KENT COUNTY, MARYLAND
Board of County Commissioners
August 6, 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 $2,335,836.00.
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND
The Commissioners received notice from the Department of Environment relating to application received from Aberdeen Proving Ground for modification of a Controlled Hazardous Substance (CHS) permit. This action involves a facility to destroy the stockpile of mustard gas agent stored at Aberdeen Proving Ground. The local informational meeting for this matter will take place on September 24 at Chestertown Middle School at 7:00 p.m., with public hearing to follow.
The Commissioners received correspondence from Bruce Mundie, Director, Office of Regional Aviation Assistance, illustrating the benefits of a local airport and noted the factors that shape the success of an airport.
BOARD OF EDUCATION
In follow-up from last week relating to the proposed plan by the Board of Education to have a Guidance Counselor administer to both the Rock Hall Elementary School and Rock Hall Middle School, Dr. Bonnie Ward, Superintendent of Schools, Joan Buffone (?) Assistant Superintendent of Schools, Fay Miller, Assistant Superintendent of Administrative Services, and Anne Dwyer, President, Board of Education appeared to discuss the matter. Rock Hall concerned parents, Jeanne Edwards, Christine Hicks, Marcie Webb, Barbara Nolan, and Sandra Nordhoff were also in attendance.
Mrs. Dwyer reported of her concerns relating to the previous discussion about funding for the guidance counselor.
Mrs. Miller advised of her confusion relating to comments made by the Commissioners. She advised that according to correspondence from the County Commissioners funding was specifically designated for use. Commissioner Fithian advised that at no time did he intend to advise the Board of Education on how to spend funds. He further noted that if that occurred he would rescind the letter. Commissioner Beck advised that in the past twelve years he can recall very few times the Commissioners specifically designated funding for the Board of Education. (Note: the correspondence in question is dated May 28 directed to Dr. Dwyer and Board Members).
Mrs. Miller advised that $600,000 was required to maintain the teaching staff and the Board of Education budget was not fully funded. Dr. Ward advised that the guidance counselor issue was more than funding. She noted that the enrollment continues to dwindle and sharing a guidance counselor was one way to address the lack of funding. Dr. Ward reported that each school will have one less teacher due to lack of funding and decreasing enrollment.
Commissioner Newnam inquired as to who will fill the role when the guidance counselor is unavailable. Dr. Ward advised that the student's teacher and principal will be there to administer to the needs of the children just as though the guidance counselor was absent that day. Mrs. Edwards questioned why a guidance counselor was not being shared at the Chestertown Middle School. She also questioned if other cuts could have been made in the Kent County School System rather than this particular service.
Commissioner Fithian stated that he found it offensive that the Board of Education was allocated $550,000 in new money for operations (making a total budget of $14,583,219 which includes debt service and capital projects) yet parents are told it is the Commissioners' fault that a full time guidance counselor position was not funded. With dwindling student population, the County's financial obligation lessens. However, due to the Commissioners commitment to education, the Board of Education still received additional funding for FY 03.
Teacher's salaries in Kent County now rank 4th in the State and the classroom technology is second to none. He feels the County Commissioners have nothing to be ashamed of in the funding provided for the Board of Education. It was reported that salary for seven positions was realized by Board of Education due to retirements and transfers and question was raised if full time guidance counselor could be saved with funding from these positions. Dr. Ward stated monies saved from these positions were used toward health care costs, salaries, etc.
The Commissioners requested the Board of Education to again take this request under consideration.
Dr. Ward requested that the parents submit their requests directly to the Board of Education in the future.
Dr. Ward also stated that proposed closing issue of Rock Hall Elementary School will again be discussed in the near future now that additional information has been obtained.
The Commissioners approved to continue providing office and meeting space at the Kent County Public Works Complex for Chesapeake Fields. This space will be provided at no charge during the 2003 grant period of the Chesapeake Fields Farmers' proposed USDA FY 2002 Value-Added Agricultural Product Market Development Grant.
COUNTY OWNED VEHICLES
A bid opening was held at 10:10 a.m. in the Commissioners' Hearing Room for a solid waste roll-off truck for the Waste Management Division. Carter Stanton, Director, Public Works, and James Wright, County Engineer/Purchasing Coordinator, were in attendance. Commissioner Fithian read the notice for bids. Only one bid was received as follows.
