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Board of County Commissioners

March 23, 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 $5,882,605.00.


The Commissioners approved and signed a Contract by and between the County and Deckelman's Pile Driving for the reconfiguration of boat slips at Bayside Public Landing at a cost of $13,700.00. At the recommendation of Jim Wright, County Engineer, the Commissioners approved to accept Irrevocable Letter of Credit for the account of Deckelman's Pile Driving in the amount of $14,700 to guarantee compliance to terms and conditions of contract.


At 2:25 p.m., the Commissioners held budget work sessions with Carter Stanton, Public Works Director, Ed Spray, County Roads Superintendent, Marty Holden, Waste Management Supervisor, Bob Merritt, Maintenance Supervisor, Jim Wright, County Engineer/Purchasing Coordinator, Lee Ann Myers, Safety Training Coordinator, Mauritz Stetson, Alcohol Beverage Inspector, Bob Rust, Emergency Management Director, Sue Willits, Emergency Planning Coordinator, Ken Smith, Emergency Communications Supervisor, and Stacy Gouldin, Chief Paramedic.

T. Edward Robinson, County Administrator, and Pat Merritt, Budget and Accounting Director, were also in attendance.

The budget work session adjourned at 5:20 p.m.


Dr. Leland D. Spencer, Kent and Caroline Health Officer, appeared in order to follow up the discussion that took place at the budget workshop March 9th during which concern was expressed that the Health Department's Fiscal Year 2004 budget did not indicate any funding to address the Mental Health Program's deficit. Pat Merritt, Director of Budget and Accounting, was also present.

Dr. Spencer, referring to his letter to the Commissioners, dated March 17, 2004, in which he provided the history and background for said deficit, stated that, in addition to Kent County, he was proposing to Queen Anne's and Caroline Counties that each County commit to contributing $50,000 per year for the next three years to the Regional Mid-Shore Mental Health Services (RMSMHS). He advised that information was received from the State that he would not be permitted to hire any more staff on the State program with the current $500,000 deficit of the RMSMHS.

Also, Dr. Spencer advised that unless the deficit is significantly diminished, the patients who are currently assisted with mental health services would have to be transferred to the private sector; there are no other mental health programs on the Eastern Shore.

Dr. Spencer distributed copies of the RMSMHS' "Revenue and Expense Summary." Dr. Spencer reported in his letter to the Commissioners that the RMSMHS originally represented a merger in 1997 of the previous independently operated public mental health clinics of Caroline, Kent, Queen Anne's, Talbot, and Dorchester Counties. The current merger includes Caroline, Kent, and Queen Anne's Counties, with Caroline County acting as the lead agency and administrative headquarters. He noted that Talbot and Dorchester Counties withdrew from the mental health services; however, Talbot County has expressed interest in rejoining. All staff are employees of the Caroline County Health Department and represent a mixture of State merit and State contractual positions.

Dr. Spencer explained that the RMSMHS program serves uninsured (about 5% of the total served), underinsured, Medicaid, and privately insured individuals. In Kent County, the program employs about 10 full-time employees and serves close to 500 patients per year. Prior to 1997, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene had subsidized local mental health programs with grant funding to assure fiscal viability of these services. Those funds were officially discontinued to the RMSMHS at the end of Fiscal Year 2001 and were no longer available.

Responding to the Commissioners' questions, Dr. Spencer stated that, since the end of Fiscal Year 2002, the program has continued to run a significant deficit despite, according to Dr. Spencer, "aggressive and disciplined fiscal management." As of January 2004, the program is currently running a total deficit of $535,598. Dr. Spencer's projection for the deficit at the end of Fiscal Year 2004 will be just over $500,000. He added that, for the first time since 1997, given no deficit, he projected, although he could not guarantee, that collections would meet or slightly exceed expenses and, as a result, the program would be "budget neutral," with the deficit stabilized.

