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Board of County Commissioners

April 6, 2004

The Honorable Board of County Commissioners met today at 1:00 p.m. with the following present: Roy W. Crow and William W. Pickrum, presiding. Commissioner Livie was away on personal leave. Commissioner Pickrum arrived at 1:30 p.m.

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

Minutes of the previous meeting were approved.

W. Roger Williams, Treasurer, reported a balance of $4,368,709.00.


At 1:00 p.m., Commissioner Crow held budget work sessions with the following: Carl E. Burke, Executive Director, and Charlotte Coleman, Director of Fiscal Services, both of Upper Shore Aging, Inc., and Wayne Morris, Director of Water and Wastewater Services. Pat Merritt, Budget and Accounting Director, and Ed Robinson, County Attorney, were also in attendance.

Upper Shore Aging, Inc. - Mr. Burke indicated that he would be forth-coming with information needed to answer a number of questions posed by the Commissioners and Mrs. Merritt which he did not have readily accessible, for example, the delineation of areas in which Kent County's general operating support ($103,540.00) is used, and the status of routes conducted by USTAR Public Transportation in the County.

Department of Water and Wastewater Services - Wayne Morris reviewed his proposed budget and noted that, during his preparation of it, it appeared that the rate increases implemented in January are moving the County's budget for water and sewer services towards the objectives and goals of reducing the County subsidy to 15%. Mr. Morris added that this is the first fiscal year in which he has been able to budget necessary repairs and maintenance while, as the same time, being able to decrease the amount of subsidy money needed from the previous year.

The budget work session adjourned at 2:15 p.m.


Correspondence was received via electronic mail from Mike Johnson, of Chestertown, registering his disapproval of any further development of housing and of the water and sewer system in Chesapeake Landing citing, what he believes to be, the following reasons: the existent failing septic systems, the threat to resident wildlife, and the destruction of the existing wooded buffers that serve to slow-down ground- and rain-water run-off, and which filter the water before it flows into the Bay via Mill or Worton Creeks. Mr. Johnson is scheduled to meet with the Commissioners on April 13th.


Correspondence was received from Patrick J. Carney, Director, Kent County Department of Social Services, requesting funding for one, contractual case management position in the DSS to be used for the purpose of administering the non-mandated programs which Mr. Carney described in his letter, inclusive of the Local Emergency Assistance program, the Rental Assistance Program, and the Rental Assistance to Work Programs. The DSS' request for funding would be on a year to year basis until the DSS is fully staffed. The total salary package of an entry-level position is $27,236.00. This request will be reviewed during the budget process.


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

Piney Neck/Skinner's Neck/Wesley Chapel Service Area - The Commissioners approved the recommendation of Mr. Morris that Leah Jester Kelley receive one sewer allocation for the 10.713 +/- acres which constitute part of Parcel # 378, Tax Map # 51, that is being subdivided from and being sold of Ms. Kelley's total property of 12 +/- acres.

Edesville Service Area - One bid was received, at $195,572.00, for the water line construction, which is $20,000.00 less than the total expenditures projected.

Frank Hepbron, a resident of Rock Hall, was present and inquired as to how the County will respond to residents who cannot afford to pay for their water and sewer services.

Commissioner Crow and Mr. Morris both responded by encouraging those residents to contact the County Commissioners' Office and the office of the Department of Water and Wastewater Services as soon as they realize their inability to pay. They advised that a payment schedule could possibly be worked out for those individuals and sources of funding from Social Services and grants will be explored.

Tolchester Service Area - The Commissioners approved Mr. Morris' recommendation that the County contract with McCrone, Inc. (engineering firm) to conduct a feasibility study to determine whether or not more than ten additional connections may be made in compliance with the conditions specified by McCrone, Inc.'s letter dated December 17, 2004 and included in the "Conclusions and Recommendations" of the Tolchester Growth Management Plan.

The Growth Management Plan does specify that, without additional expense, the County may provide 10 additional allocations which comply with McCrone's recommendations. 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 the scenarios is approximately $3,500.00 if a college intern is employed to reconstruct the model and input the data.

Millington Service Area - Mr. Morris introduced correspondence which he received from Dora V. Brand of Millington, indicating that due to the circumstances of Hurricane Isabel, her residence received severe flood damage and has since been demolished. She has applied for a building permit which has been approved, and she expects to rebuild by June 2004. She reported that she is in the process of purchasing a new home. Ms. Brand requested a waiver of her first two quarter bills, due to the damage to her home as a result of the Hurricane and the fact that she has not started to use the system.

A motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Pickrum, and and made unanimous by the majority of the Board to charge Ms. Brand for water and sewer services based on the vacant lot fee, instead of the residential fee, for the first two quarters, due to the hardship she incurred as a result of Hurricane Isabel.


Correspondence was received from Delegate Mary Roe Walkup extending her appreciation for the Commissioners' testimony in support of House Bill 1263 - "Dredge Deposits - Creation of Artificial Islands in the Chesapeake Bay - Prohibited Use as Part of the Management Plan" before the House Environmental Matters Committee (ENV) on March 10th.

Although House Bill 1263 received an "unfavorable report" from the ENV, Delegate Walkup indicated her intention to file legislation again with the following phrase removed from the Dredged Material Management Plan: "the construction of Artificial Islands to be used as containment sites for the disposal of dredge materials as an option for consideration for future planning sites."


The Commissioners approved and signed Resolution as it relates to the Commissioners having the authority to participate in Maryland Emergency Management Assistance Compact in accordance with the terms and conditions contained in the Maryland Annotated Public Safety Code Section 14-801 to advance, organize and implement comprehensive emergency preparedness, which shall be in the nature of a compact and agreement among participating entities that have adopted similar resolutions or ordinances.

Correspondence was received from Anthony Myers, Public Service Commission, Chair, Emergency Number Systems Board, of the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, requesting that the EMA review and update the strategic plans of its jurisdiction in the enhancement and utility of 9-1-1 system. For the record, the Emergency Number Systems Board's interest in this information derives from its statutory authority to fund 9-1-1 enhancements under the Public Safety Article of the Annotated Code.

The data requested will support its funding strategy and the need for any legislative adjustment to the State's 9-1-1 fee structure. A copy of this correspondence was forwarded to Robert B. Rust, Jr., Emergency Management Director. Mr. Rust appeared and recommended that the EMS program be expanded and advised that within his Fiscal Year 2005 budget proposal, he is requesting the amount of $60,000 to cover employment of two EMT's to provide availability of a EMT to accompany the paramedic on emergency calls.

He further recommended that salary needs of the dispatchers be considered with a COLA and increment ($2,000@). He also recommended creation of a Emergency Communication Specialist (ECS) II to provide more incentive and responsibility.

Mr. Robinson noted if the Commissioners wish to consider creation of this new position, a job specification must be prepared as well as factored. Mr. Rust's recommendations will be further discussed during the budget process.


The Commissioners approved and signed the following Permit: a Combination Multiple Gaming Device/Raffle Permit for Chester River Hospital Center, Chestertown, to take place at its fund-raising event at the Kent School in Chestertown on April 17, 2004, from 6 p.m. to 12 a.m.


Correspondence was received from Danielle Hanscom, President, Kent County Lodging Association, reporting that, at its Spring meeting on March 24, 2004, the Lodging Association decided to support the Commissioners' initiative to increase the lodging tax, provided that the additional funds raised (the entire 2%) be devoted solely to the promotion and marketing of tourism in the County.

Ms. Hanscom advised that the Lodging Association believes that tourism is one of the pillars of Kent County's economy, and added that the lodging/sales tax total of 10% is not insignificant. She reported that the members of the Lodging Association went along with the initiative because this area has great potential as a tourist destination, and because they felt that if there was a significant effort made to advertise the County, the entire community would benefit.


Memorandum was received from Amy Moredock, Environmental Planner, advising of notice received by her office indicating that the eight elevation projects included in the County's Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) application must be surveyed. The Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) received funding for the surveys from its federal counterpart.

Ms. Moredock also advised that the presence of surveying teams does not indicated that the pertinent properties are definitely and imminently going to be elevated. Because this work is only preliminary, there is no guarantee of approval for the elevation project; funding is contingent upon availability and the State's approval.

Corresponding to Ms. Moredock's memorandum was a "Hurricane Isabel HMGP Status Report - March 2004"that was received from MEMA. Included in this Status Report were the following:

- all 65 applications have been reviewed for applicant and project eligibility, completeness, and accuracy; complete and accurate applications for eligible physical projects are now being submitted to the State Clearinghouse for interagency review (required by the federal government);

- a benefit-cost analysis, federally required, is currently being performed for several infrastructure projects;

- all projects determined cost beneficial and feasible will be reviewed by the State's Mitigation Committee; applications selected for funding will be submitted to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for approval;

- HMGP funds are awarded to local government entities. As such, project implementation is the responsibility of the County.

