KENT COUNTY, MARYLAND
Board of County Commissioners
July 22, 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 as amended.
W. Roger Williams, Treasurer, reported a balance of $ 2,241,733.00.
AIRPORT STUDY COMMITTEE
Per the Commissioners' request, the Airport Study Committee appeared to review the organization and charter of the committee. P.A. M. Schaller, Director, Economic Development, and Jim Wright, County Engineer, were also in attendance. The committee consists of the following members: Thomas Beckett, Sr., Chairman, Tyler Campbell, John Caputo, Larry Cox, James Douglass, Bronwyn Fry, Bill Knepshield, George McLaughlin, and Judge H. Thomas Sisk. Judge Sisk was not in attendance.
Commissioner Crow advised that with the demise of the proposed airport project, the Board has formed a committee to review if an airport is economically feasible for Kent County.
Commissioner Pickrum stated that the members were selected with diverse opinions in mind and requested the group act expediently to come to a conclusion. He advised that Mrs. Schaller, would act as facilitator for the committee.
Commissioner Livie advised that limited funding would be available for consultant services or touring a similar proposed facility. Mr. Wright advised Alan Peljovich of Wilbur Smith Associates has agreed to assist the committee at no cost to the county. He advised that Congressman Gilchrest also expressed interest in the project and suggested they contact Caroline County to glean information from the progress of their project. The Commissioners requested Mr. Wright make all information accessible to the committee. The Commissioners thanked the members for their efforts on behalf of the Board. The committee adjourned to continue their meeting in the second floor conference area.
Jeff Troester, Director, Parks and Recreation, provided information relating to the advisory from the Department of Mental Health and Hygiene reporting that waters in Turners Creek, Betterton Beach and areas of the Sassafras River tested positive for toxins in blue/green algae. Mr. Troester advised that signs were posted at Turners Creek warning of the algae bloom toxins and also advised that an occurrence was reported on Fairlee
Creek. He noted that although a natural occurrence, contact with the blooms could be harmful to humans and animals and advised that the algae is easily recognized as a blue/green mat on the water. He noted that regular testing of the waters would be forthcoming and additional information and updates could be found on the Department of Natural Resources Website, www.dnr.state.md.us.
A Memorandum was also received from Amy Moredock, Environmental Planner, providing information regarding the algae bloom at Turners Creek.
BOARD OF EDUCATION
The Commissioners received correspondence from David Lever, Public School Construction Program, with a revised Fiscal Year 2004 Public School Construction Capital Improvement Program. Kent County will receive $352,000 in FY 04 for capital improvements for windows and doors for the Galena Middle School and HVAC system for Chestertown Middle School.
Correspondence was received from Dr. Bonnie Ward, Superintendent of Schools, summarizing the July 13 meeting and tour at the Kent County High School with members and representatives of the Board of Education County Commissioners, Kent County High School staff, and David Lever, Executive Director, Interagency Committee on School Construction, relating to capital needs for the facility. As a result of the meeting a Capital Improvement Plan schedule was proposed. The Commissioners, Dr. Ward and the Board of Education will meet again on August 5 to further discuss the County's goals for the high school.
BOARD OF ELECTION SUPERVISORS
Florence Sutton, Election Director, appeared to discuss voting machine mandates by the State and the impact on the County's FY 04 budget for an approximate amount of $37,000 of additional monies needed. She distributed a memorandum advising of the status of State mandates for voting machines. The additional budget allocation requested will include training and techneical services for poll workers, IT services, installation of new modem lines, advertising of required notices and postage.
Mrs. Sutton reported that the new voting machines would be available to the County on August 1, instead of the previous information of their use in 2006. She reported that Kent County will receive 100 new voting machines. She advised that payment for the machines is scheduled for 2005 which will represent 50% of cost. Mrs. Sutton noted that there will be a Regional IT person for the Eastern Shore to assist with the voting machine programs.
