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Board of County Commissioners

October 8, 2002

The Honorable Board of County 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 $3,460,144.00.


Dr. Bonnie Ward, Superintendent of Schools and Frances Miller, Assistant Superintendent of Administrative Services, Tony Cucina, Supervisor of Environmental Services, appeared to discuss the following: 1) a Budget Adjustment #1 FY 03, 2) FY 02 Board of Education Financial Statements and Supplementary Information as prepared by Beatty Satchell & Company LLC, and 3) FY 04 Capital Improvement Plan requesting County funding in the amount of $677,000. Pat Merritt, Director, Budget and Accounting, was also in attendance.

Prior to discussion of above issues, Commissioner Ftihian commended Dr. Ward for precautions taken to ensure student safety withstanding recent events of a sniper shooting at a school on the Western Shore. Dr. Ward advised of a detailed crisis plan and an update on safety measures. Dr. Ward thanked Sheriff Price and Lt. Paul Kelley, Maryland State Police, for assistance and information. Commissioner Beck thanked Dr. Ward and her staff for added measures to protect students. Ms. Miller advised of an upcoming tour by law enforcement to test security.

Dr. Ward reviewed the Financial Statement and reported that a Management letter was also included. The Commissioners approved acceptance of the FY 02 Board of Education Financial Statement.

Ms. Miller reviewed the requested FY 03 budget adjustment that includes an amendment for additional grant funding received. She advised that $ 4.631,172.23 (1.3% increase) in grant funds had been received and noted grant funding received from the Local Management Board has been helpful. A motion was made by Commissioner Newnam, seconded by Commissioner Beck and made unanimous by Commissioner Fithian, to amend the budget to approved the budget amendment as presented.

Ms. Miller discussed the request for Capital Improvement Projects for Galena and Chestertown Middle Schools and also noted that the High School is thirty years old and is in need of renovation as well as modernization. Ms. Miller estimated a complete renovation would cost $19 - $20 Million (no State funding is available for architectural services). However, planning could not commence without commitment from the County for an architect. Ms. Miller thanked all the Commissioners for maintaining high level of support for capital projects over the past years. She advised that funding was needed for planning and estimated that if the project came to fruition, work would not begin until FY 06.

The following Capital Improvement Projects were proposed: Total Local Share State Share

Galena Middle School

Windows and Doors Replacement $450,000 $225,000 225,000

Chestertown Middle School

Boiler Replacement $254,000 $127,000 $127,000

Kent County High School

Architect/Engineering Planning $325,000 $325,000 0

$677,000 $325,000

A motion was made by Commissioner Newnam, seconded by Commissioner Beck and made unanimous by Commissioner Fithian, to include in the FY 04 budget the amount of $677,000 for the proposed projects. Dr. Ward noted that the Board of Education Public Relations Specialist has been requested to solicit input from the community as to how the renovated Kent County High School can be used as a community resource. Suggestions received will prove helpful to incorporate in facility renovation plans. Dr. Ward and Ms. Miller expressed appreciation for the Commissioners support.


Pat Merritt, Director, Budget and Accounting, appeared to present FY 03 Budget Amendment. The budget was amended to include adjustments relating to the Narcotics Task Force, a Regional Family Services Grant, and funding for the Senior Center. A motion was made by Commissioner Beck, seconded by Commissioner Newnam and made unanimous by Commissioner Fithian to approved the Resolution and Budget Amendment Document as presented.


The Commissioners received correspondence from Eric Johnson, Director, Chesapeake Fields Institute, requesting disbursement of $20,000 bridge loan to Chesapeake Fields Institute to assist with cash flow needs that result from pending grant funds. The Commissioners approved and signed an agreement by and between the Commissioners and Chesapeake Fields Institute, Inc., for a bridge loan in the amount of $20,000 to be repaid in by June 30, 2003.


The Commissioners approved and Commissioner Fithian signed the Community Development Block Grant final Close-out Agreement for Fairlee Manor forwarded by Kay Pinder-Almen, Administrative Aide, Housing and Community Development. The project which received $230,000 in grant funding has successfully met all the requirements.


In follow-up from last week, correspondence was received from Ed Spray, Superintendent, County Roads, reported on his investigation of alleged dangerous road conditions on Coopers Lane. In response to Mr. Richard's letter of concern relating to an overturned tractor on Coopers Lane, Mr. Spray advised that the tractor overturned due to a trailer becoming unhooked from a truck, not road conditions. Mr. Spray further noted that the section of road in question is wider than the original roadway.


The Commissioners received correspondence from Brian Hepburn, M.D., Interim Director, Maryland Mental Hygiene Administration, and Sandra Sundeen, R.N., M.S., Director, Systems Evaluation Center, University of Maryland, advising that the Maryland General Assembly has mandated an independent study on the efficacy of Core Service Agencies of mental health providers and requested participation in a survey.


