KENT COUNTY, MARYLAND
Board of County Commissioners
January 7, 2003
The Honorable Board of County Commissioners met today with the following present: Roy W. Crow, Scott D. Livie, and William W. Pickrum, presiding.
T. Edward Robinson, County Administrator, was also in attendance
Minutes of the previous meeting were approved as amended.
W. Roger Williams, Treasurer, reported a balance of $ 7,935,245.00.
BOARD OF HEALTH
The County Commissioners met today for their semi-annual meeting as the local Board of Health in compliance with Health - General Article Section 3-202 (b) (i) of the Annotated Code of Maryland.
Dr. John A. Grant, Health Officer, and Gary Fry, Deputy Director, Kent County Health Department, appeared to discuss Regional Mid Shore Mental Health Services. Mr. Fry clarified the three entities; Regional Mid-Shore Mental Health Services, Mid -Shore Mental Health Systems and Upper Shore Community Mental Health. He advised the regional system is the largest mental health system in the State serving over 2000 clients. He provided a history of services and noted that pre-1996 the program was grant funded, however, is now changed to fee for services. He stated that this funding change has led to a large deficit and to the closing of the Dorchester and Talbot County services. Dr. Grant advised that private interests are not able to assume the service due the low number of clients and hoped for legislative assistance.
Commissioner Livie questioned the Crossroads Community Inc. program's association with Regional Mid Shore Mental Health Services. Mr. Fry advised that Crossroads Community Inc. received some grant funding. Mr. Fry gave the example of past patient care where case workers made an effort to ensure medications and appointments were kept. Now, with the fee for service policy, funding did not permit for such services. Commissioner Livie concurred that legislative assistance should be sought to restore grant funding for case management which would help provide monitoring for mentally ill patients. Mr. Fry proposed a combination of grant funding and fee for services. In response to Commissioner Pickrum's question, Mr. Fry stated there was no duplication of services among the three entities. Mid-Shore Mental Health Systems is the arm of the Mental Health Association providing administrative oversight, Upper Shore Community Mental Health provides in-patient care and the Regional Mid Shore Mental Health Services provides out-patient care.
Commissioner Pickrum inquired where the patients from Talbot and Dorchester Counties were being served. Dr. Grant advised the patients were being served in other counties, including Kent County. The Commissioners agreed to address the concerns discussed today with local legislators.
Mr. Fry distributed copies of the FY 01 annual report for the Commissioners' review in an effort to become familiar with the agency and to answer any additional questions. The Commissioners thanked Dr. Grant and Mr. Fry for appearing today.
Correspondence was received from David Diehl, General Manager, Charter Communications, advising of programming changes.
Correspondence was received from Barbara A. Gehrig, Senior Vice President Maryland/Delaware Region, advising that Comcast James Francisco is now Vice President and General Manager of Comcast Cablevision of Delmarva, Inc.
The Commissioners requested the cable company be contacted to advise of interest to have Millington and Rock Hall areas included in the local access chanel.
COUNTY ROADS DIVISION
A bid opening was held at 9:00 a.m. in the Commissioners' Hearing Room for 5,500 tons of Md. #8 stone for use by the County Roads Division. Carter Stanton, Director of Public Works, and Jim Wright, County Engineer, were in attendance. Commissioner Pickrum read the notice to bid. The following bids were received:
As recommended by Mr. Wright, a motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum to award the contract to Mike Davidson Sand and Gravel. It was noted that the contract amount awarded today was lower than last year's contract.
DEPARTMENT OF WATER AND WASTEWATER SERVICES
Wayne Morris, Director, Department of Water and Wastewater Services, appeared to report on the following issues:
Kennedyville Lagoon Restoration Project - Mr. Morris advised that Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) is preparing a consent order due to leaking of the lagoon and has arranged for a meeting to discuss remediation plans as well as the feasibility study, status, commitment and schedule for the lagoon project. The Commissioners concurred that they would be available for a meeting with MDE on January 30.
Quaker Neck Service Area - Mr. Morris requested a meeting be schedule to further discuss the Quaker Neck Service area. The Commissioners concurred to put the matter on next week's schedule.
Correspondence was received from Lawrence and Associates, LLC, expressing support for Chestertown's request to annex County property along Quaker Neck as he believes it will aid in allowing available sewer allocations for failing septic systems in the area and allow for Lawrence and Associates to proceed with their proposed project. The Commissioners will be meeting with the Chestertown Mayor and Council on January 23 relating to the proposed annexation.
