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KENT COUNTY, MARYLAND


Board of County Commissioners

January 20, 2004

The Honorable Board of County Commissioners met this evening at 6:00 p.m.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 $5,311,390.00.

Commissioner Pickrum extended gratitude and appreciation on behalf of himself and his family for all of the expressions of sympathy and support which were conveyed to the Pickrum Family to honor the memory of the life of Emma Pickrum, the Commissioner's mother.


ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND

A copy of a press release, dated January 16th, was received and gave notice that mustard agent containers were drained on January 15th following an eight-week operational pause to examine and repair areas of the glove boxes in which the draining takes place. The operational pause was initiated after a low-level mustard vapor leak was detected on November 14th in the glove box sump piping of one of the drain stations during the rinsing of an agent container. The press release continues by indicating that further examination of all three drain station glove boxes identified some corrosion in the piping and in the glove box sump. Draining has resumed in one drain station while repairs on the others are underway.


AIRPORT

Correspondence was received from Thomas A. Priscilla, Jr., Baltimore Metro Engineer, Washington Airports District Office, Federal Aviation Administration, regarding the Airport Capital Improvement Program (ACI) and the proposed Kent County Airport. Mr. Priscilla's letter reports that his office is in the process of considering input into the development of the ACI for existing and proposed airport projects. In order to complete the effort, they require of the County a response to their previous letter (dated November 13, 2003) which outlined possible courses of action for the County to consider in order to move the airport project forward.

Mr. Priscilla states that as the County considers its response, the following factors must be included in the deliberations:

- The original Environmental Assessment (EA) resulted in a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the proposed action and was signed January 19, 1994 (A written reevaluation of that finding was completed on April 20, 2000.). Recent documentation has identified that the proposed action is significantly different from that evaluated approximately 10 years ago.

Further, the proposed action included certain elements, such as the draining of ponds and impacts to wetlands, which several resource agencies had objected to during the original EA. Additionally, the original EA and subsequent reevaluation did not evaluate impacts to resource categories regulated under existing laws, such as the Forest Conservation Act.

Therefore, the FAA has determined that a new EA, which evaluates the current proposed action and current laws and regulations, is required.

- The period providing consultant services under the existing general services agreement expires July 2004. At that time, the County will have to solicit proposals to provide consultant services in accordance with Advisory Circular 150/5100-14. Because the existing agreement expires prior to the initiation of the new EA, the County must have the new consultant designated prior to the start of that effort.

This correspondence will be further discussed with Jim Wright, County Engineer.


BETTERTON ARK PROJECT

Linda Hall, President, and Judith Kohl, Vice-President, of the Betterton Community Development Corporation (BCDC), appeared, as per the invitation of the Commissioners, to provide more information concerning their "Save the Betterton Ark!" project. The BCDC is applying for two grants from the Maryland Historical Trust for Fiscal Year 2005: (1) The Capital grant application requests funding for the stabilization and restoration of the Betterton Fishing Ark (which was donated to the BCDC by a Betterton property owner); (2) The Non-Capital grant requests funds for the development of an educational presentation that will document the traditional techniques used in the restoration of the Fishing Ark, and for the research and reenactment of an "old fashioned" fish fry on Betterton Beach.

Mrs. Hall reviewed the history of the BCDC and outlined its activities. She explained that a "fishing ark", or "fishing shanty," was built by watermen, tugged behind fishing boats, and used as shelter. The Betterton fishing ark is an original ark located currently in Betterton on Idlewild Street and described as "deteriorating fast." As John Swain, shipwright of the Sultana, was quoted as saying, it is important to restore this particular ark, given the history that it represents, and because "there are no others left." Mrs. Kohl reported that John Swain has offered his assistance with this restoration project which will take place in the Sultana boatyard located in Chestertown. Mrs. Kohl also reported that a Betterton resident has volunteered to move the ark from Betterton to the boatyard before Spring 2004. The total project would cost approximately $55,000, funded, it is hoped, primarily through the said grants. The Capital Grant from the Maryland Historical Trust, if approved, would be in the amount of $50,000.

