The Honorable Board of License Commissioners met today with
the following present: Roy W. Crow, Scott D. Livie, and William W. Pickrum,
T. Edward Robinson, County Administrator, was also in attendance.
Minutes of the previous meeting were approved.
W. Roger Williams, Treasurer, reported a balance of $5,869,586.00.
The Commissioners authorized Mr. Wright to contact Wilbur Smith Associates
(WSA) requesting they proceed to apply for any Federal and/or State reimbursements
due the County as it relates to the airport project. BOARD OF EDUCATION
Commissioner Crow and Jim Wright, County Engineer, attended Review Committee
Meeting today at 3:00 p.m. for review of bids received for the Kent County
High School renovation project.
At 1:00 p.m., the Commissioners went into budget work sessions. Pat Merritt,
Director of Budget and Accounting, and Ed Robinson, County Administrator,
was also in attendance. Judge Fred Price, Circuit Court, P.A.M. Schaller,
Economic Development Director, Gail Owings, Director of Planning and Zoning
Administration, and Bernadette Bowman, Tourism Development Director,
appeared and reviewed their proposed budgets.
State's Attorney - Robert H. Strong, Jr., State Attorney, Joyce Benton,
Administrative Aide, and Diane Harris, Teen Court Coordinator, appeared.
Mr. Strong advised of need for a larger office space to include a conference
room as well as request to contract his own maintenance staff for his
department. He will obtain rental costs for alternative office space.
Upon questions raised by the Commissioners, Mr. Strong responded that
his proposed budget covers all essential functions of his office.
The Commissioners questioned status of the Victims of Crime Act (VOCA)
grant. Mr. Strong advised that the renewal application for this position
has been placed on hold (due to litigation). The Commissioners authorized
Mr. Strong to proceed to apply for grant funding for this position.
Parks and Recreation - Jeff Troester, Parks and Recreation Director, reviewed
his department's proposed budget. He advised that this proposed budget
contained 0% growth, however, the State is proposing to reduce Program
Open Space (POS) by 75%. There may be need to seek county funding to cover
loss of State grants for the Leaders Club. Loss of other State funded
programs may be off set by increase in revenues generated.
The budget work sessions ended at 5:30 p.m.
Correspondence was received from Delegate Mary Roe Walkup, sent to Governor
Ehrlich, requesting that Thomas M. Groce, Jr., of Kent County, be re-appointed
to serve a full, four year term, beginning July 1, 2004 through July 2008,
as a member of the Board of Trustees of Chesapeake College
On March 6, Commissioner Pickrum, Ed Robinson, County Administrator, Jeff
Troester, Parks and Recreation Director, and John Larrimore, Member of
the Board of Education, attended legislative hearing in Annapolis to testify
on behalf of Senate Bill 525, "Kent County Recreation and Community Complex"
(for $500,000) as it relates to bond bill for the Kent County Community
Correspondence was received from John and Ellyn Vail, of Galena, sent
to Elizabeth Morris, Chair, Kent County Planning Commission, supporting
the commitment of the Planning Commission and the County Commissioners
to sensible growth for Kent County. They requested that, as the Planning
Commission reconsiders the Comprehensive Plan, they review two related
issues that they believe are of "vital importance" to the future of the
County: the density of zoning in the Rural Residential classification
and planning for the MD Route 290 corridor east of Galena.
Judge Fred Price advised of complaints received as to lack of signage
in the Courtyard identifying the location of the Court House as well as
the street number address and requested that consideration be given to
have signs posted.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Correspondence was received via electronic mail from Karen Smith, Esq.,
Director of Intergovernmental Relations, Office of the Governor, with
the following press release: Weapons of Mass Destruction - Civil Support
Team - "Maryland Receives Weapons of Mass Destruction Team: Maryland One
of Twelve States to Receive Team from Bush Administration." The Governor
announced that Maryland is one of twelve states to receive a Weapons of
Mass Destruction-Civil Support Team (WMD-CST) from the U.S. Department
of Defense. The WMD support team, provided by the Bush Administration,
will aid MD's first responders in the event of an incident in MD and involving
weapons of mass destruction.
DEPARTMENT OF WATER AND WASTEWATER SERVICES
Edesville Service Area - A Public Information Meeting took place
later in the day at 6:00 p.m. regarding the Proposed Water and Sewer Upgrade
Project for the Edesville Service Area at Holy Trinity Church Hall, Rock
Hall. In addition to the Board of County Commissioners, T. Edward Robinson,
the County Administrator, Wayne Morris, Director of Water and Wastewater
Services, Rev. Ruben Freeman, President of the Edesville Association and
member of the Planning Commission, and approximately 40 interested citizens
were also in attendance.
