Budget Info
 Public Hearings
Economic Devel.
Public Works
Water/Waste Dpt

Help Wanted


Board of County Commissioners

December 9, 2003

The Honorable Board of County Commissioners met today with the following present: Roy W. Crow, Scott D. Livie, and William W. Pickrum, presiding.

T. Edward Robinson, County Administrator, was also in attendance

. Minutes of the November 25 and December 2 meetings were approved as amended.

W. Roger Williams, Treasurer, reported a balance of $7,428,335.00


Larry L. Cox, a member of the Airport Study Committee, appeared and read a statement emphasizing that the Final Report of the Airport Study Committee was not unanimously endorsed by the Study Committee and that he did not sign the Final Report. Mr. Cox cited the reasons for his refusal to sign the Final Report, indicating that although he believes that an airport in the County will contribute to the County's economic development, it is his contention that its feasibility was not proven by the Report of the Airport Study Committee. He believes that the Report is "a thinly veiled recommendation that the Commissioners reconsider the Worton site." Mr. Cox also conveyed his opinion that the Report does not fulfill the Mission that the Commissioners gave to the Study Committee, to "Assess the feasibility of a public/private airport in Kent County. Should the committee conclude that an airport is desirable, the recommendation to the Board of County Commissioners is to include appropriate size, scope, and general location." He expressed his belief that the advocates of the Worton site for an airport continued their advocacy at every meeting of the Study Committee even after the Commissioners confirmed, at their meeting in Betterton, November 4, 2003, that the Worton site would not be considered or re-considered.

Mr. Cox cited the following issues that he believes the Study Report and its Recommendations do not address:

- The Report states that "the Preferred location for the Kent County Airport is near the geographical center of the county." It is Mr. Cox' opinion that there was no analysis made of the various locations throughout the County.

- The Study Report states that "We recommend an airport be constructed with a minimum runway length of 4,200 feet, at a site suitable for future expansion." Mr. Cox believes that the Report tends to minimize the requirements for future expansion, an expansion which Mr. Cox expects.

Mr. Cox expressed his opinion that there is no discussion in the Study Report of the impact on the County of the "Air Defense Identification Zone " (ADIZ) restrictions over the Baltimore-Washington airspace. Mr. Cox identified Kent County as just outside of that secured area, making it attractive to pilots hampered by the ADIZ restrictions on the Western Shore. However, as Mr. Cox further explained, the demands for hangars, taxiways, and flight operations could require significant expansion, requiring investment by the County which he believes is not considered in the Study Report.

Mr. Cox emphasized that because, in his opinion, the Study Report did not fulfill its Mission, he refused to sign the Report.

Tyler Campbell appeared and read a statement signed by Mr. Campbell, Jim Douglass, George McLaughlin and Bill Knepshield, all members of the Airport Study Committee, providing an evaluation of the cost of a proposed airport in Kent County. Mr. Douglass was in attendance as well. The statement encouraged the Commissioners to take steps to secure the Worton site for the proposed County airport. It suggested that the Commissioners invite Tom Beckett, Chairperson, Airport Study Committee, to make his presentation to the owners of the Worton property, advocating the property as a site for the proposed airport. The above signed further expressed their opinion that the Commissioners have an obligation and fiduciary responsibility to the citizens of the County and suggested that they work with a "skilled negotiator and provide an environment for open, meaningful discussions."

Commissioner Pickrum emphasized that the Airport Study Committee were chartered by the Board of Commissioners to study the economic feasibility of an airport in the County; the Committee was not chartered to study the social feasibility of an airport. Further, Commissioner Pickrum indicated that it is the responsibility of the Commissioners to address what is best for all of the citizens of the County to include, in addition to economic concerns, the social and environmental concerns of the County. He indicated that the option still stands for discussion with Mr. and Mrs. Fry concerning their Worton property and that the Fry's still have the opportunity to change their mind, should they so choose.

