Mayor and Council Meeting Minutes – July 18, 2016

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MAYOR AND COUNCIL

JULY 18, 2016

Mayor Cerino called the meeting to order at 7:32 p.m. In attendance were Council members Liz Gross, Linda Kuiper, Samuel T. Shoge and Mauritz Stetson, 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 July 5, 2016 or the Public Hearing on Annexation Resolution 1 of the same date. Mr. Stetson moved to approve the minutes as submitted, was seconded by Mr. Shoge and carried unanimously.

Mayor Cerino stated that total operating cash on hand for unrestricted use is $796,535.76 and there were assigned funds for waterfront initiatives in the amount of $180,480.00 for total funds on hand of $977,015.76.

Mayor Cerino asked for a motion to pay bills. Ms. Gross moved to pay the bills as presented, was seconded by Mr. Shoge and carried unanimously.

Mr. Ken Kozel was present on behalf of Shore Regional Health. He said that he wanted to thank the Mayor and Council on reaching a consensus with the Hospital for the oil remediation plan.

Mr. Kozel stated that Shore Regional Health has made changes to the Service Delivery Plan based on input from Dr. Wayne Benjamin, Dr. Deborah Davis, Dr. Helen Noble, Dr. Jerry O’Conner, Dr. Michael Peimer and Dr. Susan Ross. He said that their efforts made the needs of the Chestertown community heard.

Mr. Kozel stated that Mr. Scott Burleson has been named Executive Director at the Hospital.

Mr. Kozel stated that he wanted to share the outcome of the Service Delivery Plan, which was 18 months of discussion by the board, physicians, management team, elected officials and community members from all 5 counties served and finally approved by the Board of Directors of the University of Maryland Shore Regional Health.

Mr. Kozel stated that the Plan identified future planning needs and service lines while incorporating regional transportation which was adopted as part of the the 5 year strategic plan.

Mr. Kozel stated that the Certificate of Need was updated to replace the existing hospital in Easton with a new facility on property owned by Talbot County (on Rt. 50 near the community center and the airport). He said that the updated application was approved by the Board and would be filed in September of this year and submitted to the Maryland Health Care Commission.

Mr. Kozel stated that Hospital beds in Chestertown and Cambridge will not be affected by the Certificate of Need as it was for Easton only and designed to address costly infrastructure with private rooms, capacity, and state of the art future patient care unit design for the Easton campus.

Mr. Kozel stated that the Service Development Plan committed to quality health services and jobs in Chestertown and Kent County focused on state of the art medical care, emergency care, access to physicians and specialists, and robust outpatient services. He said that inpatient care in Chestertown will last until at least 2022, with continued feasibility to be evaluated at that time.

Mr. Kozel stated that the Plan addressed five (5) key services: primary care (obstetrics, gynecology, and pediatrics), medical specialties, surgical specialties, oncology and behavioral health.

Mr. Kozel stated that transportation needs were identified and would be critical. He said that the Plan also addressed employee shortages and ways to address them, including improved retention and recruitment processes. He said that chronic disease management and care and coordination were also being addressed in the five (5) counties. Mr. Kozel stated that there were also plans for community outreach in the way of communication and screening.

Mr. Kozel stated that a number of specialties were identified in the Plan and were critical to long term success. Surgical services at Chestertown, Cambridge and Easton are being reviewed while looking at expanding robotics and surgical specialists.

Mr. Kozel stated that they were working on behavioral health service lines to identify urgent and therapeutic care for patients while providing access for those services.

Mayor Cerino stated that he thought a big concern from the community was losing inpatient beds. He said that by maintaining beds through 2022 and then re-evaluating after the State study was received sounded reasonable.

Mayor Cerino asked about the new hospital in Easton. Mr. Kozel stated that the new hospital would replace the existing hospital in Easton. The disposition of the hospital would be a decision made with Easton and Talbot County if approvals were granted.

Mayor Cerino asked if the Hospital in Easton would be significantly larger than the facility that exists. Mr. Kozel stated that the facility would be new and modernized, but the bed count was a State driven exercise based on the number of beds in Easton. He said that the new facility would have the capability for PCI testing (percutaneous coronary intervention) which is the ability to insert and remove stints for blockages.

Mr. Stetson stated that it was important for residents to know that they did not have to go to Easton or Christiana for a small procedure or inpatient care. He said that everyone understood major procedures would not take place locally. Mr. Kozel stated that was why it was so important to stay connected with the physicians as they can identify and prioritize patient needs.

Ms. Kuiper asked Mr. Kozel to elaborate on the mental health services that would be offered. Mr. Kozel stated that the Cambridge Hospital has inpatient beds for mental health services and there were partnerships in place with crisis units. There were detox beds available in all emergency departments. He said that the Hospital works with all mental health services on the Eastern Shore for access to providers for behavioral health.

