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KENT COUNTY, MARYLAND


Board of County Commissioners

November 30, 2004

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.


APPEALS BOARD

Carla Martin, Community Planner, appeared and reviewed the decisions made by the Board of Appeals at its meeting on November 24. The Commissioners reappointed Trey Hill as a member of the Board of Zoning Appeals Board for a three year term ending January 7, 2008.


BAY BROADBAND

Commissioner Crow noted correspondence dated November 20 that was received from Dr. Al Hammond, President and CEO, Bay Broadband Communications, LLC, in which he indicated his agreement with the goal of the study conducted and presented by The Yankee Group to the Eastern Shore Maryland Counties regarding a proposed affordable, wireless broadband network.

In his letter, Dr. Hammond listed the four concerns which he has about The Yankee Group's proposal (cit "Minutes", Commissioners' meeting, November 16, 2004) and provided attachment of a counter-proposal from Bay Broadband Communications (BBC) entitled "Bringing Affordable Broadband to Maryland's Eastern Shore: A Private Sector Counter-Proposal" (dated November 20, 2004) which was prepared with the assistance of John Dolmetsch of BIG Wireless, Rattana Chhay of Friendlynet, and Barb Pivec of Atlantic Site Acquisition Services.

Commissioner Crow reported that on November 24, the chairperson of the Upper Shore Regional Council (USRC) met with Dr. Hammond who assured the USRC that BBC and its partners will build a cost-effective, regional, carrier-class wireless backbone covering the entire Eastern Shore.

John Dillman, Executive Director, USRC, appeared later in the meeting and responded to several concerns expressed by the Commissioners who want to support the initiative of BBC as well as to encourage the current momentum of the Eastern Shore regional councils to establish a cooperative wireless broadband service should the private sector not succeed in raising capital and in implementing this service.

Mr. Dillman indicated that there are at least two ways in which the USRC can assist the BBC with its initiative: (1) by identifying all of the public facilities, e.g. water towers, located in the member-counties of the USRC that could serve as the necessary infrastructure; and (2) by putting out a bid to all vendors of wireless broadband service. Should a vendor of the private sector other than BBC come forward to bid, that vendor would have a number of options, e.g. partnering with BBC.

In Dr. Hammond's November 20 correspondence, he indicated that BBC will also build a dense access network with broad coverage, with an average of 15 access points per county. The access networks will use currently available pre-WiMax technology, but will migrate to WiMax when reliability and cost issues are resolved. The project will ensure affordable access for Eastern Shore households by using low-cost federal loan funds, specifically intended for rural broadband, to finance or subsidize customer premises equipment, removing the "initial cost" barrier to widespread participation. BBC and its partners will offer both high-speed Internet access and bandwidth-intensive advanced services such as voice-over-internet phone service, video on demand, and on-line business applications.

Dr. Hammond also indicated in his letter that BBC welcomes an appropriate public-private partnership with the counties - one that does not ask for huge public investments, but rather leverages existing facilities. In the view of BBC, preferred and low-cost access to public towers and streamlined licensing processes would facilitate and accelerate its network build-out - and should be met in return by free access for several community centers in each county, service to any County facility at half its commercial rates, and other services. There are other ways the county governments could partner with this private sector effort to help ensure access in under-privileged communities, back-up service for emergency services and other critical county networks, and to achieve similar goals.

In BBC's view, it is the role of the private sector to raise the necessary investment and take the risks inherent in any venture, and not the role of the public sector, unless the private sector is unable to provide this support. In conclusion, the counter-proposal indicated that, in contrast to The Yankee Group's proposal, BBC and its partners believe that they can provide affordable broadband to the Eastern Shore, alone or in concert with other operators, more rapidly, at lower cost, and with broader coverage and more affordable access than a network owned and operated by the public sector.

The Commissioners concurred to support Dr. Hammond's plan and strategy for funding wireless broadband service on the Eastern Shore and, concurrently, to support the USRC's strategy to open the bid to vendors who provide this service should BBC not succeed with raising sufficient private capital and to determine how much financial support would then be expected from each County.

