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KENT COUNTY, MARYLAND


Board of County Commissioners

November 18, 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 $8,728,938.00.


AIRPORT

Correspondence was received from Terry J. Page, Manager, Washington Airports District Office, which offered the following proposal to help the County to find a way to identify an alternative site (other than Worton Road) for its airport, complete the required airport planning, and meet the District Office's obligation to prudently manage public funds:

- The County would obtain initial funding for and prepare a new site selection to study to examine alternate new airport sites, and a Master Plan/Airport Layout Plan for the selected new airport site.

- After approval of a new airport site and Master Plan, the County would again obtain initial funding for an Environmental Assessment (EA) and wildlife hazard assessment of the proposed airport construction.

- The County would then acquire the land necessary for the new airport with funds from non-Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) sources.

- After the above steps are completed, the FAA would then support the County's request for federal airport grant funding for the design and construction of the airport, and the FAA would consider the cost of the above efforts as "developmental costs" and therefore eligible for reimbursement under an airport grant program.

The District Office requests the Commissioners' review of this proposal, offering any further assistance as requested.

An electronic mail was received from John Baker of Damascus, Maryland, in support of an airport in Kent County.


AUDIT

J. Michael Connolly, Auditor, Pat Merritt, Director of Budget and Accounting, and W. Roger Williams, Treasurer, appeared for review of the draft Fiscal Year 2003 audit of financial statements for the County and Management Letter. The general fund balance was 20.1% above budget, however, the Water and Wastewater Services' operating income came in 48 % in the red due to current utility charges not covering operating expenses. Mr. Connelly commended Mrs. Merritt and Mr. Williams and their staffs on the tremendous job performed in completing this audit in light of complying with the new GASB 34 requirement.

Mr. Williams made plea on behalf of county employees for consideration be given for some type of salary increase mid-year since no increases were given this past July and that health insurance premiums increased and co-pays have doubled. The Commissioners agreed to discuss this matter at a later date.


BAYSIDE PUBLIC LANDING

Carter G. Stanton, Director, Public Works, appeared and advised that the Bayside Public Landing has become a safety hazard. Mr. Stanton referred to an estimate of $8,750.00 for the temporary repair of the bulkhead which he had presented to the Public Landings and Facilities Board. He indicated that his application for Waterway Improvement funding for an extra maintenance grant of $5,000.00 has been approved. The Board recommended that the County make the necessary repairs. Mr. Stanton reported that repairs, therefore, would require another $3,750.00. The alternative to the repair would be to block off and restrict the use of the bulkhead which would affect the livelihood of the watermen and annually scheduled public festivities.

Commissioner Livie advised that, given Rock Hall's frequent use of the landing, the fact that the County does not have the funds needed to replace the landing, and given that Rock Hall has in its reserves substantial funds (approximately 80 to 90% of its budget), it would be a reasonable suggestion to meet with the Mayor and Council of Rock to discuss a partnership towards eventually replacing the bulkhead. Commissioner Crow concurred.

Commissioner Pickrum inquired as to how long the proposed repairs would last, to which Mr. Stanton replied that the duration of repairs would be about two years, and that the cost of replacement would be approximately $300,000. Mr. Stanton advised that the bulkhead be either replaced or repaired now or be closed.

A motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie, and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum to approve the expenditure of $3,750.00 out of contingency towards the temporary repair of the Bayside Public Landing in Rock Hall. Due to the urgency of this project, Mr. Stanton will obtain verbal quotes.


BOARD OF EDUCATION

A copy of the results of the State's Task Force to Study Public Schools Facilities "Facility Assessment Survey - Maryland Public Schools" was received from the Superintendent of Schools. The Presentation of Data, dated November 6, 2003, represents all of the State's school facility planners' assessments of the adequacy of their schools according to 31 standards that were identified by the Task Force as necessary for a facility to be deemed adequate to support existing education programs. Those standards included such standards as air quality, security, lavatories, accessibility, student capacity, pre-K/K classrooms, fine arts, and health services.


BUDGET

As presented by Pat Merritt, Director of Budget and Accounting, the Commissioners unanimously approved and signed Resolution adopting Fiscal Year 2003 Amended Budget.


