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KENT COUNTY, MARYLAND


Board of County Commissioners

October 28, 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 $10,135,658.00.


CHESAPEAKE FIELDS INSTITUTE (CFI)

Memorandum was received from Gail Owings, Planning Director, advising that on October 24, 2003, she met with John Hall, President, CFI, Liz Morris, CFI staff associate, Mike Waal member, CFI Board of Directors, S. Lansing Williams, CFI Director of Administration and Accounting, and P.A.M. Schaller, Director, Economic Development, to review possible locations for the CFI facility. She reported that the group identified two potential locations in the Millington area, with Mike Waal agreeing to head a team that will contact the property owners in early November 2003, in order to determine interest in the project.


COMPTROLLER OF THE TREASURY

Dean Kenderdine, Chief of Staff, Comptroller of the Treasury appeared as part of his office's Tour of the Counties. He reported that the Comptroller's office made a decision to split responsibilities with local governments among himself and Jerry Klasmeier, Coordinator for the Board of Public Works. He indicated that the County will be facing some tough financial times in the foreseeable future, but he remains optimistic in the long run, given the current bull market.

Commissioner Pickrum expressed his concern that new legislation will increase the gasoline tax, which will adversely effect the citizens of rural counties such as Kent who depend greatly on transportation by automobile. Mr. Kenderdine stated that he would report that concern back to his office. Commissioner Livie expressed his concern that there is a mis-proportionate benefit for citizens in the metropolitan areas which is at the expense of the rural counties. Commissioner Crow advised that the County is in need of financial assistance from the State with its major project of renovating the high school. Additionally, Commissioner Crow requested that the State make every effort to give its contracts to businesses in the State.


DELMARVA SPACE TRAINING CENTER

Correspondence was received from Kenneth E. Beatty pertaining to a proposal from the Delmarva Space Training Center (DSTC) for leasing the Still Pond Coast Guard Station building and property for $1.00 a year for five years, with a First Right for a renewal for an additional five years. With the approval, DSTC would agree to repair and maintain the building and property at its own expense.

Jeff Troester, Director, Parks and Recreation, was contacted by phone who advised that Mr. Beatty presented his proposal to the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board (PRAB) on October 20, 2003. It was learned by the PRAB that the DSTC does not have any financial backing to date, to support this proposal since funding was denied from Johns Hopkins University. The PRAB did not endorse Mr. Beatty's proposal.


DEPARTMENT OF WATER AND WASTEWATER

Wayne Morris, Director of Water and Wastewater Services, submitted a memorandum and written agenda inclusive of the following:

Tolchester Service Area - Sue Brown, resident of Tolchester, appeared and expressed her concerns regarding the availability of specific parcels which were discussed in correspondence exchanged between her and Mr. Morris, referring to her letter dated May 16, 2003 and Mr. Morris' response dated May 19, 2003, in which he gave his reply to each parcel as was listed by Ms. Brown.

Mr. Morris indicated in his letter of response that seven parcels that could possibly be served would require other agencies' approval, as well as the approval of the Commissioners before permits could be issued. Mr. Morris identified seven other parcels in Ms. Brown's list which he would not recommend for service because they appeared to be located in environmentally sensitive areas and/or requiring an updated hydraulic profile by the County's contracted engineering firm. Attached to Mr. Morris' letter was a copy of his Department's original, updated list of allocations for Ms. Brown's review. Mr. Morris concludes his letter expressing his willingness to respond to any further questions or concerns of Ms. Brown.

Ms. Brown cited the decision of the County to grant a neighboring lot sewer allocation which she determined as having set precedence. Gail Owings, Director, Planning and Zoning, appeared and advised that the delineations for zoning are different concerning the parcels which Ms. Brown is interested, specifically that there is no existing road and no sewer line near-by.

Commissioner Pickrum acknowledged Ms. Brown's interest in determining beforehand the potential for sewer lines before purchasing parcels in that area; however, he reported that the County cannot grant sewer allocations to a person unless he or she is an owner.

Ms. Owings indicated that there are lots of available properties suitable for building in Tolchester, to which Commissioner Pickrum concurred and encouraged Ms. Brown's consideration of them.

Correspondence was received from Dorothea M. McSorley, requesting an appeal of the decision to reject her application for a sewer allocation of September 15, 2003 for parcel 50, lot 21 on tax map 35A. This request will be further discussed with Mr. Morris.


