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Board of County Commissioners

March 5, 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 $6,024,443.00


Correspondence was received from Delegate Mary Roe Walkup, providing an update on the Betterton Beach Jetty Repair Project. She advised that the permit is forthcoming and expects the project to proceed presently.


Carter Stanton, Director, Public Works, appeared to discuss correspondence received from Carolyn Sorge, Mayor, the Town of Betterton, expressing concern of the removal of one of the two recycling sheds located in Betterton. She expressed need for recycling depositories and stated her support for the recycling program. Mr. Stanton advised that the recycling shed was removed from the park area due to its state of disrepair. Mr. Stanton advised that Marty Holden, Waste Management Supervisor, forwarded correspondence to Mayor Sorge confirming that two recycle sheds will be available should the need be confirmed.


Dr. Lorraine Costella, Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Bonnie Ward, Assistant Superintendent, Frances W. Miller, Assistant Superintendent of Administrative Services, Ann Dwyer, Chairman, Board of Education appeared to present the Kent County Public Schools proposed FY 03 Budget.

Mrs. Dwyer advised of the recognitions Dr. Costella and Kent County Public Schools have received on both a State and National level.

Dr. Costella presented highlights from the budget which included staff compensation and benefits, plans for negotiating a transportation contract, proposed smaller classrooms and the need for continued building maintenance. She also noted that Kent County was one of the five counties selected to be involved in the Learning Alliance Study which will be part of a documentary with the Public Broadcasting System on " Principalship". Worton Elementary School and Chestertown Middle School are the two schools selected to represent the County in the study.

She also advised of the of the anticipated decrease of 70 students in the upcoming year.

Ms. Miller reviewed executive summaries delineating specific budget increases and changes. She also noted of the elimination of four teaching positions due to declining enrollment. Commissioner Beck inquired if a shortage of teachers was still an issue. Dr. Costella advised that Math and Science teachers were still a concern.

Dr. Ward advised of programs connecting the Schooner Sultana Project to the school curriculum, the importance of advanced placement courses and their positive impact on future college credits, and the textbook replacement program.

The Commissioners thanked all for their presentation. A budget workshop has been scheduled for further review of the proposed budget on March 12 at the Board of Education Meeting Room.

The Commissioners approved the following three FY02 budget amendment requests for the Board of Education: Budget Adjustment #1: Grant related -Restricted Programs, Budget Adjustment #2: Grant related - Unrestricted Current Expanse, Budget Adjustment #3: Current Expense Fund.


Correspondence was received from J. Frederick Price, Judge, Circuit Court, advising of that bail funds ordered forfeited have since been stricken and funds in the amount of $25,000 are to be returned in accordance with Maryland Rule 4-217 (i)(5). He advised that the Law Library Fund, which was the recipient of $11,875.00, of the $20,000 has spent $4,000. Judge Price noted that 5% was received by the State, leaving a balance of $23,750.00 to be returned to the Clerk of Court's Bail Bond Account. The Board authorized for this payment. Commissioner Beck requested future bail forfeiture funds not be spent until permanent fund forfeiture confirmed and questioned if there was any time limit for this forfeiture to expire.


Third reading was held of Code Home Rule Bill No. 3-2002 which is: an Act to repeal and reenact with an amendment to Section 116 - 4A, "Enforcement Prosecution" of Chapter 116 of the Code of Public Laws, Kent County, [1994 Edition] titled "Nuisances" to repeal and reenact with an amendment to Section 116 - 4A, of said chapter "Enforcement Prosecution" removing the requirement of making a complaint "in writing" and modifying the procedure.

Ballots were distributed for voting. Upon their return all ballots were marked favorable for this legislative bill. This bill will become effective April 19 (forty-five days from the adoption date).


Correspondence went forth to the Community Fire Company Inc., approving them as an improved organization who is authorized and required to provide fire protection, firefighting and emergency medical services in Kent County relating to their request to finance a loan in the maximum aggregate amount of $242,152.00 for purchase of a pumper-tanker truck. A public hearing has been scheduled for March 19, at 10:00 a.m. in the County Commissioners Hearing Room, County Government Center, Chestertown.


In a follow from last week, the members 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, appeared to receive their charge.

