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KENT COUNTY, MARYLAND


Board of County Commissioners

May 11, 2004

The Honorable Board of County Commissioners met this evening at 6:00 p.m. with the following present: Roy W. Crow and Scott D. Livie, presiding.

Commissioner William W. Pickrum was not present due to personal reasons.

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

Minutes of the previous meeting were approved.

W. Roger Williams, Treasurer, reported a balance of $3,209,035.00.


BAY BROADBAND COMMUNICATIONS (BBC)

To assist the expedition of BBC's provision of broadband service in the County, correspondence went forth to Dr. Allen Hammond, President, BBC, with attachment of a list of Corrosion Control Corporation's list of maintenance concerns for water tank antennae installations, and copies of correspondence from them to Wayne Morris, Director, Department of Water and Wastewater Services. In said correspondence, Dr. Hammond was advised that it is the County's opinion that it has done everything it can to expedite resolution of the technological concerns in cooperation with BBC towards establishing broadband service in Kent County.


BETTERTON MAYOR AND TOWN COUNCIL
TECHNICAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE

Discussion took place in reference to correspondence that was received from Carolyn C. Sorge, Mayor of Betterton, who request that the concept plans for development in Betterton be carefully reviewed by the members of the Technical Advisory Committee, and that a member of the Betterton Planning and Zoning be allowed to meet with the Technical Advisory Committee during this review to serve as a learning experience. Jeff Troester, Director of Parks and Recreation, and Susanne Hayman, County Attorney, were also in attendance.

Mayor Sorge reported that the Town Council of Betterton has been presented with several concept plans for residential development, of which the proposed number of units would more than double the size of Betterton.

Commissioner Livie expressed his concern about the impact of the doubling in size of the Town of Betterton on the water and wastewater infrastructure.

Ed Robinson, County Administrator, agreed to ask Wayne Morris, Director of Water and Wastewater Services, who is also a member of the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), to observe and report on developments in Betterton, and to ask Gail Owings, Director of Planning and Zoning, to attend the next TAC meeting.


BOARD OF EDUCATION (BOE)

Contracted Services - Pertaining to correspondence that was received from Dr. Bonnie C. Ward, Superintendent, Kent County Public Schools, that provided a copy of a chart listing and describing the contracted services which the school system receives from professional staff, Commissioner Livie asked that further explanation be provided by Dr. Ward about the purpose and/or need for said specialized services, such as supervision, programming, engineering, planning, evaluation, and talent development.

Budget Adjustments - The Commissioners approved the budget adjustment for the BOE's restricted (grants) and unrestricted portions of the BOE budget.

Budget Hearing - Commissioners Crow and Livie agreed to attend, as per the invitation of James Siemen, President, BOE, the BOE's Budget Hearing on May 19th at 6:00 p.m.

Economic Advisory Committee - A motion was made by Commissioner Livie, seconded by Commissioner Crow, and passed by the majority of the Board to approve the appointment of Jon Baker, Community Relations Coordinator, as the BOE's representative to the Economic Advisory Committee. Mr. Baker will replace Frances Miller, Assistant Superintendent of Administrative Services, Kent County Public Schools.


DEPARTMENT OF WATER AND WASTEWATER

Edesville Service Area - Correspondence was received from Clementine L. Tilghman, resident of Rock Hall, conveying her objection to the increased rate of water and sewer services, and indicating her belief that the increase in the rate has created a financial hardship for her.

Commissioner Crow asked that Mrs. Tilghman's concern be directed to Jack Canan, Coordinator of Housing and Community Development.


GAMING/RAFFLE PERMIT

The Commissioners approved and signed a raffle only permit for the following: Horizons at Kent School, Chestertown, for its fund-raising events to take place in Fountain Park, Chestertown, and at events throughout the County from May to October 2004, the raffle to be drawn on November 8, 2004; and the Humane Society of Kent County for its fund-raising event, County-wide, to be sold through July 4, the drawing for which to take place on July 4, 2004 at the Humane Society office/ facility in Chestertown.