The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the proposed water and sewer
upgrade projects for the Edesville Service Area. Commissioner Pickrum
reviewed the purpose of the meeting by providing the following information:
Update of Water and Sewer Projects 1. A connection will be installed to
Rock Hall's 8-inch water main at Wesley Chapel Church and the line will
be extended to connect to a 6-inch line serving Edesville at Martin Wagner
Drive and the MD Route 20 intersection. The project is out to bid with
bids due by March 31, 2004. Commissioner Pickrum expressed his hope that
the upgrade work would begin June 2004.
2. Wastewater Upgrade Project - The lagoons are allegedly leaking. The
County has requested funding to upgrade the existing pump station and
to construct a new force main along Martin Wagner Road connecting it to
the existing force main along MD Route 20 serving Wesley Chapel corridor.
The County has entered into an agreement with the Town of Rock Hall to
divert the sewerage from Edesville to the Town Treatment plant via the
County force main.
To the questions posed by citizens, responses were given by Mr. Morris,
the County Administrator, and the Commissioners, inclusive of the following:
- The cost for the sewer would be covered as follows: 90% grant/ 10% loan.
- To Rev. Freeman's inquiry as to what happened to the system that was
supposed to be in Edesville: the existing system in Edesville is treating
waste, but the lagoon is leaking. The lagoon is 10 years old. It is not
possible to project when a lagoon might leak. Concern was raised that
citizens were not informed when waste went into the lagoon.
- Charles Williams stated that the citizens of Edesville do not have a
spray irrigation system. Mr. Morris that what is being utilized is not
a true irrigation, but it is an irrigation system. The problem with the
system is that it was built in a wetland area that limits irrigation capabilities.
The back section of the lagoon, of 13 acres, has always had standing water.
From an operation standpoint only, it is concentrated with water.
- Rev. Clarence Hawkins questioned if the hydrants sufficiently handle
water pressure. Mr. Morris responded in the affirmative, adding that a
minimum six inch pipe is recommended, capable of handling flow. Rev. Hawkins
also questioned whether the solution is to take care of water needs at
any time, for example, when the electric supply goes off. Mr. Morris responded
that there is enough water supply at all times.
- There is an installed alarm system that responds to when there is no
electricity or when the water drops below acceptable level. When the systems
come on, an operator will be able to switch the valve open
- Edesville residents advised of interest to have an elevated tank installed,
as everywhere else in the County. Commissioner Pickrum indicated that
a mobile emergency generator would be put in place. Mr. Morris agreed
to look into this suggestion. Commissioner Livie indicated that if the
valve can be automatic, there would be no need for a tank.
- Commissioner Crow stated that the County would make sure that residents
of Edesville receive the service for which they are paying. Rev. Freeman
and Rev. Hawkins asked how soon would the hydrants be flushed. Mr. Morris
advised that the County strategically flushes it hydrants; there have
been some flushing. Hydrants should be flushed once a year. Commissioner
Pickrum indicated that the County will flush each hydrant once a year.
- Rev. Freeman stated that ten years have gone by and tanks have not been
pumped out. Mr. Morris responded that the clarifying tanks are being pumped
out, and there is a schedule for pumping. He noted that it may be that
not all the clarifying tanks have been pumped out. Rev. Hawkins stated
that clarifying tanks should be on schedule instead of just when you get
around to it. Emergency water will be supplied from Rock Hall if the electricity
is off. Rev. Hawkins noted that history shows that sometimes a town would
want to annex into Rock Hall. Rev. Hawkins stated that he does not want
the Commissioners to ever allow the annexation of Edesville to Rock Hall.
- Mr. Morris explained the recent rate increase whereby the County is
subsidizing up to 15% out of the General Fund for all of the 11 systems
until all the users get to a universal rate. The rate will gradually increase.
There is an increase in the cost of chemicals, etc.; these costs may come
down, due to technological advances in the interim.
- Mr. Perkins questioned the charge of $270 each quarter for three properties:
the church, the church hall, and the cemetery. Mr. Morris will look into
this and correct the situation.
- Bill Hicks asked regarding the rate increase for the next five years.
Mr. Morris responded: $105.00 in 1/04; $124 in 7/05; $146 in 7/06; $171
- Rev. Hawkins questioned how the sale of property goes if the person
does not pay the water bill, and suggested that the law be repealed so
that a new law would state that if a person cannot pay their water bill,
the water is cut off. However, their property should not go up for tax
Mr. Morris gave his assurance that if anybody has that problem, the County
will work out a payment schedule. In response to a question raised if
there could be a senior citizen rate, it was stated that the County has
looked into this and found that it is not allowed to set up a separate
Commissioner Pickrum stated that there are 11 systems which are very small
and very expensive because of the relatively few users. Commissioner Crow
stated that those who are hit by this increase, in other words, those
who truly cannot afford the increase, to contact the County Commissioners'
Office to provide this information.