Commissioner Crow expressed his concern that The Yankee Group's study and report did not include BBC and also his belief that the provision for wireless broadband service in the more remote areas of the Eastern Shore will generate even more excitement and support by the citizens and local governments of Eastern Shore counties.

Mr. Dillman added that the Regional Councils have invited BBC to address the Councils at the Maryland Association of Counties (MACo) Winter Conference in December, and anticipates that the Councils and BBC will be ready to finalize a plan to ensure affordable broadband coverage throughout the Region.


BLACKBIRD-MILLINGTON CORRIDOR

Gail Owings, Director of Planning and Zoning, appeared and reported that on November 15 the Nature Conservancy held a meeting at the Millington Elementary School to review strategies for the Blackbird-Millington Conservation Plan. She reported that the current strategies were not changed or any new ones added. Mrs. Owings also reported that early in the summer of 2004, the Nature Conservancy began working with citizens in the Blackbird-Millington Corridor to develop strategies.

For the record, this corridor is a band of farmland, forest, and wetlands that stretches from the Cypress Branch and Millington area to the Delaware Bay at the mouth of the Blackbird Creek and home to a great diversity of plants, animals, and ecological systems.


BOARD OF EDUCATION (BOE)

Kent County High School - Angela Blake Ackerson, Coordinator of the Mark Blake Memorial Scholarship Fund and sister to the late Mark Blake, appeared and expressed what is, in her opinion, the importance of providing lighting in the Kent County High School athletic field, as well as to announce her donation of $1,000 towards the provision of lighting.

Bill and Catherine Blake, parents of Mrs. Ackerson and the late Mark Blake, as well as John Larrimore, member of the BOE, Frances Miller, Assistant Superintendent of Administrative Services, and Jon Baker, Public Information Officer, both of Kent County Public Schools, were also in attendance.

Mrs. Ackerson began her presentation by praising her experience as a student at Kent County High School and, along with her father, listed the many benefits, tangible and intangible, that stadium lighting would provide not only to the students but to all the citizens of the County. She provided the following examples of events that could take place in a lighted stadium which would generate revenue from concessions and registration fees: men and women soccer leagues, band competitions, health fairs, concerts, potential activities. She also indicated that, in her opinion, the citizens of the County are ready for the provision of lighting and are tired of waiting for it and would be willing to cooperate with efforts for fund-raising.

She reported that her own family anticipates organizing a fund-raising effort beginning in January and continuing through June 2005.

Mr. Blake presented his observations based on his experience coaching athletic games in other counties whose high school lighted stadiums are filled to capacity for evening games. Among the intangible benefits of having stadium lighting, he cited the increased commitment of citizens to its youth, the instilling of pride in the students, and the greater potential for constructive activities for County youth involvement. He emphasized his belief that there is no greater or more important investment than that made to increase the health and welfare of children and youth.

Each of the Commissioners concurred with Mr. Blake. Commissioner Pickrum added that there have been occasions when the youth of the County have expressed to the Commissioners that there is nothing to do in the County, and that, in his opinion, such a complaint is an indictment of the adults of the County.

Commissioner Livie indicated that the Board and the BOE have committed to providing stadium lighting at the high school and recognized the Blake Family's donation as the first private investment made, extending the appreciation and gratitude of the Board for it. He suggested that a plaque be erected in memory of Mark Blake.

Commissioner Livie also noted that for Fiscal Year 2005, $55,000 has been committed in the County Budget for the provision of stadium lighting, and that the County will match every dollar donated to this provision. Therefore, the County will fund $1,000, matching the Blake Family donation and will establish the scholarship fund.

Correspondence via electronic mail, dated November 23, directed to Susanne Hayman, County Administrator, was received from the office of the Assistant Superintendent of Administrative Services advising that the bids received for the Project Manager/Architect for the KCHS Renovation Project came in nearly 40% over budget.

At today's meeting, Commissioner Crow contacted Ms. Miller requesting the project be rebid. Ms. Miller will relay the Board's request to Dr. Ward, Superintendent.

Commissioner Pickrum, referring to this correspondence, expressed his opinion that, since the BOE anticipated and provided for the possibility of overage in its financial planning, the BOE should therefore provide some possible solutions as well for the funding of this overage.

