KENT COUNTY, MARYLAND
Board of County Commissioners
March 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 $6,933,665.00.
Gail Owings, Director, Planning and Zoning Administration, appeared to report on issues addressed at the March 25 Board of Appeals meeting.
BAYSIDE PUBLIC LANDING
A bid opening was held at 9:00 a.m. in the Commissioners Hearing Room for the construction of 40 ft. wide by 80 ft. long concrete boat ramp at Bayside Public Landing (formerly known as Pelorus Marina). Jim Wright, Purchasing Coordinator, was in attendance. Commissioner Fithian read the public notice of bid. The following bids were received:
Baltimore Piling Driving $104,409.00
White Hall, MD
George & Lynch, Inc. $137,000.00
Deckelman's Pile Driving $137,800.00
Rock Hall, MD
Dissen & Juhn Corporation $148,800.00
Mr. Wright advised that the low bidder proposed a pre-cast boat ramp. Commissioner Newnam questioned the soundness of the structure. Mr. Wright advised that other counties have installed pre-cast ramps and are satisfied with construction. A motion was made by Commissioner Beck, seconded by Commissioner Newnam, and made unanimous by Commissioner Fithian to award the bid to Baltimore Piling Driving for the amount of $104,409.00. Mr. Wright noted that the amount estimated for the project was $100,000.00. It is anticipated that this expenditure will be covered by State Waterway Improvement Funds.
A bid opening was held at 9:10 a.m. in the Commissioners Hearing Room for pile installation at Bayside Public Landing. The project will consist of the installation of nineteen 12 inch diameter by 35 ft. long timber piles. Mr. Wright, Purchasing Coordinator, was in attendance. Commissioner Fithian read the public notice of bid. The following bids were received:
George & Lynch, Inc. $26,980.00
Deckelman's Pile Driving $ 9,443.00
Rock Hall, MD
At the recommendation of Mr. Wright, a motion was made by Commissioner Newnam, seconded by Commissioner Beck, and made unanimous by Commissioner Fithian to award the bid to Deckelman's Pile Driving for the amount of $9,443.00. Mr. Wright noted that the estimated amount for the project was $9,500.00. Commissioner Fithian advised of plan to lengthen a few of the slips in order to accommodate larger boats. The slip rental revenue anticipated from this landing will offset the County portion of funds expended toward the purchase of Pelorus Marina.
A budget work session was held at 1:15 p.m. with Judge J. Frederick Price, Circuit Court, for review of his proposed Fiscal Year 2003 budget.
DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL RESOURCES
The Commissioners approved and Commissioner Fithian executed a contract by and between the Commissioners and Community Services Administration , Department of Human Resources, modifying The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), contract for Kent County to include an additional $900.00 to cover the cost of accepting additional TEFAP food and pay for the additional storage and distribution costs. This program is administered by the Kent County Department of Social Services.
DEPARTMENT OF WATER AND WASTEWATER SERVICES
Wayne Morris, Director, Department of Water and Wastewater Services, appeared to report on the following issues:
Worton Well Project - Mr. Morris provided a copy of correspondence directed to Mr. Walid Saffouri, Chief, Project Management Services, Water Quality Infrastructural Program, Department of the Environment, advising of the bid recommendation for the Worton Well project.
Fairlee Service Area - Mr. Morris advised of request from Anthony Butler, Caulks Field Road, to change service status from residential to vacant. Mr. Butler advised that the dwelling will be removed. The Commissioners approved this request. Commissioner Beck requested Mr. Morris to so advise the Enforcement Officer, Planning and Zoning Administration, of the plans for the building removal and for him to follow-up on the progress of this report.
Legislation - The County Administrator provided status on bills relating drinking water currently before legislators. Mr. Morris noted that standards for allowable arsenic levels in drinking water would be changing in 2004. He advised that the process to isolate, suspend and remove the naturally occurring compound would be costly.
Millington Water and Wastewater Expansion Project - Betty Lockwood, Millington appeared to discuss her objections to the water service portion of the Millington Water and Wastewater Expansion project. Ed Birkmire, Director, Environmental Health Director, Wayne Morris, Director, Department of Water and Wastewater Services, Jack Canan, Coordinator, Housing and Community Development, Millington Mayor Dennis Hager, and fifteen other interested were also in attendance.
