KENT COUNTY, MARYLAND
Board of County Commissioners
July 29, 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 $1,388,641.00
At the recommendation of Gail Owings, Director, Planning and Zoning Administration, the Commissioners approved to accept Irrevocable Letter of Credit from the Peoples Bank of Kent County, Maryland for the account of Frank Plummer, II and Robin C. Plummer, in the amount of $3,077.50 to guarantee compliance to the Kent County Afforestation Ordinance.
Correspondence went forth to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers advising that Maryland Eastern Shore Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D), Inc., has agreed to make a formal application for a study of Betterton Beach relating to the degradation of the bluff and bank destabilization.
The Commissioners received a copy of correspondence from Richard Lindsay, District Engineer, State Highway Administration, directed to Charles Breeding, David A. Bramble, Inc. relating to the electrical service at the bath house in Betterton which was damaged during recent road construction. The area where the facility was damaged was not marked, and therefore, not the responsibility of the contractor. The County Administrator reported that he and Jeff Troester, Director, Parks and Recreation, met with representative of State Highway Administration and as a result a compromise was agreed upon; 70% State, 30% County cost. Mr. Troester feels that Program Open Space funding can cover the County's share of cost.
The Queen Anne's County Commissioners hosted a bi-county lunch meeting at their office on Liberty Street, Centreville, MD. Those in attendance representing Queen Anne's County were Commissioners Benjamin F. Cassell, President, Gene M. Ransom, III, Vice President, Rodney "Nemo" Neidomanski, and Joseph Cupani, Members, ( Commissioner Michael S. Koval was absent), Paul Comfort, County Administrator, Margie Houck, Executive Assistant, Steve Walls, Public Works Director, Joe Zimmerman, Director of Finance, and Gregg Nizza, Information Specialist. Those representing Kent County were Commissioners William W. Pickrum, President, and members, Roy W. Crow, and Scott D. Livie, T. Edward Robinson, County Administrator, and Janice F. Fletcher, Executive Assistant.
Items of discussion included the following:
Chestertown Bypass - Neil Pedersen, State Highway Administrator, Howard Johnson,
SHA Regional Planner, and Richard Lindsay, District Engineer, were in attendance as well as Chestertown Mayor Margo Bailey and Council Member, Jim Bristoll.
Mr. Pedersen advised today's meeting was in a follow up to request made by the former
Board of County Commissioners during the Department of Transportation's 2002 annual tour in Kent County to reinstate the Chestertown Bypass Project in the SHA program. Request for this project initiated in the mid 1970's. A survey was taken in the 1980's indicating, with the bypass, there would be 30% to 40% diversion of traffic that normally travels through Chestertown and the SHA feel the current traffic volume has stayed close to predictions. The SHA gave approval in the 1980's to proceed in making substantial rehabilitation to the existing historical Chester River Bridge. During the 1990's, the SHA began acquiring property near Chester Harbor needed for the bypass project. In the late 1990's, the project was removed from the Capital Program due to fiscal constraints and due to non-conformance to the "Smart Growth" initiative. The former Queen Anne's County Commissioners were also in opposition to this project due to concerns raised by residents of Chester Harbor. Since that time, the Kent County Commissioners have consistently requested the project be restored. In order for consideration to be given by the SHA, there needs to be support by both Kent and Queen Anne's Counties to place this project back into the Secondary Roads System Program. Mr. Pedersen agreed that there is periodic congestion in Chestertown and suggested a new look of the project be considered.
Commissioner Cupani questioned the goals of Kent County. It is his feeling that if a bypass is constructed, it would lead to more growth along the bypass. Commissioner Pickrum stated growth is one part of the equation, however, Chestertown is a historical community and designated as a National Scenic Byway and is targeted for preservation, not for growth. He also noted that trucks are damaging the infrastructure in the County Seat. Mayor Bailey, a resident of Washington Avenue, stated the traffic is constant and is increasing all the time making more pressures on residents and to the bridge. The underpinning of the sidewalks were built during Colonial times and the truck traffic is damaging it. She is not interested to have Chestertown to become another Annapolis or St. Michaels. Mr. Pedersen stated that 70% of truck traffic is destined toward Chestertown. In response to question raised by Mr. Robinson, Mr. Pedersen advised that properties previously acquired by the State Highway Administration for this project have been retained.
Mr. Pedersen feels this is a broader issue than just a bypass. The State will need to be provided with a growth plan to include a broader vision for this area for further consideration. Commissioner Pickrum feels both Kent and Queen Anne's Planning Directors need to meet to see what both counties desire in order to get this project moving. A progress report can be given by the counties during the 2003 DOT annual tour scheduled for September 30 in Kent County.
