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Board of County Commissioners

June 1, 2004

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

Susanne Hayman, County Administrator, was also in attendance.

Minutes of the previous meeting were approved.

W. Roger Williams, Treasurer, reported a balance of $1,656,989.00.


The Commissioners approved and signed Communications Tower Space Lease Agreement with Bay Broadband Communications, LLC (BBC) for leasing of county owned tower located at the Courthouse property, 103 North Cross Street, Chestertown for purpose of mounting a canopy access cluster and a cluster management unit and transmission lines for broadband transmission purposes at a monthly rental fee of $300 for a five year term commencing on July 1.


At 12:45 p.m., the Commissioners went into a budget work session. Susanne Hayman, County Administrator, Pat Merritt, Budget and Accounting Director, and Ed Robinson, Human Resources Director, were also in attendance. The budget session adjourned at 5:10 p.m.


Correspondence was received from Jane Baynard, County Manager, Dorchester County, directed to Dr. Stuart Bounds, President of Chesapeake College, reporting that, at its May 25 meeting, the Dorchester County Council approved a budget transfer request from the Chesapeake College Board of Trustees to transfer $23,313 from the Instruction and Institutional Support accounts to various operating accounts in order to support the purchase of non-capital equipment prior to June 30, 2004. The Dorchester County Council also approved the Board's request to increase expense authority in the Special Fund by $15,857 with the understanding that this increase will be offset by additional revenue.


As per the invitation of the Commissioners, Michael M. Thielke, Executive Director, CBF, appeared and reported on updates to the initiatives of the CBF and the CMTCS, and the configuration and responsibilities of the governing boards for these initiatives. Mr. Thielke introduced Guy Beckley, acting Operations Director, Chesapeake Marine Trades Career School.

As he had indicated in his correspondence two weeks earlier, Mr. Thielke reviewed the process for the re-configuration of the Board of Directors for the CBF which will be based on a concerted effort to secure a true demographic representation of the County's population on the Board, thereby institutionalizing the diversity of the Board.

Each initiative of the CBF, for example the Chesapeake Marine Trades Career School, would, in turn, have its own Advisory Board which would act as a quasi-board of directors for the School, having primary responsibility for budget preparation, personnel management, program development and execution, facility management, etc. Using the Marine Trades School as an example, the Marine Advisory Board would submit an annual budget/plan to the CBF for approval. Primarily, the CBF Board of Directors provides broad fiduciary oversight and establishes/approves priorities and long-range goals for the overall organization and individual initiatives.

Mr. Thielke reported that the primary mission of CBF is community development, to be inclusive of the entire County and for the long-term, through the process of prioritization and the establishment of initiatives, such as the Marine Trades School, (currently of the highest priority), business incubators, moderate income housing, and an Independent Development Account (IDA) which is a savings account program for low-income residents interested in job-training/education, the purchase of a first home, or the establishment of their own business.

In response to Commissioner Livie's question, Mr. Thielke indicated that the Community Center will soon be added to CBF's list of priority initiatives.

Mr. Thielke distributed copies of the configuration of CBF's Board of Directors, the demographics reflecting the diversity of its Board membership, the current Advisory Board membership of and the schematics for the construction of the Marine Trades School building, and the current activity update of the School. The latter included updates about the facility (i.e. its clean-up and projections of necessary repair and upgrading); projected courses of the School for youth and adults; the promotion of the School, for example, presentations made to various marine industry associations; and finances, including budgeting and funding.

Mr. Beckley, citing his 25 years of experience in the marine industry, described his activities on behalf of the Marine Trades School, including curriculum development (to be submitted for accreditation by the State), the clean-up and determination of necessary repairs of the former Rock Hall Seafood Processing Plant which will house the School.


Jean Austin, Extension Educator/Family and Consumer Sciences, and Beth Hill, Faculty Assistant/4-H and Youth, of the Kent County Cooperative Extension Service, appeared and presented updates about their respective programs and events. Mrs. Austin introduced a new staff member, Connie Metcalf, of Rock Hall, Food Stamp Program Educator, whose work, promoting nutrition education and family financial counseling, will be in collaboration with the Judy, Kent Family, and Senior Centers.