Commissioner Livie inquired if Kent County's current voting machines could be advertised and sold to another Country. Mrs. Sutton advised that more information may be available at the Maryland Association of Counties meeting in August.
Commissioner Pickrum inquired if a suitable polling place had been located for the Sixth District. Mrs. Sutton advised that there are three polling places in need of location review.
Mrs. Sutton reported that it is currently unclear the amount that will have to be paid on the old machines, since new machines are being purchased.
The Commissioners received correspondence from Dr. Stuart Bounds, President, Chesapeake College, thanking the Commissioners for their continued support and participation in Chesapeake College's goals.
CITIZENS' REVIEW BOARD FOR CHILDREN
Correspondence was received from Karen Simpson, Child Protection Specialist, Citizens' Review Board for Children, Baltimore, advising that only one member of the Kent County panel who has been certified to conduct case reviews. Kent County will need an additional two certified case reviewers to review cases in the Kent County jurisdiction. Ms. Simpson provided information on the remaining training sessions for 2003. A copy of this correspondence will be forwarded to the Local Management Board.
COUNTY ROADS DIVISION
Correspondence was received from Edward Spray, advising of the following bids received for a mowing tractor:
Rathell Farm Equipment $17,400.00 New Holland Tractor
W. N. Cooper & Son, Inc. $25,587.92 John Deere Tractor
Mr. Spray reported that the New Holland Tractor does not meet the specifications. Mr. Spray recommended the purchase of the John Deere Tractor for the amount of $25,587.92. Commissioner Crow concurred that the John Deere tractor was a better value although initially more costly. Given the vast cost difference, Commissioner Livie inquired if W. N. Cooper & Son, Inc., would consider lowering the price. No action was taken at this time. Mr. Stanton will make inquiry and will report his findings to the Board.
The Commissioners approved and Commissioner Pickrum signed application seeking State Aid in the amount of $128, 000 to be used toward surface treatment of various County roads.
In follow-up from last week, Carter Stanton, Director, Public Works, reported that he and the Maintenance Supervisor met with a contractor to examine and discuss the water moisture problem in the Court House basement. Mr. Stanton provided a quotation from Munters Moisture Control, to dry the wet area, apply antimicrobial to rooms affected and set up air movers/air scrubbers for the amount of $3,438.00. He advised that most recommendations made are already in place to be performed by the maintenance supervisor, however, when talking to Mr. McVan, Manager of Munters Moisture Control, his opinion was that moisture will not degrade the foundation of the Court House. He also suggested that the area around the foundation be graded so that water would drain away from the foundation.
DEPARTMENT OF WATER AND WASTEWATER SERVICES
Tolchester - Public Works Agreements by and between the County Commissioners and William W. Tubman, Jr. and Mr. and Mrs.Gavin T. Smith were approved and signed relating to a sewer allocation in the Tolchester Service Area.
Piney Neck/Skinners Neck - A Public Works agreement by and between the County Commissioners and Sallie Jacquette Bakker for a sewer allocation in Piney Neck/Skinners Neck Service Area.
EASTERN SHORE LAND CONSERVANCY
As a result of the County's effort and participation in the Eastern Shore 2010 Agreement, correspondence was received from Amy Owsley, Director of Community Planning, Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, advising that Kent, along with five other Mid-Shore counties have been nominated for the National Glynwood Harvest Awards.