Mr. Shoge asked how stakeholders could partner together to make the Hospital an economic hub on the Eastern Shore. Mr. Kozel stated that dialogue has begun with Washington College to create a way where the Hospital can address their urgent care needs for the student population in a partnership. He also said that additional residences support the need for the Hospital as a certain level of need warrants additional services.

Ms. Gross stated that people were considering not retiring in Chestertown due to the concern that the Hospital may not remain. She said that there should be emphasis on geriatric treatment.

Mayor Cerino introduced Charlene Perry of the Kent County Health Department who attended the meeting to give a presentation on the Zika Virus. Ms. Perry stated that the virus was primarily transmitted through the bite of an infected Aedes aegypti mosquito and for 80% of the population experience no problems at all. She said that pregnant women infected with the virus can pass Zika to the fetus and Zika can also be transmitted sexually.

Ms. Perry stated that fever, rash, joint pain, muscle pain and headache can be associated with the virus.

Ms. Perry stated that there was no medicine to treat Zika so the only thing to do was to treat the symptoms with Tylenol and rest. She said that it was important to be tested to see if it is Zika. Anti-inflammatory medications should not be taken to treat Zika which is why it was important to be tested.

Ms. Perry said that prevention is the best way to protect oneself from Zika. Ms. Perry stated that the Zika virus can cause microcephaly in unborn babies as well as other severe brain defects, including eye, hearing and growth problems.

Ms. Perry stated that to date the Zika viruses reported in the United State were travel- associated and at this time have been detected in the Caribbean and South and Central America. There are no locally acquired cases of Zika in Maryland but there have been 1305 travel associated cases and 1 lab acquired case in the United States. If someone with travel associated Zika was bitten by a mosquito in the United States they would then infect mosquito with the virus which is why they were concerned about it beginning in the United States.

Ms. Perry stated that the Aedes aegypti mosquito is aggressive and bites humans and animals during the day. She said that people working outside in the day can be at risk. The mosquitos only need a small amount of water to reproduce and have adapted to reproducing in artificial containers and stay close to where they have reproduced. Ms. Perry stated that people should drain all containers and toys left outside at least once a week in order to prevent the mosquitos from reaching adult stages. Outdoor workers should be encouraged to wear long sleeves and pants and using permethrin and/or EPA insect repellants to deter the mosquitos.

Ms. Perry stated that the Department of Agriculture did spray routinely for mosquitos during mosquito season and will perform unscheduled spray activities if there was a public health concern.

Chief Baker gave the police report for June 2016. Chief Baker stated that there had not been any burglaries for the last 3 weeks or so. He said that 2 subjects had been apprehended and they are both in jail. He said that the burglaries were concentrated on businesses this time, but the people involved with these crimes are trying to generate any income that they can in order to purchase drugs. He said that he thought there were others that could potentially be involved so it was important to remain vigilant and make sure doors and windows are locked. Chief Baker stated that most importantly, if someone sees something that does not look right they should call the police. Chief Baker stated that the suspects were charged with 3 of the burglaries noting that there were 8 total. He said that it was fair to say that the 2 charges were suspects in the other 5 burglaries.

Chief Baker stated that he wanted to thank the community for their loyal support of the Police Department and said that he was appreciative and thankful.

Mr. Shoge asked if the Police Department had training towards bias. Chief Baker stated that there is training monthly for all types of things, noting that bias is one of them and likely given on an annual basis.

Mr. Ingersoll stated that there were people in the audience waiting to discuss the parking issues on East Campus and Philosopher’s Terrace. Ms. Gross stated that the issue of no parking was brought up a month ago and since that time all residents on 200 block of East Campus Avenue and the 200 block of Philosopher’s Terrace have been polled regarding a control on parking on those blocks. Residents’ concerns were that when the new academic building is open the nearby streets would become an extension of the parking lots at Washington College.

Ms. Gross stated that the support received for restricted parking was unanimous though 3 residences did not respond.

Ms. Gross stated that she would like to institute resident only parking on the west side of Philosopher’s Terrace (behind the college property excluding the 3 residents on that side of the block), and the 200 block of East Campus Avenue on the south side from Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Mayor Cerino stated that the 100 block of East Campus already had residential parking only. Ms. Gross stated that there were also some signs for no parking on Philosopher’s Terrace but they were worn and should be replaced.

