KENT COUNTY, MARYLAND
Board of County Commissioners
April 8, 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 $ 5,005,333.00.
AGRICULTURAL LAND PRESERVATION
Gail Owings, Director of Planning and Zoning Administration, appeared to advise that the Planning Commission recommended approval of the application from Gordon Eaton to create an agricultural land preservation district on his 210 acre farm located at 12401 Still Pond Creek Road in the Third Election District. A public hearing will be scheduled.
The Commissioners received correspondence from Brian Dolan, Mary McGinnis, MAI, SRA, Benchmark Appraisal, Group, LLC, and Jonathan Jones, General Manager, Haven Harbour Marina, expressing support for the proposed airport project.
BOARD OF EDUCATION
At 6:00 p.m., the Commissioners held a budget workshop with the Board of Education. Those in attendance were Al Hanifee, Chairman, Dr. James Siemen, Lamonte Cooke, J. Brian Kirby and John Larrimore, members of the Board of Education, Dr. Bonnie Ward, Superintendent, Joan Buffone, Assistant Superintendent, Frances Miller, Assistant Superintendent for Administrative Services and approximately thirty interested persons. The County Administrator and Budget and Accounting Director were also in attendance. The Commissioners advised of the fiscal challenge that both bodies are facing in light of State budget cuts, the need for change in the State's funding formula for Kent County and the need for an unified presence in Kent County to seek funding. The Commissioners advised that today, Senator Pipkin provided a draft copy of proposed State Aid distributions to local government which revealed a reduction of $1,002,596 to Kent County representing a loss of the disparity grant in the Governor's budget. It was noted that additional cuts are anticipated.
BOARD OF ELECTION SUPERVISORS
Jack Wright, Chairman of the Board of Election Supervisors, along with Jim Wright,
County Engineer, appeared before the Commissioners to outline details of a proposed lease agreement. Correspondence directed to the Board of Election Supervisors from Robert Thompson, Jr., Sales and Marketing, KRM Development Corporation, was provided proposing a lease agreement for 3000 square feet of office and storage space for a five year term for use by the Board of Election Supervisors. Mr. Wright stated the Board of Election Supervisors have reviewed five sites within limits of Chestertown. Mr. Wright emphasized that in his evaluation of these sites he was interested in determining whether they had climate-controlled storage facilities, necessary to store voting machines and was handicap accessible. The Elections Office believe that the office and storage facility owned by KRM Development Corp., located on 135 Dixon Drive, is best suited to their needs. The total annual rental expense within the first year will be approximately $32,250 ($2,687.50 monthly). The rental cost is inclusive of an interior design and outlay approved by and provided by KRM Development. In addition, Mrs. Sutton, and Mr. Wright informed the Commissioners that the State of Maryland requires a security system be installed in Election Offices. Mr. Wright stated that Atlantic Security will provide installation of basic services, including motion detectors, for $595.00 and provide monitoring services for $22.95 a month. Commissioner Pickrum also inquired as to whether or not the location is well-lit outside for the safety of employees and customers. Mr. Wright and Commissioner Livie informed him that lighting was adequate. KRM Development's proposal expires on April 30, 2003, providing them with 30 days to arrange the interior layout before the rent agreement commences on July 1, 2003. Commissioner Crow proposed that the Commissioners evaluate the proposal and provide the Board of Election Supervisors with a final decision next week. Commissioner Pickrum and Commissioner Livie agreed.
During the afternoon, the Commissioners held budget work sessions with the following: Carter Stanton, Public Works Director, Jim Wright, County Engineer, Ed Spray, County Roads Superintendent, Lee Ann Myers, Safety Coordinator, Robert Merritt, Maintenance Supervisor, Marty Holden, Waste Management Supervisor, Jeff Troester, Parks and Recreation Director, and Mauritz Stetson, Alcoholic Beverage Inspector. The County Administrator and Budget and Accounting Director were also in attendance.
