The Honorable Board of County Commissioners
met 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 $8,749,509.00.
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.
J. Michael Connolly, Auditor, Pat Merritt, Director of Budget and Accounting,
and W. Roger Williams, Treasurer, appeared for review of the draft Fiscal
Year 2004 audit of financial statements for the County and Management
Letter. Mrs. Merritt outlined each section of the Fiscal Year 2004 Financial
Statement Analysis, copies of which were distributed and which included
the following: the general fund balance was 37.5% above budget; the Water
and Wastewater Services' operating revenue came in at 7% below budget.
Mr. Connelly commended Mrs. Merritt and Mr. Williams and their staffs
on the tremendous job performed in completing this audit.
BOARD OF EDUCATION (BOE)
Constance C. Berg, of Georgetown, Maryland, appeared and, referring to
her correspondence dated November 9 to the Commissioners, expressed her
concerns about the fiduciary responsibility of the County to its taxpayers,
specifically as they pertain to the expenditures of the BOE. Mrs. Berg's
attendance today was prompted by a thank you note sent by Bess L. Engle,
Principal of Rock Hall Elementary School to Shrewsbury Parish Church in
which Mrs. Engle acknowledged the school's receipt of contributions of
school supplies by the congregation.
Mrs. Berg stated that in her opinion every child should receive an adequate
amount of school supplies. She questioned the necessity of BOE expenditures
such as those pertaining to the support of school sports, the funding
of, what she described as, the wasted space in school facilities, and
what she described as unnecessary school staff, and, what she described
as, the exaggerated quantity of school lunches reported by the BOE to
the State for the sake of increased federal funding. Mrs. Berg suggested
that the County be more critical of its funding in these areas and look
at alternatives and, in her opinion, necessary areas that would benefit
from County financial support, such as a homeless shelter.
In response to Mrs. Berg's concern, Commissioner Pickrum assured her that
the Commissioners, as promised at their swearing-in, remains ever-vigilant
in their efforts to ensure that County government services are conducted
as cost-effectively and efficiently as possible.
Jon Baker, Public Information Officer of Kent County Public Schools, was
also in attendance and reported that neither Rock Hall public schools
nor any County public schools solicit or have solicited funding or donations
of school supplies. He cited Shrewsbury Parish Church and SunTrust Bank
as examples of groups and organizations that provide students of the public
schools and their families who struggle financially with items such as
backpacks which they could not otherwise be able to afford. Mr. Baker
assured Mrs. Berg that there is not shortage of school supplies for the
students of Kent County Public Schools, and expressed his belief that
there was an apparent misunderstanding on the part of Mrs. Berg as to
the motivation of the donations from Shrewsbury Parish Church to Rock
Hall Elementary School.
The Commissioners expressed their appreciation to Mrs. Berg and to Mr.
Baker for their concerns and input.
John Dillman, Director, Upper Shore Regional Council, stopped in and asked
to meet with the Board relating to study conducted by the Yankee Group
on bringing affordable broadband to Maryland's Eastern Shore. Mr. Dillman
facilitated a conference call with Berge Ayvazian, Executive Vice President,
Research and Consulting, Yankee Group, and the Commissioners.
The Eastern Shore Regional Councils
requested the Yankee Group to assess the feasibility of offering a publicly
sponsored broadband network that would extend the availability of affordable
broadband services to a wide range of business and residential users throughout
the nine county region. The study was also designed to assist the Council
in making decisions on the best way to offer these services from a management
and go-to-market perspective. The study concluded that broadband wireless
is the most cost-effective technology for both access and backbone infrastructure
in the near-term.
The financial model presented in the report indicates that a combined
capital investment of $4.3 Million would cover the cost of a wireless
broadband backbone network ($2.6 Million) and a broadband wireless access
network ($1.7 Million). This network could be operational within 12-18
months and would provide extensive coverage of wireless broadband services
throughout the region, generating revenues growing from $1.7 Million for
the access facilities.
Assessment was also made of the feasibility
of developing a wireless broadband access network with a fiber optic backbone
which would require a capital investment of $9.9 Million in addition to
the $1.7 Million for the access facilities.
