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Board of County Commissioners

April 1, 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.

W. Roger Williams, Treasurer, reported a balance of $5,870,393.00


Correspondence was received from Jack Blanchard, Secretary, LFRA Flying Club, expressing support for the proposed airport project.


At the recommendation of Jim Wright, County Engineer, the Commissioners accepted Irrevocable 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 Kent County Subdivision Ordinance as it relates to road construction.


At 1:00 p.m. today, Commissioner Pickrum and the County Administrator met with Delegate Norman Conway, Vice Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, at his Annapolis Office. The Senate version of the State Budget includes a disparity grant for Kent County in light of the Thornton Formula would result in a $265,000 reduction in State education funding for Kent County. Commissioner Pickrum expressed concern that, at this time, the disparity grant was not included in the House version of the State Budget based on interpretation provided by the Department of Legislative Services that Kent County did not qualify. On behalf of the Board and Kent County tax payers, Commissioner Pickrum requested that favorable consideration be given to include a disparity grant for Kent County in the State budget. Delegate Conway agreed to explore other options to financially assist Kent County.

Correspondence was received from Frances Miller, Assistant Superintendent of Administrative Services, advising that the Board of Education approved the Administrations's request for Budget Adjustment #5 involving unrestricted funding and now requesting the Commissioners' approval. This request will be further reviewed next week.


Gail Owings, Director of Planning and Zoning Administration, reviewed items address at the March 24 Board of Zoning Appeals meeting.


The Commissioners held budget work sessions with the following: Warden Ronald Howell, Detention Center; Jack Canan, Housing and Community Development Coordinator, Floyd "Butch" Crew, Weed Control Program, W. Roger Williams, Treasurer, Gail Owings, Director of Planning and Zoning Administration and Susanne Hayman, County Attorney/Human Resources Director.


A letter went forth to Delegate Mary Roe Walkup requesting her to add the name of H. Lawrence Lyons to the list for consideration by the Governor relating to the vacancy on the Chesapeake College Board of Trustees.


In follow-up from the March 18 meeting, correspondence was received from Ed Spray, Superintendent, County Roads, addressing concerns from members of the Clearview Homeowners Association seeking the County's assistance in alleviating the frequent problem of speeding on Coopers Lane. He advised that in 1996 the speed limit was reduced from 40 to 30 and stated that the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices specifically advises that stop signs should not be used for speed control. In addition, he advised that "pedestrian walking symbol" signs were posted on June 20, 2001 after discussing with Mrs. Hukill the request for 3-way stop signs to be placed at the intersection of Coopers Lane and Waterview Drive. Ed Spray recommends that the Sheriff's Office be contacted to patrol the area and that residents along these roads contact their neighbors to request that they obey the speed limit.

Commissioner Pickrum and Commissioner Crow both believe that placing stop signs at the three-way intersection of Coopers Lane and Waterview Drive could lower the potential for speeding to occur. However, the Commissioners will continue to investigate ways to curb the problem of speeding along the main stretch of highway.


In follow-up from last week, correspondence was received from Jack Canan, Housing and Community Development Coordinator, providing an update on his request to purchase a used computer to replace the computer used by Judy Hickman, Secretary III. He reported that an attempt will be made to repair the hard drive prior to purchasing an additional purchase.


Carter Stanton, Director of Public Works, informed the Commissioners that the current contractor, Dodd's Landscaping, is willing to renew its contract for grass-cutting and weeding at the Courthouse at its current cost of $40.00 per cutting. Mr. Stanton felt this price was very reasonable and recommended the contract be renewed. The Commissioners approved the renewal of this contract. Later in the day, the Commissioners approved and signed the contract by and between Dodd's Landscaping for grass-mowing and lawn care services at the Courthouse at $40 per cutting.

