MAYOR AND COUNCIL
JUNE 6, 2017
Mayor Cerino called the public hearing to order at 7:04 p.m. In attendance were Councilmembers Liz Gross and Mauritz Stetson, W.S. Ingersoll (Town Manager), Amanda Miller (Accounting/Treasury Specialist), Jennifer Mulligan (Town Clerk) and guests.
Mayor Cerino stated that Public Notices ran in the Kent County News on May 19th and May 25th as follows:
“At 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, June 6, 2017, the Mayor and Council will hold a public hearing for the purpose of adopting the budget for FY2018 (2017-18) as an ordinance. The hearing will take place at Town Hall, 118 N. Cross Street. Citizens are encouraged to attend and make written or oral comments on the entire budget. The proposed budget is available for review in the office of the Mayor and Council.
By authority of
Chris Cerino, Mayor”
Mr. Ingersoll stated that there were several Council workshops where changes to the budget were made and the final draft reflected all changes to date. He said that he reduced the budget to $7,000.00 for a smaller fireworks show at the Wilmer Park (as the site used in previous years will be under construction with the new Washington College boathouse). The show will resemble the fireworks show displayed at Downrigging Weekend.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that the total general fund revenues were $5,304,563.00 with total outlays of $5,319,296.00 for an excess of expenditures over revenues in the amount of $14,729.00, which would be funded by unappropriated surplus.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that other funding sources may be through the sale of excess vacant lots in the Calvert Street/College Avenue part of Town.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that this was a flat year for real estate taxes but there are signs of improvement with new housing starts and the proposed industrial/business park in the newly annexed area of Town.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that the taxing rate was not raised this year, but there were four (4) possible ways to increase revenues without actually increasing taxes:
- Tax Differential;
- PILOT (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) program;
- Collection of Airbnb Hotel Taxes;
- Tax base expansion.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that he wanted to compliment Ms. Miller for a fantastic job preparing the budget.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that the Utilities Commission so solvent this year that their budget was able to fund depreciation entirely.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that the Marina was an enterprise fund and was not connected with the general fund (although the capital grants were part of the Mayor and Council budget). He said that the Marina was making tremendous progress and staff were receiving and administering multiple grants. Pictures were shown of the bulkheading and decking work finished to date.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that the Kent County Commissioners have indicated that they would like to meet with the Mayors and Councils of all five Towns at a later date in the summer to further discuss the tax differential.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that there was a salary included in the budget for a fourteenth officer at the Chestertown Police Department.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that he would recommend passing the budget as presented and if there were minor alterations during the year or revenue windfalls he would return with modifications.
Mayor Cerino asked if there were any comments or questions on the proposed budget.
Mr. Stetson stated that it was impossible to do everything that the Council wanted to do for the Town in one budget year but he thought this budget worked out in the best way possible; noting that he thought things would be much better once the marina project was complete. Mr. Stetson stated that the Town should be given a tax differential because the residents of Chestertown are paying twice for services but it was only the Town of Chestertown providing the services to Chestertown residents. Mr. Stetson stated that the roads are solely maintained by Chestertown and the Chestertown Police Department handles more calls in Chestertown the Kent County Sheriff’s Office handles throughout the County.
Mayor Cerino stated that there were funds set aside from the current year’s budget for street paving. Mr. Ingersoll stated that there was $270,000.00 that would go toward street repaving. He said he would send out the specs for the project in the near future and noted that he would really like to institute a capital paving program in Town (which would require additional revenues).
There being no further comments or any questions, Ms. Gross moved to close the public hearing at 7:20 p.m., was seconded by Mr. Stetson and carried unanimously.
Submitted by: Approved by:
Jennifer Mulligan Chris Cerino
Town Clerk Mayor