Correspondence was received from Shawn Mathiesen, Information System Manager, recommending the previously used County owned routers for T1 frame relay link, now accommodated by a wireless link, be sold and the proceeds deposited in the Information Systems Technology Department budget. She advised quotes were solicited over the internet from companies that buy used networking equipment and have been offered $300.00 for the pair. She noted this equipment cannot readily be resold locally. The Commissioners concurred for the sale of this equipment.


Gail Owings, Director, Planning and Zoning Administration, appeared to report that she met with representatives of the Critical Areas Commission to review buffer modification; no violations or concerns were noted.


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

Tolchester Service Area - Mr. Morris provided a copy of correspondence from Thomas Ensley, requesting sewer allocation for his property located Tax Map 35 A, Parcel 0201.

Piney Neck/Skinners Neck/ Wesley Chapel - A Public Works Agreement was approved and signed by and between the Commissioners and Gerald and Oneida Jacquette for a sewer allocation.

Quaker Neck Service Area - A public hearing has been scheduled on Tuesday, October 29, at 10:30 a.m. in the Commissioners Hearing Room, Kent County Government Center, to consider application received from Lawrence and Associates Developers, LLC, for amendment to the Water and Sewerage Plan.

Gail Owings, Director, Planning and Zoning Administration, reported that the Planning Commission reviewed the concept plan for Prestwick Woods, Kent Lawrence and Associates Developers, LLC, Quaker Neck Service Area, at their October 5 meeting. The Planning Commission provided comments to Mr. Lawrence relating to the concept plan.

Millington Wastewater Project - Mr. Morris reported that only one affected citizen attended the informational hearing to further ensure public awareness on the expansion of the west Millington Sewer Collection project in Millington on October 1.

A bid opening was held at 10:00 a.m. in the Commissioners' Hearing Room for the construction of the Millington Wastewater Collection System Extension. Mr. Morris, and Barry Ebersole, representing McCrone, Inc., were in attendance. Commissioner Fithian read the notice for bids. The following bids were received:

Bidder Amount
Brandywine Construction Company, Inc. - New Castle, DE $ 985,900.00
Ferguson Trenching Co., Inc. - Odenton, MD $ 1,217,640.00
David A Bramble, Inc., - Chestertown, MD $ 1,298,010.04
Bearing Construction Company, Inc. - Sudlersville MD $ 1,318,352.05
Schummer, Inc. - Mayo, MD $ 1,358,386.00

The estimated cost of the project is $974,360.00. Mr. Morris and Mr. Ebersole concurred to review the bids and make a recommendation at a later time.


The Commissioners received a copy of correspondence from Barry Barrell, Instructor, Washington College, directed to Warden Ronald Howell, expressing his appreciation for allowing students to tour the Kent County Detention Center. Mr. Barrell thanked Warden Howell for the opportunity to view the detention portion of the criminal justice system.


The Commissioners approved a Betterton Volunteer Fire Company to hold fund rasing event at the Betterton Volunteer Fire Hall on October 12 -13.


Correspondence was received from Shawn Mathiesen, Information System Manager, recommending an alternative connection allowing County offices outside of the County Government Center access to the HTE accounting software. Mrs. Mathiesen recommended a remote access server instead of dial up access via a Cisco router purchased by her predecessor. She advised that no new equipment or training is required for the remote access server. She reported that a 14 day trial of the software has been successful. Mrs. Mathiesen advised that the purchase of the software and six licenses would cost $1,552.45, less than the proceeds from the sale of current equipment (Cisco router) for $2,000. Mrs. Mathiesen reported that the Board of Education was interested in purchasing the router. The Commissioners approved the recommendation as presented.


At 10:45 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 during this portion of the meeting due to an obligation with his employer, Verizon.

Items of discussion included Narcotics Task Force Agreement, Land Use Ordinance and Housing Improvement Program loan subordination.

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


Carter Stanton, Director, Public Works, reported that he has arranged a meeting to include both the Public Library Board members and Chestertown Library Inc. members, along with an architect to discuss proposed renovations to the Hearse House.


At 12:00 noon, 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 pending litigation in accordance with State Government Article, Section 10.508 of the Annotated Code of Maryland.

The executive session adjourned at 12:02 p.m.


Correspondence was received from Charles D. MacLeod, and Cynthia L. McCann, Funk & Bolton, reporting on the status of four pending nuisance violations cases.