CODE HOME RULE
911 FEE


First reading was held on Code Home Rule No. #5-2003, which is an Act to repeal and re-enact with amendments Section 13-7 of Part I of the Public Local Laws of Kent County, Maryland entitled "Charge for switched local exchange access service and other 911 accessible service", to provide for an increase in the current "911" fee by 25 cents per month, to be applied to all current telephone bills for switched local exchange service as well as wireless telephone services or other 911 accessible service in Kent County. Public hearing has been scheduled on December 9 at 10:00 a.m.


COMPUTERS

A copy of e-mail correspondence was received from Shawn Mathiesen, Information Systems Manager, requesting that the Commissioners approve the payment of $3,200 for retrofit modifications made to the HTE, Inc. code as per the County's requests. Ms. Mathiesen reported that there were 32 modifications and that HTE, Inc.'s charges are $100.00 per modification, per year for the on-going support of the modified code. She requested that the bill be paid as soon as possible due to the fact that it is 6 months past due.

Ms. Mathiesen further indicated that this item was not budgeted in the Information Systems' current budget and that the item represents an annual expense. Given that both Budget and Accounting and the Treasurer's office have both requested a modification this year, and that each code modification will increase the annual expense by an additional $100.00, Ms. Mathiesen advised that next year's expense will be at least $3,400.00. As requested, the Commissioners approved the $3,200.00 expenditure out of the contingency fund.


COURT HOUSE

A cost estimate was received from John F. Koerner, Senior Scientist, Compliance Environmental International, Inc. for mold survey and assessment in the County District Court House. The proposal costs include the following: environmental consultation to evaluate moisture source and conditions in the area, investigate mold complaints, and provide recommendations for improving the space, if necessary at a total cost of $2,425.00. This cost will be absorbed within the current budget and the Public Works Director will proceed with this project.


DELMARVA SPACE TRAINING CENTER (DSTC)

Ken Beatty, Director, DSTC, appeared and presented to the County the DSTC's proposal to lease the Still Pond Coast Guard Station building in its entirety and property for $1.00 a year for five years, with a First Right for a renewal for an additional five . With this approval, Mr. Beatty explained, DSTC would agree to repair and maintain the building and property at its own expense. He advised that DSTC had several other funding sources forth-coming pending its ability to present positive possession of a facility for the program. Jerry Ferguson and Paul McGinn, both of whom are Board members of DSTC, were also in attendance.

Mr. Beatty supported the proposal by citing the following: a letter that he received from Senator Barbara A. Mikulski, expressing her support of scientific research and development at NASA, National Science Foundation (NSF), the Department of Energy and other government agencies. He also cited a letter of support for the DSTC program from Congressman Wayne Gilchrest, and a verbal expression of support from Capitol College in Laurel, MD.

Mr. Ferguson, who identified himself as a physicist and professor at Washington College, reported that because students' interest in the study of physics and engineering has diminished significantly over the years, the DSTC would serve to encourage young adults' interest in those areas.

Commissioner Crow inquired whether or not DSTC has a business plan, to which Mr. Beatty replied that until he has secured a facility for the DSTC program, he will not be able to prepare a budget. Commissioner Livie emphasized that it is the goal of the County that the use of the facility be collaborative. He advised Mr. Beatty to return to a future Commissioners' meeting to clearly demonstrate to the County how DSTS would include, and function as, a collaborative effort with the Board of Education, Parks and Recreation, Camp Tockwogh, and Echo Hill Outdoor School. No further action was taken on Mr. Beatty's proposal.


DEPARTMENT OF WATER AND WASTEWATER

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

Tolchester Service Area -

Tolchester Residents United - Tracy Stone, representing Tolchester Residents United, appeared and read a statement which she prepared on their behalf, regarding Tolchester growth issues and sewer allocations. She indicated that the first priority of this newly formed group is to make sure that there be no more development in addition to the 40 allocations which were previously agreed upon by the County.