Commissioner Fithian thanked the group for their willingness to participate and read the Mission Statement which is as follows: The Election Procedure Study Committee shall be formed to determine if the current procedures to elect the Kent County Commissioners are adequate and appropriate, and what, if any, modifications would better serve the citizens of Kent County. In its determinations, the committee will consider the proposal presented to the Commissioners by the League of Women Voters to modify the Kent County Commissioners election process by: 1) to elect Kent County Commissioners on a staggered basis, and 2) to establish three County districts, each to be represented by a Commissioner. The Committee shall determine the times and frequency of its meetings, consistent with accomplishing its mission. The Committee has the option to discuss procedural and documentary issues with the Commissioners should the need arise. The Committee shall record and document all findings and report to the Commissioners in a reasonable time period. The Committee shall be dissolved after the study is completed and a recommendation made, or after a period of 12 months.

Commissioner Fithian noted that a diverse group was appointed and two members were former Commissioners adding knowledge/service in local government to the membership. He also advised that the members were contacted by the Executive Assistant and the Commissioners had not had discussion with any appointee prior to today's meeting.

Ann Wilmer Hoon thanked the Commissioners on behalf of the League of Women Voters and offered the League's assistance to the committee.

Mr. Sutton requested approval of the hearing room for their meetings. The Commissioners approved to use of the hearing room as well as County Government Office conference rooms.

Mr. Rasin inquired as to further clarification whether or not the Commission is to address the number of commissioners. Commissioner Fithian advised that the committee had the option to discuss any matter relating to County Commissioner election process. Commissioner Beck reported that although the League of Women Voter's had originally approached Senator Baker as to interest in having the number of County Commissioners increased from three to five for Kent County, Senator Baker stated that due to the small population of the County, he would not support an increase for County Commissioner membership.

Again, the Commissioners thanked the members of the committee for their willingness to serve.

The initial meeting of this Commission was schedule for March 21 at 7:00 p.m. in the Commissioners Hearing Room.


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

Worton Well Project - Mr. Morris advised that renovations to Worton Well No. 3 were completed and he reported water production increased from 13 gallons per minute to 68.5 gallons per minute. Commissioner Newnam inquired if well rehabilitation of the current wells would still be necessary in the future when a new well is constructed. Mr. Morris advised that rehabilitation should be required less frequently, as most problems resulting in the need for renovations are caused by heavy use.

Millington Water Storage Tower Project - Mr. Morris advised that he and the County Administrator, attended the March 4 Board of Education meeting where the location of the future Millington Water Storage Tower was discussed. He reported that the Board of Education did approve locating the water storage tower on property adjacent to the Millington Elementary School.

Millington Water and Wastewater Expansion Project - In follow-up from last week, Mr. Morris advised that after notifying home owners along Chesterville/Millington Road (northwest of Millington) and homeowners along Maryland Route 313 of their exclusion from the project, Gary Fellows expressed his desire to have his property to be included in the project. The Commissioners concurred.

The Commissioners received correspondence from Leonard and Betty Lookwood, 355 Cypress St, Millington, expressing their opposition to the Millington Water and Sewer Expansion Project. Since Mr. and Mrs. Lockwood reside in the incorporated town, a copy of this correspondence will be forwarded to the Millington Mayor and Council for its information and response.

Edesville - Commissioner Fithian reported that the Rock Hall Mayor and Council approved the Memo of Understanding as it relates to extension of water system to Edesville to be used in cases of emergency. The Memo of Understanding will be prepared in final form for signatures.


Commissioner Fithian expressed his concern that the Edesville Park playground equipment and pavilion were located close to MD Route 20 without any fencing. He requested Jeff Troester, Director, Parks and Recreation, to investigate installing fencing along MD Route 20 to ensure the safety of park patrons. Mr. Troester advised the expenditure will be included in the

FY 03 budget request.


The Commissioners received a copy of the FORVM for Rural Maryland Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2001.


In view that the Commissioners received very few responses to their query for volunteers to serve on the Heritage Preservation Advisory Committee, correspondence went forth to various organizations again seeking volunteers. The formation of the committee is a result of the County's participation in a program sponsored by the Maryland Historical Trust with the charter to prepare a Kent County Heritage Resource Survey and Evaluation Plan.


At 11:00 a.m., a motion was made by Commissioner Beck, seconded by Commissioner Fithian and passed by the majority of the Board 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. Commissioner Newnam was not in attendance for this meeting due to a business obligation with his employer, Verizon.

Items of discussion included litigation, and regulations for the Ethic Commission.

The executive session adjourned at 11:05 a.m.


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

Correspondence was received from Delegate Mary Roe Walkup, advising of time and dates of hearings for three local bills relating to alcoholic beverage laws. The County Administrator and Alcoholic Beverage Inspector testified on behalf of the County Commissioners.


