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Board of County Commissioners

May 18, 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 $2,228,116.00.


Carter Stanton, Director of Public Works, appeared and reported that rumble strips will be installed on Bay Shore Road on May 19 as the County's response to the complaint issued by residents about the excessive speeding of vehicular traffic on Bay Shore Road.


In follow up to bid opening held on April 20, and due to lack of response received, Jeff Troester, Director of Parks and Recreation, presented a proposal received from Craig Hastings, of C & C Construction, for the repair work needed for structures at Betterton Beach. Jim Wright, County Engineer, was also in attendance.

A motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie, and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum to award C & C Construction the following County projects at Betterton Beach: replacement of the roof on the Betterton Beach bath house ($4,257.45) and the gazebo ($1,997,84), utilizing shingles as the new roofing material for both, replacement of both sets of stairs ( the removal of the existing timber stair treads and landing decking, repair or replacement of any deteriorated, damaged or missing support members and the installation of new timber treads - $5,890.77, decking and top handrails on the entire stairway structure - $2,945.23), for a total proposed fee of $12,441.29.

The fees for said repairs will be funded as follows: 90% through Program Open Space (POS), 10% through the County Capital Budget.


Correspondence was received from Dr. Bonnie C. Ward, Superintendent, Kent County Public Schools, expressing her support of the request from Dr. Leland Spencer, Health Officer of Kent and Caroline Counties, for an increase in funding ($26,070) for two contractual school nurses. She indicated that this increase would allow the school nurses to be recognized as State employees with full benefits.


Ted Batchelor, Assistant Scout Master, Boy Scout Troop # 130, appeared and extended an invitation to the Commissioners, on behalf of Troop # 130, to attend the Troop's first camp-out of the year on May 22, 2004 at Turners Creek. Commissioner Crow agreed to attend.


At 1:30 p.m., the Commissioners held a budget work session. Pat Merritt, Director of Budget and Accounting, Susanne Hayman, Human Resources Director, and Ed Robinson, County Administrator, were also in attendance. Lori Kern, Account Executive of Maury Donnelly & Parr, Inc., and Lorraine Sexton, Personnel Coordinator, appeared and reviewed a proposal for renewal of the Optimum Choice health insurance benefits for County employees.

A motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Pickrum and passed by the majority of the Board to renew the health benefit package for County employees to include an enhanced RX plan, to provide a voluntary life and voluntary disability package and establishment of a voluntary flexible spending account for employees. Commissioner Livie abstained from voting on this matter. Ms. Kern left at 2:00 p.m.

Further review and discussion was held on proposed budget requests. The budget work session adjourned at 6:15 p.m.


Correspondence was received from Michael M. Thielke, Executive Director, Chester Bridge Foundation, Inc. (CBF), requesting the Commissioners' participation in the reconfiguring of CBF's Board of Directors by their appointment of six non-government employed County residents to the Board of Directors by June 15, 2004.


Correspondence was received from Walter Washington, Jr., Chief, Maryland Section Southern, directed to Captain Christopher D. Mills, U.S. Coast Guard, Facilities Design and Construction Center, confirming receipt of Captain Mills' signed dredging permit, for the U.S. Coast Guard/Still Pond Substation, and indicating that Captain Mills may proceed with the pertinent construction, provided that all required State and/or local authorizations have been obtained. A copy of this correspondence was forwarded to Jeff Troester, Parks and Recreation Director, and Carter Stanton, Director of Public Works.


Correspondence was received from Thomas R. Genetti, Assistant Secretary, Facilities Planning, Department of General Services, confirming approval of the State grant - Community Based Regional Initiative Loan of 2004 - Kent County Recreation and Community Complex, Item G335, Chapter 204, Acts of 2003, in the amount of $500,000. The County has seven years from the date the grant is authorized to complete the project and expend the State funds.


Gail Owings, Director of Planning and Zoning, appeared and provided an update on the Comprehensive Plan, reporting that the Planning Commission has tentatively scheduled the first public meeting for discussion about the Comprehensive Plan to take place on June 22, 2004 at the High School. Carla Martin, Community Planner, was also in attendance.