Detention Center - Commissioner Pickrum stated the Kent County facility is filling rapidly and questioned if Queen Anne's County would consider a shared facility. Commissioner Cassell expressed concerns as to transportation of prisoners, etc. Mr. Zimmerman suggested an Upper Shore regional facility to house only sentenced in-mates, excluding those on work-release program, etc. and to contract operation with Corp America. It was agreed that both counties' finance directors and wardens meet for further discussion. It was also agreed to discuss with MACo as to addressing medical costs of in-mates.
Board of Education - Commissioner Pickrum advised that the Kent County High School has excess capacity. The school was built in 1972 for 1400 students; the current enrollment is 860 and enrollment anticipated for 2010 is 650. Commissioner Livie feels the best way to utilize the facility is to create good educational opportunities such as a magnet school and/or a tech prep program.. The possibility of shared administration was also discussed since Kent County only have eight schools. Commissioner Livie also suggested possibility of having Kingstown and Chester Harbor students attend Kent County schools. It was agreed that it may be better to share administration rather have students relocated. It was agreed to discuss these recommendations with the Kent and Queen Anne's Boards of Education to see what they would be willing to share. Commissioner Pickrum also suggested to discuss these issues at the next Upper Shore Association of Counties meeting. Commissioner Ransom suggested to schedule the next bi-county meeting sometime in September to include the Superintendent of Schools from both counties as well as Senator Pipkin to facilitate. Commissioner Cupani feels these are good recommendations mentioned but feel they should be addressed differently. The Commissioners requested that their County Administrators meet in the mean time for further discussion.
Legislation - Volunteer Fire Companies - Last year, Senator Pipkin was requested by the Queen Anne's Commissioners to introduce legislation to allow vehicle markings for volunteer firemen. Senator Pipkin and Delegate Sossi requested that additional support be obtained from neighboring counties. It was also noted that representatives of the Crumpton Volunteer Fire Company have expressed concern as to the radio system. Mr. Robinson stated that two grant applications will be soon submitted for a radio upgrade for the entire Eastern Shore. Commissioner Ransom suggested a letter of support be forwarded from the individual counties.
Chesapeake College - Commissioner Livie advised of Kent County's low enrollment at Chesapeake College and feels that distance and transportation present problems to potential students. He suggested consideration be given to a park and ride program which may encourage additional enrollment.
The next meeting was tentatively scheduled for October 28.
The meeting adjourned at 2:20 p.m.
BOARD OF BUILDING APPEALS
The Commissioners reappointed William A. Isaacs as a member of the Board of Building Appeals for a three year term ending July 1, 2006.
BOARD OF EDUCATION
Correspondence went forth to Allan Hanifee, Sr.,President, Board of Education requesting consideration be given to sharing the cost with groups/organizations that have expressed an interest in raising funds for a lighting system on the Kent County High School stadium athletic field. As Kent County High School is one of only a few high schools in the state that does not have lighting on the main stadium athletic field, the Commissioners suggested the project would be a benefit to both the High School and the community.
BOARD OF ELECTION SUPERVISORS
The Commissioners approved and Commissioner Pickrum signed amendment to the lease owned by KRM Development Corporation, for the Board of Elections modifying the lease commencement date from July 1, 2003 to July 15, 2003 and the termination date shall be changed from June 30, 2008 to July 14, 2008.
The Commissioners received correspondence from Linda H. Lamone. Administrator, State Board of Elections, advising of the cost and payment schedule for the uniform voting systems as required by law. She advised that implementation and acquisition costs for Kent County would be $77,000 through 2009, with no payments required until 2005.
CENTRAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
The Commissioners reappointed Robert B. Rust, Jr., Emergency Management Director, and Sheriff John F. Price, IV as members of the Central Communications Commission for a three year term ending July 18, 2006.
COMMUNITY WORK PROGRAM
The Commissioners received the fourth quarter FY 03 Community Work Program report as prepared by Robert Sparre, Director, Community Work Program.
COUNTY OWNED VEHICLES
Correspondence was received from Carter Stanton, Director, Public Works, requesting to transfer the 1999 Chevrolet pickup (used by him) to the Solid Waste Division and requested to purchase a new Chevrolet Blazer. The new vehicle purchased through the State contract can be funded from the FY 04 Solid Waste budget and the sale of 1975 solid waste roll-off truck and the 1993 solid waste pickup. Discussion was tabled and the Purchasing Coordinator will be requested to obtain cost for a used Chevrolet Blazer.
