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KENT COUNTY, MARYLAND


Board of County Commissioners

February 24, 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 $3,271,416.00.


The morning session of the Commissioners' meeting was conducted at the Kent County High School auditorium with approximately 100 students present, including members of the Student Government Association and several senior classes. In addition, Dr. Bonnie C. Ward, Superintendent of Schools, Allen T. Hanifee, President of the Board of Education, Dr. Gordon Sampson, Principal of the High School, and several teachers were in attendance.

The students were in attendance beginning at 9:30 a.m. and were later joined by the Board and the County Administrator for lunch at the High School cafeteria, after which the Commissioners parted to resume their meeting at the County Government Center.

Jessi Bedell, the sophomore class government representative, formally welcomed the Commissioners to the High School, thanking them for allowing the students to be a part of their meeting. Commissioner Pickrum strongly encouraged the students to recognize the importance of understanding how their local government functions, reminding them of their citizenship and the importance of that role. Speaking on behalf of the Board, he expressed his appreciation for this opportunity to conduct the Commissioners' meeting at the High School.

During the morning session, presentations to the students were made by representatives of County government and services, outlining their responsibilities to the County's citizens, indicating respective employment and educational internship opportunities, and providing the students with contact names and phone numbers to encourage further discussion. At the conclusion of each presentation, the speaker opened the floor for questions from the students. Presentations were made by the following:

Emergency Medical Systems (EMS) - Stacy Gould, Chief Paramedic, reported that the EMS responds to every single call for assistance, and works very closely with the fire departments. She stated that the youngest age requirement for training and certification as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) is 16 years; with EMT certification, the individual is then eligible to receive the two-year training program for Emergency Medical Paramedic (EMP). The latter is available through Chesapeake College. Ms. Gould also reported that EMS employment is particularly fulfilling for people who appreciate experiencing immediate results from their work, adding that there are also internships available.

9-1-1 / Central Alarm Office
- Joanne Donovan, 9-1-1 Dispatcher, reported that there have been three high school interns serving at the Central Alarm Office that have since become employees. She described 9-1-1 dispatch work as particularly fulfilling for those who are gratified by the immediate results of their efforts and encouraged the students to consider internships through the Central Alarm Office.

Volunteer Fire Companies - Commissioner Crow praised and affirmed the importance of the many volunteers serving as part of the emergency response in the County, citing as an example Fire Chief Christopher Powell, of the Galena Volunteer Fire Company, whose service is an "integral part of how our County functions," was unable to attend today's meeting. He encouraged the students to consider their service as volunteer firefighters.

He also cited the work of Robert Rust, Jr., Director of the Emergency Management Agency, and his coordination of many County departments and their emergency response efforts during and in the aftermath of Hurricane Isabel.

Parks and Recreation - Jeff Troester, Director of Parks and Recreation, included in his presentation the announcement that his department will sponsor a post-prom party to take place on May 15, 2004, from midnight until 5:00 a.m., at the armory in Chestertown. Mr. Troester encouraged all County juniors and seniors to attend (noting that tickets will be forth-coming), and that they may expect many games, a D.J., food, and an abundance of prizes and "give-aways."

A motion was made by Commissioner Livie, seconded by Commissioner Crow, and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum to take $500.00 out of the Parks and Recreation Fiscal Year 2004 budget for the purpose of supporting the post-prom party. Included in his comments about Parks and Recreation employment opportunities,

Mr. Troester reported to the students that there are 45 seasonal jobs offered by the County each summer, for which 20 to 25 high school students would be eligible. He underscored the need for life-guards to work at the various County camps, the Country Club, etc., indicating that the hourly wage is $9.47 (with previous experience).

Mr. Troester advised that the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board will begin its annual selection process of junior class students to serve on the Board from July 1, 2004 through June 2005. Applications were made available.

Sheriff's Office - Sheriff Price presented to the Commissioners copies of the Kent County Sheriff's Office 2003 Annual Status Report, summarizing the progress and the new developments of his office and citing many statistics in support of his comments. Included in his summary, Sheriff Price noted that since the inception of the School Resource Officer Program at the High School, there has been a significant reduction in juvenile referrals. The students made many inquiries of Sheriff Price and his responses included the following: Sgt. Knapp, the School Resource Officer at the High School, functions in this capacity as a sworn deputy sheriff and as a member of the High School staff. Sheriff Price reported that a newly-sworn police officer is under probation for 2 years and given stringent evaluation. If and when an allegation of corruption is made, the "Law Enforcement Officers' Bill of Rights" dictates the stages of investigation of the alleged violator.