Ms. Hall and Ms. Kohl explained that, because few arks like the Betterton Fishing Ark remain, they expressed their excitement about said project and "see it as a way of developing community spirit while saving a piece of Chesapeake Bay heritage."

The Board of Commissioners approved and signed the letters of support and recommendation of the two grant applications.


BETTERTON BEACH

Commissioner Crow asked Mrs. Kohl to provide an update on the Betterton Beach Condominium Association's efforts concerning the stabilization of the Rigbie Bluff Condominiums in Betterton. Mrs. Kohl responded by saying that the Association is addressing the issue by means of a three-pronged project: (1) to re-direct the rainwater off the roof to the streets on either side; (2) to re-direct the rainwater run-off in the parking lot; and (3) replant the hill with water-loving plants.

Mr. Kohl was also in attendance and expressed the interest of the Condominium Association in a variance from the Town of Betterton which he believes would address the rainwater run-off in the road at the Bluff. Mrs. Kohl concurred, expressing her opinion that the Condominium Association will have to clarify to the Town of Betterton the Town's responsibilities in this stabilization effort. The

Commissioners expressed their appreciation to Mr. and Mrs. Hall and Mr. and Mrs. Kohl for their attendance and for their contributions to the discussions.


BOARD OF EDUCATION (BOE)

Memorandum was received from Roger Williams, Treasurer, indicating that he was requested by the Board of Education (BOE) to increase the amount wired to them by $50,000.00. He advised that the County must replace the original Electronic Transfer Request that authorizes Chesapeake Bank and Trust Company to automatically transfer funds to the BOE bank account. Mr. Williams reported that he signed the corrected electronic transfer and included it with his letter for Commissioner Pickrum's signature.

Commissioner Pickrum, referring to this memorandum, emphasized that the County's original request was that the electronic transfer of money be in the amount that the BOE needs, and asked that this matter be addressed by the Director of Budget and Accounting for clarification. No other action was taken at this time.

Concerning the letter recently sent forth by the Commissioners to the BOE that requested greater clarification of the sources of funds indicated in the BOE's budget, Commissioner Crow asked if the County had received a response, to which Mr. Robinson, County Administrator, indicated that no response was yet received, and that a meeting of Budget and Accounting and the BOE was still outstanding. Commissioner Crow asked that contact be made with the BOE to schedule said meeting as soon as possible.

Correspondence was received from Paul W. Kelley, expressing his opinion that the requested budgetary increases as proposed by Beatrice T. Fenner, Principal, are, in his opinion, realistic and supported by documented need. He also indicated that he has offered his assistance to support the school.


BUILDING PERMIT

The Commissioners agreed to waive the fees for building permits as requested by the Rev. William R. Bowen, Pastor of Gospel Holiness Chapel, Inc., as required of the congregation in order to begin the building-expansion of their church facility.


CHESAPEAKE BAY

Electronic mail was received from Karen A. Smith, Esq., Director of Intergovernmental Relations, Office of the Governor, pertaining to two of the Governor's environmental legislative initiatives:

- Governor Ehrlich's Chesapeake Bay Watershed Restoration Fund - This Fund, which will be administered by the Department of the Environment (MDE), will create a dedicated fund to upgrade the 66 largest sewage treatment plants, located in 23 jurisdictions around the State, to achieve state-of-the-art nutrient removal. An environmental surcharge will be set at $2.50 per month, per household, a surcharge on businesses will be based on the wastewater they generate ($2.50 per month for every 250 gallons per day of discharge). The design and construction of the upgrades for the first plants will begin in 2005; the construction of all 66 major sewage treatment plants can be initiated by 2009 and completed by 2011.

Commissioner Pickrum requested a copy of the list of municipalities which would be affected by the surcharge.

- Governor Ehrlich's Chesapeake Bay Recovery Fund - This fund will enable the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to enter into agreements with non-profit, public charities to solicit and manage private contributions for large-scale Bay restoration projects, such as oyster restoration, cover crops, and Bay grasses. Contributions will come from private investors, corporations, foundations, and individuals.