Responding to the Commissioners' questions pertaining to the improvement of the County's outreach efforts to its senior citizen population, Mrs. Austin reported that the County's collaboration with the Health Department and Social Services has been effective. She reported that there are currently 500 County residents who are recipients of the Food Stamp Program, of those 40% are senior citizens. The funding for Mrs. Metcalf's position is from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Commissioner Crow emphasized the importance of the community's role to inform its citizens of what resources are available to them as citizens.

Mrs. Hill reported about the 4-H's Project Outreach, referring to the Team Summary of activities from January to April 2004. Project Outreach is an opportunity for teens and pre-teens to develop creative solutions to community problems. The Kent Team's 2004 Project, "Play N Learn," was to teach the Pledge of Allegiance to the Kindergarten classes of Worton Elementary School. The 4-H Team's Project was recognized with the "Bright Idea Award" at the Project Outreach Tournament in April. As a result of their participation in Project Outreach, members of the Kent Team completed 35 service-learning hours.


Discussion was held as to need to fill this position as soon as possible in light that Ms. Hayman was currently assuming responsibilities of both the County Administrator and County Attorney as a result of her recent appointment. A review was made of proposals previously submitted for this position. A motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum to appoint Thomas N. Yeager as County Attorney effective June 2 to replace Susanne Hayman who was recently appointed as County Administrator. Alexander P. Rasin, III and Eugenia Wooton of Rasin Wright & Wooton will continue to assist in matters concerning land acquisition, water and wastewater, etc. on an as needed basis.


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

Quaker Neck Service Area/Chester River Landing - Mr. Morris referred to correspondence that he received from William Ingersoll, Town Manager, Chestertown, dated May 27, 2004, reviewing the meeting Mr. Ingersoll had with Mr. Morris two weeks earlier. Mr. Ingersoll reviewed in his letter their discussion about the plans and specifications for the upgrade of the pumps and controls at the John Hanson pump station and the extension of the Quaker Neck influent line from the old terminus in Lagoon # 1 to the new proposed Biolac cells.

In his letter, Mr. Ingersoll indicated that he extended an offer to the County via Mr. Morris that the Town would fund the cost of the plans, the pump upgrade, and the line extension under the overall sewer upgrade if the County Sanitary District would allow the 44 units at Chester River Landing to tie into the County gravity line in front of its property at no current or future charges or Operations and Maintenance fees.

Mr. Ingersoll attached copies of Chestertown's plans and specifications for the sewerage provision for Chester River Landing.

It was made clear that Chestertown's plans for the pump upgrade and the line extension are property of the Town; therefore, the County would have to choose either to purchase the plans from the Town or design its own plans. Mr. Morris advised of the need for further information to make a fully-informed decision, and reported that the only change to the current design of the water and wastewater system in the Quaker Neck Service Area, as proposed by Chestertown, would be an increase in the horsepower and the pump size at the John Hanson pump station.

Mr. Morris reported that he scheduled a meeting with a representative of the Farmer's Home Administration to discuss what grant funding may be available to the County should the County commit to the proposed sewer upgrades at Chester River Landing. He would like to determine first if the plans currently owned by Chestertown are suitable, and if so, he would advise that the County cooperate with Chestertown using said plans.

The Commissioners requested that a letter go forth to Mr. Ingersoll indicating that they have decided that the County would pay for the costs pertaining to the County's portion of the pump upgrade, the line extension, and the lagoon extension. The 44 units at Chester River Landing, which are now within the Town as a result of annexation, would be tied into the Town's force main on the Town's side of Radcliffe Creek.

Tolchester Service Area - Correspondence was received from Robert M. Summers, Director, Water Management Administration, of the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE), regarding the steps required for the formal revision of the Tolchester Growth Management Plan. Mr. Summers indicated that comments about the Growth Management Plan from the Maryland Department of Planning (MDP) would be required, given that the document was developed to address the requirements of the Maryland Economic Growth, Resource Protection, and Planning Act of 1992.