DETENTION CENTER

Bid Opening - At 9:15 a.m., a bid opening was held on sealed bids for re-roofing the County Detention Center. The proposal shall include the removal of the existing roofing material, the installation of approximately 18,000 sq. feet of sprayed polyurethane foam roofing on the Detention Center, and shall also include all labor, materials, equipment and disposal costs necessary to complete the required work as described in the specifications.

Jim Wright, Engineer, and Carter Stanton, Director, Public Works, were present. Commissioner Pickrum read the notice advertised. One bid was received as follows:

Commercial Roof Coating .............................. $71,820.

Mr. Wright agreed to review the bid and make recommendation. It was noted that this expenditure was included in the Fiscal Year 2004 budget. Later in the day, and at the recommendation of Mr. Wright, a motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum to accept the proposal of Commercial Roof Coating.


ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

Action Plan for Economic Improvement - P.A.M. Schaller, Economic Development Director, Tom Beckett, Chairperson, Stuart "Mickey" Elsberg and George Smith representing the Economic Development Advisory Board (EDAB) appeared. Mr. Beckett gave a power point presentation on the Action Plan for Economic Development composed by Ms. Schaller and the Economic Development Advisory Board. The following are the reasons given for the development of a new Plan: the previous 5-year plan, which was adopted in 1998, failed to achieve its objectives, being described as too optimistic and affected by factors beyond the County's control; and it was determined that there is a need for more focused objectives.

The process for assembling the plan included updated census data, analysis of current trends and circumstances, assessment of implications for the County, and incorporated goals and objectives developed by the Commissioners. The Mission of the Plan is "To help Kent County residents achieve an economic environment where the quality of their economic life mirrors the quality of their natural environment."

Implications were delineated following a statistical analysis of each of the following situations:

Land Use

- The County is small, with a population of 19,197 people.

- Out of 179,480 acres of land, 94% is undeveloped, and 66% is devoted to agriculture.

- The County is surrounded by 85,662 acres of water.

Household Income

- Slightly over 60% of County residents represent an annual household income of $50,000.

Employment Trends

- Out of the industries available in the County are the following (from the greatest number of employees to the least): (1) services; (2) manufacturing; (3) retail trade; (4) construction; (5) agriculture, forestry, fisheries; (6) "all other".

Labor Force

- Increased from 7,710 in 1980 to 9,840 in 2000.

- Unemployment decreased from 7.5% in 1980 to 2.7% in 2000.

- May 2003 unemployment at 3.4%.

Income Patterns

- Median Income in the County: $39,869 in 1999 (about the same as the US average household income).

- Comparisons made among Kent, Caroline, Talbot, Queen Anne's and Cecil Counties, including aggregate household income forecast.

Housing Occupancy

- 2,063 new housing units since 1980.

- 81.5% of homes are owner occupied.

- 10.2% of homes are seasonal.

- 8.4% of homes are vacant.

Housing Values

- 41.5% of the County's homes are valued less than $100,000.

- The median County home is valued at $115,500.

Kent County Has An Aging Population

- By 2020, one-half of Kent's population will be over 45 years old; one-fourth over 64 years. - Non resource-based, secure source of incomes

. - Opportunities for new businesses and services for mature adults with high discretionary income.

- Increased demand for high level services such as medical, financial, educational, etc.

- Increased demand for personal services; fewer younger people to provide these services

. - Possible impact on property values and home ownership.

- Demand less from law enforcement and public education, but more for emergency medical services, public transportation, and social services for the elderly.

Public School Enrollment

- By 2011, there will be 500 fewer public school enrollees.

- Question: Will there be diminished tax payer support for public education?

- The quality of public schools must be maintained to support economic goals.

A Shift from Resource-Based to Service-Based Industry

- Lessened demand for industrial parks; more demand for conveniently located quality business office facilities.

- Shift from unskilled and semi-skilled labor market to skilled information workers with computer, math, analytic and communication skills

. - Success is dependent on maintaining state of the art communications capabilities in the County, including broadband, wireless, and cell phone technology.

- Emerging telecommuting opportunity favors the County.

- Preservation of the County's rural environment is highly dependent on the preservation of agriculture.

