MAYOR AND COUNCIL
JUNE 20, 2016
Mayor Cerino called the meeting to order at 7:30 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 Public Hearing of June 6, the Mayor and Council meeting of June 6, and the Executive Session of June 6, 2016. Mr. Stetson moved to approve the minutes as submitted, was seconded by Ms. Gross and carried unanimously.
Mayor Cerino stated that an executive session was called to order at 8:58 p.m., June 6, 2016 in accordance with§3-305(b)(7) of the Open Meetings Act. The purpose of the meeting was to meet with counsel to consider an agreement regarding the Hospital oil spill. In attendance at the meeting were Council members Liz Gross, Linda C. Kuiper and Mauritz Stetson, W.S. Ingersoll, Town Manager, Robert L. Sipes, Utilities Director, Charles MacLeod, Esquire and Jennifer Mulligan, Town Clerk. No motions were made or passed. The meeting adjourned at 9:50 p.m. Minutes were taken and are part of the record.
Mayor Cerino stated that total operating cash on hand for unrestricted use is $883,401.78 and there were assigned funds for waterfront initiatives in the amount of $180,480.00 for total funds on hand of $1,063,881.78.
Mayor Cerino asked for a motion to pay bills. Ms. Gross moved to pay the bills as presented, was seconded by Mr. Stetson and carried unanimously.
Ms. Maryanne Ruehrmund from the Chester River Health Foundation was present to discuss a Resolution for tax credits. Ms. Ruehrmund stated that the Foundation will be applying for State tax credits for the purchase of beds and furnishings for the hospital rooms, noting that each room would cost $13,800.00. She asked for a Resolution of Support for the project to include in their application process. Ms. Gross moved to approve a Resolution of Support for the Chester River Health Foundation was seconded by Mr. Shoge and carried unanimously.
Mr. Pres Harding, a resident of East Campus Avenue, was present to discuss resident only parking on Philosopher’s Terrace and parts of Campus Avenue. Mr. Harding stated that he would like to see residential parking only on the 200 block of East Campus Avenue to Byford Drive and the 200 block of Philosopher’s Avenue between Campus and Kent Street. Mr. Harding stated that with the new academic complex going up he feared that students and staff would be parking along the streets rather than walking across from the campus. Mr. Harding stated that the College mad a presentation to their neighborhood association and said that the idea was to have the students walk but when construction was taking place he thought it was a harbinger of what is to come.
Mr. Harding stated that Philosopher’s Terrace is a main route for ambulances and school busses with the Middle School located on Campus Avenue. He said that during the end of construction when the contractors had to be out of the building footprint, the congestion it caused made it evident that there would be a problem with parking if students drive to class. Mr. Harding stated that he did not want his street to become a parking lot.
Mr. Stetson stated that narrowed roads tend to make people speed less. Mr. Harding stated that enforcing the speed was a law enforcement issue and there was a stop sign in place which is often ignored. Mr. Stetson stated that he thought it would be better to wait and see what happened when the buildings were opened to students. Mr. Harding disagreed stating that he was trying to stop a problem before it occurred because the reality is that the kids are going to park there and the neighbors did not want them to.
Ms. Gross stated that the area was difficult to navigate when construction crews were in place and said that she understood the concerns of the neighbors and agreed with Mr. Harding that there should be residential parking only suggesting that the hours of 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. be added to the signs.
Mayor Cerino stated that he was on the Planning Commission when the College came in for approvals for the academic building and the philosophy was that the students would walk and the parking lot was for staff only. However, he said that the reality is staff alone may not fit in the building and he shared the concern that a section of Campus Avenue and Philosopher’s Terrace was going to become a parking lot for College students and staff. He said that if the College was serious about encouraging their students to walk to the building and wanted to honor their commitment to the neighbors, it only made sense to have resident only parking around the building. He said that it was human nature to park as close as possible to where you are supposed to be at any particular time and people would do just that if it was not prohibited.