EDESVILLE NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION
Reverend Ruben Freeman, President, Edesville Neighborhood Association, appeared to discuss fee increases for the Edesville Park. Jeff Troester, Director, Parks and Recreation, and twelve interested persons were also in attendance. Rev. Freeman inquired why the rate to use Edesville Park (on a daily basis) had increased from $100 per day to $250. Mr. Troester advised that the fee was increased from $20 to $25 per hour resulting in the day rate (10 hours or more) to be $250. Rev. Freeman inquired if the fee increase was the result of recent improvements to the park. Mr. Troester advised that the six rentals per year would not cover the expenses of the improvements. Commissioner Pickrum advised that the fee increase at Edesville Park was part of fee increases initiated throughout County Departments. He reported that County costs have increased and park rates had not increased for many years. Commissioner Pickrum further noted that the $100 (all day) fee was unreasonably low. An attendee questioned the justification for the fee increase given the poor parking conditions and unclean restrooms. Mr. Troester advised that
the restrooms (portable toilets) were under contract to be cleaned (twice weekly) by the contract provider and would investigate the matter. An attendee also inquired as to why the building at the Edesville Park was locked and also suggested it be converted into a pavilion to provide shelter during inclement weather. Mr. Troester concurred that the building should have originally been constructed as a pavilion and would investigate removing doors from the building, however, if the doors are removed, items and equipment stored inside would need to be removed. In response to complaints about tall grass at the park, Mr. Troester advised that the wet spring weather had impaired mowing grass at all parks. An attendee suggested that employees be instructed as to the property line of the park so that all the area is mowed. Mr. Troester advised that he would investigate the issues brought to his attention. The Commissioners thanked all for attending.
The Commissioners received a copy of correspondence directed to J. Scott Whitney, Coordinator, Emergency Numbering Systems Board, Department of Public Safety & Corrections Services, from Robert Rust, Jr., Director, Emergency Management, requesting funds in the amount of $1,484, 703 from the Maryland State ten-cent fee to bring Kent County in compliance with the Phase II Wireless Enhanced 9-1-1 requirement, provide fiber optic cabling and replace our logging recorder.
The Commissioners approved and signed Contract by and between the County Commissioners and Chesapeake Diesel for the purchase and replacement of an emergency generator to be located at WCTR Radio Station at a cost of $18,575 which is to be grant funded by the State.
The Commissioners received a copy of correspondence from Diane Matuzak, Director to Ed Birkmire, Director, Environmental Health, advising of a potentially harmful algae bloom that may cause fish kills as well as acute dermatological rash and blisters.
The Commissioners approved a Raffle Permit for Chestertown High School Alumni Association to hold a class reunion event at the Kent Agricultural Center on August 10.
In follow-up from last week, Gail Owings, Director, Planning and Zoning Administration, Jeff Troester, Director, Parks and Recreation, Miles Bernard, Landscape Architect, Marsha Fritz, Bill Ingersoll, Chestertown Town Manager, William Sutton, Sandra Edwards, Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, Bernadette VanPelt, Tourism Director and Michael Thielke, appeared to
discuss possibilities of the LaMotte property site being used as open space, parkland, museum or other public use. Susanne Hayman, County Attorney, Dan Saunders, Esq., and Dr. Eileen McLellan, Chester Riverkeeper, were also in attendance.
Mr. Saunders advised that he represented a gentleman who had a contract on the property and requested to discuss the matter in executive session.
At 11:05 a.m., and at the request of C. Daniel Saunders, Esq. representing Andrew Bradley, a motion was made by Commissioner Livie, seconded by Commissioner Crow 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. Susanne Hayman, County Attorney, was also in attendance.
The executive session adjourned at 11:20 a.m.
Commissioner Livie advised that a window of opportunity may be available to procure and preserve this property. He suggested that the location, MD Route 213, was a natural spot for a waterfowl sanctuary and could be developed as a gateway to the Scenic Byway. Commissioner Pickrum inquired as to the Town of Chestertown's desire for the property. Mr. Ingersoll briefly described the past effort to procure the land with Program Open Space (POS) funds, however, unsuccessful. Mr. Thielke inquired if it as the Boards' intention to take the property off the tax role and not produce income. Ms. Fritz expressed her view that preserving the property served as a gift for the future. Mr. Bernard advised that he was familiar with the property as he used the site as part of a study analysis when he attended the University of Maryland. What he prepared contained all the elements of Kent County life. He noted that so much water drained into the property that it should be addressed before ultimately flowing into the Chester River. Mr. Ingersoll concurred and noted of concerns of the stormwater management. He suggested contacting Maryland Department of the Environment for their assistance.
