KENT COUNTY, MARYLAND
Board of County Commissioners
June 3, 2003
The Honorable Board of 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 $ 2,508,088.00.
In follow-up from last week, the Commissioners received eighty-six form letters and/or correspondence of opposition for the proposed airport project.
The Commissioners received correspondence from Clint Evans, Fair Winds Gun Club, and Lawrence and Muriel Ewing, expressing support for the proposed airport.
BOARD OF EDUCATION
Correspondence was received from Bobbi Jean Donavon, Millington, expressing concern about the Board of Education budget and the increasing size of classrooms at the Millington Elementary School.
In response to request made at the May 27 public hearing, a work session was held on May 29 at the Board of Education Meeting Room for further review and discussion on the proposed Fiscal Year 2004 budget as it relates to the Board of Education allocation. As a result of this meeting, Dr. Ward reviewed the breakdown of the 19.5 positions that will be discontinued for FY 04 based on resignations, retirements and cancellation of several one year contracts. In response to questions raised by the Commissioners, Dr. Ward stated if additional funds were allocated by the County, those positions would not be filled since there would be no effect in teacher/student ratio; the additional funding would be applied to salary increases for Kent County Public School employees.
During this meeting, the Commissioners requested the Board of Education to develop a long range plan to address excess capacity of school facilities due to declining enrollment. The Commissioners also stated it is their goal to have the budget process innovative and responsive.
BOARD OF ELECTION SUPERVISORS
A copy of correspondence directed to John L. Wright and Lola G. Price from Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr. was received advising of their reappointment to the Kent County Board of Election Supervisors for a four year term commencing June 2, 2003.
The Commissioners approved and Commissioner Pickrum signed Kent County's
Extension Agreement with Election Systems and Software (ES&S) for supporting the 2004 Primary and General Elections.
The Board unanimously approved the adoption of Fiscal Year 04 Budget and Tax Levy. The following taxes are levied upon the assessable property in Kent County, Maryland for fiscal Year July 1, 2003 through June 30, 2004:
$1.012 on each One Hundred Dollars ($100.00) of real property subject to taxation for County purposes.
$0.132 on each One Hundred Dollars ($100.00) of real property subject to taxation for State purposes.
$2.53 on each One Hundred Dollars ($100.00) of real property subject to taxation for County purposes.
$0.33 on each One Hundred Dollars ($100.00) of real property subject to taxation for State purposes.
ORDERED, in accordance with Section 10-204.3 , Tax Property Article, Maryland Annotated Code that the service charge for the semi-annual payment of property taxes shall be .46% annually - the anticipated lost interest income to the County associated with delay in payment of the second installation, plus 10% if the lost income charge - to cover the administrative expenses associated with the semi- annual collection of property taxes.
At the request of the County Commissioners, county department/division heads, county elected officials and other outside agencies who receive county funding appeared and presentation was made by the Commissioners on the Fiscal Year 2004 budget. Commissioner Pickrum reviewed the budget process and of the limited financial resources. He stated that county employees and agencies are very valued and in comparison to many other jurisdictions, they excel in their performance as public servants. At this time, there are no increments and/or COLA included in the Fiscal Year 2004 budget, however, it is possible this matter can be reconsidered once the State finalizes its budget and if Kent County receives no further reduction in State funding. It was also noted that health insurance costs will increase by 20%.
Commissioner Crow reviewed the goals included in this budget as follows: education, public safety, quality of life, economic development, tourism development, social services, senior citizens and governance.
Commissioner Livie commended all those in the budget process for the cooperation and understanding of the decision making process. He reviewed the fiscal challenges faced by the Board in developing the Fiscal Year 2004 budget including the reduction of State funding in the amount of $1 Million, total revenue estimates were $200,000 lower than last year's budget, budget requests exceeded budget revenues by over $3 Million, additional State funding reductions to the County are anticipated when the Governor balances the State budget by cutting an additional $500 Million of expenditures and of predictions that indicate an even bleaker State fiscal outlook for next year. In response to these fiscal challenges, certain fees were increased and/or implemented in the following departments: planning and zoning, parks and recreation, public landings division, County roads division.
Commissioner Livie also reviewed rising costs of health insurance and of the need to explore other health care providers for cost comparison. The current health care provider, Local Government Insurance Trust (LGIT), submitted an increase in costs by 54%. After exploring other options, the Commissioners agreed to contract with the Mid Atlantic Medical Services, Inc.(MAMSI) which will result in a 20% increase over current costs, however, co-pays will increase.