The Need to Support Retail Shopping in Kent County

- Retail outlets for many household needs are controlled by competition at regional, national and international level, not by local business people.

- Competition and consolidation could result in the loss of several major retail outlets in the County.

- As Kent's population ages, more people will become dependent on local retail outlets for household needs.

- Consumers demand more choices and more price points from retail outlets.

The Action Plan centers on three main goals and offers proposed strategies for each (1) Encourage more young people to stay, live, and work in Kent County; (2) Support, promote and expand existing local businesses; (3) Promote Kent County in order to attract new businesses. Additional recommendations are: to develop a five-year projection of County government expenses and revenues which reflect the demographics and economic improvement scenarios; for the County to ask the Human Relations Commission to study the impact of racial and ethnic interactions on the County economy.

Mr. Elsberg expressed his hope that this Plan will assist the County to overcome its history of racial inequality in the workplace and assist in discerning whether inequality is based on perception or based in fact. A study of hiring practices in the County was cited as an example. It is Mr. Elsberg's belief that opportunities for advancement for persons of color have not been equal. Given the efforts of the County to attract young adults to live and work in the County, this apparent inequality will have to be rectified.

Commissioner Livie commended all of the effort by the EDAB in their research, compilations, and projections for the production of The Action Plan. He recommended that the EDAB offer specific examples for their projections, for example, what specific infrastructures are needed such as roads, buildings, water and sewer allocations, etc., and prioritize them. As examples, Commissioner Livie requested what, specifically, is required to fulfill the vision for the MD Route 301 corridor and what skills should receive the County's focus in terms of the curriculum offered in the County schools. Mr. Beckett agreed and indicated that the EDAB will return with recommendations.

Bernadette Van Pelt, Director, Tourism Development, also commended the work and production of the Action Plan, and added her request that the EDAB include in it projections tourism in the County, reporting that $26 million was spent in the past year in the County for tourism alone.

At 2:00 p.m., a motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum to go into executive session to discuss a proposal for a business in Kent County in accordance with State Government Article, Section 10.508 of the Annotated Code of Maryland. Those in attendance were P.A.M. Schaller, Economic Development Director, and Tom Beckett, Chairperson, Economic Development Advisory Board (EDAB).

The executive session adjourned at 2:40 p.m.


EXTENSION SERVICE

John Hall, Extension Director, Beth Hill, Faculty Extension Assistant/4-H Clubs, and Jean Austin, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Science, appeared. Ms. Austin gave a presentation regarding the Food Stamp Nutrition Education Program and distributed copies of the Maryland Cooperative Extension's "Family and Consumer Science Program Update," the Maryland Food Security Fact Sheet," and a brochure entitled "Kent and Queen Anne's County Family and Consumer Science." Ms. Austin outlined her history with the Program and indicated that Kent County will begin its participation in the Program starting this month. She also summarized the FSNEP as follows:

- FSNEP is a matching funds program of the US Department of Agriculture and is represents a joint effort of the MD Department of Human Resources and the MD Cooperative Extension (MCE) at the State level.

Match funding comes from the Extension Program and local collaborators, such as the Kent Family Center, the Community Pantry, and the Judy Center. These local collaborators promote and sponsor nutrition education sessions for their food stamp eligible clients.

- The FSNEP is a joint effort between Kent and Caroline counties. The Kent County match is 45% of the local project budget, and of its match, 70% is through the MCE, 30% is through the local collaborators.

- The goals for the 2003-04 Fiscal Year: a smooth start-up period, determine the best curriculum for the County's residents, and to encourage other potential collaborators. Ms. Austin reported that the Program will be hiring a part-time nutrition educator. Commissioner Pickrum inquired whether the funding for that salary would come from the match, to which Ms. Austin indicated in the affirmative.

Commissioner Crow inquired whether the curriculum will include information about the types of nutritious foods to buy, the best stores from which to purchase. Ms Austin replied that the curriculum will include that information, as well as skills in meal planning, food safety issues, such as safe cooking and storage temperatures.

Commissioner Pickrum raised the topic of the critical importance of nutrition and nutrition education for the County's senior citizens. He asked whether these concerns would be included in FSNEP, to which Ms. Austin responded that the focus and funding of the Program are directed to adults and children, with some focus on the senior population. Nevertheless, she indicated her own personal interest and resolve to offer such education for senior citizens. Commissioner Pickrum asked her to try to encourage MCE to include the senior population as targeted audience and offered to assist by drafting a letter to MCE indicated the County's encouragement of the same.