- Rev. Freeman advised of a problem with a failing septic system as well
as for others living on Lovers Lane, and asked why adjacent areas with
failing systems were not included in the system as well as the other 13
homes below Martin Wagner Road and Dulin Drive. Commissioner Livie stated
the County's Housing and Development Office can possibly help with the
costs of bathroom septic systems.
- Mr. Williams questioned if there can be any more hookups in the system.
Mr. Morris recommended that there be no more hookups and that there are
no allocations available. Rev. Hawkins questioned if there is further
capacity in the Edesville system. Mr. Morris stated that it was very limited,
possibly in the center of town. (21,000 gpd - It is presently at 12,000
- 14,000 gpd.)
- Commissioner Livie questioned what would residents like to see in Edesville.
- Rev. Hawkins requested someone to advise residents of how many more
homes can be hooked up in Edesville. Commissioner Pickrum responded that
there is capacity for additional, but there is a caveat to that.
The Commissioners expressed their appreciation to everyone for attending
and for their input.
The public informational hearing ended at approximately 8:45 p.m.
Utility Billing Rates - Mr. Morris and Roger Williams, Treasurer,
appeared and addressed Mr. Williams' recommendation that the rates pertaining
to the new water and sewer rates be rounded-down to the next dime, for
example, to round-down a billed rate of $124.26 to $124.20. Mr. Williams
expressed his opinion that, given the odd cents of the rate figures, the
round-off would make the utility billing rates more uniform and simplified,
more "user friendly."
Mr. Morris advised the rate figures were the result of formula configuration
(as is all other rates, such as property tax rate).
Susanne Hayman, County Attorney, advised about the Maryland Annotated
Environment Code, which states that when any rate is modified, the County
would be required to hold a public hearing before any proposed changes
The Commissioners agreed to consider this proposal during some future
hearing scheduled pertaining to water and wastewater services.
Water and Sewer Plan Workshop - As per the invitation made by Mr.
Morris, Ray Anderson, Field Engineer, Maryland Department of the Environment
(MDE), and Wallid Saffouri, Chief of Capital Projects, MDE, appeared and
addressed questions and concerns posed by the Commissioners regarding
their preparation of a comprehensive water and sewer plan for the County.
Jim Wright, County Engineer, Mr. Morris, Gail Owings, Director of Planning
and Zoning, and Carla Martin, Community Planner, were also in attendance.
Mr. Morris initiated the workshop discussion by reporting that every three
years, the County reviews its water and sewer plan; therefore, during
2004, this plan must be reviewed and updated. He explained that Mr. Anderson
and Mr. Saffouri offer their assistance to Counties by helping them to
update their plans and by providing information pertaining to regulations
and requirements of the State's governing agencies.
Commissioner Pickrum stated that the most challenging issue facing Kent
County, as well as all Eastern Shore counties, is its water and sewer
plan. He continued by reviewing the history and the current status of
water and sewer services in the County as follows: there are 11 separate
sanitary districts that are governed by the County; it is not possible
for any one of those sanitary districts to ever be self-sufficient. The
County's plans for economic development include a commitment to provide
affordable housing, but is faced with failing septic systems and a strapped
budget lacking enough money to address the water and sewer needs of all
of the above.
Mr. Morris added that the County has a small user-base and it, therefore,
struggles to pay for the expenses of an expanding service as well as the
expenses needed to meet the MDE's water and wastewater treatment and quality
To Commissioner Crow's question pertaining to spray irrigation, Mr. Anderson
advised that spray irrigation is an option only given certain soil types
and locations. Mr. Saffouri concurred, adding that, in some cases, it
is less expensive to maintain the cost-effectiveness of discharge (the
conventional system) than spray irrigation; when costs preclude this option,
the MDE prefers spray irrigation. He stated that Smart Growth legislation
has changed the regulations concerning spray irrigation, and that the
best approach would be for the County to present its plans to the MDE
which would then determine which of them meets its regulations.
Mr. Anderson similarly advised the Commissioners to determine three options
for their water and sewer plan without solely focusing on funding availability;
then present the options to the MDE which would then make assessments.
Commissioner Livie reiterated the County's commitment to affordable housing
and cited the situation and circumstances pertaining to a development
called Chesapeake Landing. He explained that the development is comprised
of 800 lots (without Priority Funding Area status- "PFA") which could
accommodate affordable housing, if not for a failed septic system and
soil conditions that do not perc (given the new MDE standards). Commissioner
Livie expressed his interest for the County to acquire PFA approval for
the 800 lots and fast track the project for affordable housing.
