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Board of County Commissioners

November 6, 2002

T. Edward Robinson, County Administrator, was also in attendance.

Minutes of the previous meeting were approved.

W. Roger Williams, Treasurer, reported a balance of $13,077,265.00


Carla Martin, Community Planner, appeared to discuss funding available to participate in the Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation. Ms. Martin reported that a total of $111,907.75 (which includes revenues from Agricultural Transfer Tax and Purchase of Development Rights account) is available as matching funds. She noted that with $111,907.75 in funds and with a State match of $167,861.62, for a total of $279,769.37, could potentially purchase 200 acres. The Commissioners approved the use of the $111,907.75 to match State funds to be used towards purchase of agricultural land preservation easements by the Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation.


Correspondence was received from Terry Honeywell, representing the American Red Cross, advising they are collecting "Quality of Life" items for U.S. troops in Afghanistan and would be mailing packages for an indefinite period of time. Financial assistance was requested in the amount of $152.95 to offset current postage costs. The Commissioners approved this request to be funded out of the Contingency Fund.


Gail Owings, Director, Planning and Zoning Administration, appeared to report on the October 28 Board of Zoning Appeals meeting.


J. Michael Connolly, CPA, Auditor, Pat Merritt, Director of Budget and Accounting, and Roger Williams, Treasurer, appeared for presentation and review of the Fiscal Year 2002 Financial Statement for the County Commissioners. Wayne Morris, Director, Department of Water and Wastewater Services, was also in attendance.

Mrs. Merritt reviewed the financial statements. She reviewed the revenue summary and advised that revenues exceeded expenditures comparing the FY 02 budget and actual revenues

with a 4% revenue increase ($1,137,321). Mrs. Merritt reviewed the expenditure summary and advised that expenditures were less than budgeted allowing for a surplus of $493,064.

Mrs. Merritt stated that while the State fiscal outlook is bleak, Kent County's financial position is the strongest it has been in recent history. She advised that under the direction of the current Commissioners, the unreserved, undesignated fund balance has doubled since its FY98 balance when this Board took office. Mrs. Merritt reported that the cash balance increased from FY 01 and FY 00. She also noted the debt service is well below the maximum levels.

Mrs. Merritt reviewed that Department of Water and Wastewater Services audit. She reported that actual revenues exceeded budgeted, however, actual operating expenses exceeded the budgeted amount creating a loss. Mr. Morris advised that increased operating expenses were the result of old equipment and expenditures such as the Kennedyville and Edesville studies. Mrs. Merritt noted that should the deficit be addressed, user rates would have to be increased $30.00 per quarter, per user.

Mr. Connolly provided copies of the County's Fiscal Year 2003 Management Letter and Draft Kent County Financial Report listing observations and recommendations for review and consideration.

Mr. Williams congratulated the Commissioners on their fiscal direction and financial responsibility. He stated that the financial state of the County was better than he could remember in recent years and commended that Commissioners for their efforts.

Commissioner Beck stated that he was proud of how the County's money had been managed. Commissioner Fithian stated he was pleased with the financial condition of the County and noted that the new Board may have major decisions in the future relating to providing water and wastewater services.

Commissioner Fithian thanked Mrs. Merritt and Mr. Connolly for the reports and their efforts.


Correspondence was received from Gail Owings, Director, Planning and Zoning Administration, advising of concerns relating to posting house numbers. She advised that changes have been requested by the Kent and Queen Anne's Rescue Squad and fire companies to the House Numbering Manual, specifically to Road Names and Displaying Address Numbers sections in the manual. Mrs. Owings advised that the proposed changes could be made without modification to the local law. The Commissioners approved the proposed changes.


Gail Owings, Director, Planning and Zoning Administration, advised of upcoming meetings relating to funding for the Delmarva Conservation Corridor to assist in maintaining economically viable agricultural communities. The meeting to be held in Chestertown is scheduled for November 25 at Washington College, Hynson Lounge.


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

General - Mr. Morris introduced new employee to his staff, Jen Cole, Secretary III. The Commissioners welcomed her as a County employee.

Millington Wastewater Collection System Expansion- In follow -up from the October 8 bid opening for the Millington Wastewater Collection System Expansion, Mr. Morris reported that both he and Barry Ebersole, Engineer, McCrone Inc., reviewed the bids and recommended Brandywine Construction Company, Inc., be awarded the project for the amount of $985,900.00. A motion was made by Commissioner Beck, seconded by Commissioner Fithian and passed by the majority of the Board to accept this recommendation. The bid award will be forwarded to Rural Development for concurrence.

Mr. Morris provided a copy of draft correspondence to be forwarded to residences affected by the Millington Wastewater Collection System Expansion project, for review by the Commissioners.

Worton Well Project - Mr. Morris advised that the well was being drilled today and that around the clock drilling will take place. He noted that neighboring residents may hear some noise, but advised it should be short lived. Mr. Morris estimated that entire project to be completed by the end of the month.

Tolchester Service Area - The Commissioners approved and signed Public Works Agreement by and between the County Commissioners and Dale Grimes as it relates to a sewer allocation in the Tolchester Service Area.


The Commissioners received correspondence from Pamela Nichols and James Pileggi, 32108 Shorewood Road, Galena, supporting the proposed Land Use Ordinance. They specifically support one dwelling per three acres in the Rural Residential zone to preserve rural character and hoped the ordinance would pass without exception in particular to the Shorewood Estates/Gregg Neck area.


At 10:30 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.

Item of discussion relating to pending litigation.

