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KENT COUNTY, MARYLAND


Board of County Commissioners

February 3, 2004

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

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

Minutes of the previous meeting were approved.

W. Roger Williams, Treasurer, reported a balance of $4,139,732.00.


APPEALS BOARD

The Commissioners appointed Charlotte D. Staelin as an alternate member of the Board of Zoning Appeals for a three year term ending January 7, 2007.


BOARD OF EDUCATION

Commissioner Pickrum noted that at last evening's meeting of the Board of Education (BOE), the proposed budget for 2005 was presented by Dr. Bonnie Ward, Superintendent of Kent County Public Schools. The Commissioners will schedule a budget work session with the members of the BOE and the Superintendent.

Commissioner Pickrum stated that both the County and the BOE are faced with tough fiscal decisions, given that both are faced with severe cut-backs in State and federal funding. Commissioner Livie concurred, adding that the County has only $800,000 to $900,000 in reserves. He expressed his concern that an additional $1,150,000.00 for Fiscal Year 2005 is being requested (excluding capital projects).

Commissioners Pickrum and Livie noted that the 1% increase in salary was not given to all of the public school employees, some of whom are teachers. The Commissioners contrasted the school board's approach to establishing a salary increase with that of the Board's approach which provided an identical numerical increase in salary to all County employees. Given the latter approach, no one segment of the employee base of the County received a greater salary increase than another segment.


CHESAPEAKE BAY WATERSHED RESTORATION FUND

Commissioner Crow initiated discussion about this Restoration Fund which will be administered by the Department of the Environment (MDE), creating a dedicated fund to upgrade the 66 largest sewage treatment plants, located in 23 jurisdictions around the State, in order 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 Crow underscored the fact that the Fund will affect only those households that are connected to a sewer; therefore 6,000 households in Chestertown will be affected. Commissioners Crow and Livie indicated that it behooves every County, including Kent County, to assist with the clean-up of the Chesapeake Bay; however, they added that they would like to see a mechanism developed in this Fund that would enable the smaller water treatment systems to benefit financially from the Fund before the projected 2011 completion date for the design and construction of plant upgrades.

Commission Pickrum noted his concern regarding the proposed administrative costs of the Fund which total $3 Million. Commissioner Livie expressed the concern of the entire Board by stating the need for the Board to question this proposed expenditure and other aspects of the Fund which pertain to its bureaucratic organization.


CHESAPEAKE FIELDS INSTITUTE (CFI)

The Commissioners sent forth a letter to Jonathan Mawdsley, representing the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, offering their support for CFI's application for continued funding through the Chesapeake Bay Small Watershed Grants Program. The Commissioners indicated that the proposed funding for which CFI is applying will enable the Institute to complete their studies and develop the infrastructure which would provide the ability to process regionally grown grains into food and commercial uses.


COUNTY ROADS DIVISION

Carter G. Stanton, Director, Public Works, appeared and reviewed the interests expressed by the Towns of Chestertown and Betterton to purchase a truck which the County Roads Division is ready to dispose of: a 1994 International Dump Truck.
Following discussion about the decommissioning of previous County trucks, the Commissioners determined that the purchase of the truck be conducted through an open bid process with the incorporated towns. The minimum bid to be accepted is $11,000.


DEPARTMENT OF WATER AND WASTEWATER SERVICES

Wayne Morris, Director, Water and Wastewater Services, appeared and reported on the following:

Spring Cove/Green Lane Service Area - The concern involving the request of Catherine J. Hill for a sewer allocation for parcel 75 on map 51 (for the office on her farm) has been resolved.

Worton Service Area - Concerning the Smithville Road Water and Sewer Project conducted by Charles D. Reed, Jr., and the Chum Creek Land Associates, Mr. Reed is in receipt of an irrevocable letter of credit and is moving forward with the project pending more accommodating weather conditions.

Tolchester Service Area - The Commissioners approved and signed a Public Works Agreement with Dorothea M. McSorley for a sewer allocation in the Tolchester Service Area for properties located on Map 35A, Parcel 108 and Map 35B, Parcel 436, Lots 32-40.

Skinners Neck Service Area - A motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie, and made unanimous to accept the recommendation of Mr. Morris to approve the request of William M. Crowding, Registered Surveyor, on behalf of Mr. Crowding's clients, Brian and Anne O'Connor, for one sewer allocation for a combined parcel of Parcel 438 and Parcel 284, Tax Map 51, subject to the approval of all other pertinent agencies.

The Commissioners approved and signed a Public Works Agreement with Henry Hubbard and Dorothy K. Hubbard for a sewer allocation for property located on Map 51, Parcel 218, Lot 2.

