MAYOR AND COUNCIL
APRIL 2, 2018
Mayor Cerino called the Mayor and Council meeting to order at 7:40 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 March 19, 2018. Mr. Stetson moved to approve the Mayor and Council minutes of March 19, 2018 as submitted, was seconded by Rev. Tolliver and carried unanimously.
Mayor Cerino stated that total operating cash on hand for unrestricted use is $834,629.76. A total of $301,859.51 in bills has been paid for construction work at the Marina which the Town was waiting to be reimbursed through grants, bringing the total to $1,136,489.27.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that he has been tracking the requests for reimbursements with the State agencies involved but they take time to be processed. He said that although the number was similar to last month’s this month’s has some new reimbursement requests as the Marina project was constantly progressing.
Mayor Cerino asked for a motion to pay bills. Mr. Stetson moved to approve payment of the bills as submitted, was seconded by Rev. Tolliver and carried unanimously.
Ms. Kitty Maynard was present on behalf of the Oak Hollow Homeowner’s Association to discuss problems that the owners were experiencing with speeding, parking, and walkability in and around the Oak Hollow Townhouses.
Ms. Maynard stated that she thought speed tables were being considered along Haacke Drive and asked if there was any progress on installation. Mr. Stetson stated that this was discussed but not all property owners were in favor of speed bumps. Mr. Ingersoll stated that all residents had to be in agreement that a speed table was right for the block. Mr. Ingersoll stated that a painted bike lane was discussed a couple years ago as an alternative to help with speed control and pedestrian safety, which he thought was a good idea and less controversial than speed tables.
Ms. Maynard stated that a large problem is walking on Haacke Drive and Scheeler Road as it can be treacherous due to the fact that there are no sidewalks. She said that with Dixon Valve building their new headquarters and apartments proposed for that area, there will be more residents and additional traffic, making it all the more dangerous to walk on the roads. She presented a drawing with current sidewalk locations on Haacke and Scheeler along with future pathways.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that Scheeler road was built to a rural standard and annexed in from Kent County years ago. Ms. Maynard said that she agreed, but the area she was discussing was becoming more of an urban space.
Mayor Cerino stated that he thought sidewalks could not be built without the property owner’s permission. He said that KRM/Dixon has plans to build apartments and he thought sidewalks were discussed in planning. Mr. Ingersoll stated that there may be enough road easement to build a sidewalk in the street right-of-way on Haacke so property owner’s permission is not needed in that instance.
Mr. Ingersoll asked Ms. Maynard if there was sidewalk on the Scheeler Road side of the townhouse development because it was not shown on Ms. Maynard’s sidewalk drawing. Ms. Maynard stated that there was sidewalk surrounding their development.
Mayor Cerino asked how sidewalks were taken into account for budgeting purposes. Mr. Ingersoll stated that there were retro-fit sidewalk State programs for State roads only. Mr. Stetson stated that a painted hiking/biking lane on one lane may slow people down in the interim. Mr. Ingersoll stated that the most important sidewalk at present would be on Scheeler from Haacke to Kent Plaza. He would also like to see crosswalks at the intersections of Haacke Drive and Scheeler Road.
Ms. Maynard stated that one of the reasons the development was interested in the speed bumps was because of the need for the safety of pedestrians on the road. She said that drag racing takes place at nights Haacke Drive and Scheeler Road. Mayor Cerino stated that he would have to insure that the majority of residents want speed tables in place before the Town would incur the costs for installing them.
Mayor Cerino asked Ms. Maynard to follow up with an email so the Town could see what next steps can be taken, perhaps starting with a painted bike lane on Haacke Drive.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that he had also received a phone call from residents of Oak Hollow requesting that the curbs in Oak Hollow be painted yellow. He said that the Town ultimately accepted the townhouse roads into Chestertown but they were built with dozens of close driveways broken up by small stretches of curb and once they were painted had to remain painted. He said that he looked at the area with the street superintendent and they did not think that painting was the answer to parking problems there. He said it would not solve the problems occurring with neighbors blocking neighbors’ driveways that would only be resolved with people being good neighbors.
