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Board of County Commissioners

September 28, 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 $6,213,999.00.

Commissioner Pickrum requested a moment of silence to remember the men and women in uniform around the world who have died in defense of the United States’ freedom and America’s way of life.


A copy of a news release was received from Aberdeen Proving Ground, dated September 23, giving notice of its plan to conduct two large detonations. The detonations are scheduled to take place between September 29 and October 1. These detonations are likely to generate sound and/or vibrations outside the installation boundaries. Should the weather conditions not be favorable, the testing will be rescheduled.


Carter G. Stanton, Director of Public Works, appeared and requested the consideration of the Commissioners concerning the bulkhead replacement at Bayside Landing, Rock Hall. Mr. Stanton noted that the actual bid estimate for the replacement of the 520 linear feet of bulkhead ($230,480.00) is much lower than what was originally estimated (between $400,000 and $500,000). The original plan was to spread the project over two years, with two $100,000 matching grants.

In Fiscal Year 2005, with the County’s budgeted $100,000 to match the Water Improvement grant, the balance is $30,480. Mr. Stanton reported that he spoke with a representative of the Waterway Improvement Division who expressed his confidence that the County could use funds from another grant dedicated to Bayside Landing Park in the amount of $15,240 which would have to matched by the County.

The County would benefit from this approach in two ways: (1) by completing the project in one phase, the contractor would mobilize and purchase all the materials only one time, saving the County considerable money; (2) the County would not have to budget this project for Fiscal Year 2006.

A motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie, and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum to approve $15,240 to be taken out of the contingency fund to be matched by funding from the State for the purpose of completing the bulkhead replacement at Bayside Landing, Rock Hall.


Commissioner Livie initiated discussion about the importance of providing adequate lighting to the Kent County High School athletic playing field, especially as lighting would serve to encourage spectators’ attendance at school games taking place at night. He noted that Kent County is the only county on the Eastern Shore that does not have lighting on its high school football field and that it has been difficult for the Kent County High School to accommodate the request of the Pop Warner Football teams to play their games on the high school field. They have instead been playing at the field in Worton Park.

Commissioner Livie also noted that the number of players on the high school’s own football team is down to 14 players, which may threaten the ability of the team to complete its season. He expressed his hope that a group of citizens of the County will investigate this concern. In the meanwhile, he reported that the Board is doing everything that it can to have lighting installed and in use at the Kent County High School athletic field.


Commissioner Pickrum advised that he met with residents of Butlertown and it was consensus of opinion to request the installation of two additional street lights along Maryland Route 298 in the community of Butlertown. The County Administrator will follow up on this request with representatives of the State Highway Administration.


At 10:00 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 John Hall, Extension Director, and representing Chesapeake Fields to discuss a proposal for business to locate in the County in accordance with State Government Article, Section 10.508 (a)(4) of the Annotated Code of Maryland.

The executive session adjourned at 10:20 a.m.


At 10:20 a.m., a motion was made by a motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum to go into closed session in accordance with State Government Article, Section (a) (ii) of the Annotated Code of Maryland.

Mrs. Mary Ellen Williams, out-going Chair of the Human Relations Commission, and Dr. Ann Hennessy, in-coming Chair, were in attendance.

The closed session adjourned at 10:55 a.m.


Correspondence was received, dated September 20, from Kenneth H. Smith, Director of Administration and Finance, Office of the Maryland Comptroller, extending congratulations upon the County’s receipt of its Fiscal Year 2004 grant for the construction of the Kent County Recreation and Community Complex, and inviting the County Administrator to a Capital Projects Seminar which will provide information necessary for the processing of payments of the State’s share for the County’s project. The seminar is scheduled to take place on October 13 at Anne Arundel Community College.


The County Administrator advised that she received a copy of a report late in the day on September 27, dated September 27, received by Carter Stanton, Public Works Director, from the Department of the Environment (MDE). The reported stated that inspection was made by MDE on September 24 and found contamination of gasoline in two monitoring wells on the county owned property (formerly occupied by the State Highway Administration) located in Massey.

An analysis will be conducted to confirm the source and extent of this contamination. In the meantime, Ms. Hayman gave assurance to the Commissioners that she will follow up on this report by meeting with representatives of the Health Department, MDE, and Public Works Department and will report her findings to the Board.