HOMELAND SECURITY
FISCAL YEAR 2004 GRANT PROGRAM


A press release was received via electronic mail from Karen Smith, Esq.,Director of Intergovernmental Relations, Office of the Governor, reporting that, as per Governor Ehrlich's announcement on May 10th, local jurisdictions in the State are eligible for a combined $25 Million in federal reimbursements for qualified homeland security spending. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security will reimburse State and local public safety expenditures for the planning, training, equipment and exercises to prevent potential acts of terrorism or other disasters. Local jurisdictions may submit their spending plans to the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) and to the Department of Homeland Security. Reimbursement eligibility is determined through a formula based on federal Department of Homeland Security assessment including population, population and density, risk management and vulnerability.

Correspondence was received from MEMA, directed to Robert Rust, Jr., indicating that Kent County will receive $399,019.40 of the Fiscal Year 2005 State Homeland Security Grant Program as indicated in the Governor's press release pertaining to the same. Of this grant, $65,000.00 will be designated for costs related to planner consultation fees. The local share for each of the communication tower-sites proposed by the State for joint use with the County would cost the County approximately $250,000.00.

It is Mr. Rust's belief that the County has a commitment from the State for the $250,000.00 needed locally for the proposed tower at the Maryland State Highway Complex, and that the remaining balance of the grant could be made available by the County for the proposed State tower site in Massey.


HOUSING

The Commissioners signed a Release of Mortgage for the property of Terri L. and William Dorsey-Warren, thereby releasing the lien on that property. The Dorsey-Warren property is a project of the Housing Improvement Program.


KENT COUNTY RECREATION AND COMMUNITY COMPLEX

Correspondence was received from Thomas R. Genetti, Assistant Secretary, Facilities Planning, of the Maryland Department of General Services (MD DGS), extending congratulations on the County's award by the State of a grant authorized as a "bond bill" enacted by the MD General Assembly for the construction of the Kent County Recreation and Community Complex with attachment of required application information to be submitted by the County.

The DGS will administer the grant and advised of the following deadlines: a grantee has seven years from the date a grant is authorized in order to complete the respective project and expend the State funds; the deadline for certifying matching funds remains at two years.


LAMOTTE PROPERTY

Ian Kennedy and Ryan Grim, students of the University of Maryland School of Public Affairs, appeared and gave a presentation of their study, "Measuring the Financial Benefits to Kent County and Chestertown of Preserving the LaMotte Property as Open Space" which was prepared for the Commissioners and the Mayor and Council of Chestertown. Jeff Troester, Director of Parks and Recreation, was also in attendance.

The study explored the effect of open space on property value and tax revenue, using as a guide a roughly 20-year period of time before, during, and after the construction of Wilmer Park. That data was used in turn, along with open space pricing theory, to project the effect of the LaMotte property, becoming permanent open space on property value and tax revenue over a 20-year period.

Having made three projections with 95% confidence, low, middle, and high, the results of the study indicated that (at middle and high estimates) the "LaMotte Park property neighborhood" is worth more as open space to the County than its $1.25 Million investment. The low estimate shows the park generating tax revenue increases that could recoup substantial portions of the taxpayer money spent on the park

Commissioner Livie indicated that he saw a lot of merit to the study, and, referring to the County's proposed plans for the LaMotte property, he expressed his interest in the application of this study to properties other than residential, for example, commercial properties.

Commissioners Live and Crow extended their appreciation to Messrs. Grim and Kennedy for their presentation and commended them for their study.


LEGAL COUNSEL

At 5:55 p.m., a motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie and made unanimous by the majority of the Board to go into closed 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 the Chester River Landing Project; the proposed Hotel Rental tax revised Memorandum of Understanding (MOU); KRM Development Corporation and stormwater management; and broadband service.

The closed session adjourned at 6:15 p.m.

At 7:50 p.m., a motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie and made unanimous 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.

Items discussed included a proposal for land exchange.

The executive session adjourned at 9:15 p.m.


