MAYOR AND COUNCIL
FEBRUARY 6, 2017
Mayor Cerino called the meeting to order at 7:50 p.m. In attendance were Council members Linda C. 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 January 17, 2017. Mr. Stetson moved to approve the Mayor and Council minutes of January 17, 2017 as submitted, was seconded by Mr. Shoge and carried unanimously.
Mayor Cerino stated that total operating cash on hand for unrestricted use is $1,579,426.54 and assigned funds for waterfront initiatives in the amount of $180,480.00 were included in those funds. Mayor Cerino stated that there was a separate fund for the Broad Reach sculpture donations in the amount of $37,290.34.
Mayor Cerino asked for a motion to pay bills. Mr. Stetson moved to approve payment of the bills as submitted, was seconded by Mr. Shoge and carried unanimously.
Mayor Cerino read a proclamation declaring Monday, February 6, 2017 as Harrison C. Bristoll, Jr. Day in Chestertown into the record. Mayor Cerino stated that Mr. Bristoll passed away in January and the Council wanted to express their condolences to the family and honor Mr. Bristoll for his service.
Mr. Shane Brill of the Chestertown Environmental Committee was present and gave a PowerPoint presentation on the committee’s outreach efforts in 2016. He said that the environmental webpage was updated and there were 2 minute clips by committee members with tips for recycling, composting, and other green ideas. He said that First Thursdays were held each month with either a talk or a film on different environmental subjects. He said that they have hosted 19 events, including Earth Day.
Mr. Brill stated that the Committee would like to form additional hands-on workshops in the future. The next First Thursday movie would be held at Sumner Hall and was called “Garbage Warrior”.
Mr. Shoge stated that he was impressed with the content of the website and said that the Town is grateful for the passion of the members and their care for the environment.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that DNR Waterway Improvement had approved the contract for Phase I of the Marina rebuild which will take place mostly in the basin, including the bulk head, ramp, walkways and a travel lift. He said that he hoped the contractor would be able to work through the winter on certain activities.
Mr. Ingersoll introduced Mr. Tom Sappington, Street Superintendent, who was in the audience and said he took over the position about 8 months ago and was doing an outstanding job. He thanked Mr. Sappington for his work.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that he expected Mr. David Startt to attend this meeting to discuss an additional plaque at the Monument Park. Mr. Ingersoll stated that the bronze veterans’ plaque was proposed to be installed at the base of the Vietnam War side of the all wars monument. It would read, “Kent County Residents who gave all while serving with the military in Vietnam” and named the 5 individuals from Kent County who died there. He said it should be discussed when Mr. Startt was able to attend the meeting.
Mayor Cerino stated that the Governor’s Budget did come out and the Town requested $1.5 million dollars from the Miscellaneous Projects Category and although the money was not received from that pod, the Town received an additional $200,000.00 from the Waterway Improvement Fund and received a $400,000.00 grant from the Department of Housing and Community Development’s Strategic Demolition Fund which will be used to begin the Marina Interpretive Center. Mayor Cerino stated that he was going to Annapolis the next day to chase down other possible avenues of funding.
Mayor Cerino stated that the money the Town has, including the USDA grant/loan that was formally approved in late December, will set the Town up for next winter with a $1.6 million dollar renovation that he hoped would finish the bulkheads, raise the grade, and install the new docks.
Mayor Cerino asked for ward reports.
Ms. Kuiper stated that the Farmers Market was running all year.
Ms. Kuiper stated that the Historical Society was looking for volunteers and was open on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Ms. Kuiper stated that GAR Sumner Hall was hosting the Smithsonian Travelling Museum’s “The Way We Worked” from March 31st through May 19th and were seeking docents and volunteers.
Ms. Kuiper stated that Chester Gras was planned for Saturday, February 25th at 1:00 p.m.
Ms. Kuiper stated that the Tea Party Festival was looking for volunteers and the committee was meeting twice monthly in preparation of the festival.
Mr. Shoge stated that he met with Mr. Kees de Mooy to review the concept plan for the Washington Park playground and was looking for grant opportunities for the project. The Community Parks and Playgrounds fund was being considered for a grant application.
Mr. Stetson stated that on Friday, January 20th he attended the Chamber of Commerce Annual Excellence in Business Awards Dinner. He said that Mayor Cerino was the keynote speaker and did an excellent job.