Skip James, Governmental Relations Coordinator of Charter Communications, appeared to discuss renewal of the cable television franchise agreement. Mr. James informed the Commissioners that the agreement will improve service and channel capability. Currently, Millington and Rock Hall are sharing cable lines with Talbot County and therefore, are receiving Talbot County local broadcasting. The agreement seeks to provide Millington and Rock Hall with local channels that are currently only being offered to Chestertown by redrawing the cable lines. Until the lines are withdrawn tapes of local broadcasts will be aired at the Wye Mills site for those residents of Millington and Rock Hall. In response to inquiry raised by Commissioner Pickrum, Mr. James replied that the lines operate off of microwave cables. When bandwidth increases, Mr. James stated they will be able to provide dedicated channels. Question was raised as to possibility of airing County Commissioners meetings. Mr. James advised types of production and cost would be at the discretion of the County.
A motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum to approve renewal of Franchise Agreement with Charter Communications as amended. The agreement will be prepared for signatures.
Correspondence was received from John Hall, President, and S. Lansing Williams, Director of Administration, Chesapeake Fields, requesting a six month extension for June 30, 2003 to December 30, 2003 for the loan (from the County) in the amount of $20,000. The Commissioners approved this request.
COMMUNITY WORK PROGRAM
The Commissioners received the Third Quarter Fiscal Year 2003 Community Work Program Report as prepared by Robert Sparre, Director, Community Work Program.
COUNTY ROADS DIVISION
Correspondence was received from Edward Spray, Superintendent, County Roads, advising of a request from Bill Crowding, Porters Grove Road, for Pedestrian Walking Symbols to be installed on Porters Grove Road. Mr. Spray reported that upon review, he concurred that signs would be justified. This request was approved by the Board.
A bid opening was held at 9:00 a.m. in the Commissioners' Hearing Room for asphalt used by the County Roads Division. Jim Wright, Purchasing Coordinator, was in attendance. Commissioner Pickrum read the Notice of Bid. The bids are as follows:
Mr. Wright informed the Commissioners that prices can change depending upon a change in fuel prices. Commissioner Crow inquired as to whether there was an opt-out option in the contracts. Mr. Wright stated that while no such option exists, it is possible to adjust the quantity provided. Commissioner Crow made a motion to accept the bid of the lowest cost provider, E. Stewart Mitchell, Inc., in the amount of $136,860.00 The motion was seconded by Commissioner Livie and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum.
Correspondence was received from the Chester Valley Ministerial Association, advising of the planned procession through Chestertown marking the 14 stations of the Cross. They requested approval to use the Courthouse lawn for two of the 14 (ten minute) stops on Good Friday, April 18. The Commissioners approved the request to use the Courthouse lawn for this event.
DEPARTMENT OF ASSESSMENTS AND TAXATION
Correspondence was received from Laura Foussekis, Special Assistant to the Director, Department of Assessments and Taxation, providing a list of properties in Kent County that are now under appeal which have a value over $2 million.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Robin Frazier, the Governor's Intergovernmental Relations Specialist, appeared to introduce herself and advised of the pledge made by the Governor to build a strong communications line with the Counties and municipalities. P.A.M. Schaller, Economic Development Director, and Bernadette Van Pelt, Tourism Director, were also in attendance. She advised that she serves as a conduit to take and receive information to the Governor. Commissioner Livie advised of the Board's interest in enhancing economic development and ability to retain those graduating from school/college by providing employment opportunities. Commissioner Pickrum expressed concern that Kent County is considered as a wealthy county and is not eligible for many state grants due to the State's definition of wealth.
Commissioner Crow advised of concern as to water and sewer costs, wastewater management, as well as agricultural related issues. He stated that the Eastern Shore was the breadbasket for the
East Coast and of Chesapeake Fields Institute being a potential economic development tool.
The Commissioners hosted a luncheon for Ms. Frazier and Mrs. Schaller and Mrs. Van Pelt took Ms. Frazier on a tour of the County.
