MAYOR AND COUNCIL
APRIL 6, 2015
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 March 16, 2015. Mr. Stetson moved to approve the Mayor and Council meeting minutes of March 16, 2015 as presented, was seconded by Ms. Gross and carried unanimously.
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.
Mayor Cerino stated that Mr. Jeff Wentz and Mr. Tom Reveille were present on behalf of the State Highway Administration to discuss funding options and grants for work on Washington Avenue and other State roads in Chestertown. Mr. Reveille stated that he wanted to solicit information regarding the formation of a Task Force that the SHA can partner with to work on Town projects to determine priorities, needs and the various areas that the Town could look to for funding sources. Public outreach was also a part of the Task Force mission. Mr. Reveille said that he would facilitate the Task Force meetings and that there should only be one (1) Task Force formed for the entire Town.
Mr. Reveille stated that there was a Fund 84 (Urban Reconstruction) that was also called the Streetscape Program and it pays for sidewalks and amenities, but was a competitive program with a set amount of funds. He said that it could take years to receive funding.
Mr. Reveille stated that there was a Fund 79 Program where SHA would provide the design for sidewalks and filled gaps in sidewalks but participation from the local government in the form of right-of-way maintenance agreements was required. There was a Fund 77 Program which was available for road resurfacing.
Mr. Reveille stated that there was also a Fund 74 Program available that was a statewide drainage program focused strictly on drainage issues.
Mr. Ingersoll asked if the “Safe Routes to School” program could be used for sidewalk improvements on Washington Avenue. He also asked if speed cameras could be allowed there. Mr. Wentz stated that SHA policy was that speed cameras could be used only if a school fronted the State road. He noted that colleges did not count in the speed camera law, although College Park had added the University of Maryland through specific, special legislation.
Mayor Cerino stated that the Town should work on forming a Task Force.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that Ms. Gail Owings was present on behalf of the Stories of the Chesapeake Heritage Area. She said that rack cards had been printed with recipes on the back and history on the front, which she gave to the Council. She said another set of four (4) rack cards would be coming out later this year. She said that next year’s calendar would be themed “The Tastiest Catch” and they were accepting photos.
Ms. Owings stated that the Stories of the Chesapeake Heritage Area helped to bring over $450,000.00 in grants to organizations in Chestertown. She said that there were two (2) cycles to their grant programs for programming grants and capital grants from $50,000.00 to $100,000.00. Their second cycle is geared towards mini-grants and can be up to $2,000.00.
Ms. Owings stated that lecture and workshop series were beginning to prepare for the MHAA grant cycles. There was also going to be a workshop on how to plan for an emergency event through the Maryland Historical Trust.
Ms. Owings stated that the Stories of the Chesapeake Heritage Area were soliciting nominations for Heritage Heroes and they were looking for people or organizations that play an important role in promoting heritage. Nominations were being accepted until May 15th and they could submit a quick paragraph to the organization. Awards will be given on June 11, 2015 at the 10th anniversary party for Stories of the Chesapeake Heritage Area.
Mr. Shoge stated that a marketing committee was being established in Chestertown and asked if there would be access to any grant funding through Stories of the Chesapeake Heritage Area. Ms. Owings stated that grants could be used for brochures and for putting events on the calendar they sell.
Mr. Ingersoll asked if Stories of the Chesapeake Heritage Area had a funding request for Chestertown’s budget this year. Ms. Owings stated that they were requesting the same amount as last year, as well as a letter in support of their grants.
Ms. Gross moved for Mayor Cerino to sign a letter of support to the Stories of the Chesapeake Heritage Areas, was seconded by Mr. Stetson and carried unanimously.
Mr. David Bowering was present to discuss the findings of the traffic study that the SHA had conducted on Washington Avenue. He submitted a written summary which is attached to and part of the record. He said that the study was performed by Kittleson & Associates, Inc. from Baltimore, Maryland with data provided by the State Highway Administration. Mr. Bowering said that the report indicates that only 7% of traffic was by heavy trucks. He said that the total daily vehicle count was 13,800 so 966 were heavy trucks (80 heavy trucks per hour if broken down further). This did not include single unit trucks, which have 2 or 3 axles and carry heavy loads. He said that the statistics showed that by 2030 there would be 1,500 heavy trucks per day.
Mr. Bowering stated that he thought restrictions on heavy truck traffic should be put in place, forcing trucks to use MD 291. Mr. Bowering stated that the SHA may perform a “boots on the ground” origin and destination study to see where the truck drivers are coming from and where they are going. Mr. Bowering stated that a short coming of the study was that speed classes were not related to class of truck. He said that more than 7,000 vehicles exceed the speed limit each day and 40 or more an hour that are traveling 10 mph over the speed limit.
Mr. Bowering stated that he thought the report underscored the problem that was obvious to the residents of Washington Avenue. He said that the houses and ground were shaking due to the heavy traffic and speeding and it was significant.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that the Council heard a presentation from the Maryland Sun Foundation regarding the formation of a solar co-op through the Community Power Network. He said that all of the references checked out and the company was described as helpful, knowledgeable, and that they offered a good program. He said that he thought the Town might consider waiving the building permit fees for solar panels on roof tops associated with this project.