Elliott Wilson Trucks $115,839.00
The budgeted amount was $119,000.00. Mr. Stanton and Mr. Wright agreed to review the bids to assure the compliance with the bid specification.
Later in the day, Mr. Wright advised and additional $2,450 was added to the bid for a three year 300,000 mile extended warranty making the total bid amount $118,289.00. At the recommendation of Mr. Wright, the Commissioners approved to accept the bid submitted.
DEPARTMENT OF WATER AND WASTEWATER SERVICES
Wayne Morris, Director, Department of Water and Wastewater Services, appeared to report on the following issues:
Millington Area Wastewater Project - Relating to the Kent County Wastewater System Improvements Bond Anticipation Note of 2002. The Commissioners approved and Commissioner Fithian executed the closing documents. As well as the County Attorney, and Executive Assistant: Closing Certificate, Issuer's Certificate of Delivery and Payment, Certificate as to Incumbency and to Issuance and Delivery of the Note, Tax and Section 148 Certificate and Exhibit A thereto, IRS Form 8038-G, and a document from the Board of County Commissioners authorizing Lindsey Rader to attend closing on the County's behalf.
Later in the day, the following bid tabulation was provided by Mr. Williams as follows:
Fixed Rate Variable Rate
Branch Banking & Trust 2.91% No Bid
Bank of America 1.97% 1.94% 30 day LIBOR+ 10 basic points
Centreville National Bank 3.49% 2.99% 63% of the Wall St. Journal Prime Rate
Chesapeake Bank & Trust Co. 1.99% 1.75% Prime Rate - 3.00% floating
Chestertown Bank of MD No Bid 1.84% 30 Day LIBOR
Farmers Bank of MD 3.68% 3.71% 78% of Wall Street Journal Prime
Peoples Bank of Kent Co. 3.00% 200 basis points US Prime Rate in Wall St .Journal
SunTrust No Bid 2.10% 68% of 30 day LIBOR + 0.85%
1.84% - 30 day LIBOR Rate
4.75% - Wall Street Journal Prime
At the recommendation of the Treasurer and Budget and Accounting Director, the Commissioners gave tentative approval of fixed rate in the amount of 1.99% submitted by Chesapeake Bank and Trust Company.
The Commissioners approved and executed A Resolution of the Board of County Commissioners of Kent County authorizing the issuance and sale of a general obligation bond anticipation note in the aggregate principal amount of One Million Five Hundred Thousand Dollars ($1,500,000), under the provisions of Sections 14 through 21, inclusive, of Article 25B of the Annotated Code of Maryland (2001 Replacement Volume, as replaced, supplemented or amended), Bill No. 2-2002, a public local law enacted by the Board of County Commissioners of Kent County on February 19, 2002 and effective on April 5, 2002, and Article 12 of Section 31 of the Annotated Code of Maryland (1997 Replacement Volume, as replaced, supplemented or amended), the note to be designated " County Commissioners of Kent County Wastewater System Improvements Bond Anticipation Note 2002", the proceeds of the sale thereof to be used and applied for the public purpose of financing or reimbursing on an interim basis all or a portion of the cost of the acquisition, construction, improvement, modification, expansion, extension, installation, furnishing and equipping of components of a wastewater system, together with related costs, as more particularly described herein; prescribing the form and tenor of the note and the terms and conditions for the issuance and sale thereof by private negotiation to Chesapeake Bank and Trust Company; prescribing the terms and conditions of the note and all other details incident to the issuance, sale and delivery of the note; providing for the advancement of the proceeds of the note; covenanting to issue the bonds in anticipation of which the note is issued when, and as soon as, the reason for deferring the issuance thereof no longer exists; providing for the levy and collection of the taxes necessary for the prompt payment of the maturing principal of and interest on the note; providing that the full faith and credit and unlimited taxing power of County Commissioners of Kent County shall be irrevocably pledged to the payment of such principal and interest; providing that principal of and interest on the note may be payable from any other sources of revenue available for such purpose; making or providing for the making of certain representations or covenants relating to the tax-exempt status of interest payable on the note; and generally relating to the issuance, sale, delivery and payment of and for the note.
