KENT COUNTY, MARYLAND
Board of County Commissioners
February 4, 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 $ 6,399,195.00.
The Commissioners expressed interest in investigating possibilities of establishing a program to offer various tax sale properties at a minimum cost with conditions to interested persons for restoration purposes.
The Commissioners received correspondence from A.J. Mathwich, President, Microspec Systems, Church Hill, and Stephen R. Seningen, Millington, expressing support for the proposed Kent County airport project.
AMERICAN FARMLAND TRUST
Correspondence was received from Andy Andrews, American Farmland Trust, forwarding two studies completed by the Farmland Trust in Kent County. The studies, Kent County Cost of Community Services Study and Agricultural Industry Profile, analyzes the financial demands of public services and estimates the economic impact of agriculture.
CHESTER RIVER ASSOCIATION
In follow-up from January 21 notification that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to roll back water quality standards on the Chester River, Andy McCown, President, Chester River Association, Dr. Eileen McLellan, Chester Riverkeeper, was invited to appear to discuss the matter. Mr. McCown advised that the Chester River Association has been working to protect and restore the Chester River, however, since they have not made significant strides in improving the river they hired the Chester Riverkeeper, Dr. McLellan, to assist in learning and bringing about changes to the river. He stated that the Chester River is on the list of impaired waterways in Maryland and a consumption alert has been issued on fish taken from the river.
Dr. McLellan thanked the Commissioners for their support and statement expressing concern relating to the reduction of water quality standards according to the EPA. She advised of meetings scheduled in Rock Hall, Chestertown and Queen Anne's County to share
information about the river in preparation for the meeting scheduled on February 20 hosted by Congressman Wayne Gilchrest to be held at 400 High Street, Commissioners Hearing Room, to discuss the status of the Chester River with the EPA. Dr. McLellan expressed concern that the EPA did not expect local meetings to influence their final position. She expressed concern that designating the lower Chester River as a "dead zone" would economically impact fishing industry and risk eligibility for State/Federal funding for restoration.
Dr. McLellan further reported that the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, who rely on taxpayer dollars and has based their charter on science rather than politics, advised that there is not scientific data to warrant the statements made about the condition of the River.
Dr. McLellan offered her services and assistance in seeking funding and noted that she could assist with locating funding for the upgrade of County wastewater treatment facilities which will have a positive environmental impact. The Commissioners thanked Mr. McCown and Dr. McLellan and advised that Wayne Morris, Director, Department of Water and Wastewater Services would be in contact. Commissioner Pickrum stated that all the County wastewater treatment facilities were a concern and her assistance would be welcomed. Dr. McLellan requested the Commissioners to keep local delegation apprised of the status of the Chester River.
Commissioner Livie also offered , once information is received from Queen Anne's County Commissioner Cassell, as to cost effective wastewater treatment option, will be forwarded to Dr. McLellan for review.
CODE HOME RULE
First reading was held on Code Home Rule Bill No. 1-2003, which is an Act to repeal and reenact with amendments Section 42-2 of Chapter 42 of the Code of Public Local Law of Kent County (1994 Edition) titled "Parks and Recreation Advisory Board" adding two (2) Kent County high school students to the Advisory Board, with voting status.
A public hearing has been scheduled for Tuesday, February 18, 2003, at 9:45 a.m. at the County Commissioners' Hearing Room, County Government Center, 400 High Street, Chestertown, Maryland.
The Commissioners will hold their regular meeting on February 25 at the Fire Hall in Millington beginning at 7:00 p.m. and at the Kent County High School Auditorium on March 18 beginning at 8:30 a.m.
A conference call was held by the Commissioners with a professional facilitator to discuss the Board's interest in building an effective and cohesive leadership team that will move leadership toward the County Commissioners' goals and objectives. A proposal will be forthcoming for consideration.
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
Correspondence was received from Marsha J. Kaiser, Director, Office of Planning and Capital Programming, Department of Transportation, attaching a copy of the MD Department of Transportation's Consolidated Transportation Program and Attainment Report on Transportation System Performance.
DEPARTMENT OF WATER AND WASTEWATER SERVICES
Wayne Morris, Director, Department of Water and Wastewater Services, appeared to report on the following issues:
Piney Neck Service Area - Mr. Morris forwarded correspondence from Cynthia Padovani, Langhorne, PA, requesting their property at 4880 Ashley Road be reclassified to a vacant lot as it relates to water/wastewater fees. Ms. Padovani advised that she purchased a vacant lot in March of 2002. The Commissioners approved the request as presented.
