MAYOR AND COUNCIL
MARCH 16, 2015
Mayor Cerino called the meeting to order at 8:00 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 March 2, 2015. Mr. Stetson moved to approve the Mayor and Council meeting minutes of March 2, 2015 as presented, was seconded by Ms. Gross and carried unanimously.
Mayor Cerino stated that cash on hand and in the banks for unrestricted use was $1,713,541.00 and the Washington College Donation of $192,740.00 for total funds of $1,906,281.00.
Mayor Cerino asked for a motion to pay bills. Mr. Stetson moved to pay the bills as presented, was seconded by Ms. Gross and carried unanimously.
Mr. Ingersoll presented Resolution 01-2015 – Arts and Entertainment District Designation to the Council. There was a public hearing held for the Arts and Entertainment District Designation preceding the Mayor and Council meeting. Mr. de Mooy read the Resolution into the record. The Resolution authorized the grant application to be filed and for the Mayor to sign all documents relating to it. Mr. Shoge moved to approve Resolution 01-2015 Arts and Entertainment District Designation, was seconded by Ms. Kuiper and carried unanimously.
Chief Baker gave the Police Report for February 2015. Chief Baker stated that he would be attending the Maryland Heroin and Opium Task Force Meeting in Elkton, Maryland. He said that Maryland was broken down in quadrants and Kent was included in with Harford, Cecil and Queen Anne Counties.
The Council asked Chief Baker for the status of the new police station. He stated that the second floor of 601 High Street was now vacant and he was hoping to move the police department within a couple months, noting that the first thing to be done was to modify the parking lot on the site to separate the uses of the police department from the renting daycare. Mr. Shoge stated that he would like to have another meeting with Calvert Street residents so the residents know that their issues were being addressed.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that there was a permit request for the Annual Mutt Strut scheduled for Saturday, April 18th. The Council agreed to the request.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that there was request from the Chestertown Garden Club to hold the annual May Mart in Fountain Park on Friday, May 8th. The Council agreed to the request.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that there was a presentation from Briggs Cunningham and the Maryland Sun Foundation regarding forming a co-op for solar installations on residences in and around Chestertown. Mr. Ingersoll stated that he received references from the Cities of College Park and Bowie, both of which gave good reviews of the Maryland Sun Foundation. Ms. Gross stated that she would like to hear reviews from municipalities that were not provided by the Maryland Sun Foundation. Mayor Cerino stated that he would ask Mr. Cunningham to return to the April 6th meeting and the Council would vote on assisting the project.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that the People’s Bank will hold three (3) summer concerts in the Fountain Park on Wednesday evenings. July 15th (Lions of Blue Grass, July 22nd (Phil Dutton and the Alligators) and July 29th (Chris Sacks Band). The Council agreed to the permit request.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that he had a permit request for the Earth Day Festival to be held on Saturday, April 18th in the downtown. The Council agreed to the permit request.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that Chestertown submitted a Waterfront Resiliency Project Grant Application as part of the outreach to prepare for future sea level rising.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that Tom Revelle, Assistant District Engineer for Project Development at the State Highway Administration, contacted him and asked if the Council would like him to attend a meeting in April to discuss programs that the SHA might apply for to address the issues on Washington Avenue brought up in the Town’s letters to the State Highway Administrator and the District Engineer. Mayor Cerino stated that he would like it if SHA could attend the April 6th meeting.
Mayor Cerino stated that he would like to make a decision on the I-Sign this evening. He reviewed all that has been discussed over the past few weeks and the costs presented for getting the sign up and running again. He said that the Council had to decide if they were going to enter into a partnership with the DCA and Kent County Tourism and split the costs for reviving the sign.
Ms. McGuire stated that she would like to address the I-Sign before a decision was made. She said that she hired Alex Smolens of Atlantek to make sure that the touch screen worked. Ms. McGuire stated that she and Ms. Jorgensen worked together to ensure that the sign was working and said that new software had to be installed but there were no other technical issues and would be fully operational if it was properly shaded. Costs to the Town would be $1,166.66 for year one. Costs for years two and three were estimated at $1,548.00 per year. Ms. McGuire stated that if the sign performed as was anticipated she did not think that there would be a problem having the County and the DCA share the costs for years two and three.
