, introduced by Senator Walter Baker. He advised that the bill unanimously passed the Senate Committee. Commissioner Fithian thanked the Chamber of Commerce and Senator Baker for their support.

Correspondence was received from Delegate Mary Roe Walkup, requesting support for HB 1176 - entitled Dredge Deposits - Creation of Artificial Islands in the Chesapeake Bay - Prohibited Uses as a part of the Management Plan. The Commissioners approved to submit a letter of support.

The County Administrator advised that he recently learned that Senator Baker introduced legislation to increase the salaries of Orphans' Court Judges from an annual salary of $3600 to $4000.

The County Administrator provided the status and update of legislative bills currently introduced on behalf of Kent County.


The Commissioners received correspondence from Gloria Urban, Director, Kent County Public Library, requesting approval to purchase a copier to replace the copier that is no longer functional and cannot be repaired. Mrs. Urban advised that the cost of a new copier, including a one year maintenance contract, would be $2,147.00. The Commissioners requested the County Administrator to contact the Mrs. Urban and the Purchasing Coordinator to further discuss the pricing from the State contract.


At the recommendation of the Local Management Board (LMB), the Commissioners

approved appointment of Hanson Meikle, Jr. to fill the unexpired term vacated by Stephanie Lindsey ending June 30, 2003.


The County Administrator advised that Susanne Hayman, Human Resources Director, reported the status of the request for the IRS Private Letter Ruling for the Kent County Retirement Trust Transfer to the State system. She reported that the IRS is now "cautiously optimistic" that a decision from the IRS will be forthcoming by April 1, 2002. Allegedly there are six similar cases pending, all of which are to be determined together, and no decision will be finalized by the IRS until it is reviewed by the Counsel General. Senator Mikulski's office continues to contact the IRS every ten days.


At 10:40 a.m., a motion was made by Commissioner Beck, seconded by Commissioner Newnam 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 10:45 a.m.


Commissioner Fithian inquired of Gail Owings, Director, Planning and Zoning Administration, as to the procedure in building permit process as it relates to real property lot dimensions. Mrs. Owings advised that property dimensions were not verified by her staff, however, the building permit contains a disclaimer certifying all data, including lot dimensions.


Correspondence was received from Faith Prince Spear, Grants Coordinator, Schooner Sultana Project, requesting a letter of support in applying for the Chesapeake Bay Gateway Network grant. The Commissioners concurred to forward a letter of support.


Correspondence was received from Linda H. Hamome, Administrator, State Board of Elections, providing a copy of the results of election studies and surveys entitled, Review of Election Administration in Maryland.

The report, prepared by the Department of Legislative Services, focused on election reform and technology mandates of the State and local Boards of Election.


Correspondence was received from Christopher Porter, Real Property Specialist, State Highway Administration, requesting permission to relocate an existing drainage inlet and an underground pipe in the vicinity of Ericson Avenue and the public beach, on County property. Mr Porter advised that the relocation of the drainage inlet and the pipe is required in order to complete the project. The Commissioners approved this request. The County Roads Superintendent and Public Works Director will be asked to follow this project.


In follow-up from February 5 and discussion relating to undelivered tax bills, Roger Williams, Treasurer, appeared to clarify the procedures used by his office. He reported that 98.74% of tax bills are delivered without incident and all address information for tax collection is provided by the State. He advised that the incident reported on February 5 was due to the residents obtaining a post office box rather than using their street address to obtain mail. Mr. Williams advised that the tax office could not be expected to have knowledge of the recipients choice to obtain a mailing address other than the address provided by the State. He noted the phone book listed the same address specified on the tax bill. Mr. Williams state that he and his staff have made every possible effort alleviate problems and to expediently deliver tax bills.


The Commissioners received a copy of the January Progress Report from Bernadette Van Pelt, Director, Tourism. The report included the recent media exposure of Kent County's attributes, activities and contacts coordinated and various events slated for the future months.

In follow-up from December 2001, additional correspondence was received from Mrs. Van Pelt advising that in order to participate in the Eastern Sports Show registration deadline is March/April. She reported that if participation is approved, $880 would be required from the FY02 budget and $580 plus lodging, mileage and meals, included in the FY03 budget. The Commissioners approved the $880 needed out of the FY02 Contingency Fund.


A copy of correspondence dated February 21 was received from Carl Burke, Executive Director, Upper Shore Aging, directed to Nancy Noonan, Chief of Regional Planning, Maryland Mass Transit Administration, accompanied by a Corrective Action Plan in response to the monitoring/audit visit of October 3, 2001. The plan includes eight corrective actions to be in compliance with the Maryland Mass Transit Administration. The County Administrator advised of his attendance, along with Caroline and Talbot County Administrators, and Jack Canan, Housing and Community Development Coordinator, at a meeting to review and address all issues resulting in the audit performed by the Mass Transit Administration.


The County Administrator advised of the request made by Jeff Troester, Director, Parks and Recreation, to fund the remaining $680 expenditure from the Worton Park ballfield renovation project from Contingency fund. The Commissioners approved this request.

There being no further business to claim their attention, the Board adjourned to meet again on Tuesday, March 5, 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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