Commissioner Livie inquired about the following information in the "Fact Sheet": "Food insecurity is defined as the limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods in socially acceptable ways." Commissioner Livie asked, of the food insecure households in the County, how many are single parent who are employed with wages below the poverty level. Ms. Austin reported that in said households, 31% are single mothers and, of those, a significantly large percentage are earning wages below poverty level. She further reported that there is a "piggy-back" program located in Dorchester County that is doing studies concerning unemployed single mothers and food insecurity issues.

Commissioner Livie expressed his belief that there is a need in the County to create jobs and provide nutrition education for the segment of the population that are single-parents, to which Ms. Austin concurred, emphasizing jobs with health benefits.

Commissioner Crow asked whether the educational curriculum would include a focus on the actual preparation of nutritious foods, to which Ms. Austin indicated that it would be an important feature of the Program.


HURRICANE ISABEL

Bayside Landing - Carter Stanton, Director, Public Works, appeared and reported that his department has a meeting with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Commissioner Pickrum inquired about the status of Bayside Landing Pier to which Mr. Stanton explained that the pier would be discussed at the FEMA meeting.

Rock Hall United Methodist Charge - Tom Bass and Bobbie Tucker, residents of Rock Hall and members of Rock Hall Methodist Charge, referring to correspondence from the Charge and signed by the Rev. Linda Mariner, requested of the County a "temporary construction site trailer" and permission for it to be brought to and located at Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church in Rock Hall from November 1, 2003 to no later than June 1, 2004. The congregation of the Rock Hall Charge have begun a major campaign to assist residents of Rock Hall who have suffered damages and losses to personal property during the Hurricane and are in need of a temporary site to store building equipment, appliances, and other personal belongings in order to assist the residents in all areas of reconstruction.

A motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie, and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum to approve a 12' by 60' trailer to be temporarily housed on the property of the Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church in Rock Hall, making this exception to the Land Use Ordinance; the trailer to be used for the needed storage space for personal commodities and belongings of residents who have suffered personal loss during Hurricane Isabel and shall remain at the site from November 1, 2003 to, and no later than, June 1, 2004.

MD Emergency Management Agency (MEMA)Mitigation Assistance Grant/Notice of Interest - Gail Owings, Director, Planning and Zoning, and Amy Moredock, Environmental Planner, appeared, referring to a memorandum which they sent, indicating that local governments and counties are eligible to apply for the competitive Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) 404 Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) for a number of projects. They reported that Notices of Interest must be submitted to MEMA by November 30, 2003. Ms. Moredock further advised that she and Gail Owings, Director, Planning Office, Jack Canan, Coordinator Housing and Community Development, and Sue Willits, Emergency Planning Coordinator, held a local hazard mitigation meeting to discuss potential projects that qualify for the HMGP and are as follows: (1) acquisition and demolition of substantially damaged structures; (2) elevation of structures for those without flood insurance; (3) anchoring fuel tanks; (4) shoreline erosion; (5) elevation/renovation of local businesses.

Ms. Moredock requested the Commissioners' input, specifically their prioritization, regarding the above list and explained that the exploration of local match possibilities, statistics to support each Notice of Interest Application, and estimated cost of the projects would be the next step in this process pending the Commissioners' input.

Ms. Owings indicated that the work of Planning and Zoning in response to these projects will be time intensive, given the need for arranging public hearings, etc. She also reported that she is advising, where applicable, for residents to "buy-out." She emphasized that her department is thinking as creatively as possible for sources of funding, using as an example, the problem of floating propane tanks for which she will contact the propane companies to rectify. She further reported that if the County can fund 75% of the need in disaster relief, the individual resident can come up with the balance. She is also looking into donations from private donors as well. She expressed the need for the County to encourage public awareness that the deadline to report disaster-relief requests is November 18, 2003.

Commissioner Livie suggested that the County set-up a consolidated effort and/or office that would accommodate all of the concerns related to recovery efforts, and to field questions and supervise the placement of volunteers. In this manner, citizens'needs can be addressed via one phone call. Ms. Owings responded that she would convey the suggestion to the Local Emergency Planning Committee.


