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KENT COUNTY, MARYLAND


Board of County Commissioners

October 19, 2004

The Honorable Board of County Commissioners met this evening at 6:00 p.m. at the Betterton Fire Hall 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 $10,454,579.00.

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.


THE TOWN OF BETTERTON

Don Sutton, a member of the Town Council of Betterton, welcomed the Commissioners to Betterton on behalf of Mayor Candi Sorge who was not able to be present. There were approximately 12 interested persons as well as a member of the media also in attendance.

Margo Turner, a resident of Betterton, affirmed and praised the effective response of the County Sheriff’s Deputies with their intervention and apprehension of thieves in a recent series of residential burglaries in Betterton. She also affirmed the support of the Sheriff’s Office demonstrated by the County in its budget for Fiscal Year 2005.

Nancy Grahamer, a member of the Betterton Fire Company, expressed her concern about the difficulty experienced by the County with recruiting and maintaining the employment of paramedics.

Responding to her question, Commissioner Pickrum indicated that paramedics are highly sought after throughout the nation, and assured Mrs.Grahamer that the salary schedule for Kent County paramedics represents the middle range of paramedic salaries as they exist throughout the Eastern Shore. He added that the County is currently advertising employment positions for full- and part-time paramedics, and that the County would be willing to include tuition payment towards paramedic certification courses as a benefit.

Commissioner Crow concurred, further stating that should a highly-qualified person express an interest in a paramedic position with the County, the County would be willing to negotiate an appropriate and an attractive salary within the parameters of the budget.

Ms. Hayman noted that the salary advertised represents a starting salary range for a paramedic, as opposed to a salary range that would represent the tenure and experience of an entire career.

Arthur Hock, Manager of the Rigbie Bluff Condominium Association of Betterton, expressed to the Commissioners the appreciation of the Association for the attention given to its concerns by the Board regarding the proposed installation of pilings at the Betterton pier (cit. “Minutes,” County Commissioners’ Meeting October 12, 2004).

Support for the State’s “Amnesty Day” program (i.e. a recycling program for tires sponsored by the State on a designated day and location)was expressed by several people.

Commissioner Pickrum noted that “Amnesty Day” was made possible this year due to the funding replenished by the State in its Transportation Trust Fund this year.

Commissioner Pickrum emphasized that the Board is sensitive to the concerns of the residents of Betterton regarding growth and development-related issues.

Mr. Sutton, on behalf of the Town Council, expressed his appreciation to the County’s Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) for its review of proposals submitted.

Commissioner Livie, sharing the opinion of the entire Board, acknowledged the pressure from developers to build residential communities currently being experienced by many of the County’s incorporated towns.

Commissioner Crow indicated that there are two, primary types of buyers in the residential housing development market: people planning to retire and live in the County, and people who want to live in the County and commute to jobs elsewhere. He noted that these prospective residents are not generally available to serve as emergency medical/response volunteers. Therefore, the County must have the capability of meeting the emergency needs of these prospective residents while, at the same time, meet the challenge of supporting the existing infrastructure of emergency medical and response services.

Commissioner Pickrum emphasized that all of the current volunteers are doing an excellent job.

Ann Morrison Gay, a resident of Betterton, inquired as to whether or not the County has any decision-making authority concerning the proposed construction of a fly-in community in Betterton.

Commissioner Pickrum responded that the County has no authority concerning land within the jurisdiction of an incorporated town, such as Betterton; and, in terms of air space, he indicated that only the federal government has authority concerning flight zoning and air space regulations

Responding to Mr. Sutton’s request that there be more lifeguards at the Betterton Beach during its summer season, Commissioner Pickrum stated that the challenge of having more lifeguards is not for lack of County funding, but lack of the public response and interest in this seasonal employment.

The Commissioners extended their appreciation to the Betterton Fire Department for its hospitality as hosts for the meeting and thanked everyone for their attendance and discussion.


CHESTERTOWN BYPASS

Correspondence was received from Neil J. Pedersen, Administrator, State Highway Administration (SHA), dated October 1, responding to the Board’s concerns and questions pertaining to the proposed Chestertown bypass which it expressed at the September Conference of the Maryland Association of Counties in September. He reported that the planning directors of both Queen Anne’s and Kent Counties will be meeting with SHA staff to begin the effort to reach agreement on the master plan alignments for a proposed Chestertown bypass on October 28.

