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Board of County Commissioners

March 12, 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 $5,459,049.00.


A copy of facsimile was received from Kenneth L. Ropp, Capital Grants and Loan Administration, Waterway Improvement Program, directed to James Wright, Jr., County Engineer, advising of receipt of the boat ramp design for Bayside Public Landing. Mr. Ropp reported that the plan meet the standards of the typical boat ramp design and noted that Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) access requirements are applicable to this project. Commissioner Fithian advised that although funding was not yet secured, indications were that funding would most likely be forthcoming for boat ramp construction since local and State funding sources had been used to purchase the marina.

Carter Stanton, Director, Public Works, advised that discussion surrounding ideas on the development of Bayside Public Landing that took place on March 11 Public Landing and Facilities Board, will be forthcoming in document form.


Correspondence was received from Charles "Chip" MacLeod, Project Consultant, directed to local legislators providing information on planned testimony scheduled March 11 for House Bill 505 $750,000 Bond Bill Request Kent County Recreation and Community Complex Project.

Commissioner Fithian advised that he, Jeff Troester, Director, Parks and Recreation, Anne Livie, Director, Local Management Board and Mr. MacLeod testified in support of the Bond Bill request. Others in attendance were: Ed Robinson, County Administrator, and Judie Berry, Project Coordinator. Mr. MacLeod also provided an update on the Bond Bill Requests and expressed his optimism relating to a minimal number of Bond Bill Request for District 36. He advised that the Senate Hearing will take place on March 23 (Saturday).


Correspondence was received from Ed Spray, Superintendent, County Roads, advising of possession of a new dump truck. As a result of the purchase, the 1990 truck with snow plow,

push frame and sander is available for sale. He reported of an offer from the Town of Chestertown to purchase the truck for $7,000. The Commissioners approved the sale of the dump truck at the price offered by the Town of Chestertown.


Correspondence was received from Ken Beatty, Director, Delmarva Space Training Center, requesting to improve, renovate, and refurbish, the County building behind the Kent County Library formerly known as the "Wally Funeral Home" to house a proposed Space Museum. The Commissioners took no action on this matter at this time.


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

General - Mr. Morris provided a cost comparison of various model copier/printer versus the upkeep for current equipment. A motion was made by Commissioner Newnam, seconded by Commissioner Beck and made unanimous by Commissioner Fithian to approve the expenditure in the monthly amount of $215.78 for a combination copier/printer for an annual savings of $856.59.

Millington Water and Sewer Expansion Project - Mr. Morris provided a copy of correspondence directed to Roger Persons, Rural Economic and Community Development, Farmers Home Administration, advising of the reduction in participants in the Millington Water and Sewer Expansion Project and requested the impact of the now abbreviated project. He advised that as a result of yielding to the citizens' preference, the connections in the Engineering Report change from 169 to 132. Mr. Morris provided a map of the new service area for his review.

Tolchester Service Area- Mr. Morris advised of a request for sewer allocation from Peter Covert, Allentown, PA., for Tax Map 35 A Parcel 119 for a single family home. Mr. Morris recommended the allocation be approved subject to all other agencies' approval. The Commissioners concurred.

Edesville Service Area - Mr. Morris provided information delineating the capital cost for extending the Edesville water main. He provided two plans, eight inch ( high density polyethylene) extended water main, totaling $143,375 and a ten inch (ductle iron pipe) extended water main totaling $221,750. Mr. Morris recommended using an eight inch water main. Commissioner Newnam inquired if the eight inch pipe would provide adequate service for future use. Mr. Morris advised that according to anticipated growth the eight inch water main will be adequate. He also noted that the water main extension project cannot be funded with State funds and that County funding would support the entire project.

The Commissioners approved and Commissioner Fithian executed a Memorandum of Understanding by and between the County Commissioners and the Mayor and Town Council of Rock Hall, to extend the water main to connect with the Rock Hall water service for emergency purposes.