COMMUNITY CENTER

At 7:30 p.m., the Commissioners held a work session with Jeff Troester, Parks and Recreation Director, and Anne Livie, Local Management Board Director, on the proposed Community Center project. Ms. Livie suggested that an active project team be appointed involving the LMB, Parks and Recreation Department, Board of Education, etc. to work on the design phase. The Commissioners concurred and asked Mrs. Livie if she would spearhead this project team. She agreed to give this request consideration.

The work session adjourned at 8:25 p.m.


COUNTY ROADS

Memorandum was received from Lee Myers, Administrative Aide, County Roads Division, Public Works, with attached updated lists of all County roads through January 2004.


DEPARTMENT OF WATER AND WASTEWATER SERVICES

Tolchester Service Area

The Board approved and signed a Public Works Agreement by and between the County Commissioners and Peter and Katharine Svenson for a sewer allocation on Map 35a, Parcels 90, 91,85, 84,and 83 in the Tolchester Service Area.

The Board approved and signed a Public Works Agreement by and between the County Commissioners and Alan Todd Barnhardt and Laura Susan Barnhardt for a sewer allocation on Map 35, Parcel 893 in the Tolchester Service Area.

- Mr. Morris sent correspondence to Gerald Emerick, of Chestertown, regarding his request for sewer allocations for Tax Map 35A, Parcel # 98 and Tax Map 35 D, Parcel #'s 304, 305, and 306. Mr. Morris informed Mr. Emerick of the sewer allocation moratorium in the Tolchester Sewerage Service Area, effective December 9, 2003. Mr. Morris advised him that his request is now on a list of allocation requests which will be reviewed after the moratorium is terminated, will be reviewed in the order it was received.

Water and Sewer Rates

The Board approved payment in the amount of $4500 (within budget) to Municipal and Financial Services Group for the development of additional revenue requirement and rate design alternatives for the County's water and wastewater systems as a result of the December 2 public hearing.


DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES

The Commissioners approved the request of Shirley C. Williams, Assistant Director, Family Investment Programs, Kent County Department of Social Services, regarding the Local Emergency Assistance Program (LEAP), that the remainder of her department's Fiscal Year 2004 allocations in the amount of $7,250.00 be disbursed, given that the balance of their funds has been obligated.

In correspondence, Ms. Williams reported that her department was allocated LEAP funding in the amount of $14,500 for Fiscal Year 2004, and that, in July, they received one-half ($7,250) of their annual allocation. She underscored the importance of LEAP as a resource aiding families in the County in danger of eviction, utility cut-off, and who require financial assistance for purchasing prescriptions and food. She listed the expenditure of funds as follows: rent - $1,705; prescriptions - $1,983; food - $482; electric - $251; and water - $130.


EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT

Correspondence was received from Robert B. Rust, Jr., Director Emergency Management Agency, sent to Donald "Doc" Lumpkins, Domestic Preparedness Manager, Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), requesting Mr. Lumpkins' concurrence with using a major portion of both current (FY'03, Phase II) and future homeland security grants for communications interoperability. Mr. Rust indicated that this concurrence will enable the County to partner with the State 700 MHz Tower Network by placing antennas at an acceptable height. This would also, he conveyed, result in better public safety radio coverage within the County and neighboring jurisdictions.


HOUSING IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM

As requested by Jack Canan, Housing and Community Development Coordinator, the Board approved and signed an "Anti-Displacement Plan" for the Housing Improvement Program Project.


LA MOTTE PARK STUDY COMMITTEE

Jeff Troester, Director of Parks and Recreation, and President of the LaMotte Park Study Committee, appeared and presented the "Analysis and Recommendations" of the Study Committee (dated January 20, 2004). With Mr. Troester, the following members of the Committee were also in attendance: Marsha Fritz, member of the Chestertown Planning Commission, Dr. Eileen McClellan, Chester River Association Riverkeeper, Andrew C. Bradley, business owner and potential property owner, William Sutton, member of the Kent County Planning Commission, and D. Miles Barnard, Landscape Architect. Other members not in attendance are: Harrison C. "Jim" Bristoll, Jr., Chestertown Town Councilman, Sandra Edwards, Eastern Shore Land Conservancy-Land Protection Specialist, and Joe L. Holt, Washington College-Executive Vice President of Administration.