Mr. Stetson stated that he did not understand why residents were concerned about having cars parked in front of their house because the streets belong to the public. Mr. Harding stated that there has never been a problem with parking but he did not want to see his block and surrounding blocks become a parking lot when the College is in session. Mayor Cerino stated that the streets will still belong to the tax-paying residents, but the residents did not want it to become a College parking lot.
Mayor Cerino stated that he wanted to clarify that the request was for Resident Only Parking on the 200 block of Philosopher’s Terrace and extending the existing Resident Only Parking to Byford Drive on East Campus Avenue. Mr. Harding stated that was his request. Ms. Gross stated that she would like to see the Resident Parking include “Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.”.
Mr. Joe Holt, resident of Philosopher’s Terrace and employee of Washington College, stated that he did not recognize any Philosopher’s Terrace residents present and said that he thought they should be consulted before action was taken. He said that there was no notification of this proposal to anyone on the block.
Mr. Harding said that he did not go door-to-door but this has been discussed by the neighborhood association. Ms. Gross stated that if Mr. Harding spoke to the neighbors he could report back to her she would take it back to the Council. Mayor Cerino stated that it would be good to have input from all neighbors before a formal decision was made.
Chief Baker was present and gave the report for May 2016. Ms. Gross stated that the numbers in Ward 3 were heavily skewed by the 601 High Street address and asked if those figures could be separated. Mr. Stetson asked if the Part I and Part II offenses could be broken down to make it clear what was an old offense and what was new.
Chief Baker stated that there have been several burglaries at commercial properties over the weekend of June 11th. There were 2 on June 11th and 2 on June 12th. There were an additional 2 in this past week. He said a strong suspect has been developed but no arrests have been made to date. He said that CPD was aggressively patrolling to deter and prevent any further action. Chief Baker stated the break-ins occurred in the very early morning hours and asked that anyone out at that time of day pay attention to anything unusual they may see.
Chief Baker swore in Officer Chris Pavon as the newest officer to the Chestertown Police Department. He said that Officer Pavon retired from the Natural Resources Police where he had 28 years of service. Chief Baker stated that Officer Pavon would be a great asset to CPD.
Mayor Cerino stated that there was a recommendation from the Planning Commission regarding rezoning requests and he read the requests into the record. Mayor Cerino stated that he would move this request to the next meeting when Mr. Ingersoll was present, as a public hearing had to be scheduled.
Ms. Mulligan stated that the next Mayor and Council meeting would be held on Tuesday, July 5th with a public hearing on Annexation Resolution 1 beginning at 7:00 p.m.
Mayor Cerino requested an executive session following the meeting to meet with counsel on a legal matter. Ms. Gross moved for an executive session following the meeting to consult with counsel on a legal matter in accordance with general provisions Article §3-305(b)(7), was seconded by Mr. Shoge and carried unanimously.
Mayor Cerino stated that there will be hearing on Class B Beer, Wine and Liquor license on June 28, 2016 at 6:00 p.m. in the Kent County Commission Office for Cassinelli Distilling on High Street.
Mayor Cerino stated that the Kent Center requested a Resolution for their program called “Wheels of Hope” and read it into the record. Mr. Stetson moved to approve the Resolution in support of Kent Center’s “Wheels of Hope” was seconded by Ms. Gross and passed with four (4) in favor, Ms. Kuiper recused due to a conflict of interest.
Mayor Cerino stated that there is a vacancy on the Historic District Commission and said that he would like to nominate Alice Ritchie to the Commission.
Mayor Cerino stated that he met with Mr. Tom Sappington today and he is going to move the playground equipment from the police station to the Ajax Pocket Park within the next week or so. He said that the swing set is already well used.
Mayor Cerino stated that work at the Kent County Middle School fields is progressing nicely.
Ms. Gross stated that the National Music Festival ended on Saturday night and was a huge success with more than a 30% increase in ticket sales. She said the Festival was large draw for visitors. Ms. Gross said that she wanted to express appreciation to the Town for their support and use of the Visitors Center on behalf of the National Music Festival.
