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Board of County Commissioners

August 24, 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 $2,058,299.00.

Commissioner Pickrum requested a moment of silence to remember the men and women in uniform around the world who are in peril defending the United States' freedom and America's way of life.


A press release was received from Aberdeen Proving Ground reporting that on August 17 a chemical agent alarm indicated a low-level presence of mustard agent vapor inside the sealed storage structure which houses mustard agent in steel containers. No vapor was detected outside the storage building at any time, and at no time was there any danger to facility workers, the community, or the environment.

The U.S. Army plans to use a specialized sealing device to keep agent vapor from again leaving the container and then transfer the container to nearby Aberdeen Chemical Agent Disposal Facility for disposal once the surrounding containers in the storage structure can be moved out of the way. Since beginning disposal operations in April 2003, workers at Aberdeen Proving Ground have safely destroyed more than 30 percent of the stockpile of mustard agent. For more information about storage and disposal operations at Aberdeen Proving Ground, the public may contact http://www.cma.army.mil.


At the recommendation of Gail Owings, Director of Planning and Zoning Administration, the Commissioners approved the letter of credit received from Wells Fargo Bank in the amount of $2,500.00 guaranteeing compliance to the afforestation requirement as it relates to subdivision for Richard Graham (previously J.T. Anthony Subdivision).


Correspondence was received via electronic mail from Margot Kindig, resident of Bayshore Road in Fairlee, requesting that the Commissioners inform her of when the proposed rumble strips will be installed on Bayshore Road. A letter will go forth to inform Mrs. Kindig that a traffic sign to reduce the speed of the vehicular traffic on Bayshore Road will be installed; however, no rumble strips will be installed since it would be in violation of State Highway Administration specifications.


Pat Merritt, Budget and Accounting Director, provided the Board with a revised schedule of estimated debt service payments based on the revised Kent County High School renovation cost of $9,500,000 (the original $6,000,000 plus the $3,500,000 to cover the sprinkler system)

The Commissioners expressed concern that State funding in Kent County is based on a 50/50 match while there are a number of counties that receive a higher match and agreed to follow up on this concern by contacting various state officials as to possible change in the funding formula.

Recognition - Margie Ree Baker, Kent County Public School educator, was recognized by the Commissioners for her 40 years of dedicated service. Commissioner Crow expressed the appreciation of the Board and the County for Mrs. Baker's efforts which will long be an inspiration to all her students and peers. In celebration of Mrs. Baker's retirement, the Commissioners presented Mrs. Baker with a framed County Seal.


Gail Owings, Director of Planning and Zoning, appeared and reviewed issues addressed at the decisions made at the meeting of the Board of Zoning Appeals on August 23.


Ms. Hayman reported that Dick Goodall, President, KRM, Inc., of Chestertown, has extended an invitation to the Board and to other County employees to participate in the Character Counts Program. The Commissioners agreed to participate in the program. For the record, the Character Counts Program is a nation-wide program and is sponsored locally by the Board of Education. Its purpose is to instill in school-aged children and youth the "Seven Pillars of Character."


A copy of a Memorandum was received from Dr. Bonnie C. Ward, Superintendent of Kent County Public Schools, directed to the Community Center Group, providing an update of the Kent County High School (KCHS) renovation project ($10 Million for systemic renovation plus $1 Million for project manager and architect).

Included among the upcoming plans listed were the following:

Summer 2004 - Phase I work started on heating system including boilers, to be finished by November.

September 1 - Renovation planning meeting at 10:00 a.m. at Central Office with project manager and architect to receive final update prior to completion of the Capital Improvement Plan due in October.

September 7 - Board of Education to review priorities and estimated costs at 7:00 p.m. meeting with presentation by project manager and architect.

October 4 - Board of Education approval of the Capital Improvement Plan at 7:00 p.m. meeting.

Summer 2005 - Phase II/III renovation work

Summer 2006 - Finish Phase II/III renovation work; project ends.