The Yankee Group recommends that
the Eastern Shore Regional Councils pursue a strategy to build and manage
an open system broadband wireless network if the economic development
benefits justify the initiative. Mr. Dillman noted it would be difficult
for one broadband company to provide service to all wide spread customers
due to affordability.
The Yankee Group is proposing to
establish a common infrastructure throughout the Counties that would allow
them to serve remote customers at wholesale rates rather than have present
provider increase infrastructure costs. This could be a potentially competitive
Dr. Al Hammond, President, and Tim
Keefe, Sales and Marketing Director, both of Bay Broadband Communications
(BBC), appeared and responded to the report provided by Commissioner Crow
that was recently issued by a consulting company, The Yankee Group, "Bringing
Affordable Broadband to Maryland's Eastern Shore."
P.A.M. Schaller, Director of Economic
Development, John A. Dillman, III, Executive Director, Upper Shore Regional
Council, and Stuart "Mickey" Elsberg, a member of the Economic Development
Advisory Board, were also in attendance.
The study and subsequent report conducted by The Yankee Group was financed
by nine counties and the State; $5,000 was contributed by Upper Shore
Regional Council of which Kent County is a member. It is a goal of the
three Eastern Shore regional councils to establish broadband Internet
access throughout the Eastern Shore's nine counties.
According to Ms. Schaller, accessibility to wireless broadband service
is an important incentive for prospective entrepreneurs who are considering
Kent County as the location for their businesses.
The report of The Yankee Group indicated
that an investment of $4.3 Million in wireless broadband technology could
initiate high-speed service to the Eastern Shore, stating the following:
The Yankee Group recommends that the Eastern Shore Regional Councils pursue
a strategy to build and manage an open system broadband wireless network
if the economic development benefits justify the initiative. This could
be developed through a regional broadband cooperative to provide funding
and support of a common infrastructure that would be used by local wireless
Internet service providers (WISP's) to offer cost-effective broadband
service throughout the nine county region.
Dr. Hammond concurred with the conclusion reached by this report; however
he noted the concerns he has with the report's financial projections:
- In response to the report's suggestion that the counties should construct
and maintain ownership of the network, Dr. Hammond expressed his opinion
that government should not compete with the private sector if the private
sector can do it faster and more cost-effectively, which he believes it
- Citing the report's estimates of subscriber numbers, Dr. Hammond stated
his belief that these percentages would represent initial service to approximately
4,000 residential customers and 850 businesses. The $4.3 Million governmental
investment would represent $900.00 per customer needed in order to create
- Competitors to this network for residential customers would be the existing
private cable modem and DSL companies. Dr. Hammond again emphasized that
wireless broadband service is faster, more flexible and capable of moving
data than the digital services of telephone companies.
- According to The Yankee Report, the price per user subscription to a
sub-1.5 Mbps service would be $25.00/month wholesale; $45.00/month for
a 1.5 Mbps plus service wholesale. Dr. Hammond indicated that these figures,
representing residential revenues, are at least 20% too high, basing his
statement on prices quoted by AT&T and Cavalier which are $20.00 and less.
He added that, given the history of broadband service, subscription prices
- The Yankee Group report did not include in its financial projections
the cost of a customer's wireless equipment. Dr. Hammond pointed out that
as the equipment for DSL and cable modem is subsidized, a wireless service
provider requires payment from the customer for the required radios. BBC's
prices for the required equipment for broadband service is $500.00 per
customer which is not competitive at this time.
Recognizing this disincentive for non-business subscribers, Dr. Hammond
explained that once BBC raises sufficient funds ($900,000 in capital since
June 1; $1,000,000 is projected in the near future), BBC will then be
eligible for a $4 Million federal loan for rural Internet service which
would then be used to subsidize the necessary equipment.
Given that subsidy, customers would no longer have to pay for the equipment
as part of their connection cost. He projected that affordable access
would be offered by the beginning of 2005 with the cost for basic service
at about $40.00 per month.
