MAYOR AND COUNCIL
FEBRUARY 4, 2019
Mayor Chris Cerino called the meeting to order at 7:37 p.m. In attendance were Councilmembers David Foster, Linda C. Kuiper, Rev. Ellsworth Tolliver 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 January 22, 2019. Mr. Stetson moved to approve the minutes as submitted, was seconded by Rev. Tolliver and carried unanimously.
Mayor Cerino stated that total operating cash on hand for unrestricted use was $1,259,475.07.
Mayor Cerino asked for a motion to approve the payment of the bills. Mr. Stetson moved to approve payment of the bills as submitted, was seconded by Rev. Tolliver and carried unanimously.
Mayor Cerino stated that the Chestertown Environmental Committee asked to speak before the Council and called them forward for their report.
Mr. Jon Hanley stated that he has been the Chair of the committee since 2009. He said that there were many team members present this evening. Original committee members and other citizens have decided to relaunch the Environmental Committee and many sectors of the community became involved. He said that he hoped to implement innovative ideas and best practices that will make Chestertown a sustainable, vibrant and desirable community for all.
Mr. Hanley introduced Mr. Greg Farley (Director of Sustainability at Washington College) and Darran Tilghman (non-profit consultant and grant writer) two new committee members who would be giving the presentation.
Ms. Tilghman stated that she believed the Committee could work on quality of life and economic development issues in Chestertown. She said the committee wanted to leverage the existing resources already in the community and they pulled in other environmental organizations in the region, such as the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, Shore Rivers, and the Center for Environment and Society at Washington College to name a few.
Ms. Tilghman stated that a vision process was launched for the Environmental Committee in November with Mr. Farley leading the team through the process. Mr. Farley stated that the idea of a planning process was done in order to reassess what they were good at and then to figure out what they wanted to move forward. He said that this emphasized what committee members felt strongly about and plans on how to achieve that which turned into four (4) breakout teams: Administration, Energy, River and Habitat, and Waste Stream Management.
Mr. Farley stated that the team sought congruence between some of the things the committee would like to do with the Town’s strategic goals and it seemed as though there was a natural overlap. Mr. Farley stated that this was a work in progress, and they would like input from the Town and the other community members.
Mr. Farley asked how the Environmental Committee could best serve the Town and suggested that breakout team members meet with the Mayor and Council independently to see where and how they could best serve. Mr. Jon Hanley will be the point person for the committee.
Ms. Tilghman presented the Council with information on each member of the Committee and how they will work to align with the Town’s goals. Mayor Cerino asked who was involved from the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy. Ms. Tilghman state that Mr. Darius Johnson is the representative from Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, and he lives in Kent County.
Rev. Tolliver asked if there were representatives of each ward in the Committee. Mr. Farley stated that the would have to review the addresses of the Committee members as they had not performed a geographic assessment.
Mr. Foster asked how the committee anticipated working with the Town and/or what projects were they looking to accomplish. Mr. Tim Trumbauer of Shore Rivers stated that Shore Rivers wanted to be a resource and had twenty (20) employees who could help with grants through many different entities for things such as the river walk. Ms. Tilghman stated that the Environmental Committee saw themselves as a source multiplier for the Town and would do whatever it takes to get the meaningful work done.
Mayor Cerino stated that he was impressed with the Tree Canopy project that the Green Team had performed under Mayor Bailey, noting that the Committee surveyed the Town and reported where plantings were needed. He said he thought that landscaping was one of the most cost-effective ways to beautify the Town.
Mayor Cerino stated that a community playground was something that he would like to see built in Wilmer Park. He said that he needed people to back him on that endeavor, noting that there was funding through the State’s Community Parks and Recreation Playgrounds grant program. He said that once the Carpenter Park was finished this would be the next logical step, noting that he thought it should be placed next to the Broad Reach sculpture.
Mayor Cerino stated that the River Walk was called for in the Comprehensive Plan for many years, but it was difficult to act since the Town did not own the land. He said that connecting amenities was most important.
Rev. Tolliver asked if the Committee would review the RFP that was out for the Carpenter Park at Washington Park as there were issues of drainage and standing water. He said that he would like to see the best possible outcome in that regard for the money that was going to be spent on the project.