Department of Health - Dr. Leland Spencer, Health Officer serving Kent and Caroline Counties. Among those health programs and services that would pertain specifically to teenagers, Dr. Spencer noted:

- the County's "stop-smoking" program and services, citing teenage use of tobacco as a major problem in the County and in the entire State. Dr. Spencer appealed to the students not to begin smoking.

- issues regarding sexuality;

- depression (The major signs of depression being loss of sleep, loss of appetite, and incessant physical symptoms, such as headaches, stomach pains, etc.); - suicide (Teenagers between the ages of 14 and 18 represent the highest risk group throughout the country.) Dr. Spencer appealed to the students that if they, or someone they know, have ever considered suicide, to please contact his office.

Dr. Spencer fielded many questions from the students, including a concern about whether or not mononucleosis can be contracted from drinking the water from water fountains at the High School. Dr. Spencer reported to the students that evidence of "mono" is tracked carefully, and that it is caused by a virus transmitted person by person and is highly contagious. The average number of cases per year of "mono" at the High School is 10; 20 cases would be considered "problematic." Cases of "mono" are much more prevalent on college campuses and military bases than in high schools.

Concerning the confidentiality of the health reports of people under 18 years of age, Dr Spencer indicated that, given certain conditions, the confidentiality of pertinent reports, such as inappropriate sexual contact and sexually-transmitted diseases, is protected by federal law.

Board of Elections - Florence Sutton, Director. All eligible students were encouraged to register to vote if they had not already. Mrs. Sutton reminded everyone that elections for the primaries will take place on March 2nd and emphasized the importance of primary elections. She invited registered students to seek employment at the election polls during election days and noted the use of new voting machines. (Demonstrations of the new voting machines were made available in the high school lobby.)

Commissioner Crow advised everyone of new legislation by stating that if a person's 18th birthday takes place the day after election day (i.e. a November 3, 2004 birthday) that person is eligible to register to vote. Commissioner Crow presented to Mrs. Sutton two absentee ballots, representing two of his sons, and explained the purpose of absentee voting. To a student's question regarding the security of the new voting machines and illegal "hackers," Mrs. Sutton responded that the effort to tamper with the voting machines would require an obvious use of tools and effort and would likely be, therefore, unsuccessful. She also indicated that a "hard copy" of every ballot would be available.

Following the conclusion of presentations, Commissioner Pickrum opened the floor to questions from the students, and for the next 45 minutes, the Commissioners addressed questions including topics such as the preparation of budgets, the proposed County community center, slot machines, the high school renovations, the Baltimore City School Board's fiscal crisis, the County's plans to stimulate economic development, the County's plans to encourage its younger citizens to start businesses and families in Kent County, etc.

Included as closing comments before the lunch break, the entire Board expressed pride in Kent County and, as affirmed by Commissioner Livie, encouraged the students to see themselves as the future leaders of Kent County. "See the world," the Commissioners encouraged, and expressed their hope and anticipation that the students will discover their preference for the quality of life offered by the County and, therefore, choose to live and work here. Dr. Sampson expressed his appreciation and, on behalf of the County High School, the gratitude of the students to the Commissioners for "bringing this meeting to the High School."


BOARD OF EDUCATION

The Commissioners requested Susanne Hayman, County Attorney, to schedule a training session with the Board of Education prior to the budget work session scheduled on March 2. The purpose of the training session was to aim toward improving leadership and communication as well as team-building skills. It was noted that this type of meeting is not subject to the Open Meetings Act since it does not apply to a meeting in which the public body is engaged in an executive function (Maryland State Government Code, Section 10.503(a)(1). This meeting took place on February 23 at 6:00 p.m. at the Second Floor Conference Room, County Government Center.

Margie Elsberg served as the facilitator. As a result of this meeting, the following was agreed upon: professionalism decorum be maintained during public hearings, when issuing press releases, request the media to obtain points of view from both boards, improve communication between the boards prior to firming budget proposal and to strive for an earlier budget schedule, the Commissioners will make report to share information during BOE's monthly meeting, to find common ground in addressing new employee/teacher pay steps, the BOE Assistant Superintendent of Administrative Services is to work with the County's Budget and Accounting Director to make the BOE budget more transparent and easier for the Commissioners and public to understand.

The meeting adjourned at 8:30 p.m.

The Commissioners approved payment of $250 for the services rendered by Mrs. Elsberg out of FY04 General Services Budget (consulting line item).


