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KENT COUNTY, MARYLAND


Board of County Commissioners

September 16, 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 $3,825,752.60.

ALLENS LANE

Carter Stanton, Public Works Director, advised of a request received from an adjacent property owner (Edward Schut) to temporarily store riprap on Allens Lane Landing. The Commissioners approved this request contingent upon a survey to be conducted of the landing before the riprap is moved onto the county landing.

PEACOCK CORNER ROAD BRIDGE

Correspondence was received from Neil J. Pedersen, Administrator, State Highway Administration (Maryland Department of Transportation) expressing thanks for Commissioner Pickrum's meeting with him and Secretary Flanagan regarding local bridge funding for replacement of the bridge on Peacock Corner Road, and suggested that this project be submitted as a candidate project for reallocation.

BOARD OF EDUCATION

The Commissioners received a copy of memorandum sent by Mr. David Lever, Executive Director of the Maryland Public School Construction Program, to Maryland School Superintendents and Facility Planners regarding the FY'05 Public School Construction Program's preliminary budget figure of $100,000,000, as announced by the Governor on September 11, 2003. Mr. Lever indicated that concurrent with the expansion of statewide school facility needs, the State is experiencing a severe shortfall in revenues which will have an impact on the funds available for school construction. Mr. Lever explained that although the funds for school capital improvement projects in FY'05 are considerably less than needed, these funds will allow the Public School Construction Program to reduce the backlog of funding for previously approved projects, approve smaller projects (e.g. systemic renovations), and to address a number of highest priority new and renovation projects submitted.

Mr. Lever also explained that given the constraint on available funding combined with the anticipated requests for large projects, it will be difficult for his department to predict the magnitude of individual LEA requests based on their requests from previous years, and, therefore, his department will prioritize the requests for planning approval for projects through an objective process based on factors now under review.

This process has been proposed to the Board of Public Works to be used in FY 2005 on a trial basis. Mr. Lever's department will provide school superintendents and facility planners with information about this process when they receive responses from the members of the Board of Public Works.

The Commissioners received memorandum (sent also to Board of Education Members and the Local Management Board) from Bonnie Ward, Superintendent, Kent County Public Schools, advising of several events which will occur at Kent County High School.

September 17th - the Kent County Council of Governments will have their September meeting at KCHS at noon. With the assistance of Commissioner Crow, this meeting was set up to give the mayors the opportunity to see the high school and its potential, along with the proposed community center, to offer enhanced recreational and learning opportunities for citizens of Kent County;

September 19th - at 9:00 AM, beginning in the lobby of the high school auditorium, Gordon Sampson, Principal, Kent County High School, and Ms. Ward will give a tour of KCHS to interested members of the Local Management Board, County Commissioners, and board members to encourage a better understanding of the potential for the high school to serve as a community center.

Ms. Ward also indicated that she is very pleased with the amount of interest which the Board of Education has received from the community about the proposed renovation at KCHS and its potential as a learning center.

BROADBAND INTERNET

The Commissioners received copy of an e-mail from Paul Comfort, Esq., Queen Anne's County Administrator, sent to Ed Robinson, Kent County Administrator, providing a copy of an article published in the Cumberland Times News which reported that an announcement was made by Atlantic Broadband LLC that it will acquire cable systems including operations based in clusters located in Middletown, DE and Queen Anne's County, and Kent County, MD, and that the MD-DE cluster has been designated as one of the company's top priorities. Mr. Comfort noted that this purchase by Atlantic Broadband could mean that high speed internet for Queen Anne's County and Kent County might come through sooner than was expected.

Ed Robinson, County Administrator, indicated that the purchase by Atlantic Broadband and its inclusion of Kent County is very encouraging, that it will offer to the County high speed internet capability and may be introduced in the County by mid-2004.

CHESTERTOWN BY-PASS

Correspondence was received from Davy McCall, Chairman of the Historic District Commission of Chestertown, indicating that the Commission has noted with interest the discussions of the County Commissioners and those of the Mayor and Chestertown Council with the MD State Highway Administration on the need for a by-pass of downtown Chestertown. Mr. McCall, on behalf of the Historic District Commission, commended the building of a downtown by-pass, advising that it would protect Chestertown's historic buildings.

