MAYOR AND COUNCIL
MAY 2, 2016
Mayor Cerino called the meeting to order at 7:30 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 April 18, 2016 or the executive session of the same date.
Mr. Stetson moved to approve the minutes of April 18, 2016 meeting and executive session be approved as submitted, was seconded by Ms. Gross and carried unanimously.
Mayor Cerino stated that an executive session was called to order at 8:42 p.m. on April 18, 2016 in accordance with 3-305b(7) of the Open Meetings Act. The purpose of this meeting was to meet with counsel to consider a draft consent agreement concerning the Hospital oil spill. In attendance at the meeting were Council members Liz Gross, Linda Kuiper and Mauritz Stetson, W.S. Ingersoll (Town Manager), Bob Sipes (Utilities Director), Charles MacLeod, Esquire and Jennifer Mulligan (Town Clerk). No motions were made or passed though some additions to the draft agreement were proffered. The meeting adjourned at 9:30 p.m. Minutes were taken and are part of the record.
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 read a proclamation into the record declaring the week of May 21st through May 27th as National Safe Boating Week in Chestertown.
Mr. Jon Hanley was present on behalf of the Chestertown Environmental Committee and said that the committee works on educating the community so that they can adopt sound environmental practices and be good stewards to the earth. The committee meets the 3rd Thursday of each month and has about a dozen members. The committee is offering a film series on the 1st Thursday of each month at the GAR Sumner Hall. The next movie is scheduled for Thursday, May 5th and the film is called “Chasing Ice”.
Mr. Hanley stated that the week before a movie is shown there is a video produced by an expert on the environmental issue that is produced by Shane Brill (a member of the team) and it is posted to the Town website at www.chestertown.com/environment.
Mr. Hanley stated that the 6th Annual Earth Day Festival was held on Saturday, April 23rd and it was a great success with over 30 vendors participating. He thanked the Town employees for helping with the event from start to finish.
Mr. Hanley introduced Ms. Katie Walker, a senior majoring in environmental studies at Washington College. Ms. Walker stated that she was the SGA Secretary for the Environment at Washington College. She said that she was trying to create a connection between the College and the Town by becoming a part of the Environmental Committee. Ms. Walker stated that in order to reduce waste at the College every incoming freshman would receive a high-quality reusable water bottle from the SGA and the Student Environmental Alliance as part of orientation. There is also funding to retrofit water fountains on campus to have filtered bottle fillers. She said that there was one already in place on campus and it tallies the number of bottles saved, which to date was over 53,000 bottles (over a 3 year period). She said she was hoping to place this system in all buildings at on campus. Ms. Baker stated that she was also working with athletics and the dining hall to see where plastic waste can be reduced.
Mr. Hanley showed a proclamation from Governor Hogan that was presented to the Environmental Committee at the Earth Day Festival in Chestertown commending the Town for their environmental work.
Mr. Shoge stated that the Environmental webpage looked great and congratulated the Committee and Mr. Brill for its content.
Mr. John Queen was present on behalf of the Bayside HOYAS. Mayor Cerino stated that the HOYAS were adopting Gateway Park, noting that there would be a ribbon cutting for the park on Saturday, May 7th from noon to 2 p.m. Mayor Cerino stated that by adopting the park, the HOYAS have agreed to keep the park clean and alert the Town if there were any issues.
Mr. Queen stated that the Bayside HOYAS program began in 2013 and the participants have a basketball league, but more importantly they provide community service. Mr. Queen stated that the Junior HOYAS was started in the Garnett Elementary School and they teach 4th and 5th graders twice a month in the school.
Mr. Queen stated that currently the HOYAS serve over 200 youth in the community. At the elementary level, there are 125 children (75 from Garnett Elementary). He said that at the Kent County Middle School there were 80 children involved in the HOYAS, 60 of which were part of the CPIP program at Washington College. Mr. Queen stated that they were serving only 10 students at the High School level. Young adults, aged 18 to 25, are still involved in the HOYAS and can take part in the activities offered in the program.
