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Board of County Commissioners

January 27, 2004

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 as amended.

W. Roger Williams, Treasurer, reported a balance of $4,063,793.00.


A press release was received via electronic mail notifying that on January 25th, workers in the neutralization bay of the APG Chemical Agent Disposal Facility were performing regularly scheduled flushing of the rinsewater vent condenser when a rinsewater spill occurred. Because no chemical agent escaped the neutralization bay, there was no requirement to evacuate the facility. As a routine precautionary measure, the workers involved were screened by the on-site medical staff and confirmed as having no agent symptoms or exposure. This contained spill, the press release continued to explained, will not hinder the continued draining of agent containers at the facility.


Commissioner Livie initiated discussion concerning the type of leadership the County might take to begin moving forward on a proposed airport project in Kent County. He expressed his opinion that, in light of the recommendations of the Airport Study Advisory Committee, the County should create an airport authority or other type of independent advisory group. Commissioner Pickrum concurred that an independent airport authority could serve as an important mechanism to determine the next steps for a proposed airport. He stated that the County must make some choices at this time: whether or not it is important that the County have an airport; whether or not having an airport makes good economic sense; whether or not having an airport represents a priority for the citizens of the County and, if it does, to set up some form of an independent authority.

Commissioner Livie stated his belief that an airport in the County could contribute to significantly to the County's economy by developing airport-related businesses in proximity to the airport. Commissioner Pickrum reiterated his opinion that the decision to build an airport in the County must be based on evidence that it would have an overall, positive economic impact on County businesses and tourism. He further noted that the proximity of an airport in relation to other businesses is of minimal importance, given the small size of the County.

Commissioner Crow voiced his belief that there are currently so many other priorities of needs and concerns being faced by the County, all contributing to a serious challenge given the minimal financial resources of the County at the present time and projected into the near future. Commissioner Livie suggested that the County partner in some way, for example with airport-related businesses, in order to manage the projected expense of an airport.

This issue will be further discussed at a later time.


Correspondence was received from Bonnie C. Ward, Superintendent, Kent County Public Schools, responding to questions posed by the Commissioners during Dr. Ward's presentation on January 13 relating to the Fiscal Year 2004 budget adjustment pertaining to salary increases. This information was reviewed by the Commissioners, however, further clarification is needed due to discrepancies found where expenditures did not balance with revenues in the budget adjustment provided. Commissioner Pickrum will contact Mr. Siemen, President of the BOE.


Correspondence was received from James S. Urda, designated representative of the County Commissioners, Commission on Aging, advising of the resignation of Robert Wallace, member of the Commission on Aging.

Additional action of the Board was indicated as follows: the re-election of Carl Starkweather, Chairperson, and Mr. Owens, Secretary.


Correspondence went forth to Senator E.J. Pipkin requesting the Senator's consideration and sponsorship of a Senate Bond Bill for the Kent County Recreation and Community Complex project in the 2004 legislative session of the Maryland General Assembly. The Commissioners specifically asked for the Senator's support of an additional $500,000 request for State assistance in connection with site work, facility construction and equipping of the proposed "Kent County Recreation and Community Complex - Cultural and Recreational Complex for the Entire Family."


Carter G. Stanton, Director, Public Works, appeared and reported that he and Bob Merritt, Maintenance Supervisor, were approached by William Newnam who currently is responsible for the cleaning of the County Government Center, 400 High Street. Mr. Newnam has proposed that, for a four year contract, with the cost held at the same rate as the current contract ($4,350 per month), he would clean the Court House - $1,050, the County Government Center at 400 High Street - $2,100, and the Public Works complex at 709 Morgnec Road - $1,200. Mr. Stanton and Mr. Merritt recommended this extension of contract.

The Board concurred to extend Mr. Newnam's contract to four years subject to an annual evaluation of his job performance.