Water and Sewer Rates - Correspondence was sent forth to Margot Kindig expressing the appreciation of the Commissioners for her e-mail (dated January 22, 2004) regarding the recent water and sewer rate increases. They reiterated that their goal, as pointed out by Mrs. Kindig in her e-mail, is "to obtain uniform water and sewer rate throughout all districts."

The Commissioners explained in their letter that several options were explored in order to achieve said uniformity. They reiterated their decision as follows: each district rate is different and a rate increase has been implemented that will allow each district rate to increase 17.5% yearly until a district reaches the ‘universal rate for water and/or sewer.' Because of the various rates throughout each district, some districts, such as Fairlee, will reach their universal rate by FY'06. In other districts, for example Edesville, it will take longer, in this case by FY'10. Once a district reaches their universal rate, rates will increase 4% annually." The Commissioners closed their letter by thanking her for her input and comments.

Edesville Wastewater Facility - Mr. Morris advised that Rural Development can offer a 75% grant to be used for the Edesville wastewater connection to the Wesley Chapel service area. The County would be required to make an annual payment of $5,500 to Rural Development for a forty year period. Also available is a low interest loan (4%) available from MDE which would require payment of $21,000 for twenty years.

The Commissioners approved to accept grant from Rural Development. Mr. Morris noted the costs involved with this project is already incorporated in the water and sewer rates recently adopted. A public information meeting will be scheduled in the near future.


EARLY ACTION COMPACT (EAC)

Amy Moredock, Environmental Planner, appeared and reported about the re-designation of the Kent and Queen Anne's Counties nonattainment status. Gail Owings, Director, Planning and Zoning, was also in attendance. As Ms. Moredock explained, given the fact that the latest ozone data collected at the Millington Monitoring Station supported attainment for the one-hour ozone standard, the eligibility of Kent and Queen Anne's Counties for Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) re-designation of the County's current one-hour ozone attainment status was affirmed.

Ms. Moredock further explained that if said counties are re-designated One-Hour Ozone Standard attainment areas, then Kent County's EAC will be in a better position to be accepted by the EPA as resubmitted by the Maryland Department of the Environment. The EPA is expected to finalize their decision on the Kent and Queen Anne's Counties re-designation and EAC by April 15, 2004.

Ms. Moredock also reported that at a public hearing on January 29, 2004 held by the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE), she testified on behalf of the County in support of its re-designation, and that MDE held a conference call, on January 29th, between Kent and Queen Anne's Counties to solidify the two counties' commitment to the EAC.


ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

The Commissioners requested the Economic Development Office host an annual agricultural breakfast.

At 12:45 p.m., a motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie, and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum to discuss a proposal for a business to locate in Kent County in accordance with State Government Article, Section 10.508 of the Annotated Code of Maryland.

The executive session adjourned at 1:12 p.m.


EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY(EMA)

A bid opening took place at 9:00 a.m., Tuesday, February 3, 2004, in the Hearing Room of the County Commissioners for Project No. EMA 04-03, the installation of 4" PVC underground conduit at the Kent County EMA. Jim Wright, County Engineer, and Robert Rust, Jr., Director, Emergency Management Agency, were in attendance.

The work will consist of the installation of approximately 1200 l.f. of 4" PVC underground conduit, approximately 400 l.f. of 4" PVC interior conduit both with pull string and hand holes and the installation of a minimum of two (2) 110v/20 amp electrical outlets at the EMA. Bids were received as follows:

1. Joseph R. Smith, Inc. .......................................................$14,570.00
P.O. Box 357
Denton, MD 21629

2. Lindstrom Excavating Contractors, Inc.............................$54,400.00
25820 Still Pond Neck Road
Worton, MD 21678

The estimated cost was $26,400.

A motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie, and was unanimously approved to accept the recommendation of Mr. Rust to accept the bid of Joseph R. Smith, Inc. for the installation of the underground conduit.

A motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie, and was unanimously approved to accept the recommendation of Mr. Rust to accept the bid of $24,492 made by Information Products of Maryland, Inc., Baltimore, for the purchase of a digital multi-channel voice logging recorder for the Kent County EMA. The reading and opening of the bids for this project was conducted at the Board's meeting on January 27th.


HOUSING AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

Correspondence went forth from Jack Canan, Housing Coordinator, to Robert and Peggy Harrison, extending, on behalf of the County, his appreciation to Mr. and Mrs. Harrison for the gift of their home to "a needy Kent County family." The Harrison's will be moving into a new home upon completion of its construction in approximately December 2004.

Mr. Canan also indicated in his letter that he and the Harrison's have agreed to remain in communication in order to assist with the relocation of the donated house to its new location on Haven Road, Rock Hall. Mr. Canan outlined other factors involved in the relocation which are as follows: the review of housing codes in Rock Hall, and the determination of a source of funding for and a company capable of transporting the house.


