MAYOR AND COUNCIL
JUNE 16, 2014
Mayor Cerino called the meeting to order at 7:44 p.m. In attendance were Council members Liz Gross, Linda 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 Public Hearing on the budget of June 2, 2014, Mayor and Council meeting of June 2, 2014, Budget Workshop of May 13, 2014 and the Marina Charrette of May 28, 2014. Mr. Shoge moved to approve the Mayor and Council meeting minutes as submitted, was seconded by Ms. Gross and carried unanimously.
Mayor Cerino stated that cash on hand and in the banks was $1,250,986.26, plus $200,000.00 in a restricted use fund for a total of $1,450,986.26.
Mayor Cerino asked for a motion to pay bills.
Ms. Kuiper asked what the payment for Sharp Tree entailed. Mr. Ingersoll stated that this was an annual contract for the beds that Sharp Tree maintains in three park areas at the foot of High Street, Wilmer Park and Cannon Street parking lot.
Ms. Kuiper asked about the Step Pool project. Mr. Ingersoll stated that the bills were being paid on the Step Pool project but would be reimbursed through the grant.
Ms. Kuiper asked about the charge for Eastern Shore Irrigation work in the Park. Mr. Ingersoll stated that the costs were for a Garden Club request to run irrigation to a landscaping bed the Fountain Park that did not currently have water. It was discovered through the Eastern Shore Irrigation testing of the Park sprinkling system.
Mr. Stetson asked about the large cost of the door for the police department. Chief Baker stated that the door itself was not the large expense; it was the key pad entry for the door that was expensive. He said that the old door was rusted, leaking, and outside light could be seen through it.
Ms. Gross moved to approve payment of the bills as presented, was seconded by Mr. Shoge and carried unanimously.
Chief Baker gave the Police Report for May 2014. Mr. Stetson stated that he was glad to see the increase in foot patrol.
Chief Baker stated that there was a meeting of the Calvert Street Delegation planned for Tuesday, June 17, 2014 at 6:30 p.m. at the Church on Calvert Street. He said that anyone was welcome to attend.
Ms. Gross stated that she had a complaint about vehicular noise at 4:00 a.m. from the gentleman who delivers papers. She said she could find nothing about vehicular noise in the ordinances. Mr. Stetson stated that noise was a difficult thing to enforce. Chief Baker stated that the driver had a modified exhaust and he would address him directly about the noise.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that speed bumps were installed on Calvert Street and College Avenue. He said that the speed bumps would be painted as soon as possible, but could not be painted right after installation due to their heat and oil. Ms. Gross suggested temporary warning signs be put up by the new speed bumps to alert residents they are there.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that he mentioned earlier in the meeting that the reimbursement for the Step Pool Conveyance project has been put in and payments associated with the project had to be made initially by the Town.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that there was a meeting at the Kent County Commissioner’s Office on Thursday, June 19th at 2:00 p.m. to discuss the internet possibilities for the future. He planned to attend as the Town’s representative.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that a letter was received from DNR notifying the Town that they received a $200,000.00 grant for bulkhead repair. He said that this grant required a match.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that he was hoping to get $600,000.00 for dredging which was a 100% grant. He said that he had to prove there was a spoil site that would be used and said that he was checking on sizes for the spoil site.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that the GAR grand opening was scheduled for June 21st. He said that at the Town would be helping with the requests of Leslie Raimond for the activities.
Mayor Cerino stated that the meeting with the C-3 Neighborhood Commercial District will take place on Monday, June 23rd at 7:00 p.m. at Town Hall.
Mayor Cerino stated that he had numerous requests from residents to try to get more public input on the Hospital’s plans. He said that the Hospital will be holding a public meeting on Wednesday, June 25th at 7:30 p.m. at Town Hall. Anyone interested is welcome to attend. There will be a presentation and questions will be answered.
Mayor Cerino stated that a former revitalization task force member contacted him to say that he and another member of the committee were never reimbursed for the work that was performed by Ayres, Saint, Gross in the amount of $6,500.00. Mayor Cerino stated that in December, 2013 there was a motion made for $8,000.00 to Ayers, Saint, Gross with the understanding that the Maryland Department of Economic Development would provide matching funds, which carried unanimously. He said that this design/engineering work was performed but was never paid. He said that he thought these gentlemen should be reimbursed for out-of-pocket expenses.
Mr. Stetson stated that the Town should not pay the entire cost. He said this was a joint task force with the College and the College should pay half of the cost.
Ms. Kuiper asked if the out-of-pocket expenses were paid by those appointed by the College or the Town. Mayor Cerino stated that the bill was split by two task force members, one from the Town and one was a College appointee.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that Ms. Bernadette Bowman was working with the Economic Development Office for matching funding, but that never came through.
Mayor Cerino stated that he was given copies of a PowerPoint by Ayers, Saint, Gross and a conceptual rendering. He said that he did not have time to get it by this evening, but copies would be provided to the Council.