Mrs. Owings reported that the Planning Commission is planning to conduct a visual exercise and small group discussions for the public at this meeting. Responding to Commissioner Crow's question, Mrs. Owings reported among the current major issues to be addressed is development in Kennedyville and in other towns.


A white dogwood tree on the rear lawn of the County Government Center was planted in memory of Walter B. Harris, Jr. The tree and forth-coming plaque were donated jointly by the Kent County Forestry Board and the Soil and Water Conservation Service. During the ceremony, it was noted that Mr. Harris served as a supervisor on the Soil and Water Conservation Board for 32 years and as associate supervisor from 1997 until his death in May 2003. Mr. Harris was also extremely active in support of various "Save the Bay" and other environment advocacy organizations, and was a member of the Historical Society of Kent County.

In addition to the Commissioners, the following people were in attendance to witness the dedication: Mr. Harris' wife and daughter, Dolly and Holly, son-in-law, Mac McCoy (who is also a member of the Forestry Board), Delegate Mary Roe Walkup, Karen Miller, District Manager of Soil and Water Conservation District, and Wickes Westcott, (Chairperson), John Bergen (former Forestry Board member), Eddy Taylor, Tim Redman, Associate Member, and Tommy Unruh, all members of the Soil and Water Conservation Board; and of the Forestry Board, Teri Batchelor, Secretary to the Kent and Queen Anne's County Board and Upper Shore Project Manager/Forester with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Forest Service, and Gail Owings ("ex officio" and former member).

Delegate Walkup, Commissioner Pickrum, Mrs. Batchelor and Mrs. Miller spoke, paying tribute to Mr. Harris' memory by praising the many and diverse contributions he made to the County as a true public servant.


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

Tolchester Service Area - Mr. Morris provided an update on the allocation policy, reporting that he submitted to the Maryland Department of Planning the Tolchester Growth Management Plan, and that he has not as yet received reply. Concerning the waiting list of allocation requests in Tolchester, Mr. Morris sent correspondence to the respective individuals informing them that the determination of allocations is in process.

Mr. Morris provided an update pertaining to the request of Tracy Stone, of Tolchester, in her correspondence received in April 2004, for information as to the maximum number of homes along Maryland Parkway in Tolchester which can be served on a 2-inch sewer line, and the response from Barry Ebersole, of McCrone's, Inc. (Engineering). For the record, Mr. Ebersole, reported his opinion, based on his study, that 11 pumps can connect to the 2-inch collection main in Maryland Parkway, but not one more unless the collection main in MD Route 21 is upgraded. Mr. Morris reported that he should soon be receiving Mr. Ebersole's completed hydraulic study, as per Ms. Stone's concern.

Mr. Morris reported that Catherine Adams did not respond to certified mail sent by his office, which was to serve as notice of the deadline to confirm her allocation request for Tax Map 35D, Parcel # 363, by the end of April 2004.

A motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie, and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum, to rescind Mrs. Adams' allocation for said property.

The Commissioners approved and signed Public Works Agreement with Alan Todd and L. Susan Barnhardt for a sewer allocation located on Map 35D, Parcel 598 in the Tolchester Service Area.

Worton Service Area - In response to a letter of inquiry received from Ernest Robinson of EBN Partners, LLC of Worton, dated May 10, 2004, Mr. Morris advised him that there are currently sufficient allocations available for his proposed 22 lot subdivision located on MD Route 298 in Worton. Mr. Morris also advised him that, until Mr. Robinson's project receives approval from the Commissioners and the allocation fees are paid, the County cannot guarantee any amount of capacity availability of water and sewer allocations.

Correspondence was received from William M. Crowding, Registered Surveyor, on behalf of Ernest Robinson, requesting a sewer and water allocation for Tax Map 51, Parcel 438 be transferred to his property on Tax Map 20, Grid 4A, Parcel 63. Mr. Robinson is in the process of subdividing a 11,012 square foot lot from Parcel 63. For the record, Commissioner Pickrum expressed his opinion that allocations should be granted only to a specifically designated property, and that requests for the transfer of allocations should not be granted.

A motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie, and made passed by the majority of the Board, to approve a sewer and water allocation-transfer from Tax Map 51, Parcel 438 to Tax Map 20, Grid 4A, Parcel 63, the properties of Ernest Robinson.. Commissioner Pickrum opposed granting of this request.