Mr. Foster stated that he was impressed with the resources in the area and he liked the Committee’s concept of leveraging resources. He said that he hoped that the Mayor and Council will think of ways in which the Environmental Committee can facilitate projects.
Mayor Cerino stated that the last leg of the Rail Trail (from Morgnec Road to Foxley Manor) had the preliminary engineering work finished and a grant in hand. The State is requiring more of a match than they have historically, and the Town needs an additional $40,000.00 to finish the project. He said that finding the match would be appreciated. There were only so many in kind services that were permitted to be done by the Town. Mr. Stetson stated that if the Rail Trail was successful it may be the Kent County Commissioners will continue the trail to Worton Park.
Ms. Kuiper stated that that there were issues at Fountain Park where trees needed to be preserved and issues with grass where help would be appreciated.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that the Environmental Committee was originally created by the Town and therefore meetings had to be open to the public. He said that it was a good idea to have a representative from each ward on the Committee. Minutes had to be taken and posted for the public to view. He said that the Town should have the addresses of all members on file and pointed out that the definition of Town Commissions and Committees often required that members live in Town. Mr. Ingersoll stated that at some point the Environmental Committee may want to think about becoming a non-profit as it would allow them to grants that are unavailable to them now.
Mayor Cerino stated that the Environmental Committee’s last bullet point under the Marina was for a kayak launch. He said that there was a kayak launch on the downriver dock next to Scott’s Point, one on Cannon Street, and one at Wilmer Park.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that tonight he was introducing Ordinance 01-2019 Critical Areas which would repeal and replace the existing Critical Area Ordinance. Mr. Ingersoll stated that the last update was in 2008. He said that he would forward the actual full-length ordinance to the Council, but it was a mandate from the State. If the Ordinance was adopted on February 19th it will become effective on March 12, 2019. Mr. Ingersoll stated that most of the changes made to the 2008 Critical Area Ordinance were how to make changes to the required buffer. He said that the Critical Area laws have been around since 1988. He also noted that the Critical Area law was part of the Zoning Ordinance and that he felt there would have to be a public hearing because of it being connected with zoning. Rev. Tolliver moved to introduce Ordinance 01-2019 Critical Areas, was seconded by Mr. Stetson and carried unanimously.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that the meeting scheduled for President’s Day, February 18th would be held on Tuesday, February 19th at 7:30 p.m.
Mayor Cerino stated that there were potential issues at the Marina discussed at the last meeting. He said that the potential use of Docwa, a system for online slip reservations, is being researched. He said that he was also meeting with Ms. Sullivan to discuss a new website for the Marina at 11 a.m. in Town Hall on Tuesday, February 5, 2019.
Mayor Cerino asked for ward reports.
Mr. Stetson stated that on Friday, February 1st he attended a walk-through of Chesapeake CNC (owned by Kent County Commissioner Bob Jacob) with Comptroller Peter Franchot. He said that it was nice to see how the inventory was made and to hear about the places all over world he sent his product.
Mr. Stetson stated that he attended a closed-door meeting at Washington College’s Presidents Office about the Hospital with Mr. Franchot on Friday, February 1st. He said that he would wait for the Save the Hospital Committee to report on the issues discussed, but that he was happy to have been able to represent the Town in that meeting.
Rev. Tolliver stated he served as the Junior Achievement Representative at Garnet Elementary School helping to guide students about financial management and how to produce, market and sell products. He said that he also attended the Garden Club’s meeting at the library for the Good Seeds Project at Garnet Elementary which was well-attended.
Rev. Tolliver stated that the no parking signs addressed at the last meeting were still in place on Cannon Street. He said that he hoped that they would be removed soon.
Rev. Tolliver stated that he would like to communicate with a representative of the Recreation Commission or the Planning Commission for the review of the RFP for Carpenter Park. He said that there was an elaborate drainage system already built-in which has overgrown through the years. He said he would like to make sure that additional attention be paid to the drainage issues, noting that he did not think it was addressed in the RFP that is out to bid. He said that he would like the Environmental Committee to review it.
Rev. Tolliver stated that after the discussions at the last meeting about the Marina management, he approached Dr. Couch about students at the High School being introduced to classes designed around running a marina business. He said that it could encompass the business/finance and operation end, like other vocation classes that were offered at the school. He said that he thought something like this would behoove an area like Kent County with so many marina businesses in place. Mr. Ingersoll stated that high school students have been hired for dockhands each summer and did a great job, but that was a great idea for the future.