Tolchester Residents United encouraged the Commissioners to limit the growth to the planned 40 allocations, and invited them to, once again, tour the area in order to more clearly see and acknowledge that, given lack of County roads, lack of public water, the environmentally sensitive land, and the distance from a fire house, there is a need to limit growth. Because the community of Fairlee has County roads, a public sewer, water, and hydrants, the group advised that it should be the focus of growth, not Tolchester.

Allocation Requests - Wayne Morris, Director, Department of Water and Wastewater Services, appeared and gave report on what follows. He reviewed the allocation requests made by the following:

- Renaissance Construction, Inc. for property owned by the same at Map 35A, Parcel 21, Montgomery Avenue in Tolchester Estates, Block 1Q. Mr. Morris recommended approval. A motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum to approve a sewer allocation for Parcel # 21.

- L. Susan Barnhardt for two sewer allocations for property which she and her husband have on the market (Parcels # 598 and # 599) and for which they are under contract, requiring them to provide approval for two sewer allocations. Mr. Morris recommended that only one of the parcels should be approved; the other parcel would require an extension line. A motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie, and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum to table approval of the two parcels, until a site plan is developed and improvements are made to the adjacent road according to County standards.

- P. Patrick McClary, Agent for Peter and Catherine Svenson for Parcel #893, Map 35, Bay View Drive in Tolchester Estates. Mr. Morris recommended approval. A motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum to approve a sewer allocation for Parcel # 893.

- Jim and Tracy Stone: Parcels # 27 and 96, Map 35A. Mr. Morris recommended approval. A motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum to approve a sewer allocation for Parcels # 27 and 96.

- Roy Hoagland for Parcel # 301, Map 35 D, Tolchester Estates (where once was the Rainbow Restaurant). Mr. Morris recommended approval. A motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum to approve a sewer allocation for Parcel # 301.

- Catherine A. Adams for lots 7 and 9, to be combined, forming Parcel # 0363, Map 35D, Tolchester Estates. Mr. Morris recommended approval. A motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum to approve a sewer allocation for Parcel # 0363, to be formed by the combination of lots 7 and 9.

Worton Service Area -

- A request for five allocations from Charles D. Reed, Parcel # 71, Map 20, on Smithfield Road. Mr. Morris recommended all five allocations. However, he advised that caution be taken by the County as future requests are received specific to the area in question, given the restrictions to the County's ammonia limits for the Worton Lagoon and the fact that these requests represent the start of increased development in that area. A motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum to approve five sewer allocations for Parcel # 181 on Smithfield Road, subject to the approval of other pertinent agencies.

- Mr. Morris noted that he sent a letter to Stephen Luckman, Chief, Municipal Surface Discharge Permit Division, Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE), regarding the Worton State Discharge Permit. Mr. Morris requested the consideration of the MDE to extend the 3 year time limit, currently in the draft, to 4 years in order to achieve compliance should the County not be able to meet the permit limitation.

Skinners Neck Service Area - allocation requests were received from the following individuals:

- Mark and Bernadette Van Pelt for Parcel # 0450, Map 51. Mr. Morris recommended approval. A motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum to approve a sewer allocation for Parcel # 0450.

- John and Nancy Hubbard for a single family home on Lot #2 on the Hubbard's property on Harrington Park Road in Rock Hall. Mr. Morris recommended approval. A motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum to approve a sewer allocation for Lot # 2 on the Hubbard's property, Map 29.

Kennedyville Service Area - Mr. Morris reported that Jack Canan, Coordinator, Housing and Community Development, is reviewing the income survey conducted for this area and will present his report at the next Commissioners' meeting.

Allens Lane - Regarding the public meeting date, Mr. Morris requested a date to be scheduled, to which the Commissioners agreed to January 13, 2004.

Edesville Service Area - Regarding the Rock Hall Agreement, Mr. Morris reported that the Rock Hall Mayor and Town Council have requested more time to review the proposal, a Memorandum of Agreement, that would be between the Town of Rock Hall and the County intended to revise, update, and consolidate of all the existing waste water treatment agreements, and define and clarify the sharing of costs between the Town and the County for waste water treatment for the County's Piney Neck, Skinners Neck, Wesley Chapel, Spring Cove, Green Lane and Edesville Service Areas. Mr. Morris reiterated his opinion that the revised formula is fair and that everyone will be able to understand it.