Ms. Gross stated that this reimbursement should be dealt with before the end of fiscal year. She suggested reimbursing the two individuals and then contacting the College to see if they would pay for half of the cost. Mr. Shoge stated that he thought this should be lesson learned and agreed with Ms. Gross’ suggestion.
Ms. Gross moved to reimburse $6,500.00 of out-of-pocket expenses to the two members of the Task Force paid to Ayres, Saint, Gross and seek reimbursement from Washington College for their share of the expense, was seconded by Mr. Shoge and carried with four (4) in favor, Mr. Stetson opposed.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that Mr. Holt previously stated at a Town meeting that this expense was something that the $200,000.00 donation from the College could cover. Mr. Holt agreed, stating that the Town obligated themselves to $8,000.00 without consulting the College in December 2013. He said that if the Town was going to make a request of the College, it should be within a timely fashion.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that the Town would need copies of invoices before making any reimbursement.
Mayor Cerino stated that he would like to form a group to come up with placement and design of directional signage. He asked if Mr. de Mooy would be amenable to putting together a small working group. Ms. Kuiper stated that there was grant money available for this type of signage from the State Tourism Office.
Mayor Cerino stated that he has maintained contact with Mr. Silicato, who was an owner of Washington Square. He said that Fresh & Green’s pulled all of their stores out of Maryland. He said that the lease with Fresh & Green’s ran through October of 2016 and all obligations of the lease have been continually met to date. Mr. Silicato told him that he was working to find exit strategies for the lease.
Mayor Cerino stated that the Chestertown Recreation Commission made an effort for a baseball field at the Kent County Middle School earlier in the year. He said that the Board of Education had design ideas and felt as though the project was being rushed and wanted to slow the process. Mayor Cerino stated that he met with Dr. Karen Couch, Superintendent, and staff at the Middle School. He said that he suggested that the Town become a conduit for funding and the staff design what they would like at the site. He said that every child in the County would be affected immediately as it was now the only middle school in Kent County.
Mayor Cerino stated that the staff came up with ideas for a renovated tennis court, resurfacing and regrading the basketball court, paving the exercise track and installing exercise stations, creating multi-purpose fields (including baseball scaled back in size to accommodate Middle School students) inside the track, along with greening initiatives. He said that the Town could work with the School Board and the Kent County Commissioners on a joint use agreement for an unprecedented partnership to apply for a Community Parks and Playground grant through the State.
Mayor Cerino stated that Mr. Ingersoll and Mr. de Mooy met today with Dr. Couch and the staff at the Middle School and said that they were far along on their plans and were excited about the project moving forward.
Mayor Cerino stated that he would like to have a public meeting in late July or early August, as the grant application was due in mid-August. Mayor Cerino stated that the partnership would have to be with the County rather than the Board of Education because the County owns the land, adding that he would like the Recreation Commission to support the project.
Ms. Gross stated that she was still working on outlining the duties of the Recreation Commission and there would be an internal discussion soon. Mayor Cerino stated that he thought that the Commission should be more activity oriented rather than designing facilities for the Town. Ms. Gross stated that ongoing maintenance issues had to be addressed and implemented as part of the agreement with the County and the School Board.
Mayor Cerino stated that the National Music Festival was a huge success and a great event for Chestertown. Ms. Gross stated that it was a wonderful season and a fantastic two weeks in Chestertown.
Mr. Shoge handed out a breakdown of the bids (attached) received for the website and explained it in detail. He said that two firms stood out, Ignition 72 and Moo Productions. He said that he would recommend a contract with Moo Productions, noting that this firm could also handle the social media pages.
Ms. Kuiper stated that payments online should be accepted with a courtesy fee added for the cost of the credit card transaction. Ms. Gross stated that Moo Productions handles the marketplace for tickets and reservations at the Garfield Center.
Ms. Kuiper stated that she wanted more time to review the bids before a decision was made. The Council agreed to wait until the July 7th meeting to award the bid.
Mr. Stetson stated that he attended the MML conference and was the flag bearer for Chestertown. He said that Cal Ripken was one of the keynote speakers. He said that he was a presenter on election reporting and financial responsibilities along with Mr. Tom Yeager. He said that he also attended a session on walkable and bike able communities.
Mr. Stetson stated that he was still receiving donations for the Dog Park and he was awaiting the arrival of benches.
Mr. Stetson stated that he appreciated the potholes being filled.
Mr. Shoge stated that he attended the MML convention and said that he was in sessions all day, each day that he was there. He said that he attended sessions on the Public Information Act and Open Meetings Act. It gave him a new appreciation for the staff at Town Hall.
Mr. Shoge stated that there was a community meeting scheduled by the Calvert Street Delegation on Tuesday, June 17th to discuss the alleyway, basketball, a final consensus on the garden, and discussion on the organization of the youth in the community who are going to clean-up the neighborhood.