Edesville Service Area - Mr. Morris recommended that the County refrain from making available any more allocations in the Edesville service area. He advised that he will contact the Town of Rock Hall to follow-up on the Commissioners' letter of October 29, 2002, seeking interest to connect the Edesville service area to the Rock Hall system.
Quaker Neck Annexation - Correspondence went forth to Chestertown Mayor and Council expressing appreciation for meeting on the annexation issue and documenting their support for the annexation and the developer using the existing County sewer line. The Director of Water & Wastewater Services will work with the developer to facilitate his project's water and sewer needs.
General - In follow-up from last week, Mr. Morris recommended Constellation Energy to be the electric utility provider for 5 of the 35 Department of Water and Wastewater accounts. He reported that a 15 month contract with Constellation Energy will result in a $6,000 cost savings, an 8% savings. Mr. Morris advised that the contract had been reviewed by Susanne Hayman, County Attorney. A motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum to accept the recommendation as presented. Commissioner Livie requested the information be forwarded to other County departments in order to attempt to reduce operating costs.
Kennedyville Lagoon Restoration Project - Mr. Morris reported on the January 30 meeting with Maryland Department of Environment (MDE) that he and Commissioner Crow attended. He advised that a consent order would be forthcoming from MDE. He advised of discussion to use a mechanical type of treatment such as irrigation rather than the lagoon as it would be economical and environmentally beneficial. Commissioner Crow advised that repairing the lagoon would not be a long term environmental remedy as the lagoons discharge into a stream and mechanical type treatment does not. Mr. Morris advised that the mechanical type treatment would allow the lagoon to be used while the mechanical type treatment was under construction and alleviate the need to have a temporary treatment center during restoration. Commissioner Crow inquired if the restoration project would effect new home construction in the Kennedyville Service Area. Mr. Morris advised that any new home construction would not impact the Kennedyville service area for a year. He stated that this project should not impede new home construction.
At the recommendation of Gail Owings, Director of Planning and Zoning Administration, the Commissioners approved to accept Letter of Credit from the Peoples Bank of Kent County for the account of John I. Beiler to guarantee compliance to the Stormwater Management Ordinance and road construction for the extension of Dogwood Drive.
EASTERN SHORE LAND CONSERVANCY
Robert Etgen, Executive Director, Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, and Amie Owsley, Director of Community Planning, Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, provided an update on the land use agreement, Eastern Shore: 2010 A Regional Vision, and Land Protection Programs. They presented the Commissioners with a framed signed copy of the agreement signed by five other Eastern Shore counties.
Mr. Etgen concluded the presentation with the hope of preserving and protecting more land. Commissioner Crow expressed concern with the formula that determines the value of land during the preservation process. Mr. Etgen reported that he would be evaluating the data associated with zoning and land values.
Correspondence was received from David H. Wilson, RC&D Coordinator, requesting payment in the amount of $150.00 for the cost of the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) required sign relating to the completed Fox Hole Estates erosion control project.
Correspondence was received from Gary B. Fry, Deputy Health Officer, advising of $27,735.30 remaining in local county funds from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene for FY02. Since the Kent County Health Department has no special needs prompting to request permission to use these funds at the present time, Mr. Fry forwarded a check in that amount to go back in the County's General Fund.
HOUSING AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT
The Commissioners approved and Commissioner Pickrum signed Agreements and Subcontract with Interfaith Housing and Development Corporation and a letter of intent to participate in Maryland Housing Rehabilitation Program.
LAND USE ORDINANCE
In response to submission of Land Use Ordinance, adopted on December 3, 2002, correspondence was received from Chesapeake bay Critical Area Committee, requesting adjustments and additional supporting documents. Gail Owings, Director, Planning and Zoning Administration, will be addressing these concerns.
At 11:00 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 litigation, Tolchester Shore Erosion Control Project, Special Loan Program, Nuisance Ordinance and application to acquire U.S. Coast Guard Station property.
The executive session adjourned at 11:20 a.m.
The County Administrator reported that Senator Pipkin has introduced legislation to create a Upper Shore Regional Council to include the counties of Cecil, Kent and Queen Anne's that would provide eligibility of Federal funding for economic development, transportation and water and sewer projects.
At 12:15 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 pending litigation as it relates to Knocks Folly.
The executive session adjourned at 12:25 p.m.
