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Board of County Commissioners

April 20, 2004

The Honorable Board of County Commissioners met today with the following present: Roy W. Crow, Scott D. Livie, and William W. Pickrum, presiding.

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

Minutes of the previous meeting were approved.

W. Roger Williams, Treasurer, reported a balance of $3,512,371.00.


Carter G. Stanton, Director of Public Works, appeared and participated in a discussion about information and recommendations conveyed in a memorandum received from Ed Spray, Superintendent, County Roads. Mr. Stanton concurred with Mr. Spray's opinion that, based on Mr. Spray's inspection of the signage on Bay Shore Road from MD Route 298 to MD Route 21, the suggestion made by Mr. and Mrs. Kindig, residents on Bay Shore Road, to install rumble strips to slow down traffic will not work on the existing tar and chip surface.

Mr. Stanton reported that the use of rumble strips to warn traffic of a reduction in the posted speed is not listed in the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices. It was the recommendation of Messrs. Stanton and Spray that the best solution to slow traffic down at this time is to have the Sheriff's Office run radar in the Bay Shore Road area.

Commissioner Livie responded that the Sheriff's response using radar was proven to be not effective for the long-term, and that a pro-active approach by the County was needed. The Board directed Mr. Stanton to research and come back with the most cost effective plan that will include signage and rumble strips (or something, like cobblestone) to alert drivers to the 25 m.p.h. speed limit to help slow the pace of traffic on Bay Shore Road.


The bid opening that was scheduled to take place today at the Kent County Commissioners' Office Hearing Room for Project No. P&R 04-01, Betterton Beach Stairway, Structure Repair and Re-decking Project did not take place because no bids were received for this project. Jim Wright, County Engineer, will proceed to contact contractors to seek interest in submitting a cost estimate for this project.


At 1:20 p.m., the Commissioners held a budget work session with Pat Merritt, Budget and Accounting Director, and Ed Robinson, County Administrator. The budget work session ended at 5:30 p.m.


Correspondence was received from Michael M. Thielke, Executive Director of the Chester Bridge Foundation, Inc., on behalf of its Board of Directors, expressing their appreciation to the Commissioners for their past and continued support of the CMTS and specifically for the Commissioners' award of $10,000 to the CMTS for use in the development of the initiative.

He reported that the responses to recent mass mailing throughout the County announcing the start of the CMTS have been very positive, inclusive of those from youth and parents which confirms the need for such a school.


Carter G. Stanton, Director of Public Works, appeared and advised he was obtaining costs for removal of dead trees on the front lawn of the County Government Center at 400 High Street, Chestertown. Mr. Stanton recommended the planting of slow growing shade trees of long life-spans, and reported that he is researching various species of suit.


The Commissioners approved the request of Judge J. Frederick Price, Circuit Court for Kent County, to expend the projected end-of-fiscal-year balance of $7,000.00 in the Petit Jury account for the repair and replacement of the existing High Street entrance doors of the Kent County Court House as proposed by Allen Construction and Restoration, Inc. This project was approved by the Chestertown Historical Commission.

Carter G. Stanton, Director of Public Works, appeared and requested the Commissioners' direction concerning request received by Judge Price as to having signs posted, identifying the location of the Court House as well as the street number address. Commissioner Pickrum recommended that Mr. Stanton consult with the Chestertown Historical Commission as to suitable material and appearance of the sign. Commissioner Crow recommended that the sign be located closer to Cross Street for better visibility.


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

Millington Service Area

Mr. Morris gave an update regarding the bid opening that took place on March 23rd for the new water and sewer system contract in Millington, the estimate for which was underestimated by approximately $1 Million due to the sky-rocketing cost of steel and the State Highway Administration's requirements for the restoration of roads. Mr. Morris advised that he hopes to present to the Board the results of his research for determining the options for handling this situation by either the first or second week in May.