Mr. Anderson suggested that, based on his experience, the most effective
route for the County would be to extend its water and sewer services to
the development. The County could look for different sources of funding
that apply to different conditions and needs. Given that the PFA status
is dependent upon a density criteria, a criteria which, according to Commissioner
Pickrum could be met if the County re-zoned that area.
Mrs. Owings advised that if the County did re-zone Chesapeake Landing,
it is not clear whether or not a change in the deeds of the current homeowners
would be necessitated.
Mr. Morris reviewed that there are 800 lots in Chesapeake Landing, 200
of which represent existing homes; the balance of the lots will not perc.
Mr. Saffouri stated that the County might consider requesting the Smart
Growth Committee to grant an exception to their regulations as they pertain
to Chesapeake Landing as well as to the County's commitment to affordable
housing in general. Mr. Anderson concurred and added his suggestion that
the Commissioners present this development as a model "test case" to the
Secretary of the MDE as a planning issue. He encouraged the Commissioners
to be optimistic about their plans and goals; to communicate all of them
fully and specifically to the MDE, requesting their response. Perhaps
the MDE will serve some of the plans in their entirety; perhaps some of
them, but in phases; perhaps none of them. He emphasized the importance
for the Commissioners to set their priorities and to communicate them
to the MDE.
Mr. Anderson expressed his opinion that Smart Growth as a strategy applies
and works best in the middle-third of the State; it does not seem to work
well beyond that area. Since its passage as legislature in 1997, Mr. Anderson
reported that the first effort to re-interpret this law took place this
year, noting that the effort provided a number of options. He reiterated
that the Commissioners should "go for the whole package" and present many
options from which the MDE could choose.
Mr. Anderson expressed his opinion that, based on what he had learned
from the Commissioners thus far, the main issue at hand is not simply
a water and sewer challenge, but rather a social challenge, and that what
he has heard described are quality of life issues. Commissioner Pickrum
concurred, expressing his belief that in order to maintain a balanced
community, the County requires a balanced representation of age groups,
incomes, etc., and hence, the County's commitment to provide affordable
Mr. Anderson advised the Commissioners to seek the assistance of Federal
and State agencies that are linked to the aspects of those quality of
life issues to which the Commissioners are committed. As more and more
of those agencies are contacted, the more informed they will become as
to when and where exceptions make sense in terms of the Smart Growth strategy.
The Commissioners expressed their appreciation to Mr. Anderson and Mr.
Saffouri for their information and suggestions.
The Commissioners requested the perspective of Mrs. Owings in reference
to the proceedings. Mrs. Owings advised that the most effective approach
with which the County to proceed with would be to begin an attempt to
change the Smart Growth law only as it applies to the circumstances of
Chesapeake Landing. She further suggested that the County present this
concept to the other Eastern Shore counties and, together, make the effort
to amend Smart Growth legislation.
Commissioner Pickrum recommended that the County proceed with the formation
of a work group consisting of Mr. Wright, Mrs. Owings, Ms. Martin, and
Mr. Morris, along with the assistance of Messrs. Anderson and Saffouri,
to prepare its water and sewer plan and then present it to the MDE and
other pertinent agencies. Commissioner Livie concurred, adding his recommendation
that the County conduct a feasibility study concerning spray irrigation
as an option and add its results to the County's water and sewer plan
as part of the Comprehensive Plan.
Mrs. Owings stated that she would contact her counterparts in the other
Eastern Shore rural counties and advise them of the interests of the Commissioners
concerning amending Smart Growth.
Maryland Water Quality Financing Administration - The Commissioners
approved and signed Resolution authorizing the issuance and sale of a
general obligation installment bond in principal amount not exceeding
$2,100,000 pursuant to the authority of the Maryland Water Quality Financing
Administration Act and designated as the "Kent County Maryland Water Quality
Refunding Board" for purpose of refunding the outstanding principal amounts
of the Kent County Sanitary District Bond, Series J, dated July 20, 1994.
Gail Owings, Director of Planning and Zoning, appeared and was asked by
Commissioner Pickrum for an update on the proposed Drayton Manor conference/spa
project, to which she responded as follows: the site has received approval
by the Planning Commission; the applicants tabled their application for
special exception; the applicants have submitted their use permit for
the expansion of the proposed conference center and they are under the
advisement of the Health Department, although they have not as yet applied
with the Health Department.