Correspondence was received from Aris Melissaratos, Secretary, DBED, requesting that, if Kent County has an acceptable Minority Business Enterprises (MBE’s) procurement program, to forward the details of the County’s MBE procurement policies to the DBED’s Director of Fair Practices and Procurement, Everett Ross, by September 17.

The Commissioners requested that review be made as to the County’s current procurement policy to confirm its conformance with State law funding eligibility requirements.

For the record, legislation was enacted by the Maryland General Assembly in its 2004 Session that aims to increase the procurement of goods and services from MBE’s in projects that receive financial assistance from the State’s Economic Development Opportunities Program Fund (a.k.a. Sunny Day Fund) and the Maryland Economic Development Financing Assistance Authority and Fund (MEDAAF).

The objective of this new law is to expand economic opportunities for vendors and contractors who have the capacity to supply goods or services to the recipients of State financial assistance, but who may be under-represented in those procurements. When this new law becomes effective in January 1, 2005, the law will apply to financial assistance exceeding $100,000 under MEDAAF or the Sunny Day Fund. The law will not apply to financial assistance used solely to acquire real property or structures on real property.

When the financial assistance is to a local government, such as Kent County, if that local government has a program for promoting procurement opportunities among MBE’s that is acceptable to this Department, the local government must apply the requirements of that program to the procurement of goods or services made with proceeds of the MEDAAF or Sunny Day financial assistance. (The definition of an “MBE” under the new law is the same as the definition of the State’s MBE procurement law.)


Gail Owings, Director of Planning and Zoning, was present and referred to correspondence that was received from Marsha J. Kaiser, Director, Office of Planning and Capital Programming, Maryland DOT, with attachment of the proposed Rural Consultation Procedures, and requesting comments from rural elected officials as required by federal regulations.

In response to Mrs. Owings’ request for a list of the County’s priority transportation needs, the Commissioners included the following: (1) Chestertown Bypass, (2) the installation of a light on MD Route 291 at the Rescue Squad headquarters (Chestertown), (3) the construction of a “round about” at the intersection of MD Route 291 and High Street (Chestertown), (4) the installation of a stop sign and/or a speed zone sign in the community of Massey and Sassafras, (5) opposition to any plan concerning an additional Bay bridge crossing involving Kent County, and (6) the installation of two additional street lights on MD Route 291 in the community of Butlertown.

Later in the day, the Commissioners requested that the matter involving contamination of monitoring wells on the county owned property (formerly occupied by the State Highway Administration) in Massey also be discussed with State Highway Administration officials..

Mrs. Owings reported that she sent letters to the County’s incorporated towns requesting their list of priorities and indicated that she will follow-up with contact made to the mayors.

For the record, the prioritizing of transportation needs is in preparation for the DOT’s annual tour of the County that is scheduled to take place on Thursday, October 12, at 9:30 a.m.

In Ms. Kaiser’s correspondence, the key proposed revisions for rural consultation include:

- Formalizing the role of the Maryland Association of Counties (MACo) and the Maryland Municipal League by annually sending a cover letter with the Consolidated Transportation Program (CTP) requesting comments and, every three years, including the revised Maryland Transportation Plan (MTP) for review.

- Ensuring that the rural elected officials have an opportunity to comment on the draft CTP and MTP by specifically requesting comments in the submission letter.

The Commissioners were asked to submit their comments, if any, by November 16. Rural Counties have been asked to review their Secondary Priority letters and to update them, if necessary, to reflect their current policies if appropriate.


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

Tolchester Service Area - As per the Commissioners’ decision made at their last meeting to conduct a community meeting for residents of Tolchester and those who own properties related to the 50 allocations located within the delineated development area, Mr. Morris confirmed that the meeting will take place on Saturday, October 23, at 10:00 a.m. at the Kent County Agriculture Center in Tolchester, and he reported that letters have already been sent to all the individuals whose allocations were held in moratorium and that he made contact with the Tolchester Homeowners’ Association about the meeting.

For the record, it is was of the Commissioners’ desire to host a community meeting in order to provide an opportunity for these individuals to raise questions and concerns about the allocations and the assignments of allocations prior to finalization of the plan.

Millington Service Area - Mr. Morris reported that approximately 60 to 70 residents and property owners attended an informational meeting led by Bearing Construction, Inc. on September 22 at 6:00 p.m. at the Millington Elementary School for the purpose of learning about how the new water system project will be conducted, inclusive of issues pertaining to the project’s impact on traffic patterns and the safety of school age children in the area.