Mr. Morris encouraged the Commissioners to give serious consideration to the large amount of interest being conveyed by developers in building homes in the Worton Service Area. He cited Mr. Robinson's 22 lot subdivision and other interests which he has been made aware of, pointing out that Worton has only 100 allocations.

He also requested that the Commissioners review the Department of Water and Wastewater Services' budget and the Comprehensive Plan in light of this aggressive expression of interest.

Edesville Service Area - Discussion ensued pertaining to correspondence received by the County from the Town of Rock Hall (dated May 7, 2004) regarding the proposed 50/50 cost share between Rock Hall and the County for a detailed study to determine if the Town of Rock Hall's water supply can cover domestic supply instead of just an emergency supply. Mr. Morris advised that there are outstanding issues requiring further negotiations and clarification before the County can commit to the existing Edesville Sewer Agreement, such as ownership, maintenance, etc.

A letter will go forth to the Mayor and Town Council of Rock Hall indicating that the Board further discussed the feasibility study and is requesting further negotiations and clarification.

Edesville Wastewater Upgrade Project/Kennedyville Wastewater Upgrade Project - The Commissioners approved and signed Resolution declaring official intent to reimburse expenditures to be incurred with respect to the Edesville Wastewater Upgrade Project ($750,000) and Kennedyville Wastewater Upgrade Project ($3,000,000) from certain funds with the proceeds of debt to be issued by the Board.

Emergency Generator - Responding to Commissioner Scott's request for an update on the emergency generator, Mr. Morris reported that he has learned from Robert Rust, Jr., Director of Emergency Management, that the delay in the County's receipt of the funding for the generator is due to the request from Homeland Security for clarification as to the specific use intended by the County for the generator, and for a budget designation, either Fiscal Year 2004 or 2005.


P.A.M. Schaller, Director of Economic Development, appeared and reported on the following:

Bay Broadband Communications (BBC) - The first tower lease is being written by the County Attorney. Responding to Commissioner Crow's question, Ms. Schaller indicated that the first broadband equipment will be up by June 1, 2004. Mrs. Schaller advised of need for representative of BBC to mount the subject towers to enable the schematic drawing to be completed. The Commissioners gave approval subject to prior notification being given to the Director of Water and Wastewater.

Procurement Fair - It was decided not to plan for a County Procurement Fair at this time.

CD Rom Education Upgrade - The Commissioners expressed their favorable opinion about the revised portion of the County CD Rom, produced as a marketing tool for County economic development, which describes the educational opportunities in the County.

Kent County Business Park at Worton - Correspondence was received from Cecil Criss, Utilities Senior Electrical Engineer, Choptank Electric Cooperative, Inc., providing an estimate of $90,000 to supply the MVA of capacity for the Business Park. The County's next step will be to provide Choptank Electric with a finalized plat. No further action was taken at this time

Ms. Schaller questioned the status of the proposed stormwater management pond on the CFF property. Susanne Hayman, County Attorney, advised negotiations are still underway

LaMotte Property - Summarizing the meeting of the Economic Advisory Board with Sarah Woodworth, Vice President, ZHA, Inc. ( public/private development advisors), on May 17, Ms. Schaller indicated that ZHA will conduct surveys, gather information, etc.; however, the company does not prepare schematics. Upon the completion of ZHA's work, the County would then evaluate the recommendations made by ZHA of candidates for the work of preparing the schematics for the Business Park.

Commissioner Pickrum suggested that the process for designating a company to do the schematics should begin at the present time.

Commissioner Crow suggested that the methodology supporting the development of the Business Park at Worton would be useful when applied to other County plans in the future.

National Business Incubator Association Conference - Ms. Schaller expressed her appreciation to the Commissioners for the County's financial support in enabling her participation at the Incubator Association Conference on May 4.

Responding to Commissioner Livie's question, Ms. Schaller advised that there is no duplication of effort between the office of Economic Development and Chester Bridge Foundation.

Commissioner Livie suggested that the incubation concept could be applied to the joint educational trade programs of the High School and Chesapeake College which matches students with local businesses. It was also suggested that Mrs. Schaller contact Dr. Terry Scout of Washington College as well.