The Commissioners received correspondence from U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, advising of the proposal, pending availability of funding, to perform maintenance dredging of the Baltimore Harbor & Channels 42 -50-Foot Federal navigation projects during calendar year 2002 and 2003. Approximately 2,500,000 cubic yards of material will be dredged and placed at Poplar Island Environmental Restoration project. This project includes dredging Tolchester Channel. A specific map delineating the extent of the project was enclosed.


Correspondence was received from Kimberly M. Golden, State Hazard Mitigation Officer, Maryland Emergency Management Agency, (MEMA),advising that the State of Maryland will award approximately $375,000 in Federal Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM) Program funds later this year. Notice of Interest forms for available funding must be returned to MEMA by March 27. A cop of this correspondence was forwarded to Robert Rust, Director, Emergency Management.


The Commissioners approved a Multiple Gaming Device/Raffle Permit for the Betterton - Still Pond Lions Club to hold a fund raising event on March 12 at the Betterton Fire Hall, Betterton.


The Commissioners approved the request presented by Jack Canan, Coordinator, Housing and Community Development, for a camera to replace their inoperable camera needed to photograph/document Housing Improvement Program (HIP) applicants homes. Mr. Canan advised that the approximate cost for the replacement camera is $179.95 and may be purchased with HIP grant funding. The Commissioners approved this request.


Correspondence was received from Harry J. Pisapia, Mayor, Galena, reporting that at their March 4 Mayor and Council meeting, no objection was raised to the formation of the Human Relations Commission in general and further noted Galena Town Council has no intention of forming their own Human Relations Commission. However, Mayor Pisapia stated the associated cost seems unclear and advised the jurisdiction would not be open to making proportionate contributions. Commissioner Fithian advised that he will request this issue be discussed at the next regularly scheduled County Council of Governments meeting on March 20.


In follow-up from correspondence received from John Vail, Senior Policy Advisor, Justice Management Division, U.S. Department of Justice, on February 26, offering to discuss the opportunity for assignment under the Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA), to facilitate the transfer of skill between Federal, State and local governments, Mr Vail appeared to further consider the matter. Susanne Hayman, Human Resources Director, was also in attendance. Having recently acquired a second home in Kent County, Mr. Vail stated that he is investigating opportunities to serve Kent County, at no expense to the County. Mr. Vail gave a brief description of his 28 eight years in personnel and facilities operations in the U.S. Department of Justice.

Commissioner Fithian inquired to confirm if the Justice Department would continue to pay his salary while working for Kent County. Mr. Vail advised that in his experience the Department of Justice continues to pay complete salary and benefits, however, he has not secured complete approval from his employer as of yet. Commissioner Beck inquired as to time restraints associated with the program. Mr. Vail advised that the programs range from one to two years and he would be seeking a fifteen month position.

Mr. Vail advised that he did not know the County's needs and conversely, the County was not aware of his expertise, however, he feels committed to Kent County and would like to review how he could contribute.

Commissioner Fithian noted the wealth of resources available in the County from people who have moved to this area and impressive services offered.

The Commissioners concurred to discuss opportunities available and contact him within a week. The Commissioners thanked Mr. Vail for his time and interest.


The Commissioners received notification from Ed Spray, Superintendent, County Roads, advising that on or about March 18 Kennedyville Road between MD Route 213 and Morgnec Road, will be closed to through traffic for the replacement of the Kennedyville Bridge. The road will be closed for approximately 130 days.

Carter Stanton, Director, Public Works, advised that in conjunction with the permanent replacement of the Kennedyville Bridge, the unbudgeted cost of a crane to remove the temporary bridge will be added to the project cost. Commissioner Fithian requested local farmers in the area be notified of the project and road closure dates as it may interfere with farming in the area. Commissioner Beck requested an announcement of the closure be made on the local radio station to keep the public apprised of the status of the project.