According to Dr. Hammond, BBC's "Phase I" will begin by June 1, 2005,
paying $5 Million to build-out the backbone network covering Kent, Queen
Anne's and Talbot counties. Kent County will be the first county to receive
a broadband link across the Bay. "Phase II" of BBC's business plan would
include the establishment of a wireless microwave bandwidth across the
Bay, eventually "backboning", or covering, all of the Eastern Shore, from
Cecil County in the north to Crisfield in the south, Ocean City in the
east, and Kent Island in the west.
Dr. Hammond reported that BBC is currently building a private sector team
of providers to ensure broadband service in many, if not most, counties
of the Eastern Shore. BBC is interested in establishing a public/private
partnership with all the counties of the Eastern Shore demonstrated by
BBC's ability to access public infrastructure, and, in turn, providing
wireless service at no cost or less cost to the County.
Dr. Hammond emphasized that BBC's primary business goal is not just to
provide access to broadband service, but to provide affordable access.
He also indicated that BBC projects eventual upgrading to WiMax broadband
wireless equipment and access service standards which represent a fixed,
wireless technology, requiring an antennae, that will operate over both
licensed and unlicensed spectrum (projected availability by the middle
of 2005) and also a portable and mobile broadband wireless technology
(projected availability in late 2006 or early 2007). BBC currently utilizes
Mr. Dillman indicated that one of the goals of the Upper Shore Regional
Council is to make BBC successful.
Ms. Schaller praised the success of the BBC thus far.
In response to Mr. Dillman's question, Dr. Hammond indicated that wireless
broadband will serve the tele-medicine needs of Eastern Shore hospitals
and other service needs of, for example, colleges and universities, and
emphasized that the service is very secure.
Commissioner Crow pointed out that the three Eastern Shore regional councils
invested $50,000.00 for study conducted by The Yankee Group in order to
become as informed as possible about the technology and marketing potential
of wireless broadband on the Eastern Shore, as well as to motivate companies
such as Verizon.
Dr. Hammond assented that the study and report had the effect of motivating
BBC to proceed more aggressively. Responding to Commissioner Livie's question,
Mr. Keefe reported that BBC has been slowly but surely convincing the
Chestertown business community of the favorable business and economic
advantages being offered by BBC. He noted that many businesses are committed
to standing contracts with Verizon and, therefore, are not ready or prepared
to make a commitment to BBC. He felt convinced that these businesses will
seriously consider BBC when their other contracts have expired. He also
noted that BBC is breaking ground with new customers nevertheless, citing
area marinas among several examples.
Dr. Hammond assured the Commissioners that BBC will be sending a letter
within a few weeks to all of the Boards of Commissioners and Councils
represented by the Upper Shore Regional Council advising them of its business
plans as presented at today's meeting.
The Commissioners thanked Dr. Hammond and Mr. Keefe for the information
provided and advised of their support and interest in services provided
by BBC and its plans for establishing a partnership between the private
and public sectors.
Jeff Troester, Director of Parks and Recreation, appeared and reported
that a draft agreement has been written, representing Character Counts
Mid-Shore, Inc. and Kent County Government for the proposed employment
position, Recreation Program Coordinator.
Mr. Troester explained that the draft is based on a similar agreement
utilized by Caroline County Parks and Recreation for the employment position,
and reported that his draft has been reviewed by Tom Yeager, County Attorney.
The primary responsibility of the proposed position in Kent County (approximately
25 hours per week) would consist of coordinating the Character Counts
Program in the County with additional Parks and Recreation Department
assignments. Mr. Troester suggested that some of the County current programs,
such as Leaders Club, would fit with this position. Mr. Troester also
suggested that this position would play a role in filling the vacated
employment position, Recreation Program Leader. The specific job responsibilities
for that position would be reconfigured, pending the approval of the Character
Counts position, which Mr. Troester believes, would allow the County to
poise itself for growth in other areas of recreation and program planning,
and which would alleviate what he believes to be the over-extension of
work currently being conducted by the Parks and Recreation staff comprised
of three persons.
Commissioner Livie, concurring with Mr. Troester, stated that with salary
and benefits, the proposed Character Counts Coordinator/Recreation Program
Coordinator contractual employment position would serve as incentive to
make the position more stable.