LOCAL EMERGENCY PLANNING COMMITTEE (LEPC)

The Commissioners received an invitation from Jon William Baker, Public Information Officer, LEPC, to attend a full-scale terrorism drill that will include a Marine response unit. The LEPC will conduct a tabletop drill on May 17th, 9:00 a.m., at Washington College to test the local response, and the full-scale exercise will take place on May 19th, at 7:00 a.m., on the college campus. Commissioners Livie and Crow will attend the event on May 17th.


LOCAL GOVERNMENT INSURANCE TRUST (LGIT)

Memorandum was received from Mary E. Balducci, Health Benefits Manager, LGIT, with follow-up information pertaining to the Health Pool closure: information regarding where to obtain coverage for Fiscal Year 2005, and how to obtain benefit/claim information for charges incurred during Fiscal Year 2004, but not paid until Fiscal Year 2005.


MARTIN WAGNER ROAD

As per the Commissioners' direction at their April 20th meeting, a letter went forth from Ed Spray, Superintendent of County Roads Division, to the Pig Neck Neighbors Road Association, pertaining to their request that Martin Wagner Road, Rock Hall, be accepted into the County Road system. In his correspondence, Mr. Spray delineated all the requirements for roads in the County to meet County road standards. Mr. Spray also provided an estimated cost for the road work necessary to meet these standards, given that the existing base of the road is acceptable: Asphalt paving ................................................ $50,000

Ditch grading .................................................. $25,000

3-Pipes, if needed ........................................... $ 4,500

Total .............................................................. $79,500+/-

Mr. Spray indicated that the total figure does not include engineering fees or permit fees which can add an additional $20,000 +/- to the given estimate.

Commissioner Livie advised that the Board review the requirements for roads in the County to meet the standards of the County, recommending that the County standards for an existing road, such as Martin Wagner Road, should not be the same as those for a new road constructed as part of a new subdivision. He advised that an exception should be made in the case of Martin Wagner Road. He asked that Jim Wright, County Engineer, review the standards as they pertain to Martin Wagner Road, as well as investigate whether or not it would be more cost effective for the County to maintain tar and chip surfaced roads rather than asphalt surfaced roads, and report about the same.


MARYLAND DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION (MDOT)

Correspondence was received from Robert L. Flanagan, Secretary, MDOT, introducing the plans of MDOT, the State Highway Administration (SHA), and Maryland Transportation Authority (MdTA) to consider adding a managed lane strategy known as "value pricing" to ongoing planning efforts where this approach has potential merit. This express toll lane alternative would offer motorists the option of paying a fee to use the express lanes with toll rates varying based on demand by time of day, based on actual traffic conditions - and collected 100% electronically at full highway speeds.

This strategy is projected to help reduce traffic congestion at toll plazas and produce funding to help advance construction of key highway improvement projects within the next 5 to 10 years, versus the 15 to 50 years it may take if the State depends only on traditional funding sources. While new to Maryland, Mr. Flanagan reported that the value pricing strategy has been successfully implemented in a number of transportation projects within the U.S. Public meetings have been scheduled by MDOT, SHA, and MdTA the State's citizens to learn more about Express Toll Lanes.


MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES

Dr. Leland Spencer, Health Officer for Kent and Caroline Counties, appeared and addressed concerns and provide information pertaining to his decision to terminate administration of the Regional Mental Health System that provides outpatient mental health services in Queen Anne's, Caroline and Kent Counties. Anne Livie, Director, Local Management Board (LMB), Nancy Zinn, Executive Director, Mid-Shore Mental Health Systems, Inc. (MSMHS), and approximately 16 interested persons were also in attendance, including the following staff persons of the Regional Mid-Shore Health Clinic, Kent County site: Nancy Connolly, Director, Phyllis Brooks Keen, Gale Tucker, Pat Gatto, Inez Thompson, and Beverly Guck.