COURTHOUSE

A memorandum was received by the Commissioners from James M. Wright, Jr., County Engineer, updating the Commissioners about the situation involving the moisture problems at the Court House. He informed of an inspection which he conducted with Richard Funk, Facilities Coordinator for the District Court of MD, on August 22nd of an apparent leak that has caused the wall paper to fall off from the exterior wall in the entrance area of the Court House. Mr. Wright advised Mr. Funk that the County would repair the wall paper and monitor the situation to determine the source of the leak and correct the problem.

Mr. Wright also informed the Commissioners that he was contacted by Joe White, an architect with the Department of General Services who was involved with the lease negotiations and space requirements for both the Court House and the third floor of 400 High Street, and that Mr. White had apparently been contacted by Mr. Funk about the moisture problems. Mr. White has scheduled a site visit with Mr. Wright at the Court House on September 26, 2003 and will be provided with the documentation by Mr. Wright of all the work thus far performed, inclusive of the basement inspection by IWIF.

In addition, Mr. Wright informed the Commissioners that because his maintenance staff is focused on correcting the sewer problems at the Detention Center, he, therefore, does not know how much effort has been afforded to the problem at the Court House.

Carter Stanton, Public Works Director, reported the situation concerning the damage incurred from the presence of moisture on the exterior wall in the entrance area has been corrected.

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Correspondence was received from Delegate Mary Roe Walkup notifying the Commissioners that she has been advised by Neil Bergsman, Department of Budget and Management (DBM) that the Budget Committee, Department of Legislative Services (DSL), voted against awarding Kent County funding from the Maryland Department of Transportation's (MDOT) budget for FY 04.

Delegate Walkup expressed her dismay that Delegate Pete Rawlings, Chairman of Appropriations, and Senator Ulysess Curie, Chairman of Senate Budget and Taxation, had concurred with this recommendation, and indicated that Delegate Rawlings had explained that the Governor had already authorized $3,000,000 from the Maryland Transportation Trust Fund (MTTF) to off-set some of the estimated $1.6 billion deficit for FY'04 and that he and Chairman Currie believed that no further monies should be taken from the MTTF.

Delegate Walkup reminded the Commissioners that Kent County suffered a 7.5% loss of State contributed funds in the FY'04 and that Secretary Chip DiPaula (DBM) and Secretary Robert Flanagan (MDOT) have been working with our District to provide relief to Kent County to off-set this inequity in state aid. Delegate Walkup informed the Commissioners that she has appealed the decision and that she will continue to search for funds that may be applied to the 7.5% loss of FY'04 for Kent County.

DEPARTMENT OF WATER AND WASTEWATER

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

Millington - The Commissioners approved and signed an amendment to contract by and between the County Commissioners and Mc Crone's Engineering. This wastewater collection system contract has been extended by ten days. No work could be done due to the restrictions of the weather, etc. This project is winding down and should be completed in the next 40 to 65 days.

Worton Service Area -

Well Project - Mr. Morris reported that this project is 99% completed. He is currently waiting for the results of the required water analysis which are expected within the next 30 days. The well should be ready for use following the receipt of the results.

Lagoon Discharge Permit - Mr. Morris will send a letter requesting that the permit be reviewed and modified (updated). Mr. Morris reminded the Commissioners that, having received notice of MDE's tentative determination for the renewal of the discharge limits for the Worton Lagoon and the State's proposal for an ammonia nitrogen limit for the Worton Lagoon, the current process would not meet these new limits without upgrades. Mr. Morris asserted that some type of monitoring must be done based on the results of the completed feasibility study; a band-aid type of solution will not be acceptable.

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 reported that the Lagoon has not been cleaned in 10 years.