Mr. Queen stated that as part of the adopting the Gateway Park the children have already been told that if trash is left around the park, all of the HOYAS will be put on cleaning detail at the park for 3 weeks. He said that many of the children have seen the HOYAS sign at the Gateway Park and they are proud, which is something that he wants to see continue.
Mr. Queen stated that he was providing transportation to Worton Park or the Roundtop Park in Queen Anne’s County but the Gateway Park was a perfect spot where local kids can walk or bike.
Mr. Queen stated that the Gateway Park Ribbon Cutting scheduled for Saturday, May 7th at noon should be well-attended. He added that he has a Youth Empowerment Summit planned for May 25th in the second floor meeting room at Town Hall. He said that there would be speakers at this meeting alerting the youth and their parents about activities for children in Chestertown.
Mayor Cerino asked for details on the CPIP program. Mr. Queen stated that the HOYAS tutored HOYAS members during their first year in operation and then opened the program up to all Kent County students. Ms. Amanda Somerfield at Washington College teamed up with the HOYAS and looked for grant funding to help with the tutoring program known as HOYA/CPIP (Helping Our Youth Achieve Success/College Preparation and Intervention Program). Goals for the program are leadership, team building and caregiver development, where parents become part of the program. This program was originally for 60 students geared to those receiving free and reduced lunches. He said that currently there are 52 students in the program and it has been funded for next year. The Maryland Higher Education Commission wanted to see how the program runs the second year for the same group of students to build baseline data.
Mr. Queen stated that the Bayside HOYAS are a non-profit entity and he did put in a budget request for the upcoming fiscal year. He said that to this point, the HOYAS have mainly been funded through donations and fundraising events. Mr. Queen stated that the program would appreciate any amount the Council funded and added that it was a privilege to speak before the Council.
Mr. Queen stated that the HOYAS basketball team begins play on May 21st and runs each weekend through August 15th. He said that in order to play HOYAS basketball, each child must perform 12 hours of community service to waive the basketball fee. He said that over the summer he was going to try to teach the kids about landscaping and hope to form teams that would work mowing lawns in the neighborhood to create a revenue stream, while also teaching the children about entrepreneurship and leadership.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that Ms. Taylor Porter was present and had requested to close off Kent Street from Mount Vernon Avenue to Washington Avenue for a block party on Saturday, May 7th from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. The neighbors were all in agreement as shown on the petition attached to the permit request. Chief Baker agreed that closing off of the street would not be a problem. The Council agreed to the request.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that there was a permit request from the DCA for Porch Fest which will be held on Saturday, May 14th from noon to 6 p.m. in Downtown Chestertown. There was a request for a waiver of the open container law during the hours of the festival. The Mayor and Council agreed to the request.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that Ms. Sabine Harvey, president of the Tea Party Committee would be in on May 16th to discuss this year’s festivities. Permits have been filed for the event.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that a preliminary budget workshop was scheduled for Thursday, May 5th at 6:00 p.m.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that details were being worked out with KRM regarding their annexation request and said he hoped to bring the Annexation Resolution before the Mayor and Council at the May 16th meeting, along with the Lagoon and Gateway Park Annexation Resolutions.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that people were mowing their lawns and blowing their clippings and trash into the street, which went into the storm drains and into the river. He said that he would like to incorporate into the Littering Ordinance that grass clippings and litter are not to be blown onto the roads and bring it before the Council. The Council agreed.