Mr. Douglass expressed his opinion that studies of all pertinent issues regarding the feasibility of the Worton property for the proposed airport were already accomplished. All of these feasibility studies would have to be made for alternative sites.


Carter Stanton, Director of Public Works, appeared and reported that, as per the request of the Commissioners made at their November 18th meeting, he obtained verbal bids for the necessary repairs of the Bayside Landing bulkhead. Only one bid was received from Deckelmen's Pile Driving in the amount of $8,750, $5,000.00 of which is available from the State Waterway Improvement Division.

A motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie, and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum to approve the recommendation made by Mr. Stanton to accept the bid received from Deckelmen's Pile Driving for the repair of the Bayside bulkhead using the said grant and taking $3,750.00 out of the contingency fund for repairs to the bulkhead.

Mr. Stanton advised that the bulkhead could be replaced in two phases: $100,000 for Phase I, (Fiscal Year 2005), and $100,000 for Phase II (Fiscal Year 2006).

Commissioner Pickrum noted that the grant money for the Phase II work in Fiscal Year 2006 will have to be matched. Commissioner Crow recommended to seek option from the State to borrow the money ahead , thereby saving some money that would accrue in the interim. Mr. Stanton agreed to make this suggestion to the State on the County's behalf.


The Commissioners received and reviewed the Board of Education's Fiscal Year 2003 Financial Statement and Management letter and their subsequent action plan. A letter will go forth to members of the Board of Education offering the assistance of the County's Budget and Accounting Office to help resolve the critical issues identified

Correspondence was received from David G. Lever, Executive Director, State of Maryland Public School Construction Program, regarding Fiscal Year 2005 Public School Construction Program(PSCP): Staff Recommendations for Funding and Planning Approval.

Dr Lever pointed out that severe fiscal constraints in the anticipated State funding for FY 2005 limit the ability of the PSCP to support the more than $400,000,000 in funding requests that were submitted. He reported that only a small number of the 85 requests for planning approval could be moved forward. Kent County's request includes $555,000 representing Phase I for hybrid modernization of the Kent County High School. Dr. Lever conveyed that the Interagency Committee will hold a hearing on December 11, 2003 on requests received. The Committee will develop its recommendations after the December 11th meeting of which the Commissioners will be informed. A hearing before the Board of Public Works will be held in Annapolis on January 28, 2004.


Pat Merritt, Budget and Accounting Director, appeared and reviewed proposed budget schedule for Fiscal Year 2005.


A public information meeting took place on December 4, 2003 at 6:00 p.m. in the Commissioners' Hearing Room concerning the sale of cable systems by Charter Communications to Atlantic Broadband which will affect certain municipalities in the County. The meeting served as a forum for discussions concerning cable systems in general as well. A representative of the media and one interested person attended.

The Commissioners approved and signed Resolution granting consent to the assignment of the Franchise from Charter Communication to Atlantic Broadband effective as of the Closing Date pursuant to the Asset Purchase Agreement.


Amy Moredock, Environmental Planner, appeared and reported that Kent County has recently been re-certified as a Gold Level Bay Partner (raised from the Silver Level), the highest level in this award category under the Chesapeake Bay Partner Community Awards Program. When asked for the reason why the County received a higher recognition than in previous years, Ms. Moredock replied that the County received the "gold" level of the award due to its environmental activity and partnership in watershed planning with the Chester River Association (CRA).

Ms. Moredock pointed out that very few counties in Maryland have received this award. Ms. Moredock also reported that an organization has been formed and has named itself the "Sassafras River Association." Commissioner Livie suggested that the Sassafras River Association consider merging with the CRA, given that the two organizations share similar communities in their membership and that both would then be able to share the resource of the RiverKeeper, Dr. Eileen McLellan.


Marjorie C. Brown, Commissioner representative on the Planning Commission, reported the Planning Commission will start reviewing the Comprehensive Plan in January and February 2004.