BORROWING AUTHORITY

The Commissioners approved and signed Resolution authorizing the issuance, sale and delivery upon the full faith and credit of the County of a general obligation installment bond in the principal amount not to exceed One Million Two Hundred Fifty Thousand Dollars under the authority of Section 15(4) of Article 25B of the Annotated Code of Maryland and Sections 3-9 and 3-9.1 of the Code of Public Local Laws of Kent County to be designated "Kent County Land Acquisition Bond"; the proceeds of the sale of the Bond is to be used and applied for the public purpose of financing and refinancing the acquisition by the County of the LaMotte property in Chestertown, Maryland.


BUDGET

Pat Merritt, Budget and Accounting Director, presented a copy of preliminary Fiscal Year 2005 budget projection as it relates to property tax revenue. At the invitation of the Commissioners, the following County Department Heads/Division Heads appeared for a FY 2005 Budget overview and for the opportunity for open forum of questions and concerns:

Robert Rust, Jr., Emergency Management Agency, Marty Holden, Waste Management Supervisor, Bernadette Bowman, Director of Tourism, P.A.M. Schaller, Director of Economic Development, Roger Williams, Treasurer, Sheriff John Price, Linda Stryholuk, Administrative Aide, Sheriff's Office, Jeff Troester, Director of Parks and Recreation, Bob Merritt, Maintenance Supervisor, Warden Ronald Howell and Trish Scott, Administrative Aide, Detention Center, Pat Merritt, Director of Budget and Accounting, Lee Ann Myers, Administrative Assistant, and Ed Spray, Superintendent, County Roads Division, Carter Stanton, Director of Public Works, Gail Owings, Director of Planning and Zoning, Susanne Hayman, County Attorney and Director of Human Relations, Robert H. Strong, Jr., Esq. and Joyce Benton, Administrative Assistant, State's Attorney Office, and Wayne Morris, Director of the Department of Water and Wastewater Services.

Commissioner Pickrum initiated the discussions by expressing the Board's hope that the team work and cooperative actions, evident among the Department Heads and the Board over the past year, would continue. He underscored the commitment of the Board to work closely with each department.

Commissioner Livie directed the discussion to the FY 2005 budget, asking those present for their ideas about allocating resources. He also noted that although it is not the desire of the Board to dictate what each department's goals should be, the Board does encourage the heads of departments to "think creatively" concerning their budgets, i.e. to prioritize actual needs and to research alternative, supplemental sources of funding. He encouraged "flexibility" in this thought process, indicating, for example, that funding that may not be a possibility in FY 2005, may be a possibility in FY 2006. Commissioner Livie appealed to those assembled to inform the Board of ideas to better facilitate the needs of the County while maintaining a quality standard of service to the citizens.

Mr. Spray expressed his concern about the challenge being faced by his department of having to work with a "skeletal crew" compounded by the need to complete a substantial number of projects. Mr. Stanton confirmed this challenge, indicating that the Department of Public Works is currently five years behind in the progress of projects due to previous cut-backs in their budget. He expressed his opinion that his department would not be able to work effectively with any additional cuts.

Commissioner Pickrum noted that the County's economic cycle currently matches that of the rest of the country: "things are going to be tough." Commissioner Crow emphasized the awareness of the entire Board of the many significant projects that have already been accomplished under financial constraints. Commissioner Pickrum added that, "We know that you are working very hard."

In response to the Board's request for flexibility and creative allocations, Mr Rust noted that as a result of his attempts to find alternative sources, he has learned that the construction of facilities is usually not an eligible recipient for grants. Mr. Williams expressed his opinion that the co-pays under the current insurance plan are too high, especially for families with young children.

Following some discussion about insurance plan options, premiums, and co-pays, the Commissioners agreed to research a plan that represents a more beneficial compromise between co-pays and premiums, as well as a short term disability insurance. Commissioner Livie reiterated that the insurance challenges facing the County mirror those of the challenges being faced by the nation and that both need to be addressed.

Commissioner Pickrum concurred, adding that it is never the interest of the Board to balance the budget on the backs of the County employees. To Commissioner Pickrum's question as to how the County government can more effectively serve its citizens, Mr. Spray suggested that there be an inspector representing water and sewer services at every job concerning the same. Warden Howell suggested that inmates at the Detention Center participate in more clean-up type projects throughout the County, providing as an incentive, in certain cases, a decrease in the length of sentences.

Commissioner Pickrum concluded the meeting with his request that the Department Heads convey to their employees the Board's affirmation of their work. He praised Kent County as "the best County I've ever lived in, ever witnessed... . I value all of you every week." And, on behalf of the Board, he thanked everyone for their attendance and input.