LOCAL GOVERNMENT INSURANCE TRUST
John Burrell, Vice President, Richard A. Furst, Senior Loss Control Manager, Local Government Insurance Trust (LGIT), appeared to present the Five Year Safety Council Recognition Award. Lee Ann Myers, Administrative Assistant, Ed Spray, Superintendent County Roads, Wayne Morris, Director, Water and Wastewater Services, Jeff Troester, Director, Parks and Recreation, Lorraine Sexton, Personnel Coordinator, members of the Safety Council were also in attendance. Mr. Burrell advised that Kent County was a charter member of LGIT and was one of only two recipients to receive this award. Mr. Burrell commended the Safety Council and their contributions.
At 1:15 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 2:15 p.m.
PLANNING AND ZONING COMMISSION
Amy Moredock, Environmental Planner, forwarded the Washington College Sustainable Community Development class schedule for their reference.
Ms. Moredock forwarded a summary of the open dialogue that was held on Wednesday, January 29, at Washington College. The Planning Commission hosted the forum to gather information from the community relating to permitted densities in the Agricultural Zoning Districts (enclave provision).
The Commissioners appointed Bernadette Van Pelt as the County's Public Relations Specialist in addition to her duties as Tourism Director. The terms and conditions of her current employment contract will remain unchanged.
At the recommendation of Gail Owings, Director of Planning & Zoning Administration, the Commissioners approved to accept Letter of Credit from the Peoples Bank of Kent County for the account of Stephen R. Stoltzfus, J. Stoltzfus, LLC T/A Andover Acres to guarantee compliance to the Sediment Control Ordinance.
The Commissioners received correspondence from the Executive Board of Directors for the Shared Opportunity Services Kent Family Center requesting a presence on the Local Management Board.
SHORE EROSION CONTROL
The Commissioners approved to submit request to the Department of Natural Resources, Shore Erosion Control Division, to request a feasibility study to be conducted on the Tolchester project in a follow up to petition filed by Jerome M. Staller and Richard Merriken.
STATE HIGHWAY ADMINISTRATION
In follow-up from January 28 meeting with Chestertown Mayor Bailey and Council members at which Mayor Bailey requested assistance in addressing traffic issues with the State Highway Administration, Bob Kiel, Assistant District Engineer, and Jeff Wentz, Traffic Engineer, State Highway Administration, Mayor Bailey and Bill Ingersoll, Town Manager, appeared to propose a "round about" at intersection of MD Route 20 and MD Route 291 and a flashing light in front of Kent & Queen Anne's Rescue Squad.
Mr. Kiel advised that he had been in contact with the Rescue Squad and a traffic/location evaluation was performed in May 2002. He reported that the Rescue Squad had an excellent view of traffic and a flashing light according to their guidelines was not warranted at this time. Commissioner Pickrum stated MD 291 spur is heavily used and traffic may impact response time. Commissioner Crow advised of the number of calls to be approximately 1200 annually as reported at the annual Kent/Queen Anne's Rescue Squad dinner. Mr. Kiel advised that the State Highway Administration would look at the area and update the data. Commissioner Livie commented that since the issue is being revisited from 2002 may demonstrate a concern by the Community.
Relating to the MD Route 20 and MD Route 291 intersection, Mr. Kiel presented a drawing with minor modifications to roadway adding turn lanes allowing for the continual flow of traffic. He advised that the intersection was not a high accident incident area and noted that a "round about" was an expensive remedy for low accident intersection. Commissioner Crow stated that the remedy presented appeared to be a temporary fix rather than a long term solution. Mayor Bailey advised that traffic would be increasing in the area due to a proposed plan for additional housing. Mr. Ingersoll advised that Richard Lindsay, District Engineer, State Highway Administration, initially discussed the "round about" proposal several years ago and in light of the status of two properties where right of way may need to be acquired, further investigation was warranted. Mr. Kiel advised that if the properties were developed they could share expenses. Mr. Ingersoll advised that he would prefer the right of way be acquired before development. Mr. Kiel advised that purchasing the right of way was a costly portion of the project. Mayor Bailey requested that plans for the round about be reviewed. Commissioner Pickrum requested a long term remedy be considered.
In other matters, Mayor Bailey inquired as to the status of the Chestertown Bypass. Mr Kiel advised that the project was not in future plans and suggested she contact the Secretary of Transportation and Queen Anne's County Commissioners to seek their support.
Mayor Bailey inquired when lights could be expected at intersection of Campus Avenue and Washington Avenue and Washington Square Plaza. Mr. Wentz advised of the current schedule for Campus Avenue light was March 2003, and the Washington Plaza light was dependent on the developer. He reported that the permit for the light expired in May and he would remind the developer of their obligation.