Due to a scheduled meeting with representatives of the Maryland Department of Transportation, the Commissioners' quarterly Town meeting will be scheduled on the third Tuesday during the month of October to be held at the Betterton Volunteer Fire Company.


The Commissioners approved to renew an agreement with the Walter B. Harris Trust granting to the County exclusive rights to mine and purchase gravel from the pit located on the Bloomingneck Farm in the Third Election District of Kent County. Agreement will be prepared for signatures.


A copy of correspondence dated August 16 was received from Delegate Mary Roe Walkup, directed to Bradley M. Morris, of Brick House Farm, Inc., of Chestertown, expressing her concern shared by Mr. Morris regarding the proposed new regulations issued by the DHMH that created three new "user fees" on the dairy industry. She indicated that, in her opinion, these fees would represent a significant burden on the dairy farming industry.

Delegate Walkup reported that the Administrative, Executive, Legislative Review (AELR) Committee, which reviews regulations promulgated by legislative action, agreed at their last meeting on August 10, to act on this issue. She, along with other members of the AELR, have requested a review and hearing of the DHMH regulations. This hearing, the date of which is yet to be determined, will be an important opportunity for the public to comment on this issue and will provide a thorough review of the proposed increases.


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

Chestertown - A letter was received from Bob Sipes, Utilities Commission Manager, Chestertown Utilities Commission, dated August 19, indicating that, effective July 1, 2004, the Town of Chestertown raised its water and sewer rates approximately 13% for all water and sewer services. Mr. Sipes noted that that the last increase was in 1993 and this rate increase was necessary due to projections of costs for our Water and Sewer Plant upgrades. He also reported that the quarterly bill for each unit is $25.50 (one and one-half times the residential sewer rate of $17.00.

Quaker Neck Service Area - A letter will go forth to the Mayor and Town Council of Chestertown to follow up on the meeting that took place on August 16 which included Mr. Morris, Mr. Ingersoll, Commissioner Livie, Ms. Hayman et. al., regarding the agreement as to how the County and the Town will proceed with the Quaker Neck Service Area project.

Rock Hall Water System/Edesville Service Area - A crack has been discovered in the water line which will be addressed with remedial repairs until the problem has been fully examined. Mr. Morris reported that the more permanent solution will be made as a result of the the Memorandum of Agreement between Rock Hall and the County which will authorize the connection of the Edesville Service Area to the Rock Hall water line, thereby providing water service to Edesville.


Commissioner Pickrum initiated discussion about correspondence received from Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr. requesting that the County submit for approval its designation of a local drug and alcohol abuse council. As per legislation that the Governor signed in May 2004, each county in the State is required to have a designated Drug and Alcohol Abuse Council that will submit to the State a two-year local plan for drug and alcohol abuse evaluation, prevention, and treatment services, survey the use of funds in their jurisdiction and consider local government grant applications for substance abuse prevention, evaluation and treatment.

When approved, the County's council, in cooperation with the Maryland Drug and Alcohol Abuse Council and all other county councils, will contribute to the improvement of the links between the criminal justice system and substance abuse treatment services as well as increase diversion from prosecution and alternatives to incarceration for low level, non-violent offenders.

Ms. Hayman indicated that, in light of the fact that the County in the past has had a similar council, she will inquire and report at the next Commissioners' meeting about the status of that council and the guidelines governing the current State- mandated Council. Commissioner Pickrum suggested that the Detention Center be represented on the Council.


The County Administrator authorized the submission of a Project Agreement, entitled "Kent County Community Traffic Safety Program" to the Maryland Highway Safety Office, State Highway Administration, as prepared by the Kent County Substance Abuse Prevention Program.


Commissioner Pickrum noted receipt of a copy of correspondence from Jack M. Canan, Coordinator of Housing and Community Development, directed to Bruce Riddleberger, Housing Rehabilitation Specialist, Interfaith Housing Development Corporation, indicating the County's commitment, through its HIP Project, to participate in realizing a "replacement" home for Emma and Addie Lively who reside at 23677 Newtown Road in Worton.