For elevation projects, the County will select a construction contractor through a competitive bidding process and will be paid by the County.

- FEMA has established a deadline of one year from the date of the disaster declaration for obligating all funds. The State anticipates making funding decisions months in advance of this deadline.

- HMGP funds cannot be used for new construction, elevation of second or vacation homes, repairs, or elevation work that has already been undertaken.


The Commissioners approved recommendations submitted by Tom Beckett, Chairman, Economic Development Advisory Board, as it relates to marketing ideas for the Business Center at Worton.


The Commissioners approved and signed contract with Unity Landscape Design/Build, Inc. for the County Government Center and Pardoe's Lawn & Tree Service, Inc. for the Courthouse, Detention Center and Library as it relates to landscape maintenance.


At 3.55 p.m., a motion was made by Commissioner Crow, 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.

The executive session adjourned at 4:30 p.m.


Correspondence was received from Jeffrey L. Rein, Deputy Program Administrator, Wastewater Permits Program, Water Management Administration, MDE, advising that a tentative determination on the application for the Mears Great Oak Landing Water and Wastewater Treatment Plant discharge permit has been made, and that a public hearing on the proposed permit has been scheduled to take place on May 6, 2004, at 11:00 a.m. in the Kent County Public Library Meeting Room in Chestertown.


The Commissioners approved the recommendation of Jeff Troester, Director of Parks and Recreation, that F. and C. Catering and Sons be awarded the Worton Park and Betterton Beach concession agreements for the 2004 season, contingent upon satisfactory completion of all licenses, insurance and Health Department requirements.


At 2:35 p.m., a motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Pickrum and passed by the majority of the Board to go into executive session with Susanne Hayman, Human Resources Director, to discuss personnel matters in accordance with State Government Article, Section 10.508 of the Annotated Code of Maryland.

The executive session adjourned at 3:00 p.m.


Correspondence was received from Kenneth S. Carpenter, Technical Assistance Manager, of the National Institute of Corrections (NIC), U.S. Department of Justice, in response to the Kent and Queen Anne's County Commissioners' request of March 9th, conveying the decision of the NIC Jails Division that no additional assistance would be granted for the establishment of a regional corrections system.

At a recent regional jail meeting, Warden Howell was advised that Kent County's projected share of a feasibility study would be $66,250 of the total $265,000 if approved.

No action was taken.


Correspondence was received from Carl E. Burke, Executive Director, Upper Shore Aging, Inc. (USA) which was sent to Jean W. Roesser, Secretary, Maryland Department of Aging (MDoA), extending his gratitude on behalf of USA for the funding of $11,753 in addition to the $21,000 in funding which the MDoA has provided Area Agency on Aging USA, Inc. for the current fiscal year. Mr. Burke indicated that the $21,000 will be used to support the operations of the Senior Center; the $11,753 will be used to support "five specific programs" of the Senior Center.


Correspondence was received from Dean Kindig, resident on Bay Shore Road, Fairlee, via electronic mail (dated April 5th), indicating his opinion that the response of the Sheriff's Office to his complaint of March 20th, by patrolling Bay Shore Road for speeding vehicles, was effective only during those days in which the patrol cars were present.

Mr. Kindig requested the County's consideration of alternative measures, such as permanent installation of signage and rumble strips, the use of radar, and a more visual presence of police. Mr. Kindig once again emphasized his concern for the safety and the quality of life of residents on Bay Shore Road due to the illegal speeds of vehicular traffic on Bay Shore Road.


Correspondence was received from Karen L. Miller, District Manager, Kent Soil and Water Conservation District, Teri Batchelor, MD Department of Natural Resources Service Forester of Kent County, and the Boards of Supervisors which they represent, for permission to plant a tree on the front lawn of the County Government Center on 400 High Street in memory of Walter B. Harris.

The Commissioners approved the request for a tree to be planted in memory of Mr. Harris. Ms. Miller will be requested to contact Carter Stanton, Public Works Director, for tree location.


Correspondence was received from 34 citizens requesting that the Commissioners consider allocating all of the funds as requested by USA in the County's budget for the next fiscal year. All 34 people expressed their opinion that many senior citizens in the County depend on services provided by USA and the Senior Center, adding that, without the County's funding, many of these services for seniors may have to be cut.

There being no further business to claim their attention, the Board adjourned to meet again on Tuesday, April 13, 2004, at 6:00 p.m., at the Millington Fire Hall.


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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