CHESAPEAKE MARINE TRADES CAREER SCHOOL (CMTCS)

Commissioner Pickrum requested that a letter go forth to Michael Thielke, Executive Director, CMTCS, recommending that a governance board for CMTCS be organized and constituted by individuals representing expertise in the boat-building industry.


CONSTANT YIELD RATE

Memorandum was received from the MD Department of Assessments and Taxation, advising that the 2004 Constant Yield Tax Rate Certification for Kent County is 0.961 as of July 1, 2004. The rate for 2003 was 0.948. COUNTY FLAG The Commissioners approved expenditure of $1,590 (excluding shipping costs) out of contingency to cover minimum order of twenty county flags from F. W. Haxel Company, Inc. A Kent County flag was presented by the Commissioners to Owen Connelly, President of the Student Government Association, on behalf of the County High School.


DEPARTMENT OF WATER AND WASTEWATER

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

Millington Service Area

Wayne Morris, Director, Department of Water and Wastewater Services, advised that request was made by Patricia Gore to have a grinder pump installed on Saturday, February 28th. Mr. Morris expressed concern as to having work done on a weekend due to overtime costs. The Commissioners approved for Mr. Morris to schedule this work as request contingent upon Mrs. Gore agreeing to pay the difference in overtime costs involved in this work.

- Mr. Morris reported that he received a response to his letter sent to Iraj E. Amini, indicating that Mr. Amini is agreeable to the 3,500 gallons/day flow allocation for his restaurant and the new charge calculations to determine his quarterly charges.

Update on Water Project

- Regarding the new water and wastewater treatment plant that is under construction in Millington, Mr. Morris reported that the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) recently advised him that the construction will cost $600,0000.00 more than the original estimate. This additional cost is represented by the following: the State is requiring a complete overlay of MD Routes 313 and 291; and the water tank foundation will require pilings as opposed to a split foundation. Mr. Morris indicated that he would meet with representatives of the MDE and Rural Development the following week to discuss further this additional cost and the construction requirements, and will report back to the Board.

Worton Service Area

- A letter was received from Wayne Murray, President, Wayne's Welding Service, Inc., requesting the rental of the office space located at the Sanitary District Worton location, to be used as office space and possibly as a showroom for truck equipment. Mr. Morris recommended that approval should not be given to said request and, given the current state of the building's structure, its location, and the storage of chemicals inside of the building. No action was taken at this time regarding this request. The Commissioners met with Mr. Morris for a site visit at the Worton Building later in the morning.

Quaker Neck Service Area

- Mr. Morris reported that a letter went forth to William Ingersoll, Town Manager of Chestertown, pertaining to the Chestertown Biological Nutrient Removal Project, requesting a copy of the plans for said project, including the John Hanson Road Pump Station Upgrade. Mr. Morris indicated that he would like to review and provide comments to Chestertown's engineer on the County's portion of this project, given that the force main relocation and pump station upgrades would require strategic coordination and scheduling to insure minimal disruption to users. A copy of the engineer's cost estimate for the County's portion of this project was also requested. Mr. Morris stated that he has not as yet received a response from Mr. Ingersoll.

- Mr. Morris recommended to the Board that they revisit the plans and concerns pertaining to this Annexation Project. As a point of information, Mr. Morris noted that in July 2003, several of the County's sanitary customers were annexed into the Town of Chestertown and, thereby, eliminating approximately $4,000 of County operations and maintenance (O & M) revenue per year. The Board at that time agreed not to charge allocation fees for the proposed Chester Landing Project (20 town homes) or O & M charges to Chestertown. Mr. Morris referred to a verbal discussion between Mr. Ingersoll, Town Manager, and the Board on July 29, 2003 to consider a pro-rata share to upgrade the pump station by the developer of the Chester Landing Project.

Responding to the Commissioners' questions, Mr. Morris indicated that he sent the Town of Chestertown a letter (cit. above "Letter to William Ingersoll") requesting a copy of the plans from the developer (who has received preliminary approval from Chestertown Planning and Zoning to increase the size of the Chester Landing Project to 40 town homes) and what expenses the County might expect from said project.

Mr. Morris recommended to the Commissioners that this issue be re-addressed. Mr. Morris expressed his belief that it is unfair to the users of the Quaker Neck System that there are no charges being assessed to the developer or to the Town of Chestertown for the pump station upgrades or to the O & M cost. Further, it is Mr. Morris' concern that the County's revenues to cover the O & M cost will be significantly reduced with the loss of the 14 EDU's (Equivalent Dwelling Units) annexed by Chestertown.