Mr. Morris reported that the lagoons in Edesville are leaking and advised that they should have been incorporated into the Rock Hall system many years ago.

Water and Sewer Rates - In follow-up to a study authorized by the Board of County Commissioners relating to a study of finances of the water and sewer systems owned and operated by the County. The objectives of this study were as follows: to review the financial soundness of the water and sewer systems; to develop a time-phased plan to make the County-owned and operated water and sewer systems financially self-sufficient; and to develop a long- term plan to keep water and sewer rates stable over time.

Public informational meetings have been scheduled to present the key findings of the study and to afford the public the opportunity to have input into the decisions to be made by the Board of County Commissioners. At the first public information meeting, which took place on Monday, November 17, 2003, at 6:00 p.m. at the Kent County High School, was attended by two citizens in addition to the Board of County Commissioners, Wayne Morris, Director, Water and Waste Water Services, Susanne Hayman, County Attorney, Ed Robinson, County Administrator, and the study consultants. The consultants who performed the study presented their methodology, conclusions and recommendations, and public comments and questions were invited and addressed.


DRAYTON MANOR

A copy of memorandum was received from Jerry Smith and Jane Hukill, representing Drayton Manor, sent to Gail W. Owings, Director of Planning and Zoning Administration, indicating that in preparation for a meeting with Petro Design/Build, Inc. (who has submitted a proposal to redevelop Drayton Retreat Center), Mr. Smith and Ms. Hukill have surveyed residents of Coopers Lane who are not members of either Kinnairds Point or Clearview homeowners associations for their comments about the proposed redevelopment which were attached to this correspondence.


EARLY ACTION COMPACT (EAC)

As per the request of Amy Moredock, Environmental Planner, the Commissioners approved and signed letters to the following persons, requesting from them letters of support for the Kent and Queen Anne's Counties Early Action Compact to be sent to the MD Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): Senator Paul Sarbanes, Congressman Wayne Gilchrest, Governor Robert Ehrlich. Ms. Moredock also advised that a letter from the County should also be sent. Ms. Moredock also reported that if the EPA does not accept the joint EAC, then Kent and Queen Anne's Counties will either become their own nonattainment area or the counties will be integrated into Baltimore County's nonattainment area.


ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ADVISORY BOARD

The Commissioners appointed Terwana J. Brown as a member of the Economic Development Advisory Board to fill an unexpired term ending January 5, 2005.


EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT

A copy of correspondence was received which was sent to Bob Rust, Emergency Management Agency, from Richard K. Lindsay, District Engineer, State Highway Administration (SHA), indicating the SHA's participation in an initiative in which it will assist county emergency operation centers in the event of a catastrophic incident, as well as its willingness to participate in related training exercises that would benefit both agencies.

Correspondence was received from Christopher A. Powell, President, Kent County Fire Chiefs' Association, requesting the Commissioners' support of the proposal, being put forth by the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Service System, for three 350-foot towers to be erected in the County. Although Mr. Powell acknowledges that the height of the towers is prohibitive given the current zoning laws, and that the costs to erect the towers would be a challenge to the County budget, he expressed his belief that the towers would enhance the County's emergency medical communications.


HURRICANE ISABEL

Carter G. Stanton, Director, Public Works, appeared and gave report on the following:

Public Landings and Facilities - Mr. Stanton, referring to a memorandum he sent, reported that the County Board of Public Landings and Facilities unanimously agreed to recommend to the Commissioners that the three public landings (Sharp Street, Cliff's City, and Bogles) damaged by Hurricane Isabel be repaired. The breakdown Mr. Stanton provided represents a total of all three projects, inclusive of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) 75% contribution and a $50,000 grant received for Sharp Street from the Waterway Improvement Division of the Department of Natural Resources. He further indicated that the $50,000 is not eligible for the FEMA 75% reimbursement and the amount of $10,319.44 is needed to cover public landing expenses.

"Hurricane Isabel Estimated Reimbursements from FEMA" - A copy of estimated reimbursements to the County from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was received from the County Roads Division. The table, "Hurricane Isabel Estimated Reimbursements from FEMA," provided the break-down of "Out of Pocket Costs" for the County and "FEMA Eligible Costs."