A motion was made by Commissioner
Livie, seconded by Commissioner Crow, and made unanimous by Commissioner
Pickrum that the County enter into agreement with Character Counts Mid-Shore,
Inc. to create an entry level Recreation Program Coordinator contractual
position at Grade 7, Step A at a starting annualized base salary of $26,354,
and that the majority of the salary for this position would be funded
through Character Counts Mid-Shore, Inc. with an annual allocation of
$20,000, and that the County would fund an additional $6,354 plus benefits
for the creation of this new position.
DEPARTMENT OF WATER AND WASTEWATER SERVICES
Wayne Morris, Director of the Department of Water and Wastewater Services,
appeared and reported about the following:
Edesville Service Area
Mr. Morris reported that the leaking well was repaired with no interruption
of service to the Edesville customers, and that he is awaiting the final
report of the repair work. Mr. Morris reported that the Rock Hall connection
project is moving forward, albeit a little behind schedule, and that the
results of the feasibility study for the domestic application of that
connection is expected to be received by mid- or the end of December 2004.
Millington Service Area - Mr.
Morris reported that the Millington Water Treatment Plant construction
is progressing well.
Commissioner Crow attended meeting requested by Dr. Richard Alcorta, State
Medical Director, with all concerned parties on November 10 at the Chester
River Hospital Center concerning shortage of paramedics within the State
and time gaps in the County's paramedic coverage. As a result of this
meeting, Dr. Alcorta offered for the State to conduct a SWOT (Strengths,
Weaknesses, Opportunity and Threats) review.
The Commissioners approved to accept Dr. Alcorta's offer and a formal
letter of request will go forth.
FIRE CHIEFS' ASSOCIATION
Discussion ensued referring to correspondence dated November 9 that was
received via electronic mail from Gregg Bird, President, Fire Chiefs'
Association, with attached copy of an article entitled, "Firefighter Fees
Catching On Around the County, Even With Volunteers" (cit. http://www.firehouse.com.)
which reports that firefighters around the country are increasingly billing
victims for putting out their fires despite resistance from citizens who
have expressed their opinion that such fees are in conflict with the mission
of the largely volunteer fire fighting service.
The Commissioners emphasized the current need for firefighters. Frank
Hepbron, of Rock Hall, was present and expressed his opinion that if fire
companies start charging fees for their services, citizens would donate
even less than they currently do.
HOTEL RENTAL TAX
The Commissioners agreed to vote on the proposed increase to the Hotel
Rental Tax from 3% to 5% at their regularly scheduled meeting on November
HOUSING IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM (HIP)
Correspondence dated November 4 was received from Cindy Stone, Deputy
Administrator, Office of Programs and Regional Development, reporting
that each of the two matters of concern listed in the Monitoring Report
conducted by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development
(DHCD) pertaining to the County's use of the Maryland Community Development
Block Grant (CDBG) Program and participation in HIP project (Project Number:
MD-00-CD-39) have been cleared as per the County's corrective actions.
Commissioner Pickrum approved and signed the Subordination Agreement pertaining
to the lien the County holds on the land of Kay Lochary known as 22779
McKinley Road, Rock Hall. This is the second subordination request for
Ms. Lochary. The County's position will still be in second place in reference
to the lien.
HUMAN RELATIONS COMMISSION
The Commissioners appointed Stuart "Mickey" Elsberg, Anita Rudnick and
Dr. Ruth Shoge as members of the Human Relations Commission for a three
year term ending October 4, 2007.
Correspondence was received from Robert Gaudette, Director, Waterway Improvement
Program, Department of Natural Resources, advising that payment will be
forthcoming as follows as it relates to damages incurred as a result of
Hurricane Isabel: Bayside Public Landing - $5,700; portable toilets at
various landings - $8,447.50; public boat facility maintenance Fiscal
Year 2003 - $1,800, Fiscal Year 2004 - $5,000; Sharp Street Public Landing
- Fiscal Year 2004 - $50,000, Fiscal Year 2005 - $22,194.
At 11:50 a.m., a motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner
Livie and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum to go into closed session
for legal counsel in accordance with State Government Article, Section
(a)(7) of the Annotated Code of Maryland.