Carter G. Stanton, Director, Public Works, appeared and reported about the interest of the Town of Chestertown to purchase a truck which the County Roads Division is ready to dispose of a 1994 International Dump Truck. Given the past policy of the Board to waive the advertising and bidding should a municipality of the County express interest to purchase, Mr. Stanton advised that, along with Ed Spray, Superintendent of the Roads Division, $11,000.00 is a fair and reasonable price to propose, a price also agreeable with the Chestertown's Town Manager.

Commissioner Livie advised that many months ago, he was informed by the Mayor of Betterton of the Town's interest to purchase a used dump truck, when available, from the County. Mr. Stanton stated that he would contact Mayor Sorge and inquire about the status of Betterton's interest. No action was taken at this time.


Correspondence was received from Aris Melissaratos, Secretary, DBED, outlining the 2004 Private Activity Bonds Initial Allocation of the Maryland State Ceiling.


Wayne Morris, Director, Department of Water and Wastewater Services, appeared and reported about the following:

Tolchester Service Area - Dorothea M. McSorley responded to Mr. Morris' correspondence, indicating her decision to follow through with the sewer allocation for her property. Mr. Morris indicated that he has not received a response from Charles Smith concerning his sewer allocation, adding that if no written response is received by January 30, 2004, he will recommend rescinding the County's approval of Mr. Smith's request.

Rock Hall Service Area - Mr. Morris indicated that the Town of Rock Hall is ready to move forward with the upgrading of their water system and that, therefore, the County should be prepared to uphold its agreement to share in the costs of those upgrades as per the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the County and the Town of Rock Hall. These costs are included within the Fiscal Year 2004 budget.

Edesville Service Area - Referring to the emergent state of the lagoons in Edesville, Mr. Morris reported that, despite the recent removal of some of the contents, the lagoons remain at capacity. Mr. Morris recommended that discussion take place with the Planning and Zoning Department to determine whether or not Edesville could be reconsidered for inclusion as a Priority Funding Area (PFA), given the new interpretation of the laws. He also recommended that the County include in its Comprehensive Plan a Water and Wastewater Plan.

Commissioner Pickrum encouraged Mr. Morris to discuss with Gail Owings, Director of Planning and Zoning, the options available for defining Edesville as a PFA. Mr. Morris noted that the PFA status would be granted only if the area in question has a failing septic system.

Commissioner Livie encouraged Mr. Morris to research "non-traditional" sources of funding, citing, as an example, discussions with the Chester River Association.

Governor Ehrlich's Chesapeake Bay Watershed Restoration Fund - Commissioner Crow initiated discussion about this Restoration Fund and its impact on the municipalities of the County. Mr. Morris expressed his belief that the all municipalities would be affected by the surcharge and that the only town in Kent County to benefit from the Fund would be the Town of Chestertown since it has been identified as having a major wastewater treatment plant.

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.

Mr. Morris indicated that it will be very difficult and very costly to meet the goals for the nutrient removal as indicated by this initiative. Commissioner Pickrum inquired as to whether or not any of the smaller sewage treatment plants will receive any financial support from this Fund, to which Mr. Morris responded that smaller systems identified as the minor wastewater facilities would not receive any funding.

Commissioner Pickrum then advised that the County begin discussions with its local delegation concerning the challenges that it faces in light of the requirements of the Restoration Fund. Mr. Morris concurred with Commissioner Pickrum's suggestion that a statement be drafted by the County requesting that this new legislation be revised to better represent the challenges currently faced by the municipalities with smaller treatment systems.

Mr. Morris and the Board concurred that the County should be in dialogue with the Rural and Regional Councils about the Restoration Fund and other State and Federal water and wastewater restrictions which environmentally and financially impact the smaller and more rural counties in different ways than the other counties in the State. Mr. Morris and the Board also concurred that it is in the interest of everyone that the water quality of the Chesapeake Bay be improved, and that all counties, large and small, be held accountable, as is Kent County, for meeting the water and wastewater regulations.

Millington Service Area - Mr. Morris indicated that the County expects to have a bid opening for the construction of the new water system in March and that the County currently has bond counsel under contract for this project.

