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 not in attendance due to
Minutes of the previous meeting were approved as amended.
W. Roger Williams, Treasurer, reported a balance of $5,900,052.00.
AGRICULTURAL ADVISORY COMMISSION
The Commissioners appointed David A. Hill as a member of the Agricultural
Advisory Committee for a term ending September 18, 2006.
AGRICULTURAL LAND PRESERVATION
Correspondence went forth to the Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation
recommending approval of the application submitted by Edwin C. and Lorraine
Fry for an agricultural land preservation district.
BOARD OF EDUCATION (BOE)
Correspondence was received from Dr. Bonnie C. Ward, Superintendent, Kent
County Schools, inviting the Commissioners to co-sign a letter conveying
their support of and their intention to attend the Public Schools Funding
Rally in Annapolis on January 26. The Rally supports full funding of the
Thornton Bridge to Excellence in Public Schools Act. The letter will be
distributed County-wide to staff, parents, religious institutions and
Commissioner Pickrum, referring to said letter, initiated some discussion
by the Board concerning the Thornton Act. The Board shared the opinion
that the funding formula used in the Thornton Act adversely effects Kent
County due to the County's declining school enrollment and its economic
classification. A letter will go forth to Dr. Ward advising of the Board's
support of the major principles of the Thornton Act; however, the Board
will decline from signing the letter due to the concerns raised above.
Currently, the funding formula utilized by the Thornton Act provides less
funding to public schools with less enrollment; however, the services
mandated by the State must still be provided.
Correspondence was received from Dr. Bonnie C. Ward indicating that, given
the approval granted by the Interagency Committee on School Construction
for FY'05 Public School Construction Capital Improvement Program (CIP),
the BOE will not be appealing before the Board of Public Works on January
28, 2004. She further reported that, subject to submission of the Governor's
capital budget in January and legislative approval, the CIP funds of $555,000
will be released on July 1, 2004.
BOARD OF ELECTRICAL EXAMINERS
The Board reappointed Charles Langenfelder as a member of the Board of
Electrical Examiners for a three year term ending January 12, 2007.
Memorandum was received from Judge J. Frederick Price, Circuit Court for
Kent County, requesting permission to make the following expenditure from
the balance projected to remain in the Petit Jury account at the end of
Fiscal Year 2004: $378.40 for a Xerox Digital Model, Lease Purchase Program
(six months of FY'04). The Commissioners approved this request to be funded
within the FY'04 budget.
CODE HOME RULE BILL NO. 6-2003 BORROWING AUTHORITY
Third reading was held on Code Home Rule Bill No. 6-2003, which is an
Act to add a Section 3-9.1 to Chapter 3, Administration of Government,
of the Code of Public Local Laws of Kent County, Maryland to authorize
and empower the County Commissioners of Kent County, from time to time,
to borrow not more than Ten Million Dollars ($10,000.00) for the public
purposes of financing or refinancing general operating expenses or capital
improvements, all as more particularly described herein, and to evidence
such borrowing by the issuance and sale at public or private sale, upon
its full faith and credit, of one or more series of its general obligation
bonds in like par amount, empowering and directing the County Commissioners
of Kent County to adopt a resolution in accordance with Section 15(4)
of Article 25B of the Annotated Code of Maryland, as amended from time
to time, prior to issuing all or any part of the bonds; empowering and
directing the County to levy ad valorem taxes in rate and amount sufficient
to provide funds for the payment of the maturing principal of and interest
on the bonds and pledging the County's full faith and credit and unlimited
taxing power; exempting the bonds from the provisions of Sections 9 to
11, inclusive , of Article 31 of the Annotated Code of Maryland; authorizing
the issuance of refunding bonds; expressing official intent to issue bonds
to finance the acquisition of the LaMotte property; and relating generally
to the issuance and sale of such bonds.
Ballots were distributed for voting. Upon their return, all ballots were
marked favorable for this legislative bill. The Commissioners approved
adoption of this bill which will become effective February 20, 2004.
