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Board of County Commissioners

July 23, 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 $3,137,445.00.


Gail Owings, Director, Planning and Zoning Administration, appeared to report on issues addressed by the Board of Appeals at its July 22 meeting.


Carter Stanton, Director, Public Works, provided an update on the construction of the boat launching ramp at Bayside Public Landing. He advised that concrete portion of the ramp was poured and the project should be near completion.


The Commissioners received correspondence from Yale Stenzler, Executive Director, Public School Construction Program, advising that the Rock Hall Elementary School was surveyed by the Department of General Services for the Interagency Committee on School Construction staff to evaluate the quality of maintenance. The inspector rated the school maintenance as "Very Good".


In a follow from March 5, 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, and Alexander P. Rasin, III, Chairman for the Committee, representing the Fourth Election District, and Thomas R. Bass, representing the Fifth Election District, and Marian E. Cooke, representing the Seventh Election District, appeared to submit results from their efforts to evaluate the Kent County Commissioners' election process by considering the need to change existing process as requested by the League of Women Voters: 1) to elect Kent County Commissioners on a staggered basis, and 2) to establish three County districts, each to be represented by a Commissioner.

Commissioner Fithian thanked the group for participating and advised that the sixth district representative was unable to fulfill his duties due to health problems and a replacement was not appointed.

Mr. Rasin distributed the Committee's report and advised that they did not recommend any changes in the election procedure. He advised the that Committee held five public meetings and examined a breakdown of election results over the years as well as two studies form Queen Anne's County addressing the same general proposed changes; heard directly from the League of Women Voters representatives, a current Cecil County Commissioner, a representative of the University of Maryland Institute for Governmental Services and heard indirectly from an Assistant Attorney General for elections in the State of Maryland and from the Counsel to the General Assembly of Maryland. Mr. Rasin reported that the Committee was unanimous in rejecting staggered elections. He advised that the Committee felt that County business would be better addressed if an election was not always imminent. Mr. Rasin noted that the League of Women Voters, from whom the request to evaluate the process originated, had no position on staggered terms.

Mr. Rasin advised that the Committee voted 5-1 to keep the process the same, whereby Commissioners can be elected at large regardless of district. Five members of the Committee agreed that election by district was more appropriate for counties larger than Kent. Mrs. Moredock advised that the Committee would observe the election process changes taking place in Queen Anne's County and Cecil County to see what pros and cons that appeared. It was recommended that if the County was to grow significantly these issues should be re-examined. Mr. Bass advised that the Committee felt electing Commissioners by district weaken the process by potentially allowing a candidate who did not receive the most votes to be elected. It was stated in the report that the main thrust of those voting for the current system was that the district restricts the choice of the voter and that the County would do away with a more qualified candidate in exchange for a "geographically" correct candidate.

The report and findings were accepted by the Commissioners. Commissioner Fithian thanked the Committee for their extensive efforts and diligence in researching the matter. Commissioners Beck and Newnam also expressed their gratitude for a thorough review of all the issues.


Carter Stanton, Director, Public Works, appeared to discuss estimates obtained to remove the large tree on the Court House lawn leaning towards Lawyers Row as follows:

Pardoe's Lawn and Tree Service -Removal of Kentucky Coffee Tree - $1,000 Trimming of Maple Tree - $250 Total -$1,250

Wye Tree Experts - Total -$1,680

Mr. Stanton reported that Mr. Pardoe informed him that the tree in question was a Kentucky Coffee Tree, a southern tree and rare in Kent County, with a deep root system with little probability of falling. Mr. Pardoe recommended that the Kentucky Coffee tree not be removed and provided a cost estimate of $250 to have the root system fed and limbs trimmed. He also recommended the Maple tree at the front of the Courthouse be trimmed. Mr. Stanton estimated a cost of $400.00 for feeding and trimming. The Commissioners approved the expenditure per Mr. Stanton's recommendation for Pardoe's Lawn and Tree Service to provide these services at a total cost of $650.


In follow-up from last week relating to the surplus County Roads dump truck, correspondence was received from Jeff Troester, Director, Parks and Recreation, advising that Parks and Recreation Department would benefit from the dump truck. He stated that funding to purchase the truck in the amount of $7,500 was not a budgeted item. Commissioner Newnam recommended that the Department of Parks and Recreation purchase the truck from their FY 03 budget and not be made via contingency funding. Commissioners Beck and Fithian concurred.


Correspondence was received from Ed Spray , County Roads Supervisor, advising that the filter crusher purchase proposed in the FY03 budget will be postponed and a less expensive adapter tool is requested to be purchased for the amount of $1,340. The Commissioners approved the purchase of the adapter tool and the postponement of the filter crusher.