Rock Hall Middle School - Correspondence directed to Dr. Bonnie Ward, Superintendent of Kent County Public Schools, received from Congressman Wayne T. Gilchrest with attachment of correspondence dated November 15 via FAX from Congressman Gilchrest's constituent, Robert Hunter of Chestertown, who issued a complaint related to an incident involving his son at the Rock Hall Middle School (cit. "Minutes", Commissioners' meeting, 09/14/04).


BOARD OF ELECTRICAL EXAMINERS

The Commissioners reappointed P. Wayne Pinder as a member of the Board of Electrical Examiners for a three year term ending January 12, 2008.


BRIDGE #K007, PEACOCK CORNER BRIDGE

A copy of the public notice sent by Ed Spray, Superintendent of County Roads, to the Kent County News, was received indicating that the Peacock Corner Bridge, located on Peacock Corner Road on the Andover Branch at the Queen Anne's County line, will be closed to through traffic on Monday, November 29, 2004 for replacement of the bridge. The new bridge should be opened within ten months.

The public may contact the Kent County Public Works/Roads Division at 410-778-4252 for further information.


CHESAPEAKE COLLEGE

The Commissioners raised concern that, as per the copy of the minutes of the Board of Trustees of Chesapeake College which they received, there was no evidence of a commitment from the Trustees to make every attempt to contract with Eastern Shore businesses and vendors for services and products needed by the College.

The Commissioners expressed their concern in light of the fact that they have conveyed, through correspondence to and conversations with Dr. Stuart Bounds, President of Chesapeake College, what they believe to be the importance of the support shown by a community college, such as Chesapeake College, for its local businesses.

Commissioner Livie reported that, in a recent conversation with Dr. Bounds, Dr. Bounds assured him that the College will be more assertive in its effort to support local businesses.


COMMISSION ON AGING

The Commissioners reappointed Martha Wright, Ruth Brice, Dorothy M. Morlock and Rebecca M. Startt as members of the Commission on Aging for a three year term ending December 31, 2007.


COMPREHENSIVE PLAN

Gail Owings, Director of Planning and Zoning, appeared and reported that on December 1, at 7:00 p.m. in the Casey Forum of Washington College, the Planning Commission will host a workshop to discuss the draft Economy, Countryside, and Environment sections of the draft update of the Comprehensive Plan.


COUNTY ROADS DIVISION

A copy of correspondence dated November 10 was received from W.S. Ingersoll, Town Manager of Chestertown, and directed to Carter G. Stanton, Director of Public Works, extending his appreciation for information conveyed by Mr. Stanton regarding the sale of a County surplus dump body truck. Mr. Ingersoll indicated that the Town had already made two purchases of dump trucks from the State Highway Administration.


DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES

Correspondence dated November 12 was received from Paula Gish, Assistant Director of Service, Kent County Department of Social Services (DSS), reporting that DSS was allocated Local Emergency Assistance Program (LEAP) in the amount of $16,000 for Fiscal Year 2006. In July, DSS received one half ($8,000) of its annual allocation.

To date, 45 Kent County families were served with the funding received. LEAP funds remains an important resource to aid families in danger of eviction, utility cut-off and to meet prescription and food needs. Funds were expended as follows:

- Rent .................................. $4,967.00

- Prescriptions .................... 418.08

- Medical ............................. 176.66

- Electric ................................ 930.00

- Dental .................................. 200.00

- Fuel ...................................... 600.00

Ms. Gish requested permission to disburse the remainder of DSS' Fiscal Year 2005 allocations in the amount of $8,000.00. A letter will go forth to DSS conveying the Commissioners' approval of the disbursement.


DEPARTMENT OF WATER AND WASTEWATER SERVICES

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

Worton Service Area - On November 27, a gate valve broke at the Worton water treatment plant, rendering the residents of Worton to be without water for 2.5 hours. Mr. Morris reported that the valve has been replaced and all further necessary repairs will be made when public schools are in recess during the winter holidays. Mr. Morris indicated that all of the residents of Worton have been contacted by his office and notified about the repair work to be done.