Worton Well Project - Mr. Morris reported that according to the consultant, the production well will be drilled imminently.
Quaker Neck Service Area - In follow-up to the Commissioners April 30 request to the incorporated Town of Chestertown to consider purchasing additional allocations to allow some growth in the Quaker Neck Service Area and possibly serve Mr. Kent Lawrence's proposed 12 lot subdivision on Lovers Lane, , Bill Ingersoll, Town Manager, Chesterown appeared to discuss the matter. He advised that the Chestertown Mayor and Council passed a resolution to revise the Municipal Corporation Charter for the Town of Chestertown not to extend the town's water and sewer lines beyond the town limits, unless for the reason of annexation. Mr. Ingersoll advised the reason for not allowing additional allocations to the County was not a matter of money.
Mr. Ingersoll noted in 1997 their was an amendment (third) to the original agreement dated August 18, 1982 between the Town of Chestertown and the Sanitary Commission allowing 236 allocations to serve the Quaker Neck Service Area. Mr. Ingersoll requested an assessment done of the vacant lots currently allocated for the County be completed so that an accurate number of remaining sewer allocations be accounted for. Mr. Morris advised that this had been done in 1997 and nothing had changed with respect to the totals. Mr. Ingersoll advised that numbers on the sheet did not add up. Mr. Morris agreed to review the list of vacant lots/allocations and prepare a map indicating each location to be presented at the next Commissioners' meeting for further discussion. The map will be forwarded to the Town of Chestertown for their records.
Robert Rust, Director, Emergency Management, appeared to introduce newly hired Chief Paramedic, Stacy Gouldin. Ms. Gouldin advised of her credentials and her pleasure to serve in Kent County as Chief Paramedic. Commissioner Fithian stated the County's goal for 24 hour coverage as much as possible. The Commissioners wished her well in her new position.
HOUSING IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM
A bid opening was held at 10:00 a.m. in the Commissioners' Hearing Room to rehabilitate six (6) homes as part of the Housing Improvement Program (HIP). Kay Pinder-Almen, Administrative Aide, Housing and Community Development, and Harold Colemen, Housing Specialist, were in attendance. Commissioner Fithian read the notice for bids. The following bids were received:
* Notes - Bid for rehabilitation for 3 homes. All other bids were for the total 6 homes.
Mrs. Pinder-Almen and Mr. Coleman agreed to review the bids and submit a recommendation.
Commissioner Fithian took the opportunity to commend the Department of Housing and Community Development for their exemplary work in securing and providing housing assistance for the citizens of Kent County. Mrs. Almen reported that $1.5 Million has been spent on housing rehabilitation in Kent County. Commissioner Fithian stated he was proud the County could provide such an important program for citizens.
Correspondence was received from Mr. Canan, forwarded a change order for HIP project located at Cottage Avenue, Rock Hall, for additional, unexpected rehabilitation work. He reported that the original estimate for rehabilitation was $21,280.29. The additional work, including rewiring and insulation requires additional funding of $9,665, totaling $30,945.29 for the project. The Commissioners approved the change order as presented.
A bid opening was held at 9:00 a.m. in the Commissioners' Hearing Room for the demolition and disposal of various structures located on Montabello Lake Road. These structures were damaged as a result of Hurricane Floyd. Carter Stanton, Director, Public Works, and James Wright, County Engineer/Purchasing Coordinator, were in attendance. Commissioner Fithian read the notice for bids. The following bids were received:
A motion was made by Commissioner Newnam, seconded by Commissioner Beck and made unanimous by Commissioner Fithian to approve the bid submitted by Tuck Davidson.
At 12: 45 p.m., a motion was made by Commissioner Beck, seconded by Commissioner Newnam and made unanimous by Commissioner Fithian 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 Millington Wastewater Project and litigation.
The executive session adjourned at 1:00 p.m.