COMMISSION ON AGING
The Board reappointed Carl Starkweather, Lois R. Allen, Addie Walters
and Lauretta M. Freeman as members of the Commission on Aging for a three
year term ending December 31, 2006. June F. Stenger was appointed to fill
an unexpired term on the Commission on Aging for a term ending December
DEPARTMENT OF WATER AND WASTEWATER SERVICES
Wayne Morris, Director of the Department of Water and Wastewater Services,
appeared and gave report on the following:
Green Lane - A letter went forth to William A. Willis, owner of
Sailing Emporium, Inc., Rock Hall, advising Mr. Willis of the Commissioners'
approval of his request to change the classification of the said account
from residential to vacant, subject to Mr. Willis' acquisition of a demolition
permit, followed by the demolition of his damaged home in a timely manner.
Mr. Morris also advised Mr. Willis of the Commissioners' decision to make
the vacant lot assessment effective retroactive from September 19, 2003,
the day of the occurrence of Hurricane Isabel, and to credit Mr. Willis'
account the difference between the residential charge of $95 and the vacant
lot charge of $46, plus an interest adjustment through September 25, 2003.
Further, Mr. Willis' total bill adjustment for the seven days, including
interest applied to those seven days, is $2.19; the balance of his outstanding
bill would still be due. Prior to the demolition of his house, Mr. Willis
was asked by Mr. Morris to sever and cap his sewer line and to contact
the Water and Wastewater Department in order to notify of same and to
request assistance with the removal of the panel and pump. Mr. Morris
noted that he has not received a response from Mr. Willis.
A sewer allocation request was received from Catherine J. Hill, resident
of Rock Hall, for parcel # 75 on Map 51. She indicated that her grandson
would like to build a home on the said parcel because his house was destroyed
as a result of Hurricane Isabel.
As recommended by Mr. Morris, a motion was made by Commissioner Crow,
seconded by Commissioner Livie and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum
to approve a sewer allocation for Parcel # 75, contingent upon approval
of all other pertinent agencies.
Edesville Service Area - Mr. Morris referred to a Field Inspection
Report conducted by the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) on
December 30, 2003 of the Edesville Water and Wastewater Treatment Plant.
The inspection findings included the following: the level of primary and
secondary treatment lagoons is elevated, the freeboard level at about
1 ½ feet; the land disposal site is not able to be used due to saturated
conditions (the result of the amount of rainfall); the inner side slopes
of the primary and secondary treatment lagoons show severe erosion which
has reduced the structural integrity of the berms.
The Report indicates that it is, therefore, uncertain as to whether the
lagoon system will have adequate capacity to store the wastewater flow
until the land disposal site can be used.
The Report also notes that contact was made with Wallid Saffouri of the
Water Quality Infrastructure Program concerning the proposed connection
of the Edesville facility to the Town of Rock Hall wastewater collection
system. Mr. Saffouri stated that the State grant for the connection to
the Rock Hall system will probably not be funded until July 2005 and that
the State Revolving Loan Program is available to fund the connection at
Mr. Morris conveyed that it is the expectation of the Office of the Eastern
Division of the MDE that the County will pump and haul the wastewater
from the lagoons to an approved location if the lagoon levels rise to
less than one foot of freeboard and the land disposal site cannot be used.
Commissioner Crow inquired as to the reason why the lagoons cannot be
pumped out to a land disposal site, to which Mr. Morris explained the
following: even if the County was granted the required special permits
to discharge onto land, the saturation of the land still remains an obstacle
to that type of solution. Mr. Morris emphasized that the County is required
to meet the State and federal government's discharge limits and other
regulations and buffers.
To questions raised by Commissioner Crow and Commissioner Pickrum as to
what the County could do to discharge to a reasonable level, given that
95% of the County's land is open-ground, Mr. Morris cited a number of
conditions. Some examples are as follows: the County would have to conduct
environmental studies to be eligible for special permits; discharge would
not be permitted on land located a mile from a residence; the County would
be required to show a dual benefit of the discharge of the content of
the lagoon on property (unless the County owns the property), indicating
required amounts of quantity and quality, and etc.