Mrs. Lockwood presented a cover letter and a petition of one hundred signatures, of which forty four signers reside out of the incorporated town limits of Millington requesting the same consideration be given to these residents as the exemption given to Kent Mills residents. Commissioner Fithian advised those residents in the town of Millington should address their concern to the Millington Mayor and Town Council.
Mr. Birkmire advised that the Health Department recommended and supports the water project. He stated that the area is clearly in need of the service as water from private wells is drawn from a threatened source. He stated the threat to the source as being nitrates and pesticides. He advised that although there are a few compliant wells there are also noncompliant wells, all contaminants including nitrates and pesticides applied to farm fields migrate toward Chester River. Mr. Birkmire produced a working model that depicted the clay layer which shields the wells drilled below this level from nitrates and pesticides; leaving shallow wells at risk. He also advised of the disparity of costs and workload in testing private wells and public water service. Mr. Birkmire confirmed that private wells are tested for bacteria and nitrates. Public water is tested and treated for a host of contaminants, compounds, and elements, some of which are known carcinogens. He reported that public water service is under constant monitoring and private wells are typically tested at construction only. Mr. Birkmire further noted that due to the small lot sizes, most wells would not meet today's regulations. He stated that public water was a cheap insurance for good health. Mr. Birkmire advised that testing private wells for the same contaminants routinely tested in public water service, was not affordable.
Commissioner Fithian requested Mr. Birkmire to elaborate on Millington Elementary School water problems. Mr. Birkmire advised that due to poor water quality of the school well, bottled water had to be provided on two separate occasions. Mr. Birkmire noted that the school well warrants constant monitoring until public service is available and given the state of the school well, surrounding wells may be in the same condition.
Commissioner Beck inquired as to failing septic systems in the area. Mr. Birkmire confirmed that small lot sizes exacerbate the probability of contamination of private wells by failing septic systems.
Mrs. Lockwood inquired as to the number of wells tested and the results. Mr. Birkmire provided results of the 192 wells tested and concluded that 47% of the wells did not comply with current regulations. He noted that the shared wells would be classified as noncompliant.
Mrs. Lockwood questioned why the public was not better informed. Both Mr. Birkmire and Mr. Morris advised that the requirements for notification of public meetings/hearings had been fulfilled. Mr. Birkmire noted that he attended the meetings and project design had been clearly reviewed.
Charles Johnson, 302 Middle Street, Sandfield, inquired as to why this project had not been better publicized and remarked on in his opinion, what appeared to be the suddenness of the project. Mr. Birkmire advised that the project was conceived as far back as 1973 when the ice cream plant closed and their wells were offered to the Town of Millington. Mr. Morris noted that he has been involved with the project since 1996. Mr. Jones also questioned how senior citizens could be expected to pay additional utility bills and noted the expense will be a burden.
Ellen Cooper, Sandfield, expressed her concern as to carcinogens and questioned if any studies had been done correlating cancer rates to public water service and private wells. Mr. Birkmire advised that he was not aware of any study. He also remarked on the impact of technology on testing capabilities; thirty years ago such contaminants could not be measured.
Due to time constraints, Commissioner Fithian offered to schedule another meeting if there was more information requested. No response was received, however, he further offered to accept any additional questions in writing forwarded to the Commissioners Office prior to April 2.
The Commissioners approved and Commissioner Fithian executed the application for Federal Assistance in the amount of $1,604,800.00 for the construction of a new water treatment facility with elevated storage, distribution line and fire hydrants to serve the Town of Millington and the County service area.
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 at this meeting due to employment obligation with his employer, Verizon.
Items of discussion included the Housing Improvement Program and Agreement relating to use of Tolchester Site.
The executive session adjourned at 11:20 a.m.
At the invitation of Gloria Urban, Director, Kent County Public Library, Commissioners Fithian and Beck attended a lunch meeting for purpose of presentation of their Fiscal Year 2003 budget proposal. Others in attendance were: James A. Blake, Chairman, Dee Newnam, Helen Tyson and Shirley J. Eklund, representing the Board of Library Trustees, Mary Ann Hickman, Public Relations Assistant, Ed Robinson, County Administrator, Patricia Merritt, Budget and Accounting Director, and Janice Fletcher, Executive Assistant.