Jeff Troester, Director, Parks and Recreation, and Jon Mullen, Curator, Knocks Folly, appeared to discuss and consider Mr. Mullen volunteering his services to the County by assisting in the restoration and stabilization of the Granary and Lathim House at Turner's Creek. The Commissioners remarked on the impressive renovations at Knocks Folly and stated any assistance he could offer for the Granary and Lathim House would be gratefully accepted. Commissioner Fithian commented on the many resources available to the County from those who have chosen to relocate to Kent County. Mr. Mullen confirmed that he would report to and work with Mr. Troester on the projects.


At the recommendation of the Planning Commission to accept Irrevocable Letter of Credit for the Chestertown Bank of Maryland for the account of Images, Inc., David D. and Mary E. McHenry in the amount of $1,716.93 to guarantee compliance to the Kent County Landscaping Policy.


At 11:15 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.

Item of discussion included litigation.

The executive session adjourned at 11:30 a.m.


Correspondence was received from Delegate Mary Roe Walkup, advising House Bill 1176 - Dredge Deposits - Creation of Artificial Islands in the Chesapeake Bay - Prohibited Use as Part of Management Plan is scheduled for a hearing on March 14.

Correspondence was received from Delegate Mary Roe Walkup, advising House Bill 1111 - Telecommunications and Computer Network Access - Under-served Areas is scheduled for a hearing on March 13. The Commissioners forwarded correspondence to local legislators in support of House Bill 1111.


The Commissioners received correspondence from Harris P. Murphy, Esq., representing Herschell Claggett, advising of the Notice of Appeal regarding the decision of the Kent County Public Landings and Facilities Board denying his request for six (6) mooring buoys. A hearing will be scheduled in the near future.


At the request of Rex Kershaw, Rock Hall, he, Ed Birkmire, Director, Environmental Health, Charles "Chip" MacLeod, Esq., and Mike Joiner, Rock Hall, appeared to discuss Nuisance Ordinance violations. Mr. Kershaw advised that three years ago he forwarded correspondence to Mr. Birkmire requesting action on three properties with obvious violations. Mr. Birkmire advised that the file on the property in question was closed, having achieved compliancy. However, maintaining compliancy was often thwarted by people who have no intention of abiding by the law.

Mr. Kershaw thought that after three years the problem should be resolved and the courtesy extended to him acknowledging his correspondence. He applauded Mr. Joiner and his wife Sara Gagalski, for purchasing two of the properties and cleaning the area to be in compliance with nuisance and zoning laws. However, the last of the three properties remains noncompliant with the Nuisance Ordinance and to him, stands as a symbol of arrogance toward the local Nuisance Ordinance. Commissioner Fithian assured Mr. Kershaw he would be provided with an answer. Mr. Kershaw requested the answer be in writing.

Mr. Joiner advised that William "Scratch" Ashley continues to pile junk in his front yard. Mr. Birkmire stated that Mr. Ashley will comply and clean up after being notified, however, shortly thereafter more debris and litter collects back on the property. Mr. Joiner stated that he has recently cleaned up his properties in spite of the court file being closed. Mr. MacLeod advised that Rick Myers, Enforcement Officer, sent a letter to Mr. Ashley on December 21, 2001 advising of the zoning violation relating to untagged vehicles on the property. Commissioner Newnam inquired if the vehicles were still there. Mr. MacLeod confirmed their presence and advised the process is cumbersome. Mr. MacLeod stated, as in a previous meeting relating to this matter, citizens who have a propensity to not comply with nuisance laws, be issued a citation with a fine. It was noted that the State's Attorney advised the Commissioners of his willingness to prosecute. However, Mr. MacLeod stated it would be a quicker process to issue a citation; a fine would be imposed as well as requirement to clean the property. Mr. Kershaw recited the law of enforcement within 30 days and moved to 200 feet of property line. Commissioner Newnam stated that the law needs to be enforced in a timely fashion. Commissioner Beck requested Mr. Birkmire to personally make a site visit to the property.

Again, Commissioner Fithian assured Mr. Kershaw the property violations would be addressed.


