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Board of County Commissioners

May 7, 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 $4,424,023.00.


Commissioner Fithian reported on the May 6 slip allotment held at Bayside Public Landing and Park. He advised that the first-come first- serve procedure went well and 32 slips have been rented. Before any more slips are rented, the Public Landings and Facilities Board will discuss the possibility of enlarging several slips to accommodate the many requests for docking larger vessels. Commissioner Fithian noted that although the majority slip allocations were to commercial waterman, slips were allocated to recreational boaters as well.

Commissioner Fithian reported that the permit to construct the boat launching ramp has been received and construction will commence as soon as the contractor is available.

Correspondence was received from Linda Rudie, R.S., Acting Section Head, Division of Community Services, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, approving the permit for the public swimming pool at Bayside Public Landing. The permit is to replace the chlorinator at the pool. Commissioner Fithian stated that he anticipates the pool to be open by Memorial Day.


At 11:45 a.m., the Commissioners held a budget work session with Wayne Morris, Director, Department of Water and Wastewater Services. The County Administrator was also in attendance.


Susanne Hayman, Human Resources Director, provided an update on information obtained from representatives of the Governor's Office of Crime Control and Prevention on April 30 as it relates to the Community Policing Program. Ed Robinson, County Administrator, Sheriff John Price, and Lt. Charles M Rhodes Jr., Department of Natural Resources, Chairman, Drug Task Force, were also in attendance. It does not appear that the County would be eligible for funding without first making extensive commitments both financially and administratively. Approximately $114,000.00 in just police personnel costs would remain unfunded after the maximum allowed under DOJ's COPS program, (assuming we receive maximum funding). The Governor's Office seems reluctant to say at this point what additional funding it might be able to provide, without the county's first bringing all players (e.g., owners of Woods Edge, the community association, and other government agencies) to the table and gaining commitments that form a basis for accountability, such as a signed memorandum of understanding. To that end, another meeting has been scheduled for May 17th in order to work on the pro-active community supervision component of the proposed program. Individuals involved in this meeting will largely be members of the Governor's Office of Crime Control and Prevention Technical Assistance Unit, staff of the Division of Parole and Probation, and representatives of the various agencies that work with the HotSpot's Community Probation/Community Policing Team.


The Commissioners received correspondence from Howard Rawlings, Chairman, Appropriations Committee, and Morman Conway, Chairman, Capital, Budget Sub-committee, advising that if the Kent County Community/Recreation Center project is funded in Fiscal Year 2004, funds in the amount of $500,000 will be made available on June 1, 2003 The 2003 legislative session will also consider any request made for additional funding of this project.


First reading was held on Code Home Rule Bill NO. 4-2002, which is an Act to repeal and re-enact with an amendment to Section 3-2 Article I of Chapter 3 of the Code of Public Local Laws of Kent County, 1994 Edition, Title "Kent County" Sub-title "Administration of Government" to increase the salary of the County Commissioners of Kent County from $11,000 to 15,000.

A public hearing has been scheduled on this proposed legislation for Tuesday, May 28, 2002 at 10:00 a.m. at the County Commissioners Hearing Room, County Government Center, 400 High Street, Chestertown, Maryland.


Due to posting requirements of U. S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and of posting needs of county offices and public, the Commissioners approved request made by the Executive Assistant for expenditure in the amount of $489 for a bulletin board to be placed in the lobby adjacent to the County Commissioners' Office. This expense can be covered within current FY02 General Services Budget.


In follow-up from the April 9 bid opening, a contract by and between the County Commissioners and Dodd's Landscaping was approved and signed by the Board for grass

mowing at the Court House commencing on April 1, 2002 and terminating on March 31, 2003.


As forwarded from the Department of Social Services, the Commissioners approved and Commissioner Fithian executed the Maryland Department of Human Resources Office of Transitional Services application for funds to provide emergency shelter for homeless individuals or families. Once approved, Kent County will receive $5,640 to provide homeless shelter services.