The Commissioners approved and Commissioner Pickrum signed Memorandum of Understanding for implementation of the Maryland Eastern Shore Interoperability Network between the County of Worcester and the Counties of Caroline, Cecil, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne's, Somerset, Talbot, Wicomico and the Town of Ocean City.


A copy of the Report of the Grand Jury filed on May 11, 2004, for the year 2004, was received for the Board's information and files.


Commissioners Pickrum and Livie plan to meet with the Rock Hall Mayor and Council on May 20 to further discuss the proposal to increase the Hotel Rental Tax from 3% to 5% and to seek the Town's willingness to return the revenue generated from the additional 2% back to the County to be used toward tourism development. Bernadette Bowman, Tourism Director, and Ed Robinson, County Administrator, will also attend this meeting.

Mrs. Van Pelt advised of a meeting held with Chestertown Mayor Margo Bailey and William Ingersoll, Town Manager, related to the proposed increase in the Hotel Rental Tax. Mayor Bailey advised of interest to return the additional revenue generated to the County and in return to receive funding from the County in a flat amount of $5,000 which would cover the employment expenses of an additional employee at the Visitor's Center. This arrangement would eliminate the need for the Tourism Office secretary to work at the Visitor's Center as she currently does one hour per work day. No formal request has been received from the Town.


Correspondence was received from Harold L. Brown, Jr., Brown's Lawn Care Service, Worton, relating to his application for a one year burn permit. Contact will be made with the Kent County Health Department, requesting a copy of the State regulations governing burn permits.


Carter Stanton, Director of Public Works, reported concerning the potholes in the high school parking lot, and indicated that he and Jim Wright, County Engineer, and Ed Spray, Superintendent, County Roads, met with Tony Cucina, Supervisor of Environmental Services, Kent County Public Schools, and were not able to provide Mr. Cucina with any conclusions or solutions.

As per the suggestion of the Commissioners, for the interim period until construction begins with the high school renovations project, the County Roads Division will fill-in the potholes with the gravel- mix usually used as filler.


The Commissioners approved and Commissioner Pickrum signed Professional Services Agreement with ZHA, Inc., Real Estate and Economic Development Consultant, for the purpose of conducting a marketing analysis for the LaMotte property.


Carla Martin, Community Planner, appeared and reported about the Land Protection Toolbox Seminar scheduled to take place on May 24, 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Galena Middle School. Gail Owings, Director of Planning and Zoning, was also in attendance.

Presenters at the Seminar, sponsored by the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, will provide residents information about the following land protection tools: Maryland Agriculture Land, Rural Legacy Program, Donated Conservation Easements, Conservation Buyer Program, Estate Planning, Federal Programs, such as the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP), Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP), Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP), etc. To RSVP and for further information, the public may contact 410.827.9756, ext. 163.


At 11:25 a.m., motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum to go into closed session for legal counsel with Susanne Hayman, County Attorney, in accordance with State Government Article, Section 10.508 of the Annotated Code of Maryland.

Items of discussion were related to the Kent County Business Park at Worton.

The closed session adjourned at 11:47 a.m.

At 12:05 p.m., a motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum to go into closed session for legal counsel with Susanne Hayman, County Attorney, in accordance with State Government Article, Section 10.508 of the Annotated Code of Maryland.

Items of discussion included: issues pertaining to the Quaker Neck Service Area and the Public Information Act.

The closed session adjourned at 12:30 p.m.


Ed Birkmire, Director of Environmental Health, appeared and, on behalf of the LEPC, appealed to the Commissioners for their assistance with recruiting volunteers needed for participation in the LEPC's full-scale terrorism drill to take place on May 19th at the Washington College campus for the purpose of testing the local response.

Mr. Birkmire conveyed his disappointment that the previous commitments, made in February 2004, by some groups to volunteer have not been met, and, hence, the emergent need for volunteers.

In a phone call that was made during the Commissioners' meeting to Dr. Bonnie Ward, Superintendent, Kent County Public Schools, the Commissioners emphasized and encouraged the commitment made by the schools to recruit volunteers. Dr. Ward responded by indicating that the schools did actively recruit students and, with parental approval, committed 22 students as volunteers, and that an additional attempt would be made during the lunch break at the schools during this day.