Mr. Troester began his presentation by expressing the extreme pleasure of the Study Committee to present their Report, that their discussions and preparation of the Report were enjoyable and educational. In addition to his commendation of all of the members of the Committee, Mr. Troester also cited the contributions of Congressman Wayne Gilchrest and P.A.M. Schaller, Director of Economic Development.

Mr. Troester read the following, quoted from the "Executive Summary" of the Report, which, as he explained, summarizes the focus of the Study Committee's work:

Purchasing the LaMotte property is a bold gesture by the County Commissioners. It signals their belief that our community must plan its future and that this site is crucial to our success. Careful and forward looking management of this site will have lasting effects, including an enhanced business climate, environmental benefits with cleaner water flowing into Radcliffe Creek and improved vehicular and pedestrian circulation at this crucial intersection. Opportunities clearly exist to support our tourism initiatives by enhancing our National scenic byways and to encourage passive recreation with a pond visited by wildlife and an attractive walkway along the old railroad. Less obvious but equally important, is the chance for the County to set a high standard for development and, in so doing, protect a viewscape valued by our County's citizens.

The Committee's Report projects for the property the construction of a multi-use complex of buildings, inclusive of a professional/corporate campus, low-impact retail, possibly a family-friendly restaurant, educational facilities and facilities to accommodate conferences. Mr. Troester reported that the Study Committee held discussions with several potential developers, all of whom recommended the types of design and building-use that would "add value" to the property, for example stormwater management and wildlife refuge, and the improvement of water quality in Radcliffe Creek. He further indicated that it is the hope of the Study Committee that a designated project design, having received the blessing of the County and of the Town of Chestertown, be presented as "a package ready to go and handed to a developer."

Commissioner Pickrum suggested creating a development corporation to function as the project design team, to which some of the Study Committee members responded that they were not sure of the benefit of such a corporation to the project. Noting that the Town of Chestertown is in the midst of compiling its Comprehensive Plan, Marsha Fritz advised that the initial step to the design process be an approach called "concept approval." In other words, a design process should initially determine a compromise which meets the criteria of all the respective regulating bodies (e.g. the Town Planners of Chestertown, the County, etc.), the various needs of potential users, and the site itself, before any money be spent on the project.

Concerning the existing pond on the property site, Commissioner Pickrum inquired as to how much acreage is represented by the pond, to which Dr. McClellan reported that the pond is currently "not functioning well" and, along with its slopes, requires much engineering for it to become a benefit to the wildlife and viewscape.

Expressing the sentiments of the entire Board, Commissioner Livie expressed his excitement about the project and the contents of the "Analysis and Recommendations." He further indicated his belief that this project will represent one of the key accomplishments on the current decade, and given its location at the "gateway" to the County, the appearance and functioning of the completed project will be a symbol to the public of "who we are" as citizens of this County.

Commissioner Pickrum concurred and expressed the appreciation of the Board to the members of the Study Committee for all of the time and effort they extended to the Report.

Andrew Bradley praised the Commissioners' selection of the members to serve on the Study Committee, indicating his opinion that it represents a "good cross section of people." Commissioner Livie affirming the individuals on the Study Committee, expressed his hope that the members of the Study Committee would be willing to continue to contribute to the progress of the project. The members who were present indicated their interest to continue to participate and expressed the importance of cooperation between the County and the Town of Chestertown. William Sutton added his opinion that "the skies the limit; great things can be done" concerning the LaMotte property project.

Commissioner Livie assured the Study Committee that the Board will eagerly and carefully study the "Analysis and Recommendations"and requested a time to schedule for the next meeting to determine a timetable and immediate steps to take next. It was decided to meet again in three weeks


LEGAL COUNSEL

At 6:00 p.m., a motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum to go into executive session with Susanne Hayman, County Attorney, for legal counsel in accordance with State Government Article, Section 10.508 of the Annotated Code of Maryland.