Tolchester Service Area - In follow up to the October 23 community meeting, Mr. Morris initiated discussion concerning Tolchester growth issues, indicating that a total of 12 allocations are pending and awaiting the approval of the Commissioners.

Commissioner Livie expressed his concern that the decision to limit approval to only the 13 allocations would take away the value of some properties as it would increase the value of others.

Mr. Morris concurred and added that the State has approved the 10 additional allocations and based its decisions on two limiting factors: the results of the hydraulic study which was conducted by an engineering consultant, and the County's growth policy. Responding to

Commissioner Livie's question, Mr. Morris indicated that the allocation decision can be revised, barring no environmental and sewer capacity issues; however, infrastructure and legal concerns and needs, such as roads, ditches, and line capacity, would also have to be re-addressed.

Commissioner Pickrum added that 12 of the 13 allocations are located in approved areas and are still subject to the approval of other agencies.

Mr. Morris noted that he would research the locations of the 12 requested allocations and will report to the Board at its next meeting along with his recommendations.

No further action was taken at this time.

Fairlee Service Area - Correspondence dated November 10 was received from Congressman Wayne T. Gilchrest with attached copy of correspondence from his constituent, Margot Kindig, which was sent to the Congressman via electronic mail and dated October 28. Congressman requested the Board's review of and response to Mrs. Kindig's letter.

Mrs. Kindig indicated to Congressman Gilchrest that she cannot financially afford to pay for her water/sewer bill. She expressed her objections to the increased rates for the water and sewer services that she receives.

A letter will go forth to Mrs. Kindig with copy to Congressman Gilchrest elaborating the County's rationale for the increase in the water and sewer service rates and providing an explanation of how the County continues to subsidize the water and sewer services.

EASTERN SHORE AREA HEALTH EDUCATION CENTER (ESAHEC)

Correspondence dated November 19 was received from Audrey V. Wahl, Coordinator, Geriatric Assessment Interdisciplinary Team (GAIT), reporting that ESAHEC and the Chester River Hospital Center coordinated their efforts to facilitate a GAIT project on November 10 and 11.

Sixteen health care students participated in the GAIT project and represented the Medicine and Nursing programs at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, the Nursing Program from Chesapeake College, Occupational Therapy, Physician Assistant and Gerontology programs from Towson University. She attributed the increased knowledge and skills gained by the health care students about the aging process to the featured speakers and the administration and staff of the Chester River Hospital Center.


EASTERN SHORE LAND CONSERVANCY

Correspondence dated November 9 was received from Roben Etgen, Executive Director, and Amy Owsley, Director of Community Planning, of the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy (ESLC), informing the Commissioners that Kent County, along with five other counties of the Mid-Shore, was honored recently for its important land conservation efforts through the Rural Legacy Program at the second annual Eastern Shore 2010 Achievement Awards - a program that acknowledges outstanding contributions to land use planning on the Eastern Shore.

Ms. Carla Martin, Community Planner, was also honored as representative of the County's efforts.


ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ADVISORY BOARD

The Commissioners reappointed Terwana Brown and James Gillespie as members of the Economic Development Advisory Board for a three year term ending January 5, 2008.


EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY (EMA)

Correspondence dated November 19 was received from Robert Rust, Director, EMA, notifying the Commissioners of the Annual Public Meeting to be conducted by the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) on December 7 at 7:00 p.m. in the Commissioners' Hearing Room.

The purpose of this meeting is to provide information for a better understanding of how the LEPC activities affect the Commissioners and the citizens of the County, for example the Emergency Operations Plan, the Hazard Mitigation Plan, the Emergency Response Synchronization Matrix, the U.S. Marines Biochemical Drill, and the County Terrorism Guidebook, and also to issue a formal Promulgation of the updated Emergency Operations Plan.


GOVERNOR'S COMMISSION ON HISPANIC AFFAIRS

Correspondence dated November 15 was received from Christopher J. McCabe, Secretary, Department of Human Resources, giving notice of the appointment of Carmen E. Pratt (Ex-Officio) to the Governor's Commission on Hispanic Affairs by Governor Ehrlich. In this capacity, Ms. Pratt will act as the liaison for Hispanics in Kent County and the State on matters concerning Hispanic issues.

