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Board of County Commissioners

February 25, 2003

The Honorable Board of County Commissioners held an evening community meeting (7:00 p.m.) at the Millington Fire Hall with the following present: Roy W. Crow, Scott D. Livie, and William W. Pickrum, presiding.

T. Edward Robinson, County Administrator, was also in attendance. Others in attendance were: Mayor Denis Hager, Council Members Maryland Massey and John Piposzar and approximately ten members of the general public, three members of the media and one representative of the Chamber of Commerce.

Minutes of the previous meeting were approved.

W. Roger Williams, Treasurer, reported a balance of $ 5,196,251.00.

Due to a snowstorm on February 15, 16, and 17 with accumulation approximately 30 inches of snow, the February 18 Board of Commissioners meeting was cancelled.


Millington Mayor Dennis Hager welcomed the Commissioners to Millington and thanked them for their decision to reinstate grant-in-aid to the incorporated towns. He reported that the skate board park is scheduled to reopen on Saturdays and he expressed that he hoped a sense of responsibility will be instilled in youth toward the use of the park.

He provided an update on the Town's Water and Wastewater Expansion project and advised that the wastewater project was moving forward and financing was secured for the water project with bid documents to be completed by April. Mayor Hager expressed his gratitude in the cooperation received from Wayne Morris, Director, Department of Water and Wastewater Services, and the County and commended Mr. Morris on the progress of the project.

Mayor Hager expressed his desire to keep growth alive in Millington and the water and wastewater project will contribute in controlled growth.

Mayor Hager introduced Millington Council members in attendance, Maryland Massey and John Piposzar.


The Commissioners received notification of an informational meeting on April 8, 2003 at the Chestertown Middle School, Chestertown, to discuss the applications for permit renewal submitted by Aberdeen Proving Ground relating to operation and management of controlled hazardous substances.


Due to the weekend snow storm, the public hearing scheduled for February 18 has been

rescheduled for March 25 relating to application submitted by Frank S. Newsome for the purpose of creating an agricultural land preservation district located on Lambs Meadow Road, near Worton, in the Third Election District.


Per the Commissioners' request, Alan E. Peljovich, P.E., Senior Project Engineer, Wilbur Smith Associates, provided an estimate of operating expenses for the proposed Kent County Airport. He estimated an annual revenue of $100,415. Mr. Peljovich recommended the County continue its course in the development of the airport as he estimated an economic impact of approximately $2.6 Million annually over a twenty year period.

Correspondence was received from Robert L. Henderson, M.D., Michael Macielag, President, Chesapeake Bank and Trust, Madelyn Reni, Owner, Spring Cove Marina, and James Douglass, Kennedyville, representing Massey Air Museum, expressing support for the proposed airport project.

Correspondence was received from Betty Causey, Economic Development Director, Dorchester County, advising of the economic advantages of the Dorchester County airport.


The Commissioners received correspondence from Frances Miller, Assistant Superintendent of Administrative Services, advising that the Board of Education Budget will not include any nonrecurring cost expenditures. Commissioner Pickrum expressed concern that the budget did not include costs for books, computers and other technologies for the students. Commissioner Livie expressed concern that the requested increase in the proposed Board of Education budget is mainly for salary increases. He advised of the difficulty presented by the Board of Education requesting a pay increase yet the County has requested County Department Heads for zero base budgeting.


Congressman Wayne T. Gilchrest hosted a public meeting on Thursday, February 20, with representatives of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for discussions of proposed regulations that may effect the Chester River. The meeting was held in the County Commissioners Hearing Room, Kent County Government Center.

Commissioner Livie advised that the meeting was very informative and expressed his gratitude to Congressman Gilchrest for arranging the public meeting.

Electronic mail was received from John Rolfes expressing concern of the EPA's proposed change in water quality standards. Information relating to an EPA contact was forwarded to Mr. Rolfes.


Marty Freeman, Millington, requested the Commissioners' support the Coalition of Life organization to prevent the establishment of a rubble landfill on the Queen Anne's County side of Millington.