A bid opening was held on March 21, 2003 at the Public Works Complex and the following bid was received for landscaping maintenance at various County owned locations:

Pardoe's Lawn & Tree Service Part A Part B Part C Part D

Chestertown Courthouse County Detention Library

Government Center


$3,570 $3,375.75 1.40/gal. $2,488.50

A motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie, and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum to approve the bid received from Pardoe's Law & Tree Service.


The Commissioners received correspondence for Ed Spray, Superintendent of County Roads, advising of request from Shelly Hillyer, Tolchester, to place posted speed limit signs and pedestrian walking signs. Mr. Spray reported that he has reviewed the area and recommends a 30 MPH speed limit sign as well as pedestrian walking signs. At Mr. Spray's recommendation, a motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie, and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum to approve placement of the requested signs.


Correspondence was received from Robert Merritt, Maintenance Supervisor, advising that custodial contractors, Gwendolyn Newman and D&R Perfection Cleaning, have offered to renew their service contracts at the same price for another year. Currently the contracts run from July 1 - June 30. Carter Stanton, Public Works Director, stated that he is pleased with the level of service D & R Perfection Cleaning and Gwendolyn Newman provide. Therefore, he would support renewing the custodial contracts. Commissioner Pickrum suggested that Mr. Stanton look into negotiating these contracts to include an option for multiple-year renewals contingent upon a satisfactory level of performance. In so doing, the providers would be reassured of return business by the County and the County is able to lock in their service cost. Mr. Stanton said that he would look into revising this year's contracts to include the multiple year option. A motion was made by Commissioner Livie, seconded by Commissioner Crow, and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum to approve renewal of custodial contracts with Gwendolyn Newman and D & R Perfection Cleaning.


In follow-up from a letter dated March 3, 2003 from the Kent County Department of Social Services, Patrick Carney, Director, and Shirley Williams, Assistant Director of the Family Investment Program, appeared to discuss their request for funding for needed staff. As a result of the State of Maryland imposing a hiring freeze since October 2001 through FY 2004, the Kent County Department of Social Services has suffered from a critical staff shortage. Currently they are understaffed by five (5) case manager positions and are seeking funding for an entry-level case manager position. Mr. Carney explained to the Board that one person has already submitted a resignation and one person is planning on retiring soon due to a disability. As a result, they would be left understaffed by seven (7) case managers. Mr. Carney also explained that this is the first time, since his nine years of employment with the Kent County Department of Social Services, that the agency has ever come to the County to request funding. In the past, their funding has come almost entirely from the State of Maryland. Mr. Carney also wished to remind the Commissioners that the Kent County Department of Social Services has acted as the County's Community Action Agency and administers several county programs with state employees and supplies, including a Job Center that assists providers of underprivileged families with obtaining employment and removes personal barriers preventing them to do such. Mrs. Williams stated that the case loads have significantly increased while the number of employees able to handle the case loads has decreased.

Commissioner Pickrum suggested the possibility of discussing with the State of Maryland the ability to transfer a Social Services employee within the State. In this manner, the number of employees in Social Services offices across the State are fairly equal and one office is able to fill the need of another office in the event an employee resigns or retires. Mr. Carney stated that a similar method has been proposed in the past but has not proven effective because the State tends to eliminate the position rather than transfer employees. Commissioner Crow suggested that the Local Management Board (LMB) and Department of Social Services utilize each other's resources to continue providing community services. Mr. Carney expressed that he has plans to discuss the issue with them. The Commissioners reminded Mr. Carney and Mrs. Williams that the County is suffering from budgetary constraints to fund their own county programs and will have to review the FY '04 Budget before providing them with a final decision on their request.


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

Kennedyville Service Area - Wayne Morris, Director of the Department of Water and Wastewater, received correspondence from George Keller, Acting Program Administrator of the Water Quality Infrastructure Program, regarding the request for financial assistance in the form of a low interest loan for the Kennedyville Wastewater Treatment & Collection System Upgrade Project. Mr. Morris reported that his intention is to withdraw his request for a low interest loan, since most of the County loans are obtained from Rural Development (RD), and attempt to receive a supplemental loan through a grant request from the Maryland Department of the Environment. The Commissioners did not object to Mr. Morris's proposed course of action.