Commissioner Pratt may be contacted by e-mail at hispanic@dhr.state.md.us or by phone at 410-767-7857.

A letter will go forth extending the Commissioners' congratulations to Ms. Pratt.

HOTEL RENTAL TAX

Commissioner Livie read the proposed Resolution Establishing Hotel Tax Rate into the record which, if approved, would raise revenues by increasing Kent County's Hotel Rental Tax from Three (3%) Percent to Five (5%) Percent and shall be used exclusively for tourism development efforts in advertising, marketing and promoting Kent County and its municipalities.

The Hotel Tax of 5% would be levied upon every "transient charge"; and this rate would become effective January 1, 2005, remaining in effect unless or until changed by the Board of County Commissioners. Martha Shane, owner of The Lauretum Inn, Chestertown, was also in attendance.

Commissioner Livie emphasized that there has been a lot of community discussion about the proposed Hotel Rental Tax, noting that the majority of hotel and bed and breakfast businesses in the County believe that it would prove to be an asset to their businesses.

He also indicated that it is the belief of the entire Board that the proposed Tax would be in the best interest of the County.

Mrs. Shane stated that she is in favor of the Hotel Rental Tax.

To Mrs. Shane's question as to how the County would be able to document that the revenues generated from the proposed tax would in fact be used "exclusively for tourism development efforts", Commissioner Livie responded by indicating that unless a town participates in the Memorandum of Understanding, an accurate documentation could not be possible.

Mrs. Shane also reported that some of her peers are concerned that the tax rate increase would have the effect of decreasing the occupancy rates of their businesses.

Mrs. Van Pelt responded by indicating that she produces a quarterly report that provides, in her opinion, a decent analysis of occupancy rates.

Commissioner Crow expressed his hope that Rock Hall would change its mind and eventually participate in a Memorandum of Understanding.

Commissioner Pickrum noted that the proposed Hotel Tax does not represent a fee to be borne by its citizens but only by tourists, and that the increase in that rate would not be onerous to business owners or tourists.

A motion was made by Commissioner Livie, seconded by Commissioner Crow, and made unanimous by Commissioner Pickrum to approve the Resolution increasing the Hotel Rental Tax Rate from 3% to 5% effective January 1, 2005.


KENT CENTER

The Commissioners approved and Commissioner Pickrum signed the Certification for the Request for Release of Funds which will be forwarded to the Environmental Section of the Department of Housing and Community Development for the release of the County's $500,000 CDBG Award. The release is required for the implementation of Phase Five of the New Kent Center, Inc., Project.


KENT FAMILY CENTER

Correspondence dated November 22 was received from Ralph Smith, Senior Vice President of Families Count - Maryland, requesting that the Commissioners join with the organization in congratulating The Kent Family Center which is one of seven organizations named as Families Count - Maryland honorees.


Each organization will receive a $500,000 unrestricted award in recognition of its work strengthening low-income families and communities in the State.

A letter will go forth extending the congratulations of the Commissioners.

KENT MUSEUM

Correspondence received November 24 was received from Donald L. Andersen, President of the Board of Directors, Kent Museum, Inc., expressing the appreciation of the Board of Directors for the interest and assistance in recruiting an experienced volunteer fund-raiser for the "Granary Rehabilitation Project."

Mr. Andersen indicated that the Board of Directors is interested in using the granary, after it has been stabilized and restored, as an information center for the Sassafras Natural Resources Management Area, the Turners Creek Park, and the Kent Museum, as well as an educational center that will provide historical and cultural information about the County to school age people, adults and visitors to the County.

The granary of the Kent Museum is the only remaining granary and site of those established before the Revolutionary War, and it served to provide food and supplies that were transported until the Railroad Era.


LEGAL COUNSEL

At 11:45 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 legal matters as it relates to contract negotiations in accordance with State Government Article, Section 10.508 (a)(9) of the Annotated Code of Maryland.

Michael Thielke of Chester Bridge Foundation and Jim Wright, County Engineer, were in attendance.

The closed session adjourned at 12:10 p.m.

