MAYOR AND COUNCIL
JUNE 4, 2018
Mayor Cerino called the Mayor and Council meeting to order at 7:55 p.m. In attendance were Councilmembers David Foster, Linda C. Kuiper, Rev. Ellsworth Tolliver 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 May 21, 2018. Rev. Tolliver moved to approve the Mayor and Council minutes of May 21, 2018, was seconded by Ms. Kuiper and carried unanimously.
Mayor Cerino stated that total operating cash on hand for unrestricted use is $639,597.50. A total of $64,175.00 in bills has been paid for construction work at the Marina which the Town was waiting to be reimbursed through grants, bringing the total to $703,772.50.
Mayor Cerino asked for a motion to pay bills. Mr. Stetson moved to approve payment of the bills as submitted, was seconded by Rev. Tolliver and carried unanimously.
Mayor Cerino called forward Ms. Linda Reed to discuss the permit request for Legacy Day. Ms. Reed stated that the 5th Annual Legacy Day was scheduled for Saturday, August 18th from 5 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. She said that that the committee for the festival was requesting that the 300 block of High Street, Park Row, and the parking lot in front of the Nearly New be closed at 1:00 p.m. on August 18th to allow vendors time to set up. She also requested additional trash cans and liners be provided as they were expecting as many people, if not more, as were in attendance last year. Ms. Reed stated that this year’s festival will focus on post integration years and its effects on those who lived in Chestertown from 1967 to 1972. Rev. Tolliver moved to approve the application for the 5th Annual Legacy Day celebration as submitted, was seconded by Mr. Foster and carried unanimously.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that there was a notice from the Kent County Commissioners of an application for a Class B – Beer, Wine & Liquor License for Chester River Wine & Cheese for on and off sales. The hearing was scheduled for June 12, 2018 at 6:00 p.m. in the Kent County Commissioners Hearing Room.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that there was a public hearing on the proposed budget before the Mayor and Council meeting and he said that this was the meeting where Ordinance 02-2018 Budget 2018-19 could be adopted. Rev. Tolliver moved to adopt Ordinance 02-2018 Budget 2018-19 as submitted and was seconded by Mr. Foster. Mayor Cerino stated that he would like to take a roll call vote after discussion.
Mr. Stetson stated that he was not going to vote for the budget, citing the fact that he has over 60 years of service in the Government and that any time money comes in it is spent. He said that there were cuts made to the budget that he has advocated for years for such as the fireworks. Many non-profits were also cut from the budget. He said that a 2¢ increase would have balanced the budget and going with the 5¢ increase will encourage people who were cut from the budget to approach the Town again for a donation hand out. Mr. Stetson stated that things will get better. He said the Marina is costing the Town money now but may not in the future.
Ms. Kuiper stated that she received calls on the proposed budget and someone told her that they were going to put their house for sale. Another person told her that people are calling this the “Marina Tax”. Ms. Kuiper stated that when festivals such as Tea Party, Legacy Day, Downrigging and Harry Potter are held in Town, the first place the committees turn to for help is the police department. She said that she has also heard comments that our police department is too large. She said that Chestertown is the county seat and full coverage is expected from the police department. Ms. Kuiper stated that the first time something happens and it is not covered correctly or quickly enough the department will be condemned the other way.
Ms. Kuiper stated that everyone complains about the roads and they are in need of repair.
Ms. Kuiper stated that she truly believed that once the Marina was up and running again, anyone with a business was going to be thankful for the increase in tourism. Ms. Kuiper stated that this was an increase in taxes for her as well as everyone else in Town but she will vote in favor of the budget because there was no other way to get by. She said that if there was a surplus in the future she would do her best to decrease the taxes as was done in 2006.
Ms. Kuiper stated that there was $150,000.00 in the budget now for road paving and said that she would like the rest of the money to go into a capital fund account where the Council will have to vote if it is to be spent. Mr. Ingersoll stated that extra funds can be accounted for separately as was done with the College funds from the transfer of the Armory, as policy.
Mr. Foster stated that legitimate points were made from Mr. Stetson and Ms. Kuiper but the numbers are now factored into the budget and part of the budget increase was for COLA increases for employees, which was separate from the $150,000.00 for road improvements.
