MAYOR AND COUNCIL
MAY 18, 2015
Mayor Cerino called the meeting to order at 7:40 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 Budget Workshop Meetings of April 27, 2015 and May 4, 2015 or the Mayor and Council Meeting of May 4, 2015. Mr. Stetson moved to approve the Mayor and Council meetings as presented, was seconded by Ms. Gross and carried unanimously.
Mayor Cerino stated that operating cash on hand and in the banks was $1,461,954.86. There was $192,740.00 in restricted funds for a total of $1,654,694.86. Mayor Cerino stated that when the cash on hand and in the banks was read it was important for people to know that this was money set aside for future Town expenses.
Mayor Cerino asked for a motion to pay bills. Ms. Gross moved to pay the bills as presented, was seconded by Mr. Stetson and carried unanimously.
Mayor Cerino stated that the presentation by the Marketing Committee had been postponed to a future date.
Ms. Mary Yates was present from Shore Power Project Co-Op and said that the co-op was becoming available to residents and businesses in Kent County and northern Queen Anne County. She said that a person could sign up online and/or attend seminars on Friday, May 29th at 4:30 at Litrenta Hall at Washington College or at Town Hall on Saturday, May 30th at 11:00 a.m. Signing up online is not a commitment. Promotions would be taking place online and at the Farmers Market on Saturday mornings.
Corporal Martin Heinefeld was present and gave the Police Report for April 2015. He said that there were several early morning break-ins on Byford Court and Richard Drive over the weekend and reminded people to keep their windows and doors locked on their cars and in their homes. The break-ins were cause by someone cutting screens on opened windows and gaining entry into the property.
Corporal Heinefeld stated that Washington College sent an email to all college students that any off-campus parties would receive a $500.00 fine the first time an officer responded to a party and $1,000.00 for the second offense. Warnings would no longer be given before a citation was written. He said he was happy to report that the police did not receive any loud noise complaints over graduation weekend.
Mr. Shoge stated that the report indicated an assault on an officer and asked if it was serious. Corporal Heinefeld said that it was a minor injury and the officer is back to regular duty.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that the National Music Festival permit requests had been submitted. Ms. Mulligan stated that the permits requests were like those from last year. Ms. Kuiper moved to approve the permits for the National Music Festival, was seconded by Mr. Shoge and carried with four (4) in favor, Ms. Gross abstained as she is on the Board of Directors for the National Music Festival.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that Kent County had issued the permit for the installation of the solar array at the wastewater treatment plant. The interconnection agreement with the power company was signed or imminent. All power and phone lines have been put underground. Construction was about to begin. Mr. Ingersoll stated that other towns awarding PPAs like Chestertown were now at $.058 to $.06 per kilowatt hour, instead of $.045.
Mr. Ingersoll distributed paper copies of the budget titled Ordinance 01-2015 Budget for Fiscal Year 2016. He said that there were two (2) workshops held on the budget and the tax rate would stay at $.37 per hundred. There would be a public hearing on the budget on Monday, June 1st at 7:00 p.m. Public comment was welcome. Mr. Ingersoll stated that included in the budget were the plans to sell the police building on Cross Street and other excess lots that are currently in ownership of the Town to help balance the budget. He pointed out that the bar charts showed flat revenues and increased costs in insurances and public safety.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that there should be about $1-million dollars of work taking place at the Marina once the boating season was over.
Mayor Cerino stated that Mr. Brandt Troup has agreed to be the Chairman of the Recreation Commission. He has been a member of the Commission for several years. Mr. Shoge stated that the Commission was going through a transition and there have been several months with no meetings. He said that Mr. Troup was hoping to get the Commission on track and shore up membership. Mr. Shoge said that Mr. Troup was happy with the $5,000.00 allocated to the Recreation Commission in the proposed budget and would submit a budget explaining how that money would be spent. Ms. Gross moved to appoint Mr. Brandt Troup as Chairman of the Recreation Commission, was seconded by Mr. Stetson and carried unanimously.
Ms. Kuiper asked if the Bocce League was part of the Recreation Commission. Mayor Cerino stated that at this time it appeared that the Bocce League was operating independently. Ms. Kuiper stated that she thought Bocce should be removed from the budget.
Mr. Drew McMullen of Sultana Enterprises, Inc. was present to discuss an issue with the Chestertown Tea Party Reenactment. Present for the Tea Party Commission were Colin McRae (treasurer), Butch Clark (logistics) and Mark Mumford (past president and past board member). Mr. McMullen stated that Sultana has been used for the Tea Party reenactment since 2001 and was proud to be part of the event. However, a technical issue came about and when speaking with their insurance agent they were told that the adult volunteers of Tea Party were not allowed to jump from the boat. He said that if someone was injured in jumping off the boat they would not have coverage.