DEPARTMENT OF WATER AND WASTEWATER SERVICES
Wayne Morris, Director, Department of Water and Wastewater Services, appeared to report on the following issues:
Millington Wastewater Extension Project - The Commissioners approved and Commissioner Pickrum executed the Conditions of Financial Assistance Award from Maryland Department of the Environment.
Kennedyville Lagoon Project - Mr. Morris forwarded the Farmers Home Application and cost estimate of $2,956,153 for the Kennedyville Lagoon Project. The Commissioners approved and Commissioner Pickrum signed the Farmers Home Application. Mr. Morris also provided an update from McCrone Engineering on the project.
Kennedyville Service Area - Mr. Morris advised that the previous Commissioners approved a maintenance contract for County water storage vessels. He reported that work has commenced on the Kennedyville water tower and customers have been advised of the schedule of work.
Worton Service Area - Mr. Morris advised that septic haulers were notified that due to misuse and damage to the area, access to the hydrant will not be available for cleaning their trucks/tanks.
Mr. Morris reported that funds for new security access system at the Worton facility and other facility have been obtained through local Federal Homeland Security program.
Quaker Neck Service Area - The Commissioners received notification that Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) did not approve the amendment to the 2001 Kent County Water and Sewerage Plan to expand sewerage coverage in the Quaker Neck Sewer Service Area. Mr. Morris advised that MDE had incorrect information relating to the project and that failing septic systems in the area should justify the expansion. He advised that he would contact MDE on the matter.
Tolchester Service Area - Sue Brown and Tracy Stone appeared to inquire about the procedure to extend the Tolchester wastewater system to an area (building lots) that Ms. Brown was contemplating purchasing. Ms. Brown requested a definitive answer on the availability of wastewater service before making a decision relating to the purchase of the property. She provided a map of the area in question. Gail Owings, Director, Planning and Zoning Administration, was also in attendance and advised that the issue at hand is more complex than the of expansion of wastewater services. She noted that the Maryland Department of Planning has not identified the Tolchester as a growth area and reported that initial wastewater services were constructed for health reasons not with development in mind. Mrs. Owings stated that the County needs to update the policy so that Planning and Zoning will not necessarily make decisions on development/sewer expansion.
Mr. Morris advised that approximately forty allocations were available.
Bob Basener, representing the Tolchester Homeowner Association requested that the homeowners be apprised of any decisions on the matter. The Commissioners assured him that the Homeowners Association would be kept apprised if not a part of the decision making process.
The Commissioners advised that a committee be formed by the County Administrator that would include the Health Department, Planning and Zoning Administration, and Tolchester Home Owner Association.
The Commissioners approved and executed a Public Works Agreement with Thomas J. Ensley and Patricia Jean Robbins for a sewer allocation for their property tax map 35A Parcel 201, Tolchester.
Correspondence was received from Robert Summers, Director Water Management Administration, advising that Governor Robert Ehrlich lifted the drought emergency status and water use restrictions are no longer in effect.
HOUSING IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM
As submitted by Jack Canan, Housing and Community Development Coordinator, the Commissioners approved Policies and Procedures for the Housing Improvement Program. Once adopted, Phase IV of this program can begin.
The Commissioners received correspondence from Shawn Mathiesen, Information Systems Manager, requesting approval to mount a wireless antenna and locate equipment at 400 High Street to accommodate the Sailor wireless broadband backbone that will support Queen Anne's, Kent and Cecil Counties from the Kent County Library. Mrs. Mathiesen advised that the Library building is not high enough to mount the antenna and the County Government Center can provide the altitude required to permit wireless access. The Commissioners approved the request as presented.