Commissioner Pickrum inquired as to the effectiveness of an aeration system vs. a chemical feed system. He questioned if an aeration system approach would be more cost effective than chemical treatment. Mr. Morris responded that because an aeration system uses electricity, those costs must be compared with the costs of chemical treatment. Mr. Morris summarized by saying that before a solution can be found, and one must be found within three years, there are many factors to consider within a limited time frame.

Tolchester - The Commissioners approved and signed Public Works Agreement with Gregory Francis Smith for a sewer allocation in the Tolchester Service Area.

Correspondence was received by the Commissioners from Fred W.J. Kirchner, of Tolchester expressing a number of concerns, including the sewer system in Tolchester and the scheduled meeting of the Commissioners with the Tolchester Community Association. He explained that it is his understanding that the Tolchester Community Association has no deed or title jurisdiction over any property owners in Tolchester, and that the "covenants" developed by the long defunct Tolchester Estates, Inc. are not enforceable.

Bond Counsel Services - Mr. Morris made recommendation, of the four cost proposals received for providing Bond Counsel Services (pursuant to MD Water Quality Financing Loan Administration requirements), the County continue with the services of Funk & Bolton as Bond Counsel for the County.

Even though the low cost proposal was received from McKennon, Shelton, and Henn of Baltimore in the amount of $7,500 plus out of pocket expenses, Mr. Morris' recommendation is to go with Funk & Bolton, based on the consideration of many factors, inclusive of cost. The proposal indicates a not-to-exceed fee of $9,500, in addition to charging just for actual cost incurred; Funk & Bolton is currently engaged as Bond Counsel for the County on the Millington water and sewage projects.

After discussion with the County Attorney, Mr. Morris will be requested to contact those firms who submitted a cost proposal to seek their willingness to lower their fees for further consideration.

General - Commissioner Crow inquired as to, given the forecast of an approaching hurricane, whether or not there is anything that the County can do to minimize the anticipated flooding. Mr. Morris responded that there is nothing that the County can do; the County pumps are currently working at their maximum.

DETENTION CENTER

Carter Stanton, Public Works Director, submitted a proposal from Gipe Associates, Inc. (Consulting Engineers) which he feels was the most efficient and least expensive to correct the sewage back-up situation at the County Detention Center and Sheriff's Department.

Commissioner Crow asked whether or not the cost of labor is included in that proposal, given that there is no expenditure line in the proposal for labor. Both Mr. Wright, County Engineer, and Mr. Stanton indicated that it is their understanding that labor costs are included. Mr. Wright suggested Gipe Associates have input in the technical preparation for the bid specification.

Commissioner Crow asked if the proposal will provide a permanent remedy to the flooding conditions at the Detention Center. Mr. Stanton replied that the work will correct the leak in the basement; however, it will not resolve the sewage back-ups resulting from misuse by the inmates.

A motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum to prepare a Request for Proposal (RFP) for this project using technical assistance from Gipe Associates.

MARINE TRADES SCHOOL

A copy of correspondence was received from Delegate Mary Roe Walkup, directed to Mr. Henry L. Hein, Chair, Board of Directors, Maryland Food Authority Commission, expressing her support of the request by the Chester Bridge Foundation to obtain permission to use the former seafood processing plant in Rock Hall, MD as a marines trades school and urging Mr. Hein to recognize that the establishement of a marine trades school in Rock Hall as vital to meeting goals of economic development in a traditional water-oriented industry in Kent County and in the State.

Commissioner Livie reported that he recently learned that Cecil County is in the process of establishing a marine trades school, and that they are further along in its development than Kent County. He suggested that perhaps during the planning stages of a marine trades school in Kent County, Kent County could initiate an exchange program of support between the two schools, e.g. developing complementary curriculum, the sharing of credits, etc.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

In follow up to receipt of the draft, "Economic Development Action Plan," the Commissioners suggested it include specifics as to what is desired to be done and estimated time frame for completion.

EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT

Robert B. Rust, Jr, Emergency Management Director, appeared to provide updated information on Hurricane Isabel, a Category 2 Hurricane, that is anticipated to arrive at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay mid morning on September 17. He advised of expectation of high winds, heavy rain and significant storm surge to Kent County on the evening of September 17 and into the early morning hours on September 18. He advised that he met with the Fire Chiefs Association on September 15 and it was agreed that each fire station will be manned by volunteer firemen and a deputy sheriff during the storm. He reported that a shelter will be opened in Millington and Rock Hall areas. He submitted a news release including information on the importance of preparing emergency disaster supply kit. The Emergency Response Team will be meeting on September 17 and an additional news release will be issued. Mark Mumford, member of the Emergency Response Team, was also in attendance.

ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH

Ed Birkmire, Director of Environmental Health, notified the Commissioners that Nony Howell, Sanitiarian, has received the prestigious Emanuel Chaplain Award from the State for lead abatement and is going to be recognized by the State for her exemplary work in the Health Department at an up-coming awards banquet. The Commissioners congratulated Ms. Howell upon receiving this award.

HAZARD MITIGATION PLAN

Correspondence was received from R. Dennis Hager, Mayor of Millington, MD, and Harry J. Pisapia, Mayor of Galena, indicating interest for their towns to be included in the County Hazard Mitigation Plan.

HEALTH DEPARTMENT

A copy of memorandum was received from Edward L. Birkmire, Director, Environmental Programs, regarding lot evaluations at Chesapeake Landing (for the wet weather testing period for 2004), advising that pursuant to the requirements of COMAR 26.04.02 and the recommendations of the Maryland Department of the Environment, the procedure outlined in the memorandum will be followed. The memorandum indicates that the main purpose for the recommendations as outlined is to provide accurate records and information about the conditions in Chesapeake Landing and to provide adequate long-term on-site sewage disposal practices, preventing groundwater contamination, maintaining the best estimate of septic system function for as long as the development must depend on on-site sewage disposal, and minimizing public health problems requiring major economic impact to the citizens by having to provide a community water and/or sewage system.

HEARSE HOUSE LIBRARY

A copy of correspondence sent by Nony Howell, Sanitation Supervisor of Kent County Environmental Programs, to Carter Stanton, County Director of Public Works was received responding to Mr. Stanton's request regarding the windows of the building located at 207 Calvert Street, Chestertown, MD which were previously identified as containing lead based paint, and which, therefore, constitute an environmental and health hazard. Ms. Howell advises that hazard replacement windows must be installed using risk reduction methods as performed by a certified lead contractor utilizing lead safe work practices.

The following people appeared to receive and discuss a progress report and sources for funding for the renovation-project on the Hearse House: Helen Guastavino, President, Joan Horsey, Treasurer, Estelle Bennett, Marie Rypka, Joan Baldwin, and Ruth McQuire representating Chestertown Library, Inc., Gloria Urban, Library Director, Carter Stanton, Public Works Director, and Jim Wright, County Engineer.

Mrs. Guastavino began the discussion by requesting the progress report, to which Mr. Wright responded that 60% of the renovations are completed, the balance of the work being delayed by the treatment of the windows in the house. Given the evidence of lead paint around the windows (and, therefore, constituting an environmental and health hazard), the windows will have to be completely stripped of paint, using risk reduction methods, and re-painted in order to accomplish a complete abatement of the hazard.

Mr. Wright added that his department is currently researching and comparing the costs involved for the window project. The progress on the inside of the house is on hold until the windows have been appropriately treated.

Mr. Wright also reported that the dry wall is up, the carpet is down, a new porch is being constructed and that, right now, the County is under-budget until pricing is obtained for the window treatment (after which, the County will be over-budget). He proposed that after the windows have been completely stripped, they be tested again for lead paint.

Commissioner Crow asked whether or not the Chestertown Historic Commission will allow the replacement of the windows, to which Mr. Wright responded that the building code will not permit replacement.

Mrs. Guastavino began the discussion about funding sources by reporting that the Library has raised a little under $11,000.00, most of which represents the contributions of the Friends of the Library. She indicated that the Library's fund-raising capability is very limited. Mrs. Horsey asked for the Commissioners' assurance that the expenditures of the Hearse House renovations be covered through its completion.

