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Board of County Commissioners

September 9, 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.

Commissioner Pickrum requested all present to stand in a moment of silence to honor the life of Jarrett B. Thompson, who died of injuries sustained on August 30th in Iraq during his tour of duty in "Operation Freedom." Mr. Thompson was a resident of Kent County and the County's first casualty in the war.

Minutes of the previous meeting were approved.

W. Roger Williams, Treasurer, reported a balance of $ 2,792,009.00.


Pat Merritt, Director of the Accounting Office, appeared and reviewed the FY04 Financial Statements for the month of July. She also reported that she and the Auditor are underway with the audit which should be completed in mid-October.


John Hall, Executive Director, requested the Commissioners' ideas for a building site for an Educational Facility/Agriculture Awareness facility and their ideas for sourcing $80,000 to fund a feasibility study for The Educational Park/Visitor Center, noting the Extension's need for marketing expertise. He feels that this proposed park/center has the potential to become a national agricultural center.


The Commissioners approved and signed a letter of intent, directed to William J. Manahan, Deputy Director, Homeownership Programs/Community Development Administration - DHCD, advising Kent County, agrees to irrevocably transfer to the Community Development Administration its total On-Behalf-Of (OBO) Bond allocation ($501,455) to the Single-Family and Multi-Family components.


Wayne Morris, Director, Department of Water and Wastewater Services, appeared to report on the following issues: (Susanne Hayman, County Attorney, was also present.)

Constellation Energy - Mr. Morris reported that Constellation Energy, the electric utility provider for 6 of the Department's 36 accounts, has opted to enter into a new contract (September 3, 2003 to May 5, 2004) with an additional cost savings of $6,000.00 for his Department, plus $7,000.00 cost savings for other county facilities overseen by Public Works (Jim Wright, County Engineer). Mr. Morris reported that he, Jim Wright, Susanne Hayman, and the County Administrator had a conference call on September 8th with Alan Gorsuch from the Eastern Shore Consortium discussing what cost savings the consortium could provide and what costs were required to join. It was agreed and recommended by all that the most cost effective option for the County at this time would be to remain with Constellation Energy through May 2005.

A motion was made by Commissioner Livie, seconded by Commissioner Crow, and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum to sign the contract with Constellation Energy for the period of September 2003 through May 2005.

Kennedyville Wastewater Treatment Site - Mr. Morris informed the Commissioners that he had been contacted by the manufacturer of the proposed treatment process for Kennedyville's new wastewater treatment process to take a field trip at a site north of Harrisburg, PA to visit a plant of similar size and process projected for Kennedyville. The Commissioners agreed to schedule October 27, 2003 as the day for the field trip to the site. Mr. Morris will check the date with the manufacturer and engineer and confirm with the Commissioners.

Worton Service Area - Mr. Morris indicated that he has received notice of MDE's tentative determination for the renewal of the discharge limits for the Worton Lagoon. Mr. Morris advised that the State is proposing an ammonia nitrate limit for the Worton Lagoon and that, without upgrades, he and Dave Jones, Water and Wastewater Superintendent, did not think that the current process could meet these new limits. Commissioner Crow asked whether or not acquiring a spray irrigation permit would help. Mr. Morris responded that spray irrigation would help during the summer months, given acquisition of a permit by MDE for a summer discharge. However, he added, during the winter months, when it is most difficult to treat for nitrogen, the County would have to convert to a more conventional type of treatment process (as described in the feasibility study completed by McCrone's Engineering two years ago). Mr. Morris advised the Commissioners that the Worton area is planned for growth and if this growth takes place, the County would have to seriously consider options for upgrading the Lagoon.

Tolchester Service Area - Mr. and Mrs Charles Smith, residents of Tolchester, appeared and requested information about allocation. Mr. Smith advised that he and his wife had filed for an allocation and requested information as to the reason why it has been tabled. Commissioner Crow indicated that the Commissioners have been in discussion with the Tolchester Community Association. Commissioner Livie confirmed that it is the policy of the Commissioners to promote development in areas where the County already has water treatment available. Mr. Morris advised that regarding Parcel 68 ( the parcel in question), there is a line of sensitive area, i.e. a wet area, which, therefore, is a concern and the reason why the allocation has been tabled. The Commissioners reassured the Smith's that they will make a field trip to the allocation site as part of their meeting with the Tolchester Community Association on Saturday, October 11, 2003 at 9:00 AM. The Director of Planning and Zoning, the Director of Water and Wastewater, and the Environmental Health Office will also plan to attend.