A presentation was given by Ms. Urban. It was noted that out of the County population of 19,300, 10,703 are library card users; 10,682 use the internet and databases hosted by the Library; and 4597 attend library programs. At this time, the Library does not have a technology plan and one of the two remaining libraries on the Eastern Shore having a text based automated system; all others are on the world wide web and much more efficient. They are currently seeking State funding to hire a consultant to develop a technology plan.
LOCAL MANAGEMENT BOARD
Dr. Lorraine Costella. Superintendent of Public Schools, and Carolyn Sorge, Coordinator, Extended Day/Year Program, appeared on behalf of the Local Management Board, (LMB), to request support of the Middle School Extended Day and Year program grant application. Dr. Costella reported of the current Middle School programs and advised that the grant, if approved, would allow for the expansion of the programs to five days a week. Mrs. Sorge reported on the success of the programs in that it provides a well rounded education of the child. She noted of both academic programs such as reading and math as well as practical applications such as certification in babysitting. The Commissioners concurred to support the project and a letter of support went forth to the LMB.
MILLINGTON COMMUNITY VOLUNTEER FIRE COMPANY
The Commissioners signed a Resolution authorizing and approving the financing of acquisition of a pumper-tanker truck in the amount of $242,152.00 by the Community Millington Voluntary Fire Company. The County will not be a party to the loan agreement and will not constitute an indebtedness against the general credit or taxing powers of the Board of County Commissioners.
At 11:20 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.
The executive session adjourned at 11:22 a.m.
PLANNING AND ZONING ADMINISTRATION
Gail Owings appeared with Billy Hicks and Maude Jones representing Potter's House Ministries who are in the process of expanding their church, the former VFW Hall, in Fairlee. Mr. Hicks advised of the lack of progress in securing a permit to expand the building to include a dining hall. Mrs. Owings reported that State regulations required all public buildings to be reviewed and approved by an architect. She advised that the building permit could not be processed without an architect's approval on the design and reported that all parties had been so advised. Mrs. Owings noted that approval is required by the Health Department as well as Department of Water and Wastewater for all building permits. She stated that there may be Health Department related issues as well and suggested they contact the Health Department to ensure the project would not be further impeded.
Commissioner Newnam requested Mrs. Owings to contact the Health Department on behalf of Mr. Hicks and Ms. Jones to keep the project moving. She agreed to do so.
SEMI ANNUAL PROPERTY TAX PAYMENTS
The Commissioners received the approval form for the Establishment of County and Municipal Service Fees for Semiannual Property Tax Payments. The form was forwarded to Roger Williams, Treasurer, for his review and documentation.
SHARED OPPORTUNITY SERVICES
The Commissioners forwarded a letter of support to Roger L. Persons, Community and Business Program Specialist, United States Department of Agriculture, requesting consideration be given to the application submitted by Shared Opportunity Services (SOS) Inc., for Federal Assistance through the Community Facilities Loan Program for the Kent Family Center project.
SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT PLAN
Correspondence was received from Richard Collins, Director, Waste Management Administration, Department of the Environment, advising the Kent County Solid Waste Management Plan is in compliance with the State defined requirements.
Correspondence was received from Roger Williams, Treasurer advising of four (4) properties sold at the 2000 Kent County real estate tax sale own the certificate due to no bid at the tax sale.
Sheriff Price appeared and proposed an agreement by and between the Sheriff's Department and the County Commissioners for use of a pre-determined area of the Tolchester Site for use as a firearms range for use by local law enforcement. The agreement delineates the Sheriff's Department responsibilities for the range as well as procedures for use. This document will be submitted to the County Attorney for review.
Correspondence was received from Sheriff John Price commending Mac McGinnes, Roads Supervisor, and Glenn Dulin, Crew Leader, County Roads, for their expertise in constructing/improving the Tolchester Site firearms range. He expressed his appreciation on behalf of the law enforcement community for their proficiency and hard work fabricating the firearms range.
Bernadette Van Pelt, Tourism Director, provided a progress report for the month of February. One highlight of the report was a large number of responses received (861) from one advertisement placed in Better Homes and Gardens Magazine, touting Chestertown as a Weekend Getaway destination.