Ms. Gross stated that she had the honor of presenting the Mentor of the Year a “Key to the Town”. Mr. Jared Houser, a senior mentor was given the award this year and plays the obo.
Ms. Kuiper stated that she attended the Joint Kent and Queen Anne’s County Task Force Meeting on the bridge closure and said that Ms. Amy Moredock gave a report on the zoning for the Kent County side regarding the bypass. The report indicated that Kent was in line with the zoning for a bypass but Queen Anne’s County was likely going to have problems with their zoning. Ms. Kuiper stated that Ms. Moredock added that the sidewalk on the present bridge does not meet ADA standards. The next meeting of the Task Force is scheduled for Friday, July 15 at 9:00 a.m. at 400 High Street.
Ms. Kuiper stated that she was honored to read the proclamation designating June 18, 2016 as Juneteenth Day in Chestertown commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. She said that Juneteenth was a well-attended event and a wonderful day.
Ms. Kuiper stated that a wedding ring was lost at the Farmers’ Market this past Saturday and said that if anyone found it to please return it to Town Hall or the Police Department.
Ms. Kuiper stated that she was having issues with overgrown trees in her ward that are interfering with electric lines. She said that there were also overhanging trees in the Fountain Park interfering with tents at the Farmers’ Market.
Mr. Shoge stated that he had a productive first Wireless Task Force Meeting regarding improving wireless signal strength in the downtown area. He said that Scott Cowdrey (IT Director Washington College), Scott Boone (Kent County IT Department), Brett Hill (FTS CEO), Alex Smolens (Atlantek), Kristen Owen (DCA) and Ben Ford (Kent County Broadband) were all in attendance at the meeting.
Mr. Shoge stated that FTS can essentially build the infrastructure through a network of antennas installed on utility poles. He said that the antennas can blast out Wi-Fi. Mr. Shoge stated that he would like to propose that the Town enter into an MOU with Washington College and Kent County giving Brett Hill and FTS the ability to draft an overall infrastructure proposal in regards to antenna placements, including the cost involved in building such a network. He said that the companies offering their services such as Verizon and AT&T would bear the costs of the infrastructure, but it would be up to the municipality as to how the signal would be managed. He said that it would have to be managed by either making it free with certain entities having the username and password, or there could be a cost associated with it.
Mr. Shoge stated that what he would like tonight is permission to enter into an MOU with the Kent County Commissioners, Washington College and FTS to develop a proposal for internet and cellular access. Mr. Shoge stated that there was no cost involved with the MOU and Mr. Hill has agreed to come before the Council to discuss the project. Mr. Shoge stated that Mr. Hill already has approval from the Kent County Commissioners for the MOU and was seeking approval from Chestertown and Washington College.
Ms. Gross moved for a MOU with FTS, Kent County and the Town of Chestertown giving FTS permission to form a proposal that includes a detailed plan on how to improve signal strength for wireless cellular users and Wi-Fi, was seconded by Mr. Stetson and carried unanimously.
Mr. Shoge stated that he would return with the MOU for signing.
Mr. Stetson stated that he was wearing earbuds that were attached to an amplifier as he has hearing loss and felt as though he was missing too much of the meeting without it.
Mr. Stetson stated that at least one of the speed limit signs has been added at Rt. 20 by the Gateway Park. He said that the 40 MPH sign had to be removed.
Mr. Stetson stated that he was glad to see a sign at the new Police Department. Chief Baker stated that it was not finished yet.
Mr. Stetson stated that Music in Park began on Saturday, June 11th. He said that there was a great line-up planned for the rest of the summer and donations were appreciated. In inclement weather, the concert moves to the Emmanuel Church.
There being no further business, Ms. Kuiper moved to adjourn the meeting at 8:30 p.m., was seconded by Mr. Stetson and carried unanimously.
Submitted by: Approved by:
Jennifer Mulligan Chris Cerino
Town Clerk Mayor