Commissioner Pickrum reiterated the difficult budget process. Approximately 48.4% ($13,649,000) of the total County operating budget went to the Kent County Public School System in addition to $477,000 for capital projects. Additional funding was requested by the Board of Education for salary increases, however, in fairness, this request was not approved since no increase was budgeted for county employees. Once the County is apprised of the State's final budget and there is no further reductions, the first priority to be addressed is personnel.
Roger Williams, Treasurer, commended the Commissioners for the fair treatment given to both BOE and county employees. In previous years, monies were allocated to the BOE which were used for salary and COLA increments and county employees either did not receive an increase or were only granted either an increment or a COLA, but not both. Commissioner Pickrum advised the Board was aware that Kent County Government salaries (excluding BOE) are low in comparison to other jurisdictions and they would like to address the salary classification plan sometime in the future.
The Commissioners thanked those who attended this meeting.
Correspondence was received from Judge J. Frederick Price requesting approval for the following expenditures from the remaining FY 03 Petit Jury account: Draperies and wood blinds for the Law Clerk/Court Reporter office for a total of $2,936.00. The Commissioners approved the request as presented.
CODE HOME RULE BILL
NO. 2 -2003
Third reading was held on Code Home Rule Bill No. 2-2003, which is an Act concerning the distribution, sale, and display of tobacco products for the purpose of regulating the distribution of tobacco products to minors for commercial purposes in certain circumstances; regulating the method of displaying tobacco products for commercial purposes in certain circumstances; providing for enforcement of these regulations by civil fines; and granting the Public Health Officer of Kent County the power to enforce certain laws relating to the sale, distribution, storage, and display of tobacco products.
Ballots were distributed for voting. Upon their return, all ballots were marked favorable for this legislative bill. This bill will become effective July18, 2003 ( forty-five days from the adoption date). Commissioner Crow explained that the legislation allows enforcement and placement of tobacco to aid in preventing youth from obtaining tobacco products.
COUNTY ROADS DIVISION
The Commissioners received correspondence from Allan Schauber, Safety Officer, Kent-Queen Anne's Rescue Squad, Inc., expressing appreciation for assistance given by the County Roads Division during the big snow storms last winter.
DEPARTMENT OF WATER AND WASTEWATER SERVICES
Wayne Morris, Director, Department of Water and Wastewater Services, appeared to report on the following issues:
Kennedyville Service Area - Mr. Morris forwarded correspondence directed to John Krastel, Jr., Kennedyville, Volunteer Fire Company, requesting the Department of Water and Wastewater Services be notified relating to non-emergency withdrawal of water.
Millington - Mr. Morris forwarded correspondence from Janice Hassell, Treasurer, Town of Millington, advising of the increased billing rate for wastewater services effective July 1, 2002.
An amended application for Federal Assistance was approved by the Board and signed by Commissioner Pickrum as it relates to the Millington Water and Wastewater Services Project to cover additional equipment and process control requirements.
General - Mr. Morris advised of the trial system installation of Mission Alarm Controllers in Edesville, Worton and Quaker Neck which will monitor the facilities and provides data for the pump stations via cell phone.
EARLY ACTION COMPACT
Amy Moredock, Environmental Planner, and Gail Owings, Director, Planning and Zoning Administration, appeared to discuss the Early Action Compact and correspondence amending the emissions portion of the compact.
The Commissioners approved and Commissioner Pickrum signed Agreement by and between the County Commissioners, P.A.M. Schaller, Economic Development Director, and Lotte Bowie representing Loblolly Productions whereby Loblolly Productions agrees to give Kent County copyright ownership of the banner design development for the Office of Economic Development CD-ROM at a cost of $4,000.
Correspondence was received from Donald Keldsen, Director, Maryland Emergency Management Agency, advising of the availability of equipment funding as a result of the Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Homeland Security. The Commissioners approved and Commissioner Pickrum signed master application for Homeland Security Grant.
FIRE POLICE ASSOCIATION
David Jones, Rock Hall, representing the Kent County Fire Police Association, appeared to request financial assistance to purchase uniforms. Robert Rust, Jr., Director, Emergency Management, was also in attendance. Mr. Jones advised that the membership has increased to twenty-two volunteer members and each are deputized to assist law enforcement in traffic and safety incidents. Mr. Rust advised that the organization ensures the safety of firefighters during accidents and Emergency Management provided twenty-five radios for the organization. The Commissioner concurred to discuss the matter with Sheriff John Price and volunteer fire departments.
GRANT - IN - AID
Correspondence was received from Carolyn Sorge, Mayor of Betterton, expressing appreciation for Grant-in Aid funding to the municipalities.