A member of the audience asked if there was a law against blocking driveway access. Chief Baker stated that he did he not know if there was a minimum distance to park from a driveway, but he could look into it. Mr. Stetson stated that he was sure that there was something pertaining to this in the Motor Vehicles Law.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that a proposed budget schedule was given to the Mayor and Council to review. He said that the first two meetings were on Tuesday evenings, April 24th and May 15th. He said that if there were any problems with the proposed dates he would try to fix the schedule.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that there was a permit request from Jon Hanley for the 8th Annual Earth Day Festival on Saturday, April 21st from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., closing Memorial Plaza to traffic on Friday, April 20th at 5 p.m. to allow time for vendors participating in the festival to set up. The stage was also requested, permission for food trucks, and to erect a moon bounce in the Memorial Park by Hogans Agency. The Council agreed to the request.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that the Bocce League has a permit request for two seasons on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. beginning April 10th and ending in November 2018 for the spring and fall bocce leagues. There was also a request for the waiver of the open container law on those evenings, and for the street crew to mow the Wilmer Park lawn on Tuesdays during that timeframe. Mr. Stetson moved to approve the Bocce League as requested, was seconded by Mr. Foster and carried unanimously.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that Kent County and Chestertown will celebrate Arbor Day on Tuesday, April 24th from 12:15 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the courthouse, with a rain location at Garnett Elementary School.
Mr. Ingersoll introduced Ordinance 01-2018 Authorizing a Line of Credit with Chesapeake Bank and Trust. He said that the Ordinance could be adopted at the next meeting of April 16th and would become effective on May 6, 2018. He said that this was an interest only line of credit used for Town approved projects and provided flexibility when grant outputs are large and reimbursements are not rapid. The Ordinance also authorized the Mayor to sign the final bank loan documents once they are approved by the Town Manager and the Town Attorney. Mr. Ingersoll stated that when the People’s Bank loan was addressed last year, Chesapeake Bank stepped forward and offered to help as well.
Mayor Cerino stated that the line of credit was important because if things go as planned there will be a second contractor on site to tear out the remaining dock and installing new piers. There would be large invoices to the Town at that time and the line of credit allowed the Town to write the initial check from the line of credit rather than remove capital funds from the general fund. The interest only line of credit would be immediately reimbursed when the reimbursements were received from the State.
Rev. Tolliver stated that instead of the Ordinance reading “allowing the Town some flexibility especially in the arena of the Chestertown Marina” he would prefer to see “allowing the Town some flexibility in arenas such as the Chestertown Marina”. He said that this would allow flexibility for other Town projects outside of the Marina. Mr. Ingersoll stated that he would consider that change, noting that this was for other projects and that the bank did not have limitations on the use of the line of credit.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that usually the Town had not used ordinances for lines of credit but Chesapeake Bank’s attorney sees the line of credit as a promissory note.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that he and Ms. MacIntosh met with Shelly Heller and Jamie Williams of Kent County to discuss the movie theater proposal. He said Kent County set aside $200,000.00 in 2014 as a loan program that local business owners could request for economic development. He said that the use of this loan would be backed by the Town’s Amusement Tax revenues as part of the repayment which would have a 3-year payback. Mr. Ingersoll stated that Ms. Heller indicated that two of three commissioners she spoke with were in agreement already. Mr. Ingersoll stated that this would be before the Commissioners the following evening. Mr. Ingersoll said that he wanted to make sure that the Council was in agreement with the arrangement discussed: that Kent County would direct the funds to the movie theater with the Town of Chestertown guaranteeing that the revenues from the movie theatre’s Amusement Tax will go to the repayment of the loan (with a balloon payment by the theater owners after the third year). The Council agreed.
