Mayor Cerino read the Report of Municipal Affairs for 2014 into the record (attached to this report) beginning at 7:30 p.m.
Mayor Cerino called the meeting to order at 7:58 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 December 15, 2014 or the Special Meeting of December 11, 2014. Mr. Stetson moved to approve the Mayor and Council meeting minutes of December 15, 2014, and Special Meeting of December 11, 2014 as presented, was seconded by Mr. Shoge and carried unanimously.
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. Ingersoll stated that there was a pending $1,000.00 donation request from the December meeting from People’s Bank towards the “Chester Gras” celebration scheduled for Saturday, February 7, 2015. Mr. Stetson moved to approve a $1,000.00 donation to the Chester Gras event, as the proceeds of the event were designed to help members of the community in need, was seconded by Ms. Kuiper and carried unanimously.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that the Town was planning to settle on the property located at 601 High Street on January 9th. He said that letters were sent to the local financial institutions for quotes on financing for a 15-year period. He said that responses were received from BB&T, People’s Bank, PNC Bank, Chesapeake Bank and Trust, and Centreville National Bank. He reviewed the terms that were offered by each bank. Mr. Ingersoll stated that his recommendation was for the loan offered by the People’s Bank with a fixed rate of 2.99% over 15-years. That proposal was the only one that went the full 15-year term requested and also had no prepayment penalty.
Ms. Kuiper asked what the loan would cover. Mr. Ingersoll stated that the funds would pay the mortgage on the building of $475,000 and the costs associated with dissolving Shared Opportunity Services. Mr. Ingersoll stated that Chief Baker would return with a phased plan to utilize the building as a police station. All tenants had their leases automatically extended to July 1st.
Chief Baker stated that he was planning on a professional assessment of the building, which he would present to the Council, noting that the department would be able to function “as is” for the time being.
Ms. Gross moved to accept the People’s Bank loan proposal for a 15-year loan at 2.99% for 601 High Street, was seconded by Mr. Stetson and carried unanimously.
Mayor Cerino stated that the Joint Kent-Queen Anne’s Task Force on the Chester River Bridge will be holding a public hearing in the Kent County Commissioners hearing room at 400 High Street on Wednesday, January 21st at 9:00 a.m. The hearing will consider numerous issues, including health and public safety response times, service interferences, and will consider a proposal to permanently close the draw-bridge function of the bridge. If the public had questions, they were to call Kent County at 410-778-4600.
Mayor Cerino stated that the winners of the 2014 Holiday Decoration Contest were as follows:
Ward One: 1st Place: Kenneth Fisher, 211 Birch Run Road
2nd Place: David and Cinda Sobers, 5 Byford Court
Ward Two: 1st Place: Dr. Robert Wilson, 221 Mount Vernon Avenue
2nd Place: William and Heidi Cochran, 108 Spring Street
Ward Three: 1st Place: Eric and Patricia Kirby, 227 Devon Drive
2nd Place: Donna and Charles McNeal, 115 Trafford Drive
Ward Four: 1st Place: Dr. Harry Hart, 201 Glen Street
2nd Place: Patricia Williams, #5 Schooner Way (Chestertown Landing Apartments)
Commercial: 1st Place: People’s Bank
2nd Place: Chestertown Natural Foods
Mayor Cerino stated that Chestertown looked beautiful this holiday season and he hoped that next year the entire Town would be decorated, including commercial buildings. He said that there were not many commercial buildings decorated outside of the Historic District.
Mayor Cerino stated that there would be a public hearing for a license to sell beer and wine at 117 S. Cross Street by the Chester River Wine and Cheese Company. The hearing was scheduled for Tuesday, January 20th at 6:00 p.m. at the Kent County Commissioners hearing room.
Mayor Cerino stated that he was planning to meet with the Downtown Chestertown Association and invite them to the first meeting in February to move toward a decision regarding what to do with the I-Sign, as well as to discuss the sign’s history. He said that the sign never worked particularly well and has been sitting blank for at least a year. Ms. Gross stated that she would like to know why it was not working, or if it would work better in a new location.
Mayor Cerino stated that the next Mayor and Council meeting will be held on Tuesday, January 20th at 7:30 p.m. due to the Martin Luther King Holiday.
Ms. Gross stated that a private group of artisans downtown are promoting Chestertown behind the scenes as Art at Chestertown (www.artatchestertown.com). She said that Bob Ortiz, Dave and Patty Hegland, Rob Glebe, Marilee Schumann and Faith Wilson, along with the Carla Massoni Gallery and River Arts, formed the group. She said that costs to date were out of their pockets. In February, the “American Craft Council Show” will be held in Baltimore and Art at Chestertown has secured a 20’ x 30’ booth advertising Chestertown. Ms. Gross stated that Mr. Jim Dissette has written an article for the American Craft Council’s bi-monthly magazine that will be out in February and will be given free to all visitors at the Arts Craft Council Show, as well as all those on the mailing list. Full page ads for Arts at Chestertown are published monthly in the “What’s Up Eastern Shore” magazine.
Ms. Gross stated that she would like the Town to donate $500.00 for 5,000 large format postcards for Arts at Chestertown, one side in color and the other a black and white map of Chestertown marking the businesses, to distribute at the show in Baltimore. Mayor Cerino stated that he would like for Arts at Chestertown to come before the Council at the January 20th meeting with a mock-up of the postcard as well as the donation request on the Town’s Donation Request form.
Ms. Kuiper asked if all of the artists in Town were listed on the postcard. Ms. Gross stated that she thought the front side of the postcard had the entities paying for the advertising, but the back side showed all businesses in Town.
Ms. Kuiper stated that Chestertown looked beautiful at Christmas. She said that the stores and the trees with the lights made a large impact. She said that the Farmer’s Market would remain open through the winter. She said that First Friday in January was nice and many people were mulling around downtown, noting that a great place to stop and visit was the Foss Gallery on High Street.
Mr. Shoge stated that the new website would launch on January 15, 2015. He said that February 6th’s First Friday would offer a party at the Massoni Gallery showing the new website features.
Mr. Shoge asked if there were plans for storm water management at the intersection of Water and High Streets. Mr. Ingersoll stated that a redesign of the catch basins and grates was planned for there.
Mr. Shoge stated that at the next meeting he would be requesting a Marketing Committee to promote Chestertown and will involve financing for marketing campaigns, along with short term solutions like Facebook marketing to increase exposure. He said that he would advise the Council of the members of the committee, plans to move forward, and preliminary financing options as resources that would be required in order for it to work. He said that he would also email the Council some information before the next meeting.
Ms. Gross stated that she thought when the new Economic Development position was filled to help with the Arts & Entertainment District that would help with marketing. Mr. Shoge agreed, noting that it was a job that could not be done alone.
Mr. Stetson stated that the residents were looking forward to having two grocery stores open again in Town.
Ms. Kuiper stated that she was in receipt of letters from the residents around Wilmer Park regarding the Play Scape and said that she would like to know when the plans were being presented to the Council. Mr. Ingersoll stated that he thought the jury was making a presentation at the next Council meeting on January 20th.
There being no further business, Ms. Gross 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