Mayor Cerino stated that the academic building was a tremendous enhancement to the Town turning a derelict lot into a park like setting but the parking lot was small and the Planning Commission was advised that students and staff would walk to the building. He said that having the signage installed would be the Town’s way of making sure that is what happens. He said that having the area turn into a parking lot would substantially alter the neighborhood. He said that this was a pre-emptive move to avoid a situation that has already occurred on West Campus Avenue.

Ms. Kuiper stated that she did not understand the point of restricted parking on Philosopher’s Terrace as there is already no parking on one side of the street. She said that she was not in favor of resident only parking signs on the Ward 2 side (west) of Philosopher’s Terrace. She suggested waiting on a decision for Philosopher’s Terrace until October to see what the situation was like at that time, noting that she thought Philosopher’s Terrace could use speed bumps instead of no parking.

Mr. Joe Holt, resident of Philosopher’s Terrace, stated that instead of no parking he thought a sidewalk was needed along the College side of the street from Kent Street to Campus Avenue. Mayor Cerino stated that the Town would work with the College to install a sidewalk. Mr. Holt stated that the College is the property owner that the residents were trying to restrict from parking.

Mr. Ingersoll stated that any residential parking only expansion had to be passed by Ordinance. He said that this evening he thought discussion should revolve around East Campus only. He said that if a sidewalk was built on Philosopher’s Terrace it should be done on the west side of the street and this was something that has been mentioned several times publicly that might be done if the College donated an easement to grade the bank.

Mayor Cerino stated that the Planning Commission addressed the small parking lot when the College presented the plans and were told that the students would walk to the building. Mr. Holt stated that the parking lot was going to be extended during the second phase and was not the parking lot for the entire project and said at some point in time the Town had to build a sidewalk for safety reasons.

Mr. Harding stated that Institutional Zoning was introduced in Chestertown and said that he thought the advantage of that zone was that it kept institutions in their zone, but if the students were going to be parking along the residential streets that was not the case. Mr. Ingersoll stated that at the time the zoning was introduced there were homes on Campus Avenue owned by the Hospital and the idea was that people would know where the zone was supposed to be, noting that this was an ancillary problem.

Mr. Ingersoll stated that because residential parking only had to be changed by Ordinance he recommended posting the area for no parking on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. in that case action could be taken immediately.

Ms. Gross moved to continue resident only parking on the 100 block of East Campus with no parking on other side of the 100 block of East Campus and on both sides of the 200 block of East Campus Avenue from Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. was seconded by Mr. Stetson and carried unanimously.    

Mayor Cerino stated that he would like to work on sidewalks with the College during Phase II of the project. Mr. Ingersoll would look into costs and how to engineer the sidewalk on Philosopher’s Terrace.

Mayor Cerino stated that he would like to reappoint Ms. Lanetta Parks to the Zoning Board of Appeals for a 3 year term. Mr. Shoge moved to reappoint Ms. Lanetta Parks to the Zoning Board of Appeals, was seconded by Mr. Stetson and carried unanimously.

Mayor Cerino stated that currently the Town has $180,000.00 from the Armory purchase for work at the Marina that will be matched with another $180,000.00 from Waterway Improvement Grants that will be used this winter (November through March) focusing on bulk heading in the basin area and the boat ramp. He said that the vast majority of this work should be done by boating season of 2017.

Mayor Cerino stated that what would be left to renovate was the docks, the bulk heading in front of the Fish Whistle to the foot bridge, raising the grade of the marina and dredging. Hopefully, this would be addressed in the winter of 2017/18(November through March). In order to do that work, the Marina store will be demolished and turned into a public events plaza and a new Marina Interpretive Center will be built on the high ground where the current Williams Marine building stands.

Mayor Cerino stated that the Town is using $55,000.00 to engage Schamu, Machowski & Patterson to design the Marina Interpretive Center. He said that this will set the stage for a large fundraising campaign over the next year for the bulk heading, docks, dredging, raising the grade and the buildout of the interpretive center. Mayor Cerino stated that if successful in fundraising and with grants all of the large work could be completed during the winter of 2017.

Mayor Cerino stated that thus far applications were in to USDA for $500,000.00 in grants and $500,000.00 of a historically low-interest loan (1.67%). He said that the grant, if obtained, can match $400,000.00 that has been approved through the Waterway Improvement Fund. Mayor Cerino stated that the Town was just approved for an $80,000.00 grant through the Maryland Heritage Authority targeted for construction of the Interpretive Center. There was a grant application submitted with the Community Legacy Program as well.

Mayor Cerino stated that there was also a request for $1.5 million from the Governor’s Capital Budget. He said if this grant would come to fruition this would allow for the comprehensive demolition and renovation of the Marina. He said that he has been quietly working behind the scenes meeting with people to try to make this happen. He said that he met with Governor Hogan and was pleased with how the meeting went. He said that he also met with Senator Mike Miller and his Chief of Staff who seemed supportive and wanted to help, noting that he was thankful to Washington College as President Behr was able to facilitate that meeting.

