In what many will consider an outrageously daft move, Kent County Commissioner Ron Fithian, partnering with community activist Bob Ortiz, made public their plans to officially petition the State of Maryland to permit their county to re-annexation portions of Queen Anne’s County.
Jointly motivated to provide more tax revenue for Kent County (and by extension, the Kent County Public Schools) as well as the Town of Chestertown, the Kent County Re-Annexation Act of 2019, would cede back to Kent County a portion of the land involuntarily redrawn from the colonial county by the then provincial government named the Province of Maryland in 1706.
The new measure calls for the towns of Church Hill, Crumpton, Kingstown, and the Queen Anne’s portion of Millington, to be incorporated back into Kent County. Those towns were part of the 1706 hostile take over when Kent and Talbot County were forced to relinquish vast acreage to create the new Queen Anne’s County that year.
It what many consider to be one of the worst real estate blunders since the acquisition of Manhattan in 1626 for $1,038 (2019 dollars), Kent and Talbot were forced to forfeit substantial tracks of taxable land after 75 years of jurisdiction control without a single vote being cast to approve the land grab. The then Providence of Maryland, by declaration, created Queen Anne’s County with no known public debate.
Arguing that the lack of due process by a government eventually de-legitimized by the American Revolution, Fithian and Ortiz, who spearheads the grassroots organization, Push the Boundary for Kent County, now wants some of that land back. More importantly, they want those tax-paying residents back with their mother County Kent by 2024.
Perhaps the most compelling evidence that Fithian and Push the Boundary leaders are serious is the retention of the prestigious Boston law firm, Dewey, Cheatem & Howe, to establish a legal precedent for re-annexation at both the federal and state level. This is matched by Commissioner Fithian’s announced bipartisan alliance with the Eastern Shore Delegation in Annapolis; all of whom are close friends of Governor Larry Hogan who must eventually approve any county re-annexation plan.
The stakes could be very high.
With the addition of only four relatively small incorporated towns, Kent County could increase their tax revenue base by over $8 million a year. A good portion of which, some $3 million, based on an estimated increase of 250 students in Kent County Public Schools, would help support the rural education school district.
The other winner with re-annexation will be the Town of Chestertown. Historically separated from the southern community of Kingstown in the 1706 act, re-annexation would also extend Chestertown’s boundaries south of the Chester River into the well-populated community of Chester Harbor. In total, over 1,800 residents would call Kent County home if the initiative passes.
The Spy sat down with Commissioner Fithian and Push our Boundary for Kent County’s Bob Ortiz at the Spy HQ last week to learn more about this unorthodox but timely initiative to address its cash flow now and in the future.
This video is approximately three minutes in length.
Editor Note: Dear gentle reader, if you have been able to suspend your disbelief to the very end of this article, we must make it clear that this is entirely fake news to celebrate April Fools Day.