Growth Allocation - Correspondence was received from C. Daniel
Saunders, Esq., responding to the letter sent to the Commissioners by
Christopher F. Drummond, Esq. dated March 5th. For the record, Mr. Drummond
urged the Commissioners to await the outcome of all administrative and
judicial proceedings before taking action on the first growth allocation
request outside an incorporated town in the County.
Mr. Saunders explained that since the initial filing, the new ordinance
has become effective and the proposed uses are permitted under the terms
of the new ordinance without resorting to the conditional use application
process. Therefore, as he reported, his clients have applied for and are
advised that they will receive a use permit predicated upon the new ordinance.
He advised that in order for the project to proceed, it requires three
major approvals: the use (or conditional use) approval, growth allocation
approval, and site plan approval. He expressed his belief that if the
project is not given growth allocation, there is no point in the developer
spending the funds necessary to do final engineering and design for the
site plan process. He requested that the Board move forward with the request
for growth allocation as expeditiously as possible. No action was taken
on this request at this time.
The Commissioners requested P.A.M. Schaller, Economic Development Director,
to contact Washington College to seek interest in partnering with the
Still Pond Station project and Kent County Business Center. In addition,
the Commissioners requested Mrs. Schaller to contact Mike Thielke of Chesapeake
Marine Trade School with suggestion that he proceed in applying for a
non-profit status for this new endeavor and to contact Cecil County Agricultural
Economic Director in obtaining information in scheduling a Kent County
Ag Breakfast for next winter.
EMERGENCY MEDICAL SYSTEMS (EMS)
Correspondence was received from Richard K. McIntyre, Fire Chief, Community
Fire Company of Millington, expressing his gratitude to the Kent County
EMS for providing training and support, supply, information pertaining
to State and local standards and procedures, and other assistance which
helped to put the Millington ambulance in service. Chief McIntyre also
indicated that he looks forward to working with the Kent County EMS in
HOTEL RENTAL TAX
Bernadette Bowman, Director of Tourism Development, appeared and was
asked by Commissioner Pickrum for an update on her meetings with the incorporated
Town Councils. For the record, the purpose for Mrs. Van Pelt's meetings
has been to encourage them to contribute their share of the proposed 2%
increase of the Hotel Rental Tax to the County. (A draft Memorandum of
Understanding [MOU] was distributed in February to the Towns' for their
review and consideration.)
Mrs. Van Pelt reported that she met with all the Councils, except for
the Galena Town Council and the Town Council of Betterton (pending). She
also reported that she met with the Chestertown Town Council on March
15th, describing it as a very positive meeting, at which the Council agreed
to reconsider the MOU.
The Commissioners expressed their interest to learn the opinion of the
Lodging Association about the Hotel Rental Tax following the meeting of
the Association next week.
HOUSING IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM (HIP)
Memorandum was received from Jack Canan, Housing and Community Development
Coordinator, regarding the application for Phase Five of the HIP Project
and Application on behalf of the Kent Center. He requested the Commissioners
to consider scheduling Public Hearings on the two Community Development
Block Grant (CDBG) applications comprised of as follows: a $300,000 request
for the HIP Project's Phase Five and a $500,000 request on behalf of the
Kent Center. Mr. Canan also requested that the Hearings be held on April
Sue Willits, Emergency Planning Coordinator and the County's point-of-contact
person for fielding questions and concerns regarding the aftermath of
Hurricane Isabel, appeared and updated the Commissioners about the long
term recovery efforts on behalf of the victims of the Hurricane. Robert
Rust, Jr., Emergency Management Director, Amy Moredock, Environmental
Planner, and Gail Owings, Director of Planning and Zoning, were also in
Mrs. Willits reported the following about the recovery efforts of the
past six months which continue currently:
- Every Tuesday night, a support group meets, led by Dr. Ann Hennessy,
herself a victim of the Hurricane having suffered significant damage to
her home in Rock Hall, at the Mainstay, during which she offers her counseling
- Mrs. Willits has interfaced her services with the Office on Aging, the
Food Pantry and other County agencies, helping victims make an informed
choice of a plan of action based on the various available services they
want and/or need. Mrs. Willits praised the assistance of Dr. Hennessy
and described the support group as a "family." She also described the
majority of the people she has assisted as not only frustrated, angry
and confused (mostly about the paper work they have had to complete and
the amount of time that has passed), but also as compassionate and eager
to assist others in similar circumstances, such as those enduring frozen
water and sewer lines and the extremely cramped conditions of their temporary
Mrs. Willits reported about some recent "good news": last week, three
families had pre-fabricated houses placed on their elevated foundations.
Mrs. Willits further reported that a complete recovery for these victims
will require another 1 ½ years; many of these people are still living
with relatives, or in rented housing. Many have not yet developed a game
plan to begin their recovery efforts. Many do not have insurance. Mrs.