In follow-up from last week relating to a request from Robert L. Davis, Jr., Coventry Farm L.P., for an extension to the original Agreement by and between Coventry Farm Limited Partnership and County Roads to upgrade Cromwell Clark Road, Carter Stanton, Director, Public Works, appeared to advise that the agreement was initiated before road standards were in place. The County Roads Policy requires the developer to be responsible for the entire cost of road construction. Mr. Stanton advised that the previous County Roads Superintendent initiated the agreement in order to lessen the County's expense at that time. The Commissioners concurred that since this agreement has been in existence since 1988, it could be "grandfathered" and agreed to extend the agreement. Commissioner Beck requested an updated cost to be obtained for the extended agreement. Extensions to the Agreement were granted in 1993,1996, and 1999.


A copy of correspondence directed to Heather Ransom, Director, Division of Property Management, Program Support Center, Department of Health and Human Services, from Joan Crawford, Rolling Road, Chestertown, expressing concerns relating to the group homes for mentally ill. She noted of the American Planning and Association's Legislation and Policy Guidelines which provides specific guidelines "avoiding undue concentration of community residences".

The Commissioners received a copy of correspondence from John Plaskon, Executive Director, Crossroads Community, Inc., directed to residents in Chester Harbor, College Heights and Foxley Manor describing the use of the residential homes for mentally ill. Mr. Plaskon also forwarded six (6) letters from residents advising Mr. Plaskon that Crossroads Community clients would not be welcome in their neighborhood.


The Commissioners received a copy of correspondence directed to Jeremy McCoy, Esq., from Senator Walter Baker, requesting further assistance to refinance the loan for the Department of Water and Wastewater Services. Senator Baker is acting on behalf of Kent County given the Department of Environment's denial of earlier request to refinance the debt.


Correspondence was received from Warden Ronnie Howell, advising of the appointment of Elder Leon Frison to serve as the Detention Center's Chaplain. Warden Howell commended Elder Frison for his generous volunteer community service. The Commissioners approved the appointment.

Mr. Robinson reported that the inmate who was hospitalized has now been released from the Detention Center and the County will be responsible for the first ten days of his hospitalization. At this time, another inmate is now being hospitalized and will need guard on duty.


The Commissioners received additional letters of support for the proposed intercounty land use agreement from Michael Scozzafava, Chestertown and Daniel Barnett, Chestertown.


The Commissioners received a copy of correspondence from Jack Canan, Housing and Community Development Coordinator, directed to Gail Owings, Director, Planning and Zoning Administration, requesting relief from fees related to the demolition of a residence on Crosby Road which is presently occupied and construction of a replacement home; both actions are being contemplated as part of the Housing Improvement Program. The Commissioners approved the waiver of permit fees as requested.

As forwarded by Kay Pinder-Almen, Administrative Aide, Housing and Community Development, the Commissioners approved and executed the acceptance of participation in the 2002 On-Behalf-Of Local Governments Housing Program (OBO) that utilizes local government housing bond allocations to issue bonds to fund housing programs, in the amount of $507,938 to be used in the single-family component of the Housing Rehabilitation Program.

As a result of clarification provided by the Housing and Community Development Coordinator, the Commissioners approved and Commissioner Fithian signed the Subordination Agreement as it relates to HIP Project beneficiary Roark.


The Commissioners received approximately one hundred fifty nine signatures on letter of petition from concerned citizens requesting the support for the Land Use Ordinance defining Rural Residential district as one dwelling of per three acres.

Correspondence was received from Michael Vargo, South Carolina, requesting the Commissioners approve the Land Use Ordinance.


At 1:30 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 litigation and Millington Water and Wastewater Expansion Project.

The executive session adjourned at 11:40 a.m.


Carter Stanton, Director, Public Works, appeared to advise that new carpeting was being installed in the Kent County Library. He reported that the library would remain closed for the week.


In response to the County Administrator's inquiry as to the status of Garrett property nuisance violation, Charles "Chip" MacLeod, Nuisance Violation Attorney, provided an update on the process advising that he is awaiting confirmation of due service of process.


At 10:25 a.m., a motion was made by Commissioner Beck, seconded by Commissioner Newnam and made unanimous by Commissioner Fithian to go into executive session with Robert Rust ,Jr., Director, Emergency Management, to discuss personnel matters in accordance with State Government Article, Section 10.508 of the Annotated Code of Maryland.

The executive session adjourned at 10:50 a.m.

At 11:55 a.m., a motion was made by Commissioner Newnam, seconded by Commissioner Beck 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 12:10 p.m.


Carter Stanton, Director, Public Works, appeared to discuss an estimate to install additional equipment to provide uninterrupted computer service in the event of a power failure. The equipment will ensure an uninterrupted power supply from the generator. He advised that the expenditure, in the amount of $11,600 may be 50% funded from County Roads budget and 50% funded from Building Maintenance budget. The Commissioners approved the request.


The Commissioners received correspondence from Mab Finch, Manager, La Ruota Ristorante, expressing support for the rails to trails proposal.


