Bud­gets fill com­mis­sion­ers’ ap­point­ments Tues­day

Kent County News - - NEWS - By JACK RODGERS jrodgers@thekent­coun­tynews.com

CH­ESTER­TOWN — The Kent County Com­mis­sion­ers heard bud­get re­quests from a num­ber of out­side agen­cies Tues­day night, in­clud­ing Ch­e­sa­peake Col­lege. Stu­art Bounds, in­terim pres­i­dent at Ch­e­sa­peake Col­lege dis­cussed the bud­get pro­posal for 2019. Bounds was joined by the col­lege’s new pres­i­dent, Clif­ford Cop­per­smith, who was in­tro­duced to the com­mis­sion­ers. Tim Jones, vice pres­i­dent for ad­min­is­tra­tive ser­vices at the col­lege, and Brenda Shorter, a board mem­ber, also were present. Bounds said that Cop­per­smith will be­gin at the col­lege May 29, bring­ing ex­pe­ri­ence in work­force de­vel­op­ment. Bounds also dis­cussed some of the new pri­or­i­ties the Ch­e­sa­peake Col­lege board set while cre­at­ing the 2019 bud­get, in­clud­ing main­tain­ing cur­rent tu­ition prices, pub­lic safety ad­di­tions and hu­man re­sources salary in­creases. Bounds also said that the col­lege wanted to fo­cus on stu­dent re­ten­tion. Bounds said se­cu­rity train­ing had changed this year, and that the col­lege has added sworn of­fi­cers to its premises while stu­dents are on cam­pus. Bounds said that staff has been trained in ac­tive shooter sce­nar­ios. “And now we’re go­ing to reach out to our ad­junct fac­ulty ... and our stu­dents. That’s who’s on cam­pus and that’s who’s got to be ready to re­spond, God for­bid, should such an event oc­cur,” Bounds said. Bounds said up­grad­ing equip­ment at Ch­e­sa­peake Col­lege is an­other as­pect the 2019 bud­get fo­cuses on. Bounds said the cam­pus is look­ing to in­stall a new emer­gency sys­tem by May, up­grad­ing a phone sys­tem through­out cam­pus. Bounds said that as soon as some­one presses the emer­gency but­ton, ser­vices can be routed di­rectly to the re­quest­ing room or build­ing. Dr. Le­land Spencer, the county’s health of­fi­cer, dis­cussed fund­ing for the Post Ad­ju­di­ca­tion Su­per­vi­sion and Treat­ment pro­gram. Spencer was joined by Cir­cuit Court Judge Har­ris Mur­phy and Dis­trict Court Judge John Nunn. Spencer said he was re­quest­ing $20,000 for the PAST pro­gram, to cover the cost of the care co­or­di­na­tor po­si­tion in the pro­gram. PAST, a su­per­vised treat­ment pro­gram used as an al­ter­na­tive to in­car­cer­a­tion, was first launched by Mur­phy, state’s at­tor­ney at the time, in 2015. Mur­phy ex­plained the process of an ad­dict’s ac­cep­tance in the pro­gram, be­gin­ning with hav­ing the state’s at­tor­ney screen­ing cases as they move through the courts. He said that the de­fen­dant would en­ter a guilty plea, hav­ing their sen­tence post­poned in­def­i­nitely, while the per­son is in the pro­gram. Mur­phy said that the pro­gram al­lowed for more su­per­vi­sion than reg­u­lar pro­ba­tion. “Since 2015, when we be­gan this, 36 in­di­vid­u­als have been in­volved in the pro­gram,” Mur­phy said. “Of those, 14 have com­pleted the pro­gram suc­cess­fully.” Mur­phy said that there were 15 peo­ple ac­tively in­volved in the pro­gram and an­other seven who had failed the pro­gram. He said that if an in­di­vid­ual can­not com­plete the pro­gram, they are taken back to the be­gin­ning of the process for sen­tenc­ing. Nunn said that the pro­gram has sanc­tions dur­ing the re­view process, which if a per­son is not com­plet­ing monthly re­views, can earn them a week­end in jail. “So far, ev­ery­one who’s grad­u­ated we haven’t had any­body come back,” Nunn said. “So we’ve had no­body who’s been back in­volved with the court sys­tem.” Re­bekah Hock, a com­mu­nity out­reach em­ployee at the Kent Cen­ter, and Karine