Lou Mancuso, retiree effective September 30, appeared to express his appreciation to the Commissioners for providing him and all Kent County employees with the Maryland State Retirement System benefits. Robert Rust, Director, Emergency Management, was also in attendance. Due to ongoing health issues, Mr. Mancuso's physician recommended that he discontinue his current position. By being enrolled in the State System, Mr. Mancuso was able to take an early retirement on disability. Mr. Mancuso expressed his gratitude to Mr. Rust and his pleasure working with County employees.


At 12:02 p.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 12:45 p.m.


Gail Owings, Director, Planning and Zoning Administration, appeared to report on the October 3 planning Commission meeting.


The Commissioners received correspondence from H. A. Laird, General Manager Chestertown Foods advising of power outages affecting production in the last several weeks. Mr. Laird also forwarded a copy of correspondence directed to Tom Shaw, Conectiv Power Delivery, Wilmington, Delaware advising that power outages resulted in lost production and income. The County Administrator advised that he would investigate the matter.


Jeanne Yeager, Executive Director, Mid-Shore Council on Family Violence, and Robert Strong, Jr., State's Attorney, representing the Kent County Domestic Violence Coordinating Council, appeared and requested the Commissioners to proclaim the month of October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Mrs. Yeager extended an invitation to the Commissioners to attend a Service that will be held on October 15 at noon at the Court House to remember those that have lost their lives to domestic violence and those that have survived. She advised that purple ribbons would be available to symbolize and express support of domestic violence victims.

Mrs. Yeager advised that the Coordinating Council meets monthly to discuss ways in which to provide services and enhance public awareness of domestic violence. Mr. Strong reported on his efforts to prosecute domestic violence offenders.

The Commissioner Fithian read and presented the proclamation as requested.


In follow-up from last week, the County Administrator reported that he contacted the Social Security Administration (SSA) requesting a security guard to the Public Works Complex for their monthly appointments with clients. Last week Carter Stanton, Director, Public Works, reported that while the Social Security Administration used a room in the Public Works Complex, a Social Security Administration, client became intimidating to County employees.


Elmer Horsey, Director, Economic Development Director, appeared with Paul Sanchez, co-founder of P & G Theatres, including the Chester "5" Theatres celebrating six years in business in Chestertown since1996, and for providing entertainment to under served, rural areas.

Commissioner Fithian stated that the movie theaters provided activities for youth and was an asset to the County. Commissioner Fithian read the certificate of recognition. Mr. Horsey congratulated Mr. Sanchez and thanked him for his continued service.


The County Administrator advised of the upcoming consumer electronics recycling event on Saturday, October 12, 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Nicholson Transfer Site. Consumer products such as computers, televisions and vcr's can be recycled.


Carla Martin, Community Planner, appeared to report on her attendance at a national conference relating to the Scenic Byway Program. She advised that as a result of an interpretive planning session she recommended initiating an interpretive sign panel which would aid in easily identifying crops growing near the Scenic Byway. Ms. Martin provided a copy of the interpretive sign panel for the Commissioners' review. The Commissioners thanked Ms. Martin for her efforts.


In follow-up from August 27, the Commissioners received correspondence from Jerome Staller, Ph.D., and Richard Merriken petitioning for sponsorship and the establishment of a special taxing district for funding (via the Department of Natural Resources) to construct a shore erosion control project on their properties. The project involves three parcels in Tolchester Estates. As stated on August 27, Dave Wilson, RC & D would perform site visits and report back to the Commissioners.


Gail Owings, Director, Planning and Zoning Administration, and Amy Moredock, Environmental Planner, appeared to discuss the Urieville Lake Restoration Project. Ms. Moredock reported of upcoming forums to discuss the Urieville Lake Restoration Project. She advised that the Army Corps of Engineers will perform an internal feasibility study as part of the project. She advised that a letter of request to the Army Corps of Engineers will be required to initiate the study. Initial stages of the project will generate viable solutions to remedy Urieville Lake of high sediment load and low dissolved oxygen. Ms. Moredock advised that the Army Corps of Engineers would consider remedies such as removing the dam and return the area to marshland or if the community prefers a fishing area, dredge the lake and construct a partial dam. She advised that the forums would include the community as well as the Department of Natural Resources. The first forum has been scheduled for October 24 at 7:00 p.m. at Washington College. The Commissioners thanked Ms. Moredock for her efforts.


Correspondence was received from the Department of Environment, Water Management Administration, advising that Robert Switzer has applied to install driveway, utilities and parking to access inside nontidal wetlands and buffer within Rock Hall. This project, located on Walnut Street , Rock Hall, will impact 5,979 square feet of nontidal wetlands and 500 square feet of wetlands buffer. For more information contact Chris Pajak, Department of the Environment, 410-543-6703.

There being no further business to claim their attention, the Board adjourned to meet again on Tuesday, October 15, 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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