MAYOR AND COUNCIL
NOVEMBER 3, 2014
Mayor Cerino called the meeting to order at 7:32 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 October 20, 2014. Mr. Stetson moved to approve the Mayor and Council meeting minutes of October 20, 2014 as presented, was seconded by Ms. Gross and carried unanimously.
Mayor Cerino asked for a motion to pay bills. Ms. Gross moved to pay the bills as submitted, was seconded by Mr. Stetson and carried unanimously.
Ms. Lani Seikaly, Ms. Kristen Owen and Ms. Carla Massoni were present to propose that Chestertown establish an Arts and Entertainment District though the Maryland Arts Council. Ms. Seikaly said that she was a part of the Greater Chestertown Initiative, an informal group, that promoted dialogue, collaborated on data to combine special events, and showcase the region as a hub for arts, history and the environment.
Ms. Seikaly stated that this year GCI has taken becoming an Arts and Entertainment District as a priority. GCI also wanted to expand tourist weekends in 2015, expand the success of First Fridays by holding First Friday Weekends, and to increase the collection of data for evaluating the economic impact of events on the community.
Ms. Seikaly stated that Arts and Entertainment Districts are designed to stimulate the economy and improve quality of life. There are currently twenty-two (22) districts in Maryland, seven (7) of which are on the Eastern Shore. Eastern Shore Arts and Entertainment Districts are in Berlin, Cambridge, Denton, Elkton, Salisbury, Stevensville and Snow Hill.
Ms. Seikaly stated that the Town would benefit from becoming an Arts and Entertainment District as there are tax incentives, statewide promotion of the Arts on the Maryland website, the opportunity to apply for other grants for marketing, branding, advertising of events, and reporting of data. The Arts and Entertainment District also increases job creation and economic activity.
Ms. Seikaly reviewed a study done by Townson University that measured the impacts on the economy and job creation stimulated by having a District.
Ms. Seikaly stated that if an application is made to the Maryland Arts Council, a map outlining the district would have to be supplied, goals for the district, listing of arts and entertainment enterprises and artists, and a management plan for the development, promotion, and a paid part-time position.
Ms. Kristen Owen stated that on behalf of the Downtown Chestertown Association, an Arts and Entertainment District designation was something that the community felt was worth pursuing for all the reasons stated by Ms. Seikaly. She said that property tax incentives available to those who own commercial properties in downtown Chestertown are an excellent advantage and property owners were already looking forward to the possibilities. Ms. Owen added that this may also be an incentive for younger people to come to this area and possibly enable them to afford the opportunity to become part of the Chestertown community.
Ms. Massoni stated that a nationally renowned sculptor, Pam Foss, was relocating to Chestertown due to the fact that so many now recognize Chestertown as an arts destination. She said that this was the kind of reaction that everyone in the downtown has worked so hard to achieve.
Mr. Stetson stated that he thought an Arts and Entertainment District would fit in nicely, but economics of the manager would have to be decided. He said that the Council would like to have more events throughout the year in Chestertown. Mayor Cerino stated that this required financial commitment on behalf of the Town and the budget was always tight. He added that the Designation was part of the branding process for Chestertown and ideally, there would be a full-time position created, but they had to figure out ways to execute that plan. Ms. Kuiper stated that the County should be approached for funding, in addition to Chestertown.
Mr. Shoge asked if there was a yearly fee outside of the paid position to be included in the Arts and Entertainment District. Ms. Seikaly stated that an annual report had to be submitted to the Maryland Arts Council, but there were no additional fees.
Mayor Cerino stated that there was a consensus of the Council that the process of Chestertown becoming and Arts and Entertainment District should move forward and to further investigate the funding for the part-time position.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that a thank you letter was received from the Samaritan Group for the Town’s donation of $1,700.00. Mayor Cerino read the letter into the record.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that Lindsay & Associates would present the audit at the November 17, 2014.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that the interview process has begun for the Director of Finance position that was now available due to Ms. Diver’s retirement. He said that he would bring the final two (2) or three (3) finalists before the Council before a final decision was made.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that the solar project at the lagoon was imminent. He said that the project would go from 1.2-megawatts to 1.32-megawatts, based on energy audits of the total actual Town usage.