At the Public Hearing which took place today concerning Community Development Block Grant funds and the projects of the Housing and Community Development Office (HCD), Jack Canan, Coordinator of the HCD, responded to Commissioner Livie's question by stating that he anticipates that the HCD Office will have some funding available to assist the residents of Millington who have indicated to the Commissioners that they cannot pay for the services of the new water and sewer system in Millington, contingent upon qualifying under required guidelines.

Tolchester/Fairlee/Georgetown Service Area

A letter went forth to Robert M. Summers, Director, Water Management Administration, Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE), conveying the Growth Management Plan for the Fairlee and Tolchester Service Areas, dated March 23, 2004, along with the memorandum from the technical review committee which wrote the Growth Management Plan, supporting documentation and a map depicting where the additional growth (consisting of 10 additional allocations) should be directed.

A letter went forth to Sue Brown, of Chestertown, responding to 10 questions which she posed in her letter to Mr. Morris, dated March 26, 2004, pertaining to the current number of allocations in Tolchester, the qualifications for what constitutes an allocation, grinder pumps, etc.

Correspondence was received via electronic mail from Mrs. Arthur M. Moyer, Sr., and was read aloud by Commissioner Pickrum, commending the Department of Water and Wastewater Services workers who responded to an emergent situation occurring late in the evening at her home in which her grinder pump failed to work and her sewage was backing up in the basement of her home. The situation was rectified by the County workers by 2:00 a.m. Mrs. Moyer praised the Department of Water and Wastewater Services and its response team for their prompt, efficient, and successful response.

The Board expressed their appreciation to Mr. Morris and to his Department for the prompt and thorough attention they extended to Mrs. Moyer.

Piney Neck/Skinner's Neck/Wesley Chapel Service Area

Correspondence went forth to Leah Jester Kelley, conveying the decision of the Commissioners to approve her request for one sewer allocation, subject to all other agencies' approval pertaining to her property at Tax Map 51, Parcel 378. Worton Service Area

The Commissioners approved the request of Bruce E. Wright, of Bruce E. Wright and Company, Consulting Engineers, on behalf of his client, KRM Development Corporation, for an additional four water and sewer allocations for the site known as The Worton Project, Lot 2 Site plan.

Mr. Morris encouraged the Commissioners to begin to give consideration to the future of water and sewer issues in the Worton Service Area, given the increasing inquiries of developers that he has received pertaining to construction in Worton.

Edesville Service Area

Correspondence was received from Joseph Moss, Senior Project Manager, of The ARRO Group, Inc., ARRO Consulting, Inc., and sent to Ron Fithian, Town Manager, Rock Hall, with bid recommendation for the Town of Rock Hall Water Distribution System Improvements to be awarded to David A. Bramble, Inc. of Chestertown as follows:

Town Contract Bid ............................. $365,368.01

County Contract Bid .......................... $195,572.01.

(The Engineer's Cost Opinion was $597,770.00 and $229,560.00, respectively.)

A motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie, and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum to accept the bid from David A. Bramble, Inc. in the amount of $195,572.01.

Edesville and Kennedyville Service Areas

The announcement of grant funding for the repair and upgrading of the wastewater treatment systems in the Edesville and Kennedyville Service Areas, in the amount of $2,431,700.00, took place on April 19th in the Commissioners' Hearing Room. This federal funding was given by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development - Rural Utility Program's Water and Waste Disposal Program which provides more capital to rural water and waste disposal systems than any other single source.

Participating in the symbolic check presentation by Rural Development to the Edesville and Kennedyville Communities were the following: Congressman Wayne Gilchrest, Delegate Richard Sossi, representatives of Senator Paul Sarbanes' Office, Commissioner William Pickrum, Walid Saffouri, Chief, Construction Management Division, Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE), Virginia Kearney, Deputy Director, Water Management Administration, MDE, Lisa Fabian, Loan Specialist, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Marlene B. Elliott, State Director, Delaware/Maryland, USDA Rural Development, T. Edward Robinson, Wayne Morris, Barry Ebersole, Branch Manager, Annapolis Office, McCrone's Inc., (Engineering).