Willits indicated that each victim is faced with different circumstances
and needs, and yet all have remained, in her opinion, compassionate, kind
She praised the efforts of Rev. Linda Mariner, Pastor of the Rock Hall
United Methodist Charge, who provided a trailer in which was stored donated
items during the emergency, such as personal hygiene and cleaning supplies,
USDA food, etc. Mrs. Willits added her praise of the Eastern Shore Interfaith
Recovery Team, that has provided building supplies at no charge, as well
as the services of licensed contractors, plumbers, electricians, etc.
Mrs. Willits reported that there remains the need for household appliances,
and assistance for the elderly with removal of debris on their property,
installation of walk-ways, the planting of gardens, etc. She reported
that in April, she will be attending the National Hurricane Conference
in Florida which has as its focus this year , "Lessons Learned from Hurricane
Isabel." She distributed copies of her compilation of information from
all of the victims with whom she met.
Amy Moredock updated the Commissioners regarding the progress of the County's
two applications for the Maryland Emergency Management Agency's (MEMA)
404 Hazard Mitigation Grant Program: one for the elevation of structures
without insurance, and one for anchoring fuel tanks. She indicated that
she expects to hear from MEMA next week.
To Commissioner Pickrum's suggestion that County agencies ask manufacturers
directly for donations of appliances, rather than making further requests
of local vendors and businesses who have already assisted, Mrs. Willits
responded that she will compile a list of manufacturers and local contractors,
plumbers, etc. have indicated their willingness to donate their products
To Commissioner Crow's question as to the progress of filed insurance
claims, Mrs. Willits reported that applicants are currently receiving
money from their insurance carriers. Commissioner Livie noted that people
60 and 70 years of age have been forced to take out mortgages on their
damaged homes due to the disparity between the Federal Emergency Management
Agency (FEMA) and their insurance claims. He has learned that the Insurance
Commissioner will be putting more pressure on some insurance companies,
and that there is new legislation being presented to the General Assembly
for the reconciliation of this disparity.
Mrs. Owings suggested that high school students be considered as a resource
to assist the Hurricane victims, citing their required community service
obligation. An interested citizen appeared and suggested that churches
also be considered for their assistance with sourcing laborers, plumbers,
Correspondence was received from Carol D. Callaway, Executive Director,
Kent Center, Inc. regarding the Center's plans to build a new center on
Scheeler Road in Chestertown. Ms. Callaway advised of the Center's intention
to apply for a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDGB) through
the County that would, it is hoped, utilized as a match for the $1,600,000
grant from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. The public hearing
for this proposed project and application will take in April.
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
Items of discussion included: Kent County Business Center at Worton and
Department of Water and Wastewater Building in Worton.
The executive session adjourned at 10:35 a.m.
In response to correspondence from Delegate Mary Roe Walkup, a letter
went forth in support of House Bill 1471 - Dredge Material Disposal Alternatives
Act of 2004. This legislation is scheduled for a hearing on March 23rd
in front of the Environmental Matters Committee.
Correspondence was received from Cyrus R. Lesser, Chief, Mosquito Control
Section, Plant Industries and Pest Management, MD Department of Agriculture
with enclosed budget for mosquito control in Kent County for the 2004
season. He indicates that extraordinary conditions (weather, mosquito-borne
diseases, etc.), may require additional funding, in which case the State
and the County will work together to decide the best course of action.
The Commissioners approved and singed a proposed Mosquito Control Budget
for calendar year 2004 (FY'05 Settlement).
PARKS AND RECREATION
Jeff Troester, Director of Parks and Recreation, appeared and proposed
an amendment to the County's concession vendor policy that would allow
seasonal vendors to conduct the concessions at Worton Park and Betterton
Beach with exclusive rights, with some exceptions. Mr. Troester explained
that, historically, his department would advertise every Spring for bids
on concession operations at Worton Park and Betterton Beach and would
receive a low response. For the past two seasons, the County has not had
any concessions at Betterton Beach. At Worton Park, the County was able
to have vendors, however the vendor was different every year.
What Kent County has done differently from other successful Counties was
to allow its local leagues to have the opportunity to fund-raise by running
the concessions for their opening day ceremonies, all-star games and championships
(all the big money-making events). In the County's agreement with the
seasonal vendors, the County specified that they were not allowed to be
open on those days.
Mr. Troester also expressed his opinion that the County's first priority
is to provide park users the opportunity and the convenience of having
the concessions these vendors supply. Although generating agreement revenues
is also a plus, Mr. Troester advised that it must be considered second
in priority to providing a service for the County's park users.
