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Board of County Commissioners

March 11, 2003

The Honorable Board of License Commissioners met today with the following present:

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.

W. Roger Williams, Treasurer, reported a balance of $ $ 6,961,529.00.


Notification was received from Aberdeen Proving Ground advising that as a result of the weather, start date for destruction of the mustard gas agent stockpile has been revised to begin within the next few weeks. Further notification will be received when agent destruction commences.


Correspondence was received from Anne Eriksen, Delaware Chapter 99s, Delaware Pilot's Association, Dr. Frederick Wyman, Chestertown, Jonathan Jones, General Manager, Haven Harbour Marina, Hugh B. Horning, Wilmington, DE, R. Raymond Tarrach, President, Chestertown Bank of Maryland, and Randall Cooper, Radcliffe Corporate Services, Inc., expressing support for the proposed Kent County Airport.

Correspondence was received from Frank Hudson expressing his opposition to the proposed airport project.

Gail Owings, Director, Planning and Zoning Administration, reported that the Agricultural Advisory Commission on March 5, met and voted to approve the proposed airport project.


The Commissioners hosted a bi-county luncheon meeting at the Old Wharf Inn, Chestertown, with the Queen Anne's County Commissioners. Those in attendance were Kent County Commissioners William Pickrum, Roy W. Crow and Scott D. Livie, T. Edward Robinson, County Administrator and Janice F. Fletcher, Executive Assistant; representing Queen Anne's County were County Commissioners Benjamin F. Cassell, Jr., President, Gene M. Ransom, III, Vice President, Michael S. Koval, and Rodney "Nemo" Neidomanski, Members, Queen Anne's County Commissioners, Steve Walls, Acting Administrator, and Margie Houck, Clerk to the Commissioners. Commissioner Joseph Cupani was not in attendance.

Items of discussion included the following:

Chestertown Bypass - The Commissioners advised of the growing need for a Chestertown Bypass . Commissioner Pickrum stated the increasing traffic on Washington Avenue is detrimental in this residential area and requested the Queen Anne's County Commissioners to give this project consideration in order for the State Highway Administration to proceed with its project development phase. Commissioner Cassell advised that he received word during the campaign that many Kingstown residents are in favor of this project due to the increased traffic problems along Maryland Route 213. It was Commissioner Koval's preference to have the State Highway Administration to encourage traffic to remain on U. S. Route 301 rather than turning off on Maryland Route 213. The Kent County Commissioners felt this suggestion would be an inconvenience to those traveling to various areas in Kent County.

Upper Shore Regional Council - Both Boards of County Commissioners were in agreement to the need of an Upper Shore Regional Council. It was noted that Senate Bill 525 relating to the establishment of the Council has been approved by the Senate. House Bill 662 will be heard in the House Environmental Committee on March 13.

Peacock Corner/ No. 10 School Road Bridge - Kent County's Federal Bridge Funding is currently exhausted, therefore, this replacement project will continue to be tabled.

Health Insurance - Commissioner Livie advised that a representative from Informed will be giving a presentation on health insurance options at the next meeting of the Upper Shore Association of Counties on April 2. There is great concern among the participants of LGIT as to significant increase in costs.

Dave's Cove Reclamation Center - Concerns expressed by Marty Freeman at the February 25 Community Commissioners' Meeting as to the proposed rubblefill was passed on to the Queen Anne's County Commissioners.


Al Hanifee, Chairman, Board of Education, Dr. Bonnie Ward, Superintendent of Schools, Joan Bufone, Assistant Superintendent, Frances W. Miller, Assistant Superintendent of Administrative Services, appeared to present the Kent County Public Schools proposed FY 04 Budget. Pat Merritt, Director of Budget and Accounting was also in attendance.

Mr. Hanifee defined his position according to the Maryland State Law, summarizing that the majority of the policy decisions the Board makes relates to the school system's employees. He reported neighboring counties proposed to increase teacher salaries 4% -6%. He concluded by inviting the Commissioners to join them in requesting the State to use a different formula in measuring the county wealth which directly affects State funding allocations in the County.