At 9:25 a.m., a motion was made by Commissioner Beck, seconded by Commissioner Newnam and made unanimous by Commissioner Fithian to go into executive session to discuss personnel matters in accordance with State Government Article, Section 10.508 of the Annotated Code of Maryland.

The executive session adjourned at 9:36 a.m.

At 10:00 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 10:02 a.m.


Carter Stanton, Director, Public Works, reported that at the March 11 Public Landings and Facilities Board meeting, it was recommended that the upcoming budget include funds to cover legal services to review local ordinances relating to Public Landings. The Commissioners agreed to consider this request during the FY 03 budget process.


A bid opening was held at 9:00 a.m. in the Commissioners Hearing Room for the prefabricated building. The building is to be erected at the Public Works Complex located on Morgnec Road. Carter Stanton, Director, Public Works, and Jim Wright, Purchasing Coordinator, were in attendance. Commissioner Fithian read the public notice of bid. The following bids were received:

Unlimited Structures, Inc. $73,258.00

Morton Buildings $97,647.00

Messrs. Stanton and Wright will review bids received and will report back to the Commissioners.


The Commissioners received correspondence as well as a Resolution by the Board of Directors relating to the need for the requested loan to purchase an ambulance. A letter will go forth advising that the Commissioners approved the Rock Hall Volunteer Fire Company as improved organization authorized and required to provide fire protection, firefighting and emergency medical services in Kent County. A public hearing has been scheduled for April 2.


Sheriff John Price, appeared to request approval to purchase for new vehicles to replace a 1996 Ford Crown Victoria (K-5)- 122,601 miles, 1995 Chevrolet Caprice (K-11) - 117,057 miles, 1997 Ford Crown Victoria (K-16) - 92,603 miles, and a 1997 Ford taurus (K-31) - 97,773 miles. He reported that per the Delaware State Contract the unit cost for a 2003 Ford Crown Victoria is $20,253.00. He advised that Maryland does not have a State contract for these vehicles and the Delaware contract contains the same pricing as last year.

Commissioner Newnam confirmed that receipt of the vehicles would not take place during the remainder of this fiscal year. Sheriff Price advised that the vehicles would be invoiced after July 1 and probably not received until that time.

A motion was made by Commissioner Newnam seconded by Commissioner Beck and made unanimous to approve the purchase of four new vehicles for a total of $81,012.00.


A bid opening was held at 9:10 a.m. in the Commissioners Hearing Room for resurfacing of Smithville Road with Bituminous Concrete. The project includes resurfacing approximately 3.75 miles of roadway with 1.5 inch bituminous concrete. Carter Stanton, Director, Public Works, and Jim Wright, Purchasing Coordinator, were in attendance. Commissioner Fithian read the public notice of bid. The following bid was received :

David A. Bramble, Inc. $43.50 per ton

Mr. Wright recommended the bid be accepted as the budget cost per ton was $50.00. The Commissioners concurred.


Correspondence was received from Karen Miller, District Manager, advising that the Kent Soil & Water Conservation District, Kent County High School, MD DNR- Forest Service and Washington College, will assess the current conditions, upgrade the forest management plan and start implementing the revised plan for Francis Cann Demonstration Woodlot. The Commissioners agreed to accept Mrs. Miller's offer for the students to make a presentation at a Tuesday meeting.


Carter Stanton, Director, Public Works, appeared to advise that at the March 11 Public Landings and Facilities Board (PFLB) meeting the Delaware B.A.S.S. Federation requested the use of Turners Creek Public Landing on May 5. He reported that the PLFB recommended to approve the use of the Turners Creek Public Landing. The Commissioners concurred.


Susan Lasater, President, Russ Carlow, and Dave McIntire, Members, Chamber of Commerce, appeared to discuss staffing during the weekdays at the Kent County Visitor's Center to be located in Chestertown. Mrs. Lasater advised that volunteer services have been accepted and the Town of Chestertown has tentatively agreed to hire a weekend receptionist, however, the details of a daily presence in the Visitor's Center has not been definitively established.