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

Tolchester Service Area

Resolution Establishing Sewer Allocation Moratorium in Tolchester Sewerage Service Area - The Commissioners signed a Resolution declaring a moratorium on the issuance of sewer allocations in the Tolchester Sewerage Service Area (as shown on the service area maps contained in the County's Water and Sewerage Plan). Commissioner Pickrum read the Resolution for the record. The purpose for this moratorium is to permit a technical review committee, comprised of representatives from the County's Planning and Zoning, Water and Wastewater, Health Department, and County's Commissioners' Offices, to study the Tolchester Service Area and to make recommendations to the County Commissioners for revising the Tolchester Growth Management Plan to allow for controlled growth. This moratorium is effective as of December 9, 2003 and shall last for a period of time until April 1, 2004.

In addition, the Resolution states that the Board of County Commissioners find it in the best interest of the County's citizens to revise the Tolchester Growth Management Plan to provide additional allocations beyond the 40 allocations originally authorized in order to accommodate needs and to allow appropriate, controlled growth in Tolchester Estates. Further, the Resolution notes that the development of a revised growth management plan for the Tolchester Sewerage Service Area poses numerous challenges, including but not limited to non-conforming lots subdivided prior to zoning, the capacity for existing sewer infrastructure, the lack of roads in some areas, environmental issues, and fiscal concerns.

Commissioner Crow advised that a representative of Soil Conservation Service be added to the membership of the technical review committee.

A motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie, and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum to approve as amended the Resolution Establishing Sewer Allocation Moratorium in Tolchester Sewerage Service Area.

Commissioner Crow expressed his concern as to the effectiveness of the review of other agencies that receive the allocations approved by the Board of Commissioners, remarking that he had not anticipated the approval given by some environmental agencies to certain properties.

- A sewer allocation was requested for Andrew and Judith Tolomeo for property in Tolchester Estates, Tax Map 35B, Parcel # 382. Due to the moratorium placed, no action will be taken on this request at this time.

Worton Service Area

- One allocation approval letter was sent to Charles D. Reed, in care of Kevin Shearon.

Mr. Morris reported that there are currently proposed 5 lot subdivisions in the Worton service area. Commissioner Pickrum inquired as to what needs exist in the Worton area to meet the County's growth expectation. Mr. Morris replied, listing the following: a water tower (for storage), a reconfiguration of sewer lines, a lagoon, an upgrade of the pump station, and the fulfillment of the new ammonia restriction regulations.

Commissioner Pickrum inquired as to the necessity of building a water tower, to which Mr. Morris replied that a water tower has to be built for water storage purposes, adding that a storage tank is not the best solution given that a 75,000 to 100,000 gallon tank would be required. Marcy Brown, Commissioner representative of the Planning Commission, asked whether or not a water tower could serve as a cell-phone receptor. Commissioner Crow advised against that function for a water tower, citing the need for maintenance on it as a cell-receptor.

Water and Sewer Rates

Commissioner Crow requested that a point of clarification be made by the Kent County News in light of an article about water and sewer rates that appeared in the newspaper on Thursday, December 4, 2003. Commissioner Crow explained that the water and sewer rates for residents of the Town of Chestertown should not be compared to the water and sewer rates of the County, describing the rates published as "comparing apples to oranges." He noted that the operational costs for water and sewer services for residents of the Town of Chestertown were included in the residents' property taxes. Commissioner Pickrum concurred, further noting that the customer base of water and sewer services of the Town of Chestertown is much larger than the County's customer base.

Memorandum was received from Wayne Morris, responding to comments and questions raised at the Public Hearing concerning Cost of Service/Rate Study for Water and Sewer Systems on December 2, 2003. Responding to Sue Brown's comments in which she alleged that several homes in Tolchester area are not receiving a sewer bill, Mr. Morris indicated that on several occasions, he asked Ms. Brown to provide him with the locations of said homes and, thus far, has not received them.

Mr. Morris advised the Commissioners that they will be provided with copies of the minutes and all correspondence related to the revisions for all marinas approved by the previous Board of Commissioners.

