KENT COUNTY, MARYLAND
Board of County Commissioners
Janaury 21, 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
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 $ 7,395,703.00.
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND
Correspondence was received from Kevin Flamm, Project Manager for Alternative Technologies and Approaches, Project Manager for Chemical Demilitarization, and Mardi Mark, Colonel, U.S. Army, Deputy Installation Commander, advising of public meeting schedule to update the community relating to the neutralization of the mustard agent stockpile at Aberdeen Proving Ground. One meeting has been scheduled at the Chestertown Middle School, Thursday, January 23, at 6:30 p.m. Sue Willits , Emergency Planning Coordinator, will be representing the County at this meeting. More information may be obtained by contacting the Edgewater Chemical Stockpile Outreach Office at 410-676-6800.
At the recommendation of Gail Owings, Director of Planning and Zoning Administration, the Commissioners accepted Irrevocable Letter of Credit from the Peoples Bank of Kent County for the account of Stephen R. Stoltzfus and J. Stoltzfus, LLC trading as Andover Acres, east of Millington, to guarantee compliance to the Kent County Afforestation Ordinance.
AGRICULTURAL LAND PRESERVATION
Per the Commissioners' request, Carla Martin, Community Planner, provided information on tax credits for landowners with farms enrolled in the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation. Using assessment data she estimated that a 100 % tax credit would result in (an average) $1,000 savings for the tax payer. Commissioner Pickrum inquired if the tax credit would encourage more participation in the programs. Ms. Martin advised she was unsure since there are typically more applicants than funding.
She also provided an updated agricultural land preservation map totaling 22,000 acres.
Ms. Martin forwarded correspondence advising the Planning Commission recommended approval for the application submitted by Frank Newsome to create an agricultural land preservation district. His 87 acre farm is located on 24452 Lambs Meadow Road in the Third Election District. A public hearing is scheduled for February 18 , 2003.
Ms. Martin also provided information delineating programs such as the Maryland Environmental Trust/Eastern Shore Land Conservancy and Maryland Agriculture Land Preservation Foundation used to preserve agricultural land through easements.
The Commissioners received correspondence from Ralph Hicks, Chestertown, expressing his support for the proposed Kent County airport project.
The Bi-County Commissioners meeting with Queen Anne's County Commissioners has been scheduled for March 11 at 11:30 a.m. in the Commissioners Hearing Room.
BOARD OF EDUCATION
A workshop was held at 7:00 p.m. on January 14 at the Board of Education Meeting Room. Those in attendance were Commissioners Pickrum, Crow and Livie, Board of Education Members, Al Hanifee, Dr. Jim Sieman, John Larrimore, Brian Kirby and Lamonte E. Cooke, Dr. Bonnie Ward, Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Joan Buffone, Assistant Superintendent, Frances W. Miller, Assistant Superintendent for Administrative Services, T. Edward Robinson, County Administrator, and Pat Merritt, Director of Budget and Accounting. Discussion was held on proposed capital projects and budgetary matters as well as possibility of offering community service hours for students by serving on the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board.
At 10:30 a.m., the Commissioners, Pat Merritt, Budget and Accounting Director, and Ed Robinson, County Administrator, met in a budget workshop. Items of discussion included the Hotel Rental Tax, new GASB 34 requirements, and research needed to be conducted as to financial impact, etc. on request submitted by the Fire Chiefs Association as to a property tax credit for full time volunteer firefighters.
CHESTER RIVER ASSOCIATION
Correspondence was received from Eileen McLellan, Chester River Association, advising that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to dramatically roll back water quality standards on the Chester River and of press conference they will be holding on January 22 to alert citizens. It is proposed the deep channel of the Chester River (waters more than thirty feet deep extending from the mouth up to Southeast Creek) will receive little or no protection. The Riverkeeper requested the Commissioners contact the EPA Chesapeake Bay Program advising that the new proposed regulations are unacceptable.
Commissioner Pickrum requested Gail Owings, Director, Planning and Zoning Administration, to obtain additional information of the EPA's proposal and that a Tributary Team member attend future meetings on the matter. Mrs. Owings advised that she was investigating the matter. Commissioner Pickrum requested correspondence be prepared stating Kent County's opposition to the proposed regulations as well as a presence at the January 22 press conference at the Custom House, Chestertown. He also requested Congressman Wayne Gilchrest be contacted on this matter.
Amy G. Moredock, Environmental Planner, and Bernadette Van Pelt, Tourism Director,
will represent the County at the January 23 press conference.
Later in the day, correspondence went forth to Allison Wiedeman, U.S. EPA Chesapeake Bay Program Office, expressing concern at the limited public notice relating to this proposal, lack of supporting data, and the intent of proposal.