An attempt was made to contact James Siemen, President of the Board of Education, by phone during the meeting about the commitment of the schools, however he was not available.

The Commissioners agreed to permit County employees to serve as volunteers for the drill. Mr. Birkmire expressed his appreciation to the Commissioners for this assistance.


In response to correspondence received from the MVA, dated April 26, requesting that each county designate one individual from its jurisdiction to be responsible for the distribution of Emergency Operator cards, (cit. Minutes, May 4, 2004), the Commissioners designated Robert Rust, Jr., Director, Emergency Management Agency, to issue the cards.


Jeff Troester, Director of Parks and Recreation, appeared and reported about the following:

County Scholarships - A unanimous decision and recommendation of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board was made at their meeting on May 17th, that Parks and Recreation scholarships for the County's programs and camps for children should be granted only to children who are residents of the County.

The Commissioners expressed their reluctance to deny scholarships to any child, and also expressed their hope that children, for example those who are not residents of the County but who are the summer house-guests of relatives who are County residents, would seek financial assistance from non-profit organizations in the County enabling them to participate in the Parks and Recreation programs for children.

A motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie, and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum, to restrict eligibility of County scholarships for County-sponsored programs to children who are residents of Kent County.

Edesville Park - Mr.Troester reported that, concerning the complaints issued by parents and children representing the Rock Hall teams of the Babe Ruth Softball League, that their field conditions are poor, and that the team benches and spectators bleachers as surrounded by standing water, Parks and Recreation is working with Soil Conservation to correct the situations, creating a swale to divert rainwater away from said areas.

Post-Prom Party - Commissioner Crow praised the efforts of Jeff Troester, Director, and the staff of Parks and Recreation, for their work in creating a successful post-prom party on May 22/23. A letter will go forth commending Mr. Troester and his staff.


At 11:47 a.m., a motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum to go into executive session with P.A.M Schaller, Economic Development 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 12:05 p.m.

At 12:40 p.m., a motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum to go into executive session to discuss personnel matters in accordance with State Government Article, Section 10.508 of the Annotated Code of Maryland.

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


A. Elizabeth Lusby Day - The Commissioners signed a Proclamation declaring May 25, 2004 as A. Elizabeth Lusby Day in honor of her 100th birthday.


The Commissioners appointed Michael Hanscom and Barbara Vann as members of the Tourism Development Advisory Board for a three year term ending May 1, 2007.


Correspondence was received from Santo A. Grande, Chief Executive Officer, Delmarva Community Services, Inc., an agency which is working in conjunction with the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) to provide and develop a transition plan for the possible exchange of transit providers in the upper shore counties of Kent, Caroline, and Talbot. It currently provides transit services in Dorchester County under its Delmarva Community Transit Program.

Mr. Grande expressed assurance that Delmarva Community Services, Inc. will work with the budgeted funds provided to it from the County and the MTA. He advised that it must have all funds currently provided by MTA including SSTAP funding for its proposed service to succeed and that it is the desire of Delmarva Community Services, Inc. to provide a comprehensive transit program to the County.


The Commissioners approved the request of Alvin E. Tinch, Chair, Administrative Council, of Union United Methodist Church, in Coleman, to waive the fee for a site review concerning the church's construction of a memorial/multi-purpose building.


Memorandum was received from Marty T. Holden, Waste Management Coordinator, reporting of a possible deficit within the Solid Waste Fiscal Year 2004 Budget due to the following: the "Tipping Fees" will be depleted during the month of May, which may be a result of the clean-up following Hurricane Isabel. Mr. Holden advised that he will update the Commissioners if there are any changes in the Waste Management budget estimates, and that he has discussed this potential deficit with Pat Merritt, Director of Budget and Accounting.


Carter Stanton, Director of Public Works, appeared and reported that, in response to concerns expressed by residents about the excessive speeding on Wilson Point Road, the County installed traffic signs to indicate the lower legal speed.

There being no further business to claim their attention, the Board adjourned to meet again on Tuesday, May 25, 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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