Mayor Cerino stated that he would like to start an “Adopt a Trail” program in Chestertown. He said that Mr. Jay Yerkes started the Chestertown Runners Club and they would like to adopt the newly built, Phase III (High Street) leg of the trail. Mayor Cerino stated that he would like to put a “Chestertown Runners Club” trail adoption sign on that spur. He said that as other groups adopt trails, they could have signs along those spurs as well. Mayor Cerino stated that the Chestertown Runners Club would also like to sponsor an annual run with fees going to the Town for ongoing maintenance of the trail.
Mayor Cerino stated that there was recently a meeting at Town Hall of concerned citizens regarding the Chester River Bridge closures for proposed painting and repairs. He said public safety and economic impacts were strong reasons for residents not wanting the bridge closed to traffic for any length of time. Mayor Cerino stated that the State Highway Administration was going to hold a meeting at the County Commissioners Office at 0:00 a.m. on Wednesday, November 5th. He said that SHA would hear concerns at that meeting.
Mayor Cerino stated that the Captain of the Pride of Baltimore presented him with a commemorative War of 1812 flag, that had been flown over Fort McHenry and on the Pride of Baltimore during some of their sails (and when the Pride of Baltimore came to Chestertown for the Caulk’s Field events). Mayor Cerino stated that he would like to have the flag displayed permanently, either in Town Hall or at the Historical Society.
Mayor Cerino stated that the Town sent a packet for a Capital Budget Request to the Governor for the proposed renovation and rehabilitation of the Marina, asking for a line item in the upcoming budget. Mayor Cerino stated that the Town was looking at an estimate of $4 million for the renovation of the Marina. Mayor Cerino stated that he hoped to have some direction from the Governor’s office by January 2015.
Mr. Stetson stated that he enjoyed judging the Halloween Parade this past Sunday and was impressed with the fact that most costumes were homemade.
Mr. Stetson stated that he attended ribbon cuttings at Tracy’s Smoothies and Bloomin’ Wild and said that they both had nice turnouts. He said that he also went to Luisa’s new location and it was very nice.
Mr. Stetson stated that Bailey Park had three (3) new benches installed and the recent work on the pedestrian entrance looked wonderful. He said that the Friends of the Dog Park would like to fund raise for an 18’ x 12’ pavilion in the large dog park and asked for the Council’s permission to do so. Ms. Gross moved for the Friends of the Dog Park to raise funds for a pavilion at the Dog Park, was seconded by Mr. Shoge and carried unanimously.
Mr. Shoge stated that it appeared as though the SHA was almost finished with the roundabout. Lights were being installed and there were plants going into the circle.
Mr. Shoge stated that he would like the Town to provide access to the battery and CFL light bulb recycling receptacles, for those who want to recycle on the weekends. Ms. Kuiper suggested moving the receptacles to the Visitors Center rather than an outside venue. Mr. Ingersoll said that there should also be some additional financial help from Kent County on the disposal of these types of recycled materials, since a $5 per ton fee for recycling is paid to each.
Ms. Kuiper stated that Saturday, November 8th is the Kent Center’s annual Goose Bump Jump in Betterton.
Ms. Kuiper thanked the police officers who worked on Halloween night to oversee the safety of the trick-or-treaters. She said that it looked like a First Friday downtown on Halloween. She also thanked Mr. Bob Knapp and the Lion’s Club who organized the parade.
Ms. Kuiper stated that the sidewalk was finished on the High Street side of the Fountain Park. She said that the artisan’s would set up on the sidewalk. Mr. Ingersoll asked Chief Baker have the Police Department mark the parking spaces for “No Parking” on the High Street side of the Fountain Park during the Artisans Market.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that Sharp Tree would be fertilizing, aerating, and installing sod in the Fountain Park within the next two weeks.
Ms. Gross stated that she enjoyed the Studio Tour this past weekend and said that those who put the event together should be congratulated.
Ms. Gross stated that she was receiving many questions from residents regarding the impacts of the bridge closure.
There being no further business, Ms. Gross moved to adjourn the meeting at 8:50 p.m., was seconded by Mr. Shoge and carried unanimously.
Submitted by: Approved by:
Jennifer Mulligan Chris Cerino
Town Clerk Mayor