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Board of County Commissioners

November 26, 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 $8,329,372.00


The Commissioners reappointed Olin S. Davis, III and David E. Kelley and appointed Franklin Dill as a member of the Agricultural Advisory Commission for a three year term ending September 18, 2005.


The Commissioners appointed William C. Cooper and David Leager as members of the Agricultural Land Preservation Advisory Board for a five year term beginning January 1, 2003.


Correspondence was received from Barbara Gehrig, Senior Vice President, Maryland/Delaware Region, advising that Comcast Corporation has merged with AT&T Broadband. The company will retain the name of Comcast.


The Commissioners received correspondence from Jim Corrin, Director of Government Relations, Charter Communications, advising that the payment center in Grasonville will be closing no later than December 31, 2002. Customers may make payments on their accounts by U.S. mail, electronic fund transfer and credit card. Questions may be forwarded to

(724) 437 - 0660.


Carter Stanton, Director, Public Works, appeared to discuss correspondence received from J. Frederick Price, Judge, Circuit Court, advising that the Court House basement flooded during the recent rainfall. Since the basement hearing room is frequently used, Judge Price requested the basement be evaluated to ensure against health related issues such as mold and to make recommendations to remedy the water seepage problem. Mr. Stanton advised there is no

french drain and whenever there is a Northeaster, the basement floods. Mr. Stanton was requested to proceed with evaluation of this problem. Commissioner Newnam advised that although an evaluation may take place the problem should be addressed by Commissioners-elect.


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

Kennedyville Sewer System/Lagoon Project - Mr. Morris provided a copy of correspondence directed to Dave Lyons, Chief Enforcement Officer, Compliance Division, Maryland Department of the Environment, requesting a meeting in January 2003 to update and review the project with the Commissioners-elect and Roger Persons, Rural Development.

Millington Wastewater Expansion Project - Mr. Morris forwarded a copy of correspondence from James Waters, Community and Business Programs Director, Rural Development, advising of his concurrence with the bid acceptance of Brandywine Construction Company. Inc., for the Millington Wastewater Collection System Project.

Worton Well Project - Mr. Morris advised that the well continues to be developed and the connection drawing has been secured from McCrone Engineering.

Tolchester Service Area - The Commissioners approved and signed Agreement by and between the County Commissioners and Greg Smith and Mr. And Mrs. Peter Neilson for a sewer allocation in the Tolchester Service Area.


Elmer Horsey, former Economic Development Director, and Jack Canan, Economic Development Coordinator appeared to discuss proposals to promote Kent County.

Mr. Horsey commended the Commissioners for being fiscally responsible and expressed pleasure in working with them.

Mr. Horsey announced that Chestertown will have high speed internet connections effective December 22 via Verizon phone service. Mr. Horsey recognized Commissioner Newnam's assistance in securing internet access.

Mr. Horsey advised that the a portion of the Worton Road Capital project will need additional funding in the amount of $27,967.00. He reported that the total project cost of $115,467.00 has been funded in part by DBED ($60,000) and the County ($27,500). Since DBED will not be funding the remainder ($27,967.00), Mr. Horsey requested the Worton Road project be added as an addendum to the Capital budget. A motion was made by Commissioner Newnam, seconded by Commissioner Beck and made unanimous by Commissioner Fithian to fund the remaining $27,967 from the contingency fund balance. This road project should be completed by Spring, 2003. The property can then be subdivided and be considered as a small industrial park.

In follow-up from October 29, Mr. Horsey provided cost estimates for development of a CD to promote both living and working in Kent County from Loblolly Productions and Mullin/ Ashley Associates. Mr. Horsey advised of a $5,000 grant from Maryland Economic Development Corporation (MEDCO) sponsored by Conectiv Power Delivery to be used for marketing. Loblolly Productions estimated the project cost to be $4,660; Mullin/ Ashley Associates estimated the project cost to be $7,482.00. A motion was made by Commissioner Beck, seconded by Commissioner Newnam and made unanimous by Commissioner Fithian to fund phase I of the CD project proposed by Loblolly Productions for the amount of $3,670.00 from the MEDCO grant.


The Commissioners approved and Commissioner Fithian executed five (5) Deferred Loan Agreements for the Phase III, Housing Improvement Project as prepared by Kay Pinder-Almen, Administrative Aide, Housing and Community Development.


The Commissioners appointed R. Reece Corey as a member of the Human Relations Commission for a three year term ending October 4, 2005.

The Commissioners hosted an organizational meeting of the Human Relations Commission. Marian Cooke, James S. Urda, Tom Gross, Carmen Pratt, Mary Ellen Williams, Reece Corey and Lee S. Beck, members of the Human Relations Commission. Susanne Hayman was also in attendance. Commissioner Fithian distributed and received a statement for the mission, purpose and powers for the commission. Ms. Hayman reviewed sample bylaws established by St. Mary's County. Commissioner Fithian reported that members serve three year staggered terms without pay. The Commissioners thanked all for serving. Mrs. Williams thanked the Commissioners for establishing the Human Relations Commission.


In follow-up from last week, Gail Owings, Director, Planning and Zoning Administration, appeared to review changes made to the proposed ordinance.

District 1

Commissioner Fithian advised that although it disturbed him to go against Millington Mayor Dennis Hager, a petition containing 209 signatures was received requesting the zoning for Millington 301 parcel remain Commercial and Employment Center. Commissioners Beck and Newnam concurred.

The Commissioners concurred to "grandfather" the Stoltzfus subdivision.

District 6

Mrs. Owings advised that lots in Tolchester zoned Community Residential, should be included in the Critical Area.