TURNERS CREEK PUBLIC LANDING
In follow-up from last week's discussion relating to Jeff Troester, Director, Parks and Recreation, appearance to request consideration be given to allowing youth groups (boy scouts, etc.) to camp at Turners Creek Public Landing for a limited time, Mr. Troester forwarded a Youth Group Camping Application form and Youth Group Camping Rules and Regulations form for review and approval. The request was made to observe Department of Natural Resources regulations to isolate the active eagles nest at Sassafras Resource Management Area from any disturbances, leaving youth camping groups without a camping site.
The Commissioners concurred to temporarily waive the policy that prohibits camping in a County Park and approved the regulations relating to park camping as presented.
The Commissioners received a copy of correspondence directed to Carl Burke, Executive Director, Upper Shore Aging, Inc., from Nancy Noonan, Chief Regional Planning, Maryland Transit Administration advising of additional requirements and issues to be addressed to allow Ustar Transportation to be in compliance with all State Transportation regulations.
The Commissioners received a copy of a supplemental Corrective Action Plan for Ustar Transportation that was forwarded to the Nancy Noonan, Chief Regional Planning, Maryland Transit Administration.
In a follow up to concerns raised by Mrs. Lewis, Assistant Administrator, Chestertown Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, the County Administrator reported that contact was made with Ms. Noonan last week who reiterated that it was against State regulations for Upper Shore Aging to contract out to for-profit organizations. Mr. Robinson explained the dilemma that U-Star Transportation was the only service available in this area to transport hospital bound/disabled persons. Ms. Noonan agreed to submit request to Sue Knapp, President, KFH, Group, Consultant, seeking an exception with specific criteria, however, a contract with this private agency will still not be permitted. Mr. Robinson will report back to the Board as soon as word is received from Ms. Noonan.
WOODS EDGE APARTMENTS
In follow-up from the March 21 meeting at Janes Church, Chestertown, where discussion was held on the drug and violence problem at Woods Edge Apartments, Sheriff Price appeared and submitted proposal to hire two additional deputies as well as developing a community policing program.
Commissioner Fithian recognized members of the audience who was invited to attend today's meeting: Anne Livie, Director, Local Management Board, Susanne Hayman, Director, Human Resources, Larry Porter, of Cabel Corporation, representing Management at Woods Edge Apartments, and Brenda Bender, and her husband, Managers, Brittany Bay, Rock Hall apartments. Nine other interested persons were in attendance.
Commissioner Fithian advised that all share in responsibility in the problems at Woods Edge and all share in resolving the issues.
Sheriff Price advised of a Community Policing program in Queen Anne's County that addressed issues in all areas of the County, from criminal behavior to minor nuisances. He proposed community policing program for Kent County, concentrating on Woods Edge Apartments area first. He proposed two officers to patrol Woods Edge. Sheriff also noted that applicable grants will not be known until mid- April and awarded until September 2002 for possible funding. He provided an itemized outline delineating the cost of two additional deputies as well as additional equipment costs totaling $127,988.38.
Sheriff Price advised that in the short term, patrols to Woods Edge Apartments will be increased from one patrol a shift, to two patrols a shift and noted that he and three deputies patrolled Woods Edge last night resulting in an arrest.
Commissioner Fithian stated that he wished to adopt a concept for resolution of problems and move in that direction. He stated the need to identify funding resources to implement the additional deputies. Sheriff Price stated that Community Policing program is not the singular answer to the problems at Woods Edge; he is hoping that Community Policing deputies will coordinate resources to address many problems at Woods Edge Apartments.
Commissioner Fithian again introduced Mrs. Bender who expounded on the methods she has successfully employed to remedy problems similar to Woods Edge at Brittany Bay Apartments, Rock Hall. She advised of providing a stringent set of rules and described her technique of removing tenants after three lease violations. She also felt that observing and making her presence known was important in addressing nuisances, trespassing, etc.
Commissioner Fithian thanked Mrs. Bender and commented that the police presence can be increased, however, apartment management and residents need to become more assertive.
Timothy Anderson, representing the NAACP, presented an action plan. He thanked Commissioner Fithian for attending the meeting held on March 21 as well as previous meetings and urged that a plan of action be in place by June.
There being no further business to claim their attention, the Board adjourned to meet again on Tuesday, April 2, 2002.
Please contact Joyce Laskey or Janice Fletcher at (410) 778-7435 or by e-mail with any questions or comments.