Mr. Morris also recommended that the Commissioners determine whether or not to assess the developer or the Town of Chestertown a pro-rata share of capital and operational costs.

The Board agreed that before they take action on Mr. Morris recommendations and concerns, they await a from Mr. Ingersoll to Mr. Morris' letter.

Update on Country Club's Sewer Issues

- Mr. Morris reported that he met with representatives of the Chester River Country Club and village on February 20th regarding the need to upgrade the grinder pump for the water and sewer service of that area. Given the substantial increase in users, the pump size will have to be increased. Mr. Morris indicated that the representatives have agreed to all of the construction and installation costs of an upgraded pump station to the County's specifications. He further reported that the costs for the duplex pump station would be approximately $7,000.00. The Commissioners agreed that Mr. Morris should compose a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Chester River Country Club and the County concerning the construction and installation of a duplex pump station.

Tolchester Service Area

Charles Smith's Sewer Allocation - Pertaining to the Public Works Agreement by and between the County Commissioners and Charles Smith for a sewer allocation located on Map 35A, Parcel 68, Mr. Morris reported that Mr. Smith has paid for the allocation.

Tolchester Growth Management Plan - Memorandum was received from the Tolchester Review Committee providing their conclusions and recommendation as of January 2004. For the record, the Tolchester Growth Management Review Committee was established in December 2003 by the Board of Commissioners for the purpose of revising the Tolchester Growth Management Plan which is included in the County's Water and Sewer Plan.

The Committee's directive was to provide additional allocations beyond the original 40 allocations originally authorized in order to accommodate current needs and to allow appropriate controlled growth in Tolchester Estates. In addition to Mr. Morris, the Tolchester Review Committee consists of the following members: Nancy Metcalf, Soil Conservationist, Carla Martin, Community Planner, Gail Owings, Director of Planning and Zoning, Marci Brown, member of the Planning Commission, Ed Birkmire, Director of Environmental Health, and Susanne Hayman, County Attorney.

The following are the Review Committee's conclusions and recommendation:

- Without additional expense, the County may provide 10 additional allocations which comply with the recommendations outlined in the attached December 17, 2003 letter from McCrone, Inc.(engineering firm).

- To maximize the permitted allocations, make the most efficient use of existing infrastructure, and limit disturbance to the forested area, these ten additional allocations should be limited to the lots on Cumberland Avenue and west toward the Chesapeake Bay. Extension into the wooded area east of these lots should not occur until a nontidal wetlands delineation is completed.

- The County should work with the Tolchester Community Association and any other entity owning the roadways to develop a minimum road standard, culvert standards, and maintenance agreements.

- The County, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Tolchester Community should investigate methods to improve the existing drainage ditches in the developed sections of the Community. If additional drainage cannot be addressed through the existing drainage system, these entities should work together to develop a plan to address the remaining drainage issues.

- The Tolchester Community Association should develop standards for permitted access clearing on its property. The County should amend its Water and Sewer Plan by deleting the Tolchester Growth Management Plan and by adding a Tolchester Allocation Policy Section. This allocation policy should state that an allocation will only be granted in the Tolchester Service Area when the proposed lot is a minimum of 10,000 square feet in size and is within the area delineated on map. The Commissioners requested to meet with representatives of the Committee for further review of their recommendations.

Correspondence was received from Barry L. Ebersole, of McCrone, Inc., indicating that Kent County can approve ten additional connections to the Tolchester Low Pressure Wastewater Collection System provided that four conditions be met. Mr. Ebersole advised that if a property requests a connection which does not meet one of said conditions or exceeds the ten additional connections, McCrone, Inc. would have to reconstruct its computer model of the entire collection system, including all the new connections approved by the County after construction was completed in 1996, at a cost of approximately $3500.00.

Piney Neck Service Area
- The Commissioners approved and signed Public Works Agreement with Allan F. Ferver for sewer allocation on Map 51, Parcel 148 in the Piney Neck Service Area.

Septage and Holding Tank Disposal Rates

- The Commissioners approved and signed Resolution establishing septage and holding tank disposal rates as follows:

A. Effective March 1, 2004, the fee for dumping licensed septage shall be $.07 per gallon and

B. Effective March 1, 2004, the fee for dumping approved holding tank waste shall be $.02 per gallon.

Water and Sewer Rates

- The Commissioners approved and signed Resolution amending Water and Sewer Service Rates adopted on December 2, 2003 to correct error in regard to the sewer rate established in the Fairlee Water and Sewer District.