Mrs. Lasater reiterated the important economic impact Tourism has on the County and advised that the Chamber of Commerce has an obligation to its members, however, in an effort to stay focused on Chamber of Commerce business, did not want tourists to go unserved.

Commissioner Fithian affirmed the validity of her concerns, but felt that the Chamber of Commerce, Mayor and Council of Chestertown, and County Commissioners would be able to resolve any issue relating to the staffing of the Visitor's Center. He assured Mrs. Lasater of County support for the project and although he could not directly provide a schedule of exact County employee commitment, the County will have a presence in the Visitor's Center. Mrs. Lasater, Mr. Carlow and Mr. McIntire thanked the Commissioners for their support.

Commissioner Fithian thanked the Chamber of Commerce for their support on various County legislation activities.


The Commissioners received correspondence from John W. Cahall, Chesterville Road, Millington, advising that he has filed application for two wells appropriating approximately 361,000 gallons per day for farm irrigation. The project is located on the northeast corner of Maryland Routes 291 and 290 junction, three miles west of Millington.


Correspondence was received from Winslow Long, Clerk Chester River Friends Meeting, expressing concern as to alleged lack of police protection at Woods Edge Apartments.

During Sheriff Price's appointment, Commissioner Fithian requested that he respond to concerns relating to the perception reflected in the above mentioned correspondence, as to alleged lack of funds/manpower to adequately keep the public/residents safe at Woods Edge Apartments. Commissioner Fithian inquired if Sheriff Price had additional officers, would he station one at Woods Edge Apartments. Sheriff Price clarified that Kent County Sheriff's Office is not the only policing force. Commissioner Fithian concurred and stated in last thirty years, the State Police has not increased their presence (of two officers) in the County. He advised that the County's Sheriff's Office has increased, as needs increase, from approximately 3 officers to 20, and incorporated towns have likewise proportionally increased their policing staff, however, the State Police has not.

Sheriff Price addressed the inferences in the letter. He stated that the Sheriff's Department responds to all calls at Woods Edge Apartments. However, his opinion was that tax payers should not be responsible for providing full (24 hour) police coverage for a privately owned provider of subsidized housing. Commissioners Fithian and Beck concurred. (Commissioner Newnam was not in attendance for this portion of the meeting.) Commissioner Beck stated that the apartment owners should be responsible for providing private security as well. Commissioner Beck inquired as to the number of officers needed to provide 24 hour policing for this one property. Sheriff Price advised five additional officers would be needed to provide 24 hour policing. Sheriff Price reported that Woods Edge Apartment residents receive the same police coverage as every other Kent County resident.

Sherriff Price reported that he has attended all meetings on this matter. Policing is only one of several problems at the apartment complex; residents need to make an effort by forming a residents association, cooperate with police on addressing illegal behavior, and management issues should be addressed. From his perspective, he has not observed any progress on any of the issues articulated.

Sheriff Price stated before he would recommend any increase in staffing, his priority at this time is retention. He acknowledged the resignation of two experienced officers and their (rookie) replacements. Sheriff Price stated that experience can not be replaced and other State police agencies who attract experienced officers, provide a starting salary increase of approximately $10,000 over local salaries. Commissioner Fithian stated that if the County Sheriff 's Office was able to remain with same number of officers as thirty years ago, the County would be fiscally able to proportionally increase their salaries.

Commissioner Fithian thanked Sheriff Price for his candid approach to the matter and expressed his need to make the public aware that both the Commissioners' Office and Sheriff's Department are in agreement that privately owned residences such as Woods Edge Apartments should not necessarily be furnished with special County policing and receive the same police coverage as other residents in the County to be competitive with State agencies.

Correspondence will go forth to Mr. Long informing him of the Commissioners' and Sheriff Price's view on this matter. .

There being no further business to claim their attention, the Board adjourned to meet again on Tuesday, March 19, 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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