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KENT COUNTY, MARYLAND


Board of County Commissioners

March 2, 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 $2,716,712.00.

Commissioner Pickrum requested a moment of silence to honor the memory of the life of David A. Bramble, Community Leader.


BALTIMORE CITY SCHOOL BOARD

A press release was received, City Schools System Falls Short of Governor's Accountability Requirements, from Karen Smith, Esq., Director of Intergovernmental Relations, Office of the Governor. The Governor directed the Secretary of the MD Department of Budget and Management to formally reject the material submitted to the State by the Baltimore City Public School System, explaining that the material submitted by the City school board on February 20th contained none of the required accountability measures expected on behalf of the citizens of Maryland.


BAYSIDE PUBLIC LANDING

Carter Stanton, Director of Public Works, appeared and responded to the Commissioners' questions as to whether or not the County could borrow the grant money ahead of time from Waterway Improvement Division for the repair of Bayside Landing, Rock Hall, Mr. Stanton indicated that borrowing ahead would not be possible. The Waterway Improvement Division has committed to funding $100,000.00 this year (of the total it has committed of $350,000) for the repair of Bayside Landing. Another $100,000.00 will be extended for said project next year. Should the County choose to complete the entire project using borrowed funds, it would not be eligible reimbursement of the amount over $100,000.00.


BOARD OF EDUCATION

At 6:00 p.m., the Commissioners hosted a Fiscal Year 2005 budget work session with the Board of Education. Those in attendance were Commissioners Pickrum, Crow and Livie, Dr. Jim Siemen, President, Allan T. Hanifee, Lamonte E. Cooke, John Larrimore and J. Brian Kirby, representing the Board of Education, Dr. Bonnie C. Ward, Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Joan Buffone, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction, and Staff Development, Ed Robinson, County Administrator, and Pat Merritt, Budget and Accounting Director. Discussion was held as to anticipated County revenues which is 4.1% over last year, some of which cannot be anticipated for more than one year i.e. recordation and property transfer tax revenues in light of low interest rates which are not predictable to remain as is.

The Commissioners were candid as to probable expenditures facing the County based on State mandates and reduction in State funding. They also advised of desire to address salary issues for both the BOE and County contingent upon available funding.

Discussion was also held as to the Commissioners' interest in a partnership that the Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute has with Queen Anne's County Schools. At this time, the local volunteer fire companies are not attracting young participants and the Commissioners advised of their interest in including training by the Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute on Kent County's curriculum for Fiscal Year 2006. Students would be able to receive certifications for EMT, fire fighter, rescue technician, hazmat operations, terrorism operations and engine company operations. The courses and credits can also count toward college credits.

Students in Queen Anne's County enroll through their respective school's guidance department and provided through a Career Technology Program. Queen Anne's County provides transportation for their students, however, Caroline County students drive their own vehicle to the Institute classes. Each participating county would need to provide funding for its students. The meeting adjourned at 7:30 p.m.


CHESAPEAKE BAY

Correspondence was received from Richard A. Eskin, Director, Technical and Regulatory Services Administration, MD Department of the Environment (MDE), with a copy of the map which summarizes the status of MD's Chesapeake Bay Oyster and Clam Harvesting Waters, as of December 31, 2003, and a description of the location of restricted and conditionally approved shellfish waters.


COURTHOUSE

The Commissioners approved and signed Contract by and between the County Commissioners and Indoor Environmental Services, LLC for rehabilitation of the interior wall in the District Court Office located in the Courthouse at a cost of $7,782.00.


DEPARTMENT OF WATER AND WASTEWATER SERVICES

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

Mr. Morris indicated that he was appointed to the Board of Directors for the MD Rural Water Association to serve on the State's Advisory Council on Water Security and Sewer Systems, and on the Interagency Technical Assisting Committee on Wastewater Treatment Systems.

Tolchester Service Area - The Commissioners approved Public Works Agreement with Mark Anthony for a sewer allocation located on Map 35A, Parcel 21 in the Tolchester Service Area.

Rock Hall Service Area - Pertaining to the upgrading of the Town of Rock Hall's water system, the pre-bidding will take place on March 16th. Given the Memorandum of Agreement (MOU) between the Town of Rock Hall and the County for this project, Mr. Morris reported that he will provide the Commissioners with the figures for the County's share of the costs for the upgrades in approximately two weeks.

Chester River Landing Project - Margo Bailey, Mayor of Chestertown, and William Ingersoll, Chestertown's Town Manager, appeared in response to discussion held during the February 17th meeting as it relates to the Chester River Landing Project and its potential impact on the County's water and wastewater services.

