KENT COUNTY, MARYLAND
Board of County Commissioners
May 28, 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 $3,867,544.00
Pat Merritt, Budget and Accounting Director, presented a bid tabulation on bids received for auditing services on May 21. After her review of the bids received, it was found the low bidder omitted amount for providing the required GASB 34 (Governmental Accounting Standards Board) financial statement presentation for Fiscal Years 2003 and 2004. In addition, adjustments were found to be needed to other bids. As a result, the adjusted bids are as follows:
Kent County Request for Proposal
A motion was made by Commissioner Beck, seconded by Commissioner Fithian and passed by the majority of the Board to accept bid received from J. Michael Connolly at a three year total of $69,500.
BAYSIDE PUBLIC LANDING
The Commissioners received notification that Waterway Improvement Funds (100% grant) in the amount of $100,000 has been awarded to fund the double-wide boat ramp project at Bayside Public Landing.
The Commissioners unanimously approved to adopt the Amended Fiscal Year 2002 Budget as prepared by Pat Merritt, Budget and Accounting Director.
Department Heads appeared at the request of the Commissioners to discuss the projected FY 03 Budget. Commissioner Fithian reviewed the highlights of the proposed budget which included an annual contribution to State Pension System and Law Enforcement Officers Pension System. He thanked the Department Heads for their efforts in reducing capital projects and spending.
At 12:15 a.m., the Commissioners went into a budget work session. The County Administrator and Director of Budget and Accounting were also in attendance.
COUNTY OWNED PROPERTIES
The Commissioners approved a five year contract by and between Kent County Government and Johnson Controls Inc., for heating/air conditioning/facility systems management for the Detention Center, Library, Court House and County Government Center in the amount of $86,640.00 for FY 03.
Correspondence was received from Bob Merritt, Maintenance Supervisor, recommending the renewal of the custodial contract for Public Works, County Government Center, and the Court House with Gwendolyn Newman at the same cost as the previous year. The Commissioners approved to renew the services. Custodial services for the Library were renewed on January 29 with D& R Perfection Cleaning, also at the same cost as the previous year.
DEPARTMENT OF WATER AND WASTEWATER SERVICES
Wayne Morris, Director, Department of Water and Wastewater Services, appeared to report on the following issues:
Tolchester Service Area - Per Mr. Morris' recommendation, the Commissioners approved a wastewater allocation request from Peter Neilson, for his Tolchester Estates property.
Piney Neck Service Area - Per Mr. Morris' recommendation, the Commissioners approved a wastewater allocation request from Gerald and Oneida Jacquette, for their Ashley Road, Rock Hall property.
General - In follow-up from April 16, Mr. Morris forwarded correspondence from Shari Wilson, Director of Policy Management, Maryland Department of the Environment, (MDE), advising that is would not be possible to refinance several Kent County sewer projects as any health threat has been corrected. Mr. Morris reiterated refinancing of the project would result in saving the County approximately Two Million Dollars. Commissioner Fithian requested the County Administrator to contact local Delegates and Senator Baker to enlist their assistance in inducing MDE to allow refinancing of the projects.
EASTERN SHORE LAND CONSERVANCY
Robert Etgen, Executive Director, Amy Owsley, Director, Community Planning, and Governor Harry Hughes, representing Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, appeared to present the Eastern Shore 2010: A Regional Vision, which is a proposal to which Cecil, Kent, Queen Anne's, Talbot, Caroline and Dorchester Counties commit towards preserving Eastern Shore land. Others in attendance were Gail Owings, Director, Planning and Zoning Administration, John Vail , Assistant to the County Administrator, Jack Canan, Housing and Community Development Coordinator, and Andy McCown. Mr. Etgen gave a brief history of the organization and advised of the various programs/methods to preserve land such as, the purchase of easements and land rescue programs. Since its inception in 1990, 30,000 acres if 144 properties have been preserved thus far. The program has received national recognition.
He reported the goals of the Agreement include: land preservation, encourage resource based economic development, curb sprawl, improve building design, ensure diverse affordable housing, and improve regional transportation. The purpose of the agreement is to cooperatively implement land preservation goals by 2010. Mr. Etgen reported of a tentative signing date for all six counties on July 25 and to launch the program by January 2003. Regional task forces would be established to seek innovative strategies and resources.
Governor Hughes stated that this agreement is an effort to address land preservation issues on a regional basis. He also advised of a detailed survey that indicated the issue of land and heritage preservation as a very important issue to the local population.
Commissioner Fithian thanked all for coming and advised that although he was in agreement with the concept, however, needed additional time to review the Agreement. Commissioner Beck concurred with the importance of preserving the Eastern Shore land/heritage, and noted that the Land Use Ordinance Agreement would be reviewed with the Eastern Shore 2010: A Regional Vision in mind.
