2019, Mayor and Council, Minutes|

MAYOR AND COUNCIL

JUNE 17, 2019

Mayor Chris Cerino called the meeting to order at 8:16 p.m. In attendance were Councilmembers David Foster, Linda C. Kuiper, 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 June 3, 2019 or the public hearing of June 3, 2019. Mr. Stetson moved to approve the minutes of the Mayor and Council meeting of June 3, 2019 and the public hearing of June 3, 2019 as submitted, was seconded by Rev. Tolliver and carried unanimously.

Mayor Cerino stated that total operating funds on hand for unrestricted use was $503,155.87. Restricted funds for the Marina were set aside in the amount of $19,554.42.

Mayor Cerino asked for a motion to approve the payment of the bills. Mr. Stetson moved to approve payment of the bills as submitted, was seconded by Rev. Tolliver and carried unanimously.

Chief Baker presented the police report for May 2019.

Chief Baker stated that he received a resignation from one of the cadets who just finished the academy. He said that he was disappointed and although it was his understanding that it was not likely the Town would recoup the salary, he would collect the cost of the academy, ammunition and some equipment. Chief Baker stated that there was a good deal of competition with other agencies trying to fill their ranks.

Mr. Foster asked where the cadet went once he quit. Chief Baker stated that he accepted an offer with a neighboring town. Mr. Foster asked if the other agency was aware that the officer broke his contract. Chief Baker stated that the way that the contract was worded was that if the fees in the contract are paid as outlined the contract is fulfilled. He has 30 days to pay the Town for the academy.

Chief Baker asked if he should stay with thirteen (13) officers or if he should look for a certified officer. Mayor Cerino stated that he thought the number should stay at thirteen (13) although it was disappointing that the Town paid for this officer to go to school only to take a job with another agency.

Ms. Kuiper stated that she did not want to reduce the police department budget. Mayor Cerino stated that he saw this as a cost savings leaving the Town with a small cushion. Ms. Kuiper asked if the extra funds could be put on restriction where a vote was required if the money was to be used. Mr. Foster stated that he thought decisions like a new hire or where the money would be spent could be discussed at another time.

Mr. Stetson stated that he thought it was agreed that there was to be a hiring freeze and if any employees left they would not be replaced. Mayor Cerino stated that he understood it to be that way as well. Mr. Stetson stated that he would prefer that the employees receive a raise rather than hire another officer. Chief Baker stated that if a second officer leaves he would like to discuss the replacement for the thirteenth spot.

Mr. Ingersoll stated that the contract for any person going to the academy should be updated to include paying back the salary paid during the time at the Academy. Mr. Ingersoll stated that he called the other town that hired the officer away and told their manager he was furious about the fact that a neighboring own poached their officer at graduation and that the $5,000.00 that will be paid back to the Town was nothing compared to what it cost the Town to send this man through the Academy. He said that this type of stealing damages the Town far worse than the cost of the school.

Mr. Ingersoll stated that he did not think that this salary should go to any one department. Mayor Cerino stated that this money was a contingency fund for an overage that may occur in the general fund and it should not be planned to be spent, but it also should not be restricted.

Ms. Kuiper moved to keep the salary of the officer of $42,000.00 plus the $5,000.00 payback for the academy in a restricted fund. The motion was seconded by Rev. Tolliver. The motion failed as Mayor Cerino, Mr. Foster and Mr. Stetson opposed.

Mr. Ingersoll stated that there were three (3) Enterprise Zone resolutions for Dixon Valve as follows for income tax reductions on new employees:

  • Resolution 04-2019 Dixon Valve & Coupling, LLC;
  • Resolution 05-2019 Dixon Group Services, LLC;
  • Resolution 06-2019 Kent Athletic and Wellness Center, LLC

Mr. Stetson moved to approve the resolutions as presented

  • Resolution 04-2019 Dixon Valve & Coupling, LLC;
  • Resolution 05-2019 Dixon Group Services, LLC;
  • Resolution 06-2019 Kent Athletic and Wellness Center, LLC.

 

The motion was seconded by Mr. Foster and carried unanimously.

Mayor Cerino stated that all the properties mentioned were in the Enterprise Zone and therefore eligible for the tax exemptions.

Mayor Cerino stated that there were vacancies on both the Historic District Commission and the Planning Commission. He said that he would like to nominate Robert Busler to fill the vacancy on the Planning Commission and Charles L. Barton to fill the vacancy on the Historic District Commission. He said that he would request their appointments at the next meeting.

Mayor Cerino asked for ward reports.

Mr. Foster stated that several members of the council were present at the County Commissioners meeting of June 4th to discuss a tax differential or abatement and he said that he heard that the Commissioners were shocked by the level of intensity displayed by the residents who came to support the request. Mr. Foster stated that he attended the June 11th County Commissioner’s meeting and proposed that they work together to admit there is a problem; to conduct an audit, and; to start as soon as possible to work toward a tax differential or abatement. He said Mr. Fithian is meeting with him on Thursday. Mr. Foster stated that he thought working together might make the Commissioners understand what they mean by a tax differential for duplicate services.

Mayor Cerino stated that the Commissioners should agree to come up with a value of what it would cost if the County had to maintain Chestertown’s 25 miles of road and police the population of Chestertown to come to the figures they should use for a tax differential. Mayor Cerino stated that he would also like to meet with other similar municipalities to discuss this issue. He said that the Commissioners need to see the actual numbers Chestertown is saving the County.

Ms. Kuiper stated that the Tea Party Committee begins meeting next Wednesday for the 2020 Tea Party Festival and that Rev. Tolliver had joined the Committee.

Ms. Kuiper stated that the Farmers Market was bursting at the seams with vendors.

Rev. Tolliver stated that he attended a couple of events with Mayor Cerino including the Good Seeds project at Garnet Elementary and the Kent County Middle School to see the environmental projects for Radcliffe Creek.

Rev. Tolliver stated that they were in the process of finalizing the design for the Carpenter Park at Washington Park and work should begin soon thereafter.

Rev. Tolliver stated that there were so many discussions about tax differentials, and he was hoping that there would be new and innovative ways in the future to generate revenue so that Chestertown can grow and thrive.

Mr. Stetson stated that he met with Suzanne Goldblatt at the Oak Hollow townhouses who expressed concern about speeding along Haacke Drive. She also wanted to have a tree removed because the fire department told her that they would not be able to get the fire truck down the street. Mr. Stetson stated that he did not buy into the idea of the tree being removed because the fire trucks would make their way on the lawn if need be, but he did discuss traffic calming on Haacke Drive. Mr. Stetson suggested painted hiker/biker lanes on either side of the street as that is proven to slow traffic.

Mr. Stetson stated that he went to the Elks Club for their Flag Day Ceremony and he said that it was a nice gathering.

Mr. Stetson stated that there were problems at the Dog Park, and he thought it was time to give people an incentive for complying with the rules. He said that he would like to pass an ordinance which would involve a civil citation if the rules and regulations of the Dog Park are not followed. Mr. Stetson stated that he has asked some people not to bring their dog to the Park, but they were not listening.

Mayor Cerino asked if there were any questions or comments.

Chief Baker stated that there was a scam going around where phone calls are being made and the scam artists seem to know names of their family members and people are falling for it. He said that anyone who receives this call should call the police and they will help them.

There being no further business and no other questions or comments from the audience, Rev. Tolliver moved to adjourn the meeting at 8:22 p.m., was seconded by Mr. Foster and carried unanimously.

Submitted by:                                                             Approved by:

Jennifer Mulligan                                                 Chris Cerino

Town Clerk                                                            Mayor

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