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

Millington Water and Wastewater Expansion Project - Mr. Morris reviewed a draft copy of both the wastewater agreement and the operational agreement by and between the incorporated town of Millington and the Commissioners. Mr. Morris reviewed the documents which delineates specific responsibilities, fee collection, financial issues, repairs and emergency circumstances.

Mr. Morris forwarded correspondence from Marlene Elliott, State Director, Rural Development, Delaware and Maryland, advising that the Millington Water Treatment Facility Project was approved and financial assistance in the amount of $1,604,800 has been obligated as of April 25, 2002.

Tolchester Service Area - Mr. Morris forwarded a copy of a request from Samuel Pickrell, Tolchester Estates, for wastewater allocation. Mr. Morris recommended approval of the allocation. The Commissioners concurred.

General - Mr. Morris provided correspondence from Maryland Department of the Environment providing notice of the development of a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for biochemical oxygen demand in the Middle Chester River. TMDL is the estimate of the maximum amount of a pollutant a waterbody can assimilate without violating water quality. Mr. Morris advised that this initiative may effect the Kennedyville Wastewater Treatment Plant and Worton-Butlertown Wastewater Treatment Plant. He reported that informational meetings will be held to further explain any local effects. The Commissioners requested Mr. Morris keep them apprised of the matter.


Warden Richard Darling and Ronald L. Howell, Chief of Security, appeared to give recognition to Captain Joseph F. Wachowiz, Correctional Officer IV, recipient of the "Kent County Officer of the Year" award. Warden Darling reported that this is a locally peer nominated award and a plaque was provided by the Correctional Institute Association to be presented to the outstanding correctional officer. Commissioner Fithian read the inscription before presenting the plaque to Mr Wachowiz commemorating his excellent achievements.

Warden Darling advised that as a result of HB 474, the Detention Center received additional funds. He reported that HB 474 allows local detention center facilities to receive funding for housing State inmates house for 90 days. In view of this funding, he requested approval to purchase a van for inmate transportation with these revenues within the FY02 budget. The request will be removed from the FY 03 proposed budget. A motion was made by Commissioner Beck, seconded by Commissioner Newnam and made unanimous by Commissioner Fithian to approve the purchase of a van to be used for inmate transportation. The amount of the purchase should be $16,500 or less; the van will be purchased through a business having a State contract.


Correspondence was received from Dorothy Morlock, Vice Chair, Kent County Commission on Aging, advising of a recent tour of the Kent County Emergency Management Agency. She commended Jon Longest, Chief Paramedic, and all other staff on jobs well done. She also requested 24 hour coverage of paid paramedics to augment volunteers. Mrs. Morlock thanked the Commissioners for making Kent County a safe place to live. A copy of this correspondence was forwarded to Robert Rust, Director, Emergency Management.

Commissioner Beck noted that when the Paramedic program was initiated the intention of the program was to continue growth toward a goal of twenty-four hour coverage. He advised that this Board has no intention of diminishing paramedic services, and hopes to continue to move toward around the clock coverage. Commissioner Fithian concurred and stated that the program will continue to expand.


The Commissioners received correspondence from Keith Parsky and James Shrybman, Attorneys for Jon and Sally Mullen, curators for Knock's Folly, directed to Joe Gill, Esquire, representing the Department of Natural Resources, advising that the State's recommendation for alternative locations for the maintenance structure are not viable to Mr. and Mrs. Mullen. According to previous correspondence Mr. Shrybman advised that any disagreement about structures restored or erected on Knock's Folly, is a disagreement between Maryland Historical Trust and the Department of Natural Resources. Action is now being taken to preserve the Mullens' legal position and requested a response by May 9.


The Commissioners received correspondence from Rebecca Goode, President, Kent County League of Women Voters, advising of their participating in the Women in Politics: Building Grassroots Democracy in Africa, sponsored by the League of Women Voters in the United States. Mrs. Goode reported that the Kent County League of Women Voters will host three women from Zambia and requested a proclamation be presented to the women when the observe the County Commissioners meeting on May 28. A proclamation will be prepared as requested.


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 due to his business obligation with his employer, Verizon.

Items of discussion included block grant liens and legal research.

The executive session adjourned at 11:10 a.m.