Mayor Cerino stated that there have been many people working to get everyone behind Chestertown on this project and said that there will likely be a large letter writing campaign where residents and businesses could help. He said that he would like to see most of these repairs accomplished by the spring of 2018. Mayor Cerino stated that Mr. Ingersoll and Mr. de Mooy were working to find any grant funding possible for this project.

Mr. Jeff Carroll asked how much money the Town had in hand and why the work by the Fish Whistle was not taking place first. Mayor Cerino stated that there was a little over $600,000.00 in Waterway Improvement Funds but those funds needed a match. There was $360,000 in place for this winter’s work. There was also $80,000.00 from Maryland Heritage Areas but that was for the interpretive center and some other funds for dredging. Mayor Cerino stated that the grants requiring matching funds were for a specific purpose and could not be spent until a match was found.

Mr. Ingersoll stated that Phase II would be the tear down of the Marina Shop and removal of the fuel pier which rendered the Marina with a crippled income stream and that was the timeline for the Fish Whistle to close. He said that this winter’s work was in preparation for the larger work.

Mayor Cerino stated that the USDA grant was critical in order to match the Waterway Improvement funds. He said that this was going to be a complicated process that would require months to plan. Mr. Carroll stated that he made plans for this winter to shut down so that they would be prepared to open in the spring. Mayor Cerino stated that the owner of Mr. Carroll’s restaurant held up progress on the Town’s end by a year and a half because they requested a hearing with MDE that put everyone behind schedule. Mayor Cerino stated that he understood though and felt the same frustration Mr. Carroll was expressing.

Ms. Gross stated that she would like to encourage residents to look around their property for any items that may create stagnant water and to remove them in order to cut down on the mosquito population, especially with the Zika virus looming.

Ms. Kuiper stated that First Friday in July was rained out but will be held on August 5th.

Ms. Kay MacIntosh stated that the Bridge Closure Task Force met the previous Friday and made a proposal that was sensitive to the needs of the community. She said that the proposal was for bridge painting to occur between September 7th and October 30th, with one lane closure at night between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. There will be 5 days required for a total closure of the bridge (from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. from Sunday to Thursday). There will be additional barges in the waterway during the work and boats will not be able to pass under the bridge.

Ms. Kuiper stated that the 4H Fair would run Wednesday through Sunday morning.

Mr. Shoge stated that he received feedback from the Mayor and Council regarding the MOU for a distributed antenna system to improve cellular signal strength and Wi-Fi in Town without having to build a tower. All comments have been forwarded to FTS. He said he questioned costs and it appeared as though the buildout would be funded by the providers with general maintenance fees to the Town in subsequent years.

Mr. Stetson stated that Town fees should be passed on to the users on the system outside of public areas. Mr. Ingersoll stated that helping people get better cell service was a necessity, but he did not think that Wi-Fi should be provided at no cost to everyone.

Mr. Shoge stated that the Historic District Commission would be involved as the antennas would have to be placed on street poles and buildings.

Mr. Stetson stated that on June 30th he attended the Bocce Tournament and said that it was a very nice event and the league would like the Town to have a team next year.

Mr. Stetson stated that he attended the Greater Chestertown Initiative on July 6th and reports were given by Mayor Cerino, Ms. Kay MacIntosh, and Ms. Jamie Williams of Kent County Economic Development.

Mr. Stetson stated he and Mr. Shoge attended the ribbon-cutting at the medical pavilion on Philosopher’s Terrace.

Mr. Stetson stated that the Town paid to expand the sidewalk along High Street at the Fountain Park so the artisans would not be on the grass and they were still using the grass. Ms. Kuiper stated that it was not safe to be on the High Street side of the park because of the traffic. The market was rearranged and the non-profits with tables are on the High Street sidewalk and the artisans are back where they originally were located. Ms. Kuiper stated that the farmers planned to use their own money to reseed the damaged grass in the fall.

Mr. Stetson stated that the sign off of the roundabout on the east side of the Radcliffe Bridge was still up and read 40 mph. He said that he would like to see it removed as it was too close to the crosswalk and could be dangerous. Mr. Stetson moved to send a letter to the SHA asking them to remove the 40 mph sign and install a 25 mph sign, was seconded by Mr. Shoge and carried unanimously.

There being no further business, Mr. Stetson moved to adjourn the meeting at 9:41 p.m., was seconded by Mr. Shoge and carried unanimously.

Submitted by:                                                 Approved by:

Jennifer Mulligan                                            Chris Cerino

Town Clerk                                                     Mayor

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