COUNTY ROADS DIVISION
In follow-up from last week's recommendation from Edward Spray, Superintendent County Roads Division, to purchase a John Deere Tractor mowing tractor from W. N. Cooper & Son, Inc. for the amount of $25,587.92. Mr. Robinson reported the bid received was under State contract. A motion was made by Commissioner Livie, seconded by Commissioner Crow and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum to purchase the tractor per Mr. Spray's recommendation.
DEPARTMENT OF WATER AND WASTEWATER SERVICES
Wayne Morris, Director, Department of Water and Wastewater Services, appeared to report on the following issues:
Quaker Neck Service Area - Mr. Morris provided a memorandum relating to the costs to upgrade to pump station at John Hansen Road.
Bill Ingersoll, Town Manager, appeared to discuss the development in the Quaker Neck service area as it relates to impact of the Quaker Neck pump station. Susanne Hayman, County Attorney, and Mr. Morris were in attendance . Mr. Ingersoll reported that he is aware that Ms. Hayman is working on a Memorandum of Agreement and that the Mayor and Council support no fees associated with the transfer of the line from the County to Chestertown. He reiterated the position that Chestertown has given the County many allocations and feels the developer should not have to pay for any upgrade to the pump station. He questioned that the extra allocations (for the new development) would impact the pump station to the point that upgrades are required. Commissioner Livie confirmed that Mr. Ingersoll did not want the developer to bear the cost of the pump station upgrade. Mr. Ingersoll stated it was inappropriate to charge the developer. Commissioner Livie pointed out that per previous discussions he recalls him saying the developer should reimburse the County for upgrades to the pump station. Again, Mr. Ingersoll questioned the specific need for the upgrade. Commissioner Pickrum advised that a developer should pay for any impact on the system rather than have the current users bear the expense. Mr. Ingersoll reiterated his opinion that he does not concur with charging the developer for hook up fees (to Chestertown) and pump upgrade fees (to the County). Commissioner Pickrum advised that the issue still remains that the developer will impact the wastewater system. Mr. Ingersoll feels the developer makes only a proportionate impact to the County system. The Commissioners then agreed a proportionate rate be charged. The formula agreed upon is as follows: $30,000 (estimated cost of upgrade) divided by number of remaining allocations times the number of units. This formula was agreed upon by Mr. Ingersoll. The Commissioners requested a cost analysis of the upgrade be confirmed in order to be fair to all.
Ms. Hayman will progress with the Memorandum of Agreement.
Tolchester Service Area - Gail Owings, Director, Planning and Zoning Administration, Mr. Morris, Ms. Hayman, and Marcie Brown, Planning Commission member, Carla Martin, Community Planner, and Ed Birkmire, Environmental Health Director, appeared to discuss growth management issues in Tolchester Service Area as well as other areas of the County. Approximately 8 interested persons were also in attendance. In follow-up from a request for sewer allocation for Charles Smith, III, Tax Map 35A, Parcel 68, the County's Tolchester Committee is investigating the feasibility of additional sewer service in the area.
Commissioner Livie advised that this discussion was furthering concerns as to developing additional lots in Tolchester Estates. He reported that the Commissioners prefer development in areas where a development exists rather than develop another community. Commissioner Pickrum requested lots be identified that would never be serviced. Mr. Morris stated that the current Growth Management Plan would need updating to reflect the Commissioners' goals. He requested direction from the Commissioners so the committee could address the issues related to the goals.
Commissioner Pickrum inquired as to reference made about environmental sensitive area relating to the vicinity of Mr. Smith's property. Ms. Martin advised that the area was wetlands and in the Critical Area. Mr. Birkmire advised that the Health Department has the ability to declare an area environmentally sensitive as well. Mr. Birkmire also requested direction from the Commissioners as to further developing Tolchester and extending infrastructure. Ms. Brown advised that not only is sewer service in question, roads and community needs should be reviewed as well. Commissioner Livie requested lots be identified that would need service in the future. Mr. Birkmire advised that to comply with the Growth Management Plan there are approximately 20 allocations left in Tolchester and more than 20 undeveloped lots. Ms. Brown noted that the committee needs to look at infrastructure needs in Chesapeake Landing, Great Oak and other subdivisions that do not have a management plan. Commissioner Pickrum requested the focus remain on Tolchester as it provides moderately priced housing. Commissioner Livie requested the committee make recommendations on expanding service in Tolchester and investigate the process of amending the Growth Management Plan. Commissioner Crow requested fiscal impact as well as recommendations from the committee.
Robert Basener, President Tolchester Homeowners Association, invited the Commissioners to meet with the homeowners association and advised that correspondence went forth to all Tolchester Estate property owners advising of the State 10,000 square feet property size requirement to prevent any further misunderstandings. Margaret "Peggy" Sommers advised of her desire to be allowed to develop her 6,000 sq. ft. lot.