Mr. Morris also informed the Commissioners that he has received revised plans on the plant intended to improve the drinking water of the Kennedyville area. He offered to present the costs and sample plans of the plant, if requested. Currently the most relevant initiative is to improve the biological treatment of the drinking water. Commissioner Crow questioned whether there was any moratorium on restrictions of the plant. Mr. Morris stated that there are restrictions regarding the construction of the property. When the construction affects three or four surrounding homes there are issues regarding the construction of the property. However, when the construction affects more private homes, the construction becomes a greater obstacle. Commissioner Crow wanted to know whether calcium was an issue considered in evaluating the drinking water of the Kennedyville area. Mr. Morris stated that when water is considered to be "hard water" it contains high levels of calcium. However, when water softener is added it increases the level of lead and copper, which in turn erodes homeowners' pipes. There currently are regulations in place governing the level of lead and copper permissible in drinking water. Therefore, adding water softener to decrease the harshness of the Kennedyville water results in excessive lead and copper levels.

Piney Neck Service Area - Mr. Morris provided a copy of correspondence his office directed to Jeffery Duston, Rock Hall, requesting the service lateral to the old grinder pump be reconnected for the adjacent Padovani property. Mr. Morris explained that Mr. Davis sold a lot to Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Padovani with the expectation that Mr. Davis would establish a new connection on Harrington Park Road to the old grinder pump. The County graciously continued to allow him to operate off of the old service lateral until the new connection could be made. Unfortunately, while constructing the new house Mr. Padovani's contractor severed the service lateral to the old grinder pump. As a result, the old connection line to the old grinder pump has been plugged and shut up. However, Mr. Padovani plans on starting construction soon and needs to have the new connection to the old grinder pump in place. Mr. Morris informed Mr. Davis that the new connection would have to be established within 30 days. Mr. Davis has contacted Mr. Morris requesting that the County perform the service for a fee. Mr. Morris informed the Commissioners that he would be glad to perform the service given consent. The Commissioners approved that Department of Water and Wastewater proceed in performing this service for a fee.

Mr. Morris forwarded a sewer allocation request from Evelyn Reynolds, Tax Map 55, Parcel 143. Per Mr. Morris's recommendation, the Commissioners approved the request.


In follow-up from March 18 meeting, the Commissioners received correspondence from Stephen McHenry, Executive Director, FORVM, thanking the Commissioners for discussing FORVM activities.


The Commissioners approved a Raffle Permit for Radcliffe Creek School to hold fund raising activities at the school on April 1.


The Commissioners received the proposed Phase Four Housing Improvement Program (HIP) Project Policies and Procedures for review and approval. No action was taken at this time.


Susanne Hayman, County Attorney, advised of interest expressed by the Human Relations Commission to add student membership to the Commission. Ms. Hayman will prepare local law for introduction for this proposed amendment. In the meantime, she will check with other boards and committees to see if there is similar interest in adding student membership.


At 11:00 a.m., the Commissioners went to the Kent Family Center, 116 B Lynchburg Street, Chestertown, for a tour, presentation and luncheon. Maryland Massey, President, Susanne Hayman, Vice President, Nancy Dick, Secretary, JoAnne Gerhardt and Vicky Sawyer, representing the Board of Directors, Judy Linn, Executive Director, and various staff members hosted the tour and presentation. Ms. Linn advised of the many programs offered at the Kent Family Center. The mission of the Kent Family Center is to promote healthy, economically independent and stable families. It does so by offering parents the guidance, training and support they need to achieve self-sufficiency and provide an environment where their children can thrive.

The Center's services, with a primary focus on families with children from birth through age three, are available to citizens throughout Kent County and northern Queen Anne's County.