The executive session adjourned at 10:35 a.m.


In follow-up from the recent League of Women Voters candidate forum relating to a question posed about Sunday closing of the Library, correspondence was received from Gloria Urban, Director, Public Library, advising that most Eastern Shore libraries are closed on Sunday. She further noted that the library was open on Sunday throughout the winter of 2001 -2002 and was not cost effective. She also stated that if any questions were received in the future, to refer then to her or the President of the Library Trustees since it is the responsibility of the Board of Trustees to establish and operate libraries as well as to determine policy of the Library.


Carter Stanton, Director, Public Works, Gloria Urban, Library Director, Helen Guastavino, Chairman of the Chestertown Library Inc., Elizabeth Bos, Secretary, Joan Horsey, Treasurer, Marie Rypka, Member, and Estelle Bennett, Member, appeared to discuss the joint use of the building known as "Hearse House" located at 207 Calvert Street. Mr. Stanton advised of a meeting with architect who estimated the cost for renovating the building per building code for meeting rooms to be $125,000. Commissioner Beck requested specific costs to justify an estimate of that magnitude. Commissioners Beck and Fithian assured all that the project would continue although the estimate was much higher than expected. Commissioner Fithian requested Mr. Stanton to expedite more detailed cost information as the Commissioners would like the project to go forth as soon as possible.


The Commissioners approved to submit an Intention to Apply form for FY 2004 as it relates to the Preservation Incentives for Local Government Grant, (PILG). Carla Martin, Community Planner, advised that the grant application to be forwarded on January 31, 2003, would allow for $21,550 in funding with an equal match. She advised that this grant will fund the Heritage Resource Survey and Evaluation Plan, committee time, an intern and photocopying.


Commissioner Fithian reported on comment made by a Commissioner-elect as to cocerns of expense to the County as it relates to eligibility of health insurance after retirement and that the policy may need to be rescinded. In an effort to make this policy more fiscally amiable, the Commissioners have agreed to have the policy amended and a Resolution will be prepared for approval next week.

At 10:50 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 the Annotated Code of Maryland.

The executive session adjourned at 11:20 a.m.


Correspondence was received from Lee C. Clough resigning as a member of the Planning Commission effective immediately. The Commissioners approved appointment of Roger N. Mangels to serve the unexpired term of Mr. Clough.


Jeff Troester, Director, Parks and Recreation, appeared to discuss Program Open Space (POS) funding. He advised that POS funding was in jeopardy and recommended funding be spent rather than reclaimed by the State. He summarized the current funding and recommended priority projects that total $92,431.00. Mr. Troester requested approval to increase the FY 03 capital project budget by $2,735 (County 10% match) which will allow all of the POS funding to be spent. As recommended, the following projects were approved:

Bayside Public Landing and Park - construct boardwalk connecting Bayside Bulkhead to the Public Landing Park, purchase deck furniture for the swimming pool and deck area of the office building and relocate the electric transformer (due to removal of building) - $38,700 State funds, $4,300 County funds, totaling $43,000.

Lathim House Renovation Project - new roof, exterior and interior work -$22,500 State funds, $2,500 County funds, totaling $25,000.

A motion was made by Commissioner Beck, seconded by Commissioner Fithian and passed by the majority of the Board to approve funding in the amount of $2,735.00 from the Contingency Fund with a remaining balance of $21,988, the Commissioners approved to proceed with additional renovation work to the exterior and restrooms at Lathim House, Turners Creek.

Mr. Troester advised that a balance of $8,000 remained in the acquisition fund. Commissioner Beck requested Mr. Troester to submit a written recommendation for consideration.


The Commissioners received correspondence from James Brandon, Chief, Northern Branch Property Disposal Division, advising of surplus Government property identified as a portion of the Still Pond Station, consisting of 12.42 acres that is available for disposal. The County Administrator will obtain additional information.


Correspondence was received from Bernadette Van Pelt, Tourism Director, enclosing the proposed Tourism Development 5-Year Strategic Plan and Performance Measures. In using the 1997 Tourism Development 5-Year Strategic Plan as a foundation, the proposed plan is an update and changes made are a result of discussions of a group including Tourism Development staff and Tourism Development Advisory Board. The proposed plan is very similar to the 1997 plan but with a simpler and more straight forward format making it more user friendly. The performance measures are more in depth and more aggressive than those in the previous plan. The Commissioners agreed to review the proposed plan and will be ready to take action on it next week.


Amy Moredock appeared to report on the Urieville Lake forum that took place on October 24. She advised that participants are divided about the remedy to the lake; some wanting dredging to take place, others interested in restoration options. Ms. Moredock noted the next meeting, scheduled for November 17, will take place at the lake for a visual tour in order to further discuss options available. Commissioner Fithian inquired as to the destination of dredged material should that option be exercised. Ms. Moredock advised that the creation of islands as well as shoreline restoration was proposed as options for dredged material.


The Commissioners received a copy of correspondence from Carl Burke, Executive Director, Upper Shore Aging, directed to Henry Kay, Director, Maryland Transit Administration Office of Planning, expressing concerns as to the outstanding plan to comply with all grant requirement and operating standards. Mr. Burke requested a meeting as soon as possible to bring matters to conclusion.


The Commissioners received a copy of Judgment relating to Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. vs Kent County Planning Commission, dated October 31, 2002, upholding the decision of Kent County Planning Commission of June 18, 2001.

There being no further business to claim their attention, the Board adjourned to meet again on Tuesday, November 12, 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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