MAYOR AND COUNCIL
MAY 16, 2016
Mayor Cerino called the meeting to order at 7:37 p.m. In attendance were Council members Liz Gross, Linda Kuiper, Samuel T. Shoge and Mauritz Stetson, W. S. Ingersoll, Town Manager, Jennifer Mulligan, Town Clerk and guests.
Mayor Cerino asked if there were any additions or corrections to the minutes of the Mayor and Council Meeting of May 2, 2016 and the bid opening of May 13, 2016. Mr. Stetson moved to approve the minutes as submitted, was seconded by Ms. Gross and carried unanimously.
Mayor Cerino stated that operating funds on hand for unrestricted use is $1,171,270.70 and the Washington College donation assigned funds were $180,480.00 for a total fund balance of $1,351,750.70.
Mayor Cerino asked for a motion to pay bills. Ms. Gross moved to pay the bills as presented, was seconded by Mr. Stetson and carried unanimously.
Ms. Sabine Harvey was present on behalf of the Chestertown Tea Party and gave an overview of the events scheduled for Friday, May 27th through Sunday, May 29th. She said that this was the 40th consecutive year for the festival. Ms. Harvey introduced committee members to the Council and said that they have done a fabulous job coordinating the event from start to finish.
Ms. Harvey stated that a big change this year is that the street party will be moved from the front of the Garfield Theatre to the Foot of High Street and said that the local food truck vendors and the culinary program at Kent County High School would be selling food on Friday evening.
Ms. Harvey stated that Saturday’s events will offer much of the same as previous years, but there will be additional food vendors, artisans and educational programs. The Chester River Chorale will also be performing. There will also be a lecture series on Saturday at Town Hall given by the Historical Society.
Ms. Harvey stated that Sunday’s festivities move to the Wilmer Park with the beer and wine village, artisans and the raft race.
Ms. Harvey stated that she did an interview with WBAL TV on the event, which will be aired on Friday, May 27th as part of a segment about what to do over Memorial Day weekend in Maryland. WCTR will be broadcasting live from the event.
Ms. Harvey stated that all information regarding the festival can be found at www.chestertownteaparty.org or on their Facebook page. Volunteers were needed for Saturday morning at 6:00 a.m. and then again to break down the festival after it is over.
Mayor Cerino stated that the Utilities Commission meeting will now take place at the first meeting of the month and Chief Baker will give his report at the second meeting of the month.
Chief Baker presented the police report for April 2016. Chief Baker stated that there have been 3 deaths in 3 weeks, 2 of which were due to heroin overdose and it was likely that the third death was as well. He said that this is a serious issue and he intended to tackle it head on.
Ms. Kuiper thanked Chief Baker for his service to Chestertown as he celebrated his fourth year as Chief on May 1st. Chief Baker stated that it was his honor and pleasure to serve Chestertown.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that this evening is the introduction of Ordinance 02-2016 Budget for Fiscal Year 2017. The public hearing on the budget will be held on Monday, June 6th at 7:00 p.m. He said that the budget is set at $.37 per hundred, which is the same as last year. The total revenues were $4,492,029.00 and expenses were at $4,604,641.00. The Town intends to sell $350,000.00 worth of surplus assets which will give an excess of revenues of $236,388.00. The Utilities Commission budget will not increase rates. Revenues were expected at $1,894,600.00 with expenses of $1,808,689.00. Copies of the budget will be available online and upon request.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that the 2016 Annexation Resolution 1 would be introduced this evening. Ms. Kate Gray of KRM and Mr. Kevin Shearon of DMS & Associates were present to give an overview of the 79-acre parcel proposed for annexation. Mr. Ingersoll stated that a public hearing will be held on Tuesday, July 5th regarding the proposed annexation.
Ms. Gray showed a rendering of the overall concept plan for the area. She said that the annexation request was along Rt. 213 and Scheeler Road and would have a business campus with apartment buildings on one end. There would be a combination of flex-commercial and office buildings in addition to a Dixon warehouse. Ms. Gray stated that another division of Dixon Valve may move into the industrial park on Dixon Drive. The Talbot Boulevard property is expanding and housed another division of Dixon that will remain there.
Mr. Shoge asked if there was a potential for new jobs or if they would be relocating existing jobs. Ms. Gray stated that at this time they were relocating, but the potential was for new jobs in the future. The proposed warehouse would be a high-tech automated facility and the additional buildings would bring new jobs from other entities. Mr. Ingersoll stated that KRM has a commitment to the community and their job retention was an important piece of this project.
Mr. Shearon stated that a traffic study would be performed along Route 213 to see what the impact of traffic would be with the annexation. Mr. Sipes was performing a sewer study for a gravity sewer line. The plan was being introduced to the Planning Commission on Wednesday, April 18th along with a concept plan for the warehouse building.