It was adopted that the water and sewer service rates, effective January 1, 2004, for the Fairlee District are as follows:

Fairlee:
Water and Sewer Residential/Commercial - $163.l7/EDU
Water only - 99.03/EDU
Sewer only - 99.00/EDU

Debt Refinancing

- Correspondence was received from Teresa T. Ernst, Loan Officer, Grants and Loan Division, Water Management Administration, Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE), regarding the State Revolving Fund (SRF) Clean Water 2003 Intended Use Plan/Project: Sewer Collection System Debt Refinancing. Enclosed were copies of draft exhibits and the draft repayment schedule that were revised based on eligible refunding costs and a "Pay-Off Date of 3/1/04." Ms. Ernst requested that the enclosures be reviewed for the estimated SRF loan in the amount of $2,035,599.87.


DETENTION CENTER

Correspondence was received from Andrew L. Price, Mid-Atlantic Region, Federal Bureau of Prisons, U.S. Department of Justice, and sent to Warden Ronald L. Howell, providing the results of the Full Monitoring Inspection conducted by Mr. Price and his inspection team at the Detention Center on February 11th. The monitoring team reviewed inmate accountability, billing procedures, medical services, the food service operation, life safety, and sanitation. They also conducted interviews with all of the Federal Bureau of Prisons inmates.

Mr. Price reported that during the inspection, his monitoring staff spoke with two federal inmates, both of whom stated that they were fairly treated by the Detention Center staff and that the living conditions were good. Some areas of concerns noted have now been addressed satisfactorily and the monitoring is officially closed.


EASTERN SHORE LAND CONSERVANCY (ESLC)

Robert J. Etgen, Executive Director, ESLC, a private nonprofit land conservation organization dedicated to the preservation of farmland habitat on the Eastern Shore, Andy Andrews, Community Economic Specialist for American Farmland Trust, and Amy M. Owsley, Director of Community Planning, ESLC, appeared for a workshop with the Commissioners, during which they conducted a powerpoint presentation about Eastern Shore 2010: A Regional Vision Project - the strategies and options that the task forces of the ESLC have explored for the County's consideration (options, not mandates).

By way of background, Mr. Etgen indicated that in the fall of 2002, six counties of the Eastern Shore (Caroline, Cecil, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne's, and Talbot) endorsed a regional land use agreement, Eastern Shore 2010. This agreement represented the joint efforts of the six counties to attain regional goals focusing on land protection, the economic viability of working landscapes, growth centers, and transportation.

With this agreement, the ESLC has been organizing a series of research task forces charged with identifying strategies which Eastern Shore counties could use in order to attain the Eastern Shore 2010 goals. Task forces were formed in 2003 to develop "research white papers," for the first two goals of the agreement: land protection (coordinated by ESLC), and strengthening the economic viability of working landscapes (coordinated by the American Farmland Trust).

Ms. Owsley and Mr. Andrews presented an overview of the task force work, specifically the strategies and options that each task force explored for the County's consideration. They recognized the work of Carla Martin, Community Planner, as an integral part of the ESLC's work in Kent County.

The first goal of the agreement is: "To strive to protect from development through the use of voluntary preservation programs 50% of Eastern Shore land outside of locally designated growth areas by 2010." The baseline calculations of the task force revealed that the Eastern Shore 2010 goal would mean, on average, a doubling of land currently protected in each county. It was noted that, although purchase of development right-type programs are an essential part of reaching the goal, significant progress has been and should be made through other mechanisms, such as the donation of development rights. For example, rough calculations of the acreage protected show that, if the current level of support is extended for protecting land through the donation of easements (as opposed to purchase), another 0.5% to 3% progress in each county toward the goal could be expected.

Further, moving beyond the current level of effort to encourage the option of easement donation could increase this percentage substantially. The workshop addressed the important question of next steps by laying out the implementation tools available to federal, state, and local governments, and to the private sector that could help the County attain the land protection goal of Eastern Shore 2010. Strategies and actions were presented, as well as baseline progress (as of December 2003) towards these actions.

Responding to Mr. Etgen's report that the average age of the farmer on the Eastern Shore is 63 years, Commissioner Pickrum inquired as to what would attract the next generation to continue the farming business. Mr. Andrews indicated that there is a need for new programs, and identified existing programs, such as the mentoring program that is available for "beginning farmers." In addition, there are new "niche markets" that are proving to be attractive for beginning farmers. Mr. Etgen concurred, adding that the biggest challenge for new farmers are the upstart capital costs.