Item discussed was lease agreement for Kent Museum, Inc.
The closed session adjourned at 11:55 a.m.
At 12:00 noon, a motion was made by Commissioner Crow, seconded by Commissioner
Livie and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum to go into executive
session for legal counsel in accordance with State Government Article,
Section (a)(10) of the Annotated Code of Maryland.
Item of discussion included public security.
The closed session adjourned at 12:30 p.m.
Correspondence dated November 10 was received from Yolande J.C. Norman,
Chief, Remediation Division, Oil Control Program, Maryland Department
of the Environment (MDE), indicating that, because water sampling conducted
by the County Environmental Health Department in the Town of Massey documented
low concentrations of petroleum contamination in potable supply wells
(cit. "Minutes", Kent County Commissioners' meeting, October 5, 2004),
a Subsurface Investigation must be designed to provide sufficient stratigraphic
and groundwater data to determine whether the subject property is a potential
Ms. Norman indicated that a comprehensive "Subsurface Investigation Work
Plan" must be submitted by the County for the MDE's review no later than
December 13, 2004. This "Work Plan" must fully assess the vertical and
horizontal extent of contamination in all compass directions and satisfy
the requirements of MDE's "Maryland Environmental Assessment Technology
(MEAT) for Leaking Underground Storage Tanks" guidance document.
The County Administrator and Jim Wright, County Engineer, will be responsible
for compliance with the State's requirements.
The County Attorney provided copy of Complaint for Injunctive Relief concerning
civil action, the County vs Geneva Young relating to violation on property
located at 33463 Sassafras Caldwell Road in the First Election District
and civil action, the County vs. Clifton J. Scott relating to violation
on property located at 9020 Georgetown Road in the Sixth Election District.
PARKS AND RECREATION
Jeff Troester, Director of Parks and Recreation, appeared and, referring
to his Memorandum dated November 4 to the Commissioners, reported that
there is a surplus balance of $60,000 in operating expenditures represented
in the final budget figures of the Fiscal Year 2004 Parks and Recreation
Mr. Troester indicated that the surplus is a direct result of grant funding
and emphasized that this excess is not likely to be a recurring situation.
He requested an amendment to Parks and Recreation's Fiscal Year 2005 Budget
to include the surplus funding from Fiscal Year 2004, to be used as a
one time purchase or expense. The surplus could not be used towards anything
that would be recurring or that would create future expenses.
Mr. Troester distributed copies of a list of proposed expenditures using
the surplus which was composed by the Parks and Recreation administrative
staff. The recommendation indicated as their top priority was the renovation
of the five dirt ball diamonds at Worton Park which would expend approximately
half the funding.
A motion was made by Commissioner Livie, seconded by Commissioner Crow
and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum that of the $60,000 surplus
balance in operating expenditures of the Department of Parks and Recreation,
$20,000 be reserved for future projects, and the balance to be used at
the discretion of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board.
This expenditure was approved out of the Fiscal Year 2004 Fund Balance
and the Director of Budget and Accounting will be instructed to prepare
a Fiscal Year 2005 budget amendment.
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 closed session
to discuss personnel matters in accordance with State Government Article,
Section 10.508 (a) (i) of the Annotated Code of Maryland.
Ed Robinson, Human Resources Director, was also in attendance.
The executive session closed at 11:50
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 executive session to discuss personnel
matters in accordance with State Government Article, Section (a)(ii) in
accordance with the Annotated Code of Maryland. The closed session adjourned
at 12:00 noon.
Great American Smokeout Day -The Commissioners recognized the American
Cancer Society's Great American Smokeout Day by proclaiming November 18,
2004 as Great American Smokeout Day in Kent County, and, in doing so,
urged all tobacco users to demonstrate to themselves and the County's
youth that they can quit and to further encourage the County's youth not
to start smoking by joining the Great American Smokeout.
Charlene Perry, R.N., Director of the Health Promotion and Wellness Program,
and Robin Newman, R.N., Director of the Tobacco Prevention and Cessation
Program, both of the Kent County Health Department Community Health Coalition,
were in attendance.