Discussion then ensued about the number one priority project of the Hearse House renovations which, according to Gloria Urban, is the computer cable connection between the Library building and the Hearse House. This cable connection will allow for computer training programs projected for the Hearse House facility.

Commissioner Crow inquired as to which of the following is the designated recipient of the Library's fund-raising: the Hearse House renovations or the installation of computer-capability in the Hearse House. Ms. Urban responded that the fund-raising is for the facility in general. Mrs. Horsey concurred that what is most important is that the renovations of the facility be completed; the installation of computers can come later. Mr. Wright reported that for $500 to $1,000, Shawn Mathiesen, County Information Systems Manager, can install a wireless connection.

Carter Stanton briefly outlined the history of the Hearse House renovations and that, originally, $30,000 was committed from the Public Library (through fund-raising efforts) for the renovations.

Commissioner Pickrum assured everyone that the County will see through to completion the renovations at the Hearse House and he acknowledged the importance of the Chestertown Library to the County.

Mrs. Horsey questioned estimated time for completion. Mr. Wright responded that the window lead abatement project will determine the time of completion. Mrs. Horsey also asked whether or not the completion of a new garden at the Hearse House is the responsibility of the County, to which Commissioner Livie responded that it was not.

KENT FAMILY CENTER SHARED OPPORTUNITY SERVICES, INC.

The Commissioners attended Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for the Kent Family Center at their new location on 601 High Street, Chestertown.

LEGAL COUNSEL

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, 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 Department of Water and Wastewater Services.

The executive session adjourned at 10:40 a.m.

At 10:45 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.

Items of discussion related to land title.

The executive session adjourned at 10:55 a.m.

MASS TRANSIT ADMINISTRATION USTAR TRANSPORTATION

The Commissioners approved and Commissioner Pickrum signed the following grant applications for Fiscal Year 2004: Maryland Comprehensive Transit Plan Operation Assistance Grant, Section 5311 Rural Public Transportation Operating Grant, and the Statewide Special Transportation Assistance Program (SSTAP) Operating Assistance Grant.

The Commissioners received correspondence from Carl E. Burke, Executive Director, Upper Shore Aging, Inc. requesting the Commissioners' permission and assistance in applying for the Section 5311 (of the FY 2005 allocations for the U-Star Transportation System) and the Statewide Specialized Transportation Assistance Program (SSTAP) grants by acting as lead agency for Kent, Caroline, and Talbot Counties.

As requested, the Commissioners agreed to continue acting as the Lead Agency and have Upper Shore Aging, Inc. prepare the application for this funding.

He also indicated that the Mass Transit Administration will require the applicant to hold a public hearing which scheduled for October 27, 2003, 9:00 a.m. at Upper Shore Aging, Inc., 100 Schauber Road, Chestertown, MD.

NUISANCE ORDINANCE

Commissioner Pickrum reported that the County will be more aggressive in its enforcement of the Nuisance Ordinance, and, towards that end, the Commissioners will choose at random, every six months, one election district at a time to be the focus of the more aggressive enforcement. Ann Wilmer Hoon, representing the League of Women Voters, was invited to make the random selection, and picked a card representing the Sixth Election District.

Robert H. Strong, Jr., State's Attorney, Ed Birkmire, Environmental Health Director, Nony Howell, Sanitarian, Gail Owings, Director of the Planning and Zoning Administration, and Carter Stanton, Director of Public Works appeared at the request of the Board. Mr. Strong inquired as to whether there are specific examples of nuisances to be addressed, for example abandoned cars and large accumulation of trash.

Richard Myers, Jr., Chief Enforcement Officer for the Department of Planning and Zoning, indicated that there are specific concerns to be addressed. Gail Owings asked the Commissioners if they wanted individuals representing the various County agencies to "seek and find" nuisance situations, to which Commissioner Pickrum answered in the affirmative.

Mr. Myers indicated that there are legal time limits involved before enforcement takes place, for example, a written warning must be first extended two weeks before legal action can take place, and he also indicated that in some situations there are various circumstances that must be taken into consideration before enforcement takes place. Mrs. Owings reported that the kind of enforcement will depend upon the kind of nuisance, for example health concerns will be handled differently than nuisance violations concerning zoning.