Responding to Commissioner Pickrum's question regarding monthly billing instead of quarterly, Mr. Morris expressed his opinion that this approach might contribute to a shortage of manpower in his department, explaining that it requires two men a week to read all of the water meters. He further stated that his department is currently experiencing difficulty in keeping up with repairs and maintenance.

Regarding the rates themselves, Mr. Morris submitted recommendations in conjunction with raising existing rates to also increase allocation fees. The current water and sewer allocation fees are: $2,240 for water and $2,240 for sewer, with the exception of Fairlee and Tolchester where the sewer allocation fee is $2,900. The difference in fees is because when the Tolchester system was built, the County took the total cost of construction and divided by the capacity to obtain a cost per gallon, and then multiplied that number by 250 gallons (Equivalent Dwelling Unit). These fees, Mr. Morris explained, were last increased in December 1997 (7 years).

Correspondence was received from Phillip P.W. and Jeannette B. Parish expressing their hope that the County's water/sewer system rates would be the same in all of the municipalities in the County and that the County does not double what the incorporated towns charge. They inquired whether or not there is "room to lower the cost of services." Further, they noted that it may be that the public feels that the Commissioners have already made a decision about water and sewer rates and, hence, the poor attendance at the public informational meetings.

Electronic mail was received from Dot Smith of Worton expressing her agreement with comments made by Bob Dempsey at the December 2, 2003 public hearing which advised that Kent County take out loans with long terms. She also agreed with John Nunn's statements at the public hearing, suggesting that the Commissioners raise fees on the haulers that are dumping into the Worton Lagoon. The other suggestions she made are as follows: that if County residents' fees are raised, that they be raised at $10.00 increments annually; that all districts be charged the same rates; that some residents should be billed at a different rate, for example, people who live in areas such as the outskirts of Rock Hall who have only sewage services.


Correspondence was received from Jack Laird, General Manager, Chestertown Foods, Inc. requesting information as to the circumstances and rationale for the County's policy in Court-authorized release of various inmates.

Mr. Laird further requested an explanation for why 6 detainees were allowed to go home on Thanksgiving Day and one detainee was not permitted to work at the Chestertown Foods, Inc. facility.

Warden Howell will be requested to meet with the Commissioners next week.

A memorandum was received from Carter G. Stanton, Director, Public Works, advising that upon contacting a number of plumbing contractors, only two proposals were received as follows: Miller Plumbing and Backhoe - $1,500.00, and Pipes Plus Mechanical - $1,980.00.

A motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie, and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum to accept proposal submitted by Miller Plumbing and Backhoe to make the necessary repairs of the sewer line at the Detention Center, as per the recommendation of Carter G. Stanton, Public Works Director. Mr. Stanton indicated that this amount would be absorbed within the total Building Maintenance budget.)


At 11:35 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 P.A.M. Schaller, Economic Development Director, to discuss proposal to locate a new business in Kent County in accordance with State Government Article, Section 10.508 of the Annotated Code of Maryland.

The executive session adjourned at 1:10 p.m.


Commissioner Crow, on behalf of the Board of Commissioners, expressed his disappointment in learning that Cassie Wilson, Member, Riverside Broadcasting, LLC, dba WCTR Radio, respectfully declined the Commissioners' offer to appoint her as Kent County Emergency Operating Center Public Information Officer. In her correspondence, Ms. Wilson conveyed her opinion that the appointment would create a conflict of interest with her position as a journalist.


Carter G. Stanton, Director, Public Works, reported that an application has been submitted to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as it relates to costs involved for the repair of the pier which was damaged during Hurricane Isabel.


Correspondence was received from Christopher A. Powell, President, Kent County Fire Chiefs' Association, informing the Commissioners that the Community Fire Company of Millington placed an ambulance in service on November 26th and is now providing service for its citizens in their territory. He further requests that an adjustment be made in the money allotment the Millington Fire Company receive from the County to Ambulance from Medical Assist.


