MAYOR AND COUNCIL
OCTOBER 5, 2015
Mayor Cerino called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. In attendance were Council members Liz Gross, Linda Kuiper 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 September 21, 2015. Mr. Stetson moved to adopt the minutes as presented. Ms. Gross seconded the motion with one correction and it carried unanimously.
Mayor Cerino asked for a motion to pay bills. Ms. Kuiper had questions pertaining to several payments to the People’s Bank. After clarification of the bills, Mr. Stetson moved to pay the bills as presented, was seconded by Ms. Gross and carried unanimously.
Mayor Cerino stated that Mr. Taylor Frey was present on behalf of the Washington College SGA. Mr. Frey stated that he was looking for service projects in Chestertown for Washington College students and was interested in sponsoring a clean-up along the Gilchrest Trail. He said that he wanted to get the students involved in activities where the Town needed support.
Ms. Kuiper asked if an SGA representative would come before the Council quarterly to update the Council on activities at the College, noting that she was particularly interested in updates on the progress of the HOYAS/CPIP Program and GIS. Mr. Frey stated that he would be happy to work with those offices to get updates and he would present them to the Council.
Ms. Kuiper stated that there was a College house in her Ward and saw the Shoreman Shuttle and Safe Ride quite often. She suggested promoting that service so students are not walking Rt. 213 in places where there were no sidewalks.
Mr. Frey stated that the Safe Ride and Shoreman Shuttle was taken over from Buildings and Grounds at Washington College and started as an SGA Association program, but was now run by a student board. He said that they were reviewing those services now and looking at providing additional services for students and looking at how the services can be more efficient.
Ms. Susan McRae was present for the Tea Party Committee requesting a letter of support for a mini-grant to expand the Colonial Village portion of the Tea Party Festival. Ms. McRae stated that this year would mark the 40th anniversary of the Tea Party. Ms. Kuiper moved for a letter of support to the Stories of the Chesapeake Heritage Area, was seconded by Ms. Gross and carried unanimously.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that he would like to introduce Ordinance 03-2015 Chronic Nuisance Property, which would repeal and replace Ordinance 08-2009 Chronic Nuisance Property. He said that the original ordinance only included residential properties and this amended version would include all income-producing properties to be used and used as an enforcement tool for problem properties in Town. He asked the Council to review it and said that it would be discussed at the meeting on October 19, 2015.
Mr. Colin McRae, a resident of Washington Avenue, was present and questioned why the last paragraph (Section 59-12(b)) was deleted from the original ordinance. Mr. Ingersoll stated that the last paragraph did not need to be deleted and if there ever was a licensing program in Chestertown the last paragraph would come into play, noting that businesses may be issued licenses through other agencies and hence could have them impacted by the new ordinance.
Mr. McRae asked why property owners who rent in Town do not have licenses and said that he thought they should. Ms. Kuiper agreed, stating that the Town has not moved that far forward but she would like to have a program in place one day. Mr. Ingersoll stated that the hope when the original ordinance was passed was for a licensing program for the future. He said it should be noted that the fines were what were most effective.
Mr. McRae said that the old legislation affected students but did not affect landlords. Mr. Ingersoll stated that the original ordinance was not exclusively about students and did, in fact, affect landlords. Mr. Ingersoll stated that this ordinance was designed to improve on an ordinance that was already in effect.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that there were issues with units that were not residential rentals, such as hotels or motels, that most people would assume are health department concerns. He said that these issues become problems for the Town to resolve and that was the reason for the change. Ms. Gross stated that the issue was the Chestertown Police Department being called to the same address again and again.
Mayor Cerino stated that this meeting was not the time for public debate and that he would like time to digest the information presented in this revised ordinance. Mayor Cerino stated that the Ordinance was being introduced this evening but the time for discussion would be at the next Council meeting.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that the Mayor asked him for an update on the Gateway Park. He said that there was a contract with David A. Bramble, Inc. for the construction of the Gateway Park and was told that work was going to begin this month.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that the solar array was in the final part of the interconnection agreement with Delmarva Power. He said that Solar City advised him that the Delmarva Power Green Team was apparently questioning third party commitments (buying power from somewhere else) and the Town had been buying electricity from Integrys for almost six (6) years.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that he was continuing to work with the Garden Club to improve the Fountain Park. Last year the sidewalks on High Street were widened so the artisans would have a bigger space and not be trampling the grass in certain places. The Town sodded the High Street quadrant and fertilized and limed the Park. He was working with the Garden Club this fall on a slightly less wide brick space on Cross Street so there would be less wear and tear on the grass. The work would be done in-house, noting that last year the Lions Club gave a donation for the brick work on High Street.