He further noted that over the past two fiscal years, the three county health departments have worked together to subsidize said program from their respective budgets, but due to recent budget cut-backs at both the County and State levels, financial resources are no longer available to continue to service this debt.

To Mrs. Merritt's inquiry as to the deadline for receiving a commitment from Kent County, Dr. Spencer responded that a commitment would be needed by or before July 1, 2004.

Discussion ensued about the status of the State's commitment to mental health in general Dr. Spencer reported that the County should not expect any financial support from the State nor the federal government for mental health services; there is State and federal financial support available for addictions programs.

Commissioner Pickrum emphasized his opinion that it is unrealistic for the State and federal governments to expect local governments to support mental health services without their support.

Commissioner Livie recommended that Dr. Spencer conduct a comparative analysis of the Maryland Health Plan with other mental health insurance providers. Commissioner Livie suggested that the Maryland Health Plan might provide the means for supporting the expenses of serving uninsured patients. Dr. Spencer advised that he would communicate to Caroline and Queen Anne's Counties that Kent County is supportive of making a financial commitment to the RMSMHS in theory, but must first determine if and when an amount and schedule of payment would be possible.


Gail Owings, Director of Planning and Zoning, sent memorandum with attachment of water quality data in the C & D Canal reported from the monitoring station in Back Creek, east of the MD Route 213 Bridge at Chesapeake City. She explained that there is an additional water quality monitoring station located in the Elk River, southeast of the C & D Canal.

Mrs. Owings further indicated that both of these stations are fixed monthly stations that collect data on dissolved oxygen, water temperature, salinity, pH, and water clarity. Mrs. Owings provided a copy of map showing the locations of all of the above.


A copy of the 2003 "Annual Report" of CFI was received, dated December 2, 2003.


Correspondence was received via electronic mail from Mike Thielke, Executive Director , Chester Bridge Foundation, Inc.(CBF), providing a copy of a proposed reconfiguration of CBF Board of Directors, and a list of names of members of the Marine Advisory Board as follows: Art Willis, Ed Jurowski, Jay Jacobs, Jeremy Dolan, John Sirna, John Wright, Jonathan Jones, Mark Grahamer, Ralph Hall, Eick Miller, Robin Kurowski, and Ron Fithian.

A letter of support went forth to Congressman Gilchrest, Senators Mikulski and Sarbanes requesting their support of the CBF's efforts in establishing the CMTCS through the award of an Economic Development Initiative grant or other appropriate funding source.

Also included are the following Current Project Initiatives for the CBF: a Marine Trades Career School Initiative with adult and youth programs projected; Small Business Incubator Initiative; and Affordable Housing Initiative.


Correspondence was received from Linda P. Parry, President, Chester River Chorale, expressing the gratitude of the Chorale to the Kent County Arts Council for its effort in making a grant in the amount of $300 available to them. The grant represented the second part of their Community Arts Development Grant for 2004 from the Maryland State Arts Council.

The Chester River Chorale is an organization of about 80 local citizens who gather to bring a wide variety of music to the community. They are now in their fifth consecutive season of giving Christmas concerts, spring concerts, and summer "concerts in the park" free of charge to audiences ranging from 200 to 400 people.


Correspondence was received from Delegate Mary Roe Walkup indicating that the following legislative request has been scheduled for a hearing: House Bill 1509 - Creation of a State Debt-Kent County-Recreation and Community Complex. This hearing will be before the Appropriations Committee on March 25th at 1:00 p.m. This hearing was rescheduled for March 29th at 1:00 p.m.


Millington Service Area - Mayor Dennis Hager of Millington appeared and informed the Commissioners that a bid-opening would take place later in the day for the construction of a new water treatment plant in Millington. Wayne Morris, Director of the Department of Water and Wastewater Services, was also in attendance.

Mayor Hager indicated that there is a leak in the existent sewer lines in the Town and that Mr. Morris would determine the location of the leak utilizing a camera. The Mayor indicated that the second alternative, and last resort, would be to "smoke the lines."