Ms. Perry introduced the following people and organizations who were especially
recognized for their individual demonstration of the benefits of quitting
smoking as well as their concerted effort to encourage the same behavior
in others through their personal witness and/or educational presentations:
Dr. Paul Donaher of Galena, and Shirley Maddox, who has been tobacco-free
for one year, and representatives of Dixon Valve and Coupling Company,
Kent County Chamber of Commerce, Minority Outreach and Technical Assistance
(MOTA) of Bethel AME Church, and Velsicol Chemical Co. Ms. Perry gave
recognition to Lori Kerns of Chesapeake Health Benefits who gave an enlightening
presentation about the financial impacts of smoking from the perspective
of the health benefits industry which she conducted at a luncheon held
on October 8.
Ms. Perry also recognized the following businesses and agencies who have
supported the Great American Smokeout in Kent County: ACME Supermarkets,
David A. Bramble, Inc., Dr. John LaFerla, LaMotte Company, Kent County
Public Schools, Chesapeake College, Chester River Hospital Center, Chester
River Yacht and County Club, Chestertown Foods, Inc., Chestertown Nursing
and Rehabilitation, New Yarmouth Family Practice, Publick House, Upper
Shore Community Mental Health Center, Washington College, Kent Family
Center, Dr. Neil W. Brayton, and A.F. Whitsitt Alcohol Rehabilitation
National Family Week
The following individuals appeared and gave recognition of the week of
November 24 as National Family Week in Kent County: Jenny Randolph, Grant
Manager, Local Management Board, Rebecca Taylor, Family Services Coordinator,
Circuit Court, Brenda Rose, Director, Judy Center, Judy Linn, Executive
Director, and Virginia Allen, Program Director, both of Kent Family Center,
Cheryl Hurt, representative of Women in Need, Vita Pickrum, President,
and Susanne Hayman, Vice-President, both of Shared Opportunities Services.
The Commissioners recognized National Family Week with the reading of
the Proclamation which included emphases about the following: the fact
that strong families are the center of strong communities; that everyone
has a role to play in making families successful, including neighborhood
organizations, businesses, non-profit agencies, policy-makers and families;
and that during Thanksgiving week, the citizens of the County should take
the time to honor the importance of families, recognizing the special
connections that support and strengthen families year round.
Venture Club - The Commissioners recognized the Venture Club of
Kent County, sponsored by the Kent County Chapter of Soroptimist International
of America by approving and signing a Proclamation signifying that the
month of October as "Venture Month." This appointment was previously scheduled
in October and was rescheduled.
The Proclamation included statements indicating that the Venture Club
has given many hours of service, sponsored countless projects, and has
made numerous contributions to the community and that it is a unique service
organization for working women. Lulu Hurtt, representative of The Venture
Club, was in attendance to receive the Proclamation and the Board's recognition.
Pamela Metz Kasemeyer, Esq., attorney for Synagro Mid-Atlantic, Inc. ("A
Residuals Management Company") appeared and introduced Lisa Williams,
Senior Technical Services Director of Synagro, who conducted a PowerPoint
presentation for the Commissioners addressing the following points: a
definition for biosolids; the results of Synagro's research concerning
biosolids application; State and federal regulations governing the application
of biosolids in Maryland; and a proposal to the Commissioners that the
Board consider changing the County's current ordinance in order to make
it easier for farmers to use biosolids if they are interested and citing
what Synagro considers to be the County's overly restrictive special exception
Brooke Henderson, Senior Communications Manager, and Jason Krankowski,
Technical Services Manager, also of Synagro, were also in attendance.
Ms. Williams noted that Kent County adopted regulations concerning the
application of sewage sludge around 1980, which was several years prior
to the adoption of the State law preempting County sludge application
laws. Over the past 25 years, only two requests have been approved by
the Board of Appeals. Biosolids were defined during the presentation as
organic matter recovered from the sewage treatment process and used especially
The PowerPoint presentation outlined the water treatment process; the
recycling process of biosolids that eliminates the presence of pathogens
(disease-causing organisms) through mandated disinfection, and the presence
of metals through the pre-treatment of wastewater; the supervision of
the recycling process through extensive testing and reporting and required
The following points were made as to the safety of biosolids: the quantity
of research; current regulations representing the most studied agricultural
amendment; scientific assessment, and established protection of the most
sensitive of the human population. The biosolids recycling rate nationally
is 60% annually. In the State, 90% of biosolids is recycled annually and
represents Maryland's most successful recycling program with over 25 years
of successful use by farmers and gardeners.