Appointments were scheduled for the required preconstruction meetings which must take place at each property for the purpose of locating the water meter on the property, video taping the property, and coordinating the written approval of the property owner, a representative of the contractor, and the engineer (McCrone, Inc.) on the location.

Mr. Morris indicated that, although a few residents were not in favor of the adherent changes required, the information about the project and the necessary changes were well received by most of the residents who attended the meeting.

Notice was forwarded to lending institutions from W. Roger Williams, Treasurer, advising of proposals being sought for issuing a tax-exempt general obligation bond anticipation note for the purpose of financing on an interim basis as it relates to the Millington Water Project.

Proposals will be opened by the County Commissioners on October 5 at 9:45 a.m.


Correspondence was received, dated September 24, from C. Daniel Saunders, Esq., requesting that the matter of Growth Allocation be entertained by the Board as it pertains to the proposed development of Drayton Manor spa and conference center any time after October 11, 2004. The Board noted that there are pending legal proceedings that may render this matter moot, and deferred scheduling this matter for hearing at this time.


Joey Vansant, a resident of Queen Anne’s County and husband of one of the persons named trustee in the estate of Edna Cornelius, appeared and, reading a prepared statement, issued his objections about what he believes to be the concerted effort of some of the residents of Old Worton Road to tarnish the reputation of the late Miss Cornelius, formerly a resident in a home on Old Worton Road, Worton.

The purpose of his meeting today was to refute statements that have been made as to the proliferation of cats with alleged feline diseases.

Gail Owings, Director of Planning and Zoning, was in attendance. Others in attendance were Douglas Crites, Director, The Humane Society of Kent County, Dr. William Tubman, a resident of Old Worton Road and Joanne Libersky Vansant.

Mr. Vansant, describing Miss Cornelius as having been a law-abiding citizen and conscientious pet owner who provided for the spaying and vaccinating of her many cats, cited what in his opinion are many falsehoods in a petition of objections written by “Residents of Old Worton Road, Worton” (cit. “Minutes,” Commissioners’ Meeting, September 21, 2004).

Included among his objections are the following: the petition over-estimated the number of cats owned by Miss Cornelius; the petition indicated without confirmation that some of Miss Cornelius’ cats are infected with feline HIV; and that the signatures on the petition do not, in fact, represent actual residents on Old Worton Road.

Mrs. Owings, reported that she followed up on the Commissioners’ request to coordinate an effort to rectify the situation related to the Cornelius estate and the cats.

Mrs. Owings indicated that she contacted both the Health Department and the Humane Society concerning said situation.

According to the Health Department, it has conducted three inspections of the Cornelius house and did not find a violation of the County Nuisance or Health Department regulations. The cats have been reportedly spayed or neutered and have had their vaccinations.

Mrs. Owings also reported that, although the Humane Society, as she has learned, does not trap cats, it has loaned traps to the neighbors. However, she has learned that unless the cats have microchips from the Humane Society, a determination would have to be made as to whether the cats belonged in fact to Miss Cornelius or not. Once a cat is delivered to the Humane Society, the Humane Society calls the trustees of the Cornelius’ estate and together, to confirm ownership when, in fact, the cats belonged to Miss Cornelius, assists with the placement of cats in new homes.

Mrs. Owings also reported that Patricia Unruh, one of the Cornelius Estate trustees, has cleaned the Cornelius house and, along with other trustees, is trying to find homes for the cats.

Dr. Tubman, identified himself as the author of the petition to the Governor. According to Dr. Tubman, Miss Cornelius was not in good health prior to her death, and was not able to properly supervise the care of her cats. He made the following requests of the Commissioners: (1) that the Board authorize the cleaning up of the house or raze it; and (2) that the Board begin the process of providing the County with an ordinance that will address feral cats and limit the number of cats an individual can own.

Correspondence dated September 23 sent by George Lenher, President of the Humane Society, was received with attached copy of a report submitted by Bruce Nelson, Animal Control Officer, and information pertinent to the environmental health concerns raised related to the orphaned cats.

Mr. Crites stated what he believes to have been the proliferation of feral cats in Worton prior to the current concern about Mrs. Cornelius’ cats. He also believes there is a feral cat problem in other towns and municipalities in the County.