Dr. Ward presented highlights from the budget which included staff compensation, professional development aligned to system goals and safe, secure and well maintained schools/classrooms. She reported that the operating budget totaling $22,144,981 includes a request for $1,194,439 over last's year's appropriation. Dr. Ward estimated that the student population would decrease by 68 students.

Commissioner Pickrum expressed his disappointment that the entire Board of Education was not present for today's meeting. He stated that the fiscal limitations of the State will be imposed on the County. He stated his initial concerns with the budget as requesting further delineation of the interest income as well as treating the fund balance as a recurring revenue stream. Commissioner Pickrum expressed concern that because the fund balance declined, the Board of Education is requesting the decrease be funded by the County. Ms. Miller addressed the interest income inquiry by stating that interest was earned on monies received. Commissioner Pickrum noted that interest should not be garnered from County funds. Ms. Miller advised that Federal, State and County funds were all deposited in the same account bearing interest. Commissioner Pickrum noted that while the Board of Education is investing funds and getting interest, the County is borrowing money to fund the school system. Pat Merritt stated that it appeared as though the fund balance was built into the budget and suggested a method be established to mitigate peaks and valleys of cash flow in order to. Dr. Ward explained that education has a unique position of an automatic increment pay raise each year the 2% is a negotiated increase with the teachers union.

Commissioner Crow inquired as to the proposed 2% increase as well as an increment for teachers and administration. He inquired as to how many teachers were employed. Ms. Miller advised of a total of 202 teacher, however, twelve are funded by grants.

Commissioner Pickrum stated his concern that it was doubtful that County employees would be given a cost of living increase, while the Board of Education is requesting a larger budget while enrollment is decreasing. Commissioner Pickrum stated that this Board is dedicated to the school system, however, limited resources may dictate difficult fiscal decisions. At this time, the Commissioners may not commit to any additional funding over the FY 03 Maintenance of Effort allocation.

Commissioner Crow expressed concern of youth not staying in the County because of the lack of opportunities and advised that this Board is moving forward with Economic Development in an attempt to provide opportunities for our graduates.

Dr. Ward confirmed that the Commissioners wished the Board of Education budget to focus on current funding for Maintenance of Effort and if additional funds become available, the budget can be amended.

Commissioner Livie stated that he would like the Board of Education and the Board of Commissioners address the funding irregularities with legislators as it relates to the Thorton formula. The Commissioners thanked the Board of Education for the budget preparation and requested work sessions be scheduled after the Board of Education has made necessary adjustments.


Correspondence was received from Florence Sutton, Board of Election Supervisors, advising of notice from the Board of Education that office space currently being leased by the Board of Elections in the Board of Education Building would not be available as of July 1. She requested further investigation be made by County representation as to leasing space for both office space and voting machine storage space.


Correspondence was received from Skip James, Charter Communications, advising of his acceptance to fill the position of Governmental Relations Coordinator for Delaware and Maryland to assist franchise authorities with information and to maintain a more effective link between local governments and constituents.


Commissioner Pickrum inquired of Gail Owings, Director, Planning and Zoning Administration, as to a schedule for updating the Comprehensive Plan. Mrs. Owings advised that her budget did not include expenses to update the Comprehensive Plan, however, she advised that her staff could proceed with reviewing the plan.


The County Administrator received electronic mail from Anne Livie, LMB Director, advising the House Appropriations Committee will be hearing House Bill 998 "Creation of a State Debt - Kent County- Kent County Community Center" on March 18 at 2:00 p.m. Commissioner Pickrum agreed to speak on behalf of the Board of County Commissioners.