John F. Price, Jr., Landfill Attendant, appeared to be recognized as being a recipient of a Certificate of Achievement as part of the Outstanding Older Worker, Experience Works Prime Time Awards Program. Mr. Price was nominated by Marty Holden, Waste Management Supervisor, who was in attendance as well as Mrs. Thelma Price, John F Price, III, and Sheriff John F. Price, IV. Eighty-six years young, Mr. Price has had a long career as a farmer, construction worker, and currently, as a County Public Works employee, assisting at the Nicholson Transfer Site. Mr. Price works outdoors year round, rain or shine, assisting customers to utilize the facility. Mr. Price was recognized for his continued contributions as an older worker and for being an exemplary employee. Commissioner Fithian read and presented the Certificate of Achievement to Mr. Price. The Commissioners thanked Mr. Price for his fine work ethic and congratulated him for his many achievements.



Sheriff John Price appeared to advise that the Sheriff's Office would be terminating participation as of September 18 as a member agency of the Kent County Drug Task Force. D/Sgt. Scott N. Metzbower was also in attendance. He provided a copy of correspondence so advising the Kent County Drug Task Force. He advised that the Sheriff's Office would be implementing a Narcotics Task Force Team (NET) to continue enforcement against illegal drug activity. Sheriff Price advised that D/Sgt. Metzbower would supervise the initiative.

Sheriff Price invited the members of the Kent County Drug Task Force to join their new team, or continue with the present Drug Task Force.

Commissioner Fithian inquired if the Maryland State Police would continue the Kent County Drug Task Force. Sheriff Price reported that he was unsure of any MSP decisions at this time. He advised that Rock Hall Police Chief Jester and Chestertown Police Chief Coryell, support the NET initiative.

At 11:05 a.m., a motion was made by Commissioner Beck, seconded by Commissioner Newnam and made unanimous by Commissioner Fithian to go into executive session with Sheriff Price and D/Sgt. Metzbower to discuss matters relating to public security in accordance with State Government Article, Section 10.508 of the Annotated Code of Maryland.

The executive session adjourned at 11:25 a.m.


The Commissioners received correspondence from William Freshwater and John Carl Oberholtzer requesting assistance in gaining local sponsorship for the establishment of a special tax district and related shore erosion control project for property located at Fishing Valley Road, Worton. The Commissioners requested the County Administrator to contact the Resource Conservation and Development Office (RC & D) to seek funding available for such a project.


Agreement by and between the County Commissioners and the Chestertown Mayor and Council was approved and signed by the Board as it relates to use of the pistol range by the Chestertown Police Department.


The Commissioners received the tourism progress report for the month of June as prepared by Bernadette Van Pelt, Director, Tourism Development.


At the recommendation of Gail Owings, Director of Planning and Zoning Administration, the Commissioners accepted Irrevocable Letters of Credit from the Peoples Bank of Kent County for the account of Thomas A. Tucker; one in the amount of $4,000 to guarantee compliance to the Kent County Afforestation Ordinance and one in the amount of $5,000 to guarantee compliance the Stormwater Management Ordinance and road upgrade and management for the Tucker Subdivision located in Skinner Neck, Fifth Election District.


The Commissioners received correspondence from Joan Fayer, Tirner Point Road, Kennedyville, expressing concern of the increased water lily population in Turners Creek. She advised that the creek in impassible to canoes and kayaks. A copy of this correspondence was forwarded to the Director of Planning and Zoning Administration to provide information to the Commissioners on this concern.


Carl Burke, Executive Director, Upper Shore Aging, Inc., appeared to review the Upper Shore Aging Area Plan. He provided a summary of the plan which updates the roster of Advisory Council members/ Board of Directors, targets for current programs and goals of new programs, which includes the Madicaid Waiver Program and nutritional programs. The Area Plan also explains new positions and program budget plans. Mr. Burke reviewed the Senior Care Plan which includes prescription assistance and case management.

The Commissioners approved and executed the Upper Shore Are Plan Update and the Senior Care Plan.


Carl Burke, Executive Director, Upper Shore Aging, Inc., reported that in follow-up from his request for an additional $21,533 in funding for the USTAR Transportation Program, he will meet with Caroline County Commissioners today and Talbot County Council later in August to discuss the deficit. Commissioner Newnam inquired if the $65,000 deficit was the total deficit for the FY 03 budget. Mr. Burke advised that he would confirm exact figures relating to the budget deficit. Commissioner Newnam emphasized that this Board did not want services to diminish and Commissioner Beck requested they be notified before any change in service.

Commissioner Fithian advised that they are planning to fund Kent County's portion of the $65, 000 deficit.

Mr. Burke thanked the Commissioners for their support.

In follow-up from July 9, the Commissioners received a copy of correspondence directed to Nancy Noonan, Chief Regional Planning, Maryland Transit Administration, from Carl Burke, Executive Director, Upper Shore Aging, Inc., responding to the USTAR Transportation compliance review task completion check list. Mr. Burke addresses issues and clarifies information Mrs. Noonan cited.


The Commissioners received notification of the State Water Management Administration for an application to appropriate and use an average of 216,000 gallons per day from one well in the Aquia aquifer for farm irrigation. This project is located on the southwest side of Duck Puddle Road, Galena. Comments or requests for an informational hearing must be received in writing by the Administration; all requests should be made to (410) 631-3591, 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, July 30, 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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