Mr. Morris said that the key to addressing this increasingly emergent
situation is to maintain the lagoons as well as possible until the County
hauls the content of the Edesville lagoons to either Tolchester treatment
plant or to the Worton lagoon. The Board concurred that the County should
be in dialogue with the Rural and Regional Councils about the State and
Federal water and wastewater restrictions and other related issues which
environmentally and financially impact the smaller and more rural counties
in different ways than the other counties in the State. Commissioner Pickrum
confirmed that in the long-term, the County will have to eliminate the
use of lagoons, replacing it with the more up-to-date and environmentally-responsible
Resolution Establishing Kent County Water and Sewer Service Rates
Commissioner Pickrum read the Resolution which presents new water and
sewer rates for the record. Susanne Hayman, County Attorney, was also
in attendance and prefaced Commissioner Pickrum's reading of the Resolution
by indicating that the Resolution was drafted by Wayne Morris, Pat Merritt,
Director of Budget and Accounting, and herself, taking deliberate effort
towards clarity and succinctness in order to maintain the relevancy and
efficacy of the Resolution throughout the successive years until its goals
The Resolution provides a summary of the history of and the rationales
for the conclusions drawn, as well as its determinations, which include
- Given the rate study finalized in December 2003 by Municipal and Financial
Services Group, it was concluded that: current user rates for water and
sewer do not produce sufficient revenue to cover operating and capital
costs; that the process of allocating and tracking expenses and revenues
among eleven different water/wastewater districts necessarily burdens
County resources; and that the subsidy from the general fund of water
and sewer operations should be phased out entirely.
- The Board determined it essential to increase water and sewer rates
in order to maintain the financial viability of water and sewer services
in the County; however, given the valuable comments and testimony of citizens
presented at informational meetings and a public hearing, the Board also
determined that the increase should be less than that recommended by the
Municipal and Financial Services Group.
- The Board determined that it is in the interest of the County's citizens
to continue to subsidize from the County's general fund the costs of water
and sewer service; however the level of subsidy will be reduced from its
current rate of approximately 22% to a subsidy rate of 15%.
- The Board has resolved that the individual district rates for each County
water and sewer district will be adjusted as follows:
A) Effective January 1, 2004, individual water and sewer district rates
that are set below what would be the County-wide uniform rate will be
raised in an amount up to 17.5%;
B) Commencing with the 2005 fiscal year, individual water and sewer rates
that remain below what would be the county-wide uniform rate will be raised
annually in an amount up to 17.5%, with increases taking effect July 1,
2004 and on the first day of July of each succeeding year, until such
time as a uniform rate is achieved by each County water and sewer district;
C) The term "uniform rate," as used in this Resolution, means the rate
that each user in each water and sewer district would pay to cover the
85% of the County's total cost of providing water and sewer services per
equivalent dwelling unit (EDU);
D) Once an individual district reaches the uniform rate, thereafter an
annual inflationary increase of 4% shall occur each year effective on
the first day of July.
- The Board further resolved that, effective January 1, 2004, individual
consumption rates for water service shall be adjusted as follows:
A) The basic allowable consumption rate for water usage shall be adjusted
for all districts to 12,000 gallons per quarter, per EDU, before any overage
charge is assessed;
B) As of January 1, 2004, all County water districts have a uniform overage
charge, except the Edesville District. The Edesville overage charge will
increase by 17.5% effective January 1, 2004, and will increase by 17.5%
on July 1, 2004 and on the first day of July in each succeeding year until
the Edesville District reaches the uniform overage charge rate.
C) The term "overage charge" as used in this Resolution, means the rate
charged when water usage exceeds the basic allowable consumption rate
of 12,000 gallons per quarter, per EDU.