Mr. Shoge stated that the Radcliffe Trailer Park has potholes that were unsightly. He asked if the Town could pave it and send the bill to the owner. Mr. Ingersoll stated that Mr. de Mooy had been working on the problem recently and would continue until it was solved.
Ms. Gross stated that there was a deep pothole at the corner of Kent Street and Philosopher’s Terrace.
Ms. Gross asked if there was any action on the path to the Margo Bailey Park from Heron Point. Mr. Ingersoll stated that the work was being done in-house and would be started after the parking lot on Cannon Street was complete.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that David A. Bramble was going to bring a grader into the new Cannon Street parking lot to grade the lot front to back to achieve drainage.
Ms. Kuiper stated that the War of 1812 was having a fundraiser on June 28th at Caulk’s Fieldhouse. She said that chances were being sold for a Ravens/Chargers game on November 30th for $10.00 a piece, in an attempt to reach the cash match for the grant received for the War of 1812.
Ms. Kuiper stated that the GAR building’s Grand Opening would be held on Saturday, June 21, 2014 from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Ms. Kuiper stated that Poor Richards, an antique store, opened on High Street a few weeks ago. Coco’s Pet Store opened last week on High Street as well.
Ms. Kuiper stated that she was hoping to have follow-up on the nuisance ordinance and fines for tenants at this meeting. Mr. Ingersoll stated that he was still not fully certain which ordinance that Ms. Kuiper wanted to change and what specifically she wanted enforced. Ms. Kuiper stated that noise and destruction of properties and adjoining properties and vehicles had to be added.
Ms. Kuiper stated that she attended the Public Information Act seminar at MML and asked if the Town charged for FOIA requests. Mr. Ingersoll stated that after 2-hours if research there is a charge for the fees were associated with the employee hours spent providing information to the request. Copies were a $.25 a piece, but the Town was lenient with most requests.
Ms. Kuiper stated that she would like each rental property in Town to pay a license fee of $5.00 per month ($60.00 per year) to rent property. She said that she would like the proceeds of the revenue to go to the Fire Department.
Ms. Kuiper stated that she would like to schedule a workshop for the revision of the Sign Ordinance. She said that there was a meeting with the businesses before the new Council took office and she would like to begin follow-up in addressing the Ordinance. She said that she would like the Planning Commission and Historic District Commission to attend the meetings. She said that she heard there were businesses downtown applying for signs and Town employees and commission members telling them what their signs should look like and where the sign should be placed rather than giving the owner the sign they wanted. Ms. Kuiper stated that she thought one of the businesses downtown was denied a sign altogether.
Ms. Gross stated that she thought there was supposed to be a working group for signage.
Mr. Ingersoll was on the record last year as saying that the sign ordinance should be reviewed and possibly reformed. However, the way it was done in 1983 was the right way to do it. The Planning Commission, Historic District Commission, and Zoning Administrator are then responsible for assuring sign conformance with the adopted sign ordinance.
Mayor Cerino stated that he attended the meeting regarding signs as a Planning Commission member but people came and spoke to the Council. He said that he thought the Planning Commission should host the meetings, inviting the Historic District Commission to the meeting with the C2 businesses. Ms. Kuiper stated that she wanted to make a formal recommendation for those workshop sessions. Mayor Cerino stated that he would make a request to Mr. Grotsky, Chairman of the Planning Commission, regarding scheduling workshops for the different districts, inviting the Historic District Commission to the meeting for C2.
Ms. Kuiper stated that the meetings have not been on YouTube for 8 weeks. Mr. Egan stated that he would see what the problem was as he was uploading them after every meeting. He said that the meetings were saved to a hard drive so he would upload them again.
Ms. Kuiper stated that the public notice for the meeting with the Hospital does not say what the meeting is about. Ms. Mulligan stated that the calendar only allows for a certain number of characters so that gives the date and time of the meeting. The bulletin board on the website had the details of the meeting at www.chestertown.com. She also pointed out that there was a public advertisement in the Kent County News scheduled for Thursday.
Ms. Kuiper stated that the Step Pools were working in heavy rains.
Ms. Kuiper stated that a resident of Satterfield Court approached her at the Heritage Celebration and was told that they had to move and nobody knew what was going on. Ms. Mulligan stated that a letter was being sent to the residents by the new owner assuring them that their tenancy will remain in effect.
Ms. Kuiper stated that there was a mattress dumped on the corner of Cannon and College Avenue.
Ms. Kuiper stated that there was a fire in the Third Ward and 2 families were displaced on the 500 block of Cannon Street.
Ms. Kuiper moved for an executive session under Section 10.508 of the Annotated Code of the State of Maryland to discuss personnel and a legal matter. The motion was seconded by Mr. Shoge and carried unanimously.
There being no further business, Ms. Kuiper moved to adjourn the meeting at 9:30 p.m., was seconded by Mr. Shoge and carried unanimously.
Submitted by: Approved by:
Jennifer Mulligan Chris Cerino
Town Clerk Mayor