The Commissioners approved a Raffle Permit for the Quad Squad - 4-H Club to hold a fund raising event on November 12 at the Mt. Olive Church, Butlertown.
HOUSING IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM
Correspondence was received from Kay Pinder-Almen, Administrative Aide, Housing and Community Development, recommending Phase III, Group Three, Housing Improvement Program candidates. The total estimated cost for housing improvements for eight housing improvement candidates is $99,200.00. The Commissioners approved the home improvements as recommended.
HURRICANE FLOYD - HAZARD MITIGATION GRANT
Correspondence was received from Gail Owings, Director, Planning and Zoning Administration, with a revised budget for the Sandfield Floodplain project. Mrs. Owings reported the required County match portion for the project to be $16,818. She advised that in view of the low home appraisals, extra funding (both State and Federal) will be forthcoming to the property owners.
LAND USE ORDINANCE
Correspondence was received from Amy Brice, Airy Hill Road, Chestertown, expressing concern of the new Rural Residential (RR) zoning that specifies one lot per three acres, versus the current RR zoning which allows for one lot per acre. She requested consideration be given to allow her property to retain the status of one lot per acre, Community Residential.
Correspondence was received from Gerald and Mary Jane Barry, Edesville, requesting their property be zoned Crossroads Commercial (CC).
Copies of this correspondence was forwarded to Gail Owings, Director, Planning and Zoning Administration.
At 11:25 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.
Items of discussion included proposed land acquisition, mooring buoy regulations and local legislation.
The executive session adjourned at 11:43 a.m.
LEGISLATIVE DISTRICTING PLAN
The Commissioners received a copy of the Caroline County Challenge to 2002 Legislative Districting Plan Post -Trial Brief which was filed with the Court of Appeals.
MOORING BUOY REGULATIONS
In a follow up the administrative review held on April 30, the Commissioners unanimously approved to affirm the decision of the Public Landings and Facilities Board made on February 22, 2002 denying application submitted by Herschell B. Claggett for six mooring buoy permits based on excessiveness of his request for each mooring to have a 150 foot arc of swing. Currently, Worton Creek Marina has 52 moorings set in three rows with arcs of swing from 50 to 55 feet in the very area that the applicant wishes to have six moorings with an arc of swing of 150 feet. The applicant is entitled to six moorings provided all requirements of the Code are met. It was also noted in the Decision that any vessel requiring an arc of swing of 150 feet would not be able to enter Worton Creek.
Correspondence was received from Peter Vaughn, Executive Director, Maryland State Retirement Agency, confirming that the tax counsel reviewed the IRS ruling and confirmed Kent County participation in the Employees' Contributory Pension System and the Law Enforcement Officers' Pension System effective July 1, 2002.
At 9:40 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 9:55 a.m.
At 11:45 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 11:50 a.m.
PLANNING AND ZONING ADMINISTRATION
Correspondence was received from Gail Owings, Director, Planning and Zoning Administration, advising of an application received for Clarence and Vera Hawkins requesting to subdivide their 3.5 acre parcel creating one 9.875 square foot lot fronting Johnson Avenue, Edesville. A copy of this correspondence was forwarded to Wayne Morris, Director, Department of Water and Wastewater Services, as the project is located adjacent to the Edesville Water and Wastewater facility.
Jane Hardy, representing the League of Women Voters, appeared to introduce guests from Zambia, Pauline Inambao, National Board Member, Zambia National Women's Lobby Group, and Alice Mkandawire, National Programs and Project Manager, Foundation for Democratic Process. Ada Lopa, Leadership Development Coordinator, Zambia Civic Education Association, was not present as she was meeting with the Kent County Board of Education. Mrs. Hardy advised that Kent County League of Women Voters was selected to participate in the program entitled Women Power in Politics: Building Grassroots Democracy in Africa. Mrs. Hardy went to Zambia as part of the program and in turn Ms. Inambao, Ms. Mkandawire and Ms. Lopa visited local government, organizations and agencies. The Commissioners welcomed the guests and exchanged information about their countries. Commissioner Fithian read and presented a proclamation recognizing the guests from Zambia and the program to further the development of a democratic culture.
It was announced that there was a panel discussion scheduled at the Board of Education Administrative Building, Washington Avenue, on May 28 at 7:30 p.m. featuring local political leaders and representatives from Zambia.