D) In all water districts except the Edesville District, an annual inflationary
increase of 4% shall occur in the overage charge rate each year beginning
July 1, 2004. In the Edesville District, this 4% inflationary rate shall
take effect on the first day of July in the year immediately after the
Edesville District reaches the uniform overage charge rate.
The Resolution concludes by stating the new water and sewer rates as follows:
("EDU" represents Equivalent Dwelling Unit; "Overage Charge"represents
the rate charged when water usage exceeds the basic allowable consumption
rate of 12,000 gallons per quarter, per EDU.)
Water and Sewer Residential/Commercial - $163.17/EDU
Water only - $99.03/EDU
Sewer only - $92.84/EDU
Vacant - $81.59 12,000 gallons maximum allowable usage per quarter/ $2.32/
Water and Sewer Residential/Commercial - $129.10/EDU
Sewer only - $75.01/EDU
Vacant - $64.55 12,000 gallons maximum allowable usage per quarter /$2.32/1,000
Water and Sewer Residential/Commercial - $154.75/EDU
Water only - $92.45/EDU
Vacant - $77.37 12,000 gallons maximum allowable usage per quarter/$2.32/1,000
Water and Sewer Residential/Commercial - $105.75/EDU
Vacant - $52.38 12,000 gallons maximum allowable uage per quarter/$0.83/1,000
Sewer Residential - $102.01/EDU
Vacant - $51.01
Piney Neck/Spring Cove/Tolchester:
Sewer Residential/Commercial - $99.00/EDU
Vacant - $49.50
Quaker Neck/Little Neck/Rudnick:
Sewer Residential/Commercial - $82.25/EDU
Vacant - $41.13.
Commissioner Pickrum expressed the opinion of the Board by stating that
users of public utilities should pay for the utilities and also that it
is good public policy that these systems, because of their inherent value
for social and environmental considerations, be subsidized to some extent
by the County, thereby maintaining the required standard of quality of
A motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie,
and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum to approve the Resolution establishing
Kent County Water and Sewer Service Rates, effective January 1, 2004.
As presented by Philip W. Hoon, Esq., representing Scarab Associates (Hilltop
Property), the Commissioners approved and signed Easement Agreement whereby
the County grants a perpetual easement to Scarab Associates on land located
on the Detention Center property for the delivery, containment and release
of stormwater from the Hilltop property to the stormwater management pond
over and through the stormwater easement area.
DRAYTON RETREAT CENTER
A copy of correspondence was received by John R. Boehringer, resident
of Worton, expressing his objection to the projected development of the
property currently known as Drayton Manor into a "Time Sharing Spa."
EASTERN SHORE LAND CONSERVANCY
Correspondence was received from Bob Etgen, Executive Director, and Amy
Owsley, Director of Community Planning, Eastern Shore Land Conservancy,
presenting a summary of several reports that provide Eastern Shore-specific
land use research outlined as follows: Downzoning and Land Values; Making
Conservation Easements Easier; Assessment of the Critical Area Act; Tools
for Reaching the Eastern Shore 2010 Goals.
The Board appointed Cheryl W. Saunders as a member of the Kent County
Ethics Commission for a three year term ending October 1, 2006.
HOUSING IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM (HIP)
The Commissioners approved and signed three Deferred Loan Agreements for
the HIP Project, signed by the following homeowners/applicants: Elizabeth
Hoagland, Leo L. and Agnes M. Knoedler, and Cindy Quinn.
MOSQUITO CONTROL PROGRAM
Correspondence was received from Cyrus R. Lesser, Chief, Mosquito Control
Section, Office of Plant Industries and Pest Management, Maryland Department
of Agriculture (MDA), indicating that, due to the increasingly restrictive
budgetary conditions for State agencies, it does not appear possible that
discretionary funds will be available within the MDA to supplement the
mosquito control budget for Fiscal Year 2005.