P.A.M. Schaller, Director of Economic Development, appeared and inquired as to whether or not the ESLC has a prototype of land preservation, a portion of which is dedicated to economic development. Mr. Etgen responded in the affirmative, offering ESLC's assistance with establishing a similar scenario in Kent County if and when it is needed. He and Ms. Schaller agreed to discuss this potential further.

The Commissioners expressed their enthusiasm and interest for the development of more niche farming in the County, citing many sustainable agricultural organizations that would be able to assist. They concurred that, although there are a lot of resources available, the County has to attract them to this region.

To Commissioner Pickrum's question as to what part of the County's government should be involved in this type of initiative, Mr. Andrews advised that the Cooperative Extension has been very productive in this area. Mr. Etgen concluded this discussion by indicating the need for the County to support the poultry and grain farmers and, at the same time, to diversify farm products to meet the market drive for alternatives, citing as examples the work of the Chesapeake Fields Institute and the current interest of other groups in aquaculture.

Commissioner Pickrum extended the appreciation of the Board to Mr. Etgen, Ms. Owsley, and Mr. Andrews for their presentations and informative discussions.


ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

At 4:15 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 P.A.M. Schaller, Economic Development Director, to discuss a proposal for a business to relocate in Kent County in accordance with State Government Article, Section 10.508 of the Annotated Code of Maryland.

Items of discussion included appraisal of property.

The executive session adjourned at 5:00 p.m.


Bay Broadband Communications Company (BBC)- As per the suggestion of the County Administrator, Ms. Schaller recommended a meeting to include the County Attorney, Wayne Morris, Director of Water and Wastewater Services, Bob Rust, Director of Emergency Management and the Commissioners, with Dr. Allen Hammond, representing the BBC, on February 27th, to address outstanding concerns and questions about the BBC.


EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT

The Commissioners approved and signed Contract by and between the County Commissioners and Information Products of Maryland, Inc. for purchase and installation of a digital multi-channel voice logging recorder for Central Alarm at a cost of $24,495.00.


EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES (EMS)

The Commissioners approved and signed Memorandum of Understanding by and between the County Commissioners, Kent County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) the Galena Volunteer Fire Company (GVFC), Rock Hall Volunteer Fire Company (RHVFC), and the Kent and Queen Anne's Rescue Squad (KQARS) whereby the GVFC, RHVFC, and KQARS agree to become a satellite prehospital Advanced Life Support (ALS) provider for the EMS program Correspondence was received from Jeff Haley, President, Galena Volunteer Fire Company, Inc., and Christopher A. Powell, Fire Chief, requesting that the Commissioners consider expanding the County Paramedic Program. Specifically, the Chief and President Haley are requesting at least one more County Paramedic to serve 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and stationed in the northern part of the County. Should the Commissioners approve of this request, the Galena Volunteer Fire Department would make the arrangements for housing the additional Paramedic.


HUMANE SOCIETY

For information purposes, correspondence was received from George V. Lenher, Board President, The Humane Society of Kent County, MD, Inc., sent to Margo Bailey, Mayor of Chestertown, requesting that the Town of Chestertown, in addition to the Towns of Betterton and Rock Hall, adopt the Kent County Ordinance Chapter 64, thereby designating the Human Society of Kent County as the Animal Control Officer under one uniform code, rather than under three different ordinances as it currently functions.


LAMOTTE PARK STUDY COMMITTEE

At the invitation of the Commissioners, the following members of the LaMotte Park Study Committee were present, Jeff Troester, Chair, Andrew C. Bradley, business owner and potential property owner, D. Miles Barnard, landscape architect, Marsha Fritz, Chestertown Planning Commission Member, and William Sutton, Kent County Planning Commission. Nancy Metcalf, Soil Conservationist, and Karen Miller, District Manager, both of the Kent Soil and Water Conservation District, and Susanne Hayman, County Attorney, were also in attendance.

Commissioner Livie initiated the discussion, advising that the Study Committee hire a consultant to organize and prioritize their research and recommendations towards developing a site plan. He expressed the Board's interest to "fast track" this plan and encouraged their contact with Robert Brennan, Assistant Secretary, Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED), who offered his assistance and recommendations for consultants to balance all facets of this project and for the development of the site plan.

Commissioner Livie underscored the importance for the County to have the full cooperation of the Town of Chestertown with this project. Ms. Fritz suggested that Mr. Troester and one or, preferably all, of the Commissioners attend the next meeting of the Chestertown Planning Commission, scheduled for March 17th. Commissioner Crow advised that the consultation with DBED incorporate all the pertinent parties representing environmental concerns, such as soil and water. Mrs. Metcalf confirmed her willingness to assist with this effort, noting, as an example, the need for stormwater management to concur with the maintenance of the existing pond on the property.