The Commissioners approved and signed proclamation designating the week of April 6 as the Week of the Young Child in Kent County by calling attention to the need for high quality early childhood services for all children and families within Kent County. Commissioner Livie presented this proclamation to Ms. Linn and the Board of Directors.

Progress report was given on the new facility being constructed on High Street with completion anticipated by July 1. Mrs. Massey advised that 67% of the construction cost has obtained through fund raising efforts which they are continuing to pursue. Mrs. Gerhardt presented the Commissioners with a butterfly paperweight as a symbol of their capital campaign.


Gail Owings, Director of Planning and Zoning Administration, advised that she and Amy Moredock, Environmental Planner, will be meeting with the Chesapeake Bay Critical Areas Commission for last review of the Land Use Ordinance as submitted by the County Commissioners in December, 2002.


Amy Moredock, Environmental Planner, and Gail Owings, Director of Planning and Zoning Administration, attended a meeting regarding bio-retention, a process of utilizing soil and plants to remove pollutants from storm water runoff. At the meeting, it was discussed to have bio-retention sites located on residential and commercial property. Ms. Moredock stated that bio-retention sites are able to be located within very small spaces, including at the ground area where water drains from the gutters of a person's home. Commissioner Crow inquired as to whether this would be a feasible way to control the mosquito population of the County. Ms. Moredock responded that the ground area that is filled with standing water is able to be covered by a "netting basket" that restricts insects from nesting around or within the water. It was also reported that woody and herbaceous plants are planted within the standing water to soak up the water drainage and potentially reduce the attraction of insects. The Commissioners expressed an interest in the potential for the County to utilize this method for environmental benefits. Commissioner Crow expressed his view that this will also promote local nurseries and landscape companies, who will serve as suppliers of the plants necessary to make this initiative effective.


At 4:50 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 Worton Road Project and loan request relating to Betterton Volunteer Fire Company.

The executive session adjourned at 5:05 p.m.


In follow up to public hearing held on March 25, the Commissioners approved and signed Resolution relating to the issuance and sale by the County Commissioners of Kent County, for the purpose of refinancing a portion of the costs of the acquisition, construction and equipping by Magnolia Hall, Inc. The refinancing of the facility will be accomplished through a refunding of the County's $1,000,000 Industrial Development Revenue Bond (Magnolia Hall, Inc. Project) 1982 Series. The Bonds and the interest thereon will be limited obligations of the County, and the principal thereof, and premium, if any and interest thereon, shall be payable solely from the revenues received in connection with the facility or from any other moneys made available to the County for such purposes. Neither the bonds, the premium, nor interest thereon shall even constitute an indebtedness or a charge against the general credit or taxing powers of the County within the meaning of any constitutional or charter provision or statutory limitation and neither shall ever constitute or give rise to any pecuniary liability of the County.

Signing of other bond documents is scheduled on April 2 in the County Commissioners Hearing Room.


Jeanne L. Albert representing Ellipsis Partners appeared before the Commissioners to receive their input regarding the redesign of the Maryland Association of Counties' (MACo) website. The Commissioners informed her that they tend to prefer websites without intensive graphics due to low modem speeds and websites that are easily navigable. In response to Ms. Albert's inquiry as to what they would like to get out of the MACo website, the Commissioners responded that they would find it useful to have access to resources of initiatives enacted by other Maryland counties. The Commissioners also informed her that they tend to prefer communication via paper but occasionally use email for quick communication. They also provided her with some websites they prefer or find useful.

Ms. Albert also provided the Commissioners with the results of an audit of the County website. In her review, Ms. Albert complimented the site on its amount of in-depth information covering a wide array of topics. However, she did believe that the site could be more easily navigable in its design, including implementing a way for the viewer to backtrack when browsing through the site.


The Commissioners received correspondence from Governor Robert Ehrlich, Jr., advising of kick-off activities for the Maryland You Are Beautiful Volunteer Awards. Janice F. Fletcher, Executive Assistant, was appointed as the Kent County coordinator.


At 9:55 a.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 10:15 a.m.