To summarize:

The Total County "Out of Pocket" Costs ......... $314,207.84
Total Estimated FEMA Reimbursement.(minus) 252,136.34
............................Total.................. $62,071.50

Highway User Fund Expenses................(minus) 60, 319.44
General Fund Expenses .................................. $ 1,752.06

Highway User Fund Expenses after DNR* Grant $10,319.44
General Fund Expenses after Insurance (minus).. 10,143.94
Overall County Out-of-Pocket Cost ................. $175.50

* DNR - Department of Natural Resources

Additional notes are as follows: regarding Water and Waste Water Services' costs, an additional $11,896.00 will be reimbursed from the insurance company for damages; and regarding Public Landings' costs, an additional $50,000.00 will be reimbursed by DNR for decking on Sharp Street, Rock Hall.


LEGAL COUNSEL

At 12:40 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 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

Items of discussion included land acquisition.

The executive session adjourned at 1:50 p.m.


LIBRARY MEETING ROOM

Donation - Gloria Urban, Library Director, Jerry Keiser, Assistant Director, Chuck Engstrom, Chairperson, and Joe Massey, both of Friends of the Library, appeared and Messrs. Engstrom and Massey presented the Commissioners with a check for $10,475.00 from the Friends of the Library as their contribution to the Library Meeting Room (formerly known as Hearse House).

Housekeeping Contract - Carter G. Stanton, Director, Public Works, reported that he requested of the Library's current housekeeping company for an estimate of cleaning costs for Hearse House. The company would require $200.00 per month (in addition to the $600.00 per month fee for the Library). After Mr. Stanton responded to the Commissioners' questions as to the projected frequency of cleaning needed, Commissioner Pickrum suggested that Mr. Stanton offer to the cleaning company the same rate per square foot as specified in the County's contract with the Library.

Renovation Cost - A copy of memorandum was received sent to Ed Robinson, County Administrator, from James M. Wright, Jr., P.E., County Engineer, listing the current cost tabulation for the library renovation project totaling $88,307.53. The original estimate was approximately $ 125,000.00 for the construction part of the project.


LOCAL MANAGEMENT BOARD

The County Administrator reported that the offices of the Local Management Board have relocated from the Townshend Building to the second floor at the Town Office on Cross Street in Chestertown.


MARYLAND ROUTE 291

A copy of correspondence was received, sent by Florence L. Sutton, Director, Board of Elections, to Robert Kiel, Assistant District Engineer, MD State Highway Administration, expressing her concern regarding the intersection of MD Route 291 with High Street in Chestertown. Ms. Sutton suggests that a traffic light be installed at what she believes to be a dangerous intersection.


MARYLAND ROUTES 313,299,330 INTERSECTION- MASSEY

Correspondence was received from Richard K. Lindsay, District Engineer, State Highway Administration (SHA), MD Department of Transportation, providing a summary of the SHA's research and conclusions towards determining whether or not a multi-way stop was needed at the intersection of MD 313/MD 299/MD 330 in Massey. Based on the criteria identified by the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) and the data collected at the intersection, the SHA does not deem a multi-way stop at said intersection to be justified at this time. The SHA will continue to monitor the intersection to determine if conditions change. Commissioner Crow will contact Mr. Lindsey for further discussion.


NICHOLSON TRANSFER SITE

Carter Stanton, Director, Public Works, and Marty Holden, Waste Management Supervisor, reported that two new compactors for the Landfill are needed to replace one that no longer functions, and one that is breaking down and is unsafe for hauling. Mr. Holden indicated that he is researching prices for new compactors. He is aware that Queen Anne's County is currently in the bidding process and suggested that Kent County piggy-back on the bids they receive. One compactor would cost $12,500.00 which is available in the current budget.

A motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie, and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum to approve the expenditure of $12,500.00 for the purchase of a new compactor, piggy-backing on the bidding process of Queen Anne's County for the same within current budget.