Commissioner Pickrum advised that at 7:00 a.m. this morning, the Commissioners went to Public Works Complex to meet with County employees who assisted in snow removal to express gratitude for their dedicated efforts and contributions above and beyond their normal duties keeping the roadways clear and assisting motorists during the Presidents' Day weather emergency. The Commissioners expressed a heartfelt thank you for a job well done.

The Commissioners received correspondence from Ed Spray, Supervisor, County Roads, advising that a section of the roof on the lean-to attached to the sand shed collapsed under the weight of the snow. He expressed concern that this could also occur to the proposed truck canopy due to the length of trusses. Mr Spray reported that the after contacting the construction company who will be building the new truck canopy the cost to reinforcing the design would be $5,000. He advised that the funds budgeted for the storage shed end of the shop, could be used to defray the cost of the reinforced design. A motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum to approve the request as presented.


John Plaskon, Executive Director, Crossroads Community, Inc., appeared to provide information on the Shore Alliance for Independent Living (SAIL). He advised that SAIL is partnering with Interfaith Housing, who work to provide low income housing, in an effort to provide opportunity for individuals with mental illness to live independently. He advised that the purpose of the meeting was informational in nature and projected eight to ten homes would be purchased for renovation. Mr. Plaskon reported that the next step after successfully being treated at Crossroads Community, Inc., was to live independently to work towards employment and education goals. He advised that the organization serves five counties on the Eastern Shore. Commissioner Crow inquired as to the number of homes Crossroads Community, Inc., operates. Mr. Plaskon advised that 4 homes were located in Centreville, 6 homes in Chestertown and 2 in Cambridge. He further noted that Kent and Queen Anne's Counties have been targeted as home locations since 1984. Commissioner Crow inquired if individuals were from the area or brought in from other regions. Mr. Plaskon advised that residents in Crossroads Community homes were local and that the homes are chosen due to their proximity to stores and physicians/health services. Commissioner Livie inquired as to the status of the homes in College Heights. He advised that a contract has been signed and renovations are underway. The Commissioners thanked Mr. Plaskon for attending.


Correspondence was received from Patrick J. Carney, Director, and Rev. Rob Townsend, Chair, Department of Social Services (DSS) advising of a critical staff shortage due to the State hiring freeze imposed in October 2001. Existing resources have been realigned , however, it has become difficult for his staff to administrate non-mandated programs and maintain compliance in the core service areas with their current staffing level. The Commissioners were requested to assist in addressing funding shortages and requested a position be funded by the County. This request will be considered during the FY 04 budget process.

The Commissioners approved and Commissioner Pickrum signed Emergency and Transitional Services Program ((ETHS) and Homeless Prevention Program (HPP) grant application for FY 04- FY 06 as prepared by the Department of Social Services.


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

Fairlee Service Area - Per Mr. Morris's recommendation, the Commissioners approved a sewer allocation for Arlene Douglas, Partner, Tom and AB, LLC, Tax Map 35, Parcel 15, Fairlee.

Tolchester Service Area - Per Mr. Morris's recommendation, the Commissioners approved a sewer allocation for Charles Smith, Tax Map 35A, Parcel 264, Tolchester.

In follow-up from February 25, Mr. Morris advised James McGuire wished to relinquish his allocation since he has no intention of building for several years.

Millington Wastewater Expansion Project - Mr. Morris advised the first project meeting took place and noted the contractor requested an extension on the project. Mr. Morris recommended the contractor document the matters of issue and submit it to the engineer. A request for time extension would be addressed at the end of the project.

Kennedyville Lagoon Project - Mr. Morris reported that he is continuing to work towards securing funding as well as with Barry Ebersole of McCrone, Inc., to modify the original design.