In addition, Mr. Lesser explained that the MDA has not been authorized
to request additional State funding for mosquito control and, therefore,
he is anticipating a general fund shortfall of approximately $250,000
in the amount needed to provide the Statewide program at the same level
of service during the calendar year 2004 mosquito control season as the
MDA recently completed in 2003.
Given the State restrictions, Mr. Lesser indicated that the MDA will not
be able to offer a 50/50 cost-share with Kent County for mosquito control
services in calendar year 2004 (Fiscal Year 2005 settlement), if the current
level of services is to be maintained. In order to maintain through the
2004 season the same level of service provided during the 2003 season,
counties and/or communities will be required to pay approximately 75 percent
of the costs for surveillance, larvicide and truck ULV spraying.
Referring to this correspondence, Commissioner Pickrum expressed the opinion
of the Board that the reduction of funding for mosquito control is a serious
and significant issue for all of the Eastern Shore and, therefore, does
not represent good public policy. The Board concurred that the County
engage in dialogue about this challenge with Legislative Delegates and
with the Upper Shore Regional Council.
At 9:30 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, was also in attendance.
Mr. Rust left at 9:50 a.m.
The executive session adjourned at 10:10 a.m.
Maryland Mentoring Month - At the request of Mary Kniep, Public
Relations Director, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, representing
The Maryland Mentoring Partnership, the Commissioners approved and signed
a proclamation declaring the month of January as Maryland Mentoring Month
in Kent County. The celebration of Maryland Mentoring Month emphasizes
the importance of mentoring, raises awareness and recognizes with praise
and gratitude the many citizens in Kent County already involved in mentoring,
while encouraging others to volunteer as mentors for the benefit of children
in Kent County and nationwide.
Kent County Health Officer - The Commissioners approved and signed
a proclamation declaring January 9, 2004 as Dr. John A. Grant Day in recognition
of his passion for public health and to further wish Dr. Grant much happiness
and success in his retirement. On December 31, 2003, Dr. Grant retired
from the State of Maryland as Health Officer for the Kent County Health
Department after 32 years of loyal and dedicated service.
Correspondence was received from Sylvester Daughtry, Jr., Executive Director,
Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA), reporting
that CALEA awarded Accreditation to the Kent County Sheriff's Office.
Mr. Daughtry advised of the extraordinary steps that have been taken to
acquire accreditation to demonstrate professionalism and pride in delivering
quality law enforcement service to Kent County. Also, the standards address
all areas of administration, operation, and technical support activities.
This three-year award will require the commitment of the Sheriff's Office
to maintain compliance with standards and offers an opportunity for reaccreditation
of their compliance into the future.
Electronic mail was received from Jonathan Reed, identifying himself as
"a farmer in Kent County," who conveyed that he has been researching profitable
sludge applications. He indicated that he had recently been introduced
to a sludge application company and would appreciate any feedback from
the Commissioners concerning the possible benefits to the County of sludge
Commissioner Crow indicated that he would respond to Mr. Reed, advising
him that in the long-term, sludge applications would not prove to be profitable
for the County, and that there is provision in the County's Land Use Ordinance
for a certain degree of sludge application.
UPPER SHORE AGING
A copy of a press release was received, issued by Upper Shore Aging, Inc.
announcing disaster relief grants available for elderly victims of last
year's Hurricane Isabel. Older residents of the County may receive cash
grants for home repairs or replacement appliances for those destroyed
in the aftermath of the Hurricane. Letters of request, including name,
telephone number, and mailing address, should be submitted to Carl Burke,
Executive Director, Upper Shore Aging, Inc. no later than January 31,
2004, and mailed to 100 Schauber Road, Chestertown.
There being no further business to claim their attention, the Board adjourned
to meet again on Tuesday, January 13, 2004.
THE COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
OF KENT COUNTY, MARYLAND
Janice F. Fletcher
Approved: William W. Pickrum, President
Please contact Ileana Lindstrom or Janice Fletcher at (410) 778-7435 or
by e-mail with any questions