Worton Service Area - The Commissioners approved and signed five Public Works Agreements by and between the County and Charles Dudley Reed for the following properties in the Worton Service Area: Map 20, Parcel 71, Lots 1,2, 3, 4, and 5.

Water and Sewer Rates - Electronic mail was received from Margot Kindig, a resident of Fairlee, who expressed her belief that the County should consider amortizing the cost of water and sewer services equally among all the districts in the County, which would equal approximately $138.00 per district. She also indicated that she does not feel that it is fair that the residents of Fairlee be held "accountable" for the "lions share of burden in payments, when in actuality they have the most water." A response will go forth.


Memorandum was received from R.L. Howell, Warden, requesting approval to proceed with constructing an additional parking area to accommodate the ever increasing number of vehicles at the multi-agency complex which includes the Detention Center. The estimated cost quoted was $2100. He further requested that consideration be given to funding this project for the Fiscal Year 2004 contingency account, given the multi-use of the complex. Warden Howell explained that the additional parking will benefit not only the current employees of the three departments located there, but also other people who come to the complex to attend meetings, to serve as volunteers, and to visit the inmates at the Detention Center.

The Commissioners requested the County Administrator to contact the County Roads Superintendent for further details. This matter will be further considered toward the end of the fiscal year.


A bid opening took place at 9:25 a.m. on Tuesday, January 27, 2004 in the Hearing Room of the County Commissioners, for Project No. EMA 04-04, digital multi-channel voice logging recorder for the Kent County EMA. Jim Wright, County Engineer, and Robert Rust, Jr., Director, Emergency Management Agency, were in attendance. The project will consist of the furnishing and installation of an advanced computer based multi-channel, voice-logging recorder using digital technology and ancillary equipment at the EMA. The contractor will be responsible for proving the required voice logging recorder and all necessary ancillary equipment necessary to provide a complete and operational system.

The bid tabulation was as follows:

Information Products of Maryland, Inc. ....$24,492 8509
Harford Road Baltimore, MD

Digital Loggers, Inc. ............................. $29,400 2695
Walsh Avenue Santa Clara, CA

Dictaphone ..............................................$34,702 3191
Broadbridge Avenue Stratford, CT

The estimated cost was $26,000. The Commissioners requested Bob Rust, Director of the Emergency Management Agency, to review the bids and present his recommendation at the next Commissioners' meeting.


Correspondence was received from Allan C. Woods, III, Director, GOCCP, reporting that the GOCCP is coordinating the development of a new statewide criminal and juvenile justice strategy that is expected to become the framework for more effective administration of federal and state funds intended for criminal and juvenile justice innovations, improvements, and program development purposes.

The GOCCP requested that by March 1, 2004, each jurisdiction submit either any existing local strategies currently developed, or a list of priorities, citing specific data, as they relate to potential grant applications to fund future programs and initiatives designed to improve the functioning of the criminal and juvenile justice systems. Ms. Hayman sent copies of this correspondence to the Local Management Board and the Kent County Sheriff's Office, both of which receive GOCCP funding.


Memorandum was received from Sheriff John F. Price reporting his awareness of discontent among the employees of the Sheriff's Office regarding the current health insurance plan as to financial hardship caused by the increase in co-pays for doctor visits and prescriptions.


Dr. Leland Spencer, County Health Officer, appeared and was welcomed by Commissioner Pickrum on behalf of the Board and the County. Dr. Spencer began his work as County Health Officer, a position shared by Caroline County, on January 21st. Commissioner Crow indicated that he is looking forward to Dr. Spencer's energy and motivation. Commissioner Pickrum concurred, advising that Dr. Spencer's department is important not only to the health and welfare of the citizens of Kent County, but also for its contribution to quality customer service provided by the County to its citizens and visitors.

Commissioner Pickrum outlined some of the concerns facing the County related to the Health Department:

- the increase in housing and business development and, thereby related perc concerns;

- the County's Tobacco Ordinance which regulates the sale of tobacco products by retailers, and the possession of tobacco products by minors;

- the use of alcoholic beverage by minors.