HURRICANE ISABEL
PUBLIC LANDINGS

Carter Stanton, Director of Public Works, appeared and reported about the progress of repairs to piers and landings damaged in the aftermath of Hurricane Isabel:

- Damage done to the Fairlee pier was recently ascertained, the cost for repairs estimated to be $1,750. The Board approved Mr. Stanton's request for the inclusion of the expenditure for this repair with the total of expenditures for the repairs of the other piers and landings, given the availability of funding already received from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

- The repairs needed at the two piers at Bogle's Wharf have been completed.

- The repair work needed for the Sharp Street pier has commenced.


KENT COUNTY BUSINESS CENTER AT WORTON

P.A.M. Schaller, Economic Development Director, and Jim Wright, County Engineer, appeared to discuss various issues relating to the Kent County Business Center at Worton. Mr. Wright advised that McCrone, Inc. has proceeded as far as possible on his scope of work assigned. Before any additional work can be done, decision needs to be made as to subdivision vs. condominium type concept for this project.

Commissioner Livie suggested arrangements be made to visit the Business Park in Cambridge. Mrs. Schaller agreed to do so.

In the meantime, Mr. Wright requested the stormwater management design be addressed. McCrone, Inc. has prepared a conceptual layout utilizing the existing stormwater management facility located on the south side of Creafill by upgrading the facility to current regulations. This plan would benefit both Creafill and the County at no cost to Creafill. The upgrade facility would accommodate future growth on the Creafill site and also accommodate the County's project without loss of valuable lot area.

The Commissioners approved to move forward with the regional stormwater management facility. It was noted that contact needs to be made with Creafill to see if they will contribute to the retrofit. The Commissioners requested that Ms. Hayman, County Attorney, Mr. Wright, County Engineer, and Mike Whitehill of McCrone, Inc. meet with representatives of Creafill for the pond enhancement project.


LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS
KENT COUNTY MUSEUM

Commissioner Pickrum noted the receipt of correspondence from Ann Wilmer Hoon, representing the League of Women Voters. Mrs. Hoon was present and reported that, as per her letter, she has received "very positive responses to the idea of a Kent County Museum," and has requested that a committee be formed to discuss the idea. No action was taken on this request at this time.

In her correspondence, Mrs. Hoon also proposed that an office for the League of Women Voters be made available to them inside of the Visitors Center, Chestertown. She requested a meeting of the Commissioners and representatives of the League of Women Voters for discussion about this proposal. Commissioner Pickrum indicated that this request will be taken under consideration.


LEGAL COUNSEL

At 10:25 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 Susanne Hayman, County Attorney, for legal counsel in accordance with State Government Article, Section 10.508 of the Annotated Code of Maryland.

Items discussed included MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) for a new business that may locate in Kent County.

The executive session adjourned at 10:50 a.m.

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 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 12:25 p.m.


MERCURY CAP AND TRADE EMISSION PROPOSAL

Cooky McClung, Editor of The Kent News, was in attendance and inquired about the correspondence that the Commissioners received from Congressman Wayne T. Gilchrest, which referred, in turn, to a letter which he received from James L. Connaughton, Chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Mr. Connaughton's letter pertained 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. Commissioner Livie stated that he is not, as yet, aware of statistics regarding the levels of mercury in indigenous fish, such as shellfish and rockfish, in the Chesapeake Bay. He expressed his interest in the results of studies that measure mercury levels in fish that migrate to and from the Bay.

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'".


MIDSHORE SOLID WASTE FACILITY

Correspondence was received via electronic mail from Elizabeth Collins, of Chestertown, referring to a memorandum received by the Commissioners from Carter G. Stanton, Director of Public Works, (referencing Resolution #93-1537), and discussed at the Commissioners' Meeting on December 16, 2003. In his memorandum, Mr. Stanton reported that it is the County's obligation to acquire a parcel of land suitable for development as a solid waste disposal facility and to develop a financial plan for funding the acquisition.

The County has committed itself to provide a site for the Midshore Solid Waste Facility within the County by 2051. In response to Mr. Stanton's memorandum, Commissioner Pickrum had expressed his hope that, between the present time and the year 2051, waste management technology will have advanced enough to eliminate the need for landfills.

Ms. Collins suggested to the Commissioners that, given the current lack of landfill-alternatives, they should begin planning to meet the County's obligation. Further, she noted that if alternatives to landfills become evident, she feels certain that the County will find other uses for the site.


PERSONNEL

At 10:10 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 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 10:25 a.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 to discuss personnel matters in accordance with State Government Article, Section 10.508 of the Annotated Code of Maryland.

The executive session adjourned at 11:50 a.m.


PUBLIC SECURITY

At 1:12 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 issues relating to public security in accordance with State Government Article, Section 10.508 of the Annotated Code of Maryland.

The executive session adjourned at 1:55 p.m.