Gail Owings, Director of Planning and Zoning, appeared and reported that the next meeting of the Appeals Board is June 2, at 7:00 p.m. during which the proposed conference center and spa at Drayton Manor will be addressed. To questions posed by Commissioner Pickrum, Mrs. Owings reported that it is the policy of the Appeals Board to respond only to correspondence specifically addressed to the Appeals Board and that phone calls directed to the Appeals Board are recorded in writing and kept in their files. E-mails conveying concerns to be addressed by the Appeals Board, but not specifically addressed to the Appeals Board are sent back to the sender, requesting that it be directed to the Appeals Board.

Correspondence was received from Phillip and Linda Dutton requesting that the Petro Design/Build, Inc.'s (developer) application for a zoning certificate be rescinded concerning the proposed Drayton Manor conference center and spa. Commissioner Pickrum asked that it be conveyed that the Commissioners do not have the legal authority to rescind said application.

Mrs. Owings indicated that the Critical Areas Commission, as well as the Commissioners, are each responsible for holding a public hearing concerning the request for growth allocation concerning the proposed conference center at Drayton Manor.

Copy of correspondence directed to the Appeals Board was received from the following residents of Worton, requesting the appeal of the Zoning Certificate for the proposed development of Drayton Manor: Alan G. MacKinnon; Richard and Judith Feeny, and Michael Auth and Robin Abel.


Correspondence was received from Bernadette Bowman, Tourism Director, providing additional information as to proposed use of generated revenue if the Hotel Rental Tax was increased by 2%. The Commissioners and Mrs. Van Pelt will be meeting with the Rock Hall Mayor and Council and members of the Greater Rock Hall Business Association this evening for further discussion of the proposed increase to the Hotel Rental Tax.


The Commissioners approved and Commissioner Pickrum signed Fourth Contract Amendment with the Community Development Administration and the County Commissioners relating to administration of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program to extend the contract term to June 30, 2009.


As per the invitation of the Commissioners, Doug Sherman, Kent County's new Information Systems Technician, appeared and introduced himself to the Board. Following a review of his educational and work experience background, Mr. Sherman expressed his appreciation for the opportunities to apply his own creative problem-solving to his work for the County. In response to Commissioner Livie's question, Mr. Sherman indicated that of all the current challenges he is faced with, of priority is the need for a management plan for the County's Information Technology, specifically: establishing a hi-speed wireless link from the County Government Center to the Sheriff's Office and the Detention Center; and establishing a central service to administer all of the County computers. The Commissioners encouraged the efforts of Mr. Sherman towards achieving these goals.


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.

Concerning the application of Harold L. Brown, Jr., of Brown's Lawn Care Service, Worton, for a one year burn permit, memorandum was received from Nony Howell, Sanitation Officer, Environmental Health Office, in which she reported that there are no files that reflect a current burning permit application denied to Mr. Brown. Files do indicate applications submitted by Brenda Brown for burn permits in July, October, December, all in 2003, the latter having been extended until March 2, 2004. Ms. Howell noted that all of the permits were issued under the assumption that the brush material was generated from the Brown property, not material imported from other locations. The application form clearly states that material to be burned must originate on the applicant's own property. A copy of this correspondence received from Ms. Howell will be forwarded to Mr. Brown.


At 11:20 a.m., a motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum to go into executive session for legal counsel in accordance of State Government Article, Section 10.508 of the Annotated Code of Maryland.

Items of discussion included excise tax and Kent County Business Park.

The executive session adjourned at 11:45 a.m.


Correspondence was received from Jon C. Burrell, Executive Director, LGIT, requesting the County's concurrence as a LGIT member for the comprehensive plan for LGIT designed to address fairly and equitably the Fiscal Year 2003 deficit in the Health Pool. Implementation of this plan would return approximately $3 Million to the Members of the Trust in the form of premium credits or an offset to other obligations to the Trust. The ability of the Board to implement this plan would require the County's approval of amendments to the Trust Agreement.


At 10:25 a.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 11:20 a.m.

At 2:45 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 Thomas N. Yeager to discuss personnel matters in accordance with State Government Article, Section 10.508 of the Annotated Code of Maryland.

The executive session adjourned at 3:20 p.m.