Commissioner Livie, affirming Mr. Vansant’s praise of Miss Cornelius and his advocacy of her reputation, indicated that, nevertheless, it is incumbent upon citizens to appropriately supervise their pets. He expressed his opinion that the current responsibility for the supervision and care of Miss Cornelius’ cats and house is too great a burden upon Patricia and Dennis Unruh.

Commissioner Livie also affirmed Dr. Tubman’s point that Kent County does need a reasonable ordinance pertaining to cats and pet ownership of cats that would serve to protect the rights of both pet owners and their neighbors as well.

Mr. Vansant indicated his belief that, should an ordinance pertaining to the ownership of cats be established, it will require the creation of an enforcement mechanism.

Commissioner Pickrum thanked everyone for their contributions to the discussion and indicated that their opinions will be taken under advisement.

Commissioner Crow extended his apology to the Humane Society for an alleged remark reported in the September 23 issue of the Kent News.


At 11:00 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 matter relating to public security in accordance with State Government Article, Section 10.508 (a) (10) in accordance with State Government Article, Section 10.508 of the Annotated Code of Maryland.

Those in attendance were Sheriff John Price, John L. Wright, Chairman, George Parsons, and Lola G. Price, representing the Board of Election Supervisors, and Florence L. Sutton, Election Director.

The closed session adjourned at 11:55 a.m.


Correspondence was received, dated September 15, from Audrey E. Scott, Secretary of Planning, Maryland Department of Planning (MDP), with attached copy of “Lessons Learned from Tropical Storm Isabel: Improving Disaster Management in Maryland” report. The information contained in said publication focuses on interdepartmental disaster planning, identified recovery gaps in programs and corrective action plans for future disaster preparedness and recovery efforts.


Commissioner Pickrum, referring to a copy of correspondence received from Hearne and Bailey, Esq., representing Shore Up, Inc., directed to Stewart Barroll, Esq., representing the Town of Chestertown, relating to Shore Up’s interest to purchase the parcel of land owned by Andrew Bradley for the purpose of constructing a Head Start facility.

Ms. Hayman reported that this request was discussed at the last regular meeting of the Chestertown Planning Commission on September 15.

Later in the day, P.A.M. Schaller, Economic Development Director, appeared and presented a copy of proposal submitted by ZHA, Inc. relating to development of the LaMotte Property and preparation of the RFP (Request For Proposal) at a cost of $7,500 to be completed by October 11.

The Commissioners approved and Commissioner Pickrum signed Contract with ZHA, Inc. as amended by the Board. Other additional costs involved may include ZHA’s participation in the pre-bid conference as well as review of proposals received. She anticipates that it may take a year after the contract is signed before development of this property begins.


Correspondence was received from Nick Williams, Acting Director, Maryland Environmental Trust, dated September 20, reporting that Chip and Katharine Levengood have submitted an application to donate a conservation easement on their 34-acre property in the County to the MET and the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, Inc.


At 11:55 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 personnel matters in accordance with State Government Article, Section 10.508 (a) (i)(ii) of the Annotated Code of Maryland.

Ed Robinson, Human Resources Director, Robert B. Rust, Jr., Emergency Management Director, were in attendance.

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

At 1:50 p.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 personnel matters in accordance with State Government Article, Section 10.508 (a)(ii) of the Annotated Code of Maryland.

The closed session adjourned at 2:25 p.m.


At the request of the Maryland Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse, the Commissioners approved and signed Proclamation proclaiming the week of October 4 as Lawsuit Abuse Awareness Week in Kent County.


Correspondence was received from Connie Watkins, Chair, Project Outreach, Chester River Chapter, providing information on this volunteer program that challenges students to see their talents, skills, and creativity to make the world a better home.


Correspondence was received, dated September 17, from Elizabeth L. Gibbs, of Kennedyville, conveying her concern about a proposed concentrated chicken feeding operation in Millington (Queen Anne’s County), and reporting that a Zoning Appeals meeting is scheduled to take place on September 23. A letter will go forth to Mrs. Gibbs thanking her for the contribution of her opinion.


In follow up to discussion held on September 21 relating to acceptance of stock offered by a Kent County resident to be used toward expenses incurred for police training, the Commissioners approved and Commissioner Pickrum signed Corporate Resolution for Prime Vest Finance Services through the Chesapeake Bank & Trust Company in order to process this matter.