KENT COUNTY INFANTS & TODDLERS PROGRAM
Sheila Lepter, Parent Coordinator, Linda Reed, Service Coordinator, and Dr. Carol Amoia of the Kent County Infants and Toddlers Program appeared to introduce the Board to this program and to advise of services it provides. Request was also made for participation of a County Commissioner on their Board. Their bylaws require that members of various local community groups participate on their Board, including the Board of Education, Department of Social Services, and a local legislative official. Ms. Reed explained that the Kent County Infants and Toddlers Program provides services to assist in the development of those children (from birth to age 3) who are experiencing development delays, exhibit behaviors that could lead to development delays, or suffer from physical disabilities. Anyone is able to refer a child to the program, though the majority of referrals come from physicians. The number of children within the program vary from 6-12 at any given time. Once a referral is made, a coordinator will make an initial visit to the home to offer their services to the parent. Generally a diagnosis is then made by a speech therapist, physical therapist, or other physician regarding the child's development state. Based on the diagnosis, the program coordinators provide services to the student that assist the child in his or her developmental progression. All services are provided to the children in their "natural environment" - their home, day care center, or other site. Parent Coordinators also work with parents on assisting them to overcome any obstacles influencing their child's development. Commissioner Crow volunteered to serve as a Board member.
At 5:35 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 potential land acquisition in accordance with State Government Article, Section 10.508 of the Annotated Code of Maryland.
The executive session adjourned at 5:50 p.m.
LAND USE ORDINANCE
Gail Owings, Director of Planning and Zoning Administration, attended a Chesapeake Bay Critical Areas Commission Subcommittee meeting on April 2, 2003. The Kent County Land Use Ordinance was approved contingent upon amendments and conditions. Mrs. Owings will shortly receive an outline of the conditions for their review. Mrs. Owings has also contacted the County Attorney to determine the effective date of the Ordinance once compliance has been made.
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 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 Chesapeake College Bond Issue, Charter Communications renewal agreement, Kennedyville Service Area, and Worton Road Project.
The executive session adjourned at 11:20 a.m.
RT 20/MARYLAND RT 291
Bob Kiel, Assistant District Engineer, Jeff Wentz, Transport Traffic Engineer, and Thomas Revelle, Engineering Systems Team Leader of the State Highway Administration presented the proposed plans of the new traffic patterns for the intersection of MD Route 20 and MD Route 291 and MD Route 213 and Spring Street.
Chestertown Mayor Margo Bailey, Council Members, Jim Bristoll, Whaland Clark, and Bill Ingersoll, Town Manager, were also in attendance. The revised plans included a division of the right-hand lane for vehicles entering town limits from MD Route 20 immediately prior to the intersection of Route 291. The left side of the division will be made into a left-hand turn lane for those turning left onto Route 291. The right side of the division will be a straight thruway lane. On the other side of the Route 291 intersection, the straight thruway lane is expanded to include an acceleration. This acceleration lane will be utilized by those vehicles turning left from Route 291 onto Route 20/High Street. It is the hope that the acceleration lane will encourage these vehicles to turn left onto Route 20 High Street Extended by providing them with ample space to accelerate before joining with thruway traffic. In this manner, drivers should be less hesitant to turn left onto Rt. 20 High Street Extended and the backlog of traffic at the intersection should be reduced or alleviated. Mayor Bailey expressed interest in placing concrete islands at the intersection. Mr. Kiel stated given remaining funding from the MD Route 213 and Spring Street project, they may be able to do so. Margo Bailey also expressed a concern that the current plan may prevent a round-about to be developed at a later date, should it be deemed necessary to do so. Mr. Kiel did not foresee this as being a problem. The Commissioners and Chestertown Mayor and Council representatives concurred with this proposed plan. Mr. Kiel also stated that the proposed plan is not a difficult one to implement in terms of time and resources.
Mr. Kiel presented the proposed concept plan and layout of the Route 213 and Spring Street intersection. The layout included a crosswalk across Spring Street due to frequent pedestrian traffic. Due to limited funding the construction of the re-design cannot be initiated for at least another year. The Commissioners and Chestertown Mayor and Council representatives approved the concept plan as presented. As suggested by Mr. Kiel, the Commissioners and Mayor Bailey agreed to submit a letter to the State Highway Administration advising of their agreement with the concept plan and request they proceed to acquire necessary funding.