The Commissioners confirmed that request for sewer allocation from Charles Smith, III, Tax Map 35A, Parcel 68, remains on hold. The Commissioners expressed interest in making a site visit to this area before any decision is made.
The Commissioner received correspondence from Warden Ronald Howell advising of two unforseen medical bills dating back to March 2001 and August 2002. He reported that their office received the bills on July 21, 2003.
John Hall, County Extension Director, Elizabeth Hill, Faculty Assistant, 4-H and Youth, and Jean Austin, Faculty Extension Assistant, appeared to provide an update and overview of Extension Office Programs.
Ms. Hill reviewed a variety of programs including In-School and After School programs, knowledge contests, public speaking, fund raising, 4-H promotion, community services and County/regional workshops.
Ms. Austin reported on the financial counseling services she offers to clients from Social Services and Women in Need. She advised of the need to recruit volunteers as financial services can be time consuming. Ms. Austin also reported of the nutritional education services she provides.
Commissioner Livie inquired as to how this Board could assist in increasing 4-H membership. Ms. Hill advised that finding volunteers was the key to increase membership and noted of the recent establishment of a 4-H club in Rock Hall. Commissioner Pickrum inquired if the Rock Hall Shuttle could deliver additional participants to the 4-H fair. Mr. Hall reported that the Rock Hall Shuttle has been used in the past and USTAR Transportation volunteered their services, however, no one took advantage of the service.
Commissioner Crow inquired if 4-H partners with private companies to sponsor events/projects. Ms. Hill noted of the recent private company sponsor for a tractor/farm safety program. Commissioner Livie suggested contacting local banks to participate and locate volunteers for financial services.
Commissioner Livie inquired if the Extension Office partners with the Board of Education. Ms. Hill advised that she works with the Board of Education on programs. Commissioner Pickrum suggested they present all of their services and programs at a Board of Education meeting. The Commissioners thanked all for the presentation.
HUMAN RELATIONS COMMISSION
Correspondence was received from Mary Ellen Williams, Chairman, Human Relations Commission, requesting space to keep a filing cabinet as well as place to meet, preferably in the evening hours. The County Administrator will investigate possibilities as to placement of the file cabinet and meeting place.
At 3:50 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 CFF grant agreement.
The executive session adjourned at 4:25 p.m.
LOCAL MANAGEMENT BOARD
The Commissioners approved and signed a Memorandum of Understanding by and between the Local Management Board and Parks and Recreation for both the "Beyond" After School Program, and "Jr. Leaders Club" in cooperation with the Kent County Public Schools funded by State grants.
At 2:50 p.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 11:20 a.m.
PUBLIC LANDINGS AND FACILITIES BOARD
The Commissioners reappointed Franklin Legg, Sr. for a five year term ending July 1, 2008.
The Commissioners received official notification from John A. Grant, Public Health Officer, delegating power to enforce County laws regulating the sale, distribution, storage and display of tobacco products to the Kent County Alcoholic Beverage Inspector.
Bernadette Van Pelt, Tourism Director, appeared; Laurie Crossley, Assistant to the Tourism Director, and Mary Betts, volunteer, were also in attendance. Ms. Van Pelt advised the State Office has contracted with the Travel Industry of American (TIA) for conducting a survey of the State as to visitor statistics. It was estimated that $26 Million is spent annually by visitors in Kent County .The tourism trade provides 300 jobs and $2 Million go back into the county coffers. For a five year trend, it was estimated there were 367,000 visitors in Kent County, not including day trippers; the average annual visitation to Kent County was 73,400; 80% arrived by vehicle; 2.2% by boat and 16% by plane. The origin of visitors ranked as follows: Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, Florida and New York.
In follow-up from last week, Ed Birkmire, Director, Environmental Health, provided an update on the toxic algae bloom. He reported advice from Maryland Department of the Environment as well as Department of Natural Resources, to post warnings on bathing and boat launch ramps of toxins in the algae bloom. He reported that the algae bloom is in the Sassafras River area, however, had not reached Betterton Beach.
As a result of discussion between the County Administrator and Carl Burke, Executive Director, Upper Shore Aging, correspondence went forth to Mr. Burke documenting the in-kind support by Kent County for the USTAR Transportation Program in FY 04 in the amount of $17,241.00.
The Commissioners approved and Commissioner Pickrum executed a grant agreement between the Department of Agriculture and Kent County for the control and eradication of noxious weeds during the period of July 1, 2003 through May 31, 2004.
There being no further business to claim their attention, the Board adjourned to meet again on Tuesday, August 5, 2003.
Please contact Joyce Laskey or Janice Fletcher at (410) 778-7435 or by e-mail with any questions or comments.