Refinancing - The Commissioners approved and signed Resolution (and other closing and loan documents) to issue the County's general obligation installment bond in the aggregate principal amount of $957,000 designated as the "County Commissioners of Kent County Wastewater System Improvement Bond of 2004" for the public purpose of refinancing a portion of the costs of the acquisition, construction, and capital costs of part of the County's wastewater system, together with related costs of the bond issue and sale.

Piney Neck Service Area - The Commissioners approved and signed Public Works Agreement by and between the County and Dr. and Mrs. Robert Abel, Jr. for a sewer allocation located on Map 51, Parcel 210.

Spring Cove/Green Lane Service Area - The Commissioners approved and signed Public Works Agreement by and between the County and Mr. & Mrs. Bertram Peters for a sewer allocation located on Map 50, Parcel 73.

Tolchester Service Area - A workshop session about the Tolchester Review Committee's recommendation on the Tolchester Growth Management Plan was conducted by Gail Owings, Director of Planning and Zoning, Carla Martin, Environmental Planner, Wayne Morris, Director of Water and Wastewater Services.

Mrs. Owings reported the following "Conclusions and Recommendations" of the Tolchester Review Committee:

- Without additional expense, the County may provide 10 additional allocations which comply with the recommendations outlined in the letter from McCrone, Inc. (engineering), dated December 17, 2004. If the County wishes to exceed 10 additional connections or to approve a connection that does not meet the conditions, McCrone would need to reconstruct its computer model of the entire wastewater collection system and evaluate the new scenarios. The fee for the reconstruction of the computer model and evaluation of three scenarios is approximately $3,500.00 if a college intern was employed to reconstruct the model and input the data.

- To maximize the permitted allocations, make the most efficient use of existing infrastructure, and limit disturbance to the forested area, these 10 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 the water and sewer plan by deleting the Tolchester Growth Management Plan and adding a Tolchester Allocation Policy Section. This allocation policy should state that an allocation will be granted in the Tolchester Service Area only when the proposed lot is a minimum of 10,000 square feet in size and is within the designated area.

For the record, in December 2003, the County Commissioners established a Tolchester Growth Management Review Committee 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. The Committee was comprised of the following members: Wayne Morris, Director of Water and Wastewater Services, Nancy Metcalf, Soil Conservation District, 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.

Tolchester Estates was developed and marketed in the late 1920's. Given the rapid growth of this development over the decades following, Tolchester was identified as an area with potential health problems due to failing septic systems and a priority for the extension of public sewer.

In the early 1990's, Fairlee was considered a growth area and Tolchester was not. In order to construct the new wastewater treatment plant without encouraging unplanned growth, the County adopted a growth management strategy. This strategy sought to limit growth in the Tolchester area by limiting allocations to 40, limiting development to the developed areas of Tolchester, maintaining the 10,000 square foot building area required by the Health Department for private wells, and by avoiding extending sewer lines into sensitive areas, such as riparian forest and nontidal wetlands.

The first request to use one of the additional 40 allocations occurred in 1998 with a total of five allocations granted from 1996 to 2001. Ten allocations were approved in 2002 and 18 in 2003.

A motion was made by Commissioner Pickrum that the recommendations made by the Tolchester Growth Management Committee in its Report be implemented. Discussion on the motion was initiated by Bob Basener, Tracy Stone, and Sue Brown, representing the Tolchester Community Association, who expressed what they believed to be numerical discrepancies in the Tolchester Growth Management Committee Report concerning allotments, the number of grinder pumps, and the size of sewer lines, to which Commissioner Pickrum advised that they obtain the answers to their questions directly from Mr. Morris.

There being no further discussion on the motion, it was seconded and passed by the majority.