Commissioner Pickrum noted the interest in the area and inquired if private interest may assist in the development of a public entity. Mr. Thielke stated his opinion that the proposals discussed are better suited for assistance from foundations/corporations. Dr. McLellan stated that she was pleased to hear water issues being addressed, however, her preference was to keep the area open space.
Mr. Thielke addressed the issue of Rails to Trails on the property and suggested the two projects be kept separate, however, should the property be acquired, take the Rails to Trails proposal in consideration.
Ms. Edwards stated that Eastern Shore Land Conservancy has the means to act quickly and can address repayment over an extended period of time.
Mr. Sutton stated that decisions need to be done quickly due to current contract of sale soon to expire.
Ms. Fritz suggested a study committee be appointed for further review of this matter.
The Commissioners concurred and the following were appointed to the LaMotte Park Study Committee: Miles Bernard, Sandra Edwards representing Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, Marsha Fritz, representing Chestertown Planning Commission, Eileen McClellan, Chester Riverkeeper, William S. Sutton, Jeff Troester, Parks and Recreation Director, and a representative of the Chestertown Mayor and Council.
HOMESTEAD TAX CREDIT
For the Commissioners' information, W. Roger Williams provided information on the Homestead Tax Credit.
HOUSING IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM
Correspondence was received from Kay Pinder-Almen, Administrative Aide, Housing and Community Development, advising that Phase Four of the Housing Improvement Project will commence and three homes have been selected for rehabilitation. She also advised that the Invitiations to bid have been disseminated and the bid opening will be held on August 12.
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 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 potential land acquisition and potential litigation.
The executive session adjourned at 1:00 p.m.
In follow-up from April 29, the Commissioners modified their recommendation to include Michael Waal to join the task force to address the issue of highspeed network for telecommunications on the Eastern Shore in response to House Bill 697. The Commissioners recommended both Brian Wilson and Michael Waal to represent Kent County to Delegate Mary Roe Walkup.
LOCAL MANAGEMENT BOARD
The Commissioners approved and Commissioner Pickrum signed the following three Grant Award and Acceptance documents: Youth Strategies/Kent County /Youth Leadership Institute/Base in the amount of $24,800.00; Youth Strategies/Kent County /Reconnecting Youth/Base in the amount of $30,050.00; Youth Strategies/Kent County /Residential Student Assistance Program/Base in the amount of $11,187.00.
MARYLAND ASSOCIATION OF COUNTIES
The Commissioners received correspondence from Marilyn Praisner, President, Maryland Association of Counties (MACo), advising of the County's role relating to the adoption of the school comprehensive master plan required under the Bridge to Excellence for Public Schools Act of 2002. Ms. Praisner reported that the statutory charge of the County is to receive a copy of the comprehensive master plan; affirmation is not required.
MARYLAND SHELLFISH REGULATIONS
In follow-up from July 8 in which Commissioner Pickrum suggested the Department of Natural Resources initiate a seminar for waterman explaining the Maryland Shellfish Regulations relating to Kent County, Amy Moredock, Environmental Planner, reported that after discussing the matter with Larry Simns, President, Maryland Waterman's Association, he advised that the shellfish regulations were established following input from area waterman, residents and the
Department of Natural Resources. He expressed his opinion that additional meetings on the matter would not be necessary. The Commission agreed to invite Mr. Simns to meet with them for futher discussion.
Jeff Troester, Director, Parks and Recreation, reported that Worton Arena has a large bat population and he has moved some activities to another location. He reported that effort continues to seal the bats out with one-way doors, however, they remain a problem. The Commissioners advised that they are reviewing other locations for his department given the condition of the building.
At 6:00 a.m., the Commissioners went to the Public Works Building and hosted a surprise recognition of Sonny Layton, Highway Marking Specialist, who is retiring after 18 years in county employment. Mr. Layton was presented with a plaque in honor of his retirement.