For the record, Wayne Morris, Director of the Department of Water and Wastewater Services, advised the Commissioners at their February 17th meeting that he was interested in reviewing and providing comments about the plans for these projects with Chestertown's engineer, given that the force main relocation and pump station upgrades would require strategic coordination and scheduling to insure minimal disruption to users.

Pertaining to the Chester River Landing Project, Mr. Ingersoll reported that there will be 20 additional units built which will necessitate the upgrading of the pumping station. Mr. Ingersoll indicated that the original costs for the upgrades were projected to be $37,000; however, given unanticipated expenses, he stated that the costs for the upgrades will be $68,000. Mr. Ingersoll added that the Town of Chestertown is not asking the County to contribute financially to this cost.

To Commissioner Livie's question as to the total number of units projected for Chestertown Landing, Mr. Ingersoll reported that there will be 44 units, adding that he has the plans to deliver to Mr. Morris.

Commissioner Crow underscored the importance of communication between the Town of Chestertown and the County concerning the development of the Chester River Landing Project as well as the Chestertown Biological Nutrient Removal Project. Mr. Ingersoll advised that if the sewer line to service Chester River Landing cannot work with gravity flow, the developer will re-route it back to the Town.

To Commissioner Crow's comments concerning the "Flush Tax," Mr. Ingersoll reported his disapproval of the way the "Flush Tax" is imposed; he feels that the tax should be imposed on all residents and not just on those on public systems.

Later in the morning, the Commissioners requested Mr. Morris' perspective on the above discussion. Mr. Morris conveyed his appreciation for the Board's comments to Mr. Ingersoll, with which they urged him to conduct more frequent, thorough, and timely communications between the Town of Chestertown and the County, particularly when cooperation for joint projects is anticipated and necessary. Mr. Morris expressed his concern that the County continues, despite the discussion with Mr. Ingersoll, to lack the information needed, as specified at the February 17th Commissioners' meeting.

According to Mr. Morris, it is imperative that the Town of Chestertown clearly specify what aspects of said projects it intends to claim responsibility for and at exactly what expense to the Town. Thereby, the County will be informed as to what obligations it can anticipate. Given that 44 units of Chester River Landing are already being advertised, the County must ascertain now what financial obligations will be expected of it. Mr. Morris reiterated that the operating and maintenance costs have to be considered and determined as soon as possible.

The Commissioners forwarded a memorandum to Mr. Ingersoll specifying the County's understanding of the extent of its obligations pertaining to these projects with Chestertown, requesting the same clarification, in turn, from Chestertown.


DETENTION CENTER

Memorandum was received from Carter G. Stanton, Director of Public Works, reporting about the evidence of a considerable amount of dust and dirt in the duct work at the Detention Center which was verified by Bob Merritt, Maintenance Supervisor. An estimate of the cost to clean the ducts was received from Indoor Pollution Solutions, Inc., of Denton, at $5,950.00, inclusive of all labor and materials. No action was taken on this request at this time.


DRAYTON MANOR

Correspondence was received from Elizabeth H. Morris, Chair, Kent County Planning Commission, regarding the Peninsula Conference Methodist Church and John Petro. At its February 5th meeting, the Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend approval of John Petro's application to use growth allocation for the operation of a retreat on the former Drayton Manor property owned by the Peninsula Conference Methodist Church. The property is in the 3rd Election District, Tax Map 11, Parcel 45, on 12651 Coopers Lane.

Daniel Saunders, Esq. appeared and spoke on behalf of his clients, the applicants for the proposed Drayton Manor Retreat and Conference Center. He requested that the Commissioners address the growth allocation of the pertinent site now rather than delay that decision pending the results of the other necessary site assessments, such as those of the health department. Amy Moredock, Environmental Planner, and Carla Martin, Community Planner, were also in attendance.

Ms. Martin, conveying the advice of Gail Owings, Director of Planning and Zoning, recommended that, because there are many outstanding issues involved, the scheduling of a hearing date to determine the growth allocation should not be rushed.

The Commissioners will discuss this matter further with the County Attorney before making any decision on the hearing date.

In the matter of the application for the Drayton Manor growth allocation, an Appearance of Counsel was received, requesting that the appearance of Clayton A. Mitchell, Esq., and Hoon and Associates, LLC, be entered as attorneys for the Kinnaird's Point Homeowners Association, its members, Robert Steinwurtzel and Sara Strang in regard to the above-captioned matter.


EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT

The Commissioners approved and signed Contract by and between the County Commissioners and Joseph R. Smith, Inc. to complete project for installation of underground PVC conduit at the Emergency Management Agency at a cost of $14,570.


EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES (EMS)

In follow up to concerns raised at the EMS Council meeting held on February 12th, Commissioner Crow arranged for a meeting with representatives of EMS, Chestertown Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Chester River Manor, Bob Rust, Emergency Management Director, and Kent and Queen Anne's Rescue Squad to discuss transport issues. This meeting was held today at 2:00 p.m. in the EMA conference room at the Detention Center facility.


HOTEL RENTAL TAX

During the February 18th County Council of Governments meeting, Commissioner Crow advised of the Board's interest in increasing the County Hotel Rental Tax from 3% to 5% and seeking the incorporated Towns' support to contribute their share of the 2% increase to the County on the condition that the contribution will be used exclusively for economic and tourism efforts. A draft Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was distributed for the Towns' review and consideration.

William Ingersoll, Town Manager of Chestertown, accompanied by Mayor Margo Bailey, indicated that the Town would have $55,000 in hotel rental tax revenue at the end of the year. Commissioner Pickrum underscored that the funds from the Hotel Rental Tax would be dedicated specifically to tourism. Mayor Bailey commended Bernadette Bowman, Director of Tourism, on a job well done on behalf of tourism development.

Mr. Ingersoll noted that Chestertown's Visitor's Center is experiencing staffing challenges (noting that between 8,000 and 9,000 visitors came to Chestertown during the previous year), and that part of the money that would be raised by the additional 2% of the hotel rental tax could be used for personnel. He stated that, thus far, the Visitor's Center has been able to function well with the assistance of a volunteer staff; however, with increasing numbers of visitors coming to the Center, it is anticipated that a larger, designated and staff will be required, especially as the summer season approaches.

Mr. Ingersoll and Mayor Bailey expressed their interest in a paid staff to handle the greater influx of visitors and the greater demand for assistance at the Center. Revenues generated from the additional 2% would help address these costs. The Town may be agreeable to returning 1% of the 2% increase, estimated at $27,277. Mr. Ingersoll expressed his concern and the concern of the Mayor that the County might have intentions to terminate the leasing agreement for the space the County currently rents on the Center's top floor.

He added that, if, in fact, the County no longer has interest in renting the space, he would rather release the County of its contractual obligations, and use that space for the Visitor Center's increasing needs, such as storage. He requested the opportunity to further discuss this issue with the Commissioners.

Regarding the disbursement of the hotel rental tax from the County to the Town of Chestertown, he requested a more speedy return. (For the record, when the Hotel Rental Tax was initiated, policy was established to distribute the revenue generated on an annual basis immediately upon completion of the audit.) It was noted that the Town of Betterton has agreed to sign the MOU as prepared.


KENT COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT (KCHD)

Memorandum was received from Dr. Leland Spencer, Health Officer, reporting that the Fiscal Year 2003 end-of-year reconciliation was calculated by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene with a balance of $7,275.15 remaining in local County funds. Given that the Kent County Health Department has no special needs for the use of said funds at the present time, Dr. Spencer sent forth to the Commissioners a check in said amount.


LAMOTTE PROPERTY

At the request of Andrew Bradley, the Commissioners met with him at the LaMotte property at 11:20 a.m. to review possible lot variations. The topography of the property was discussed including drainage and the storm water management pond to ascertain the visual point of view as to what area can support construction and what cannot support it. Ed Robinson, County Administrator, and Jeff Troester, Parks and Recreation Director, were also in attendance.

The Commissioners approved and Commissioner Pickrum signed documents as they relate to the Land Acquisition Bond, Series 2004. Commitment for financing in the amount of $1,250,000.00 was approved and signed by the Board with the Chestertown Bank of Maryland at a rate of 1.60% floating rate for a 20 year amortization. Bond closing for land acquisition of the LaMotte Property will be held on March 4th.


LEGAL COUNSEL

At 10:45 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 of discussion included economic development projects.

The executive session adjourned at 11:10 a.m.


LEGISLATION
WIND ELECTRIC GENERATING FACILITIES

In response to correspondence received from Delegate Mary Roe Walkup, a letter went forth in support of House Bill 1269 relating to Wind Electric Generating Facilities. This legislation is being heard by the Economic Matters Committee today.


LIBRARY

Correspondence was received from Gloria Urban, Director, Kent County Public Library, requesting that the Library's administration be permitted to participate in the review process of the cleaning contract before it goes out to bid. She expressed the dissatisfaction of the Library staff with the current cleaning vendor. No action was taken on this request at this time.


LOCAL MANAGEMENT BOARD (LMB)

At the request of Anne Livie, Director, LMB, a letter went forth in support for Year Three of the Youth Strategies Initiative.


NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF COUNTIES (NACo)

Commissioner Pickrum attended the NACo conference February 29th and March 1st.


NON-TIDAL WETLANDS

Alex Dolgos, Enforcement Section for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Eugene Morgenthaler, Permit Review Section of the Corps, appeared at the invitation of the Commissioners in order to provide information about non-tidal wetland delineation. Nancy Metcalf, Soil Conservationist, Amy Moredock, Environmental Planner, and Carla Martin, Community Planner were also present.

Mr. Dolgos distributed copies of pamphlets in which wetlands are described as follows:

Wetlands are defined as those areas that are inundated or saturated by surface or ground water at a frequency and duration sufficient to support, and that under normal circumstances do support, a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions.

Wetlands are transitional areas between open water and dry land and are often found along bays, lakes, rivers and streams. Examples include bottomland forests, swamps, bogs, marshes, wet meadows and seasonal wet woods.

Wetlands need to be identified for the following reasons: Section 404 of the Clean Water Act requires Corps authorization for the discharge of dredged or fill material into waters of the U.S. ... . Activities in the wetlands for which permits may be required include, but are not limited to, placement of soil; road construction; shoreline erosion control; mining; and utility line or pipeline construction.

Mr. Dolgos stated the following criteria with which the Corps determines if an area is a wetland: vegetation, soil, and hyrdrology:

- Wetland vegetation consists of plants that require saturated soils to survive. Also, wetland vegetation may sometimes exhibit physical adaptations which indicate the presence of water, for example, swollen trunks or roots growing from the plant stem or trunk above the soil surface.

- Soils that occur in wetlands are called hydric soils. These soils have characteristics that indicate they were developed in conditions where soil oxygen is, or was limited by the presence of water for long periods of the growing season. By examining the soil, one can determine if hydric indicators are present. Mr. Dolgos explained that hydric soils have a bluish grey or gray color at 10 to 12 inches below the surface layer, or have dark (brown or black) soil as the major color.

- Wetland hydrology refers to the presence of water, either above the soil surface or within the soil, but near the surface. This condition must exist for a sufficient period of the year to deprive the soils of oxygen and significantly influence the plant types that occur in the area. The most reliable evidence is provided by gauging station or ground water well data. There are also field indicators that provide evidence of the periodic presence of inundation or soil saturation, such as standing or flowing water, waterlogged soil, etc.

Mr. Dolgos also explained that permit regulations are advised and enforced by the State government and the local government in addition to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Regulatory Branch. Each county is given a soil survey tool by the United States Department of Agriculture to assist with their wetland-determinations.

The delineation of non-tidal wetlands is determined by the extent of response of the plants and soils to the wetland hydrology. If a site has been determined as a wetland, a permit has to be granted before any construction can begin, along with mitigation. In other words, the intention of the regulations is to minimize construction in wetlands. Parcels of land are individually assessed by the regulatory agency before construction can begin on those parcels. If parcels are included in a site projected for development, they must still be individually assessed.

To Commissioner Pickrum's questions concerning the definition of water quality and watershed tributaries, which were topics addressed at the recent meeting of the National Association of Counties which he attended, Ms. Martin and Ms. Moredock explained the important role of public education and underscored the importance of the County's participation in the watershed restoration project which will help to define water quality, as well as monitor that quality.


NUISANCE ORDINANCE

Correspondence was received from Mrs. Ward, a resident of Edesville, expressing complaint as to neighboring properties in violation of the Nuisance Ordinance. A copy of this correspondence was forwarded to Gail Owings, Director of Planning and Zoning, for her information and attention.


PERSONNEL

At 10:35 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 10:45 a.m.


PROCLAMATION

Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month - Jana Johnson, Coordinator of the KCHD's Colorectal Cancer Public Awareness Office, appeared and updated the Commissioners about the activities of her office during the month of March which is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. In addition to Mrs. Johnson, Charlene Perry, Mary Walker, Loretta Freeman, Ruth Briscoe, Sylvia Sparks, and Vincent Florek, representing KCHD's Community Health Coalition, were also in attendance.

Mrs. Johnson expressed the KCHD's gratitude to the Commissioners for their support. Mrs. Johnson that the survival rate of persons with colorectal cancer in Kent County is 56%; last year's survival rate was 50%. She also reported that there are two effective tests available to County residents, both of which are funded by the KCHD and, therefore, free to its residents: the home testing kit and the colonoscopy which is a test conducted at Chester River Hospital.