Due to the weekend snow storm, the public hearing scheduled for February 18 has been rescheduled for March 4 for second reading of Code Home Rule Bill No. #1-2003 which is an Act to repeal and re-enact with amendments Section 42-2 of Chapter 42 of the Code of Public Local Laws of Kent County titled "Parks and Recreation Advisory Board" adding two Kent County high school students to the advisory board with voting status.


Notice was received from Department of Assessments and Taxation advising of the 2003 Constant Yield Tax Rate for Kent County is $0.969.


On Wednesday, February 12, Commissioners Pickrum and Livie contacted Commissioner Crow by phone who gave his concurrence to approval of Proposal II submitted by JAE Facilitation and Training, Inc. relating to organization development intervention with the leadership of Kent County.


Correspondence was received from Shawn Mathiesen, Information Systems Manager, advising that hardware maintenance contracts with IBM for County equipment have been modified resulting in a cost savings of $1,135 in FY03 and $4,541 in FY 04.


Correspondence was received from Bob Merritt, Maintenance Supervisor, requesting additional funds for fuel for County facilities. Mr. Merritt advised that due to a severe winter, fuel usage has exceeded the budgeted amount of $4,525.00. He stated the need for an additional $5,408.00 to ensure proper heating and hot water. A motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum to fund the fuel expense not to exceed $5,408.00 out of the contingency fund.


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

Tolchester Service Area - Mr. Morris provided a list of the total approved sewer allocations for the Tolchester Service Area as of 2002. Commissioner Crow inquired as to why all allocation fees were not paid. Mr. Morris advised that a building permit would not be issued with an unpaid allocation fee. Commissioner Crow requested the property owners of unpaid fees be reminded of the unpaid status. Mr. Morris advised that correspondence would go forth to the property owners of unpaid allocation fees.

Edesville Service Area - Mr. Morris will be meeting with the Rock Hall Mayor and Council on March 3 at 7:00 p.m. for further discussion relating to connecting the Edesville wastewater system to the Wesley Chapel system with ultimate disposal to the Rock Hall system.

Millington Water Project - In response to inquiry made by Mr. Morris, the Commissioners requested the bid opening be scheduled during a regular meting of the Board. He estimated the project to commence in June.

Piney Neck/Skinners Neck/Wesley Chapel Servicee Area - The Board approved and signed the Public Works Agreement by and between the County Commissioners and John W. and Denise H. Thompson for sewer allocation in this service area.

Millington Wastewater Project - Mr. Morris advised that the notice to proceed will be issued on March 6.

General - Mr. Morris advised that during the snowstorm his staff was unable to reach the wastewater treatment plants, i.e. Tolchester and Worton, to obtain required samples resulting in a violation. The wastewater treatment plants are required to be tested seven days a week. He requested County Roads Division be made aware of the need for assisting his staff reach these facilities in order to obtain required samples. The Commissioners concurred and the Public Works Director will be so advised.

Mr. Morris advised that the Departments 20 year old backhoe is in disrepair and estimated the repairs would cost $3500 - $4500.

The Commissioners approved and Commissioner Pickrum executed two contracts by and between the Commissioners and Constellation New Energy to provide electrical service for the Department of Water and Wastewater Services for March 2003 through May 2004.

Kennedyville Service Area - Mr. Morris advised of a leak under a road in Kennedyville requiring excavation. He had contacted David A. Bramble to provide a crew with a backhoe to assist in the repairs.


Correspondence was received from Warden Ronald Howell advising that the Federal Bureau of Prisons conducted an inspection on February 12 and forwarded the report for review.

He noted that the Federal inspection issued a "well done" to the Correctional staff.

The Commissioners received the Local Jails Capital Improvement Program Policy and Procedures Manual, from David Bezanson, Deputy Secretary, Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.

Correspondence was received from Warden Howell requesting approval to purchase a 2003 Ford Crown Victoria to replace the 1994 Ford Taurus. He reported that per the Delaware State Contract the unit cost for a 2003 Ford Crown Victoria is $20,253.00. He also requested a cage in the amount of $650.00, be installed for the safety and security of the transportation officers for a total amount of $20,903.00. Commissioner Livie inquired as to the possibility of transferring a used vehicle from the Sheriff's Department to the Detention Center rather than purchase a new vehicle. Commissioner Crow requested further discussion with both the Sheriff and Warden Howell.