The Commissioners received correspondence from Michael Anderson, Legislative Director, Maryland Association of Counties (MACo) advising of HB 937 - Aging School Legislation passed by the General Assembly and awaiting decision by the Governor. The bill was amended to change the formula for the distribution of funds through the Aging School program. If approved and via this formula, the Kent County allocation would be reduced from $65,000 to $53,645.


The Commissioners received correspondence from Gloria Urban, Director, Kent County Library, advising that in follow-up from their FY 03 budget presentation, the Library is requesting the management of the building located at 207 North Calvert Street be turned over to the library's Board of Trustees. She proposed the building to serve as multifaceted space for a computer training lab, public meeting space and a children's story time. She requested management control of the building to initiate a feasibility study, fund raising and eventually renovation.

Commissioner Fithian advised that there are many issued not resolved surrounding the request made by Ken Beatty to use the building as a space museum. Commissioner Newnam requested the building management be kept by the County until a decision is made on the building's use. Commissioner Fithian requested Mrs. Urban be advised that a feasibility study may be conducted as long as it does not involve County funds. No determination will be made at this time as to the future use of this building.


Correspondence was received from Jeff Troester, Director, Parks and Recreation, advising that although the cut off date for government contract pricing had passed, Jim Wright, County Engineer, had located a 3/4 ton 4 wheel drive pickup with towing package and snow plow prep available on a government bid with Baltimore County for the cost of $22,896.00.

Mr. Troester also advised that the older backup trailer used for transporting mowers and equipment is in need of repairs. The repairs are estimated to cost $1,960.00. Mr. Troester advised that a new trailer costs $2,560.

In view of the condition of the pick-up truck currently in use, and as a prudent safety measure, the Commissioners approved the purchase of the truck and trailer contingent upon budgetary issues. The Commissioners requested that either the invoice for the truck and trailer be held until July 1, 2002 (FY 03) or the FY 02 budget be reviewed for any remaining excess funds that could be applied to this project.


On May 6 the County Commissioners received the private letter ruling (PLR) from the Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service, which has been pending since October 17, 2001. The PLR provides: 1) that the proposed a trustee to trustee transfer between the county's existing VALIC plan and the Maryland State Retirement and Pension System (MSPRS) will not be deemed taxable to employees under certain provisions of the IRS Code; 2) that the transfer of assets from VALIC to MSRPS will not affect or change the pre-existing qualified status of either plan; 3) that because of the circumstances of the transfer, the transferred funds will retain their original characteristics as funds derived from employer contributions and do not constitute employee contributions; 4) that if funds transferred from VALIC into MSRPS are later distributed in a lump sum from MSRPS to an employee to whom the funds were originally allocated, then the distribution will be "income" under certain IRS provisions, or alternatively subject to rollover under other IRS provisions; and 5) that the required employee contributions into MRSPS may occur on a tax exempt basis for federal income tax purposes.

The Commissioners requested appearance of Department Heads at 1:00 p.m. in order to announce the good news that as of July 1, eligible County employees will be offered to join the Maryland State Retirement and Pension System as well as Law Enforcement Officers Pension System (LEOPS), which is open only to sworn, certified law enforcement officers. Kent County employees are eligible to join MSRPS with their years of service. Commissioner Newnam was unable to attend due to a work obligation with Verizon.

Commissioner Fithian thanked the Department Heads for an excellent job they have done and commended them on their team effort.

Commissioner Fithian read a letter prepared to be delivered to all employees relating to the new pension system. He reported the specific state pension plans the County will offer 1) the Law Enforcement Officers Pension System (LEOPS), which is open only to sworn, certified law enforcement officers, and 2) Employees Contributory Pension System (ECPS), open to all non-police eligible employees.

Commissioner Beck expressed his pleasure in being able to offer both plans to County employees. Commissioner Fithian stated that of all the projects he has been involved with over the years, this is the one he is the most proud of. County government employees will now have the same opportunity afforded the Board of Education administrative employees several years ago. Commissioner Fithian thanked Susanne Hayman, Human Resources Director, Pat Merritt, Director Budget and Accounting, and Ed Robinson, County Administrator, for all their efforts in making this project come to fruition.

