MAYOR AND COUNCIL
JULY 21, 2014
Mayor Cerino called the meeting to order at 7:45 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 meeting of July 7, 2014 or the public forum with Shore Regional Health of June 25, 2014. Ms. Gross moved to approve the Mayor and Council meeting minutes as submitted, was seconded by Mr. Shoge and carried unanimously.
Mayor Cerino stated that cash on hand and in the banks was $1,099,791.54. There was also a Washington College donation for restricted use in the amount of $193,500.00 as part of the donation recently to fund part of the Task Force study, for a total funds on hand of $1,293,291.54. Mayor Cerino stated that $3,250.00 would be credited to the donation from Washington College as the College paid half of that expense.
Mayor Cerino asked for a motion to pay bills. Mr. Stetson moved to pay the bills as submitted, was seconded by Ms. Gross and carried unanimously.
Mr. Andrew Pons, clinical director of the Whitsitt Center and Ms. Melissa Stuber, counselor, were present to discuss a proposed pavilion on the grounds of the Whitsitt Center. Mr. Pons discussed the mental health programs offered to those at the Whitsitt Center, and how they were used by those residents in need from Chestertown, Kent County and the rest of the Eastern Shore. He said that the original pavilion was built in 1996 but failed and was removed after this past winter. Their goal was to be able to fund the project with donations for the total cost of the pavilion (which was estimated to be $17,000.00). He said that he was also hoping for donations of labor and for unforeseen costs. Donations are tax deductible and could be written to the “A.F. Whitsitt Center”, noting “pavilion” in the memo.
Mr. Ingersoll suggested that the Town donate the in-kind labor and equipment to install the pad, which was 20’ x 24’. He said he would get estimates of the value of the in-kind work. Mayor Cerino stated that any donations requested over $300.00 required the request at one meeting with a motion to approve or deny at the following meeting.
Ms. Kristen Owen from the Downtown Chestertown Association was present to thank the Mayor and Council for the new Cannon Street parking lot. She said that she also wanted to extend her thanks to Ms. Kuiper for taking a survey of business owners around Town on the issue of the parking meter covers. She said that long-term thoughts from the DCA were to screen-print the meters thanking the customers for their business and said that she would look into the costs. She asked that a sign be installed at the Cannon Street parking lot, as the merchants feared that employees would use the parking spaces on the streets. Business owners could also send messages to their employees reminding them to use the lot. Ms. Owen stated that the DCA was happy to monitor what was happening with the parking situation and compile recommendations and feedback to the Mayor and Council at the end of the 6-month trial period.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that they might compare the cost of screen-printing the existing bags to the cost of new bags. The Council agreed.
Mayor Cerino stated that the Cannon Street parking lot was built for the downtown merchants to park and perhaps it could be stickered parking. Ms. Owens stated that there was no way to force someone to put a sticker on their car, but if the Council thought it would be an effective tool, they would look into it.
Mayor Cerino suggested that the “Employee Parking” sign indicate that employee parking is in effect Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. He said that he was skeptical that some employees would walk to work, but hoped that the parking situation would improve once the directional signage was put in place.
Chief Baker presented the police report for the month of June 2014. Ms. Gross stated that she noticed skateboarders were riding into the street and someone was going to be hit by a car. Chief Baker stated that he would try to address that problem. Mr. Stetson stated that there was a person selling ice cream from a truck in the evenings, noting that he did not have a permit and he was also using an annoying bell.
Chief Baker introduced members of the Chestertown Police Station Study Group as follows: Mr. James Gatto, Ms. Joanne Clothier, Mr. Paul Showalter, Mr. Robert Yeager, Ms. Tish Brown and Mr. Kees de Mooy. He thanked them for their work on the study and noted that Mr. Ingersoll was also extensively involved.
Chief Baker stated that the charge of the Police Station Study Group was to consider a new space for the police. He said that three (3) options were explored: 1) the construction of a new stand-alone building; 2) the retrofitting or repurposing of an existing building for a stand-alone police department, and; 3) the sharing of space with the Kent County Sheriff’s Department in a new facility.
Chief Baker stated that the current police station was deemed inadequate by the study.
Chief Baker stated that if the Sheriff’s Department and the CPD combined, there was room at the Sheriff’s Department on Flatland Road to add on to the existing building. Chief Baker stated that there were three vacant (3) building sites in the report for Chestertown, along with three (3) existing buildings that could be retrofitted to work.
Chief Baker stated that the committee believed it was in the best interest of Chestertown to strongly consider the three (3) existing buildings offered in the study. He said that it was a viable point that two (2) police departments should not be housed in one site (including 911) as it became a single target, whether man-made or a natural disaster. Mr. Stetson stated that he thought the police station should be stand-alone. Ms. Gross agreed, stating that shared space always began with the best of intentions, but things change.