Commissioner Pickrum expressed the appreciation of the Board to the Committee for all of their effort and for their well-written, thorough, clear and concise Report. The moratorium on sewer allocations in the Tolchester Service Area will expire on April 1, 2004.

The Commissioners approved and signed Public Works Agreement by and between the County and Roy Hoagland for a sewer allocation located on Map 35D, Parcel 301.


Memorandum was received from P.A.M. Schaller, Director of Economic Development, which included the following notes: - updates about progress pertaining to the mailings of the Kent County brochure with a cover letter to be sent to boat owners and marinas, introducing them to the Chesapeake Marine Trade Career School and Chesapeake Fields Institute, and inviting them to consider establishing their businesses in the County; and - notice that an application was received from the Department of Business and Economic Development for funds to initiate a feasibility study on behalf of Chesapeake Fields Institute.


Bob Rust, Emergency Management Director, reiterated the need to begin planning for a new facility (approximately 8,000 sq. ft.) to house the Emergency Management Department.


Correspondence was received via electronic mail from Gregg Bird, Assistant Chief, Galena Volunteer Fire Company, Inc., expressing his appreciation for Commissioner Crow's participation in their drill for preparedness as a Rapid Intervention Team. He also invited the Commissioners to participate in the Propane Gas Emergency Training session at Galena's Firehouse on April 28th.


A bid opening was held at 2 p.m. on March 19, 2004 at the Public Works Department. One bid was received. At the recommendation of Jim Wright, County Engineer, the Commissioners approved to award contract to Brown's Lawn Care Service, of Worton, for grass mowing and lawn care services for the Kent County Court House throughout the 2004 calendar year.


Mayor Dennis Hager of Millington appeared and advised the Commissioners that he understood and respected the purpose of the Hotel Rental Tax and the commitment of the Commissioners to treat all of the County's Towns uniformly. However he expressed his opinion that the Tax does not apply to the circumstances of Millington: there are no hotels or motels in the Town to tax.

Commissioner Pickrum suggested to Mayor Hager that he consider the future potential of hotels and motels in Millington, to which Mayor Hager concurred, but added that when said hotels and motels exist, the Town of Millington would gladly pay the Hotel Rental Tax. He further noted the absence of a "sunset clause" in the provisions of the Hotel Rental Tax which he considered to be problematic. Commissioners Pickrum and Livie responded by stating that they would review the Memorandum of Understanding which constitutes the provisions of the Hotel Rental Tax and add a sunset clause.


A bid opening was held at 2:00 p.m. on March 19, 2004 at the Public Works Department.

Two bids were received.

At the recommendation of Jim Wright, County Engineer, the Commissioners approved to award contract to the low bidder as follows: Pardoe's Lawn and Tree Service, of Chestertown, for the Court House, Library, and Detention Center, and to Unity Landscape Design, of Kennedyville, for the County Government Center at 400 High Street, for providing landscaping and maintenance services throughout the 2004 calendar year.


At 1:10 p.m., a motion was made by Commissioner Livie, seconded by Commissioner Pickrum and passed by the majority of the Board 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.

Commissioner Crow was not in attendance for the afternoon meeting.

Items of discussion included Quaker Neck Service Area and other legal matters.

The executive session adjourned at 2:00 p.m.


As presented by Anne Livie, LMB Director, the Commissioners approved and Commissioner Pickrum signed Audit Requirement and Assurances Documents as it relates to the Year 3 Youth Strategies Consolidated Grant Application.


As per the Commissioners' invitation, Gloria Urban, Director, Kent County Library, Jerry Keiser, Assistant Director, and James A. Blake, President of the Library's Board of Trustees, appeared in order to further discuss correspondence that was sent jointly by Mr. Blake and Ms. Urban, dated February 5, 2004. Other Board members in attendance were Dee Newnam, Pat Gatto, Shirley Eklund, Eloise Johnson, and Donald Wierda.