Mr. Strong advised of his willingness to process these cases and that his office will go along with the approach of the various agencies involved. Commissioner Pickrum thanked Mr. Strong for his support.

Contract by and between the County Commissioners and William A. Simpler, Jr. was approved and signed by the Board for clearing the William Ashley property in the amount of $5,773.25. A payment schedule will be developed for reimbursement by Mr. Ashley.

PARKS AND RECREATION

A copy of memorandum directed to Ed Robinson, County Administrator, from Jeffrey J. Troester, Director of the County Parks and Recreation, was received regarding the Department of Water and Wastewater's purchase of a new backhoe, indicating that his department would like to purchase the old backhoe. Mr. Troester reports that his department cannot make the purchase given its current budget. He inquired as to whether or not Parks and Recreation could delay their payment for the old backhoe until the next fiscal year budget, or any other alternative way for its transfer. The Commissioners had no problem with the transfer of the equipment but questioned the cost of maintenance. Mr. Troester will be requested to develop a plan for the cost of maintenance before any action is taken.

PERSONNEL

At 10:40 a.m., a motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum to go into executive session to hold a conference call with Caroline County Commissioners to discuss a personnel matter in accordance with State Government Article, Section 10.508 of the Annotated Code of Maryland.

The executive session adjourned at 10:45 a.m.

At 10:55 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.

The executive session adjourned at 11:00 a.m.

At 1:50 p.m., a motion was made by Commissioner Livie, seconded by Commissioner Pickrum and passed by the majority of the Board 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 2:10 p.m.

PLANNING AND ZONING DEPARTMENT

The Commissioners received a memorandum from Gail W. Owings, Director of Planning and Zoning, submitting cost estimates received for the printing of the Land Use Ordinance as follows:

For printing 120 ordinances:
MAIL BOXES, ETC. $.04 per page = $2,428.00
Washington Avenue, Chestertown
IMPRESSIVE PRINTING CO., INC. $.041 per page = $2,489.00
Hillsboro
MINUTEMAN PRESS $.0325 per page = $1,974.00
Kent Island

For black binders:
TOWN STATIONERS ($9.20 regular price) Our price $4.95 = $607.20 BOISE ($6.58 regular price) Discounted price $5.59 = $670.80

Ms. Owings explained that as the copies of the Ordinance are sold to the public, those fees collected will go towards reimbursement of this cost. The Ordinance will also be available on CD at a cost of $15.00. She estimates that 66 gratis copies will be needed for distribution to county and state agencies, the Public Library, incorporated towns, and required submittals to adjacent counties. It was further advised that these costs were not budgeted due to earlier anticipation of the Ordinance's adoption.

A motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum to accept the low bid received from Minuteman Press for the printing of the ordinances and from Towne Stationers for the binders, out of the Planning Department budget and/or out of contingency if needed by the end of the fiscal year.

Ms.Owings, along with Amy Moredock, Environmental Planner, appeared and reported the actions taken by the Planning Commission during its September 4th meeting.

REGIONAL MENTAL HEALTH ADVISORY COMMITTEE

The Commissioners appointed Ray Fenner, Supervisor of Pupil Services, BOE, as a member of the Regional Mental Health Advisory Committee for a three year term ending July 1, 2006.

SHERIFF'S OFFICE

The Commissioners approved and signed a letter to The Honorable John Ashcroft, Attorney General of the United States, inviting Mr. Ashcroft to a formal celebration of the achievement of accredited status of Kent County's Sheriff's Office from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement of Agencies (CALEA).

SWANTOWN CREEK

The Commissioners received correspondence from Penny Emery, Shorewood Estates, writing on behalf of the Sassafras Watershed Advocates, extending thanks for the Commissioners' letter of support and endorsement to the Resource Conservation and Development for submission to the Army Corp of Engineers regarding the Advocates' efforts to restore Swantown Creek.