At 12:30 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)(2)(10) of the Annotated Code of Maryland.

The closed session adjourned at 12:45 p.m.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT INSURANCE TRUST

Susanne Hayman, County Administrator, accepted appointment to the Local Government Insurance Trust Claims Committee.


MASSEY PROPERTY

Correspondence dated November 9 was received from Richard K. Lindsay, District Engineer, State Highway Administration (SHA) expressing his appreciation to Commissioner Pickrum for his attendance at the Consolidated Transportation Program (CTP) briefing and for his inquiry concerning the recent testing of the former site of a SHA fuel tank.

Acknowledging that, as per discussion that took place with the County Administrator about the area in question and having been advised by the same that the County is proceeding with the testing of the wells in the area to determine if there is any contamination, Mr. Lindsay reported that there is no assistance required by SHA at this time.


MID-SHORE MENTAL HEALTH SYSTEMS

A copy of the Mid-Shore Mental Health Systems, Inc. 2005 Guide to Mental Health Services in Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne's and Talbot Counties was received for the Board's information and files.


PARKS AND RECREATION

The Commissioners approved and signed Contractual Agreement between Character Counts Mid Shore, Inc. and Kent County through the Parks and Recreation Department which will function in a coordinating role for a community based movement of character counts program in Kent County for Fiscal Year 2005.

It is agreed that the Parks and Recreation Department will employ an official county coordinator for the Kent County Character Counts Program and follow conditions specified in this Agreement based upon the Character Counts Mid Shore, Inc. investing $20,000 per year toward the salary of this employee beginning January 1, 2005.


PERSONNEL

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 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, and Sheriff John Price were in attendance.

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


PLANNING

Gail Owings, Director of Planning and Zoning, appeared and reported about the Maryland Citizens' Planning Workshop which took place on November 29 and which was attended by members of the Planning Commission.

Carla Martin, Community Planner, was also in attendance.

Mrs. Owings reviewed the following three strategies to stay and facilitate a growth ordinance which were discussed at the workshop: establish an adequate public facilities ordinance; establish a capital improvement plan (needed in order to make the public facilities adequate); and to determine a payment plan/funding sources for all of the above.

Mrs. Owings indicated that no formal recommendations were made as a result of this workshop, the intention for which was to serve as an educational venue. She also noted that the strategy described represents only one tool of negotiation for use by counties in their interactions with municipalities and developers; she suggested that the County look at other tools of negotiation as well.

To Commissioner Livie's concern that the County be able to prevent the sprawl as evident in Middletown, DE, Mrs. Owings reported that developers cannot force the County to do anything and that she felt that the County was fortunate in that its municipalities have agreed to work closely with the Planning and Zoning Administration.

She also reported that one of the main issues discussed at meetings of the Maryland Association of Counties is the authority of towns to annex properties, thereby increasing the demands on water and sewer systems' capacity, and added that the only authority counties can wield concerning annexation is through their zoning ordinances.

Responding to Commissioner Pickrum's question, Mrs. Owings explained that the County's ability to change its zoning ordinances for the purpose of preventing the annexation of properties by its municipalities is extremely limited. She indicated that she would acquire annexation agreements, such as those that are used by other counties, to offer as samples to towns in Kent County that are being faced with pressure from developers.

Ms. Martin also reported that she was selected to participate as a student of the LEAD (Leadership-Education-Action-Developing) Maryland Foundation program, a two-year fellowship program that seeks to develop the leadership skills of people involved in agriculture or rural development. The Commissioners extended their congratulations to Ms. Martin who will begin her studies in February 2005.


PLANNING COMMISSION

The Commissioners reappointed Elizabeth H. Morris as a member of the Planning Commission for a five year term ending January 7, 2010.


REGIONAL CORRECTIONAL FACILITY

The Commissioners received a copy of the Request for Proposals for Consultant Services for a Regional Detention Center dated November 2004, the proposal for which is due January 14, 2005, from John A. Dillman, III, Executive Director, Upper Shore Regional Council.

Mr. Dillman expressed his appreciation to LaMonte Cooke, Queen Anne's County's Director of Corrections for his leadership of the regional committee and to John Scarborough, Chief of Engineering, and David Remaniak, Civil Engineer III, of Queen Anne's County Department of Public Works for preparing the Bid Request.