Mr. Stetson asked if the website could be hooked up to the kiosk. Mr. Smolens stated that from a technical standpoint, the website could be hooked up through a computer and navigated with a finger. He said that he did not know what Four Winds was capable of doing in the way of interactive signage.
Mr. Shoge stated that he was opposed to the I-Sign. He said that everything demonstrated in the video by Four Winds could be done by anyone with a cell phone. He said that he thought the Marketing Committee that he was proposing would be able to give the power of the sign to everyone with a handheld device in Chestertown. He said that he thought the resources should be used on a more accessible scale than one stationary sign.
Mr. Shoge stated that he would like to partner with DCA to get online information up to date on profiles and make it accessible for all. He said that if the I-Sign was put back online he thought the webmaster should be trained to use it, noting that was an additional thing to have her responsible for and her contract would likely have to be rewritten to include the I-Sign.
Ms. McGuire stated that she thought there was room for the I-Sign and the technology that Mr. Shoge wanted to introduce. She said that she did not think the sign should go away when it was so close to working properly. Ms. McGuire stated that this sign was a universal way for visitors to connect with Chestertown.
Ms. Gross stated that she agreed with Mr. Shoge, noting that she was completely against leaving the sign where it was currently located. Ms. Gross stated that unless there was a long-term commitment from Kent County and the DCA she saw no point in moving forward and the County only committed to this funding this year.
Ms. Kuiper stated that she would like to see figures for the costs that Mr. Shoge discussed. She wondered if the Town could ever apply for grants from the Byways after failing with the I-Sign, which was partly funded by Byways. She said that the Town depends on grants for many projects. Mr. Shoge stated that perhaps a grant could be used to cover the costs of the I-Sign revitalization.
Mr. Stetson stated that Chestertown is only a few blocks and he did not think a large sign was necessary to find your way around. He said that Kent County Tourism wanted the sign for the County, but the other towns in the County were not paying for it. He said he was not in favor of the sign.
Mr. Shoge asked Ms. Kristen Owen, DCA president, if they were in favor of splitting the costs over three (3) years. Ms. Owen stated that the executive board was in favor of splitting the costs for the first year, but it was possible that they could fund future years.
Mayor Cerino stated that he was happy that the sign was operational, but it was operational when it first started and after a couple months was problematic. He said that the hardware was outdated and he was concerned that spending money on new software to install in old hardware did not make the most sense. He agreed that handheld devices were used by the majority and where money would be best spent in the future. Mayor Cerino stated that an employee would have to oversee content. Mayor Cerino stated that this sign was designed to send business to the retail shops and has been sitting blank for two years. He said that if the sign was doing its job, multiple business owners would have requested that the sign be started back up but more than not he was asked when the sign was going away.
Mayor Cerino stated that he would like to see the sign moved from its current location. Ms Owens stated that the executive committee had approved the removal of the sign.
Ms. Gross stated that the potholes were a problem, especially on Queen Street, and sidewalks needed repair from storm damage.
Ms. Kuiper stated that she would like to host the April after-hours event at the request of the Chamber of Commerce. She said it can be a low-key event with some appetizers and drinks. After a lively discussion, the Council, with the exception of Mr. Stetson, agreed to host the April after-hours at a cost of approximately $300.00.
Mr. Shoge stated that he was working with Mr. Nivek Johnson, resident in Washington Park, to identify areas where lighting was needed. Mr. Ingersoll stated that Washington Park was lighted after it was annexed into Town and the sodium lights may be losing their power.
Mr. Stetson stated that Acme held their Grand Re-Opening on Friday, March 13th and it was a nice turn-out.
Ms. Trish Magee, Chestertown resident, asked if there was anything that could be done to help the homeless man in Town. She said that it was uncomfortable to see him and he did not seem to want help from anyone. Chief Baker stated that it was unfortunate that people have to slip between a mental health issue and criminal issues in order to get help. He said that the property owner would have to generate a letter of “No Trespass” in order for the police to intervene.
There being no further business, Mr. Shoge moved to adjourn the meeting at 9:15 p.m., was seconded by Mr. Stetson and carried unanimously.
Submitted by: Approved by:
Jennifer Mulligan Chris Cerino
Town Clerk Mayor