The benefits of biosolids were listed as follows: plant nutrients (nitrogen,
phosphorous, and micro-nutrients); lime; organic matter (holds water,
reduces compaction, improves aeration, reduces erosion). Typical biosolids
fertilizer was valued at a cost savings of $120.00 per acre.
Ms. Williams expressed her opinion that farmers in Kent County are at
a economic disadvantage to farmers in other counties of the State that
are applying biosolids to their farmlands. To apply biosolids on their
farmland, Kent County farmers would have to go through what she believes
to be the arduous special exception process in order to comply with the
current County ordinance. She explained that the process is lengthy, requiring
one or two public information meetings, with representatives of the Maryland
Department of the Environment (MDE) and Synagro present. If a permit for
the application of biosolids is granted, the permit would expire in five
years, at which time the process would have to be repeated for the renewal
of the permit.
Ms. Williams also cited the existence of several full lagoons in the County
which could be utilized as managed material in the County and, again,
representing a savings to farmers in the County, given that there would
be no need for and the associated costs of transporting biosolids from
other counties into Kent County.
Ms. Williams proposed to the Board a demonstration project for the application
of biosolids on farmland to be conducted in Kent County in order that
the Commissioners and the citizens of Kent County could witness first-hand
all the steps of the process of this application.
In response to many questions posed by Commissioners Crow and Pickrum,
Ms. Williams reported the following: that there is 20 lbs of nitrogen
per ton of treated biosolids; 70% moisture per dry ton; there is consistency
of the content of the treated biosolids material and that each load of
biosolids has been tested before it is applied; the management of biosolids
treatment and recycling is done per treatment facility, not per batch
of the recycled product; there are a few restrictions on types of crops
with the use of biosolids application, e.g. biosolids should not be used
on organic farms or home gardens; treated biosolids may be applied to
all current County crops; Mobil Dredging represents Synagro's largest
Commissioner Crow emphasized his reluctance, despite assurances given
about the consistency of content and the safety of biosolids-use, to accept
biosolids that have been transported into Kent County from other counties
and/or cities, such as Baltimore and Philadelphia. Commissioner Pickrum
concurred, noting that the Board must address not only the technical details
and logistics, but also the public's perception about the use of biosolids,
pertinent safety and business/economic concerns.
Ms. Williams assented to the importance of public perception. She noted
that a farmer who chooses to use biosolids would not have to use it every
year, nor on every field.
To questions posed by Commissioner Livie, Ms. Williams indicated that
Synagro is the largest residuals management company in the State and has
been successful with managing public perception of the use, safety and
recycling of biosolids.
She further noted that, given the fact that transportation of biosolids
is Synagro's greatest business expense, the shorter the distance from
recycling plant to the farm, the less the expense to Synagro, which would,
in turn, pass on that savings to its clients.
C ommissioner Livie questioned if they would consider a demonstration
project in Kent County using biosolids from within the County. Ms. Williams
responded in the affirmative. Commissioner Livie further questioned if
the County approved the use of biosolids would they be willing to use
local material exclusively. Ms. Williams stated they would be interested
in following up on this proposal.
Referring to the minutes of the September 2004 meeting of the Agricultural
Advisory Commission, Commissioner Pickrum reported that the members of
the Commission felt that there should be no changes made to the County's
current bio-solids land application regulations and based their decision
on the following: chicken litter is readily available; sewage sludge land
application is permitted by the County; there are too many environmental
issues associated with bio-solids land application. As a result of that
presentation, the members of the Agricultural Advisory Commission were
hesitant about loosening the current regulations, and requested that more
information be provided.
Ms. Williams explained that Synagro is prepared and would be happy to
provide further information to the Commission; however, the Commission
has not made further contact with Synagro.