9-1-1 PHASE II WIRELESS ENHANCED TELEPHONE SYSTEM

A copy of correspondence was received which was sent by Robert B, Rust, Jr., Director, Emergency Management Agency, to J. Scott Whitney, Coordinator, Emergency Number Systems Board (ENSB), Department of Safety and Correctional Services, requesting funding from the Maryland State ten-cent fee in the amount of $1,469,932, and indicating that these funds would bring the County into compliance with the Phase II Wireless Enhanced 9-1-1- requirement, provide fiber optic cabling to the County's center, and replace the County's logging recorder.

A copy of correspondence was received from J. Scott Whitney, Coordinator, ENSB, confirming the Board's decision to fund up to $1,463,410.00 for the County to purchase a new telephone system and related equipment as per the County's request. Mr. Whitney indicated that this funding is contingent upon the availability of funds in the Trust Fund and within specific time limits as follows: the County must award a contract for this project within 6 months from the date of this letter (10-28-03) and the project must be completed within one year of the date of this letter. Further, Mr. Whitney indicated that once the project is completed, the County can be reimbursed for the costs or the Board can pay the vendor directly.

Memorandum was received from Robert B. Rust, Jr., Director, Emergency Management Agency, who, in reference to the $1,463,410 awarded to the County by the Emergency Number Systems Board, requested the County's consideration of Verizon, Inc., the County's long-time 9-1-1 provider, for the following:

- The Vesta Phone System ........................................... $644,270.00
- Mapping on Vesta Server .......................................... $140,294.00

The Commissioners approved this proposal contingent upon letter on file stating reasons that Verizon was the sole source provider.

Mr. Rust also requested that the County piggyback on Caroline County's contract with Axis Geospatial for aerial photography and centerline map database as did Queen Anne's County, saving the County the time and effort in preparing Requests for Proposals. He also advised that Montgomery County advertised for the phone system as described above and that Verizon was the only vendor to respond.

Correspondence was received from J.S. Whitney, Executive Director, Emergency Number Systems Board, providing his assessment of the County's readiness for wireless 9-1-1 service following a tour by Mr. Whitney of the County's 9-1-1 center. Mr. Whitney informed that the County's center met or exceeded his expectations, credit being given to the diligence of the County's employees at the operational level and the support of the County's officials in providing the necessary budget and personnel support. He issued to the County a Certificate of Excellence which recognizes the efforts of the 9-1-1 Center and its Director, Mr. Robert Rust.

Mr. Whitney suggests that as the County and its emergency communications service grow, consideration be given to the expansion of its present space.


PERSONNEL

At 4:10 p.m., a motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum to go into executive session to discuss personnel matters in accordance with State Government Article, Section 10.508 of the Annotated Code of Maryland.

Susanne Hayman, Human Resources Director, was also in attendance.

The executive session adjourned at 5:30 p.m.


PLANNING COMMISSION

Marjorie C. Brown, Commissioner representative on the Planning Commission, appeared along with Gail Owings, Director, Planning and Zoning. Ms. Brown presented the report of the Planning Commission on issues addressed at its November 4, 2003 meeting.


PROCLAMATION

The following individuals appeared to recognize the week of November 24 as National Family Week in Kent County: Christina Burke, Meg Carl, and Ernestine Graves, all representing Shore-Up/Head Start, Jerry Keiser, representing the Library, Rebecca Taylor, Regional Family Services Coordinator of the Circuit Court, Brenda Rose, representing the Judy Center, and Danielle Smith, Intern-Receptionist and Virginia Allen, Program Manager, both of the Kent Family Center.

Commissioner Pickrum read and presented the Proclamation to Ms. Allen. Included in the Proclamation was the recognition of the following: the fact that strong families are the center of strong communities; that everyone has a role to play in making families successful, including neighborhood organizations, businesses, non-profit agencies, policy-makers and families; and that during Thanksgiving week, the citizens of the County should take the time to honor the importance of families, recognizing the special connections that support and strengthen families year round.