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


Warden Ronnie Howell appeared with Dr. Ron Grubman, President, CONMED, Inc.,to discuss medical services they provide for Detention Center inmates. Dr. Grubman advised that inmates were constitutionally guaranteed medical services and CONMED, Inc., addresses both medical and mental health issues. He reported that the current agreement between the Detention Center and CONMED, Inc., provides 71.5 hours of medical coverage per week. Dr. Grubman reported of the trend of an aging inmate population with a greater variety of health issues than in previous years. He recommended an increase in medical staffing to reduce out of facility medical visits and to reduce liability. Dr. Grubman reported that last year malpractice premiums for CONMED, Inc., were $40,000 and have increased 800% to $300,000 this year. Commissioner Livie inquired if inmates were enrolled in any preferred provider programs. Dr. Grubman advised that inmates could not be enrolled in programs but he attempted to negotiate with hospitals for reduced rate for services. Commissioner Livie suggested local counties form a consortium to obtain reduced rate medical services and noted the idea would be broached a the next Upper Shore Association of Counties meeting.

Dr. Grubman reported that legislation is in progress regulating fees for medical services (for inmates) to be limited to Medicare rates. He noted that medication costs had been reduced by obtaining pharmaceuticals from a pharmacy that allows the return of drugs from this transient population.

Dr. Grubman concluded by recommending additional medical services at the Detention Center to meet the increase in population, medical complications that will ultimately lessen the liability and safety risk. The Commissioners thanked Dr. Grubman for his presentation.

The Commissioners received correspondence from Warden Howell requesting approval to have CONMED, Inc., provide medical services coverage 24 hour/seven days a week to reduce hospital stays and emergency room transport. CONMED, Inc., provided a quote for 24 hour/seven days a week coverage for the amount of $181,791.48. He advised that he has requested a 16 hour/seven days a week quote as well as contacted Local Government Insurance Trust (LGIT) to evaluate the impact to liability costs.

The County Administrator advised that the cost for CON-MED services for the next fiscal year for current rate of coverage is proposed to increase from $112,806 to $120,072. No decision will be made until other health insurance options for inmates be explored.


A memorandum received from the Director of Budget and Accounting advising that during the Fiscal Year 2003 Budget Process, the Health Department did not submit for a rent increase which occurred on January 1. The amount of increase is $285.41 per month totaling $1,712.46. The Commissioners approved this expenditure using funding recently returned by the Health Department.


The Commissioners forwarded correspondence to Governor Robert Ehrlich requesting assistance in bringing a mutually amenable resolution to Maryland Historical Trust and Mr. and Mrs. Jon Mullen relating to Maryland Historical Trust's request for the Mullen's to raze a garage and entrance gates citing violation to a preservation easement.


At 3:45 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.

Correspondence was received from Patricia I. Quinn requesting specific details on further negotiations in acquiring the land for the proposed airport project.

The executive session adjourned at 4:30 p.m.


Gail Owings, Director, Planning and Zoning Administration, reported that the Planning and Zoning Administration is continuing to receive comments on the Land Use Ordinance from the Chesapeake Bay Critical Areas Commission. This Commission plans to hold a public hearing on March 19 in the Commissioners Hearing Room.


At 1:55 p.m., a motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum to go into executive session with Susanne Hayman, County Attorney, for legal counsel in accordance with State Government Article, Section 10.508 of the Annotated Code of Maryland.

Items of discussion included Kent County Nuisance Ordinance and contracts relating to Millington Service Area.

The executive session adjourned 2:05 p.m.


Commissioner Crow, on behalf of the Board of Commissioners, will plan to testify on March 13 before the House Environmental Committee in support of House Bill 662 as it relates to the Upper Shore Regional Council.


The Commissioners received copy of correspondence from Thomas Duncan, President, Upper Shore Association of Counties, directed to Governor Ehrlich expressing appreciation for support of the start of construction on the first mile of the MD Route 404 Dualization Project.


At 2:05 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 2:10 p.m.

At 2:20: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 3:35 p.m.


Gail Owings, Director, Planning and Zoning Administration, reported on the March 6 Planning Commission meeting. She advised that election of officers took place with Elizabeth H. Morris continuing as Chairman and William S. Sutton was elected Vice Chairman. She also reported that the bylaws were amended to address more than two unexcused absences by Planning Commission members.