Ms. Kuiper stated that the Sumner Hall Concert Series begins Feb 9th and information was available on the Sumner Hall website.
Ms. Kuiper stated that “Angela’s Cottage” opened at 335 High Street with business hours on Fridays, Saturdays, and/or by appointment. She said that wellness programs in the area made some of the products for the shop.
Ms. Kuiper stated that the “Decoy Room” is a small liquor store next to the old JR’s Pub.
Ms. Kuiper stated that brochures from the Historical Society are available at other locations such as the Visitor Center upon request. She said that the brochures seemed to be disappearing in large numbers and showing up at other places in Town without anyone asking to take them.
Ms. Kuiper stated that not long ago the SHA denied a request made by the Town, Chester River Landing and Washington College to lower the speed limit along Route 289. She said that she would like to revisit the request and include additional areas such as Flatland Road and Washington Avenue. Ms. Kuiper stated that another resident was struck by a pickup truck on Flatland Road last week. Ms. Kuiper stated that there was an SHA task force in place a couple years ago with community members of Washington Avenue and the SHA. Several meetings took place over many months to discuss the traffic and pedestrian problems and nothing came of it. Ms. Kuiper asked that Ken Fender, the new SHA District Manager, be asked to attend a Mayor and Council meeting.
Ms. Kuiper stated that Ms. Sabine Harvey has agreed to manage the Farmers Market. She asked that the Council formally approve her for the position. Ms. Kuiper moved to approve Ms. Sabine Harvey as the Manager of the Farmers Market, was seconded by Mr. Foster and carried unanimously.
Ms. Harvey asked if she could address the Council. After congratulations from the Council on her appointment as Farmers Market Manager, Ms. Harvey stated that she brought along flyers for a food summit she was holding on February 22nd .
Ms. Harvey stated that she was excited to take on the responsibility of managing the Farmers Market. She said that she will be working on some ideas for the Market in the winter months and may not be at the Market for all four (4) hours each Saturday during that time. She said that she had two (2) requests for money as well. Ms. Harvey stated that she looked at the Farmers Market Association website and Chestertown’s site has not been updated nor had the registration been renewed since 2016, noting that the highest annual fee is $125.00. The Council agreed to renewing membership to the Farmers Market Association.
Ms. Harvey stated that she would also like to ask Ms. Francoise Sullivan to take over the Farmers Market website. Ms. Kuiper stated that an artisan volunteer manages the Farmers Market website right now and the site was outdated. Ms. Kuiper stated that she and Ms. Harvey were going to meet with Jamie Williams and Emily McCoy of the Kent County Economic Development office to try to find grants for advertising. Ms. Harvey stated that the information on the website had to be current and took some technical expertise to do so. Ms. Kuiper stated that she would like to see revenues from the vendors go into a separate budget for expenses for the Farmers Market and work at the Fountain Park.
Mr. Ingersoll asked if there was a set of officers for the Farmers Market. Ms. Harvey stated that at this time there is not. Mr. Ingersoll stated that this could be one of the things implemented to help Ms. Harvey and to help with the new website as the farmers probably have information and pictures that they would like to add to the website. Ms. Harvey stated that the farmers have extensive training for WIC and debit cards that nobody knows about and should be part of the website. She was also having a representative of the University of Maryland extension office come to give a Farm to Market training for the farmers. She said that she would like to see more farmers involved in to help keep the market going. Mr. Ingersoll stated that both of Ms. Harvey’s requests were relevant to fund immediately.
Ms. Kuiper stated that there would be a meeting on Tuesday, March 5, 2019 at 6:00 p.m. in Town Hall with the Farmers in the Market and she would send emails inviting them to attend. Members of the Garden Club and the Health Department would also be invited. Ms. Kuiper stated that she would also like to bring music back to the Market to liven it up.
Mr. Foster stated that all was well in the First Ward, except for residents asking what is going to happen at the Hospital. He said that there was stress in the community over it.
There being no further business and no other questions or comments from the audience, Rev. Tolliver moved to adjourn the meeting at 8:40 p.m., was seconded by Mr. Stetson and carried unanimously.
Submitted by: Approved by:
Jennifer Mulligan Chris Cerino
Town Clerk Mayor