PARKS AND RECREATION ADVISORY BOARD
Jeff Troester, Director, Parks and Recreation, forwarded draft requirements for student members of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board for the Commissioners' review and approval. The Commissioners approved for criteria to include selected students with a 2.0 (C) average.
At 11:20 a. 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 11:35 a.m.
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 with Susie Hayman, Human Resources Director, and Pat Merritt, Budget and Accounting Director, to discuss personnel matters in accordance with State Government Article, Section 10.508 of the Annotated Code of Maryland.
The executive session adjourned at 11:35 a.m.
The Commissioners received correspondence from Wallace Miller resigning from the Planning Commission effective April 3, 2003.
Gail Owings, Director, Planning and Zoning Administration, forwarded the delineation of the Urban Boundaries as agreed upon by representatives of Chestertown, Kent County and the State Highway Association for use on the Federal Functional Classification System. The Commissioners concurred with the Urban Boundary as presented and correspondence went forth to the State Highway Administration requesting the revised boundary be submitted to the Federal Highway Administration for approval.
Gail Owings, Director of Planning and Zoning Administration, briefly reported that the Planning Commission met on April 3. She reported that it was discussed to restrict the land of the Tolchester Growth Management project to 12,000 sq. ft. due to health concerns arising from the water clarity should the lot size become too large. Issues addressed at this meeting will be further discussed with the Board next week.
Robin Spielman, Victim Witness Coordinator, Detective Sgt. Scott Metzbower, Chestertown Police Chief, Walter Coryell and Captain Rob Edler appeared. As requested the Commissioners approved and signed proclamation designating the week of April 6 as Victim's Right Week.
PROPERTY TAX RATE
The Commissioners received correspondence from Roger Williams, Treasurer, proposing rates for the establishment of County and Municipal Service Fees for Semiannual Property tax Payments. Mr. Williams proposed s .50% service fee to be charged The Commissioners concurred with the service fee rate.
UPPER SHORE AGING
Correspondence was received from Sue Rice, LGSW, Senior Care Senior Case Manager, requesting the Upper Shore Aging budget be adopted to ensure senior programs remain in place in the County.
The Commissioners received the Upper Shore Aging, Inc., Annual Report for Fiscal/Calender Year 2002.
The Commissioners received a petition containing thirty four signatures expressing support for the Upper Shore Aging budget which provides may programs for seniors.
UPPER SHORE COMMUNITY MENTAL HEALTH CENTER
Correspondence was received from Delegates Mary Roe Walkup and Richard Sossi in follow-up from the Commissioner's request for assistance in preventing the proposed closing of the Upper Shore Community Mental Health Center.
COAST GUARD STATION
In follow-up from January 28, correspondence was received from Ken Beatty, Director, Delmarva Space Training Center, requesting a response to his inquiry to use the Still Pond U. S. Coast Guard Station surplus property for a space training center.
WATER MANAGEMENT ADMINISTRATION
The Commissioners received notification from the Maryland Department of the Environment that Kenneth Corrin, Jr., has applied to appropriate and use and annual average of 72,000 gallons of water per day from one well in the Aquia aquifer for farm irrigation. The project is located at 13894 Golts Caldwell Road, Golts. Application was also received from John Stolzfus to appropriate and use and annual average of 120,000 gallons of water per day from one well in the Aquia aquifer for farm irrigation. For additional information relating to these permits, interested parties may contact Mark Filar, Chief, Water Rights Division, 410 537-3590.
There being no further business to claim their attention, the Board adjourned to meet again on Tuesday, April 15, 2003.
Please contact Joyce Laskey or Janice Fletcher at (410) 778-7435 or by e-mail with any questions or comments.