Commissioner Pickrum also informed Dr. Spencer that the Health and Planning and Zoning Departments work very closely together in Kent County. Commissioner Livie pointed out the increase of uninsured County citizens as another health concern of the County. Dr. Spencer added that many of those uninsured citizens represent mental health concerns and needs, inclusive of addictions.

Commissioner Pickrum concluded his statements by adding that because Kent County has a relatively small population, it does not have a "lot of clout"; therefore, the citizens and their political representatives try to speak out as much as possible to their State and Federal government representatives. Commissioner Pickrum asked Dr. Spencer to contribute to that effort as well, serving as an advocate for the County.


At 11:10 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 potential land acquisition in accordance with State Government Article, Section 10.508 of the Annotated Code of Maryland.

Those in attendance were Susanne Hayman, County Attorney, Jeff Troester, Parks and Recreation Director, Andrew Bradley and his attorney, C. Daniel Saunders.

The executive session adjourned at 12:05 p.m.


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 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.

Item of discussion included potential land acquisition.

The executive session adjourned at 11:00 a.m

At 12:15 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.

Item of discussion relating to tax exempt financing.

The executive session adjourned at 12:50 p.m.


Correspondence was received from John W. Cole, President, Roger L. Layton, Vice-President, and Mario J. Gangemi, Member, Caroline County Commissioners, pertaining to the Development Excise Tax Authority (Article 25B,§ 13F), and addressed to "Fellow Code Home Rule County Commissioners" of Allegany, Charles, Kent, Queen Anne's, and Worcester Counties. The letter indicates that the County Commissioners of Caroline County have requested their General Assembly delegation to again introduce legislation during the 2004 Session to increase the per lot cap on development excise taxes imposed under Article 25B, § 13F of the Annotated Code of Maryland. The use of revenue generated by the §13F development excise tax is limited to public school facilities and improvements.

The approach to the 2004 General Assembly is two-pronged: increasing the development excise tax cap to $5,000 per lot, and repealing the sunset provision. The letter reports that State law provides that such legislation apply to all Code Home Rule counties, unless limited to one or more classes of code home rule counties.

The Caroline County Board requested input and the support of this local legislative initiative, expressing their firm belief that flexibility in setting the amount of the development excise tax, including the justification for such, "belongs squarely at the local level."

A letter of support will be prepared as requested.


At the recommendation of the Board of Library Trustees, the Commissioners approved to re-appoint James Blake to serve a 5-year term ending January 1, 2009.


Correspondence was received from Caleb C. Gould, of Laurel, Maryland, indicating that Teel's Lake Limited Partnership submitted an application to the MDE, Water Management Administration (WMA), for a permit to make repairs to the principle spillway. The project site, he explained, is located on Swanton Creek, east of Gregg Neck Road and west of Wilson Point Road. Mr. Gould described the project as consisting of slip lining the pipe through the spillway and grouting the concrete block riser structure. And because the County is a contiguous property owner or an appropriate local official, Teel's Lake Limited Partnership is required to notify the County of the proposed project pursuant to Environment Article 5-506. Mr. Gould further indicated that plans for the proposed project have been submitted to the MDE, Dam Safety Division for evaluation, and parties interested in reviewing the plans may do so by contacting this Division.


Correspondence was received from Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr. announcing the start of the 18th Annual "Maryland's Most Beautiful People" Volunteer Awards project. This project, sponsored by the Maryland Your Are Beautiful Program, honors individuals whose volunteer service improves the quality of life for Maryland's citizens and visitors. The Governor requested the County's assistance for 2004 by appointing a coordinator, who will promote the "Maryland's Most Beautiful People" Volunteer Awards project in Kent County. The Commissioners appointed Janice F. Fletcher to serve as the Coordinator.


Correspondence was received from Congressman Wayne T. Gilchrest, referring to a letter which he received from James L. Connaughton, Chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, pertaining to an Administrative proposal for a power plant mercury emissions cap-and-trade program. Congressman Gilchrest expressed his concern about this approach because of a recently published analysis by Environmental Defense which illustrates the dangers of local mercury deposition.