Mr. Canan also reported that the County paid the attorney fees to clear-up the Lively's deed, in order to permit them to be eligible for Replacement Housing. Mr. Canan also reported that he has asked the Board of County Commissioners to waive all applicable local, County-controlled permit fees related to the construction of the new home in question.

He also expressed the County's commitment to reserving funds within its HIP Project to finance, if required, related water and sewer services to the said replacement home, if the County is provided new grant funds from the MD Department of Housing and Community Development over the next 60 to 90 days. Gail Owings, Director of Planning and Zoning, appeared and reported that there is precedent for the County's waiver of this fee for HIP participants, and that the cost for this specific waiver would be $160.00

A motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie, and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum to approve Mr. Canan's request.

Additional correspondence was received from Mr. Canan requesting the Commissioners to request a supplemental Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) in the amount of $75,000 from Nancy Palmer, Program Manager, MD CDGB Program, Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, for the following reasons: (1) to maintain the continuity of the County's HIP project; and (2) for the required financial support of the HIP Housing Rehabilitation Specialist's position which is financed entirely with CDBG Program funds.

Correspondence was received from Cindy Stone, Deputy Administrator, Office of Programs and Regional Development, MD Department of Housing and Community Development (MDE), with enclosure of a report, based on the February 11, 2004 monitoring of two subject grants (HIP, Phase 2 and Phase 3) awarded to the County, which evaluates the County's implementation of its Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) projects, reporting identified corrective actions.

Ms. Hayman reported that she has reviewed and discussed the results of said inspection with Mr. Canan, and that the areas of concern have already been resolved.


Correspondence was received from Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr. announcing that the request from Kent County for Community Development Block Grant (CDGB) funds in the amount of $500,000 has been approved, funding to support the construction of a new facility for Kent Center.


At 11:30 a.m., a motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum to go into closed session to discuss proposed land acquisition in accordance with State Government Article, Section 10.508 (a)(3) of the Annotated Code of Maryland. The closed session adjourned at 11:35 a.m.


Commissioner Pickrum reported that the MACo Summer Conference which took place at Ocean City, August 18 to 21, was very informative. The Commissioners highlighted some of the presentations which they attended as follows:

Hi-Speed Internet

Commissioner Crow reported that the Upper-Shore Regional Council, Mid- and Lower Shore Regional Councils, along with State officials, will be receiving the results of a study, to be completed in September, on which a business plan could be based by said Councils for the development of a hi-speed internet system for the entire Eastern Shore.

He explained that the proposed system on the Eastern Shore would "loop" around an existing system that runs from New York to Philadelphia, to Baltimore, to Richmond and Norfolk.

Commissioner Crow emphasized that accessibility to hi-speed internet is a County priority for its economic development.

Public Transportation

Commissioner Pickrum commented on discussions held with representatives of Kent, Caroline, and Talbot Counties pertaining to the need in Kent County for management of its public transportation system, in light of the recent announcement made by Carl Burke, Executive Director, Upper Shore Aging, Inc., that USA would no longer manage U-Star Transportation.

Commissioner Pickrum reported that Kent, Talbot, and Caroline Counties are in the process of contacting a very experienced management company which would secure the continuing public transportation needs, plus the continued employment of current employees involved in U-Star Transportation.

The USA will continue to provide its transportation services for the senior citizen community.

Department of Transportation

General - Discussions took place with Secretary Flanagan of the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) and other representatives of the State Highway Administration about its traffic control policy which was described to the Commissioners as determined by its studies on a case-by-case basis.

Chestertown By-Pass - Discussion was held with Secretary Flanagan as to the need of the Chestertown By-Pass Project. Secretary Flanagan suggested a joint meeting be scheduled with Kent and Queen Anne's officials in the near future for further discussion.