SCENIC BYWAYS

Correspondence was received from Congressman Wayne T. Gilchrest expressing his thanks for the Commissioners' letter which indicated the opposition of the Commissioners to earmarking National Scenic Byways funds to specific projects rather than allowing them to be spent through a competitive grant process. Congressman Gilchrest conveyed his agreement with the Commissioners' position on this matter and, in addition, assured of his involvement in the reauthorization process, the attempt to curtail the preemptions of the original statute by the House and Senate Appropriations Committees which have earmarked funds in contradiction to the statute by which this program was established. The original statute authorized funds available under the National Scenic Byways Program to be awarded on merit through a competitive selection process.


SHERIFF'S OFFICE

Memorandum was received from Sheriff John F. Price indicating that the final on-site assessment report of CALEA (Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies) has recommended the accreditation of the County's agency. Sheriff Price also reported that he and John Vail, Assistant to the County Administrator (and an employee of the Justice Management Division serving the County, assigned to the Sheriff's Office), will be attending the CALEA Conference the week of November 17, 2003. At the conclusion of the conference (on November 22nd), the Sheriff's Office will officially receive its accreditation from the Commission.


UPPER SHORE AGING (USA)

The Commissioners appointed Mrs. Lauretta Freeman as a member of the Upper Shore Aging Board of Trustees for a three year term ending September 30, 2006.

A copy of Fiscal Year 2005 Annual Transportation Plan was received for the Board's information and files.

Weatherization Program - As per correspondence received from Carl E. Burke, Director, Upper Shore Aging, Inc., requesting that the County temporarily act as the State contractor and that Upper Shore Aging, Inc., act as the subcontractor regarding the grants that fund the Home Weatherization program, the Commissioners approved to continue its current role in the administration of the Home Weatherization grant for the County until June 2004. The Home Weatherization program allows USA to make the homes of eligible Seniors more energy efficient and more habitable.

Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) - A copy of correspondence sent by Carl E. Burke to Jean W. Roesser, Secretary, The Maryland Department of Aging, was received in support of the AAA's efforts to seek a revised funding allocation formula that can be used to fairly distribute funding for aging programs to Maryland's 19 Area Agencies on Aging in Fiscal Year 2005. Further, he asked Ms. Roesser to investigate the possibility of future state grants to directly fund the administrative operations of non-traditional (i.e. non- county- operated) Maryland Area Agencies on Aging such as USA, Inc. Given that the "plus 60" population of Talbot, Caroline, and Kent Counties is steadily growing, Mr. Burke advised that direct administrative funding for USA, Inc. would permit it to devote more grant money to direct client services.

As presented by Jerome Phillips, Director of Transportation Services, the Commissioners approved and signed Area Agency on Aging Certification, Assurances, Authorizing Resolution, Transportation Services Agreement between the Kent County Commissioners and Upper Shore Aging, Inc. for Fiscal Year 2005 and Transportation Service Agreement between Kent, Caroline and Talbot Counties for Fiscal Year 2005 as it relates to application for assistance pursuant to the Statewide Specialized Transportation Assistance Program (SSTAP).


UPPER-SHORE REGIONAL COUNCIL(USRC)

A letter went forth in support of the Upper Shore Regional Council application to the Maryland Agricultural Education and Rural Development Assistance Fund. This grant will fund the basic operating infrastructure needed to maintain the USRC's momentum as a regional organization, supporting its members' (Kent, Queen Anne, and Cecil Counties) joint efforts, such as sustainable agriculture and economic development activities, which, individually, they could not accomplish.


U-STAR

Carl Burke, M.A., Executive Director, Upper Shore Aging, Inc. and Jerome Phillips, Director of Transportation services of U-Star, appeared and presented a proposal for changes in U-Star. Mr. Burke indicated the following goals for U-Star:

- To improve public transit ridership within the County by eliminating and/or reconfiguring certain transit routes.

- To be responsive to input and comments from the County's U-Star clients.

- To most wisely use limited operating funds for U-Star in the County while saving money this year and for Fiscal Year 2005.

Mr. Burke advised that U-Star has fewer operating dollars this fiscal year than last year (due to an increase in "soft" local match) and that its operating expenses have increased (for examples, higher cost of fuel, and increased vehicle and group health insurance costs). He further reported that unless U-Star operates more efficiently and saves money, the program will have a deficit on June 30, 2004. He added that Upper Shore Aging, Inc. (USA) does not anticipate any significant improvement in the availability of funds for U-Star operations in Fiscal Year 2005.