Ms. Hayman distributed employee benefits summary sheets to be distributed to employees by Department Heads as well as one benefit description book for each department. The summary of benefits also included a schedule of events which includes information packet to be included in May 16 paychecks and a schedule of informational meetings with the final deadline for filing written election of June 3.

It was noted that Kent County will be the first County on the Eastern Shore to offer LEOPS.

On behalf of himself and staff, Sheriff Price thanked the Commissioners for their commitment and support in providing this enhanced benefit. Many other County employees expressed appreciation to the Commissioners as well.


At 9:40 a.m., and at the request of Warden Darling, 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 9:50 a.m.

At 11:40 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 Annotated Code of Maryland. Commissioner Newnam was not in attendance due to his business obligation with his employer, Verizon.

The executive session adjourned at 11:45 a.m.


Gail Owings, Director, Planning and Zoning Administration, reported on the May 2 Planning Commission meeting.


Correspondence was received from Gail Owings, Director, Planning and Zoning Administration, requesting approval to purchase three computers for the Planning and Zoning Office with remaining sufficient funds in the FY02 budget and the remove the request from the FY 03 budget proposal. The Commissioners approved the request, however, the total amount shall not to exceed $4,500.00.


Correspondence was received from Marty Holden, Waste Management Coordinator, advising that the current weed trimmer used at recycling drop-off centers and solid waste transfer sites is in disrepair. Mr. Holden requested approval to purchase a new weed trimmer for the amount of $239.00. He advised the expenditure may be funded from the FY 02 budget. The Commissioners approved the request as presented.


The Commissioners approved and Commissioner Fithian executed the Maryland Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) grant application for the Victim Witness Coordinator and Secretary II position in the State's Attorney's Office. If awarded, grant monies will fund 15 hours and 17.5 hours per week of the Victim Witness Coordinator and Secretary II position, respectively.


Correspondence was received from Elmer E. Horsey, Economic Development Director, expressing safety concerns about the intersections of MD Route 561 (Lynch Road) and MD Route 213, as well as MD Route 290 (Crumpton Road) and MD Route 291. He requested consideration be given to the installation of rumble strips before the stop sign.

The County Administrator noted that the intersections of concern were State owned roads and suggested this correspondence be forwarded to the State Highway Administration for their review and consideration.


In follow-up from March 26, the Commissioners executed an agreement with Sheriff John Price, 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 Office responsibilities for the range as well as procedures for use. The Commissioners concurred.


Carl Burke, Executive Director, Upper Shore Aging, appeared to provide an update on the Senior Center. Mr. Burke advised that in discussion with Jim McGill, Deputy Secretary Department of Aging, funding was affirmed for the project, however, 50% of the funding will be available in FY 03 and 50% available in FY 04. He advised that according to the Senior Center Construction plan the project should be concluded April 03 resulting in the need for a short term loan or a postponement of the commencement of construction.

Mr. Burke reported that Mr. McGill advised that funding could be drawn from other Department of Aging projects that were postponed or behind schedule to allow for more funding flexibility.

Commissioner Fithian advised of the Board's support of the project and should the need arise, short term funding could be provided. The Commissioners directed Mr. Burke to move forward with the project.

Mr. Burke noted that Mr. McGill requested confirmation of the project schedule relating to funding needs. Commissioner Newnam advised that a letter should be prepared and forwarded to the Commissioner's Office for execution. Mr. Burke thanked the Commissioners for their assistance.


The Commissioners received notification of the State Water Management Administration for an application from Daniel Harris, Millington, to appropriate and use 136,000 gallons of surface water per day from the Cypress Branch for farm irrigation. This project is located on Speer Road Millington. Comments or requests for an informational hearing must be received in writing by the Administration; all requests should be made to Matthew Pajerowski, Chief, Water Rights Division, Water Management Administration, 2500 Broening Highway, Baltimore, Maryland 21224.

There being no further business to claim their attention, the Board adjourned to meet again on Tuesday, May 14, 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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