A presentation of holiday trimmings for the Court House and the County Government Center was made by Teri Batchelor, Whaland Clark, Holly and Mac McCoy representing the County Forestry Board. Ms. Batchelor indicated that the large, decorated evergreen wreath, roping, and smaller wreath surrounding the County Seal are examples of "the reusable resources" of our County forests. The Commissioners offered their gratitude to the Forestry Board for their generous and creative holiday trimmings to the County. The Commissioners' gratitude was extended to Andy and Donna Simmons for the large evergreen wreath which decorates the Court House, and to Holly and Mac McCoy for the evergreen garland and small wreath, encircling the County Seal which decorate the County Government Center.


The Commissioners, having approved the recommendation of the Housing and Community Development Office to subordinate the lien the County holds on the lands of Ronald and Lori Roark (known as 26519 Dutchtown Road in Still Pond) to Wilmington National Finance, signed the Subordination Agreement.


Memorandum was received from Sue Willits, Emergency Planning Coordinator, reporting that, with the assistance of Dr. Ann Hennessey, a Victims Support Meeting was scheduled to take place on December 9, 2003 at 7:00 p.m. at the Mainstay in Rock Hall. Ms. Willits indicated that in addition to the Commissioners, the other invited guests are Congressman Wayne Gilchrest, a representative of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Maryland Emergency Management Agency and the Maryland Insurance Commission, Robin Frazier of the Governor's Office, Mayor Jacobs, representatives from local banks and insurance companies and representatives from the County Environmental Health and Planning and Zoning Departments. Due to prior commitments that will prevent their attendance, a message to the victims from the Commissioners will be provided.


A joint public notice issued by the MDE and the US Army Corps of Engineers indicated that the following application is potentially eligible for authorization under the Maryland State Programmatic General Permit: Jerome Staller has applied to construct a 366-foot long stone revetment extending a maximum of 19 feet channelward of the mean high water line for the purpose of controlling shoreline erosion. The project is located on the Chesapeake Bay near Tolchester in Kent County.


Correspondence was received from John Bernstein, Director, MET, reporting that Charlotte D. Staelin proposed to donate a perpetual conservation easement on approximately 50 acres, Tax Map 7, northwest of Galena, with frontage on Dyer Creek in Kent County to the MET and the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, Inc. The MET plans to submit this easement proposal on the December 17, 2003 agenda of the Maryland Board of Public Works meeting.


At 10:50 a.m., a motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie, and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum to go into executive session to discuss personnel matters in accordance with State Government Article, Section 10.508 of the Annotated Code of Maryland

Susanne Hayman, Human Resources Director, Sheriff John Price and Lt./Detective Scott Metzbower were in attendance.

The executive session adjourned at 11:25 a.m.

Commissioner Pickrum announced that the Board of Commissioners approved that an adjustment to the County's pay schedule would be made for a $1,000.00 increase for County employees, effective December 24, 2003. He also reported that the Board of Education employees and teachers will also receive a similar increase effective January 1, 2004. He noted that Kent County remains the only county in Maryland that received a reduction in State funding.


Marjorie C. Brown, Commissioner representative on the Planning Commission, appeared along with Gail Owings, Director, Planning and Zoning, and Amy Moredock, Environmental Planner. Ms. Brown presented the report of the Planning Commission on issues addressed at its December 4, 2003 meeting. Among the projects which the Planning Commission approved, two represented new businesses in the County. Ms. Brown noted that the next meeting of the Planning Commission will take place on January 8, 2004 instead of January 1, 2004. She also pointed out that there will be a vacancy, beginning in January, of a position on the Planning Commission Board.

Commissioner Crow reported that the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy has a contract on the Foster property located in Chestertown, noting that the Foster property is already recognized as an agricultural land preservation district. He expressed his concern as to prohibiting opportunities for growth near the town limits. Mrs. Owings indicated that she would research this situation. Commissioner Livie concurred, advising that the Planning Commission address these concerns with the Town of Chestertown.