Ms. Gross moved to endorse a solar power co-op by Community Power Network for homeowners in Chestertown, was seconded by Mr. Shoge and carried unanimously.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that the edits of the Comprehensive Plan were reviewed by the Planning Commission at their March meeting and the two changes were added as suggested by the Council. Ms. Gross stated that there should be a final pass-through regarding the index and labels on the maps as some of the page numbers did not match.
Ms. Gross moved to adopt the revised Comprehensive Plan with the changes incorporated and agreed to by the Planning Commission at their meeting of March 18, 2015, was seconded by Mr. Stetson and carried unanimously.
Mr. Ingersoll passed out a preliminary budget enactment schedule. He said that the preliminary workshop was scheduled for Monday, April 27th at 5:00 p.m. Mr. Ingersoll stated that Council members should give any initiatives or budget requests to him within the next week or so.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that the interconnection agreement has been submitted to Delmarva Power for the solar array at the Wastewater Treatment Plant. He said the plans for equipment have been reviewed and they were high grade.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that a bid has been received from a surveyor for annexing the Gateway Park and the lagoon. He said that the cost for the metes and bounds and description would be $2,800.00 for the lagoon and $800.00 for the Gateway Park.
Mr. Shoge moved to approve $3,600.00 for the metes and bounds survey and description for annexation of the lagoon and the Gateway Park into Town limits, was seconded by Ms. Gross and carried unanimously.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that the Kent County Community Marching Band sent each Council member a pair of tickets to the cocktail party being held on April 25th.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that there was some confusion as to when the Earth Day Rail Trail Clean-Up would take place and was shown as both April 11th and April 18th on the website. He said that it may end up being both days. He said on April 18th the Town could take any hazardous waste for disposal.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that Mr. Shoge has been working on the formation of a Marketing Committee. He passed out information drafted by Mr. Shoge and said he was going to turn it into a Resolution appropriate for passage. He said that he thought the committee should have a finite timeframe, perhaps 5-years, and if it was to continue, perhaps the Committee should become a Commission (noting that Commission members must reside in Town limits).
Mayor Cerino stated that he had heard from Mr. Dennis Silicato, one of the owners of the Washington Square Shopping Center, who gave him a tentative Grand Opening date for Redners Warehouse Market on May 13th. He said that it will be exciting to have two (2) revamped shopping centers with anchor businesses at each.
Mr. Stetson stated that the Friends of the Chestertown Dog Park have raised enough money to install a pavilion at the Dog Park. He said that he was close to signing the contract and that over $7,000.00 was raised in donations.
Mr. Shoge stated that because the budget process was quickly approaching, he would like to vote on members of the Marketing Committee at the next meeting so that they can discuss a budget for the upcoming fiscal year. He said that Mike O’Conner with College Relations and Marketing at Washington College, Bernadette Bowman of Kent County Tourism and Francoise Sullivan, Town Webmaster, have agreed to serve on the committee thus far.
Ms. Kuiper stated that the Farmers and Artisans Markets were open for business on Saturday mornings.
Ms. Kuiper stated that the Business After Hours sponsored by the Mayor and Council would be held on Thursday, April 23rd at the Visitors Center. She said that anyone planning to bring a dish should let her know beforehand. Mr. Shoge stated that he would be out of Town.
Ms. Kuiper stated that the Earth Day Events and the Mutt Strut would be held on Saturday, April 18th.
Ms. Kuiper stated that Procolino’s was celebrating 35-years of business in Chestertown on April 25th.
Ms. Kuiper stated that Taste of the Town was scheduled for April 26th and that DCA was starting Porch Fest on May 2nd.
Ms. Gross stated that the fundraiser for the National Music Festival was scheduled for April 25th at the Garfield Center for the Arts from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Mayor Cerino stated that Ms. Carol Niemand had requested to be on the agenda to discuss Africa by America Day. Ms. Niemand stated that this day-long event would take place on Saturday, May 30th and was being sponsored by Shrewsbury Church. She said that there were seven different events throughout the day with food, discussions and drumming and dance by the Egalitarian and the Kinkendo Family Band. Ms. Niemand asked for permission to hang a banner for the event the day after the Tea Party. Mr. Ingersoll stated that a banner could be hung at the trail crossing on High Street.
Mr. Shoge suggested the Ms. Niemand touch base with the Multi-Cultural Center and the Black Studies Program at Washington College. Ms. Niemand said that she was scheduled to call Washington College, noting that the event coincided with Alumni Weekend.
There being no further business, Mr. Shoge moved to adjourn the meeting at 9:10 p.m., was seconded by Ms. Gross and carried unanimously. Immediately after at 9:10 p.m., there was a motion to reconvene the meeting by Ms. Gross, seconded by Mr. Shoge and carried unanimously.
Ms. Gross moved for an executive session directly following the meeting under Section 3-305(b)(3) to consider the acquisition of real property for a public purpose and matters directly related thereto, was seconded by Mr. Shoge and carried unanimously.
There being no further business, Mr. Shoge moved to adjourn the meeting at 9:10 p.m., was seconded by Ms. Gross and carried unanimously.
Submitted by: Approved by:
Jennifer Mulligan Chris Cerino
Town Clerk Mayor