The Commissioners requested a meeting be scheduled with the Chester River Association and their River Keeper to discuss the Board's interest in seeking a cooperative working relationship with the Association as it relates to efforts being made in improving water quality.
The Commissioners appointed M. Susanne Hayman as the primary County Attorney
and Alexander P. Rasin, III and Eugenia C. Wootton as affiliate members of the legal team to assist mainly in matters of real estate and water and wastewater. These appointments will be effective as of March 1.
COUNTY OWNED VEHICLES
James Wright, Purchasing Coordinator, provided the bid tabulation for the County owned used vehicles from the January 17 bid opening. The bids are as follows:
Per Mr. Wright's recommendation, the Commissioners approved the highest bidder per the used County vehicles, Cana Motors - Vehicle No. 1, W.N. Cooper & Son, Inc. - Tractor No. 1 and Tractor No 2.
Ed Spray, County Roads Superintendent, provided an accounting for road maintenance for snow removal on January 15, 16 and 17. He reported the total cost to be $2,807.50.
DEPARTMENT OF WATER AND WASTEWATER SERVICES
Wayne Morris, Director, Department of Water and Wastewater Services, appeared to report on the following issues:
General - Mr. Morris advised of need to replace aging vehicles in his department due to costs being incurred on repairs and maintenance. He requested approval to purchase two trucks in the amount of $14,800 each per the State contract. He reported that five of the six vehicle have 150,000 miles or more. After discussing the need for additional vehicles, the Commissioners proposed purchasing one vehicle now and another in the following budget year. The County Administrator requested Mr. Morris to investigate the possibility of ordering two trucks, however, taking delivery of one after July 1. Later in the morning, the Commissioners approved purchase of two trucks within the current Department of Water and Wastewater Services budget.
The Commissioners received Financial Statements, General Fund Water and Wastewater Services Fund for Fiscal Year 2003.
Worton Service Area - Mr. Morris forwarded a copy of correspondence directed to J.J. DeLuca Company Inc., advising of the approval of an additional water and sewer allocation for the Mt. Olive Church.
Kennedyville Lagoon Restoration Project - Mr. Morris advised that he and Commissioner Crow would be attending a meeting with the Maryland Department of Environment on January 30 relating to the Kennedyville lagoon update and repairs.
Quaker Neck Service Area- In follow-up from last week, Mr. Morris reported potential revenue of approximately $18,000 per year from Chestertown should a new service area be developed.
Commissioner Livie stated his opinion that the proposed construction of town homes near the Tri-Gas utilities property, was a great opportunity for both the County and Chestertown unless compelling evidence in the contrary utilizing the existing system water/wastewater system would be the most cost effective and environmentally sound.
In follow-up from January 14, correspondence went forth from Commissioner Livie to Queen Anne's County Commissioner, Ben Cassell, to obtain information on new cost effective technology in treating wastewater.
EASTERN SHORE HERITAGE, INC.
The Commissioners received correspondence from Eastern Shore Heritage Inc., announcing a series of workshops in the Mid-Shore Region to inform participants about the status of the planning for the Heritage Area and identify heritage development projects and opportunities for heritage tourism. A workshop has been scheduled for February 3 at 4:00 p.m. at the Casey Academic Center, Washington College. Additional information about the workshops can be obtained from Eastern Shore Heritage Inc, 410 810-7472.
In response to Kent County's request to join the Mid Shore Regional Council, electronic mail was received from Kevin Morse, Executive Director, Mid Shore Regional Council, Easton, advising that if Kent County were to join, Kent County would not be eligible for EDA funds since Kent County does not meet the distressed area ( per capita income and unemployment rate) statistics.
At 10:15 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 Magnolia Hall Bond Issue, local legislation and shore erosion projects.
The executive session adjourned at 10:25 a.m.
MARYLAND HISTORICAL TRUST
Correspondence was received from Betty Belanus, Ph.D, Education Specialist, Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, Smithsonian Institution, requesting a letter of support to accompany the grant application for the amount of $5,000.00 to the Maryland Historical Trust for the 2004 Smithsonian Folklife Festival's "Mid-Atlantic Maritime Culture" program. The Commissioners concurred to forward a letter of support.
At 1:05 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 conduct interview for the position of county attorney in accordance with State Government Article, Section 10.508 of the Annotated Code of Maryland.
The executive session adjourned at 1:45 p.m.
At 3:00 p.m., a motion was made by Commissioner Livie, seconded by Commissioner Crow, 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 3:05 p.m.
At 3:10 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 conduct interview for the position of county attorney in accordance with State Government Article, Section 10.508 of the Annotated Code of Maryland.
The executive session adjourned at 4:15 p.m.