RAILS TO TRAILS
Lee Secrest, Caroline Gable, Dennis Herrmann, Stuart Elsberg, Richard McIntyre, Ken Noble, Debbie Toll, and Bill Ingersoll, Chestertown Town Manager, appeared to present a rails to trails proposal. Jack Canan, Housing and Community Development Coordinator, Bernadette Van Pelt, Director, Tourism, Jeff Troester, Director, Parks and Recreation, Gail Owings, Director, Planning and Zoning Administration, John Vail , Assistant to the County Administrator, twenty seven interested persons and members of the media were also in attendance.
Mr. Secrest reported that the approximately eight miles of Kent County's rail lines are over 100 years old and have been unused for the last forty years. He provided photographs of the condition of the rail line and advised that the cost to refurbish the line is approximately $400,000 - $500,000 per mile, inferring the restoration of the rail would not be practical.
Mr. Ingersoll presented a proposed walking/bicycle trail through Chestertown. He advised that although the plan had been adopted by the Chestertown Planning Commission, it had not been approved by the Chestertown Mayor and Council. He reported that the proposed trail started at the foot of High Street continuing to Wilmer Park and runs parallel to Cannon Street. Mr. Ingersoll advised that the plan was tentative and changes were to be expected. Mr. Secrest stated that he hoped for a trail to continue through Kent County terminating at Worton Park.
Ken Noble, Chairman, Chestertown Planning Commission, suggested the initiation of a feasibility study and parallel planning process to address issues such as cost, maintenance, construction and location. He advised that as population increases, alternate forms of transportation, such as cycling to work, become more attractive.
Mr. McIntyre, Queen Anne's County, gave a brief summary of the development of the Queen Anne's County trail. He advised that the trial is the most used park in Queen Anne's County and noted construction cost was reduced by the County acting as the general contractor with the majority of the work done by County employees.
Ms. Gable spoke of her support for the project and reported that to take advantage of legislation, a proposed plan was needed before the next legislative session.
Mr. Elsberg and Mrs. Toll spoke of their support for the trail and the numerous benefits to the community.
Mr. Secrest estimated the total project to cost approximately 1.2 Million Dollars, some of which could possibly be grant funded. He concluded by requesting the Commissioners to consider the rails to trails proposal.
Tom Clark, Chestertown, respectfully reported that his property located on both side of the rail line was leased to a hunting club and reported that his farm (and others) will present a safety issue. The Commissioners thanked Mr. Clark for his input and Commissioner Fithian stated that safety concerns will be one of many issues to be addressed.
Commissioner Fithian thanked all for attending and suggested that before the project proceeds, a small public group be formed to work with County Departments, including Planning and Zoning Administration, Parks and Recreation, Tourism and Economic Development to review the proposal, address issues, and identify problems. Commissioner Beck concurred and noted that since the majority of the trail is located in Chestertown, support from the Chestertown Mayor and Council should be attained.
The Commissioners received approximately twenty-five letters supporting the establishment of a walking and bicycling trail through Chestertown and the surrounding area. Included in the correspondence was a letter from Dr. John Toll, Washington College, noting his reservations about a trail bisecting the college property. He requested the project not be supported if it includes a trail through the college campus.
QUAKER NECK PUBLIC LANDING
The Commissioners received notification that Waterway Improvement Funds in the amount of $82,000 has been awarded to the Quaker Neck Public Landing Slip Dredging Project.
The Commissioners approved and Commissioner Fithian signed the Scenic Byway grant application as prepared by Gail Owings, Director, Planning and Zoning Administration, and Carla Martin, Community Planner on behalf of the Chesapeake Country Scenic Byway Alliance.
SHIPYARD CREEK PUBLIC LANDING
The Commissioners received notification that Waterway Improvement Funds in the amount of $20,000 has been awarded to the Shipyard Creek Boat Ramp Project.
In follow-up from last week, Carter Stanton, Director, Public Works, appeared to advise that water to be removed from the silos would be sprayed/land applied to County property. Commissioner Newnam confirmed that the water would not interfere with the Kent County Fair grounds. Mr. Stanton advised that the water would not be applied near the 4-H fair site. Mr. Stanton reported that one silo has been completed.
UPPER SHORE AGING
Correspondence was received from Carl Burke, Executive Director, Upper Shore Aging, with the status of corrective actions taken by USTAR per the Maryland Transit Administration request.
In follow-up from correspondence received February 29, relating to alleged concerns of a structure built on the Grace Methodist Episcopal Church cemetery, additional correspondence was received from Glenn Sappington, Annapolis, advising that he has not heard a response and expressed concerns as to the status of the matter. The County Administrator advised that Gail Owings, Director, Planning and Zoning Administration, would respond to Mr. Sappington.
There being no further business to claim their attention, the Board adjourned to meet again on Tuesday, June 4, 2002
Please contact Joyce Laskey or Janice Fletcher at (410) 778-7435 or by e-mail with any questions or comments.