SAMARITAN GROUP

Patricia McDonald, Chairperson, The Samaritan Group, appeared and presented a review of the services of the Emergency Winter Shelter Program, sponsored by The Samaritan Group, which is an interfaith service ministry based in Chestertown.

Jane Ann Martin, Art Kendall, Margaret Gribble, and Sandee Trakat, all members of the Board of Directors of the Samaritan Group, were also in attendance.

Mrs. McDonald requested the good wishes of the Commissioners for The Samaritan Group and noted that the organization is currently recruiting volunteers and seeking financial assistance from the community for the operation of the emergency winter shelter program beginning January 3, 2005 through and including March 27, 2005, and that it is projecting to be open again in November and December 2005.

Mrs. McDonald stated that during the past two winters, The Samaritan Group provided emergency shelter, a hot evening meal, breakfast and a bag lunch at several Kent County churches on a rotating basis.

For the most part, the Shelter is staffed by volunteers, but because of the generous support of local donors, The Samaritan Group was able to hire an overnight supervisor to cover some of the 11:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. shifts. During the first three months of 2004, the shelter provided 210 bed nights for nine different guests, who might otherwise have had to sleep outdoors. Currently, a total of seven churches plan to host the shelter.

Responding to the Commissioners' questions, Mrs. McDonald reported that The Samaritan Group has budgeted $15,000 for the current year, $5,800 of which has thus far been raised. She noted that the number of people in the County requiring shelter increased over the past year.

Mrs. McDonald expressed her belief that affordable housing is needed in the County for those people who, having once required the services of The Samaritan Group, have subsequently become financially capable of purchasing a home.

The Commissioners assured Mrs. McDonald of their commitment to providing affordable housing and extended their appreciation to Mrs. McDonald and to The Samaritan Group for their services to the homeless in the County.

A letter will go forth to The Samaritan Group extending the good wishes of the Board of Commissioners.

For more information about The Samaritan Group and/or the Emergency Winter Shelter Program, the public may contact Mrs. McDonald and /or Shelter Coordinators at 410-928-5160; 410-778-3163; 410-778-5560.


SHORE EROSION CONTROL

Correspondence dated November 10 was received from David H. Wilson, Coordinator, Maryland Eastern Shore Resource, Conservation, and Development Area Council, Inc. (RC&D), directed to the County Administrator, referring to the petition the County received from several residents of Tolchester to sponsor the formation of a shore erosion control district (cit. "Minutes," Commissioners' meeting, 11/09/04).

Mr. Wilson requested that he be informed as to the necessary subsequent steps to obtain the sponsorship from the Commissioners. He advised that following his receipt of said information, the State will do an analysis of the Tolchester site shore erosion problem and provide the solutions required.


STATE HIGHWAY ADMINISTRATION (SHA)

A Memorandum dated October 29 was received from Neil J. Pedersen, Administrator, SHA, with attachment of a copy of the recently executed Memorandum of Action adopting the 2003 edition of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD 2003) as the major component of the manual and specifications for traffic control devices.

The MUTCD, the Maryland Supplement to the MUTCD, and the Standard Sign Book comprise the official manual and specifications for traffic control devices used throughout the State. The Office of Traffic and Safety has procured and distributed a limited number of copies of the MUTCD 2003 and the manual is available on the following website: http://muted.fhwa.dot.gov/pdfs/2003/pdf-index.htm.


TOURISM DEVELOPMENT

Bernadette Bowman, Director of Tourism Development, appeared and reported on the following:

Southern Living Magazine - Mrs. Van Pelt had an extensive interview with an author of the magazine who will include an article about the Chestertown Artist's Studio Tour and the downrigging of the Sultana in the September 2005 issue. The author also indicated her intentions of writing an article about Chestertown as her choice for her favorite town in a "favorite things" series.

Maryland Life Magazine - Dan Putrell, editor, indicated that an article will appear in this brand new magazine about the downrigging of the Sultana, who also invited the County to submit a topic for a "hidden treasure" article. Mrs. Van Pelt reported that she will submit her suggestion that Kent County's hidden treasure is the Tolchester Museum.