Mayor Bailey expressed concern of pedestrian safety at the intersection of Cross Street and High Street and reported of a recent pedestrian accident. She suggested restricting turning on red may help with the situation. Mr. Kiel advised he would investigate the matter.
In follow-up from January 7, Commissioner Crow expressed his concern relating to a four-way stop at Massey and Sassafras intersections. Mr. Wentz advised that a traffic study of the area would take place.
In follow-up from January 7 meeting with the State Highway Administration, the Commissioners received correspondence from Richard K. Lindsay, District Engineer, advising that the traffic concerns relating to MD 299/MD313/MD33 in and Massey and MD 299 in Sassafras will be reviewed during the spring and summer months to include construction and farming vehicles.
Upon consideration given to discussion held a meeting held with the incorporated towns on February 4, a motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum to appropriate Grant-in-Aid funding to the incorporated towns for a four year period. This decision was made based on interest in partnering with the incorporated towns to help offset the impact of State funding decreases, expected over the next several years. Town representatives will be scheduled for the February 11 meeting to so advise of the Commissioners' decision. A Press Release will also be available for distribution.
The Commissioners received correspondence from Bernadette Van Pelt, Tourism Director, requesting the Commissioners' view in responding to the Maryland Tourism Council legislative survey relating to endorsing slot machines at racetracks. The Commissioners declined to participate in this survey.
UPPER SHORE AGING
The Commissioners received a copy of correspondence from Carl Burke, Executive Director, Upper Shore Aging, directed to Arena & Company, who performed the Upper Shore Aging building project stating many problems with the project.
U. S. COAST GUARD STATION
The Commissioners approved and signed Resolution of Authority to Acquire Property as it relates to the U.S. Coast Guard Station surplus property as well as Acceptance of Terms and Conditions to be submitted to the U. S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, for the acquisition of this property which will be subject to assignment to the National Park Service for disposal of a public park or recreational purposes. A Press Release will be submitted advising of the application submission and that the application is the first step in acquiring the property and the final transfer will be determined by the Federal Government. Kent County intends to use the facility primarily as an educational center. Kent County will not incur any cost for the acquisition should the property be transferred.
The Commissioners received correspondence from Lee Myers, Worton, expressing support for the County to acquire the Still Pond Coast Guard Station
WATER MANAGEMENT ADMINISTRATION
Correspondence was received from John Stoltzfus, Kennedyville, advising that he has filed an application with the Maryland Water Management Administration, for a permit to use and appropriate water with an annual usage of 730,000 gallons per day. The project is located near Lambson-Millington Road, Kennedyville. To obtain information relating to this project, contact the Water Management Administration, Baltimore, (410) 537-3590.
In follow-up from Commissioner Livie's inquiries last week relating to the County and Board of Education wireless connections and if other businesses/residents would have the same opportunity, Shawn Mathiesen, Information Systems Manager, and Steve Wilson, Supervisor of Technology, Board of Education, appeared to discuss the matter. Mr. Wilson apprised the Commissioners of the current wireless network including Kent County Schools, Kent County Government Center and Public Works Complex providing internet service via a T1 line. He advised that the MD.Network project was not productive at this time and recommended the County review the Allegany County network as a model. Mr. Wilson reported that their network is inexpensive, easy to implement and includes business subscribers. He also advised of the drawbacks associated with wireless due to the limited bandwidth available and the possibility of two geographically close subscribers vying for the same bandwidth channels. Mr. Wilson forwarded a summary of the Allegany project for review.
Commissioner Crow inquired if there were any physical limitations such as distance, etc. Mr. Wilson advised that after a 15 mile distance wireless communications requires repeaters to further the signal. Ms. Mathiesen noted that tower height and topography also were factors in wireless transmission. Commissioner Crow inquired in wireless transmission could be an option for the entire County. Ms. Mathiesen advised that all regions in the County would have access to wireless communication with the exception of Betterton. Commissioner Livie stated that the challenge would be to make it available to business sectors and consumers.
Attendee, Michael Waal, USA Fulfillment, advised that it is his understanding that Delmarva On Line would like to have presence in Chestertown to provide wireless services, however, could not find affordable cell tower space. Commissioner Livie inquired if water towers could substitute for cell tower in placing wireless antennas. Ms. Mathiesen noted that the Court House tower is vacant.
Mr. Waal suggested a consortium of consumers be formed in order to encourage competitive pricing from service providers.
There being no further business to claim their attention, the Board adjourned to meet again on Tuesday, February 11, 2003.
Please contact Joyce Laskey or Janice Fletcher at (410) 778-7435 or by e-mail with any questions or comments.