To Commissioner Livie's question as to whether or not private groups and
organizations, given the amendment, would be able to provide their own
caterers for their concurrent events, Mr. Troester indicated that such
an arrangement would be permissible. This example represents one exception
to the vendors' exclusivity in the proposed amendment; another exception
would occur when the County hosts "special events", such as opening day
ceremonies, all-star games, etc., during which the respective leagues
and organizations would be able to provide their own concessions, generally
as fund-raising opportunities.
The Commissioners gave unanimous approval for the amendment to the County's
concession vendor policy as recommended by Mr. Troester.
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 in attendance.
The executive session adjourned at 10:55 a.m.
Gail Owings, Director of Planning and Zoning, appeared and reviewed the
recommendations of the Planning Commission which were made at its March
4th meeting, inclusive of text amendments which will be presented to the
Commissioners, for example "the Sludge Project."
Amy Moredock, Environmental Planner, Carla Martin, Community Planner,
and Gail Owings, Director of Planning and Zoning, appeared and presented
an update on the Scenic Byways Interpretive Plan. The hearing for said
Plan will take place on March 24th. Ms. Moredock reported that an example
of the Scenic Byways Interpretive Plan would include the provision of
Heritage Park equipment, such as playground equipment, wayside pull-off's
with accompanying signage, etc.
Having been granted Chesapeake Bay Gateway status, the County is eligible
to apply for grants and marketing-funding sources to assist, for example,
the further development of the Kent Museum project and creative matching
of funds for other local projects.
To Commissioner Pickrum's question as to the maintenance responsibility
of the Interpretive Plan projects, Mrs. Owings responded that the responsibility
would lie with the pertinent jurisdiction, for example, the County would
be responsible for the maintenance of wayside pull-offs; historical sites
would be maintained by their sponsoring organizations, etc.
At the invitation of the Commissioners at their meeting on March 9th,
Carl E. Burke, Executive Director, Upper Shore Aging, Inc. (USA) appeared
to respond to the Commissioners' concerns about the current fiscal crisis
of the Senior Center. Pat Merritt, Director of Budget and Accounting,
and approximately 30 interested citizens, were also in attendance.
Commissioner Livie initiated the discussion by indicating that the Board
had only recently learned through electronic mail to the County Administrator
about the fiscal crisis and the budget of the Senior Center, and requested
more details of how the crisis originated.
Mr. Burke reviewed the history of funding for the Senior Center and distributed
a "Statement of Revenues and Expenditures" from July 1, 2003 through February
The Commissioners, as well as Mrs. Merritt, raised questions regarding
a number of expense items to which Mr. Burke responded that many of the
larger expenses were incurred specifically as a result of the move from
the Town Hall of Chestertown to the new facility. Although USA conducted
"aggressive fund-raising" to offset its costs, Mr. Burke reported that
USA has had to tap its "rainy day fund" to meet its operating expenses.
He added that $4,300.00 in expenses are still outstanding. He reported
that, therefore, USA has decided to close the Senior Center Thursdays
and Fridays, and to cut two of the four, full-time employee positions
to part-time positions without benefits.
To further questions by the Commissioners, Mr. Burke assented that many
of the revenue line items are "confusing", and expressed his regrets that
Charlotte Coleman, Fiscal Office Manager, USA, was not present to provide
all of the information being requested.
To Commissioner Livie's question as to what would represent the Senior
Center's largest operating expenses, Mr. Burke responded that the overhead
expenses represent the largest operating expenses in the new facility,
such as utilities, water and wastewater services, maintenance and repair,
disposable supplies, maintenance service contracts, insurance, etc.
To Commissioner Pickrum's questions regarding a pro forma operating plan,
Mr. Burke replied that he did prepare one during the planning phase of
the new facility, and that he was required to have said plan in order
to be eligible for CDBG and other funding. Mr. Burke reported that his
projections for operating expenses were under-estimated by between $5,000
The County Administrator noted that, for the record, during the planning
phase of the new facility, the State had offered funding only for the
brick and mortar, not for any programming expenses.
To additional questions posed by Mrs. Merritt and the Commissioners pertaining
to the budget of the Senior Center, Mr. Burke gave his assurance that
he would consult with Mrs. Coleman in order to obtain accurate responses
to their questions and provide the responses in writing to the Commissioners.
Commissioner Pickrum added that he would appreciate it if Mrs. Coleman
would also prepare in the budget a comparison column of figures representing
the previous fiscal year.
As per Commissioner Livie's recommendation that Mr. Burke and Mrs. Coleman
be invited to the next Commissioners' meeting, it was agreed to meet at
8:30 a.m. on March 23rd. In preparation for that meeting, the County Administrator
requested detailed budget information by Friday, March 19th.