As per Commissioner Crow's request,
Ms. Williams agreed to provide in writing the differences that exist between
Kent County's ordinances governing the use of biosolids application and
those of the MDE. Ms. Williams also indicated that she will provide the
Board with a step-by-step outline of the recycling and application process
of biosolids as per the issues and concerns raised by the Board.
The Commissioners expressed their appreciation to Ms. Williams and the
other representatives of Synagro for their attendance and presentation.
STATE HIGHWAY ADMINISTRATION (SHA)
MARYLAND ROUTE 291
Correspondence dated November 5 was received from Richard K. Lindsay,
District Engineer, SHA, following up on concerns expressed by the Commissioners
during the recent Consolidated Transportation Program tour in the County
regarding signalization along MD Route 291 for the Kent and Queen Anne's
Counties' Rescue Squad.
The SHA continues to study the location in order to determine if signalization
is justified according to the SHA's guidelines. Mr. Lindsay indicated
that the SHA anticipates finalizing the study by mid-December 2004 and
that the SHA will advise the Commissioners of its findings and/or recommendations.
UPPER SHORE AGING (USA)
Carl E. Burke, Executive Director, USA, Inc., appeared and presented to
the Board a review of USA's financial reports documenting how USA, Inc.,
the Area Agency on Aging for the County, funds its administrative operations.
Deputy Director Gary Gunther and Charlotte Coleman, Fiscal Director, both
of USA, Inc., were also in attendance.
Mr. Burke expressed the appreciation of USA to the Board for the County's
current fiscal year appropriations to USA. Mr. Burke reported that in
most of the State's counties, the local Area Agency on Aging receives
direct, designated local funding for organizational administration. In
the case of USA, Inc., the Area Agency on Aging pulls administrative charges
from all eligible federal, State and private grants, as well as from local
appropriations, to support its reasonable administrative costs, which
amount to 7.56% of total revenues.
Mr. Burke explained that, historically, reasonable grants administration
charges approved by funding entities have been sufficient to fund the
agency's administrative operations in lieu of direct local support for
this purpose. He noted that the impending loss of about $675,000 in Maryland
Transit Administration operating grants and unspecified contract revenues
(anticipated after July 1, 2005) die to USA's decision to discontinue
the USTAR program will impact USA, Inc.'s ability to continue supporting
its organizational administration the way it has done in the past, given
the strict limitations of those who provide funding regarding administrative
He also reviewed the legislative underpinnings of the local Area Agency
on Aging, the organizational structure and the oversight function of USA,
Inc. as well as the Agency's administrative operations. Currently projected
Fiscal Year 2005 revenue shortfalls for Agency administration were identified,
and alternative solutions for finding sufficient support were presented,
along with the implications of each. Mr. Burke reported that $8,200 represents
revenue to USA from Kent County.
The following detail the specific uses of local operating appropriations
in Kent County for Fiscal Year 2004:
Administration - $8,200 (6%);
Seniors - $13,268 (10%);
Meals on Wheels - $27,175 (20%);
Senior Center - $44,798 (32%);
USTAR ($45,330 (32%).
In response to Commissioner Pickrum's questions, Mr. Burke reported that
the total revenue from the Maryland Transit Authority, Fiscal Year 2004,
was $675,000, and that USA has ceased all of its involvement with publically-funded
transportation, however it will continue to provide transportation for
its clients to and from the Senior Center.
Responding to Commissioner Livie's questions, Mr. Burke reported that
USA is not going to eliminate employment positions in light of its fiscal
challenges; however, it will be cutting back the hours of three administrative
Commissioners Livie and Crow expressed the appreciation of the Board for
the financial reports and the presentation indicating that they represent
a good start for further dialogue between the County and USA.
Commissioner Livie added that USA performs a very valuable service for
the County's senior citizens and assured Mr. Burke that the Board will
carefully review the reports presented.
As per the Commissioners' request, Mr. Burke indicated that he will provide
USA's final figures for Fiscal Year 2004 as soon as possible.
There being no further business to claim their attention, the Board adjourned
to meet again on Tuesday, November 30, 2004.
THE COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
OF KENT COUNTY, MARYLAND
Janice F. Fletcher
Approved: William W. Pickrum, President