Mrs. Owings stated that The Town of Chestertown is in the process of completing their comprehensive plan. Commissioner Crow suggested that the Planning Commission be attentive to the comprehensive plans of Chestertown and all of the County's municipalities.


The Commissioners approved and signed a proclamation recognizing Lieutenant Paul W. Kelley for twenty-five (25) years of dedicated service. Lieutenant Kelley was also recognized for his duties in many facets of law enforcement, having been decorated and cited for many outstanding accomplishments, including his nomination as the Agency Trooper of the Year in 1991. On August 1, 2003, Lieutenant Kelley retired from the Maryland State Police as the Commander of the Centreville Barrack.


Responding to the announced unencumbered $91,000 POS funds available for local use, correspondence was received from Margo G. Bailey, Mayor, Town of Chestertown, requesting that the County consider a 4-acre site located on Schauber Road in Chestertown for purchase with the $91,000. Mayor Bailey reported that the Town of Chestertown is in the process of planning the development of a park on an adjacent 18 acre park site. She explained that there are 3.996 acres that the Chester River Hospital still owns and that has been offered to the Town in the past for $25,000 an acre. The Town of Chestertown would like to include the 4-acre site into their plans. The Chestertown Council voted unanimously to request the Commissioners' consideration of the 4-acre site for purchase, using the said POS funds.


Carter Stanton, Director of Public Works, reported that at the last Public Landings and Facilities Board meeting all of the County buoys and moorings were approved and that there are currently 30 public landings in the County. He also reported that all of the moorings on Worton Creek Marina have been removed and that the moorings have been removed at Skipjack Cove Marina in Cecil County.


At 11:25 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 Sheriff John Price as it relates to public security in accordance with State Government Article, Section 10.508 of the Annotated Code of Maryland.

Susanne Hayman, County Attorney, and Lt./Detective Scott Metzbower, were also in attendance.

The executive session adjourned at 11:35 a.m.


Correspondence was received from Richard Lindsay, District Engineer, State Highway Administration (SHA), Maryland Department of Transportation, responding to Commissioner Pickrum's request that the SHA consider using recycled paper of Creafill Fibers Corporation as an asphalt additive. Mr. Lindsay reported that the request was forward to the appropriate lab of the SHA, which indicated that the SHA currently uses the products of Creafill Fibers Corporation through the Hot Mix Asphalt (HMA) producers. Further, he stated that the SHA has been using the Creafill Fibers Corporation products since they assumed ownership.


The Commissioners approved and Commissioner Pickrum signed a Grant Award and Acceptance for grant application entitled "Domestic Violence Protective Order Entry" in the amount of $7,910.00 approved under the Local Law Enforcement Block Grants Program (Omnibus Appropriations Act), Maryland Governor's Office of Crime Control and Prevention. The renewal of this grant will continue the efforts of the Sheriff's Office to continue 100% prompt entry of all orders.


Carter Stanton, Director of Public Works, gave report regarding the snow removal efforts on December 6, 2003.


The Commissioners requested Jack Canan, member of the Maryland Upper Shore Transit , (MUST) to investigate feasibility of having transportation providing direct route from KCHS to Centreville and Chesapeake College every two and three hours to encourage more participation at the college. He agreed to discuss this recommendation at their next meeting.


Correspondence was received from Richard Lindsay, District Engineer, State Highway Administration (SHA), Maryland Department of Transportation, responding to Commissioner Pickrum's request that the SHA consider using recycled paper of Creafill Fibers Corporation as an asphalt additive. Mr. Lindsay reported that the request was forward to the appropriate lab of the SHA, which indicated that the SHA currently uses the products of Creafill Fibers Corporation through the Hot Mix Asphalt (HMA) producers. Further, he stated that the SHA has been using the Creafill Fibers Corporation products since they assumed ownership.

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


Janice F. Fletcher
Executive Assistant

Approved: William W. Pickrum, President

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

Home | Business | Community | Government | Visitor Guide | Top

© Kent County Commissioners - 1996-2003: All Rights Reserved.