The Commissioners expressed their concern about the Senior Center's budget
preparation process, recognizing that USA is faced with a dilemma and,
therefore, the community is faced with a dilemma. The Commissioners indicated
that in order to identify the fiscal problem and, thereby, to determine
how they might be of assistance, they will require more information.Commissioner
Livie emphasized that it is not the intention of the Board to offer permanent
To a question raised by a concerned citizen about the proposed closures
at the Senior Center, the Commissioners advised that informed decisions
will be available after the meeting on March 23rd.
Correspondence was received from Carl E. Burke, Executive Director, Upper
Shore Aging, Inc. (USA), sent to Jean W. Roesser, Secretary of the Maryland
Department of Aging (MD of A) "urgently" requesting of the Secretary any
excess or discretionary Title III funds that MD of A might have to help
Area Agency on Aging (AAA)USA alleviate what he believes to be the "serious
fiscal crisis" facing it.
Mr. Burke explained that AAA USA, Inc. is overspent per its Senior Center
operations. Mr. Burke expressed his belief that the above situation will
threaten USA's continued ability to function effectively as AAA for Talbot,
Caroline, and Kent Counties. He closed his letter by stating that USA
is working hard to develop additional funds from private sources, and
requires any help that the Maryland Department of Aging might provide
Correspondence was also received from Mr. Burke which he sent to Opiribo
Jack, Chief Fiscal Officer of the Maryland Department of Aging with a
copy of AAA USA's completed Expenditure Projection, State Programs, Fiscal
Year 2004. This report estimated program deficits totaling $18,130 regarding
State funds in areas such as Home-Delivered Meals, and Medicaid Waiver,
and again, requested that the Maryland Department of Aging make available
to the Agency any unspent State funds that could offset its program deficits
in any or all of its programs for the current fiscal year.
STATE TOURISM CONFERENCE
Bernadette Bowman, Director of Tourism Development, appeared and presented
the itinerary for the 2004 State Tourism Conference which will be hosted
by Kent County on March 22,23, and 24. The purpose of this annual conference
is to host all Maryland Welcome Center employees and most of their volunteers
(Welcome Centers are closed during the Conference) and to give them the
opportunity to learn about and experience the State's tourism sites.
Kent County will host 70 to 80 people thanks to the complimentary services
and products of its businesses and organizations. They are mentioned in
the following itinerary in outline:
- Comfort Suites providing bedrooms and breakfasts for the duration of
the conference, as well as a wine and cheese reception one evening.
- Monday - The Seminar will convene in the Commissioners' Hearing Room,
with lunch and dinner provided by a County restaurants.
- Tuesday - A tour, via the Rock Hall trolley, of Eastern Neck, Rock Hall,
including the three museums, shopping opportunity, a welcome by Mayor
Jay Jacobs, a sampling of ice cream and fudge, a visit with Mainstay,
a tour of Chestertown with stops at the Kent County Visitors' Center,
the Geddes-Piper House, Fountain Park, Monument Park, Wilmer Park, an
opportunity to take the Historic Walking Tour and to shop, a welcome by
Mayor Margo Bailey, lunch and dinner provided by County restaurants, and
a viewing of a movie at the Prince Theater.
- Wednesday - A tour of Betterton Beach, the Kent Museum, Turner's Creek,
Galena, Georgetown, shopping opportunities, welcomes by Mayor Harry Pisapia
of Galena and Mayor Carolyn Sorge, of Betterton.
Mrs. Van Pelt invited the Commissioners to attend any and all of the events,
and indicated that "Fact Sheets" have already been distributed to all
of the towns in the County. Commissioner Pickrum recommended that Mrs.
Van Pelt notify Delegate Mary Roe Walkup and Congressman Wayne Gilchrest
of the Conference.
STILL POND STATION
David Wilson of Resource, Conservation & Development, contacted the County
Administrator, advising the Corps of Engineers'dredging project is scheduled
to begin next month and requested permission to stock pile the dredged
material on the County owned beach. Since the County will need the sand
to rebuild the beach due to Hurricane Isabel, this request was approved.
Amy Moredock, Environmental Planner, appeared and reported about the meeting
of the Annual Tributary Strategy Meeting which took place on March13th.
At this meeting, Frank Digialleonardo, a member of the Upper Eastern Shore
Tributary Team, was honored as a "Hero", receiving recognition for his
efforts on behalf of WRAS - the Watershed Restoration Action Strategy.
There being no further business to claim their attention, the Board adjourned
to meet again on Tuesday, March 23, 2004.
THE COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
OF KENT COUNTY, MARYLAND
Janice F. Fletcher
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.