The Commissioners accepted Mrs. Metcalf's offer and expressed their appreciation for the expertise she will contribute to the project. The Commissioners conveyed the excitement shared by Mr. Brennan for this project, and individually shared their opinions that picking a consultant would be the next step of the project - a consultant with a critical eye for design and appearance, as well as an appreciation for the history and culture of this region. They concurred with Ms. Fritz that the consultant would be faced with a challenging "balancing act": balancing site and traffic conditions, in cooperation with the State's road department, and with design and appearance issues.

To questions posed regarding how to incorporate Mr. Bradley's interests, Commissioner Livie responded that the County must honor the fact that Mr. Bradley owns 2.5 acres that are enveloped by the designed project property. He felt that the interests of all parties involved would be addressed given the creative guidance of a consultant. Mr. Bradley responded by indicating that he is moving forward with projections for the use of his parcel.

Commissioner Pickrum expressed his commitment to leading the County in good faith, thereby honoring the interests of both Mr. Bradley and the County. Mr. Bradley stated that he is "keeping the door open" and will cooperate with the designated consultant.

Commissioner Pickrum thanked all those who gathered representing the LaMotte Property Project, and re-affirmed their report, Analysis and Recommendations, and their evident service to the County.


LEGAL COUNSEL

At 5:00 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.

Items of discussion related to bond issue.

The executive session adjourned at 5:10 p.m.


MARYLAND DEPARTMENT OF THE ENVIRONMENT (MDE)
GREAT OAK

Correspondence was received from Jeffrey L. Rein, Deputy Program Administrator, Wastewater Permits Program, Water Management Administration, regarding the Mears Great Oak Landing Water and Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP). Mr. Rein indicated that the MDE is aware of the County's interest in said WWTP and that the MDE has made a tentative determination on the discharge permit application.


PERSONNEL

At 4:00 p.m., a motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum to go into executive session 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 4:15 p.m.

At 5:10 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.

The executive session adjourned at 5:45 p.m.


PROCUREMENT FAIR



P.A.M. Schaller, Economic Development Director, advised of plans to schedule a County Procurement Fair in May. Ms. Schaller inquired as to whether or not the Procurement Fair will include any opportunity for Federal and State Procurement representatives, or only outgoing County bids. She suggested that the Board consider a Small Business Procurement Fair at another time.


PUBLIC WORKS

A bid opening took place at 2:00 p.m. on February 19th at the Public Works Complex for the sale of a 1994 International 4900 regular cab dump truck. The bid tabulation was as follows: Town of Betterton $15,000.00; Town of Rock Hall $12,001.00.

A motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie, and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum to accept the bid to the Town of Betterton for the high bid of $15,000.00.


USTAR TRANSPORTATION

Correspondence was received from Lenny Howard, Chief of Regional Planning, MD Transit Administration, MD Department of Transportation (MTA), and sent to Charles Cawley, County Administrator for Caroline County, identifying strategies to bring to a close the project concerning the USTAR office and maintenance facility. Mr. Howard advised that the decision to terminate the rehabilitation project would significantly reduce Caroline, Kent, and Talbot Counties' ability to continue to utilize the Denton property as a public transit facility, and that the MTA would not permit the property to function in its current condition as it exists presently.

Given that the MTA used Federal funding to assist in the Denton project, the MTA is, therefore required to ensure that the Federal Transportation Authority (FTA) rules and regulations are followed as the said project is closed. He, therefore, listed three "readily apparent methods" for the Counties by which the MTA could meet this objective:

- Sell the property and reimburse the FTA their funds. This would require USTAR to seek an alternative location to house their vehicles and administrative staff.

- The counties purchase the property and reimburse the FTA. This scenario would allow USTAR to continue to utilize the current facility as it exists today.

- The counties undertake the project entirely on their own, developing a strategy that will achieve local goals, while meeting the State and FTA regulations. (A list of required topics to be addressed in this building rehabilitation project was enclosed.)

Mr. Howard advised that if the counties chose to use this strategy, their need to "aggressively" plan and design improvements to the Denton facility would remain, and they would have to provide assurances that construction of the improvements would begin in fiscal year 2005.

Mr. Howard concluded by offering assurance to the Counties of the MTA's continued support of their public transportation services, regardless of the project's final disposition. He asked that, once the Counties have identified a project termination strategy, they provide him with a written detail of their plans by March 31, 2004.


There being no further business to claim their attention, the Board adjourned to meet again on Tuesday, March 2, 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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