PARKS AND RECREATION
Jeff Troester, Director, Parks and Recreation appeared to recognized 29 youth participants and eight counselors who participated in the Leaders Club Wilderness Challenge from June17 -21. Myra Butler, Recreation Leader, Leaders Club counselors, members of the Leaders Club and parents were also in attendance.
Mr. Troester advised of the twenty nine youth participants in the Wilderness Challenge. The program included five days of hiking in Virginia. He advised of the participants hiked a challenging mountain and that the group illustrated teamwork throughout the trip.
Mr. Troester advised that the Leaders Club participants are 7thand 8th grade students and the program offers three trips a year, canoeing, hiking and bicycling.
Commissioner Fithian read the following participants awarded each with a certificate of achievement and Ms. Butler presented each with a photo: Kristin Bushby, Ashley Carter, Sarah Egan, Tara Emory, Sara Fish, Lacy Ford, Courtland Goldsboro, Dustin Haddaway, C.J. Jacobs, Jaynee Jones, Robert Jones, Thomas Larrimore, BJ Licwinko, Kenny McVey, Zac Milash, Craig Miller, Robbie Nunley, Josh Owens, Elyse Parcher, Matthew Peacock, Jon Roark, Conner Sherin, Chris Shorter, Tiffany Shorter, Daniel Stivers, Todd Troester, Jovan Turner, Shardai Walker, Tre'Vaughn Willis, and Kyle Wyman. Ms. Butler, Coordinator of the program, introduced the following staff and thanked them for making the project a success: Carlitta Gross, Elisa Mendrano, Tonya Newton, Oliver Caleb, Jill Pyfer, Jillian Schatzman, and Jeff Troester.
Mr. Troester introduced Eric Kuster, parent of a former participant, who volunteered to again accompany the students on the trip. Mr. Troester presented him a certificate of achievement as well as recognition for volunteering his time. Mr. Troester advised that Mr. Kuster made the trip a success.
W. Roger Williams, Treasurer, appeared and stated that even though the County entered into the State Retirement and Pension System effective July 1, the final actuarial billing will not be available until late August. In the meantime, the State is charging 8% interest until this payment is made. In order to realize a cost savings to the County, Mr. Williams recommended the County seek a short term loan at an interest rate significantly less than 8% at an estimated cost to help defray high interest charges. The Commissioners approved and Mr. Williams will proceed to obtain bids from various banking and lending institutions.
The Commissioners approved and signed Resolution to delete language under Subsection PM 75-8(2) and add to subsection as it relates to compensatory time policy for exempt employees to be effective as of today.
At 1:40 p.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 2:30 p.m.
Gail Owings, Director, Planning and Zoning Administration, reported on items addressed at the August 1 Planning Commission meeting.
RAILS TO TRAILS
Lee Secrest, Mike Hanscom, Jeff Troester and Dave Dionne, Director of Trails for Anne Arundel County, appeared to discuss the rails to trails proposal for Kent County.
Mr. Secrest advised that he was seeking Co- Sponsorship of Kent County Rail to Trail System. He reported that the Chestertown Mayor and Council approved to support the program, however, no financial commitments were made at this time. Mr. Secrest reported that if co-sponsorship were secured, an application for a demonstration grant would go forth. He advised that County Department Heads were contacted to procure their opinions on the proposal. Although reservations were expressed the general feedback was positive relating to the benefits to the County. He provided information on suburban trails as well a proposed route.
Mr. Dionne reported on the Anne Arundel trail and the positive impact to the community. He advised that the opposition the Anne Arundel trail proposal met was unfounded. He provided statistics reporting crime, litter and liabilities did not materialize as predicted. Mr. Dionne reported of volunteer/community spirit generated by the trail as evidenced by the numerous projects along the trail.
Commissioner Newnam advised of his concern due to uncertainty of State funding and would be hesitant to pledge any County funds without a guarantee from the State. Commissioner Fithian stated the County could endorse a letter of support without committing financially. Mr. Secrest advised that the sponsorship was needed for a 2003 grant. Mr. Troester advised that Program Open Space funds could be applied to this sort of project.