This announcement served a two-fold purpose: to observe the 34th Earth Day (April 22) in the U.S., and to reinforce the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development's commitment to the future of rural communities and its partnership with the Maryland Department of the Environment.

Commissioner Pickrum explained that the Rural Development Program expended $40 Million for projects on the Eastern Shore, and expressed his appreciation for Kent County receiving this funding.

The Commissioners expressed their appreciation to Mr. Morris for his efforts towards securing the grant funding and congratulated him.

Sue Brown, resident of Tolchester, appeared and, identifying herself as representing the citizens of Kent County, inquired as to whether or not County citizens should continue to expect the water and sewer rate increase in the month of July.

Commissioner Crow responded, advising that the citizens of those water and wastewater service areas which have not met the universal rate by July should expect an increase in July of their water and sewer rates.

Refinancing - The Commissioners approved and Commissioner Pickrum signed closing certificates as it relates to the $2,027,478.02 County Commissioners of Kent County, Maryland Water Quality Refunding Bonds, Series 2004.


Memorandum was received from Robert B. Rust, Jr., Director of the EMA, and sent to J. Scott Whitney, Coordinator, Maryland Emergency Number Systems Board, providing the County's Emergency Number Systems Board (ENSB) Project Funding Request - Three-Year Survey as required by the ENSB.

Mr. Rust outlined the following problems with the County's 9-1-1 EMA facility:

- being in a basement with dampness, mold, poor air quality, and leaks from rain water, ground water and sewage;

- serious lack of space for new equipment, storage, and personnel.

Mr. Rust expressed the hope of the County's EMA that, given the results of the survey, the EMA would be awarded the funding requested, thereby providing a new facility by the year 2006.


The Commissioners approved a Combination Multiple Gaming Device/Raffle for the fund-raising events for the organization, Relay for Life, to be held at the Chestertown Elks Lodge, Chestertown, on June 19 - August 21, 2004.


Discussion was held relating to the correspondence received from Ronald H. Fithian, Town Manager of Rock Hall, which indicated that at the April 8th regular meeting of the Rock Hall Mayor and Council, the Mayor and Council voted a unanimous "no" to the proposed hotel tax increase, based on the discontent of business owners in Rock Hall.

Commissioner Pickrum suggested that the Board should seriously consider repealing the Hotel Rental Tax.

Commissioner Livie concurred, adding that with the repeal of the Hotel Rental Tax, the incorporated towns would then be able to self-determine whether or not to tax their citizens for revenue in support of their own tourism development.

No action was taken at this time.


At the recommendation of Gail Owings, Direcotr of Planning and Zoning Administration, the Commissioners approved to accept Irrevocable Letters of Credit from the Peoples Bank of Kent County for the account of Don Reed, LLC for Hunters Run, Section B as follows: $65,476.25 to guarantee compliance to the County Sediment Control and Stormwater Management Ordinances, $180,000 to guarantee compliance to the County Ordinances/Policies for road construction, and $45,102.50 to guarantee compliance to the Landscaping Policy.


Correspondence was received from James M. Wright, Jr., County Engineer, which was sent to Paolo Fezzi, President, CreaFill Fibers Corporation (CFF), expressing the County's desire to develop the property recently purchased from CFF as the "Kent County Business Center at Worton"as it relates to a proposed shared stormwater management facility.


P.A.M. Schaller, Economic Development Advisor, submitted proposals received from two marketing consultants for the Board's review and consideration.


At 12:20 p.m., a motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum to go into executive session with Susanne Hayman, County Attorney, for legal counsel in accordance with State Government Article, Section 10.508 of the Annotated Code of Maryland.

Items of discussion included potential land acquisition.

The executive session adjourned at 1:00 p.m.


Correspondence was received from Delegate Mary Roe Walkup conveying her appreciation to the Commissioners for their testimony in support of House Bill 1269 - Electric Companies - Net Energy Metering- Wind Electric Generating Facilities before the House Economic Matters Committee on March 2nd. She reported that the Bill was voted favorably, having passed through both the Senate and House Chambers, and is currently awaiting the Governor's signature.