Mr. Yeager stated that he would like to see something happen with the study in the near future and hope to see the study addressed at a Mayor and Council meeting in August. He said that the need for a new police station was pressing.
Mayor Cerino asked about a couple questions about the existing sites listed in the study. Chief Baker stated that the specific acquisition of any of the buildings was beyond the scope of the committee’s study.
Ms. Gross stated that the buildings mentioned were difficult to compare because the square footage would have to be calculated on each. She asked if there was more information available on the building that could be shared. Chief Baker stated that he did have some blueprints that could not be added to the report, but he would be happy to provide.
Mayor Cerino asked if all of the proposed sites were adequate and had enough room for future expansion. Chief Baker stated that all sites were suitable, noting that any site chosen would need room for expansion.
Chief Baker stated that he thought the next step was to find someone to assess the proposed properties and make a more informed decision on which site would best suit a new police station. Mr. Gatto recommended using an architect with expertise in police facilities.
Mayor Cerino stated that a lot of decisions were going to be based on money. He said this was a pressing need and asked if there was any thought given in the study to funding. Mr. Gatto stated that the Rural Development Administration had some grant money that they recommended be used for furnishing in the amount of $50,000.00. He said that there was no single source of grant funding available.
Ms. Gross asked if 550 sq.ft. per officer was an appropriate amount of space. Ms. Brown stated that the Council had to remember that the officers worked in shifts and could share space.
Mr. Gatto stated that it might be prudent for an architect to review the building sites and estimate costs of retrofit. Mayor Cerino asked that the Council take the next couple of weeks to digest the study and they could discuss it more at the next meeting.
Ms. Gross moved to formally record the Mayor and Council’s thanks to the Chestertown Police Station Study Group for their work and excellent report, was seconded by Mr. Shoge and carried unanimously.
Mayor Cerino welcomed to Chestertown and swore in Officer Louis Speight, who was going to graduate from the Police Academy on Thursday, July 24th.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that the Piranha Sports on behalf of the Dragonfly Heart Camp donated $100.00 to the Police Department and $100.00 to the Street Crew for their help with their annual triathlon. He thanked Piranha Sports for their donation.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that there was a bid opening for the solar array at the lagoon property on Friday, July 18th. He said that a similar bid was opened a year ago and no action was taken. He said at this opening there were a total of thirteen (13) bids and he read the apparent three (3) lowest bids as follows:
Option 1: Build of 1.2 Megawatt Facility
1. Baker Renewal: $2,230,864.00
2. Altus Power America and Martifer Solar USA: $2,248,301.00
3. Tecta Solar: $2,490,551.00
Option 2: 20-year Power Purchase Agreement
1. Solar City: $0.0450 with no escalator costs over 20-years
2. Nautilus Solar Energy, LLC: $0.0565 with no escalator over 20-years
3. Blue Oak Energy: $0.0675 with no escalator over 20-years
Mr. Ingersoll stated that the 1.2 megawatts was enough to power 80% of the entire Town government. He said that currently the Town pays $0.06875 for a 3-year period that would end in May 2015. He said that the Town might consider having a non-partial solar expert review the bids before it was awarded.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that the Recreation Ordinance amendment was apparently being deferred until the next meeting.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that Crazy Days would be held on July 24, July 25, and July 26.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that another Open Meetings complaint was filed by Mr. Craig O’Donnell (who was now a private citizen and not working for the local paper). He said that the paperwork was forwarded to the Town Attorney and an answer would be prepared.
Mayor Cerino called forward the representatives for the “400 Block Kids”. Reverend Tolliver, Mr. Ivan Houston and Mr. Joseph Norfleet were present to discuss the program. Mr. Norfleet stated that the residents of the 400 block of Calvert Street were running a program for children ages 6 through 12 whose main job for the summer was to pick up trash in their neighborhood. He said that the program has been running for 6-weeks and they were giving the children an allowance each week for their participation. He said that as a reward, they would like to take the children to Six Flags for an end of the summer treat and have a cookout for the kids.
Mr. Norfleet stated that businesses in Town and residents were donating to the 400 Block Kids each week to keep it afloat. He requested that the Town cover the costs of the trip to Six Flags and the cookout.
Mr. Shoge asked for a breakdown of costs. Mr. Norfleet stated that Six Flags needed a check 10 days before their August 15th visit. The cost for 23 children and 10 adults was $923.49, which included parking.
Reverend Tolliver stated that this group of children were working hard and were very proud of their neighborhood and how clean it looked. He said that he was offering music to the kids once a week as part of the program, which he named the “Uptown Youth Chorale”, noting that they would be singing at their closing ceremonies.
