26 May


News May 26 click to listen

The town of Chestertown is seeking a reinstatement of a tax rebate with Kent County...


The town of Chestertown is seeking a reinstatement of a tax rebate with Kent County. At Tuesday’s Kent County Commissioners meeting, Chestertown mayor Chris Cerino spoke to the commissioners about bringing back the rebate to compensate town residents for town services that are duplicated by the county such as law enforcement and road repairs. Cerino said that the county provided the rebate from 2012 to 2015. Commissioner Ron Fithian, who as the town manager for Rock Hall recused himself from the discussion, but commissioner Bill Short said the county’s revenue is flat and will likely stay that way for the fiscal year and commissioner William Pickrum said that a rebate for the next fiscal year is not going to happen but is open to doing so in 2019. County attorney Tom Yeager and County Administrator Shelley Heller said the process for a town to seek a tax differential has to happen at least 180 days before the fiscal year starts.

Main Street Chestertown will apply for a grant to allow the town to capitalize on Kent County’s ongoing broadband installation. The grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Rural Maryland Council would help market the broadband to get residents and businesses to subscribe. Town council members Sam Shoge and Liz Gross said there is a limited time to take advantage of the broadband network because other counties, like Queen Anne’s, is moving forward with their own broadband installation.

At Monday’s workshop, the town of Rock Hall has approved a letter of support for a grant application for the Rock Hall Inn property on Main Street. The property owner is applying for a Community Legacy grant from the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development worth $250,000 to $300,000 for the project that began in 2013 but has not moved forward due to lack of funding. At last week’s workshop, new councilwoman Beth Andrews expressed concerns about the town’s budget and suggested a tax increase as a way to bolster the town’s revenue. The suggestion did not sit well with councilman Brian Nesspor who said that he and half of the town would leave if taxes were increased. Andrews, who was reviewing the town budget asked several questions about individual line items which were answered by town manager Ron Fithian and town treasurer Stephanie Loller. Andrews, a bank vice president continued to express concern that the town has little wiggle room in their budget and needs to find more revenue sources. Town manager Ron Fithian responded that there is no growth and no talk of annexation adding “we are what we are”.

Friday night’s storms did some damage on Rt. 19, Roberts Station Road in Queen Anne’s County. The damage was blamed on straight line winds over 110 mph which hit the area around 8:30pm and broke utility poles and destroyed a barn. The damage caused Rt. 19 and Rt. 313 to be closed for about 8 hours so that Delmarva Power could shut off power and emergency personnel could get people safely out of vehicles. A car on Big Woods Road was trapped between two poles and wires were up against the driver’s side door. Other vehicles were between poles and straddling power lines. Emergency personnel praised the patience of the trapped drivers and said they were all lucky to be between the poles and that no poles fell on any vehicles.

The Chester River Association and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources have teamed up to submit an application to make the Chester River a no-discharge zone. The application was filed with the Environmental Protection Agency and the federal no-discharge designation, if approved,. would mean that it would be illegal for vessels to dispose marine waste from sanitation devices. Isabel Hardesty of the Chester River Association said that boat sewage is concentrated and would make small creeks and streams that do not drain well, pollution hot spots. The application is being opposed by many marina owners who claim that if the designation is approved, boaters will not use the river anymore and could harm many small Kent County marinas. One marina owner said that the problems are a drop in the bucket and do not solve the real pollution problem in the Chesapeake Bay.

The Chestertown Volunteer Fire Company was able to put out a Sunday morning garage fire on Quaker Neck Road. The fire was reported at 7:06am in the 6300 block of Quaker Neck Road and the road was briefly closed while firefighters fought the blaze. A pickup truck caught on fire in the garage and an unknown object made of magnesium was also burning and which exploded on contact with water, but no one was injured in the fire. The owner was still asleep when the fire was reported and the Maryland State Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating. It took firefighters around two hours to put out the blaze.

Washington College has received approval from the Chestertown Planning commission for a conditional use permit for a residential property owned by the college. The property at 305 Washington Avenue is currently zoned single-family residential and the lone resident is the college’s construction project manager, Reid Raudenbush who addressed the planning commission saying the request was to turn this property into office space while he would move to a new, smaller residence acquired by the college on Campus Avenue. The human resources staff at 500 Washington Avenue would move into the 305 Washington Avenue property and the office building, located next to the former Rita’s Ice would be converted into an art studio. The 305 Washington Avenue cite would remain zoned residential and therefore would be subject to the town’s property tax. The Planning Commission’s vote was unanimous.

Queen Anne’s County High School is prepared to dispose of confidential records of Special Education students from the 2010-2011 school year. The school is required to dispose of these records due to Maryland special education laws. Individual student records may be claimed by June 15 by written request from a parent or guardian and the request must included the student’s name, date of birth and current address and phone number. Picture ID will be required. Any records not claimed by the June 15 deadline will be destroyed.

Catalina Righter is the 2017 Washington College Sophie Kerr Prize winner. This year’s prize is valued at $65.788 and was awarded on Friday night by poet Elizabeth Spires. Righter is an English major and creative writing minor from Manchester, Maryland and served as the editor-in-chief of “The Elm” and is a poet noted for her wry sense of humor and searing eye for detail. She has earned a grant from the Harwood Journalism Endowment Fund and will do a summer internship at the Kent County News.

A Church Hill resident and former U.S. Secret Service agent has been sentenced to 20 years in prison after being convicted of unlawful sexual contact with minors as well as child pornography. 38-year-old Lee Robert Moore was sentenced on Thursday after his conviction stemming from a November 2015 arrest by Delaware State Police after an investigation when he engaged in a sexually oriented chats with officers posing as underage girls and attempting to arrange meetings for sex. He was sentenced in Florida after his case was transferred to that state and where he also was charged.

The Kent County Commissioners have approved the $27.3 million school budget for the next fiscal year. The commissioners voted 3-0 on Tuesday night to approve the budget from the Kent County Board of Education which is $1.3 million less in operational costs than last year, mostly due to consolidation efforts that will close Millington and Worton Elementary Schools. The two schools will now be considered surplus county property. The county also introduced three proposed changes to the county code. The first would reflect current job titles and descriptions, practices and procedures in the code and remove outdated provisions and other language. The second would establish a property tax credit for businesses that improve or expand in commerce zones. The third proposal would allow the Sultana, or other tall ships, safe harbor at private piers during extreme weather conditions. The commissioners will schedule public hearings on these proposed changes.

The Queen Anne’s County Commissioners are looking at options on how to overcome a $100,000 funding shortfall on renovations to the Chesterwye Center transitional shelter on State Street in Stevensville. This is the facility previously operated by Haven Ministries and funded by two state grants before public outcry over the facility eventually led to the organization losing the lease, and the property turned over to the Chesterwye Center in April 2016. The county may be looking at applying for a grant for the project, but that wouldn’t happen until August or may get a loan for the work. The county put off voting on this last week since commissioner Robert Buckey wasn’t present and the vote would have ended in a tie