Peter Connell, Christ Hill, and Steve Smith, owners of homes on the private road section of Martin Wagner Road in Edesville, appeared in order to request that the private road section of Martin Wagner Road be included in the County Roads system. Carter G. Stanton, Director of Public Works, and Ed Spray, County Roads Superintendent, were also in attendance.

Mr. Connell initiated the discussion, reporting that since 1996, the residents of said private section of Martin Wagner Road have spent $80,000 for the supplies needed to maintain the road, including constructing drainage, ditches, crowning, tar and chipping. Commissioner Pickrum advised that all roads must meet minimum County Roads standards in order to be included into the County Roads system.

To questions posed by the Commissioners, Mr. Spray responded that said road section does not currently meet County standards, requiring, for example, regrading of the ditches, adjustment of the shoulders, and black-topping of the surface of the road.

Mr. Stanton advised that setting precedence with Martin Wagner Road might incur similar requests from the other numerable and similar situations pertaining to residential private roads throughout the County. Mr. Connell, representing the 17 families who live on the private section of Martin Wagner Road, expressed their expectation that the County would upgrade their road to County standards, given that they have been paying the increase in taxes.

Commissioner Crow responded by stating that when the development pertinent to the 17 families was constructed, the connecting road was not originally included in the County roads system; and since the construction, the County's standards for roads have since changed, and must be met.

Commissioners Crow and Livie advised that the Roads Division provide in writing all the provisions necessary in order for the private section of the Martin Wagner Road to meet the County's standards and the steps required to accomplish the provisions, and provide all of the above to the residents of the private section of Martin Wagner Road.

Messrs. Stanton and Spray agreed to follow-up accordingly.


Correspondence was received from D. Page Elmore, Chair, and Michael Smigiel, Vice-Chair, Eastern Shore Delegation, Maryland General Assembly, which was sent to Donald S. Welsh, Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Region III, conveying their concern regarding the proposed revisions to the "National List of Vascular Plant Species that Occur in Wetlands" (National Plant List). They cited reasons in summary for their concerns. They suggest that State and Local governments could work collaboratively with the EPA in the formulation of a jurisdictional wetlands manual exclusively for the Delmarva Peninsula.


At 1:00 p.m., a motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum to go into executive session with Susanne Hayman, 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 1:15 p.m.

State's Attorney

Correspondence was received from Robert H. Strong, Jr., Esq., State's Attorney for Kent County, in reference to a discussion which took place at the Commissioners' meeting on April 13th about the State's Attorney's staff. In his correspondence, Mr. Strong issued his objection to any change in the status of County employees, and indicated his intention to request that the Attorney General's office investigate the legality of what he believes to be the County's unilateral decision to change the status of the State's Attorney's staff, beginning as of July 1, 2004.

Correspondence was received from Robert H. Strong, Jr., Esq., State's Attorney for Kent County, requesting that the County proceed to advertise for the Victim Witness Coordinator Position. No action was taken at this time.


Correspondence was received from Gail Webb Owings, Planning Director, that was sent to County property owners, giving notice that on May 6th, at 2:00 p.m., the Kent County Planning Commission will review an application submitted by KRM Development Corporation, requesting final site plan approval for a 27,000 square foot office/warehouse flex space building on Commerce and Worton Roads in the Third Election District. The property is zoned "I" Industrial.


Union United Methodist Church - The Commissioners signed a Proclamation declaring April 24, 2004 as Union United Methodist Church Recognition Day, commending the commitment of the congregation to its friends, families, and to the community of Colemans, to which Union United Methodist Church has made outstanding contributions.

Administrative Professionals Week - The Commissioners signed and read a Proclamation declaring the week of April 18 - 24, 2004 to be designated as Administrative Professionals Week in Kent County. Marie Bradley, Tidewater Chapter, International Associates of Administrative Professionals, was in attendance and encouraged employers to support the continuing education of their administrative staff.


Carter G. Stanton, Director of Public Works, appeared and reported the recommendations that were made at the Public Landings and Facilities Board meeting on April 12th.