Dr. Spencer initiated the discussion by reviewing the rationale for his decision to dissolve the tri-county mental health arrangement as of August 31, 2004, due to a persistent fiscal deficit of the Regional Mental Health System, which now totals over $500,000.00, and due to projections that this deficit is expected to worsen.

Dr. Spencer described two options for the County's provision of mental health services: Option One would involve cutting the number of mental health services staff in half, and directing clients of mental health services to a private provider, given no new sources of funding; Option Two would focus on mental health services for children and adolescents and the most severe adult cases, given new funding sources.

Anne Livie indicated that the LMB would like to offer its financial support for the provision of mental health services to the children of the County. She expressed LMB's concern that private providers would not be able to handle the population of people in the County requiring mental health services, and she praised the quality of services currently provided by the County's mental health clinic. She advised that LMB will proceed with a process for requesting $30,000.00 funding from the State.

Nancy Zinn distributed copies of an outline indicating the local mental health authority's role in a Health Department Clinic site transition. A statement was made, indicating that, if the decision is made by the local health department to modify the County clinic's current provision of services, MSMHS, acting as the County's agent, will do the following:

- Assist the local government in the development of the County plan by providing any additional information that may be necessary.

- If the consumers participate in the transition to other providers, MCMHS will:

determine which providers will be available to accept new consumers and notify them; develop a transition team to include staff from MSMHS and the clinic who will meet throughout the transition period; identify, utilizing provider list and the list from recent claims data, those individuals presently being serviced; assure that case management services are available, especially for the more complex cases; provide the clinic with a listing of available providers; assure that the individuals being served are notified and have the ability to choose a provider of service; provide follow-up to assure that those consumers who chose a provider have been successful in that transition.

Mrs. Zinn emphasized the importance of the following: the provision of a written plan that includes consideration of the impact on consumers; that consumers require adequate notification and the opportunity to choose a provider of service; and that decisions made be based on data, not speculation.

Mrs. Zinn also distributed copies of a chart indicating the growth in mid-shore service providers from 1997 to 2004 as it pertains to public mental health system service providers. She projected that the transition period would require six months.

Responding to the Commissioners' questions, Dr. Spencer recommended the following: that a partnership be established between the County and the private sector that would provide services to the least complex of consumers, and that the clinic provide services for the most complex consumers, serving also as a "clearing house" for client referrals, until the Health Department's clinic site transition is completed.

Mrs. Livie advised that LMB would be able to process a request for proposals (RFP) within the next three weeks, provided approval is granted by LMB.

Dr. Spencer requested that the County insert into its budget a line item for the mental health program every year, thereby, in his opinion, assuring stability and longevity to County mental health services. He requested that the County provide $30,000 a year in support of mental health services designated for children, adolescents, and the most complex adult consumers. He expressed his belief that this financial commitment from the County, plus the commitment of $30,000 from LMB would enable the clinic to provide said mental health services, with the proviso that Medicaid funds are not cut by the Federal government.

Mrs. Livie expressed her opinion that the County's need to provide mental health services should be considered a priority by all County citizens, describing these services as a safety net which literally saves human lives. She also noted that, from a purely fiscal perspective, it will cost the County dearly in the long run if it does not provide the funding for these services now.

Marge Fallaw, of Chestertown, expressed her concern of what she described as the short notice of Dr. Spencer's decision, indicating that she does not think that the privatizing of mental health services is an answer, that many clients would not be able to afford the co-pay, and identified clients' transportation to the clinic as an important issue requiring resolution. She also expressed her concern that mental health services be provided to clients of the closed clinics of Talbot, Dorchester, Caroline, and Kent Counties.

A person, who identified herself as a sophomore in Kent County High School, explained the benefits which she and her family have received from the County's mental health services.

An adult, who identified himself as a current client of the mental health clinic in Chestertown, expressed his concern that the progress of his health would regress during a six-month transition period, and that transportation to the site for mental health services is an issue for him.

