MAYOR AND COUNCIL
NOVEMBER 6, 2017
Mayor Chris Cerino called the meeting to order at 7:41 p.m. In attendance were Council members Liz Gross, 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 October 16, 2017. Mr. Stetson moved to approve the Mayor and Council meeting of October 16, 2017 as submitted, was seconded by Ms. Gross and carried unanimously.
Mayor Cerino stated that total operating cash on hand for unrestricted use is $1,582,953.30. The donations for the Broadreach sculpture have a balance of
$-27,757.31 (pending receipt of pledged donations). The Town was waiting on grant reimbursements in the amount of $85,597.00 for marina work.
Mayor Cerino asked for a motion to pay bills. Ms. Gross moved to approve payment of the bills as submitted, was seconded by Mr. Shoge and carried unanimously.
Mr. Ken Kozel of Shore Regional Health was present to give an update on the Rural Study. He said that the last meeting of the study was held on September 28, 2017. There were a number of recommendations vetted by the study group and all recommendations were approved unanimously by the Task Force and Shore Regional Health. Mr. Kozel stated that the recommendations will be forwarded to the State Legislature and State agencies such as the Maryland Health Care Commission and Health Services Cost Review Commission.
Mr. Kozel stated that one of the recommendations was the designation of the Chestertown facility as a Rural Community Access Hospital which is under the purview of the Maryland Health Services Cost Review Commission. Another recommendation was to seek funding from the State for rural health care.
Mayor Cerino asked how “rural” was defined in the study. Mr. Kozel stated that at the Federal level he thought two-thirds of Maryland was defined as rural. For the purposes of the study the Mid-Shore (Kent to Dorchester), Southern Maryland and Western Maryland were defined as rural.
Mayor Cerino stated that he thought the study boiled down to preserving as many services at our hospital as possible and keeping some inpatient beds. Mr. Kozel stated that inpatient beds at Chestertown was part of the recommendation under the auspice of the Rural Community Access Hospital Designation, which would include full-service, 24/7 emergency service, inpatient beds and surgical services. Based on the current census, a rural hospital should have approximately ten (10) in-patient beds.
Mayor Cerino asked if there was a timeline for approval at the State level. Mr. Kozel stated that approval would likely be sequenced over a number of years.
Mr. Shoge asked how the State decided how many beds go to which hospital. Mr. Kozel stated that population played a large role and the number of beds required per 1,000 residents (which is correlated with the age of the population, length of stay and acuity).
Mr. Kozel stated that the Shore Nursing and Rehabilitation Center is the only nursing and rehab center within the University of Maryland Medical System. As changes are being made in the nursing home industry, UMMS feels that they are not the right party to be managing the center. He said that this facility provides a valuable resource and support to the community. UMMS will be issuing a Request for Proposals to see if they can find a suitable entity to take over the operations and financial responsibility of the Center. He said that this facility can handle a broader range of acute patients and he would like to see that happen, noting that there were ninety-two (92) beds available at that location.
Mr. Kozel stated that Shore Regional Health and Compass Regional signed an agreement stipulating that Compass Regional will have space at the hospital in Chestertown to use as a residential hospice center. He said that this was needed in Kent County, as none exists in the County at present.
Mr. Kozel stated that new providers have been brought into the area ranging from private practice cardiologists to primary care physicians. He said that the Philosopher’s Terrace building was full of providers caring for patients who would normally be driving to Easton for services.
Mr. Kozel stated that the Hospital Foundation will be hosting Casino Night on Saturday, November 18th at 7:00 p.m. at the Garfield Center for the Arts. He invited the entire community.
Mr. Shoge stated that any new owner of the Nursing and Rehabilitation Center should meet with Jamie Williams to discuss PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy), which provides financing for energy efficient upgrades.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that the public hearing for Annexation Resolution 1-2017 was held previously at 7 p.m. this evening. He said that this annexation was for the Waste Water Treatment Plant (lagoon) property and was owned by the Town. An Annexation Plan was with the Annexation Resolution. Ms. Gross moved to adopt Chestertown Annexation Resolution 1-2017 along with the Annexation Plan, was seconded by Mr. Stetson and carried unanimously.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that Ordinance 02-2017 General Obligation Indebtedness for Chestertown Marina Stormwater Improvements and Other Infrastructure Improvements was introduced at the meeting of October 16, 2017. This Ordinance had to do with the USDA loan and grant and is an instrument allowing the Town to borrow funds and receive grant dollars to raise the land level at the Marina, along with storm drainage and necessary underground work up to the shoreline. Ms. Gross moved to adopt Ordinance 02-2017 General Obligation Indebtedness for Chestertown Marina Stormwater Improvements and Other Infrastructure Improvements, was seconded by Mr. Shoge and carried unanimously.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that Resolution 3-2017 Real Property Tax Credit was before this Council this evening. He said that when the Dixon Annexation was approved, the Town had already included it in an Enterprise Zone which allowed tax credits for certain areas of Town. Mr. Ingersoll read the Resolution providing the allowance of the tax credits for the Dixon Warehouse and Office building under construction, a $12 million investment. Mr. Shoge moved to adopt Resolution 03-2017 Real Property Tax Credit, was seconded by Ms. Gross and carried unanimously.
Mr. Stetson stated that it was important to note the Dixon Valve employs 345 full-time employees and 56 part-time employees. As a result of this expansion, an additional 25 employees will be hired. Mayor Cerino stated that this was one of the most important economic development steps made in several decades by the Town.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that Mr. de Mooy has been working with Yerkes Construction on the modified Interpretive Center plans and the contract to reach a manageable figure for the Town. He said that the contract now includes line items (unit pricing) and a cost figure at $1,000,088.00. He asked that the Mayor be authorized to sign the contract a contract up to $1,000,088.00 for the Marina Interpretive Center.