The executive session adjourned at 6:07 p.m.


MARYLAND ASSOCIATION OF COUNTIES

Commissioner Crow has been appointed on the Maryland Association of Counties (MACo) Tax Committee.


PARKS AND RECREATION

Correspondence was received from David D. Hyman, Cruise Captain, on behalf of the Columbia Sailing Association, requesting that the fee associated with the use of Turners Creek Pavilion be waived ($200.00) for the occasion of the Epilepsy Benefit Regatta which the Association sponsors annually. (This request was later withdrawn.)

Discussion ensued with Jeff Troester, Director of Parks and Recreation, about requests for waivers of rental fees from various organizations for the use of County facilities as the site for the organizations' fund-raising activities. The Commissioners concurred with the current County policy that there be no waiver of fees for organizations requesting the use of County facilities for the purpose of fund-raising. Mr. Troester explained that there are outstanding expenses, over and above the $200.00 rental fee, to the County for the clean-up and maintenance of County facilities following said events.

Commissioner Livie requested that a letter go forth to organizations who request a waiver, providing clarification and explanation for the "no waiver" policy concerning the rental of County facilities as reviewed by Mr. Troester.


PERSONNEL

At 5:35 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 6:00 p.m.

At 8:25 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 8:55 p.m.


RAFFLE PERMIT

A motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie, and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum to approve the application for a Combination Multiple Gaming Device/Raffle Permit for the Kent County Jaycees for their fund-raising event to take place at the Chestertown Fire Hall on March 6, 2004, 7:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m.


UNION UNITED METHODIST CHURCH

The Commissioners denied the request of Crystal R. Jones, writing on behalf of the Chairperson of the Trustees of Union United Methodist Church in Coleman, for a waiver to the requirement for an architect seal on the plans for a ramp for the disabled at said church. Susanne Hayman, County Attorney, was present and indicated that because the architect's seal is a requirement of the State, the Board would not be authorized to consider this request.


UPPER SHORE AGING (USA)
U-STAR TRANSPORTATION

Correspondence was received from Carl E. Burke, Executive Director, USA, requesting the an informal meeting with the Commissioners and their counterparts in Talbot and Caroline Counties for the purpose of gathering information that will help the agency for the future as it relates to transportation issues.

Correspondence was received, sent from Charles C. Cawley, County Administrator, Caroline County, to Lenny Howard, regarding the renovations/additions to the regional transportation/U-STAR facility located in Denton. Mr. Cawley indicated that he had requested, in the early phases of the project, that Mr. Howard reduce the cost of renovations to $1 Million, considered by Mr. Cawley to be a "reasonable amount for the number of vehicles utilized at the facility." Further, Mr. Cawley reported that Mr. Howard disregarded this request, proceeding to present renovations of over $2 Million. Conveying the opinion of the Counties of Caroline, Kent, and Talbot, Mr. Cawley described this cost to benefit ratio as "outrageous," and that all three Counties will not fund their share of the proposed renovations/additions. Also, he affirmed that the three Counties' plan is to continue to operate a regional transportation entity out of the facility as it currently exists.

In reference to said correspondence, Commissioner Crow inquired whether or not there was any more current updates on the status of the Denton facility, to which Mr. Robinson indicated that there was no further updated information available.

Correspondence was received, sent to Lenny Howard, Chief of Regional Planning, Maryland Transit Administration, from Philip Carey Foster, President, County Council of Talbot County, advising that the Talbot County Council received Mr. Howard's letter (dated December 4, 2003) in which he requested the Council's support for the U-STAR facility in Denton. Mr. Foster advised that the Talbot County Council is not in support of the continuation of the U-STAR facility in Denton and, therefore, will not be appropriating any local funding for that project.


There being no further business to claim their attention, the Board adjourned to meet again on Tuesday, January 27, 2004.


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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