Pat Gatto, a staff person of the Regional Mid-Shore Mental Health Clinic, expressed her concerns as follows: that the consistency of mental health services and the relationships established thereof are very important and should not be disrupted; that if funding is made available by the County, it would be designated for County mental health services; and she recommended that a committee be formed to determine first what services would be needed, and then to determine the budget to support those services.

Inez Thompson and Beverly Guck, also staff persons, expressed their opinions that the staff/client accessibility at the clinic is more often realized than that with a private provider.

Commissioner Livie expressed his opinion that there is the need for better advocacy and lobbying on behalf of mental health services at the State level. Commissioner Crow indicated that the County currently has a good mental health system, and that it is the desire of the Commissioners to assist that system through the challenges with which it is faced.

The Commissioners expressed their appreciation for the comments and suggestions offered.


Correspondence was received from Daniel S. Smithpeter, M.D., Delmarva Family Services, offering the services of Delmarva Family Resources as part of the replacement delivery system in the attempt to fill the void of the Regional Mental Health System.

Dr. Smithpeter advised that the staff of Delmarva Family Resources, the largest organization of its type on Maryland's Eastern Shore, includes therapists, social workers, nurse practitioners, counselors and psychiatrists who are committed to working with individuals in need of mental health services.


MOSQUITO CONTROL

Correspondence was received from Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr., advising that he has instructed the Secretary of Budget and Management, James "Chip" DiPaula, Jr., to maintain the 50/50 State/local funding match for mosquito control services, thereby rejecting proposals to increase the local portion of this match.

According to Governor Ehrlich, maintaining this cost-sharing arrangement will assist the County with its budget planning efforts and help to assure a continued State and local cooperative effort towards reaching an effective mosquito control program.


NATIONAL HUNGER AWARENESS DAY

Correspondence was received via electronic mail from Robert Forney, Chair, America's Hunger Day Committee, reporting that the National Association of Counties (NACo) is a participant in the plans for the National Hunger Awareness Day, to be celebrated June 3, 2004, and is requesting that the citizens and leaders of all counties work to create hunger-free counties. For more information, citizens of Kent County may contact www.mdfoodbank.org and www.hungerday.org.


PEDALS OF PEACE

Correspondence was received via fax transmittal from Keith Ware, Volunteer Outreach Coordinator, Pedals for Peace which represents a 700 bicycle ride taken by six teenagers from May 13 - 20, 2004 for the purpose of educating the public and raising money on behalf of children who they believe are being persecuted in China. For more information about Pedals for Peace, the public may contact www.pedalsofpeace.org.


PERSONNEL

At 5:35 p.m., a motion was made by Commissioner Livie, seconded by Commissioner Crow 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.

Susanne Hayman, County Attorney, was also in attendance.

The executive session adjourned at 6:15 p.m.


POST-PROM

Jeff Troester, Director of Parks and Recreation, reviewed some updates to the post-prom party that is being sponsored by Parks and Recreation at the National Guard Armory in Chestertown. At his invitation, Commissioners Livie and Crow agreed to attend parts of the event.


US COAST GUARD STATION

Jeff Troester, Director of Parks and Recreation, reported about discussions that he has had with Phil McGovern, Executive Director of Camp Tockwogh (YMCA), and Peter Rice, Executive Director of the Echo Hill Camp. He indicated he believes that the budget, which Mr. McGovern has prepared, will successfully support the consignment agreement on the former Coast Guard property. He also noted that Mr. McGovern would like Mr. Rice to be a partner. Bill Huie, the County's Federal government land representative, who has participated in said discussions, advised that the Federal government would accept a 5-year lease renewable for additional years.

Mr. Troester expressed his opinion that this type of utilization of the former Coast Guard property could be realized.

Commissioner Livie agreed to talk with Peter Rice about a consignment agreement that would include some property of both the Echo Hill and YMCA camps.



There being no further business to claim their attention, the Board adjourned to meet again on Tuesday, May 18, 2004.


THE COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
OF KENT COUNTY, MARYLAND


S. Ileana Lindstrom
Administrative Aide


Approved: Scott D. Livie, Member

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




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