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Board of County Commissioners

May 20, 2003

The Honorable Board of County Commissioners met today with the following present: Roy W. Crow, and William W. Pickrum, presiding.

T. Edward Robinson, County Administrator, was also in attendance.

Minutes of the previous meeting were approved as amended.

W. Roger Williams, Treasurer, reported a balance of $3,788,504.00.


Gail Owings, Director, Planning and Zoning Administration, advised that the Planning Commission recommended approval of the following applications:

Kurhessen Trust, Basil Wadkovsky, Trustee, to create an agricultural land preservation district on their 219.48 acre farm located off of Flatland Road in the Sixth Election District.

Shepherd's Delight Farm, Ltd., to create an agricultural land preservation district on their 241.2 acre farm located at 11820 Still Pond Road in the Second Election District.

Gordon Eaton to create an agricultural land preservation district on his 210 acre farm located at 12401 Still Pond Road in the Third Election District. Public hearings hve been scheduled for June 17.


The Commissioners received a press release from Aberdeen Proving Ground that Army and Bechtel teams are investigating why a low level of mustard gas agent vapor was detected Monday, May 12 in the process neutralization facility at Aberdeen. An alarm noted the vapor and no injuries or danger was reported.

Correspondence was received advising that the public hearing for the Controlled Hazardous Substance Facility permit issued to Aberdeen Proving Ground has been changed to June 23, 7:00 p.m. at the Chestertown Middle School.


The Commissioners received letters of support from Alan Carter, Ross Aviation, Kenneth Thorpe, Rotary International, James Douglass, and several electronic messages for the proposed airport project.

Correspondence was received from Thomas Priscilla, Jr., Baltimore Metro Engineer,

Federal Aviation Administration, advising that due to the significant revisions in the amount for property acquisition their office would like to review the contracts and respond in approximately 45 days.


Amy Moredock, Environmental Planner, appeared and reported on the May 19 Board of Appeals meeting.


Correspondence was received from G. A. Baker, Chestertown, requesting the Commissioners fund the Board of Education proposed budget.

At the request of Madhu Sidhu, President, Parent Teachers Association (PTA), Board of Education budget supporters staged a rally in the Commissioners Hearing Room to express concerns and request the Board of Education Budget be funded. Approximately 140 attendees were present. As the hearing room could not accommodate the number of attendees, the rally moved to the front lawn of the County Government Center. Mrs. Sidhu presented 79 letters of support for funding the Board of Education budget request. The following spoke in support of funding the budget:

Madhu Sidhu, Robert Ortiz, President, Garnett Elementary School PTA, Darlene Spurrier, Kent County Teachers Association, Tracey Dawson, President, KCHS Student Governments, Robert Crooks, Teacher, Wally Gordon, Business and Community Member, and Rev. Jones, A.M.E. Church. A letter was read from Rev. Clarence Hawkins, Maryland State Board of Education Member, stressing the importance of funding the Board of Education budget.

Commissioner Pickrum thanked all for attending and stated of the difficulty to balance the needs of all Kent County residents.


The County Commissioners met today for their semi-annual meeting as the local Board of Health in compliance with Health - General Article Section 3-202 (b) (i) of the Annotated Code of Maryland.

Dr. John A. Grant, Health Officer, Gary Fry, Deputy Director, Ed Birkmire, Director, Environmental Health, Noni Howell, Sanitarian, Gail Owings, Director, Planning and Zoning Administration and Wayne Morris were in attendance. Dr. Grant reviewed the Health Department programs for 2003 which includes health education, geriatrics, child health, communicable disease, and environmental health programs.

In reference to environmental health concerns on Allens' Lane and Gray's Inn vicinity, Noni Howell provided the results of a sanitary survey that reflected 32 of the 33 residences to have non-existent or failing septic systems. She reported that from a public health perspective it is imperative that public sewer line be extended to service these residences. Further discussion was held as to the need for sewer service in several areas of the County, however, the trend across the State was that funding was not readily available. The Commissioners thanked all for attending.


The Commissioners approved and Commissioner Pickrum signed the Charter Communications Cable Television Franchise Renewal Agreement for a period of ten years, from May 17, 2003 to May 17, 2013.


John Hall, President, Chesapeake Fields Institute, (CFI) appeared to introduce S. Lansing Williams, as the new Director of Administration who will oversee the administration of grant funds and oversee organizational and project budgeting. Mr. Hall provided an update on CFI activities including potential locations for CFI Agricultural Business Park and the possibility of identity preserved grains as a CFI enterprise. Mr. Hall displayed an artist's concept of the Agricultural Business Park proposed to be developed on Route 301 which may include an artisan bakery and retail store. He also reported that a search for a project manager was underway. Mr. Hall reported that investors for the project were forthcoming from New Jersey to Virginia. Mr. Hall hoped that an agricultural education center would enhance the ability to market products world wide. Mr. Hall invited the Commissioners to their CFI meeting on May 28. The Commissioners welcomed Mr. Williams and thanked Messrs Williams and Hall for the update.


The Commissioners received correspondence from Ed Spray, Superintendent of County Roads, requesting approval to install two Speed Limit 25 signs at selected points on Schooner Road in Chesapeake Landing. Per Mr. Spray's recommendation, the Commissioners approved the signs.