Reverend Tolliver read a letter into the record from a parent whose son was participating in the program. The letter said that her son has learned respect for himself and his community.
Mr. Shoge asked if this was going to be an annual club for the kids. Mr. Norfleet stated that he was going to try to do this program annually, but was hoping to keep the program open while school is in session to continue to help the kids. He said that the Kent County Historical Society offered their building as a meeting and rehearsal space.
Ms. Kuiper asked if the 400 Block Kids worked with the Bayside HOYAS. Mr. Shoge stated that the HOYAS were an older group, but it would be nice if the 400 Block Kids transitioned into the HOYAS.
Mr. Shoge stated that this group may look to work with the Recreation Commission next year for budgeting.
Mr. Shoge moved for the Town to approve $923.49 for 23 children and 10 adults to attend a trip to Six Flags Amusement Park on August 15, 2014, with the understanding that invoices from Six Flags would be submitted to the Town Hall, waiving the requirement for approval at the next Mayor and Council meeting due to time constraints, was seconded by Ms. Gross and carried with three in favor, Ms. Kuiper abstained. Mr. Stetson was not present in the room at the time of the vote.
Mr. Houston invited Mayor Cerino to the closing ceremony on August 23rd at 12 noon by Calvert Street and the alley.
Mayor Cerino asked for a motion to appoint Mr. John Ames, Jr. to the Historic District Commission to fill an unexpired term. Mr. Stetson moved to appoint Mr. John Ames, Jr. to the Historic District to fill an unexpired term, was seconded by Mr. Shoge and carried unanimously.
Mayor Cerino stated that the August 20th meeting to discuss the sign ordinance has been postponed. Ms. Kuiper stated that the DCA was forming a committee for recommendations of potential edits and then the Council would work with the Planning Commission and Historic District Commission.
Mayor Cerino stated that he was having an informal meeting on Tuesday, July 22nd to discuss directional signage. He said that he was also meeting on July 22nd at 7:00 p.m. with a group called the “Washington Avenue Neighborhood Association” at Town Hall to discuss frustrations with rental units in their area.
Mayor Cerino stated that a public meeting would be held on Tuesday, July 29th at 7:00 p.m. to discuss a joint application for the recreational fields at the Kent County Middle School with Community Parks and Playgrounds at Town Hall.
Mayor Cerino stated that Mr. Arrowood asked to appoint Jane Jewell to fill the vacancy on the Recreation Commission. Mr. Stetson moved to appoint Jane Jewell to fill the vacancy on the Recreation Commission, was seconded by Mr. Shoge and carried unanimously.
Ms. Gross stated that the stop signs at Kent and Philosopher’s Terrace were blocked by foliage and asked that it be cut back.
Ms. Gross stated that the blind curve on Kent Street needed something to alert pedestrians to walk on the other side of the street. She said that she was concerned there would be an accident.
Ms. Gross stated that she had a growing concern with the trees planted at the Margo Bailey Park. She said that there was a guarantee for the trees but and they needed to be looked at by the company who planted them. Mr. Stetson stated the trees were sprayed for beetles in the previous week and that might help with the problem.
Ms. Kuiper passed out information for the proposed food truck. She said that the Council can readily hand out money but when it came to creating new business there was too much controversy and agony to the new business owners. She said that there was an accumulation of problems with sign ordinances, new businesses and food trucks.
Mayor Cerino stated that the Council approved the food truck on a provisional basis with a trip to the Planning Commission. Mr. Ingersoll stated that when the food truck was presented to the Planning Commission the applicant had chosen a site that was completely different.
Mr. Shoge stated that the street lights were installed on Flatland Road and it was a major improvement.
Mr. Stetson stated that things were going well in his ward. He said that another bench was donated to the Dog Park.
Mr. Stetson stated that he went on the Chester River Packet Dinner Cruise and said that it was a very nice outing and an asset to the Town.
Mayor Cerino asked if there were questions or comments from the audience.
John East, Esquire stated that he had drafted the food truck legislation that the Council had just received. He said that he thought what he drafted would solve the problem of food trucks in general; not the needs of one person. He said that the draft legislation was comparable to Centreville and other Eastern Shore towns regarding food trucks. Ms. Mulligan noted that the Planning Commission was working on the rewording of the Ordinance in order to accommodate food trucks.
Mayor Cerino thanked Mr. East for his draft and said that he would forward it to the Planning Commission for their review. He said that this was a complicated issue and Chestertown was just a few small blocks, so it was much different than allowing food trucks in a big city.
There being no further business, Ms. Gross moved to adjourn the meeting at 9:45 p.m., was seconded by Mr. Shoge and carried unanimously.
Submitted by: Approved by:
Jennifer Mulligan Chris Cerino
Town Clerk Mayor