He indicated that it is hope that the effort will result in the project being included in both local master plans and eventually the Highway Needs Inventory, the SHA’s long-range planning document. These actions would be important in order to preserve the right-of-way for the corridor.

Commenting on the discussion about the proposed Chestertown bypass that ensued at the October 12 Commissioners’ meeting, Craig O’Donnell of the Kent County News, indicated that he recently researched a Chester River Bridge Traffic County survey conducted by the State Highway Administration in 2002. With this information, he estimated that as many as 35 vehicles cross the bridge every five minutes, 10% of which are trucks.

The Commissioners thanked Mr. O’Donnell for his report.


COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANT MINORITY/WOMEN’S BUSINESS PLAN

A Memorandum was received from Jack Canan, Coordinator of Housing and Community Development, dated October 15, requesting the Commissioners’ review and approval of his draft of a Minority/Women’s Business Plan to be submitted to the Department of Housing and Community Development as per its request.

Mr. Canan indicated that the draft is inclusive of principles which he believes to have been utilized by the County since the inception of the Housing Improvement Program (HIP) nine years ago. He cited the following results of HIP’s solicitation of bids from minority and female-owned businesses/contractors: a Port Deposit-based minority contractor in conjunction with the federal Rural Development Agency, to undertake the rehabilitation work on several of the County’s HIP Project-improved homes; and a female-owned business which is doing the lead-based paint testing within the homes being rehabilitated during Phase Four of the HIP project. This draft document will be further reviewed next week.


COUNTY ROADS DIVISION

A copy of the revised Fiscal Year 2005 County Roads Surface Treatment Schedule was received from the County Roads Division. The following County roads were surface-treated during October 4 through October 12, 2004 (the rest of the roads will be treated in the spring 2005): Big Stone Road, from MD Route 291 to MD Route 330; Big Woods Road, from MD Route 213 to MD Route 561; Comegys Road, from Kennedyville Road to Road End; Hanesville Road, from MD Route 514 to MD Route 298.


DEPARTMENT OF PLANNING DEVELOPMENT CAPACITY TASK FORCE

Correspondence was received from Audrey E. Scott, Secretary and Chair of the Development Capacity Task Force, dated October 7, providing the final report of the Task Force initiated via the Governor’s Priority Places Executive Order last October. Ms. Scott explained that the issue of development capacity analysis (i.e. buildout or buildable lot inventory) has been one of the top planning issues in the State for a long time. These achievements demonstrate the utility of gathering stakeholders for tough policy issues and working with them to develop useful and workable solutions.


DEPARTMENT OF WATER AND WASTEWATER SERVICES

Millington Service Area - Bond closing documents were signed by Commissioner Pickrum, et.al. as it relates to the Water System Improvement Bond Anticipation Note of 2004 for the Millington Water Project.


DRUG ALCOHOL ABUSE COUNCIL

A Memorandum was received from Ms. Hayman, dated October 14, with attachment of list of services currently provided along the continuum of addictions care through the County Health Department in the areas of prevention, and outpatient and inpatient care.

Ms. Hayman also summarized the key interest areas identified at the initial Council meeting which took place on October 4:

- Criminal justice population: a halfway house program for people currently in jail that could be better served with long-term treatment options; stronger services to the jail-based population; stronger diversion services to those involved with the criminal justice system.

-Intervention with children and adolescents: school-based; children/adolescents experiencing substance abuse in the home; children/adolescents using substances.

-Family involvement in treatment experience.


KENT COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT

The County Administrator reported on phone call received from Dr. Leland Spencer, Health Officer, advising that Kent County received 620 flu vaccines which are to be allocated for those patients under long term care and diagnosed at high risk.


LEGAL COUNSEL

At 5:40 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 legal matters in accordance with State Government Article, Section 10.508 (a)(4)(7) of the Annotated Code of Maryland.

Items of discussion included proposed land purchase and subdivision issues relating to the Worton Business Center.

The closed session adjourned at 5:55 p.m.