Correspondence was received from Bob Merritt, Maintenance Supervisor, advising that the heating element coils in the boiler system at the Detention Center are in need of replacement. Mr. Merritt provided a cost estimate of the project in the amount of $2,265.00. A motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie, and made unanimous to approve the expenditure from the Contingency Fund.
Commissioner Pickrum recommended a proper water treatment for the boiler system also be considered so that scaling and particles do not build up in the system. The County Administrator advised that he would discuss the matter with the Maintenance Supervisor.
Commissioner Livie advised that the Chamber of Commerce solicited a Request for
Proposal (RFP) for a Study, Analysis and Model of Economy of Kent County, Maryland. He presented a copy of proposal delivered to him by Tom Beckett representing the Chamber of Commerce and Larry Cox, President, Upper Shore Staffing. Mr. Beckett advised Commissioner Livie that the Chamber is very interested in moving forward to develop a strategic plan for Kent County and a core issue to be addressed will be an economic development analysis of Kent County as to where the County is now and where it will be in 5 - 10 years if the County stays in the same course and suggested variables for a change in direction. The Chamber is interested in creating a partnership with the County to pursue this study. A meeting has been scheduled for January 14 with Messrs. Beckett and Athey as well as Mr. Cox.
At 4:06 p.m., a motion was made by Commissioner Livie, seconded by Commissioner Crow, and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum to go into executive session for the purpose of discussing the matter relating to a new business in Kent County in accordance with State Government Article, Section 10.508 of the Annotated Code of Maryland.
The executive session adjourned at 4:10 p.m.
The County Administrator reported on suggestion made by Roger Williams, Treasurer, that an account be established with county funds to be used in event of an emergency for county employees. He advised of two county employees who recently experienced a house fire and non-reimbursable expenses. The Commissioners did not feel county funds should be used for this purpose and suggested that monies received from voluntary contribution from county employees be used to establish an emergency fund.
At 3:25 p.m., a motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum to go into executive session to discuss proposed land acquisition in accordance with State Government Article, Section 10.508 of the Annotated Code of Maryland.
The executive session adjourned at 4:00 p.m.
At 11:20 a.m., a motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum 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 the Housing Improvement Program and potential litigation.
The executive session adjourned at 12:15 p.m.
The Commissioners will be meeting with District 36 legislators on January 13 at 8:00 a.m. in the Commissioners's Hearing Room, 400 High Street, Chestertown to discuss FY 03 proposed legislative initiatives.
LOCAL GOVERNMENT INSURANCE TRUST
Jon C. Burrell. Executive Director, Mary Balducci, Director of Health Benefits Services, Hank Schomburg, Director of Loss Control and Underwriting, representing the Local Government Insurance Trust (LGIT) appeared to give presentation on the various functions and services provided.
In response to question raised by Commissioner Crow, Mr. Schomburg concurred that the level for liability in various county contracts should be a minimum of $1 Million.
Mr. Burrell reported in light of the escalating costs of health care and health insurance at unparalleled rates, the Health Benefits Pool of LGIT has a deficit of $3,003,000 as of June 30, 2002. The majority of the shortfall is due by member fees (premiums) and claims experience realized over the past two fiscal years. The Board of Trustees has approved a deficit reduction plan that includes among other components, the implementation of an assessment against members of the Health Benefit Pool. The specific assessment methodology that is to be imposed does not reflect a clear recognition of member fiscal circumstances and the Board of Trustees' awareness that such an assessment is unexpected and unbudgeted. The assessment for Kent County is $246,304 to be effective in 2004. As of July 1, Kent County will be indebted to the Trust in that amount. The assessment can be paid in full or on a three year term. At the end of the initial three year term of the assessment obligation, the Board of Trustees may renew the callable obligation for an additional three-year period. The assessment is a short term fix. Commissioner Livie stated the use of a HMO is less expensive than a PPN and suggested this be taken into consideration.
The Commissioners joined the representatives of LGIT for lunch and returned at 3:15 p.m.
Charles "Chip" MacLeod, Nuisance Violation Attorney, forwarded an update on the Ashley Nuisance violation advising that Judge Parks ordered a bench warrant for Mr. Ashley since he has failed to obey the court order (to clean up his property) and failure to appear.
Susanne Hayman, Human Resources Director, reviewed various salary classifications with the Board.