Mayor Cerino stated that there was $480,000.00 in grants awarded to go towards the building at this time. He said that the State has indicated that the Town must spend the grant money already promised to the Town before they would award additional grants. He said that he hoped the $480,000.00 would create the shell of the building while the Town finds the rest of the money to finish the interior.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that the existing marina waterfront building owned by the Town must be removed in order to build the remaining bulkhead in front of the Fish Whistle. He said that where the existing building stands will become a promenade to the water for the public.
Mr. Shoge moved to authorize Mayor Cerino to sign a contract with Yerkes Construction, not to exceed $1,000,088.00 for the construction of the Marina Interpretive Center, was seconded by Ms. Gross and carried unanimously.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that the permit request for Santa’s arrival has been filed. Santa will arrive in Town on Friday, November 24th. The event begins at 6:00 p.m. on High Street. The Annual Christmas Parade will take place on Saturday, November 25th at 10 a.m. The Council agreed to the permit requests.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that the Dickens of a Christmas will take place over the first weekend in December beginning with First Friday on December 1st. The permit request submitted included street closures and a request for the waiver of the alcoholic beverages on Friday and Saturday evening. Copies of the permits have been distributed to the Police Department and Street Crew. Ms. Gross moved to approve the permit requests for Dickens of Christmas as submitted, including the waiver of the open container laws for alcoholic beverages, was seconded by Ms. Kuiper and carried unanimously.
Ms. MacIntosh stated that the Dickens of a Christmas was piggy-backing on to the First Friday events planned by the DCA and will have fire pits and horse-drawn carriages. There will also be fire dancers at 7 p.m.
Mayor Cerino stated that the election for Mayor, First and Third Wards will be held on Tuesday, November 7th from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Firehouse and urged all the residents to vote.
Mayor Cerino stated that there was a clean-up of the Rail Trail by Washington College’s I-Serve (a subgroup of the SGA) which was a large success. He said that more than 30 bags of garbage were collected. He thanked I-Serve for their help and their continued service to the Town.
Mayor Cerino stated that he hoped to give a comprehensive presentation at the next meeting on the work that the Town hoped to perform at the Marina over the winter months.
Ms. Gross stated that the Halloween Parade was a huge success. She said that she was impressed with the lengths people took making costumes and all of the families who spent the day having fun with their children, noting that it speaks volumes to the quality of life in this area.
Ms. Kuiper stated that Saturday, November 11th was Veterans Day and Washington College was having free dinners for all veterans from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. There will be a performance tribute to veterans called “Reentry” at 7:00 p.m. in Decker Theater, which was free and open to the public.
Ms. Kuiper stated that Ms. Kristen Owen of the Downtown Chestertown Association sent emails to all merchants asking their employees not to park on the streets during the holiday season in order to leave space for shoppers.
Ms. Kuiper stated that a Tea Party Festival meeting will take place on Wednesday, November 8th at Visitors Center at 6:30 p.m.
Ms. Kuiper stated that a brewery is coming to High Street, due to open in March of 2018.
Ms. Kuiper stated that she sent an email with photos of trash, mattresses and equipment that is visible at the Town Yard from Cannon Street. She said that she would like to see that area cleaned up and a fence installed so the Cannon Street residents don’t have to see it. Ms. Kuiper stated that she did not think that anyone should have to pay for bulk trash pickup until the Town cleaned up the yard. Mayor Cerino stated that the Town Yard has been drastically cleaned up in the past year or so. Mr. Stetson stated that he disagreed with the premise of not paying for bulk trash pickup.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that he understood that Ms. Kuiper wants a fence installed but said it was winter work and also said that there is a cost involved for materials. Mr. Ingersoll stated that he would ask Mr. Sappington to move the mattresses so they were not visible.
Mr. Shoge asked if there was a way to vacate the Town Yard property and move to another location, such as the lagoon. Mr. Ingersoll stated that solid waste was a problem, wherever it was located. He said that the bulk fees imposed on the residents were nothing in comparison to the actual costs to the Town.
Mr. Shoge stated that the Sultana Education Center had a wonderful Downrigging Weekend and it was nice that the weather cooperated.
Mr. Shoge stated that the Kent County Young Professionals held Brewfest on Saturday, November 4th in Wilmer Park and there was a good turnout.
Mr. Stetson stated that the he attended Downrigging weekend and said that it brings so many people into Town. Mr. Stetson stated that he went to Luisa’s on Thursday night and couldn’t get a table and the festival had not even started.
Mr. Stetson said that he wanted to remind people to vote, noting that people do not turn out to exercise their right to do so. He said that there were good candidates running and he would be happy to serve with any of them.
Mayor Cerino asked if there were questions or comments from the audience.
Mr. Jeff Carroll stated that Downrigging Weekend is an economic boom for the entire Town, not just on festival days, but lasts for a week. He thanked Sultana for the festival. Mayor Cerino stated that this sentiment speaks to how much the Town needs a functioning marina.
Ms. Emily Moseman stated that the Hallo-teen event before Dowrigging’s fireworks show at Wilmer Park was a huge success with free hot dogs, popcorn and a movie for the kids.
There being no further business, Mr. Shoge moved to adjourn the meeting at 8:50 p.m., was seconded by Ms. Gross and carried unanimously.
Submitted by: Approved by:
Jennifer Mulligan Chris Cerino
Town Clerk Mayor