The Commissioners presented Tyler Brown, Mentoring Coordinator for Kent County Public Schools, with a proclamation declaring January as National Mentoring Month in Kent County. Mr. Brown advised that the mentoring program is an effective means to assist at-risk youth and can be found in educational, business and community settings.
Commissioner Livie proposed that the County allow one hour per week for County employees to participate in a local mentoring program. Commissioner Pickrum and Commissioner Livie reported of personal positive results having been mentors in similar programs. A motion was made by Commissioner Livie, seconded by Commissioner Crow and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum, to have a Resolution drafted for consideration to amend the Personnel Policies and Procedure Manual to allow County employees one hour per week to participate in a mentoring program. Commissioner Crow stated his hopes that by allowing one hour of participation per week would encourage employees to donate an hour or more of their time to the program benefitting local youth.
STILL POND COAST GUARD STATION
Jeff Troester, Director, Parks and Recreation, appeared to discuss the Still Pond Coast Guard Station identified as Federal surplus property. He advised that the application to acquire surplus Federal property has to be submitted by February 9, 2003.
He advised that as a park, the County would be responsible for one mile of roadway, a 9,000 square foot facility, tennis courts, basketball courts, picnic pavilion and beach area. Mr. Troester provided a drawing of the layout of the facility. He advised that he toured the facility and had it inspected by plumbing/heating contractor and although the facility has been vacated for the past five years, the contractor reported all systems had been properly shut down/winterized. Mr. Troester advised that expenses would be incurred to bring the facility to code.
Mr. Troester reported that the beach and shoreline was not conducive to swimming as the currents were too dangerous, but areas could be used for nature trails, etc.
He advised that the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board was formulating a vision for the property's use and recommended it be a seasonal passive park, limiting access given the sensitive environmental conditions. Mr. Troester reported of intentions to use the park as an Environmental Education Center. He reported potential partners such as the local Department of Agriculture, Echo Hill Outdoor School, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, have expressed interest in sharing the facility. The facility could be operated as an environmental education center and possibly a retreat for groups on a professional level. Mr. Troester approximated the operational costs to be $24,000 -$27,000 per year and the assessed value to be $1.4 Million.
Mr. Troester reported that he has heard from neighbors to the proposed park in both positive and negative terms. Commissioner Crow inquired as to addressing the eroding shoreline. Mr. Troester advised that the Coast Guard kept the channel dredged and has not been provided with any erosion mitigation plans.
Kristen Nickerson, a landowner adjacent to the surplus property, was in attendance and stated she and her family had extensive concerns about the property being accessed by the public. She advised of strong feelings against public use of this area citing potential problems with traffic, poaching and vandalism effecting their working farm. She questioned potential zoning changes and the need for farm buffers. She requested a public forum to let the public express their opinions.
Commissioner Livie stated that an informational meeting would be scheduled as public opinion is welcomed. The Board then agreed to hold a public informational meeting on January 28 at 1:00 p.m to give the public an opportunity to express their opinions.
Walter Harris, Still Pond, expressed his desire for the Commissioners to encourage the Coast Guard to maintain a presence in the Upper Chesapeake Bay due to the need for national security since September 11, 2001. He expressed concern that the new Homeland Security Agency would want a Coast Guard presence on the same body of water as the Capitol. He feels operation and maintenance costs would be a burden to the County taxpayers since the County is already maintaining the public beach at Betterton, in addition to Turners Creek and other landings/facilities.
Commissioner Livie concurred that Coast Guard presence would be the best use of the property, however, the property has been declared surplus. Mr. Harris stated his opinion that the decision to make it surplus was prior to September 2001. Commissioner Pickrum requested Congressman Gilchrest be contacted to further discuss the matter. He also advised that if the County does not take possession of the property it could be acquired commercially.
The Commissioners received correspondence from Joan Horsey, Chairperson, Tourism Development Board, advising that the Tourism Board recommended the County relinquish the use of the two-room suite on the second floor and designate the $6,000 per year term of five years for use towards the development of the Visitors' Center Gallery which is lacking in the new facility. The County's presence would be represented by funding as the Tourism Board believes the Tourism Development Office should be developing tourism and encouraging tourism business which would be best suited in the County Government Center.
The Commissioners approved and Commissioner Pickrum signed Lease Agreement by and between the Town of Chestertown and the County Commissioners for rental of a second floor two room suite in the Kent County Visitor's Center for a term of five years beginning February 1, 2003 and ending January 31, 2008 for the sum of $6,000 per year.
The Commissioners approved the relocation of the Tourism Office to the new Visitor's Center at 122 N. Cross Street, Chestertown. Timetable of the relocation will be established at a later time.
There being no further business to claim their attention, the Board adjourned to meet again on Tuesday, January 28, 2003.
Please contact Joyce Laskey or Janice Fletcher at (410) 778-7435 or by e-mail with any questions or comments.