Mr. Burke further reported that USA recognizes that no major service changes can or should be implemented until it has consulted with the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) until the Public Service Commission has been contacted and until due diligence has been exercised regarding the public's input, for example at Public Hearings. A Public Hearing regarding these proposed service changes has been scheduled to take place on December 31, 2003.

Among the proposed changes are as follows:

- the elimination of the current early morning and late afternoon Job Access/Reverse Commute route from Chestertown to Millington (there are rarely riders on this route). Instead, Demand/Response service would serve those customers as needed.

- The elimination of the current Chestertown in-town Deviated Fixed Route. Many citizens, including the Senior citizens, have complained of the limitations of the current in-town Deviated Fixed Route. He assured that Seniors within Chestertown would still be able to to use the SSTAP Demand/Response service which they seem to prefer. In addition, all the citizens who wish to travel to Easton woul;d still be brought in on the Rock Hall, Coleman and Millington Demand/Response runs. All riders could then transfer to the single MUST stop in Chestertown, taking advantage of the reduced fare on the Deviated Fixed Route service to Centreville, Wye Mills, and Easton, where they could transfer onto other MUST buses as desired.

Mr. Burke emphasized that U-Star's proposed service changes would not result in limiting any County citizen's access to U-Star; rather the proposals would change the transit mode. He requested the Commissioners' consideration of these proposed changes and invited their suggestions and comments for ways of improving U-Star's financial health and customer service.

To Commissioner Livie's inquiry as to the number of riders on the route from Chestertown to Chesapeake College, Mr. Burke indicated that U-Star is in the process of determining that data and will provide an answer later, adding that there is no other dedicated source of public funding for a straight run to and from Chestertown and Chesapeake College. It currently runs twice a day.

Commissioner Livie advised that U-Star obtain projections from the Board of Education and Kent County High School about potential riders on an express bus, thereby offering students and staff the option of public transportation, increasing ridership.

Responding to Commissioner Pickrum's inquiry about the complaints which U-Star has received concerning the circulator bus in Chestertown, Mr. Phillips replied that U-Star service in Chestertown is mostly of the Demand/Response mode. Mr. Pickrum advised that U-Star, as all businesses, should not attempt to increase its revenue by decreasing its services.

Mr. Burke reported that the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) has expected U-Star to do cost allocations for each of its routes, and that U-Star is in the process of compiling that data currently. The MTA is expected to determine new standards which will determine that amount of grant money U-Star will receive from MTA.

Commissioner Pickrum strongly encouraged U-Star to be more aggressive in its advertisement of bus availability and schedules, such as on the website and through newsletters of the area schools; that the investment in advertisement would prove to be cost-effective. Commissioners Livie and Crow encouraged U-Star to expand its ridership vis-a-vis the circulator in Chestertown and by responding to the projected transit needs of the schools, for example, Chesapeake College and the Kent County High School.

A copy of correspondence was received from Mr. Burke regarding the proposed renovation project for the building currently occupied by U-STAR in Denton. Mr. Burke expressed his opinion that a rehabilitated headquarters/garage facility for U-STAR, located in the geographic center of the U-STAR service area, will improve the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of transit operations, and that the contributions towards funding from Kent, Caroline, and Talbot Counties will benefit each County in the long-run. He also noted that Chesapeake College had expressed its intention to participate in this project, the cost of their involvement projected at $221,900.

A copy of correspondence was also received from George Hill, Project Development, Office of Planning, Maryland Transit Authority (MTA), providing cost estimates and the scope of the rehabilitation (architectural, civil engineering, mechanical, and electrical) for the Denton bus garage.


WORTON BUSINESS PARK

Correspondence was received from Gail Owings, Director, Planning and Zoning Administration, regarding the Worton Project, advising that the Planning Commission will review an application submitted by KRM Development Corporation on December 4, 2003. The application requests a site plan approval for a 27,000 square foot office/warehouse flex space building located on Commerce and Worton Roads in the Third Election District. The property is zoned "I" Industrial.


There being no further business to claim their attention, the Board adjourned to meet again on Tuesday, November 25, 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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