Drug Treatment Alternatives - Commissioner Pickrum commented on a presentation conducted by Kendel Erhlich about drug treatment alternatives. Mrs. Erhlich reported that 40% of the State's inmate population currently incarcerated for non-violent offenses were users of illegal drugs prior to their incarceration. She cited the importance of treatment for drug addictions in the general population.

Tourism - Commissioner Crow expressed the appreciation of the Board to Mrs. Van Pelt for her participation, along with Cecil and Queen Anne's Counties' offices of tourism, concerning the booth representing the three counties displayed at the Maryland Association of Counties (MACo) summer conference in Ocean City last week.

Mrs. Van Pelt commented that the cooperation among the three counties was extremely effective and provided the August 24 issue of the Delmarva Farmer which featured Governor Ehrlich and Lieutenant Governor Steele at the Kent, Queen Anne's, and Cecil Counties' booth at the conference.


A copy of correspondence was received from J. Rodney Little, Director, State Historic Preservation Officer, directed to Kees DeMooy, of Preservation Incorporated, reporting that the Charles Sumner Post #25, Grand Army of the Republic, in Chestertown, will be considered by the Governor's Consulting Committee for nomination to the National Register of Historic Places on September 28 at the People's Resource Center in Crownsville.

The National Register is the official list of historical properties recognized by the federal government as worthy of preservation for their significance in American history, architecture, archaeology, engineering and culture. In Maryland, the nomination process is administered by the Maryland Historic Trust.


Commissioner Crow noted a copy of correspondence, dated August 12, received from Delegate Mary Roe Walkup, directed to Nelson J. Sabatini, Secretary, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, expressing her concern about the effect of the funding reductions to the mental health community services, specifically the possible closure of the Mid-Shore Mental Health System Clinic in Chestertown.

Delegate Walkup also expressed her opinion that the Mid-Shore Mental Health System has continually improved the provision of mental health services for the residents of Caroline, Dorchester, Queen Anne's, and Talbot counties in addition to Kent County. She urged Mr. Sabatini to permit the clinic to continue providing mental health services until they are able to enlist private providers to take over and serve the needs of these members of the community.


Fair Labor Standards Act - Ms. Hayman, County Administrator, and Pat Merritt, Budget and Accounting Director, reported on meeting attended at the MACo Summer Conference as it relates to interpretation of the Fair Labor Standards Act which went into effect on August 23 as it to new regulations relating to exempt vs. non-exempt employees.

Ed Robinson, Human Resources Director, also provided the Board with an abbreviated version of the new law.

At 11:35 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 (a)(ii) of the Annotated Code of Maryland.

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


Correspondence was received from Dudley Reed, of Reed Builders, of Chestertown, expressing his appreciation to all of the County/State employees who assisted Mr. Reed through the first phase of the "Reeds Meadow" subdivision on Smithville Road, Worton.


Allysha Nelson-Lorber, Landscape Architect, of McCormack Taylor Consulting, and Bernadette Bowman, Director of Tourism Development, appeared and provided an update pertaining to the presentation given by representatives of McCormack Taylor Consulting at the Commissioners' meeting on July 20 about Scenic Byway Gateway signs, in particular the design of the signs.

Mrs. Van Pelt reported that the Scenic Byway Gateway signage represents the only scenic byway program in the State.

Ms. Nelson-Lorber presented the recommendations of McCormack Taylor for the preliminary design, logo and site locations, and the cost estimates for the Scenic Byway Gateway signs which include Queen Anne's, Kent, and Cecil Counties. The signage in the County would include both incorporated and the non-incorporated Towns.

She reported that, having contacted all the towns of the three counties, all have agreed to the sites for the signs and to participate in the program. In Kent County, the sites for the signs would be along MD Route 213 into Chestertown, the Chester River Bridge to the Cecil County line and to Chesapeake City, and down MD Routes 20 and 445. Payment for the signs would come, in part, from grant funding of the State Highway Administration, and, in part, from each participating county, each county responsible for contributing the same percentage.