Ire­land, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor, spoke with the com­mis­sion­ers about their 2019 bud­get and fund­ing re­quests. Hock said the cen­ter was look­ing to trans­form in the com­ing year into a big­ger sup­port net­work for cit­i­zens with dis­abil­i­ties. She said that the bud­get would re­quest $55,000 for this com­ing fis­cal year to re­tain staff, along with an ad­di­tional $9,000 to pur­chase a new van. Hock shared that in the last three years, the cen­ter had grown from serv­ing 59 in­di­vid­u­als to 73. “You’ve sup­ported your fel­low com­mu­nity mem­bers with com­plex in­tel­lec­tual and de­vel­op­men­tal dis­abil­i­ties for many years, and we’re grate­ful for it be­cause your con­tri­bu­tions helped Kent Cen­ter sur­vive at one point,” Hock said. Gary Gun­ther, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Up­per Shore Ag­ing Inc., pre­sented in­for­ma­tion about his fund­ing re­quest for 2019. He said Up­per Shore Ag­ing is re­quest­ing more money in fis­cal year 2019 and will put some of its ser­vices out to bid. Gun­ther would re­quest $150,214 for Up­per Shore Ag­ing, which rep­re­sents an ad­di­tional $10,000 for meals and new chairs for the se­nior cen­ter. Jackie Adams, di­rec­tor of the Kent County Pub­lic Li­brary, and Joe Harding, pres­i­dent of the li­brary’s board of trustees, re­quested $674,508 in county fund­ing. Adams also said that state fund­ing for the li­brary had in­creased by 7.5 per­cent for 2019. Adams said that the li­brary had more than 100,000 vis­its in 2017, with over 8,000 peo­ple at­tend­ing li­brary pro­grams or classes. Adams also said that cir­cu­la­tion was up by 10 per­cent. Karen Miller, dis­trict man­ager for Kent Soil and Wa­ter Con­ser­va­tion Dis­trict, pre­sented a fund­ing re­quest to the com­mis­sion­ers, say­ing that the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s op­er­a­tions bud­get would not change for 2019. Miller said that last year the county paid 9.9 per­cent of the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s bud­get. This year, the or­ga­ni­za­tion is re­quest­ing $23,543 in county fund­ing. Paul Rick­erts, Univer­sity of Mary­land Ex­ten­sion di­rec­tor for Kent, Queen Anne’s and Ce­cil coun­ties, pre­sented fund­ing re­quests for the pro­gram. Rick­erts dis­cussed the four ar­eas the pro­gram fo­cused, on in­clud­ing youth de­vel­op­ment, agri­cul­ture and food and en­vi­ron­ment and nat­u­ral re­source ed­u­ca­tion. Rick­erts re­quested $135,018 in county fund­ing for the 2019 fis­cal year, in­clud­ing ad­di­tional money for hor­ti­cul­ture pro­gram­ming, a spe­cific line item for Sabine Har­vey, hor­ti­cul­ture ex­pert for the ex­ten­sion. “Other than that there’s some vari­a­tions but over­all, the op­er­at­ing costs are the same,” Rick­erts said. John Schratwieser, di­rec­tor of the Kent County Arts Coun­cil, and Leslie Rai­mond, former di­rec­tor of the coun­cil, sought $12,500 for new grants. Schratwieser said that the coun­cil gives grants to or­ga­ni­za­tions and artists and uses money to pro­vide ser­vices around the county. He also talked about his in­volve­ment in Kent County Pub­lic Schools and their re­cent event, Arts in Mo­tion. Schratwieser said the coun­cil is try­ing to use the arts as an en­gag­ing force in the com­mu­nity. “We have an op­por­tu­nity as a county arts coun­cil to re­ally inspire,” Schratwieser said. “Not just to inspire our artists, but to inspire our com­mu­nity to en­gage in con­ver­sa­tion through art.”

PHOTO BY JACK RODGERS

Paul Rick­ert talks about the Univer­sity of Mary­land Ex­ten­sion bud­get for 2019 dur­ing Tues­day’s Kent County Com­mis­sion­ers meet­ing.

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