Rev. Tolliver stated that he was going to vote in favor of the budget and suggested the Council save the discussion for how to use any funds not already designated for another night. Mr. Ingersoll stated that there was no cushion right now because the funds reflecting a 5¢ increase were spread out through the budget numbers as the Council had directed in the final workshop meetings.
Mayor Cerino stated that the entire matter came down to flat revenues and expenses ticking up each year for the last 10 to 15 years. He said that the Enterprise Zone will eventually generate tremendous revenue but the benefits won’t be seen for 6 to 7 years.
Mayor Cerino stated that many people view the Marina as a “Chris Cerino initiative” but the Marina purchase took place 2 years before he took office. The main reason he was working so hard on the renovation was because if it was not fixed there was a drain on the economy. He said that when the project is complete it will at least break even, but he was optimistic that years down the road people would see that it was a good investment for Chestertown. Mayor Cerino stated that the Marina was not the only drain on the budget though because there have been across the board increases of 3% to 5% while revenues remain flat.
Mayor Cerino called for the question on the motion to adopt Ordinance 02-2018 Budget for Fiscal Year 2018-19. He polled the Council on their vote. Mr. Stetson voted against the budget. Rev. Tolliver voted in favor, Mayor Cerino voted in favor, Ms. Kuiper voted in favor, and Mr. Foster voted in favor. The motion passed with 4 in favor, 1 opposed.
Mayor Cerino stated that it was an exciting time at the waterfront and urged residents to go to the Marina site and see all the renovation and work in progress. He said that new bulkhead pilings were going in directly in front of the Fish Whistle restaurant, new floating docks were being installed, and the Interpretive Center was well underway. Mayor Cerino stated that within a year the Town will see and feel the benefits of the project.
Mayor Cerino asked for ward reports.
Mr. Foster stated that in discussing a tax increase with some of his constituents and although people were not happy about a tax increase, after discussing the reasons for the increase people seemed to understand why it had to happen.
Ms. Kuiper stated that the Tea Party was a success with many people in Town. She thanked the local businesses for turning up the air conditioning and letting visitors into their shops to use the restrooms. Ms. Kuiper thanked the Bordley Center for showing the Luminaire video all day as that was a place to cool off as well.
Ms. Kuiper stated that at May’s First Friday there were 4 ribbon cutting ceremonies for new businesses and there were 3 at June’s First Friday. Kuiper urged residents to shop locally and visit all the downtown businesses.
Ms. Kuiper asked if Main Street could be invited to the next Mayor and Council meeting to discuss the façade grants for local businesses as well as their attempts to find grants for directional signage. Ms. Kuiper asked where the Town had the sandwich sign boards. Mr. Ingersoll stated that the DCA owns the sandwich boards.
Ms. Kuiper stated that the National Music Festival was beginning and said that was a treat for everyone in Town.
Mayor Cerino thanked Ms. Kuiper and the rest of the Tea Party Committee for all of their work in organizing and executing the festival this year. He said that he did not think people realized how intense putting on an event like this was, nor the volunteer time and effort that went into it.
Rev. Tolliver stated that he invited Congressional Candidate Jessie Colvin to visit the Third Ward on Thursday, June 7th. There will be a meet and greet at Bethel Church where residents can express concerns related to the Third Ward and he was planning to bring Mr. Colvin to visit some of the businesses in his ward as well.
Rev. Tolliver stated that this is the first year that the National Music Festival will have a concert in the Third Ward, noting that it would be at Bethel Church.
Rev. Tolliver stated that he attended the broadband presentation where he had a chance to meet some of the vendors who would be responsible for neighborhoods hooking into the fiber. Mr. Stetson stated that he was also present at this event. Mr. Stetson stated that he hoped the fiber did end up paying for itself in the future.
Mr. Stetson stated that he attended the 50th anniversary of the rowing program for Washington College and many of the former coaches were present. He said that he was able to get a tour of the boathouse under construction and it was fantastic. He said that prospective students looking to take part in crew will be drawn to Chestertown.
There being no further business and no questions or comments from the audience, Mr. Stetson moved to adjourn the meeting at 8:30 p.m., was seconded by Rev. Tolliver and carried unanimously.
Submitted by: Approved by:
Jennifer Mulligan Chris Cerino
Town Clerk Mayor