Ms. Kuiper stated that she would like the revenue from the Artisans and Farmer’s Markets to go towards renovation of the Fountain Park. Mr. Ingersoll stated that he thought the vendors were getting a lot of bang for their buck already with the improvements already made to the park, which cost thousands of dollars even being done in-house.
Ms. Mulligan stated that Petitions for Candidacy were due by Friday, October 2nd at 5:00 p.m. The only candidate from, the Second Ward is Linda C. Kuiper. Fourth Ward candidates are Steven G. Atkinson and Mauritz Stetson. The election will take place on Tuesday, November 3, 2015 from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Fire House.
Mayor Cerino stated that he gave a speech at the Community Breakfast Group and Mr. Atkinson asked him to sign his forms for candidacy. Mayor Cerino stated that he signed his form, but he intended to stay completely neutral with the election.
Mayor Cerino stated that River Arts asked for a letter of support for a grant through the Stories of the Chesapeake Heritage Area for an exhibit called “Humans of Kent County” which will be an oral history and photography project. Ms. Gross moved for a letter of support for River Arts to the Stories of the Chesapeake Heritage Area, was seconded by Mr. Stetson and carried unanimously.
Mayor Cerino stated that he had a Resolution to go along with the Main Street Improvement Application. He read the resolution into the record. Mayor Cerino said that the Main Street program has been dormant but he thought the hiring of the new economic development and marketing coordinator could benefit from the Main Street program and Main Street may pay a portion of her salary if the Town submitted an application.
Ms. Kuiper stated that she thought the Main Street director was required to attend training somewhere in the United States and said that she would like to know the costs associated with training and how the Town was going to pay for it. Mr. Ingersoll stated that the Town has never left the State of Maryland with this program and did not think that the training for Maryland Main Street would be held anywhere but in Maryland.
Mr. Stetson moved to approve the Resolution for the Main Street Improvement Application, was seconded by Ms. Gross and carried unanimously.
Mayor Cerino stated that there would be an open house for the Little Free Library at 208 Mount Vernon Avenue on Friday, October 16th from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Mayor Cerino stated that the Hospital was still working on phase one of their remediation plan. He said that he was contacted by Secretary Grumbles assistant and was working to set up a meeting. Mayor Cerino stated that the main thing Chestertown wanted was for someone to spell out who was financially responsible in a worst case scenario if contaminants escaped the site.
Ms. Gross presented a PowerPoint regarding handicap accessibility in Chestertown. Places of specific concern were:
- No handicapped space apparently exists on High Street between Cross and Spring;
- No handicap parking spaces exist on Cross Street from Maple to Cannon;
- One existing handicap parking spot near Stam’s is obstructed in a way that the passenger can’t easily get in or out of the car;
- There are two (2) handicap parking spaces at Wilmer Park but if a car is parked next to the spot, there is no room to get in or out of a vehicle. The neighboring space should be striped for no parking;
- There are handicap accessible curbs on corners in the Historic District that do not line up with other curb cuts;
- The port-o-johns at the Wilmer Park should be handicap accessible;
- Handicap ramp to the Visitors Center is not near a handicap parking space;
- Not all curb cuts are level with the street;
- Curb cuts are poorly maintained;
- Sometimes planters were found to be placed by the curb and wheelchairs can’t get around them;
- Grates are located at the curb cuts and wheelchair wheels get stuck in them.
- Business owners should know that “modification grants” are available to business owners improving accessibility.
Ms. Gross stated that she would like to see if the Historic District Commission could find a way to fast track things like ramps for handicap accessibility to personal residences so that an applicant would not have to wait if a need arises. Mr. Ingersoll stated that he just approved a ramp in between meetings for an individual who needed a ramp at his residence.
Mr. Stetson stated that he went to the inauguration for the College President and the Mayor, Mr. Ingersoll and Mr. Shoge were all part of the ceremony. He said he was pleased to see the Town represented so well.
Ms. Kuiper stated that the lighting of Sankalpa was majestic and she said that it was upsetting that the sculpture was ruined in the recent storm.
Ms. Kuiper stated that despite the weather the Harry Potter Festival was a huge success. She said that twenty-two (22) businesses in the downtown participated.
Ms. Kuiper stated that she wanted the Garfield Center for the Arts to apply for the 2016 Maryland Preservation Award. Ms. Kuiper stated that she knew there were many places in Chestertown that could apply for and win this award. Applications were due by October 30th.
There being no further business, Ms. Gross moved to adjourn the meeting at 9:00 p.m., was seconded by Mr. Stetson and carried unanimously.
Submitted by: Approved by:
Jennifer Mulligan Chris Cerino
Town Clerk Mayor