The Honorable Board of County Commissioners met today with
the following present: Roy W. Crow, Scott D. Livie, and William W. Pickrum,
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.
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND
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
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.
BOARD OF EDUCATION
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.
BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS
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.
CHARACTER COUNTS PROGRAM
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
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.
COUNTY ROADS DIVISION
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.
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND MENTAL HYGIENE (DHMH)
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.
DEPARTMENT OF WATER AND WASTEWATER SERVICES
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.
DRUG AND ALCOHOL ABUSE COUNCIL
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
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.
HIGHWAY SAFETY PROGRAM
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.
HOUSING IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM (HIP)
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
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
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
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.
MARYLAND ASSOCIATION OF COUNTIES (MACo)
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:
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.
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
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
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.
MARYLAND HISTORIC TRUST
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
MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES
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
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.
SCENIC BYWAY GATEWAY DESIGN
Allysha Nelson-Lorber, Landscape Architect, of McCormack
Taylor Consulting, and Bernadette Van Pelt, 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 Van Pelt, 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
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.
THE COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
OF KENT COUNTY, MARYLAND
Janice F. Fletcher
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.