Discussion took place concerning the Memorandum received from Lee Myers, Risk Management Coordinator, with attached copy of the County’s risk management guidelines regarding holding harmless agreements, and the recommendations made by the Local Government Insurance Trust as a result of the inspection of the Nike Base Rifle Range site in Tolchester conducted in 2000.

Carter G. Stanton, Director of Public Works, was in attendance. According to Ms. Myers, it would be beneficial for the County to consider the concerns noted prior to preparing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which would authorize the availability of the firing range to the Maryland State Police and Queen Anne’s County Sheriff’s Department.

In response to Commissioner Pickrum’s question, Ms. Hayman reported that the recommendation she received from the Local Government Insurance Trust (LGIT) is two-fold: to include an hold-harmless and indemnification provisions in the Memorandum of Understanding and to provide certain safety requirements, including sufficient berm or “baffling” (bafflement) at the site of the firing range.

Commissioner Pickrum advised that a provision be included in the MOU requiring the presence of a range safety officer to be designated by the agency during the time its personnel is utilizing the firing range.

Jack Newell, a resident of the County who was present, noted that it is his belief that the federal government uses machinery that functions specifically for the purpose of lead retrieval. He suggested that, should the County acquire such machinery, the payment for the cost of this machinery be shared by all of the respective agencies.

The Commissioners agreed to inquire as to federal regulations concerning lead retrieval, and they affirmed that a new MOU must be written and signed prior to the authorization of any use of the firing range.


Gail Owings, Director of Planning and Zoning, and Amy Moredock, Environmental Planner, appeared and referred to correspondence that was received from Bruce Mertz, Co-Chair, Upper Eastern Shore Tributary Team, with attached copy of Maryland’s recently developed Tributary Strategy.

In his correspondence, Mr. Mertz described the Tributary Strategy as a roadmap that citizens can use to achieve the goals of the Chesapeake 2000 Agreement and requested the participation of the County. This strategy includes specific nutrient and sediment control actions necessary to reduce nutrient pollution from every source, including agricultural fields, urban and suburban lands, and waste water treatment plants.

Commissioner Livie expressed his concern that the County is being asked by the State to establish regulations for nutrient and sediment control without any provision for funding. He also noted that County citizens are being asked to upgrade their septic systems at the cost to them of $30.00 per year without having any information provided to them as to exactly how the State intends to use this money.

Commissioner Pickrum indicated that he does not see any evidence that the State has evaluated the economic impact of the costs related to this strategy on the homeowner.

In response to suggestions made by Commissioners Livie and Crow that the State provide more thorough information to the public about designs and alternatives for adapting and upgrading septic systems, e.g. using a brochure,

Ms. Moredock reported that sub-committees will produce and distribute brochures about the same, and she indicated that the County’s future “Septic Forums” will provide this kind of education for the public that will be encouragement for citizens to voluntarily upgrade their septic system at a reasonable fee. She also noted that there will be more information from the State about how it intends to implement this strategy forthcoming in October.


A copy of correspondence dated September 17 was received from Terry Willis, Septic System Subcommittee Chair, Upper Eastern Shore Tributary Strategies Team, directed to James M. Wright, Jr., County Engineer, encouraging the County to amend the Kent County Water and Sewer Plan to include language requiring nitrogen reduction septic systems on new construction (and retrofits of existing systems as needed) in Kent County’s critical areas surrounding the County’s waterways.

Mr. Willis also requested that the requirement be extended to government facilities and to commercial establishments having average daily flows of 1500 gallons or more. This request is consistent with similar action taken by other counties, including other Eastern Shore counties.

To this end, Mr. Willis reported that the Upper Eastern Shore Tributary Team has been working with the County Health Department and the Planning and Zoning Administration to become familiar with existing regulations and potential for additional support for nitrogen reduction septic systems within those regulations.


Notice was received from Wayne Thieme concerning an application filed with the Maryland Water Management Administration for a permit for farm irrigation on his property located on the Galena-Sassafras Road, First Election District.


The Commissioners requested P.A.M. Schaller, Economic Development Director, to obtain cost estimate for the storm water management pond needed at this site.

There being no further business to claim their attention, the Board adjourned to meet again on Tuesday, October 5, 2004.


Janice F. Fletcher
Executive Assistant

Approved: William W. Pickrum, President

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