Mr. McMullen stated that the Sultana and the Tea Party Committee looked for ways to work around this issue, but could not come up with a way around it. He said that there were not many insurance agents to cover the operation of a ship like Sultana and Sultana could not take that risk. The Sultana Board made a unanimous motion that nobody could jump from the boat. Mr. McCrae stated that the Tea Party insurer’s view was that the Festival ended on land at the river’s edge.
Mr. Stetson asked if the reenactors were permitted to throw the tea from the boat. Mr. McMullen stated that Sultana and Echo Hill worked on a plan that would eliminate the risk while maintaining the excitement, but would need Town approval. A map was given to the Mayor and Council which showed the reenactment taking place from the foot of High Street across the foot bridge and out the Cannon Street dock where the tea could be thrown from the Sultana (at the dock). The reenactors could then jump from the dock. Ms. Gross stated that jumping from the Town dock would then put the liability on Chestertown.
Mr. Clark stated that he thought Mr. McMullen’s plan would be problematic to view for the public and would cause too much foot traffic on the small bridge and Sultana dock. He suggested dumping only the tea into the river. Mr. McMullen stated that he would be happy to accommodate that request if the Tea Party Board was in favor, adding that reenactors were allowed on the boat, they were just not allowed to jump from the boat
Mr. Mumford stated that the Chestertown Tea Party 501(C3) had never come to the Town officials to ask permission for what they did during Tea Party, other than the proper permitting for the Festival itself. He said that the one time the Tea Party was sued their written waivers worked perfectly. He said that the only need for the Town’s permission was for use of the Town dock if they changed the logistics of the reenactment, adding that it was too close for the festival to be making this type of change.
Mr. Shoge stated that instead of changing the Festival routine, the tea should be thrown overboard only. Ms. Gross agreed, stating that she was concerned about transferring liability to the Town if people were jumping from a Town pier and suggested looking at the issue more carefully after the event for next year.
Mr. McCrae presented the Town with the liability insurance for the Tea Party Festival.
Mayor Cerino read a Proclamation declaring the week of May 16 to May 22, 2015 as National Safe Boating Week in Chestertown.
Ms. Gross stated that the burglaries on Richard Drive and Byford Court were discussed earlier in the meeting and said she hoped all residents will be careful to close and lock their windows and doors.
Ms. Kuiper stated that this weekend would be quite busy with Tea Party. Road closures were listed in the Kent County News edition of May 14th.
Mr. Shoge stated that the Redner’s Grand Opening was very well attended and was a nice space. He said it was good to have two (2) large grocery stores in Town and he thought people were feeling the momentum of new business.
Mr. Shoge stated that Ms. Lani Seikaly received the “William Donald Schaeffer Helping People Award” and that she does so much work in Chestertown that it was nice to see her recognized for it.
Mr. Shoge stated that he received two (2) resumes for the marketing committee and would be bringing them to the June 1st meeting for approval.
Mr. Stetson stated that the pavilion for the Dog Park was scheduled for construction on June 18th and would be delivered on site sometime the following week.
Mr. Stetson stated that a neighbor of his sent an email notice to all of his other neighbors about the burglaries to notify them and advise them not to leave their wallets or purses where anyone could see them, regardless of the length of time they would be there.
Ms. Trish MaGee was in the audience and said that Mr. Franchot visited the Chestertown Police Station and the officers received a Proclamation recognizing their service to the community. Chief Baker was awarded the very first “Heroes Medallion” that has been awarded for his service and keeping Chestertown safe.
Ms. MaGee stated that Mr. Franchot stressed during his visit that he wanted to reopen the Upper Shore Community Mental Health Hospital.
Mr. David Foster stated that he lived on Byford Court and said that the house on his street burglarized was occupied when the burglary occurred, noting that the owner woke up to a man walking through her bedroom.
Mr. Foster gave copies of an article from the Shore Digest dated 1991 giving an historical prospective on the oil spill at the Hospital. He said it was not regarded as a large spill at that time and the CEO of the hospital then did not want anything put in minutes of meetings regarding the spill.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that he attended every meeting held regarding the oil spill for years and the spill estimates grew. He explained that when a new CEO took over there was a high use of oil and the new CEO thought at the time that it was the actual cost of heating the building. It was, however, an underground leak. Mr. Ingersoll stated that the hospital actually reused the first oil recovered from the ground for heating though now a million gallons of water will come out to come up with a gallon of oil.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that Chestertown has never lost sight of the issues with the oil spill, mostly because well #8 was shut down for years and was a main well for Town. He said when oil crosses Brown Street, he becomes concerned. There are numerous monitoring wells below Brown Street and none were showing signs of oil until MDE allowed the shutdown of the recovery system and the Ivey-Sol© pilot test.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that the last letter to MDE included all pertinent details from the Town’s perspective. Mayor Cerino stated that the Town will continue to seek a second meeting with the Town, the Hospital and MDE.
There being no further business, Mr. Stetson moved to adjourn the meeting at 8:50 p.m., was seconded by Ms. Gross and carried unanimously.
Submitted by: Approved by:
Jennifer Mulligan Chris Cerino
Town Clerk Mayor