PERSONNEL

Ed Robinson, Human Resources Director, presented a revised proposal from Collins Consulting Services for conducting a comprehensive classification and pay plan study for Kent County employees at a cost of $48,585.

No decision was made on this proposal at this time.

At 5:00 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 l0.508 (a)(i)(ii) of the Annotated Code of Maryland.

Ed Robinson, Human Resources Director, was also in attendance.

The closed session adjourned at 5:40 p.m.


PUBLIC WORKS COMPLEX

At the recommendation of Jim Wright, County Engineer, the Commissioners approved to table the roof repair for the Public Works Complex due to weather concerns. Therefore no action will be taken on the bids opened on October 12 and the project will be rebid in the Spring. Mr. Wright will notify the bidders as to the change of plans.


REBUILDING TOGETHER

Correspondence dated October 16 was received from Stuart Elsberg, Member of the Board of Directors, Rebuilding Together Kent County, MD, requesting a permanent waiver of permit filing fees and of tipping fees for the disposal of Rebuilding Together’s construction waste at the County dump. He also extended the appreciation of Rebuilding Together for the Commissioners’ support shown by their attendance at its kick-off breakfast in September and for the waiver of County building permit fees thus far.

Rebuilding Together, Kent County, MD is a not-for-profit organization that assists eligible homeowners in the County with donations of needed home repair supplies and volunteer repair workers.

A motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner Livie, and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum to approve a permanent waiver of building permit fees for Rebuilding Together Kent County, MD, under the condition that the organization continue to abide by the permit application process for each permit required.

The Board will postpone its decision concerning the organization’s request for a permanent waiver of tipping fees until further discussion takes place with Ms. Hayman and Carter Stanton, Director of Public Works.


SHERIFF’S OFFICE

As submitted by the Sheriff’s Office, the Commissioners approved and Commissioner Pickrum signed the Federal Annual Certification Report.


WORKFORCE INVESTMENT BOARD

A Memorandum was received from the Upper Shore Workforce Investment Board Members, Errol Alexander, Beverly Churchill, and Lynn Cusimano, received on October 13, providing the following updates about their activities:

Upper Shore Labor Market Information - An attachment of commuting pattern maps show the inflow and outflow of workers to Kent County. The Investment Board reported that a new tool has become available that will allow the Upper Shore Workforce Investment Board to definitely determine the local labor markets and commuting patterns.

Youth Leadership - The Upper Shore Workforce Investment Board’s Mobile Learning Center is the focal point for youth services. A total of 220 youth were served from July 1, 2003 through June 30, 2004, including 23 youth from Kent County.

The Youth Leadership Program provides pre-employment skills, including job search, job keeping and budgeting skills.

The Mobile Learning Center is equipped with computer software that challenges youth to develop the skills to get and keep a job.

National Emergency Grant Monitoring - The Upper Shore Workforce Investment Board received $1.5 Million to assist the 1,276 workers laid-off when Black and Decker closed its Easton facility. The Investment Board’s implementation and outcomes of the grant were monitored by the U.S. Department of Labor and received a favorable review. Since the termination of operations of ConAgra in Queenstown, the Investment Board assisted those workers in finding new jobs and with re-training for new careers.

The Maryland Workforce Development Association - The annual conference was held in June at which the Upper Shore Workforce Investment Board made presentation pertaining to the challenges and opportunities of their responses to the Black and Decker closing.

Maryland Business Works - allows the Upper Shore Workforce Investment Board to assist employers by paying for one-half of certain training programs for incumbent workers, enabling it to train 321 employees. The Investment Board, with the smallest labor force in the State, has more employer contracts than any of the other areas of the State.

Shore Leadership Award - recognized the Upper Shore Workforce Investment Board on September 23, 2004 for the leadership it displayed in the design and implementation of the Black and Decker response.


There being no further business to claim their attention, the Board adjourned to meet again on Tuesday, October 26, 2004, at 8:30 a.m. in the Commissioners’ Hearing Room, Chestertown.

THE COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
OF KENT COUNTY, MARYLAND

Janice F. Fletcher
Executive Assistant

Approved: William W. Pickrum, President




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