The Commissioners received a copy of correspondence from Delegate Mary Roe Walkup which was sent to Colonel Charles Fiala, Jr., Commander, District Engineer (USACE), Baltimore District in which Delegate Walkup expresses her support of the request by the Sassafras Watershed Advocates for technical and funding assistance in developing a plan to restore the watershed area of Swantown Creek in Kent County. Reviewing the history of the ecological damage suffered by Swantown Creek when a dam was breached during Hurricane Floyd, Delegate Walkup explained that the property owners have observed a precipitous degradation of the creek, the wetlands, and erosion of shoreline properties.

She indicated that the Sassafras Watershed Associates are now in need of the expertise of the USACE to provide the technical assistance and funding potential in a coordinated project to protect the creek from further degradation and is urging Colonel Fiala's approval of their request.

UPPER SHORE AGING, INC.

Mr. Carl Burke, Executive Director of Upper Shore Aging, Inc. appeared and outlined for the Commissioners his agency's Comprehensive Area Plan for FY'04 which it must present annually: a comprehensive plan of services and the accompany budget. Included in his outline was his report that the FY'04 Budget has been impacted by two rounds of State funding cuts, resulting in a net 11.04% loss of funding in the State.

Given this loss of funding, the Advisory Council of Upper Shore Aging will make the determinations as to which of their services will in turn receive cuts in funding. The Advisory Council has prioritized their programs and, as Mr. Burke reported, the Senior Assisted Living program, being in the least demand in the County, will lose funding; in addition all non-nutrition-oriented programs have received cuts in funding.

Mr. Burke indicated that this 11% cut is troubling, given that the senior population in Kent County is growing. However, the good news, as Mr. Burke continued, is that Upper Shore Aging is being aggressive in finding funds for its programs, for example, Meals-On-Wheels.

Mr. Burke explained that another area to be impacted by cuts in FY'04 is in the area of administration; administrative support will have to be reduced.

Commissioner Pickrum inquired as to whether or not the State funds on a formula basis. Mr. Burke answered affirmatively and said that the allocation formula is being re-evaluated by the State's Department of Aging. Mr. Burke expressed his belief that the current State and Federal formulas have treated unfairly the more rural counties, like Kent County.

Commissioner Crow inquired as to whether or not Kent County can do anything to support this re-evaluation process, to which Mr. Burke replied that such support would not be necessary: there are many effective advocacy groups handling this.

Commissioner Livie outlined for Mr. Burke Kent County's plan to provide a shuttle bus type of public transportation for the elders in the County, to include stops at Chesapeake College and to, thereby, promote traditional and continuing education for elder students. Commissioner Livie inquired as to whether or not there is funding, State and/or Federal, to support the County plan. Mr. Burke agreed to research this and to return with a proposal for the Commissioners.

Mr. Burke advised he was seeking applications for the position of Director of Transportation.

Commissioner Crow inquired as to the status of the building in Chestertown which is occupied by Upper Shore Aging. Mr. Burke responded that the building is in poor shape, suffering from leaks, etc., and that there is no budget line for its maintenance.

UPPER SHORE REGIONAL COUNCIL

Commissioner Crow reported that as a result of the meeting held with regional elected officials on September 15 in Congressman Gilchrest's office, he will be the acting chair of this newly appointed Council created by the 2003 General Assembly until the selection of officers and establishment of by-laws. This will, hopefully, be in place by FY'05. Commissioner Crow indicated that Senator Pipkin wants this up and going before January 2004. A result of this new council will be that the Upper Shore Association of Counties will no longer be as formal.

URIEVILLE LAKE

Commissioner Livie reported that he had recently learned of a company in the mid-west that makes and sells an environmentally-friendly chemical that cleans up ponds, lakes, etc. of algae. He conveyed to Ms. Owings that, in regard to the algae-ridden Urieville Lake, he will obtain a contact name and phone number of the company and pass that information on to Ms. Owings.

There being no further business to claim their attention, the Board adjourned to meet again on Tuesday, September 23, 2003.

THE COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
OF KENT COUNTY, MARYLAND

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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