In follow-up from last week, the Commissioners received additional correspondence from Gloria Urban, Director, Kent County Public Library, requesting approval to lease a copier for the remainder of this fiscal year to replace the copier that is no longer functional and cannot be repaired. Mrs. Urban advised that the lease would cost $486. A motion was made by Commissioner Newnam, seconded by Commissioner Beck, and Made unanimous by Commissioner Fithian to approve the expenditure in the amount of $486 from the Contingency Fund. The lease of this equipment will be further discussed during the Fiscal Year 2003 budget process.

Invitation was extended by Mrs. Urban for the Commissioners to attend a luncheon at the library on March 26 for oral and visual presentation relating to their proposed FY03 budget. The Commissioners will plan to attend.


As prepared by Cyrus R. Lesser, Chief, Mosquito Control Section, Maryland Department of Agriculture, the Commissioners approved and Commissioner Fithian signed proposed budget for mosquito control in Kent County for the 2002 season. The County's share will be $9,800. The State's share is $16,000 and local share - $6,800.


At 10:50 a.m., a motion was made by Commissioner Beck, seconded by Commissioner Fithian and passed by the majority of the Board to go into executive session to discuss personnel matters in accordance with State Government Article, Section 10.508 of the Annotated Code of Maryland. Commissioner Newnam was not in attendance for this meeting due to a business obligation with his employer, Verizon.

The executive session adjourned at 11:00 a.m.


Correspondence was received from Glenn Sappington, Annapolis, MD, alleging that a home is now situated on the former grave sites for the Grace Methodist Episcopal Church site in Piney Neck. A copy of this correspondence was forwarded to Gail Owings, Director, Planning and Zoning Administration, for review and comment.


Jeff Troester, Director, Parks and Recreation, appeared to provide an update on Program Open Space (POS) programs and funding. He provided a memorandum dated March 1, delineating the status of projects and associated funding. Commissioner Beck inquired if POS funding was in jeopardy. Mr. Troester advised that he was not aware of any major funding cuts.

Development and Capital Renewal Application and Project Agreement were approved by the Commissioners and signed by Commissioner Fithian for the following: Millington Pool Dual Main Drain, Worton Park Playground Structure, Turners Creek Lathim House Renovations Phase I, and Toal Picnic Pavilion.


The Commissioners received the Kent County Sheriff's Office 2001 Annual Status Report.


Correspondence was received from Robert H. Strong, Jr., requesting approval to purchase a computer from Gateway for the amount of $599.00. He advised that the State's Attorney's Office has adequate funds for the expenditure. Commissioner Newnam advised the laptop computer he (formerly) used would be available for Mr. Strong's immediate needs and to address this request in his FY03 proposed budget. The County Administrator will so advise Mr. Strong.


Correspondence was received from Clarence Hawkins, President, Upper Shore Aging, Inc., affirming of the process of complying with all grant requirements of the Federal Transit Administration and of the Maryland Mass Transit Administration and advised of Upper Shore Aging, Inc., the Board of Directors approval of the Corrective Action Plan.


Tim Anderson, Member of the local branch of the NAACP, and Charlie Hilton, Vice President, NAACP, appeared to invite the Commissioners to a meeting to discuss the drug and violence problem at Woods Edge Apartments. Mr. Anderson invited the Commissioners to attend the March 21, 7:30 p.m. meeting at Jane's Church, Chestertown, to consider methods to address this potential danger to the community. Mr Hilton expressed his concern that the problem is escalating and given the number of children who reside in the apartments, wanted to make every effort to remedy these issues before an innocent victim was involved.

Mr. Anderson advised that Sheriff Price, as well as Chestertown Police Chief, Walter Coryell had been invited. He inquired as to the requirements for an area to be designated as a "HotSpot" therefore receive State funding. Commissioner Fithian advised that Susanne Hayman, Human Resources Director, and former HotSpot Coordinator, is well versed in the subject and suggested she too, receive an invitation to the meeting.


Jeff Troester, Director, Parks and Recreation, appeared to advise of his plans to have "Recognition Day" to acknowledge the completion of several projects at Worton Park. Mr. Troester suggested Recognition Day coincide with the opening day of Babe Ruth Leagues, April 20, celebrating ball field renovations, new lighting, fences, and playground equipment. The Commissioners concurred.

There being no further business to claim their attention, the Board adjourned to meet again on Tuesday, March 12, 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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