In follow-up from February 4, the Commissioners received correspondence from Robert Etgen, Executive Director, Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, and Amie Owsley, Director of Community Planning, Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, with additional information relating to Commissioner Crow's concern with property value and zoning. Mr. Etgen and Ms. Owsley provided Maryland Environmental Trust's findings comparing RC-2 zoned land to RC-4 zoned land in Baltimore County.


The Commissioners approved and Commissioner Pickrum executed two contracts by and between the Commissioners and Constellation New Energy to provide electrical service for the Department of Water and Wastewater Services for March 2003 through May 2004.


The Commissioners approved a Raffle Permit for Kent County Jaycees to hold fund raising activities on March 15.


The Commissioners received correspondence from Warner I. Sumpter, Assistant Adjutant General for Army, thanking Kent County for their support in providing a student honor guard to participate in Gubernatorial Inaugural Parade on January 15.


The Commissioners received correspondence Connie Hickman requesting assistance for a homeless person. The correspondence will be forwarded to the Department of Social Services.


Jack Canan, Housing and Community Development Coordinator, appeared to provide an update on the Housing Improvement Program (HIP). He provided a brief history of the HIP program and provided the following statistics:

Phase One 26 Households 48 Persons Assisted

Phase Two 13 Households 23 Persons Assisted

Phase Three 21 Household 44 Persons Assisted

Mr. Canan advised that to date approximately $1.2 Million has been spent on housing rehabilitation in Kent County since the inception of the program in 1996. He reported that Phase Four is in progress with an estimated budget of $185,000 which will rehabilitate six homes. Mr. Canan provided a display of photographs that depicted before and after home rehabilitation.


At the recommendation of Gail Owings, Director of Planning and Zoning Administration, the Commissioners approved to release Irrevocable Letter of Credit from the Chestertown Bank of Maryland for the account of Images, Inc. /Daniel and Mary McHenry in consideration of satisfactory compliance to the Kent County Landscaping Policy.


Correspondence was received from Delegate Joan F. Stern, Legislative District 39, requesting support for HB 244 which will create a $38 Million fund enabling the purchase of technology to trace the origin of cell phones calling 911 systems. The bill would collect 15 cents per month ($1.80 annually) for three years from cell phone users to create the fund. The Commissioners forwarded a letter of support to Delegate Stern and local legislators.

Correspondence went forth to legislators supporting SB 420/HB Dredge Deposits-Creation of Artificial Islands in the Chesapeake Bay - Prohibited Use as Part of Management Plan as well as SB487 /HB697 supporting digital high speed network throughout the State.

The Commissioners sent forth correspondence requesting the withdrawal of HB435/SB417 entitled Kent County - Alcoholic Beverages Inspector - Tobacco and Cigarette Enforcement, based on additional information received on this matter, provided by Ms. Charlene Perry, Adolescent Substance Abuse Coordinator, Kent County Health Department. A local civil ordinance similar to the State law will be submitted in the near future for the Commissioners' review.


The Commissioners received a copy of correspondence from Gloria Urban, Director, Kent County Library, directed to Bronwyn Jones Morison, Galena, responding to concerns expressed relating to the proposed closing of the Galena book drop. This issue will be further discussed at the next meeting of the Board of Library Trustees.


The Commissioners received correspondence from Jon Burrell, Executive Director, Local Government Insurance Trust, (LGIT) responding to the concerns by Health Pool members of the current deficit. He advised that a Deficit Reduction Plan would be assessed. Commissioner Livie commented that the LGIT plan increase for employee health benefits would be another unexpected expense for the County. He advised that average prescription costs increased 29% this year. Commissioner Livie advised that they will be investigating options to reduce costs.


Correspondence was received from Russell Proctor, Galena, expressing concern of truck traffic exceeding the posted speed limit on MD 213 near Galena. A copy of this correspondence was forwarded to the Maryland State Police for further assistance with speed enforcement.


At 1:30 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 personnel interviews with applicants for the position of Economic Development Director in accordance with State Government Article, Section 10.508 of the Annotated Code of Maryland.

The executive session adjourned at 6:30 p.m.

At 9:10 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 9:20 p.m.


The Commissioners signed a proclamation celebrating Elsie Townsend Walbert in honor of her 100th birthday.