Commissioner Crow initiated discussion by asking Ms. Urban how she explained the salary raise given by the County to its employees, to which Ms. Urban responded that the told her staff that the County took $1,000, applied a figure of 70%, and pro-rated that amount to full- and part-time Library employees to July 1, 2004.

Commissioner Crow requested Ms. Urban to clarify to Library employees that the raise figure represents only a six month period, not a full year's raise. Responding to the Commissioners' question, Ms. Urban explained that the Library's increase in expenditures in FY'05 represents an attempt to "catch up" on the Library's objective to spend more money towards the purchase of books. She, as well as Mr. Blake, emphasized that the Library exerts much effort to streamline its expenses with the focus of its expenditures on providing services to the public.

Ms. Urban cited results of a State-wide survey conducted last fall regarding the public's attitudes about their libraries, in which 92% of Kent County residents rated the Library as either "A" or "B" and as an "essential" service, right alongside education.

Commissioner Livie strongly encouraged the Library to consider setting up a foundation, to which Ms. Urban stated that she has already been investigating idea as a way to pay for the more expensive needs of the Library, such as updating the Library's automation system and the maintenance needed now for its 26-plus year old building.

Following discussion by the Board and Ms. Urban, both of whom shared their dissatisfaction with the Local Government Insurance Trust (LGIT), Commissioner Livie suggested that the Library consider the option of a traditional insurance carrier.

Ms. Urban and Mr. Keiser emphasized the provision by the Library to the County of the internet service, SAILOR, and that the Library is building more towers in order to provide broadband accessibility to the public, enabling the public's use of lap top computers in the Library.

Discussion then turned to the cut in the State's funding of the Library, a cut in the amount of $1,035. Ms. Urban summarized her appeal to the Commissioners by reviewing the following: the main objective of the Library is to increase its book budget, at least closer to the State's level and the level of the Library's Eastern Shore peers; the Library is determined to improve its insurance coverage by changing its carrier; the sources of funding which the Library receives from grants restrict the use of those funds, excluding operating expenses and salaries.

Commissioner Livie expressed his optimism about what he projected to be a generous response by the public to the Library's fund-raising activities; and further, that the County does not have the resources to fund the Library as per Ms. Urban's request.


At 2:00 p.m., a motion was made by Commissioner Livie, seconded by Commissioner Pickrum and passed by the majority of the Board 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 2:20 p.m.


Commissioner Pickrum read a proclamation received from the Office of Governor Erhlich recognizing March 25, 2004 as "Maryland Day in the State of Maryland."


Commissioner Pickrum, speaking on behalf of the Board of Commissioners, extended formal recognition and appreciation on behalf of the citizens of Kent County to Mrs. Kathryn Pinder-Almen for her 33 years of service to this community.

The Commissioners presented Mrs. Pinder-Almen with a framed Seal of Kent County and plaque. Others in attendance for this recognition were Neal Almen, Jack Canan, Housing and Community Development Coordinator, and Judy Hickman, Secretary, Harold Coleman, Housing Specialist, and Robin Spielman, Administrative Aide, all of Housing and Community Development.


As per the Commissioners' request at their March 16th meeting, Carl E. Burke, Executive Director, Upper Shore Aging, Inc. (USA) appeared and, along with Charlotte Coleman, Director of Fiscal Services, USA, reviewed a spreadsheet which they provided presenting Year-to-Date and Projected End-of-Year operating expenses for the Senior Center (The Amy Lynn Ferris Adult Activity Center). Pat Merritt, Director of Budget and Accounting, was also in attendance.

Mr. Burke pointed out that USA projected an operating shortfall by the end of the current fiscal year $19,888 for the Senior Center. He explained, as he presented at the March 16th Commissioners' meeting, that if USA, Inc. uses Furnishings Campaign funds and a "rainy day" fund (both of which, he noted, are the result of private donations intended for purposes other than Senior Center operating expenses), USA, Inc. could continue to fully operate the Senior Center through June 30, 2004 without any day-closures and without any cuts in hours and wages for staff. He expressed USA's reluctance to use privately donated funds to cover the Center's operations, citing potential objections by the donors.