Responding to inquiries from the Commissioners, Ms. Nelson-Lorber reported that the responsibility for the maintenance of the signs and landscaping, where it existed, would lie with the towns or the participating counties. The incorporated towns have agreed to be responsible for the upkeep of landscaping, although landscaping would not be a requirement for participation in the Scenic Byways program.

The Commissioners expressed their reservations that the cost estimates for the signs, as presented, were excessive. Ms. Nelson-Lorber indicated that she would look further into other estimates for the three participating counties and will report her findings.

The Commissioners expressed their appreciation to Ms. Nelson-Lorber for her report and indicated that they will give the program further review.


A copy of correspondence dated August 18 was received from Sheriff John Price, directed to Warden Ronald Howell expressing to the Warden his appreciation for the assistance of his officers and for the utilization of the departmental transport van on August 11 during the drug raid in Chestertown.

Sheriff Prices cited Sergeant James Wachowiz and Sergeant Ernest Wickes who the Sheriff described as essential in providing shelter and transportation for those who were arrested.


Civil War Trail Project - Bernadette Bowman, Director of Tourism Development, appeared and reported about the State's program entitled "Civil War Trails." Concerning the Civil War Trails program, the State has produced three brochures interpreting the related history and locations of sites highlighting Maryland's important role in the Civil War; a fourth brochure is forth-coming. Kent County is the only county in the State represented thus far in two of the brochures. In Kent County, there are three sites proposed for this program: the Civil War monument in Memorial Park, Chestertown, with the engraved names honoring the Union and Confederate soldiers killed in the Civil War, Lauretum Inn (Bed and Breakfast), Chestertown, to recognize the historical figure, George Vickers, and a site near "Lawyers' Row" and the Court House yard to recognize the historical figure, John Lee Barroll, who was a lawyer and owner of The Conservator newspaper in Chestertown.

Mrs. Van Pelt reported that the State would be responsible for the payment of the installation of the 2' x 3' marker, and the maintenance of the marker until 2006. After 2006, the County would be responsible for the maintenance of the sign at the cost of up to $500.00 per year. A new marker would have to replace the old one every five years.

Mrs. Van Pelt submitted a "Temporary Easement/Entry agreement," permitting the installation of the marker for the Board's approval. The Agreement will be prepared for signatures next week. The "blessing" of the Court House judges and the approval of the Chestertown Historical Commission will also be required.

A motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie, and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum to approve of the payment for the installation of a marker and its maintenance, not to exceed $500.00 a year, beginning in 2007, to recognize the history pertaining to Mr. Barroll as part of the Maryland Civil War Trails program.

In response to Commissioner Crow, Mrs. Van Pelt indicated that similar attention will be paid by the County through its upcoming participation in the State's "Star-Spangled Banner Trail" program which will include interpretation of the history and related sites of the War of 1812, a program which will be launched in September. The Civil War Trails program will be launched in November.

Mrs. Van Pelt also noted the able assistance of Kevin Hemstock, Editor of The Kent News, who provided much of the text for the historical recording on the three markers in the County's portion of the Civil War Trails program.


In response to the Commissioners' concern about the prevalent algae bloom in Urieville Lake, Amy Moredock, Environmental Planner, in her Memorandum, provided the name and contact information of a company that manufactures pellets which the company describes as a bioactive waste digester specially formulated to increase the rate of natural decay in surface waters.

Ms. Moredock also provided contact information with representatives of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Ms. Moredock appeared and, responding to the Commissioners' inquiries about said information, indicated that she would follow-up by contacting the U.S. Army Corps, and she will request client-references from said algaecide company in order to inquire with them about the effectiveness and safety of the algaecide pellets.

There being no further business to claim their attention, the Board adjourned to meet again on Tuesday, August 31, 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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