LAMOTTE PROPERTY

W. Roger Williams, Treasurer, appeared to review financial options obtained from local lending institutions and proposed payment schedule for acquisition of the Lamotte property. At the recommendation of Mr. Williams, the Commissioners unanimously approved to finance the acquisition of this property with the Chestertown Bank of Maryland with a four year balloon payment at a floating rate of 1.6%.


LEGAL COUNSEL

At 11:45 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 included litigation.

The executive session adjourned at 12:00 noon.


MD ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES (MES) & WASTE MANAGEMENT PROGRAM MIDSHORE REGIONAL SOLID WASTE FACILITY

Gregory Conway, Deputy Secretary, appeared and introduced Robert Miller, Director, and Gregg Africa, representing the Division of Solid Waste, Maryland Environmental Services (MES) and Waste Management Program. Mr. Miller gave a presentation concerning the Mid-Shore Regional Solid Waste Facility, a program in which Kent, Queen Anne's , Talbot and Caroline Counties are participants. He reported that MES is a State agency, but not a regulatory agency. It works on a fee for service basis only. Each participating county has a state of the art solid waste facility for a 20-year plan. The Mid-Shore site is located just outside of Easton on 175 acres. The site handles commercial and residential waste and recycling.

Mr. Miller indicated that the next solid waste facility will be built in Caroline County in 2010. Kent County is scheduled for construction of a site in 2030, however it was noted that no site has yet been selected. Commissioner Crow asked whether Queen Anne's County has a site selected (for 2030), to which Mr. Miller answered in the affirmative, adding that counties must plan for a site well in advance. Commissioner Livie inquired whether or not there is any new technologies in waste management, to which Mr. Miller replied that there have been economic advancements, but not environmental advancements.


PERSONNEL

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 to discuss personnel matters in accordance with State Government Article, Section 10.508 of the Annotated Code of Maryland. Susanne Hayman, Human Resources Director, was also in attendance.

The executive session adjourned at 12:40 p.m.


PUBLIC WORKS

Generator/Central Auto Maintenance -Memorandum was received from Carter Stanton, Director, Public Works, acting on the request of Ed Robinson, County Administrator, to research the financial and logistic feasibility of annual maintenance conducted by the County Roads shop on the Detention Center generator. It is Mr. Stanton's recommendation that, for optimum cost effectiveness and efficiency, particularly during emergency events, such as hurricanes, snow or wind storms when the County Roads shop would not be able to attend to generator problems, Chesapeake Diesel (available for 24/7 emergency response) perform the annual maintenance.

As a result of Mr. Stanton's research of the feasibility for using the County Roads shop as a central service area for county vehicles, a cost breakdown for materials and labor was provided drawing the following conclusions: for County Roads to perform the service, it would cost the County $11,162.88 per year, not including the cost of a lift which would be approximately $8,000.00, the necessity of additional employees, and the need for additional storage space for filters/oil, etc.; the current out-of house cost is $6,915.60 per year. Mr. Stanton provided this information for the Commissioners' consideration. This matter will be further discussed with Mr. Stanton.


REVOLVING LOAN FUND APPLICATION

At 1:05 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 a proposal for a business to expand in Kent County in accordance with State Government Article, Section 10.508 of the Annotated Code of Maryland.

The executive session adjourned at 2:00 p.m.

The Commissioners directed the Loan Advisory Review Committee to draft revision of the Revolving Loan Program to allow more flexibility in terms of the types of loans being sought.


SCENIC BYWAY

The Commissioners approved and Commissioner Pickrum signed the Interpretive Plan Contract for the Chesapeake County National Scenic Byway between the County and John Milner Associates, Inc. (JMA).The Scenic Byway grant is funding 80% of the project, with 20% being shared by Queen Anne's, Kent and Cecil Counties. The project's purpose is an interpretive plan for the entire byway corridor and will also complement the work being done by Eastern Shore Heritage, Inc.


ZONING MAP AMENDMENT

The Commissioners unanimously approved to deny application for a zoning map amendment filed by Arthur and Anne Foster on the basis there was no proof made as to a change or mistake that would be a prerequisite to grant this request.


There being no further business to claim their attention, the Board adjourned to meet again on Tuesday, November 4, 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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