Mr. Burke continued to explain that the projected operating shortfall is less than the figure he cited at the Commissioners' meeting because "certain equipment and other expenses normally treated as Center operating costs were allocated as permitted to either State grant that constructed the building or to the Furnishings Campaign." Mr. Burke further noted that the projected $19,888 operating shortfall does not directly justify the Kent County allocation which he requested for FY 2005 for the Senior Center. He explained that his budget request for the Center operations for 2005 in the amount of $25,620, which is $5,732 more than the $19,888 figure for the current year, reflects the need to have additional local support to offset anticipated cuts in federal Older Americans Act funding that will result when the Maryland Department on Aging implements a new funding allocation formula effective July 1, 2004.

Commissioner Livie encouraged Mr. Burke to make the investment of money and/or personnel to research sources of grant funding from the private sector, describing the effort as a good investment which would compound itself.

Mr. Burke, responding to questions about specific budget items, was also asked by Commissioner Pickrum as to whether or not he calculated his overhead rate, to which Mr. Burke stated that he and Mrs. Coleman would do the research and provide the information.

Responding to Commissioner Crow's question, Mr. Burke explained that USA's "rainy day fund" represents money that was raised during the period when the senior center was in its first location, and that there are no other "rainy day funds."

After some discussion on the motion, a motion was made by Commissioner Crow that USA, Inc. use the Senior Center's "rainy day fund", while keeping the senior center open five days a week and maintaining its current staff and staff schedules, and to utilize $4,500 of the County's contingency fund, kept in reserve, as a last resort to cover operating expenses until June 30, 2004; at that time Mr. Burke will meet with the Commissioners and present a report of the operating expenditures of the Senior Center.

Commissioner Pickrum offered the assistance of the Board as a liaison between USA and pertinent federal and/or State offices and agencies in the attempt to find sources of funding.


Correspondence was received from Dean Kindig, resident of Fairlee on Bay Shore Road, expressing complaint about what he believed to be the excessive rate and speed of traffic through the corridor on Bay Shore Road between Routes 298 and Tolchester. This letter was sent forth to the attention of the Sheriffs' Office.


Correspondence was received via electronic mail from Carl E. Burke, Executive Director, USA, Inc., with copy of a letter which he sent to (in District 37B) Delegates Adelaide C. Eckardt and Jeannie Haddaway; (in District 36) Richard A. Sossi, Michael D. Smigiel, Mary Roe Walkup, and (in District 38B) Norman H. Conway, requesting that they reject the Senate's restrictive language in regard to Budget Bill legislation pertaining to the Maryland Department of Aging's (MDoA) Older Americans Act funds.

Last week, the State Senate passed a Budget Bill legislation that included "restrictive language" that would withhold $500,000 in administrative funding for the MdoA unless the Department institutes a different funding allocation formula that, according to Mr. Burke, would result in "exaggerated" gains in funding for a handful of suburban counties, "considerable" funding gains for other counties and "huge, harmful" funding cuts for Eastern Shore counties and Baltimore City.

Mr. Burke explained that if similar legislation passes the House of Delegates, AAA USA, Inc., serving Talbot, Caroline, and Kent counties will suffer a loss of more than $50,000 in Older Americans Act funds on July 1, 2004. He added that, given that said agency lost over $82,000 in State funds last year, the impact, in Mr. Burke's opinion, would be devastating to the Seniors residing in these counties.

There being no further business to claim their attention, the Board adjourned to meet again on Tuesday, March 30, 2004.


Janice F. Fletcher
Executive Assistant

Approved: William W. Pickrum, President


Please contact Ileana Lindstrom or Janice Fletcher at (410) 778-7435 or by e-mail with any questions or comments.

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