Gail Owings, Director of Planning and Zoning, appeared and presented reports on the following. Amy Moredock, Environmental Planner, and Rick Meyers, Enforcement Officer, were also in attendance.

Eastern Shore Heritage, Inc. (ESHI) - Mrs. Owings reported that ESHI, the management entity of the "Stories of the Chesapeake Heritage Area," will have its first meeting on June 7th, 7:00 p.m. at Chesapeake College.

The Sassafras River Association - A meeting to discuss the possibility of organizing a Sassafras River Association will take place on June 3, at 7:00 p.m.

The Upper Eastern Shore Tributary Team - The sixth annual "Wade-In" will take place June 19, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center (formerly Horsehead Wetlands Center), Grasonville. For the record, since 1997, the month of June has unofficially become the "Wade-In Month" across the State of Maryland, with many of its Tributary teams conducting public education and outreach events to promote the enhancement of water quality in their respective watersheds, using the "Sneaker Index" method of measuring water quality.

Fee Waiver- Hurricane Isabel -Correspondence was received from Gretchen Stroh, of Rock Hall, requesting waiver of the application fee in the amount of $350.00 for a variance which would permit she and her husband, Richard Stroh, to have steps to their back and front doors built. Mrs. Stroh reported that her home was damaged severely by Hurricane Isabel and that she and her husband, in order to rebuild on the same property, have had to lift their house above the flood plain. According to Mrs. Stroh, in order to have access to their front and back door, steps would have to be built. Mrs. Stroh indicated that, in her opinion, the $350 application fee for the variance constitutes a financial hardship for her and her husband, and hence, the request for the waiver. This request will be reviewed with the Director of the Planning and Zoning Administration.

Growth Policy - Correspondence was received from Congressman Wayne Gilchrest encouraging the Commissioners to avail themselves of information about Adequate Public Facilities Ordinances as provided by the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission and the Maryland Department of Planning. He advised that this information would be helpful with the issues concerning the impacts of growth on roads, schools, emergency services, and public utilities.


The Commissioners appointed Patricia H. Turner as a member of the Tourism Development Advisory Board for a three year term ending May 1, 2007.


Memorandum was received from Roger Williams, Treasurer, reporting about changes in the HTE software, mandated on May 12, 2004 and effective May 12, 2004, that will need to be installed in order to process this year's real estate tax bills. Mr. Williams requested the funds for this $1,000.00 expenditure. The Commissioners approved this expenditure out of the contingency fund.


Correspondence was received from Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr. reporting that the Maryland General Assembly has approved the following as Waterway Improvement Fund Grant Projects included in the Fiscal Year 2005 Budget: at Turners Creek, the replacement of breakwater which protects the public landing from wave action, with a grant amount of $100,000.00; at Bayside Public Landing, the replacement of bulkhead and finger piers used by the general boating public at Pelorus Marina on Kent Street, with a grant amount of $100,000.00. The approved project funds will become available on July 1, 2004.


Amy Moredock, Environmental Planner, appeared and, in response to Commissioner Livie' request, reported on the status of Urieville Lake. Ms. Moredock reported that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, in conjunction with consultants, are in the process of compiling and reviewing the results of studies about a proposed engineering reconfiguration and clean-up of the Lake being conducted by the Department of Natural Resources, the County, and the Army Corps. Although undergoing a budget freeze, the Army Corp is optimistic about seeing this proposed engineering/clean-up project through to completion. Ms. Moredock expressed her opinion that the clean-up might be completed in three to five years, after having been put on hold for 20 years.

Commissioner Livie requested that Ms. Moredock follow-up with further communications with a chemical company with whom he had networked about the use of organic chemicals to clean ponds, lakes, etc. A visitor who identified himself as a resident of Queen Anne's County, appeared and recommended the name of a company that would be able to clean-up the algae in Urieville Lake using organic chemicals that would not harm the natural habitat of Urieville Lake.


A random drawing was made of the various election districts. The Fourth Election District was drawn and becomes the next focus of an intensive, six-month search for any nuisance ordinance violations within that Election District. This six-month emphasis was begun upon the administration of the current Board of Commissioners.

There being no further business to claim their attention, the Board adjourned to meet again on Tuesday, June 8, 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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