Mr. Stetson stated that he attended Mr. Bristoll’s funeral on January 21st and said that Jim was a true gentleman and a voice of reason on the Council during his tenure. He said he will be missed.
Mr. Stetson stated that he represented the Town at the Kent and Queen Anne’s County Rescue Squad Dinner on January 21st and said that this Town could not run without all of the citizen volunteers who give their time to the Rescue Squad and the Volunteer Fire Department.
Mr. Stetson stated that he attended a ribbon cutting on Thursday, February 2nd for the Sprint Store located at the Radio Shack in Kent Plaza and said that he wished them luck on the new business.
Mayor Cerino stated that during his first year as Mayor he held business forums for the commercial areas in Town. He said that he met with Ms. Kay MacIntosh, who has reformed the Maryland Main Street Program focusing on the Downtown Arts & Entertainment Area (C-2). He said that Main Street will host a forum at Town Hall on Thursday, February 23rd at 7:00 p.m. to see how Chestertown can become more business-friendly.
Ms. Elizabeth Rowan of 110 S. Kent Street and Ms. Emily Moseman of 419 High Street asked to be on the agenda to discuss ways to improve pedestrian safety in Town. Ms. Rowan stated that she thought that improvements could be made for residents and visitors alike and read a mission statement into the record. Ms. Moseman submitted photos of intersections in Town that are need of marking and crosswalk signs. Ms. Moseman stated that she thought the speed limits in Town also should be addressed, noting that she thought that in the Arts & Entertainment District the speed limit should be 20 mph. She said that when the stoplights turn red, all traffic should be stopped for a short time, allowing all pedestrians to cross safely.
Mayor Cerino stated that some of the problems identified by the photographs will be fixed in spring by the Town. He said that some of the photos were on state roads and only the State Highway Administration can perform that work. Mr. Ingersoll stated that work was slated to take place on Rt. 213 in spring 2017.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that he appreciated the inventory as it would be helpful in identifying what had to be done by the Town and where pedestrians’ needs can be addressed. He said that drivers seem to ignore the pedestrian safety signs and he did not know how to cure that problem.
Ms. Rowan stated that she would like to begin a campaign promoting that Chestertown is a pedestrian safe community. Mr. Ingersoll stated that this was a great start and he would forward the state roads cited in the photographs to Greg Holsey at the State Highway Administration.
Ms. Kuiper stated that she would like to see the speed limit in the downtown area changed to 15 mph as the roads were too tight to go any faster.
Mr. Sappington stated that crosswalks and curbs would be painted one ward at a time in the spring.
Mayor Cerino stated that a gentleman wanted to discuss sanctuary cities at this meeting but had rescheduled earlier in the day for the next meeting, which will be held February 21st at 7:30 p.m. Mayor Cerino asked if anyone else was present for the same issue and wanted to speak. Mayor Cerino stated that this issue came up after the travel ban was put in place by President Trump and many people were upset and wanted to help in some way. He said that he was happy to move the discussion to the next meeting but was also happy to hear from anyone who wanted to speak at the meeting. Mayor Cerino stated that Chestertown becoming a sanctuary city was an interesting proposition given its size and location, but he did not know how much of an issue undocumented immigrants are in Chestertown. He said that this was an open democracy and he is happy to let anyone voice their views and opinions. Mayor Cerino stated that he thought when the issue was addressed it would be more of a listening session and airing of views both pro and con.
A member of the audience asked how much this issue affected Chestertown and if Chief Baker had information he could bring forward. Mayor Cerino stated that this should be part of the discussion at the next meeting because he thought it was more of a County and State issue, noting that he thought there was state legislation being introduced that would supersede anything they would discuss. Another member of the audience stated that Senator Ramirez was working on legislation that would be discussed this week, so it may be better to have the meeting on February 21.
Mr. Jeff Carroll asked if the traffic circle would remain once the Royal Farms site was built out. Mr. Ingersoll stated that the circle will remain with Royal Farms entering and exiting onto the circle.
There being no further business, Mr. Shoge moved to adjourn the meeting at 8:50 p.m., was seconded by Ms. Kuiper and carried unanimously.
Submitted by: Approved by:
Jennifer Mulligan Chris Cerino
Town Clerk Mayor