Mrs. Johnson shared with the Commissioners examples of gifts and informational materials which her department offers to residents as incentives and positive reinforcements for screening procedures. Mrs. Johnson introduced Vincent Florek, a survivor of colorectal cancer, who reported that his cancer-detection and recovery were the result of his attendance at a Colorectal Cancer Awareness Seminar conducted by Mrs. Johnson's department. Having learned about the signs and symptoms of this cancer, he was able to recognize them in his body and immediately sought help.

Mr. Florek extended his gratitude to Mrs. Johnson and the Coalition. The next Seminar is scheduled to take place on March 10th, to which the Commissioners were invited to attend. Commissioner and Mrs. Livie will both be offering presentations at the Seminar.Commissioner Livie reported that he is a recovering from colorectal cancer and urged everyone to take advantage of a colonoscopy as early as age 45.

At the request of Mrs. Johnson and her coalition, the Commissioners approved and signed a proclamation declaring March 2004 as Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month in Kent County. Commissioner Livie read the Proclamation which advised that colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the County; and that Maryland has the third highest colorectal cancer mortality rate among the states and the District of Columbia.

The Proclamation also advised that colorectal cancer is a highly preventable cancer for which there are effective tests for detection, such as the recommended colorectal cancer screening among Marylanders 50 years of age and older. The Commissioners urged all County citizens to speak with their loved ones and health care providers about the importance of regular screening tests.

Mr. and Mrs. Haenlein - The Commissioners approved and signed a proclamation declaring February 20, 2004 as the date on which the 50th wedding anniversary of George and Elizabeth Haenlein, residents of Galena, was celebrated and honored.


PROGRAM OPEN SPACE

Responding to the Commissioners' questions as to whether land may be purchased for the expansion of public landings, Carter Stanton, Director of Public Works, indicated that the cost of purchasing land has been prohibitive. He added that his department is always alert to opportunities to increase parking availability at public landings if and when they arise.


REGIONAL CORRECTIONS FACILITY

Correspondence was received via electronic mail from Lamonte Cooke, Warden, Queen Anne's County, giving notice of a meeting of the Regional Correctional Task Force on March 8th, 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., with Secretary Mary Ann Saar and Assistant Secretary David Bezanson of the MD Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, at the Maryland Judicial Center, Annapolis.


UPPER SHORE REGIONAL COUNCIL

At 12:00 noon, Commissioners Roy Crow and William Pickrum, Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Upper Shore Regional Council (USRC) hosted a lunch meeting of the USRC Executive Board at 12:00 noon in the Commissioners Hearing Room. The meeting adjourned at 1:45 p.m.


USTAR TRANSPORTATION

Correspondence was received from Lenny Howard, Chief of Regional Planning, MD Transit Administration (MTA), MD Department of Transportation (MDT), and sent to Charles C. Cawley, County Administrator, Caroline County, responding to Mr. Cawley's previous letter that expressed the interest of Caroline, Kent, and Talbot Counties to use Delmarva Community Services (DCS) to provide public transportation services beginning in Fiscal Year 2006.

Mr. Howard confirmed Mr. Cawley's assertion that the use of DCS will require the cooperative effort of the three counties, the MTA, DCS, and USTAR in order to make this transition "smooth and orderly." Mr. Howard offered the counties technical and regulatory guidance that will be needed to facilitate this change of service providers, and suggested that the counties schedule a meeting to include the three counties, Nancy Noonan of the MTA, and himself.

As items to be addressed, Mr. Howard advised discussions about the feasibility of this project and its administrative and policy implications. He also advised that, if a decision is made to move forward with the project, each county identify a staff member (a non-DCS employee) to work with the MTA.


WORKPLACE VIOLENCE

Memorandum was received from Marty T. Holden, Waste Management Coordinator, with attached "Workplace Violence, Supervisors Incident Report" concerning an assault on a County employee. Mr. Holden reported that the incident occurred at the Nicholson Transfer Site on February 24, 2004. The incident was investigated by the Sheriff's Office and charges were filed by the employee against the Defendant. The employee did not require any medical treatment and was not injured.

The Defendant, Daniel Roland Sherwood, of Worton, was a customer at the Nicholson Facility during the incident. Mr. Holden requested that the Commissions send a certified letter to Daniel Sherwood advising that he is not permitted to use any of the three Kent County Solid Waste/Recycling drop-off facilities. This request will be further discussed next week.


WYE OAK

Carter G. Stanton, Director of Public Works, reported that Kent County has received two pieces of the Wye Oak tree and a bag of leaves from the historical tree. Commissioner Pickrum recommended that Mr. Stanton contact Leslie Raimond, Director of Kent County Arts Council, to seek creative ideas for use.


There being no further business to claim their attention, the Board adjourned to meet again on Tuesday, March 9, 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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