In follow-up from January 28, Gail Owings, Director, Planning and Zoning Administration, reported that the planning and zoning appeals from the County and incorporated towns plan to meet on March 29.


Charlene Perry, Program Manager, Health, Promotion & Wellness, Kent County Health Department, Gary Fry, Deputy Health Director, Andrea Edwards, Sheila Lomax, Ruth Briscoe, and Janet Johnson, representing the Community Health Coalition, appeared to discuss Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month Proclamation and " Smoking Stops Here" Program sponsored by the Kent County Health Department.

Mrs. Perry advised that as a result of the tobacco settlement and cigarette restitution, funds are provided for two programs, " Smoking Stops Here" and Colorectal Cancer Awareness/Screening. She reported that a Citizens Against Smoking (CATS) team was in place and presented a short video highlighting personal stories of smoking cessation. The Commissioners presented Certificates of Appreciation to Jessica Vogel and Sheila Lomax for their work and dedication eliminate smoking. Miss Vogel, a ninth grade student, designed a anti-smoking bumper sticker and has been a role model for her peers and sibling taking a stand against smoking. Ms. Lomax was recognized for her years of work and dedication in the CATS team.

Mrs. Perry noted current proposed legislation, HB 439 " Tobacco Products - Restrictions on Display or Storage" which restricts the placement of tobacco product to ensure minors do not take tobacco products.

Janet Johnson advised of National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month and reported that colon cancer is the second leading cancer in Kent County. She advised of programs to provide colon cancer screening to a larger population and all should have a colonoscopy at age fifty. Commissioner Pickrum noted that African-Americans should be screened at age 40. Ms. Johnson concurred and emphasized that colon cancer is preventable. Commissioner Pickrum read and presented the proclamation.


Correspondence was received from James Urda expressing support for the proposed Rails to Trails program in Chestertown. He noted of pending deadline for submitting request for Federal funding. Mr. Urda is scheduled to meet with the Commissioners on March 18 for further discussion.


Correspondence was received from Marguerite H. Prueitt, Group Study Exchange (GSE) Chairman, representing Rotary District 7630, Group Study Exchange Program, advising that Carla Martin has been selected as part of a five person team to make up a Group Study Exchange sponsored by 44 Rotary clubs in Delaware and the Eastern Shore of Maryland to visit the southern Brazilian State of Parana for the month of April. The exchange is vocational in nature and will include architectural monuments, mass transportation and high emphasis on citizenship as part of urban planning. This experience is designed to exert a maximum positive influence on one's career. Parana is also a leading producer of agricultural products in Brazil and has established a number of programs to promote sustainable agriculture. Ms. Prueitt requested the Commissioners to give consideration for Ms. Martin to take this trip as a career-enhancing, work-related experience. The Rotary and individual team members will bear the costs of the trip. The Commissioners approved this request and Ms. Martin will be requested to prepare a written report that can be used as a presentation to various governmental/civic groups on the experience gained and how this experience can be applied to planning and agriculture practices in Kent County.


The Commissioners received correspondence from Senator Paul Sarbanes advising the 10 members of the Maryland Congressional delegation forwarded correspondence to President George Bush endorsing Governor Robert Erhlich's request for a Federal Disaster Declaration as a result of the extreme snowfall during the President's Day weekend (February 14-17, 1003). Snow related costs totaled $55,148,027 for the State with Kent County's cost totaling $125,068.


Correspondence was received from Millington Mayor Dennis Hager and the Maryland Department of the Environment, Water Management Administration, advising that the Town of Millington has applied fo r a permit to appropriate and use water at an annual rate of 137,000 and 205,000 gallons per day for two wells from the Aquia Formation for municipal supply. The project is located at 172 Sassafras Street, Millington.

There being no further business to claim their attention, the Board adjourned to meet again on Tuesday, March 18, 2003 at the Kent County High School.


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

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