The Commissioners requested property owned by Richard Van Stolk, proposed to be Rural Character, remain Rural Residential.

Agricultural Zoning

Commissioner Fithian advised that he has had discussions with various constituents requesting the enclave portion of the Agricultural Zoning remain in the ordinance. Mrs. Owings advised of the reasoning the Planning Commission removed the enclave to identify land where agriculture may operate as a business. She cited a representative with the American Farmland Trust who stated that for agriculture to be effective both the economy and the land base must be stabilized. Mrs. Owings stated the intent to remove enclave portion was to ensure residences did not encroach on farmland and that the zoning would not devalue land as feared.

Commissioner Fithian recognized several attendees, George Harmes, Frank Dill, and Dan Saunders, Esq., who expressed concern that removing the enclave option from Agricultural Zoning would devalue the farmland. Each of the land owners advised that they had no intention of developing the land, however, the land was more valuable with the enclave option.

Mrs. Owings advised that such a change would be significant and reported that including the enclave option would render the Agricultural District less stringent than the transition zoning, Rural Character, ( one dwelling per 20 acres).

Mr. Saunders stated that the enclave option maintained rural farmland and value of the land. Commissioner Newnam advised that he would not agree to change zoning and devalue someone's property. He stressed the importance of keeping the enclave option in Agricultural Zoning. Commissioner Beck concurred. Again, Mrs. Owings advised that including the enclave is a far reaching significant change. The Commissioners requested that all changes requested by prepared for voting on December 3.

In follow-up from last week and per Commissioner Fithian request, Mrs. Owings presented language to include the regulation of hedgerows in the land use ordinance. The Commissioners approved the amendment as presented.


Mr. Cookerly signed Certification and Assurances as it relates to Kent County Assurance for the Statewide Specialized Transportation Assistance Program (SSTAP) and Section 5311 grants for Fiscal Year 2004.


Carter Stanton, Director, Public Works, Jerry Keiser, Library Assistant Director, Helen Guastavino, Chairman of the Chestertown Library Inc., Elizabeth Bos, Secretary, Joan Horsey, Treasurer, Marie Rypka, Member, and Estelle Bennett, Member, appeared to further discuss the proposed renovations needed at building known as "Hearse House" located at 207 Calvert Street. Mr. Stanton reiterated the two estimates for renovating the building; $125 -$150 per square foot from Charles E. Anthony Associates and $150 per square foot from Gary Horsey. A motion was made by Commissioner Beck, seconded by Commissioner Newnam and made unanimous by Commissioner Fithian to approve funds to have Mr. Anthony commence with design work for the renovations to the library annex. Mr. Keiser stated that the Library Board will strive to raise $50,000 to be used for this project. The construction project will now be placed out to bid.


In follow-up to memorandum dated July 23, 2002, Jeff Troester, Director, Parks and Recreation, appeared and advised the purchase of a dump truck for his department was approved contingent in part that he make effort to fund the transaction within his current budget. He reported that he will be unable to absorb the $7,500 expenditure from his department's FY 03 Budget. A motion was made by Commissioner Newnam, seconded by Commissioner Beck and made unanimous by Commissioner Fithian to approve this budget request.


At 8:35 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 8:45 a.m.


Judy Linn, Director, Kent Family Center, Brenda Rose, representing the Judy Center, Tom Rider, Responsible Fathers Program, Jean Austin, representing Cooperative Extension Service, Mary Adda Moore, Kent County Health Department, Donna Legg, representing Local Management Board (LMB), and Susanne Hayman representing Shared Opportunity Services, requesting the Commissioners to proclaim November 24 through November 30 as National Family Week. Ms. Linn advised that the proclamation give thanks to those who support families and recognizes strong families are the center of strong communities. Commissioner Fithian read and presented Ms. Linn with the proclamation.


Jeff Troester, Director, Parks and Recreation, appeared to discuss his memorandum dated November 25 advising that Program Open Space (POS) funding is being diverted to the general fund instead of using the funds for the intention of preserving open space for parks, natural resource areas, wildlife habitat, and historic areas. He reported that both preservation and parks and recreation groups are uniting to lobby that funds dedicated for POS should not be used for other purposes. The Commissioners approved and signed a resolution supporting POS funding for recreation/heritage purposes.


The Commissioners recognized Mr. Cookerly, County Attorney, for his years of service. Mr. Cookerly has served as County Attorney for various boards and committees for thirty four years. Mrs. Marie Cookerly was also in attendance. Commissioner Fithian read and presented a Certificate of Appreciation. The Commissioners thanked him for his years of good counsel and advice. The Commissioners presented Mr. Cookerly with a gift as a token of their appreciation over the years.


The Commissioners received a Tourism progress report for the month of October prepared by Bernadette Van Pelt, Director, Tourism.


Correspondence was received from Roger Williams, Treasurer, requesting consideration be given waiving the requirement to bid the mailing and inserting machine for purchase since the mailing machine is made by only one company, Pitney Bowes. Mr. Williams advised that the purchase of the mailing machine was approved in the FY 03 budget at a cost of $13,000, however, he has negotiated a price of $9,400. The Commissioners approved this request as presented.


The Commissioners approved and Commissioner Fithian signed Kent County Assurance as it relates to the Statewide Specialized Transportation Assistance Program (SSTAP) and Section 5311 Grants for Fiscal Year 2004.


Kent Lawrence appeared and requested the Board to proceed with decision on his application before their term expires. The Commissioners agreed to consider this application next week.

There being no further business to claim their attention, the Board adjourned to meet again on Tuesday, December 3, 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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