Spring Cove/Green Lane Service Area - The Commissioners approved and signed Public Works Agreements with Alden Yetman for a sewer allocation on Parcel 17 and Parcel 413 on Map No. 51.


The Commissioners received memorandum from R.L. Howell, Warden, requesting that transport vehicles of the Detention Center be exempt from required marking as per County policy. This request was denied.


The Commissioners received correspondence from Betty Ann Strong tendering her resignation from the Economic Development Advisory Board as of September 9, 2003 due to unavoidable circumstances. The Commissioners received memorandum from P.A.M. Schaller, Kent County Economic Development Office regarding draft "Action Plan for Economic Improvement" of Kent County, prepared by Tom Beckett, and requesting the Commissioners to study the draft. The memo also requests of the Commissioners' permission to increase the hours of the part-time staff employed at the Economic Development Office. No decision was made at this time.

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 P.A.M. Schaller, Economic Development Director, to discuss a proposal to retain a business in Kent County in accordance with State Government Article, Section 10.508 of the Annotated Code of Maryland. The executive session adjourned at 11:35 a.m.


John E. Hall, County Extension Director, appeared and indicated that because the University of Maryland plans to eliminate postage and paper allocations effective October 1, 2003, he is requesting approval of an amount up to $4,000 to cover these costs. This request was made while recognizing the substantial "non-cash" support given by the County to the Kent County Extension Office.

A motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie, and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum to allocate an additional $4,000 out of the contingency fund.

Mr. Hall indicated the Extension's need for a computer (citing the possible replacement cost at $1,000 to $1,200). No action was taken on this request.


The Commissioners received memorandum from Roger Williams, Kent County Treasurer, regarding financing options as to the capital project at Kent County High School.


At 10:35 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 and Alexander P. Rasin, III, County Attorneys, for legal counsel, in accordance with State Government Article, Section 10.508 of the Annotated Code of Maryland. P.A.M. Schaller Economic Development Director, was also in attendance. Items of discussion included land title. The executive session adjourned at 10:50 a.m.

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 M. Susanne Hayman, County Attorney, for legal counsel in accordance with State Government Article, Section 10.508 of the Annotated Code of Maryland. The executive session adjourned at 11:00 AM.


In response to memorandum received from Kay Pinder-Almen, Administrative Aide, Housing and Community Development, the Commissioners approved and signed a letter of intent directed to Tonna Phelps, Director, Single Family Housing - Community Development Administration, advising of Kent County's plans to utilize its FY/2004 Maryland Housing Rehabilitation Program (MHRP) allocation which stands at $33,809.


Correspondence was received from Karen M. Miller, President, National Association of Counties (NACo) advising that Commissioner Pickrum has been appointed as a member to the Telecommunications and Technology Steering Committee.


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 Sheriff Price to discuss personnel matters in accordance with State Government Article, Section 10.508 of the Annotated Code of Maryland. Lieutenant J. Brian Kirby and Detective Sergeant Scott N. Metzbower were also in attendance. The executive session adjourned at 12:30 p.m.

At 3:20 P.M., a motion was made by Commisioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum to go into executive session with Susanne Hayman, Human Resource Director, for a personnel matter, in accordance with State Government Article, Section 10.508 of the Annotated Code of Maryland. This executive session adjourned at 3:40 P.M.


A memorandum was received from Gail Owings, Planning Director, requesting a letter of support from the Board for a grant proposal to be submitted to Dr. Wayne Bell, Director, Center for the Environment and Society, Washington College, for conducting a regional visioning project for Galena and its surrounding area. Kent County's role would be to help coordinate citizens' participation and to provide local information. The Commissioners approved to forward a letter of support.


Ann Leadbetter, Regent, Mary Elizabeth, Vice-Regent, and Peggy Johnstone, Officer, all representing the Old Kent County Chapter of the Daughters of the Revolution (DAR), appeared to acknowledge Constitution Week, September 17 - 23. At their request, the Commissioners approved and signed a proclamation declaring the week of September 17th as Constitution Week in Kent County, urging all citizens to reaffirm the ideals of the Framers of the Constitution by vigilantly protecting the freedoms guaranteed this nation through this guardian of this nation's liberties, and remembering that lost rights may never be regained.


At 11:40 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 and Human Resources Director, Sheriff John Price, Pat Merritt, Budget and Accounting Director, and Lorraine Sexton, Personnel Coordinator, to discuss public security in accordance with State Government Article, Section 10.508 of the Annotated Code of Maryland. The executive session adjourned at 12:00 noon.