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

Spring Cove/Green Lane - Mr. Morris provided a copy of correspondence directed to Ed Birkmire, Director of Environmental Health, advising that per his meeting with the Maryland Department of the Environment, a sanitary survey and map identifying the specific parcels as well as a letter recommending County sewer service be extended to remedy the health hazard.

Tolchester - Mr. Morris forwarded correspondence from Dr. and Mrs. William Tubman, Jr., requesting a sewer allocation for property identified as Tax Map 35B, Parcel 429. A motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum to approve the request per Mr. Morris's recommendation.


Correspondence was received from Warden Ronald Howell advising of the medical condition of two inmates that may result in expenditures for medication and medical tests.


The Commissioners approved and Commissioner Pickrum signed a Safety Grant Application for the amount of $7,485.00 for three (3) CPR/Defibrillation units as submitted by Warden Ronald Howell for the Detention Center.


The Commissioners received the Economic Development report for the month of April as prepared by P.A.M. Schaller, Director of Economic Development.


The Commissioners received minutes from the May 18 Kent County Fire Chief's Association meeting.


Lorraine Sexton, Personnel Coordinator, appeared to present the bids for Health Insurance Benefits for County employees. Ms. Sexton noted that Local Government Insurance Trust (LGIT) increased health care costs by 32%.

After reviewing the bids and insurance options, a motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Pickrum and passed by the majority of the Board to award the health care contract for County employees to MAMSI and the remaining vision, (VSP) dental (Guardian) and EAP to Local Government Insurance Trust (LGIT). Commissioner Livie abstained from voting on this matter.


Correspondence was received from Shawn Mathiesen, Information Systems Manager, requesting approval to purchase equipment dedicated for computer backup for a total cost of $3,600. Ms. Mathiesen advised that funding to purchase the equipment is available in the FY 03 budget. The Commissioners approved the request as presented.


Correspondence was received from C. Daniel Saunders, Esq., requesting reclassification of the Estate of Emil Myers for Parcel 128, Map 55, located at Skinner's Neck, from Commercial Marine Use to Critical Area Residential. He advised that the parcel in reference is located next to the Public Landing at Skinners Neck and is landlocked by the County owned land and not suitable for marine purposes. Mr. Saunders reported that Commercial Marine Use zoning does not allow for the improvements or expansion of single family homes due to their non-conforming status and requested it be reclassified to accommodate the predominantly residential neighborhood.


At 11:50 a.m., a motion was made by Commissioner Livie, seconded by Commissioner Crow and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum to go into executive session with M. 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 land use ordinance and proposed airport project.

The executive session adjourned at 12:05 p.m.


Correspondence was received from Sarah L. Myers, Kennedyville, expressing her displeasure with changes occurring at the Kent County Public Library.


At 10:50 a.m., a motion was made by Commissioner Livie, seconded by Commissioner Crow, and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum to go into executive session with Dr. John A. Grant, Health Officer, Gary Fry, Deputy Director, Gail Owings, Director, Planning and Zoning Administration, Wayne Morris, and Susanne Hayman, Director, Human Resources, to discuss personnel matters in accordance with State Government Article, Section 10.508 of the Annotated Code of Maryland.

The executive session adjourned at 11:30 am.

At 11:40 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 11:50 a.m.


The Commissioners made the following appointments to the Planning Commission: Patricia Langenfelder will serve the unexpired term of Wallace Miller ending January 7, 2004. F. Joeseph Hickman will serve the unexpired term of Roger Mangels ending January 7, 2007.


Sheriff John Price, Robert Rust, Jr., Director, Emergency Management, Kathleen George, and Rock Hall Police Chief, appeared to announce the activation of the new mobile command post for use by all of Kent County's law enforcement. Warden Ronald Howell, Detective Cpl. Glen Owens, John Vail, Sheriff's Office, and Captain Rob Edler, Chestertown Police were also in attendance. The joint project included efforts by the Kent County's Sheriff's Office, Kent County Emergency Management, Chestertown Police and the Rock Hall Police. Sheriff Price reported that the vehicle is equipped to serve as an emergency command and communication center in the event of a natural or man made disaster. Sheriff Price advised that "Command 1" is a restored and refurbished ambulance converted at a cost of less than $20,000. He noted that Command 1 will be utilized for the first time at the upcoming Tea Party Festival. The Commissioners and attendees toured the vehicle.


In follow-up from August 27, 2002, Shawn Ryan, Project Director, Leonard Larese-Casanova, Program Director, representing Department of Natural Resources Shore Erosion Control Program, Dave Wilson, representing RC&D, Richard C. Merriken, Sr., and Jerome Staller, Ph. D, property owners were in attendance to further discuss the establishment of a shore erosion control district in Tolchester.

Mr. Ryan reported that at the request of the property owners, a feasibility study was completed. He provided an ariel view of the proposed project. The project having been approved by the State of Maryland, Department of Natural Resources, Shore Erosion Control, was approved and a motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum to sign a resolution establishing the Montana Avenue Shore Erosion Control District in Tolchester.


Bernadette Van Pelt, Tourism Director, appeared to present a video tape of the May 14 news spot featuring Chestertown. The Chestertown segment promoted tourist activities in Chestertown because of its close proximity to the metropolitan Washington area. She also provided audio of radio commercials voiced by Cal Ripken Jr., promoting Maryland Tourism on state wide basis. The Commissioners thanked Mrs. Van Pelt for the update.

There being no further business to claim their attention, the Board adjourned to meet again on Tuesday, May 27, 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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