The Congressman reported that he expressed his concerns to the President's Administration, and encouraged the Commissioners to learn more about this issue and the Administration's proposal by visiting the EPA website at www.epa.gov/mercury/1880338.pdf and to contact the Administration with any of their concerns. Enclosed with his letter was also a copy of an article published in the Washington Post (December 10, 2003), "Report Cites 10 States' Mercury Pollution: Environmental Advocacy Group Uses EPA Data to Pinpoint ‘Hot Spots'".


At 10:15 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 Dr. Leland Spencer, Health Officer, 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 10:50 a.m.

At 12:50 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 1:15 p.m.


Carla Martin, Community Planner, and Gail Owings, Director, Planning and Zoning, appeared and reported that in May 2002, Kent County was selected by the Sonoran Institute as a case study for a land use planning field guide for rural communities which would be prepared by the Sonoran Institute and the National Association of Counties (NACo). Kent County was chosen as a case study of a successful purchase of development rights program because the County has a high number of acres under easement and because the County is a rural county.

The guide, The Planning for Results Guidebook: Practical Advice for Building Successful Rural Communities, was published at the end of 2003. Ms. Martin and Mrs. Owings indicated that, in conjunction with the release of the guidebook, the Sonoran Institute and NACo proposed a session for the APA's National Planning Conference in Washington, D.C. at the end of April 2004. They were contacted about the County's willingness to participate on the panel and noted that this invitation is a great honor for the County. The APA selected the session for the Planning Commissions and Elected Officials track and scheduled the session for April 28, 2004, 8:45 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. At the invitation of the Sonoran Institute, Commissioner Pickrum agreed to serve on this panel.

Mrs. Owings, Amy Moredock, Environmental Planner, and Mrs. Martin expressed interest in attending the conference. The cost for registration and lodging is approximately $2700. Mrs. Owings advised that she only has $940 within the current budget to cover this expenditure. The Commissioners approved the expenditure of $1760 out of contingency to cover their attendance.

Gail Owings, Director of Planning and Zoning, responding to several of the Commissioners' questions, reported that the Planning Commission continues its work on the County's Comprehensive Plan collecting data and conducting further visioning sessions involving Washington College, the Town of Galena and the Kellogg Foundation, with the goal for the completion of the Comprehensive Plan to take place in June 2005.

Regarding the moratorium on development in the Community of Tolchester, Mrs. Owings reported that the Committee is in the process of writing the respective report. Regarding policy concerning the double-wide trailers in Tolchester, Mrs. Owings indicated that owners of said trailers are asked to contact the respective community association for regulations pertaining to trailer-permits.


Commissioner Crow invited Carter Stanton, Public Works Director, to review the annual report of the Public Landings and Facilities Board. Future projects include the following: the Sharp Street bulkhead, Bayside Public Landing, Still Pond Creek dredging project, and the trailer permit revenue project.


Gail Owings, Director of Planning and Zoning, reported about her work with Carla Martin, Community Planner, and Bernadette VanPelt, Director of Tourism, concerning the near-completion of background work on the Interpretive Plan. She also indicated that consultants will soon be ready to meet with a committee being formed to work on this Plan. She further indicated that the Steering Committee will be composed of members from the Management Team of government representatives and two citizen representatives from each county. The role of the Committee will be to provide feedback and information to the consultants during the development of the plan. Appointments will be made at a later time.


Memorandum was received from Sheriff John F. Price requesting authorization to purchase three new patrol vehicles for Fiscal Year 2005 given the status of mileage and condition of the current patrol fleet. The Sheriff advised the purchase as soon as possible to take advantage of the reasonable quotes which he obtained from Hertrich Fleet Services, Inc. Patrol vehicles ordered would be invoiced after July 1, 2004. The unit price of the proposed 2004 Ford Crown Victoria is $20,319.00. This request will be further discussed with Sheriff Price.

There being no further business to claim their attention, the Board adjourned to meet again on Tuesday, February 3, 2004.


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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