For informational purposes, the Commissioners received correspondence from James Brandon, Chief, Northern Branch/Property Disposal Division (4PR), US General Services Administration (GSA), advising that the property identified as Bloody Point Bar Lighthouse, consisting of five acres of submerged land and improvements, Queen Anne's County, Maryland, has been determined government surplus.


At 9:15 AM, a bid opening was held on sealed bids for the sale of the following four County owned parcels of property (obtained through tax sale process): Map 36, Parcel 70 -s/s Bayshore Road, near Fairlee, consisting of 0.175 acre; Map 12, Parcel 167-w/s Coleman's Corner, Lynch Road consisting of 0.50 acre; Map 15, Parcel 39-31774 Olivet Circle, Galena consisting of 0.25 acre; Map 35, Parcel 79-w/s Georgetown Road, near Fairlee, consisting of 40' x 35' lot. Commissioner Pickrum read the notice advertised. Two bids were received as follows: Richard and Heidi Manning - $1,050.00 for Map 36, Parcel 70 in Fairlee. Richard F. Svoboda - $ 3,000.00 for Map 12, Parcel 167 on Lynch Road..

A motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum to approve the two bids.

Commissioner Pickrum indicated that the County comes into ownership of property in the following way: properties delinquent in paying taxes are auctioned off; those not auctioned off are purchased by the County which then attempts to sell them with sealed bids. Outlining the County's policy, Commissioner Pickrum explained that, even though the County owns property, if said property is not used for the public interest, the County will try to dispose of them and, hence, the use of sealed bids.


The Commissioners received the 2005 Grant Summary of USTAR Transportation.


The Commissioners received copy of correspondence sent by M. Richard Myers, Jr., Chief Enforcement Officer, Kent County Department of Planning and Zoning, to W.H. Handsel LTD advising that upon routine inspection, several possible zoning violations were noted regarding Map 7, Parcel 114, District 1 - 31262 Front Street, Galena, and requesting the correction of the violations. Connie Berg, resident of Georgetown (First Election District), appeared to express her concern of what she believes is a lack of enforcement in the County's Zoning Ordinance. Rick Myers, Chief Enforcement Officer, was also in attendance.

Mrs. Berg cited the following concerns regarding the Front Street property: the existence of a trailer, a pile-driver, and a seasonal rotation of a variety of boats in slips off the property's pier. Mrs. Berg also expressed her dismay that the situation on Front Street is just one example of how the property value of single family residences is being threatened and that she is aware of other such examples.

Mr. Myers indicated that correspondence has been sent to the owners of the Front Street property, stating that the trailer had to be removed. Commissioner Livie asked Mr. Myers whether or not the County can legally fine the owners on a daily basis or put a lien on the property as incentive for removal of the trailer. Mr. Myers confirmed that the County can take such legal action, however, such action may be seen as harassment by the owners.

Commissioner Crow asked if the boats are present in the slips for a long time. Mrs. Berg responded that the trailer and boats are present generally beginning in the spring and through October of each year. In response to questions raised by Commissioner Livie, Mrs. Berg stated that not all the boats are registered in Maryland. Mr. Myers noted that there are no legal time limits on the length of time visitors and/or guests may stay on an owner's property, and, therefore, the boats belonging to guests would not be in violation of any ordinance.

Commissioner Crow asked if the properties in question were well maintained. Mrs. Berg responded that they are not all well maintained. Commissioner Livie addressed Mrs. Berg's frustration regarding the lapse of time that occurs before actual enforcement of zoning violations takes place, citing legal extension periods, for example, which must be honored. Nevertheless, enforcement does eventually take place.

Mr. Myers will ask the Planning Commission Attorney to draft a letter indicating that the trailer cannot return to the property after October. Mrs. Berg suggested a review of enforcement procedures. Mr. Myers suggested a review of ordinances applicable to the use of piers, the legal definition of a pier and parameters for the intended use for piers. In the meantime, Mr. Myers agreed to proceed with a court injunction to prohibit return of the trailer. Mr. Myers also apologized for the lapse of time in addressing this issue.

There being no further business to claim their attention, the Board adjourned to meet again on Tuesday, September 16, 2003.


Janice F. Fletcher Executive Assistant

Approved: William W. Pickrum, President


Please contact Ileana Lindstrom or Janice Fletcher at (410) 778-7435 or by e-mail with any questions or comments.

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