HIGHWAY SAFETY PROGRAM
As prepared by Carol B. Wise, Director of Addiction Services, T. Edward Robinson, County Administrator, signed Project Agreement for Federal Highway Safety Funding to address the following problem areas: Impaired Driving, Aggressive Driving, Occupant Protection, Pedestrian, School Bus, and Bicycle Safety and Mature Driving.
The Commissioners receive correspondence from Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr., forwarding a survey to collect data demonstrating the need for high speed internet on the Eastern Shore. Commissioner Pickrum requested the survey be forwarded to local businesses and communities by the Economic Development Director for response.
Carol Callaway, Director, Kent Center Housing Project, and Janette Silva, Development Coordinator, appeared to provide an update for the proposed new Kent Center facility to be relocated from Betterton to Scheeler Road, Chestertown. Ms. Callaway reported that the Betterton facility will not accommodate their expansion needs and property on Scheeler Road has been acquired. Ms. Callaway reported that Kent Center has received a State grant for 75% of the architectural and engineering fees and Kent Center will reapply for funding in the amount of $1.6 Million in FY 05 as well as applying for a Community Development Block Grant in the amount of $500,000 and working on fund raisers and solicitations. She described the proposed new facility which will have a dining facility and accommodations for retirement of clients. Commissioner Pickrum inquired as to the number of clients served. She responded that they serve forty-nine day time and/or residential clients. The Commissioners thanked Ms. Callaway and Ms Silva for all of their efforts and for a job well done.
At 12:00 noon, a motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum to go into executive session with Jim Wright, County Engineer, as it relates to potential land acquisition.
The executive session adjourned at 12:25 p.m.
At 10:50 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.
Item of discussion related to zoning legal issues.
The executive session adjourned at 11:55 a.m.
The Commissioners received correspondence from Gloria Urban, Director, Kent County Public Library, thanking the Commissioners for their assistance during a difficult budget year and advising of the goals to bring the Kent County Library to similar funding levels as other libraries in the State.
At 11:10 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. Susanne Hayman, Human Resources Director, was also in attendance.
The executive session adjourned at 11:20 a.m.
At 2:00 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. Robert B. Rust, Jr., Emergency Management Director, was also in attendance.
The executive session adjourned at 2:20 p.m.
Charlene Perry, Director, Health, Promotion and Wellness, Health Department, Charlie Hilton, Ruth Briscoe, Sam Ringgold, Sr., appeared to recognize Mens' Health Week. Mrs. Perry advised that the Citizens Against Tobacco Smoke Committee developed a program promoting mens' health awareness. Commissioner Pickrum read the proclamation and the Commissioners presented the proclamation designating the week of June 9 as Men's Health Week in Kent County. Mr. Hilton stated that it provided a opportunity for fathers and sons to share information on health awareness. The Commissioners thanked all for attending.
The Commissioners proclaimed June 5 as Thelma Nickerson O'Grady Day in honor of her many contributions to the community and as recipient of the Maryland State Retired Teacher Association's First Community Service Award.
The Commissioners approved and Commissioner Pickrum signed Governor's Office of Crime Control and Prevention Grant Application Form for grant funding to pay staff to perform MILES/NCIC data entry for protective orders.
TEA PARTY FESTIVAL
The Commissioners received correspondence from Judy Kelly, Chestertown, expressing concern at the behavior of youth at the Chestertown Tea Party Festival.
Correspondence was received from Roger Williams, Treasurer, requesting approval to purchase software in order to accommodate the necessary changes to generate real estate tax bills. The software enhancement will cost $500. A motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum to approve the expenditure as presented out of Mr. Williams' current FY 03 budget. Any overage will be covered out of contingency fund.
UPPER SHORE AGING
A copy of correspondence directed to Congressman Wayne Gilchrest from Carl Burke, Executive Director, Upper Shore Aging, was received advising that the Senior Center is scheduled to open on August 1, and that he is soliciting additional funding for operating expenses for FY 04.
Amy Moredock, Environmental Planner, advised of the scheduled June 18 meeting at Urieville Lake to discuss the fish passage as it relates to the Urieville Lake Restoration Project.
U. S. COAST GUARD STATION
The Commissioners approved and executed an Agreement with Echo Hill Outdoor School for continued use of the U.S. Coast Guard Station now acquired by the County. Echo Hill Outdoor School uses a floating dock for the purpose of students embarking and disembarking water craft relating to educational classes on the Chesapeake Bay.
Correspondence was received from Carl Burke, Executive Director, Upper Shore Aging, requesting a meeting to discuss the local operating match for USTAR Transportation.
There being no further business to claim their attention, the Board adjourned to meet again on Tuesday, June 10, 2003
Please contact Joyce Laskey or Janice Fletcher at (410) 778-7435 or by e-mail with any questions or comments.