RADCLIFFE CREEK

Gail Owings, Director, Planning and Zoning, appeared and reported that the Chester River Association (CRA) has applied for a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to fund a program which will recruit and train "creek-keepers" to assist the promotion and maintenance of the water quality of Radcliffe Creek Mrs. Owings explained that this "creek-keeper" program will, in turn, assist with and address the County's Mid-Chester River Watershed Restoration Project.


SHARP STREET PUBLIC LANDING
BOGLES WHARF PUBLIC LANDING
CLIFFS CITY PUBLIC LANDING


At the recommendation of Jim Wright, County Engineer, the Commissioners approved to accept Irrevocable Letter of Credit from the Chestertown Bank of Maryland for the account of Deckelman's Pile Driving in compliance to the bid specification to guarantee performance, labor, payment and surety as follows: one in the amount of $138,775.00 for the Sharp Street Public Landing Rehabilitation and one in the amount of $27,800.00 for the pier repair at Bogles Wharf and Cliffs City Public Landings.


SHERIFF'S OFFICE

Sheriff Price appeared and advised the Commissioners about the projected mileage of Patrol Division Vehicles, providing the Board with copies of the projections over Fiscal Years 2005, 2006, and 2007. The Sheriff reported that Norris Ford, Easton, has offered the County the purchase price of $19,338 per vehicle, and he noted that said dealer and the State Police are currently under contract for the purchase of the State Police's vehicles.

Sheriff Price projected that, given the current number of staff, his office will have to replace seven vehicles over the next three years. Referring to his memorandum which was reviewed at the last meeting of the Board, Sheriff Price recommended that the County place an order with Norris Ford for the purchase of three new patrol vehicles for Fiscal Year 2005 before March 15, 2004, the deadline tendered by Norris Ford. The quote presented by Norris Ford represents a savings to the County of more than $900.00 per vehicle as compared to the quote of $20,319.00 presented by Hertrich Fleet Services, Inc., the unit price of a 2004 Ford Crown Victoria.

Expressing their appreciation to Sheriff Price for the research and projections provided, the Commissioners advised that they will take this recommendation into further consideration.


SNOW REMOVAL

Correspondence was received via electronic mail from Les Scanlan, identifying himself as President of the Langford Bay Estates Property Owners' Association (LBEPOA) expressing satisfaction of the Association with the snow removal efforts of the County road crews. However, Mr. Scanlan requested the application of a salt or a sand/salt mixture, rather than one with gravel.


UPPER SHORE REGIONAL COUNCIL(USRC)

Mike Waal stopped in to see the Commissioners and advised that he has been recently appointed to the Upper Shore Regional Council Legislative Committee.

Correspondence was received via electronic mail from Kevin Morse, Executive Director, Upper Shore Regional Council, providing information: "USRC Legislative Update." Included in his update was Mr. Morse's report that he and Chairman Roy Crow, along with all the other regional council directors and Chairpersons, met with Secretary Melissaratos and Deputy Secretary Foster of the Department of Business and Economic Development to discuss the funding outlook for Fiscal Year 2005 and to request their support for other regional issues.


VIDEO LOTTERY TERMINALS

A press release was received via electronic mail reporting that Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr. introduced on January 26, 2004 a proposal to award up to six licenses to operate video lottery terminals in the State. Under this proposal, two licenses may be awarded for video lottery terminals at "Non-Racetrack Destination Locations" in the following six jurisdictions: Prince George's, Howard, Baltimore, Harford and Cecil Counties and Baltimore City.

The revenue generated by these video lottery terminals at tracks would be distributed in the manner defined by Senate Bill 322, with one change: $250,000.00 will be dedicated to pay health benefits for Maryland jockeys; 46% of the revenues would be dedicated to funding K-12 public education in the State; 50.75% of the proceeds will go to State and Local government, the largest share of any existing video lottery terminal program in the country.


WYE OAK

Commissioner Livie initiated discussion regarding correspondence that was received from C. Ronald Franks, Secretary, Maryland Department of Natural Resources (MDNR), who indicated that, following months of meetings and ideas expressed by Maryland citizens, Governor Ehrlich has announced a number of ways that the remains of the Wye Oak (felled in a June 2002 thunderstorm) would be distributed, including giving a piece of the Wye Oak to each county to be utilized as each desires.

Secretary Franks further indicated that Kent County's piece of the Wye Oak is currently available for pick up and that the wood is in an unfinished state. Commissioner Livie pointed out that there are many, highly skilled and talented carvers in the County who, in his opinion, should be considered in discussions about the County's utilization of its piece of the Wye Oak. Commissioner Pickrum suggested the consideration of the Kent County Arts League for their input, and requested that preparations be made now for the secure storage of the County's piece of the Wye Oak upon its delivery.


There being no further business to claim their attention, the Board adjourned to meet again on Tuesday, February 10, 2004 at 6:00 p.m.


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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