Mayor Cerino stated that he thought this was one of the most exciting developments in Town and from an economic standpoint will strengthen the northern commercial end of the community.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that he had hoped to introduce Annexation Resolution 2 this evening which would bring the Town lagoon and the Gateway Park into Town limits but the fact that it involved separate, non-contiguous properties was unprecedented. He wanted to make sure that these annexations could be listed as a, b, or 1, 2 in the Resolution of Annexation.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that a bid opening was held on Friday, April 13th for the Kent County Middle School paving project. Four (4) bids were received as follows:
- Danny McHenry Backhoe & Paving, Inc. $68,200.00
- David A. Bramble, Inc. $65,000.00
- Coppage & Cullen, LLC. $46,500.00
- Gateway Construction, Inc. $79,000.00
Mr. Ingersoll stated that Mr. de Mooy reviewed the bids for accuracy and recommended that the bid be awarded to Coppage & Cullen, LLC for $46,500.00. Mr. Stetson moved to award the Kent County Middle School paving project to Coppage & Cullen, LLC. for $46,500.00, was seconded by Ms. Gross and carried unanimously.
Mr. Ingersoll requested an executive session to meet with counsel on a legal matter. Mr. Shoge moved for an executive session under general provisions §3.305(b)(7) to consult with counsel to obtain legal advice on a legal matter, was seconded by Ms. Gross and carried unanimously.
Mayor Cerino asked for a motion to reappoint Ms. Jane Richman to the Planning Commission. Mr. Stetson moved to reappoint Ms. Jane Richman to the Planning Commission, was seconded by Ms. Gross and carried unanimously.
Mayor Cerino asked for a motion to reappoint Mr. Robert Fordi to the Planning Commission. Ms. Gross moved to reappoint Mr. Robert Fordi to the Planning Commission, was seconded by Mr. Shoge and carried unanimously.
Mr. Stetson stated that the unveiling of the Arts & Entertainment logo on Friday, May 6th was well attended.
Mr. Stetson stated that he attended the William Donald Schaeffer award ceremony for Clayton Mitchell on May 9th.
Mr. Shoge stated that the grand opening of the Gateway Park was held on Saturday, May 7th and was a great event. He said that the park looks beautiful and was needed by the community.
Mr. Shoge stated that recruitment for the Wireless Task Force was going well and said that he has had many people reach out to him regarding the overall need for connectivity downtown.
Ms. Kuiper stated that she received an email from Sumner Hall and C.V. Starr Center that announced they will be hosting a Smithsonian exhibition from March 31, 2017 until May 19, 2017. She said that Chestertown was one of five sites in Maryland selected to host the travelling exhibit called “The Way We Worked”.
Ms. Kuiper stated that a lecture series at the Bordley building was beginning on Thursday, May 19th at noon.
Ms. Kuiper stated that the ribbon cutting for Create was held on Friday at 4:00 p.m. and said that it was a nice high-end shop.
Ms. Kuiper stated that the issue of signage had come up again and said that she would like to address a new sign ordinance now that Chestertown has become an Arts & Entertainment District and was going to be an Enterprise Zone. She said that the needs of the business owners had to be addressed and they should be included in the process. Ms. Kuiper stated that she was receiving complaints about some businesses having illegal signs and said that the sign ordinance in effect is not being followed or enforced.
Mayor Cerino stated that the issue can be discussed and work done to try to improve the existing ordinance, but thought that signage issues should be divided by commercial districts, as each district was unique in needs. Ms. Gross stated that the electronic signage had to be dealt with, adding that she received complaints about prolific signage for alcohol, particularly around the College.
Ms. Kuiper stated that she thought that directional signage was going to be installed. Mayor Cerino stated that the Town has $2,500.00 in the budget for directional signage for the A&E District and said that he has discussed with Ms. McIntosh hiring a small consulting firm for help as to what the signage could look like and where it should be placed.
Ms. Kuiper asked about the status of the Delmarva Power bills. Mr. Ingersoll stated that he was still trying to arrange a meeting with Delmarva Power’s billing department and the solar company. He said that if the problem does not get worked out he will be contacting the Public Service Commission about the matter. He said that Delmarva Power changed every name and account number on all the power bills and is still billing for things which the Town is exempt. He said additionally, Delmarva balked at meeting with the solar firm to resolve the issue.
Mr. Jeff Carroll of the Fish Whistle stated that he had noticed a 35% decrease in business over graduation weekend since the College moved graduation day from Sunday to Saturday. Mr. Joe Holt of Washington College stated that Graduation Weekend and Alumni Weekend used to be combined into one weekend but thought the businesses would see an overall increase in business spread out over two weekends. He said that when the weekends were combined, the local hotels and inns could not accommodate everyone.
Mr. David Foster was present and stated that he did not think the Mayor and Council was being transparent because they would not share the draft agreement with the Hospital regarding the oil spill. He said that it was in contrast with the way the Town was handling their budget and the annexation processes.
There being no further business, Ms. Gross moved to adjourn the meeting at 8:30 p.m., was seconded by Mr. Stetson and carried unanimously.
Submitted by: Approved by:
Jennifer Mulligan Chris Cerino
Town Clerk Mayor