At 9:30 a.m, a motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Pickrum and passed by the majority of the Board to go into executive session with Sheriff John F. Price, IV to discuss personnel matters in accordance with State Government Article, Section 10.508 of the Annotated Code of Maryland. Commissioner Livie was absent for this meeting.
The executive session adjourned 9:55 a.m.
At 1:00 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.
The executive session adjourned at 1:10 p.m.
Public Notice was received advising of the on-site assessment of the Kent County Sheriff's Office administered by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA). A public information session will be held on August 18 at 7:00 p.m. in the Kent County Government Center, 400 High Street, Chestertown. More information may be obtained by contacting John Vail, Accreditation Manager, at 410 778-2277.
Correspondence was received from Sheriff Price advising that the Sheriff's Office now has a website at www.kentcounty.com/sheriff. The website provides contact information, mission, frequently asked questions and the ability to interact with the Sheriff's Office.
STATE HIGHWAY ADMINISTRATION
Correspondence was received from Neil Pederson, Administrator, advising of his recent appointment as Administrator for the State Highway Administration. He requested input as he and his staff update the business plan.
As submitted by the Robert H. Strong, Jr., State's Attorney, the Commissioners approved and Commissioner Pickrum signed renewal application for the Victims of Crime Assistance Program to be forwarded to the Governor's Office of Crime Control and Prevention.
Correspondence was received from Tracy Stone, The Inn at Mitchell House, Chestertown, expressing concern relating to development in Tolchester. She expressed concern that sewer was made available to remedy failing septic systems not create a growth area. Ms. Stone invited the Commissioners to view the Tolchester area as well as attend a community meeting to better understand the issues and concerns.
Gail Owings, Director, Planning and Zoning Administration, Amy Moredock, Environmental Planner, Mary Pittek, Urieville Lake Project Manager, Jo Ann Grundy, Biologist, Carey Nagoda, Water Resources Engineer, Steve Kopecky, Project Manager, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, appeared to discuss the status of the Urieville Lake project. P.A.M. Schaller, Director, Economic Development, and approximately 16 interested persons were also in attendance. Ms. Pittek, Urieville Lake Project Manager, provided an update on the project and advised of the community meetings where possible options were discussed and issues identified.
Ms. Pittek reviewed the following issues:
Sediment collection behind dam
Algae bloom resulting in lack of oxygen for aquatic life
The following concepts for the restoration project were discussed:
Dredge lake only
Complete dam removal
Natural stream with off-line ponds
Re-built dam to include fish passage structure
Use historic stream channel as by-pass
Restore historic race-mil for fish passage
In conjunction with these proposals she advised that effort would be needed to decrease nutrient infiltration into the lake and a plan for maintenance of the lake when and if the lake restoration is completed.
In response to an inquiry posed by Commissioner Livie to the adjacent land owners in attendance, the response given was of preference to retain Urieville Lake as a lake and not a stream.
Commissioner Livie inquired if Ducks Unlimited had been contacted to discuss assistance in restoring the lake. Ms. Pittek advised she would contact that organization to investigate their assistance with the project. Commissioner Crow inquired if any similar projects had been done to use as an example. Ms. Pittek advised that most projects although similar would have a different set of constraints. An attendee inquired of the time line for the project. Ms. Pittek estimated one year until a decision is to be made and three years until construction.
Ms. Pittek confirmed that she would contact Ducks Unlimited and keep the Commissioners apprised of the project status.
WATER MANAGEMENT ADMINISTRATION
The Commissioners received correspondence from the Maryland Department of the Environment, Water Management Administration, advising that William Brawner, has applied to construct and backfill a 200 foot long timer bulkhead to stabilize the eroding shoreline. The project is located at 12445 Coopers Lane, Worton. More information may be obtained from Richard Ayella at (410) 537-3835.
There being no further business to claim their attention, the Board adjourned to meet again on Tuesday, July 29, 2003.
Please contact Joyce Laskey or Janice Fletcher at (410) 778-7435 or by e-mail with any questions or comments.