Commissioner Beck stated that he shared Commissioner Newnam's fiscal concerns, however, the next step should be taken with the understanding that fiscal commitment would not be given at this time. Commissioner Fithian concurred stating that his safety concerns were some what diminished by Mr. Dionnes experiences. Commissioner Newnam advised that he was not opposed to the project however, stated he needed a better understanding of the long term fiscal ramifications of the project.
Correspondence was received from Carrie Schreiber, President, Chestertown Citizens in Action, expressing concern relating to the rails to trails to proposal. Mrs. Schreiber noted issues of long term costs, policing, and lighting associated with a long term project. She suggested that this issue should be presented to the Kent County voters prior to any commitment.
Correspondence was received from Elizabeth Morris, Chairman, Planning Commission, advising that the Planning Commission discussed the rails to trails proposal and agreed the trail would be an asset and support the proposal if conditions of safety, and funding were met.
Correspondence was received from John S. Toll, President, Washington College, advising that the College has engaged an architect to update their master plan. Dr. Toll requested adequate time, (approximately eighteen months) to update the master plan before a rails to trails proposal comes to fruition.
Correspondence was received from Jeff Troester, Director, Parks and Recreation, advising that the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board discussed the rails to trails proposal and reported the majority of the Board was favorable to the proposal. However, the following concerns were expressed: 1) ensure funding for a rails to trails program not jeopardize funding for the proposed community center, 2) focus on the Chestertown to Worton portion of the rails to trails program, 3) maintenance, safety and security. Mr. Troester also noted that a plan that did not include the elimination of the rail providing the potential for future uses.
Mr. Dionne reported on the Anne Arundel trail and the positive impact to the community. He advised that the opposition the Anne Arundel trail proposal met was unfounded. He provided statistics realizing crime, litter and liabilities did mot materialize as predicted.
RENTAL ALLOWANCE PROGRAM
The Commissioners approved and Commissioner Fithian signed the Rental Allowance Program (RAP) Local Program Application and Grant Agreement for Fiscal Year 2003 as prepared by Shirley C. Williams, Assistant Director, Family Investment, Department of Social Services. The application and agreement will be submitted to the Department of Housing and Community Development for approval.
STATE HIGHWAY ADMINISTRATION
In follow-up from May 7 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, correspondence was received from Richard Lindsay, District Engineer, State Highway Administration, advising of the results of a study of the area. A review of speed limits, sight distance and the number of accidents occurred. Mr. Lindsay reported that the State Highway Administration findings concluded that additional safety measures such as rumble strips was not needed.
In follow-up from March 26 relating to the Sheriff's Department and local law enforcement use of a pre-determined area of the Tolchester Site for use as a firearms range, correspondence was received from Chestertown Chief of Police, Walter Coryell requesting further delineation on the liabilities of the agreement. A copy of Chief Coryell's request was forwarded to the County Attorney for review.
In view of the fact that no bids were received to rehabilitate the Lathim House at Turners Creek, correspondence was received from Jeff Troester, Director, Parks and Recreation, requesting that the County bids requirements be waived to allow renovation to take place with FY 02 Program Open Space Funds. He advised that Allen-Jones and Company, a small construction company specializing in historic renovations, received a bid package and would be willing to proceed with renovations to the Lathim House. Mr. Troester also noted that if the contract were awarded to Allen-Jones and Company, the Program Open Space Application would not need amendments to carry funding into the next fiscal year. The Commissioners approved this request as presented.
In follow-up from last week, the Commissioners received a copy of correspondence from Carl Burke, Executive Director, Upper Shore Aging, directed to Kenneth Noble, Chairman, Chestertown Planning Commission, expressing concern that the Chestertown Planning Commission has requested a design change to the Senior Center which will increase costs. Mr. Burke requested that the Chestertown Planning Commission should strive to confine its actions to comply with planning and zoning guidelines.
The Commissioners received a copy of correspondence directed to Anne Livie, Director, Local Management Board, from Rev. Gonzalee Matthews, Program Coordinator, Woods Edge/Janes United Methodist Church program, providing suggestions as to making the grant application process more effective.
There being no further business to claim their attention, the Board adjourned to meet again on Tuesday, August 13, 2002.
Please contact Joyce Laskey or Janice Fletcher at (410) 778-7435 or by e-mail with any questions or comments.