Actions taken by the Commissioners were as follows:

Betterton - approval for Kenny Fletcher, Captain of the Aberdeen Boat, to install three pilings alongside the Betterton pier; that this slip would be for the Aberdeen boat only, and that all pile driving costs would be paid by Mr. Fletcher, and that an annual slip rental would be paid for by Mr. Fletcher as long as he uses his vessel to transport passengers to Aberdeen;

Bogles Wharf - approval to permit Federal Officer Boyer of Eastern Neck Island to issue citations at Bogles for public landing violations, subject to the review of the County Attorney;

Sanitary Facilities - approval to accept the low bid of $9,000 by A-Plus Sanitation, LLC for the public landings portable toilets;

Allens Lane - approval to permit Mr. Schut, owner of property on a section of Allens Lane adjacent to the public landing, to construct a temporary road across County property, rebuild the existing cul de sac, and to rip rap along the County's 400 +/- foot shoreline at his expense for the supplies of the rip rap and at the County's expense, to go out to bid, for the contractor's cost.

Bayside Public Landing - approval to permit Parks and Recreation's use of Turner's Creek for its "Hooked on Fishing" on June 5th; and to permit the Maryland Watermens Association's use of the Rock Hall bulkhead for the Rockfish Tournament on June 11, 12, and 13, 2004.


Correspondence was received via electronic mail from Warden LaMonte Cooke, Queen Anne's County Detention Center, providing an update on the proposal received from Pulitzer-Bogard for a feasibility study of a Regional Corrections Facility. He reported that Pulitzer-Bogard would be able to start the study on May 10, 2004 and complete it by the end of September 2004. The proposed study would cost between $28,000 and $33,000, to be understood as the entire fee, not a per county fee. He advised that with a mid-May start, he could possibly be done by mid-September. Additional information will be forthcoming.


Memorandum was received from Gail Owings, Director of Planning and Zoning, and Carla Martin, Community Planner, reporting that the America's Byways Resource Center is sponsoring a three-day workshop covering topics related to byway management. Mrs. Owings and Ms. Martin believe that it would be important that the County's byway be represented at the workshop and that the County would benefit from the sessions being offered, such as the heritage area and the watershed restoration initiatives.

Although the Resource Center will cover some of the inherent costs, Mrs. Owings and Ms. Martin reported that the cost to the County for Ms. Martin's attendance at the workshop (June 15 - 17) would be $350.00.

A motion was made by Commissioner Livie, seconded by Commissioner Crow, and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum, that $350.00 be taken out of contingency for partial payment of costs in support of Carla Martin's attendance at the byway management workshop sponsored by the America's Byways Resource Center, June 15-17, 2004.


As recommended by Gail Owings, Director of Planning and Zoning Administration, the Commissioners approved release of the Irrevocable Letter of Credit for D & D Contracting and Home Improvements in the amount of $2,395.50 in consideration of satisfactory compliance with Sediment Control Ordinance as it relates to development of certain real estate and meeting requirements of the letter of credit.


As recommended by W. Roger Williams, Treasurer, a motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie, and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum to permit Kent County to collect a service charge of .35% on properties that are owner occupied and their primary resident, and choose to pay their real estate taxes on a semi-annual basis.


The following people appeared and participated in the Water and Sewer Plan workshop: Jim Wright, County Engineer, Wayne Morris, Director of the Department of Water and Wastewater Services, Gail Owings, Director of Planning and Zoning, Carla Martin, Community Planner, Susanne Hayman, County Attorney, Dr. Leland Spencer, Health Officer, and Ed Birkmire, Environmental Health Officer. Approximately 12 interested persons were also in attendance.

Mr. Morris initiated discussion by advising that the purpose of the workshop was to identify the issues and areas that require the consideration and focus of the County for inclusion into the draft Water and Sewer Plan, and which would be in conjunction with the land-use aspects of the Comprehensive Plan.