At 5:05 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 discuss personnel matters in accordance with State Government Article, Section 10.508 of the Annotated Code of Maryland.

The executive session adjourned 5:15 p.m.


Gail Owings, Director of Planning and Zoning Administration, reported on workshop held on March 29 at Heron Point with County and Town Planning Commissions and Boards of Zoning Appeals.


Carter Stanton, Director, Public Works, reported on the bid opening for sanitary facilities at the Public Landings. The bids are as follows:

Dime Sanitation $9,234.00

K.L.D. Honeydipper $9,700.00

Mr. Stanton recommended the low bidder, Dime Sanitation. A motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum to award the contract to Dime Sanitation in the amount of $9,234.00.


The Commissioners approved a Raffle Permit Application for the Radcliffe Creek School for a fund raiser to be held on May 10.


The Commissioners received correspondence from the Department of Assessments and Taxation relating to Municipal Service Fees for Semiannual Property Tax Payments. The form was forwarded to Roger Williams, Treasurer, for his review and recommendation.


Correspondence was received from Sheriff John Price, requesting approval to purchase a 2003 Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor to replace K-17 that was damaged in an accident on March 20 for the amount of $20,253.00. He reported that insurance payment for the demolished car was $8,550.00. Sheriff Price requested that the balance, 11,703.00, be allocate from Contingency fund to purchase the vehicle. A motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie, and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum to approve the expenditure in the amount of $11, 703.00 to be funded from the Contingency Fund.


Gail Owings, Director of Planning and Zoning Administration, and Amy Moredock, Environmental Planner, attended a nutrient trading program, in which the Commission discussed the feasibility of nutrient training as an option to address issues concerning the Chesapeake Bay. The Commission discussed trading nutrients from one facility to another, both from town facility to town facility (point source to point source), as well as from sewer center to farmer (point source to non-point source). Commissioner Crow asked which nutrients were proposed. Mrs. Owings informed him that nitrogen phosphorous was an example of a proposed nutrient. She also informed the Commissioners that the Commission is debating whether or not a watershed should attempt to meet their own nutrient quota before trading to another facility. The Commission is also considering the role of the government in the process, whether the government should facilitate the trading and have private industry conduct the actual trades or whether they should play a more active role. Commissioner Crow commented that he believes that the government currently plays a regulatory role by establishing the regulations governing the process. Mrs. Owings confirmed this but also stated that the government currently does not regulate the credit system placed on the nutrient storage process. She also noted that the entire Eastern Shore is considered to be one trading unit and of her desire to see this unit split between the Upper and Lower Eastern Shore. She also informed the Commissioners that while this is an issue being investigated by the Commission that it is far from the point of implementation.


The Commissioners received a petition with 29 signatures encouraging the Commissioners to continue funding for USTAR Transportation programs in considering the FY04 budget.

In follow-up from last week, correspondence was received from Carl Burke, Executive Director, Upper Shore Aging, correcting the Upper Shore Aging/USTAR proposed FY 04 budget request from $239,832 to $182,987.


Amy Moredock, Environmental Planner, attended a local meeting sponsored by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers regarding environmental concerns surrounding Urieville Lake. Currently the U.S. Army Corps is conducting a feasibility study of their proposed initiative. When the study is completed, the U.S. Army Corps plans on presenting the final concept to the Commissioners. One of the proposed initiatives the U.S. Army Corps is considering is the creation of a fish passage, to create favorable conditions for the fish and beaver population. The desire is to continue to operate boat ramp access off the shoreline through use of transitional marsh. To create marsh and habitat conducive to a healthy environment, the proposal includes dredging, cutting, and filling the center of the lake and installing chicken wire and willow to stabilize the perimeter of the lake. This method should prevent the reduction of land of the surrounding private property. The Commissioners are looking forward to seeing the final proposal once the feasibility study is completed.

There being no further business to claim their attention, the Board adjourned to meet again on Tuesday, April 8, 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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