Ms. Kuiper stated that an additional problem was that when the crew picks up brush they don’t sweep up the street. Mr. Ingersoll stated that he thought better could be done and when the new superintendent is in place, this will be one of the first items addressed.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that he has received a complaint from a local bed & breakfast owner that Airbnb’s are not paying room rental taxes, but they are listed on the Town’s website under lodging. Mr. Ingersoll stated that he did not know what County or State registration or licensing process was in place for Airbnb properties and was uncertain how many existed in Chestertown, noting that he thought there should be a meeting with those who collect the hotel tax payment (Kent County) asking them to require that Airbnb establishments pay room rental taxes.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that the Town of Chestertown does not enforce or collect the hotel tax, but has been informed that the County has approved the Town receiving 100% of the hotel tax collected in Chestertown in FY17 (as opposed to 60%, with the previous policy of the County keeping 40% of the revenues).
Mayor Cerino stated that there was a donation request from River Arts for $1500.00 for this year’s River Fest. Mr. Ingersoll stated that he asked if this could be put in the new budget and Mr. Carter indicated that he would have expenses this year. The Council decided that the request should go into the FY17 budget, since it is being held in FY17.
Mayor Cerino stated that he had a request for a donation for the Kent County High School Post-Prom Party. He said that this event was designed to keep the students in one location after prom and said that the Town typically donates $100.00. Mr. Stetson moved to donate $100.00 to the Kent County High School Post-Prom Party, was seconded by Ms. Kuiper and carried unanimously.
Mayor Cerino stated that the Arts & Entertainment District logo would be launched at First Friday, on May 6th at 6:00 p.m. in the Fountain Park. If there was inclement weather, the rain site was Cassinelli’s Distillery on High Street.
Ms. Gross stated that it was almost time for the National Music Festival and gave out copies of the 2016 brochure.
Ms. Gross stated that she read an editorial in the Spy about continuing problems with Wi-Fi connectivity in Town. Mr. Shoge stated that there were problems with cellular and Wi-Fi. Mr. Ingersoll stated that sometimes Wi-Fi and cellular service are confused but they are separate issues. Mr. Shoge agreed, stating that both are lacking downtown to some extent.
Mr. Shoge stated that there were many with technical expertise in Chestertown and Kent County and proposed setting up a task force to work on ways to help with connectivity. He said that he would be willing to put forth a proposal and find some members to serve, noting that this may be a perfect time to move forward with the work that is taking place now in the County. The Council agreed.
Ms. Gross moved for Mr. Shoge to create a proposal for a task force to address issues of connectivity via Wi-Fi and cellular service in Town, was seconded by Mr. Stetson and carried unanimously.
Ms. Kuiper stated that the Historical Society is kicking off the May 6th First Friday at 4 p.m. with a lecture series on the history of glass.
Ms. Kuiper stated that attended the Rotary Club’s 90th anniversary dinner on Saturday, April 30th. Ms. Sheila Bair was the keynote speaker.
Ms. Kuiper stated that she thought there was a Save the Hospital meeting for Thursday, May 5th at 7:00 p.m. in the 2nd floor meeting room at Town Hall.
Mr. Shoge stated that he was proud of the Bayside HOYAS and everything that they were doing for the community, noting that he was happy to have played a part in the HOYA/CPIP program.
Mr. Stetson stated that he was voted in as president of the Kent County Council of Governments.
Mr. Stetson stated that he and Ms. Kuiper attended Arbor Day on Monday, April 25th and said that Chestertown celebrated its 35th year as Tree City, noting that the entire Tree City program has only been in existence for 37 years.
Mr. Stetson stated that he and Ms. Kuiper also attended the dedication of the new pavilion at the Whitsitt Center on April 29th.
Mr. Stetson stated that he would like to see the Council change the name of the Chestertown Marina to what it really is, which is a park with dockage. Ms. Kuiper stated that Chestertown was a royal port and said that perhaps that should be reflected in the name. Mr. Stetson stated that DNR’s Project Open Space funding is available for parks, but not marinas. Mayor Cerino stated that Open Space funding flows from the State to the County. Therefore, a partnership would have to be formed with the County about the use of Open Space Funding. Mr. Stetson stated that he would be happy to lobby the Commissioners.
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