The Commissioners signed 25 proclamations recognizing the accomplishments of people in the Union United Methodist Church in Colemans, Kent County.


Correspondence was received from David H. Wilson, Resource Conservation and Development Council, (RC&D) Coordinator, advising that the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Shore Erosion Control has determined that the Staller and Merriken properties qualify for an interest free loan. Mr. Wilson recommended the County sponsor a shore erosion control district in order to help the water quality in the Critical Area.

Mr. Robinson forwarded correspondence to Leonard Larese-Casanova, Director, Shore Erosion Control, Department of Natural Resources, forwarding a formal petition of Jerome Staller and Richard Merriken requesting a feasibility study relating to shore erosion protection on their properties. He advised that if the feasibility results in the establishment of a special tax district, it will be called the Montana Avenue Shore Erosion Control District.


The Commissioners received correspondence from Sheriff John Price, requesting approval to purchase three new cars to replace the 1997 Ford Crown Victoria (K-5) - 106,976 miles, 1997 Ford Crown Victoria (K-8) - 79,995 miles, and a 1997 Ford Crown Victoria (K-13) - total loss in a departmental accident on September 12, 2002. He reported that per the Delaware State Contract the unit cost for a 2003 Ford Crown Victoria is $20,253.00. He also requested the compensation, as a result of the September 12 accident, be used to purchase an in-car video camera, 2 year warranty for video camera, two in-car radar units with antennas and warranty for two radar units for a total amount of $7,353.00. Prior to any decision being made, Sheriff Price will be requested to meet with the Commissioners for further discussion.


The Commissioners received electronic mail from Kim Romana and Barb Knickelbein expressing concern that proposed slot machines will be diverted from other local spending. She provided data correlating higher incidents of bankruptcy where gambling is legalized.


James Saunders inquired as to the schedule for snow removal in the County. Mr. Robinson advised that all routes are planned and the drivers leave Public Works Complex to clear roads simultaneously all over the County. Commissioner Pickrum noted County snow removal equipment is limited.

William Jones, Wyble Road, advised that he lives at the end of the road and the snow was piled in front of his driveway rather than past his driveway. He reported of extreme difficulty in clearing his driveway.

Commissioner Crow commended County Roads Division on a job well done including the County Maintenance Staff for cleaning parking lots, sidewalks, etc. The Commissioners also stated the State of Maryland has been declared an Emergency Area and that the Governor plans to submit request for the President of the United States seeking financial assistance for snow removal costs.


The Commissioners received a copy of correspondence from the Queen Anne's County Board of Commissioners, directed to Senator E.J. Pipkin, advising that local distributions of Highway User Revenues are reduced and requested support in avoiding the resulting lower level of road service due to funding cuts.

Correspondence was received from Richard Lindsay, District Engineer, State Highway Administration, advising that the Still Pond Neighborhood Conservation Project has been placed on hold due to recent funding cuts. He advised that Concept Development and Preliminary Engineering for projects such as Millington and Galena are also identified as being on hold indefinitely.

The Commissioners received a copy of correspondence from Lee Myers, Administrative Assistant, County Roads Division, directed to Becky Black, Maryland Association of Counties (MACo) providing specific data reflecting the deficit Kent County Roads Division will incur as a result of reduced Highway User Funds. Mrs. Myers advised that Highway User Funds was reduced by 32% - $616,598 from the FY 03 estimate.

Millington Council Member John Piposzar commented that the State Highway Administration did a good job during the recent snowstorm.


The Commissioners received correspondence from Ronald Landon, Rock Hall/Downingtown, PA, advising that he did not receive a property tax bill since it was forwarded to a former address. While preparing his 2002 tax returns, he discovered his 2002 taxes have not been paid and late fees have accrued. Request was made that some or all of the late fee be waived. A motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum to decline to waive the late fee so as not to set a precedent. Mr. Landon will be so advised.


The Commissioners received the tourism progress report for the month of January as prepared by Bernadette Van Pelt, Director, Tourism Development.

There being no further business to claim their attention, the Board adjourned to meet again on Tuesday, March 4, 2003


Please contact Joyce Laskey or Janice Fletcher at (410) 778-7435 or by e-mail with any questions or comments.

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