Philadelphia Outdoor Show - Kent and Queen Anne's Counties will partner in a tourism display at this show in January. Calendar of Events - will be published in January for 2005 Kent County events.

Chesapeake Bay - Mrs. Van Pelt indicated that she will follow up on Commissioner Livie's request that she initiate contact with representatives of a federal parks program that is contacting and providing funding for counties around the Chesapeake Bay to serve as interpretive centers, e.g. visitors' centers.

She also will follow-up with Commissioner Pickrum's request that she contact Congressman Gilchrest's office and inquire as to his position concerning this federal program.

Chesapeake Fields - The County's Tourism Development and Economic Development Departments are involved with Chesapeake Field's initiative and planning for an agra-tourism center. Mrs. Van Pelt reported that she has invited the Assistant and Deputy Secretaries of the State's Tourism Office to be included in this planning.

Tourism Counts: Fast Facts 2004 - Mrs. Van Pelt distributed copies of this booklet, the purpose of which is to educate local citizens and legislatures as to how tourism impacts economic development, citing, as examples, the following statistics: Kent County received $26.8 Million in revenues generated by its tourism industry; 300 jobs were introduced in the County as a direct result of its tourism, representing 2.9% of the County's total employment.

Chesapeake Life Magazine - Mrs. Van Pelt reported that, as a result of the County's investment of $1,000 for advertisement in this magazine, $4,000 revenues were generated. She indicated that another advertisement will be included in the spring 2005 issue.

Proposed Hotel Rental Tax - Responding to Commissioner Livie's question, Mrs. Van Pelt indicated that the revenues generated by the proposed Hotel Rental Tax would definitely increase the County's ability to advertise in more venues and more frequently, and that she shares Commissioner Livie's concern as to how the County can be equitable to all of the towns that contribute to the tax, given that there are some towns that have refused to contribute.

Mrs. Van Pelt indicated that the advertisements paid for by the Tourism Development Office represent the entire County as a whole, without favoring specific towns.

Commissioner Livie, citing Rock Hall's refusal to participate in the Memorandum of Understanding supporting the proposed Hotel Rental Tax, expressed his hope that the town would change its mind and contribute to the tax once it sees evidence of its benefits for its own economic development as well as that of all the towns of the County.


Mrs. Van Pelt reported that most of the towns in the County do understand that their investment in County Tourism Development will benefit them multi-fold, and that as more tourism places are sited in advertisement, the greater the longevity of tourists' visits and, therefore, the greater their expenditures in the County.

Civil War Trails - Mrs. Van Pelt distributed copies of Baltimore: A House Divided - War on the Chesapeake Bay brochures, produced by the Maryland Civil War Trails, and which includes a special notation of Chestertown in a highlighted section on the brochure's map. She indicated the following four locations of Civil War Trail markers located in Chestertown: Monument Park, Court House, Lauretum Inn, and the Charles Sumner Post - Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.).

Mrs. Van Pelt also reported that Kent County is the only county in the State to be represented in two brochures produced by the State's Office of Tourism.


UPPER SHORE AGING, INC. (USA)

Correspondence dated November 15 was received from Carl E. Burke, Executive Director, USA, Inc., with attachment of a copy of Specific Uses of Local Operating Appropriations, Fiscal Year 2004. Mr. Burke indicated that the document shows how USA, Inc. uses the County's current fiscal year appropriation, as well as that of other counties which USA serves. Kent County's contribution fund the Senior Center, Meals-on-Wheels and USTAR Transportation services in Kent County only, not those of other counties.


WATER MANAGEMENT ADMINISTRATION

Notice was received that application has been made by Henry R. Dierker to appropriate and use an annual average of 160,000 gallons of ground water per day for farm irrigation on his property located at 12451 Massey Road in the First Election District.


There being no further business to claim their attention, the Board adjourned to meet again on Tuesday, December 7, 2004.


THE COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
OF KENT COUNTY, MARYLAND


Janice F. Fletcher
Executive Assistant

Approved: William W. Pickrum, President




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