Mayor Cerino stated that he was especially in favor of the arrangement with the County because the Town would not be setting a precedent of giving tax money to private businesses and the County already had a mechanism in place for this type of funding. The Town would ultimately collect the Amusement Tax in year four and beyond, creating a stream of revenue where there was none currently.
Rev. Tolliver stated that he thought there was a $50,000.00 cap on County loans. Mr. Ingersoll stated that it was his understanding that the Commissioners would have to waive the cap in this instance. He said another loan changes would involve replacing the normal monthly principal and interest payment with quarterly Amusement Tax payments.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that Mayor Cerino and Mr. Bryan Matthews of KRM will be attending the Kent County Commissioners meeting tomorrow night on behalf of the proposal for the loan for the theatre.
Mr. Stetson moved to approve that Mayor Cerino attend the Kent County Commissioners meeting on behalf of the Mayor and Council, along with the authority to offer the Town give the proceeds of the Amusement Tax (paid by the theatre) to the Kent County Commissioners as loan guarantee for a three-year period up to $75,000.00, with the understanding that if the revenues do not pay the loan in full after 3-years the balance will be paid to Kent County in a balloon payment by the theater owners. The motion was seconded by Rev. Tolliver and carried unanimously.
Mayor Cerino read a proclamation declaring Friday, April 27th as Arbor Day into the record.
Mayor Cerino stated that the Council received letters requesting that they judge the Tea Party Parade. He said that he hoped all members would participate.
Mayor Cerino stated that Kent County High School requested a donation to the Kent County After-Prom Party which the Council always approves. Mr. Ingersoll stated that he thought there was a check in the mail today and that it had been budgeted.
Mr. Stetson stated that the Street Crew put down degraded granite in the dog park and it looked nice. He said that he thought this would have to be done every two years instead of every four years.
Rev. Tolliver stated that the Third Ward on High Street has become a business hub in Chestertown with three new businesses opening; Germaine’s Sandwich Shop, High Street Veterinarian, and Salon 854.
Rev. Tolliver stated that he was asked to speak at Unity Day on Saturday, April 14th and was looking forward to it.
Rev. Tolliver stated that he attended a Board of Education meeting this week and there was a gentleman from the Education Testing Service who gave up to date statistics about the progress of education in Kent County. He said that he was hoping to get a copy for future planning.
Rev. Tolliver stated that things in Ward Three seemed good but he did hear concerns about lighting on Flatland Road.
Ms. Kuiper stated that Sumner Hall has their April schedule available and they were hosting a community supper on Wednesday, April 4th (with music); the Chestertown Environmental Committee’s monthly film series on Thursday, April 5th; a soul food dinner party on Saturday, April 7th from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. which cost $35.00 per person, and; a social action committee meeting on Tuesday, April 17th. Ms. Kuiper stated that Wednesday, April 4th there would also be memories of Martin Luther King at Sumner Hall.
Ms. Kuiper stated that the Artisans Market was scheduled to begin on Saturday, April 7th.
Ms. Kuiper stated that volunteers were desperately needed for the Tea Party and that any help would be accepted, even if it was only for a couple hours on the day of Tea Party. The next Tea Party Committee meeting was scheduled for Wednesday, April 4th at 6:30 p.m. on the second floor of the Visitors Center and was open to the public.
Ms. MacIntosh stated that she saw that the Tea Party Committee received confirmation that the Budweiser Clydesdales were coming to the Tea Party Festival this year.
Mr. Foster stated that if there were volunteers for a clean-up the Rail/Trail could use some help.
Mr. Foster stated that the good weather has many people walking and biking, which was good, but they noticed all the potholes and cracks in the street. Mr. Ingersoll asked for any and all locations to be reported to the Town.
Ms. Kuiper stated that April’s First Friday was Friday, April 6th.
There being no further business and no questions from the audience, Mr. Foster 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