At 4:00 p.m., a motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie, and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum 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 4:05 p.m.
PLANNING AND ZONING ADMINISTRATION
The Commissioners received the Planning and Zoning Year End Report and building permit statistics for 2002 as prepared by Gail Owings, Director, Planning and Zoning Administration.
Gail Owings, Director, Planning and Zoning Administration, Amy Moredock, and Marcie Brown, Commissioners' representative to the Planning Commission, appeared to report on the January 2 Planning Commission meeting. Ms. Brown reported on the meeting details.
Ms. Brown noted that the Planning Commission would be scheduling a workshop in March to review processes and procedures for the commission.
Ms. Brown thanked the Commissioners for last week's discussion on the Land Use Ordinance. She advised workgroup sessions would be starting on January 16. Ms. Brown noted that meetings to include public comment on the ordinance would be forthcoming. Commissioner Pickrum inquired if the meetings would be held at various locations to encourage public input. Ms. Brown stated that she was unsure of how many meetings would take place and where they would be held but will take his recommendation under consideration.
The Commissioners presented Doug Edwards with a Certificate of Appreciation for his twenty-two years of service on the Public Landings and Facilities Board.
The Commissioners received correspondence from Rita Brantly, The Samaritan Group, advising that their faith-based organization is initiating a pilot program to provided winter shelter for the homeless in several churches in the community during January, February and March. Ms. Brantly reported that a program plan is available for review.
STATE HIGHWAY ADMINISTRATION
In follow-up from December 17 meeting relating to Commissioner Crow's concern of a potential dangerous intersections in the communities of Massey and Sassafras Bob Kiel, Assistant District Engineer, Engineer, Richard Lindsay, District Engineer, and Jeff Wentz, Traffic Engineer, State Highway Administration, appeared to discuss the matter. Carter Stanton, Director, Public Works, was also in attendance.
Commissioner Crow suggested a four-way stop at both Massey and Sassafras intersections. He reported that the Massey intersection had poor visibility and presented a hazard with the truck traffic in the area. Commissioner Crow was of the opinion that the stop signs may prove to slow the truck traffic. Mr. Kiel advised that the intersections had been previously reviewed, however, they would revisit the matter. Mr. Lindsay advised that some groups including fuel conservation groups did not sanction four-way stops since they do not promote traffic flow.
Commissioner Crow also noted that local roads were used in order to avoid truck scales/inspection stop on U.S. 301. Mr. Lindsay reported of a concept design for another scale/inspection stop in Cecil County which would make avoidance impossible. He further noted the project to cost $6 Million and advised that it would not be funded in the near future.
Commissioner Crow advised that he would like to remedy the safety problem prior to any additional development or growth. Mr. Kiel confirmed that the intersections would be reviewed and he would report back with his findings.
STILL POND COAST GUARD STATION
The Commissioner received correspondence from Albert and Kristen Nickerson, Andelot Farm, Worton, expressing concern of the Still Pond Coast Guard Station becoming a public facility. Mr. and Mrs. Nickerson stated their opinion that this is not the best use of the property and expressed concern of increased traffic and public presence in a remote area.
The Commissioners received a Tourism progress report for the month of December prepared by Bernadette Van Pelt, Director, Tourism.
Amy Moredock, Environmental Planner, provided a copy of the Urieville Lake Forum Final Report. Multiple meetings between agencies and the community resulted in a final strategy which incorporates the community's intent to work with the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers to develop a restoration strategy. If the restoration project comes to fruition, Kent County will be responsible for 35% of the total cost.
Bill Ingersoll, Chestertown Town Manager, stopped in and presented a lease for the County Tourism Office's presence in the Visitor's Center. The lease was forwarded to the County Attorney for review.
David McIntire, representing the Chamber of Commerce, advised that the Chamber is now occupying an office in the Visitor's Center.
WATER MANAGEMENT ADMINISTRATION
The Commissioners received correspondence from the Maryland Department of Environment, advising that the Water Management Administration has issued water appropriation and use permit to Duck Puddle Farm LLC, using 216,000 gallons per day for crop irrigation. For more information inquiries may be directed to Mr. Mark Filar, Western Region, Permits Section, Water Rights Division, (410) 537-3590.
There being no further business to claim their attention, the Board adjourned to meet again on Tuesday, January 14, 2003.
Please contact Joyce Laskey or Janice Fletcher at (410) 778-7435 or by e-mail with any questions or comments.