Mr. Birkmire emphasized the importance of the Water and Sewer Comprehensive Plan by urging the County to designate and include in the plan now every issue and concern that the County would desire to have addressed and resolved in the future. He emphasized the importance of cooperation between the County and the municipalities in these determinations.

Included among the many concerns raised were the concerns expressed by Dr. Spencer regarding the existent failing septic systems, citing for example, those located in the Quaker Neck service area. Mr. Birkmire responded by reporting that in Quaker Neck, of the 23 original allocations promised, 17 are either extremely vulnerable or currently failing systems.

Mr. Morris pointed out the challenge facing the County in terms of the Heather Heights section of the Quaker Neck service area, noting that the County does not have the allocations needed to serve Heather Heights.

With consideration of issues and concerns that would require inclusion in the Water and Sewer Plan, discussions ensued pertaining to the protection of wetlands, spray irrigation, a review of the Priority Funding Areas (PFA) throughout the County, the need for the County to approach its Water and Sewer Comprehensive Plan from a regional approach, the need for the County to incorporate its commitment to its natural heritage, etc.

All participating in this discussion agreed with Mr. Morris' emphasis that the County's Water and Sewer Plan must demonstrate a pro-active approach to determining the foci of the Plan.

The list of areas that will be addressed include the following: Gregg Neck, Still Pond, Allens Lane, Green Lane, Chesapeake Landing, Quaker Neck, Skinners Neck, The Town of Betterton, the U.S. Route 301 corridor, and the MD Route 291 corridor.

To questions posed regarding the upgrading of existing systems, Mr. Morris advised that all upgrades would be with mechanical plants, which provide a better process and a back-up plan when needed; lagoons would no longer be utilized.

Kent Lawrence expressed concern about the status of his December 2002 allocation application, requesting that, if he was successful in acquiring an easement on the existing line, would the Commissioners grant him his application for the remaining six allocations.

Commissioner Pickrum responded that the Board would not be able to make that determination until the County's Comprehensive Plan is completed.

John Spence, a resident on Lovers Lane, stated that his septic system is functioning well now; however, he expressed concern that this status could change in the near future.

Commissioner Pickrum gave assurance that public input will be solicited on the draft of the Comprehensive Water and Sewer Plan update at a public hearing before it became effective.

Mrs. Owings recommended that public informational meetings be scheduled as a venue for public presentation and discussion about the Water and Sewer Plan in its first draft format.

Mr. Wright, concurring with many statements expressed by the workshop participants, advised that the suggestions and direction of the Commissioners would be very important to the process of preparing the Water and Sewer Comprehensive Plan.

Concluding comments in the workshop included Commissioner Livie's encouragment of Dr. Spencer to inspect the County's water and sewer treatment plants, and Mr. Birkmire's advice that philosophical issues would also have to be seriously considered and addressed in the formulation of the Comprehensive Water and Sewer Plan update.


Dick Gelfman, prospective owner, and Dick Meyers, prospective General Manager, both of radio station WCTR, broadcasting from Chestertown, appeared and introduced themselves to the Commissioners. Mr. Gelfman reported that his ownership of WCTR will officially commence with the approval of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for the transfer of license from former owners Brian and Cassie Wilson to Mr. Gelfman. Until that approval, ownership of WCTR, Mr. Gelfman explained, is under Local Marketing Grant, and he and Mr. Myers function in the interim as "programmers."

Mr. Gelfman expressed his commitment to community-oriented broadcasting and to the utilization of WCTR for public forums and as a talk-radio venue. He expressed his interest to learn from the citizens what expectations they have of their local radio station.

Commissioner Crow expressed his expectation that WCTR would function as an integral part of the County's system for emergency response communications.

Commissioner Livie recommended the station to feature a talk-radio format, as per the suggestions he has received from some members of the business community.

Mr. Gelfman reported that WCTR will be purchasing a vehicle to function as a remote station in order to interview people directly at the sites of community events.

On behalf of the Board, Commissioner Pickrum welcomed Messrs. Gelfman and Myers.

There being no further business to claim their attention, the Board adjourned to meet again on Tuesday, April 27, 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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