MAYOR AND COUNCIL
APRIL 20, 2020
Mayor Cerino called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. In attendance were Councilmembers David Foster, Thomas Herz, Ellsworth Tolliver and Meghan Efland, 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 6, 2020. Rev. Tolliver moved to approve the minutes of the Mayor and Council meeting of April 6, 2020 as submitted, was seconded by Mr. Foster and carried unanimously.
Mayor Cerino stated that total operating funds on hand for unrestricted use was $1,250,482.29.
Mayor Cerino asked for a motion to approve the payment of the bills. Ms. Efland moved to approve payment of the bills as submitted, was seconded by Mr. Herz and carried unanimously.
Mayor Cerino stated that Ms. Kiley Shipp was present to discuss the mask that she and Ms. Cheryl Hoopes were making for anyone in the community, especially essential personnel. She said that they have already distributed over 3,000 masks. Ms. Shipp stated that some challenges were that the masks were uncomfortable and there also seemed to be some confusion as to when they need to be worn.
Ms. Shipp stated that she was looking into making a handout to go with homework and food to the students on how to make masks at home and when they should wear them. She said that she did not know if the Health Department was doing anything like this for the community to date. Ms. Shipp stated that they were almost to the point of fulfilling the list of requests from the Facebook page.
Mayor Cerino stated that these masks were not the N95 masks, they were for personal use only. He said that the Health Department is taking the lead to make sure that there are people checking at the entrance that anyone entering has a face cover.
Mr. Herz stated that he would be happy to put Ms. Shipp in contact with the DCA to see if they were aware of anyone in need of masks. He said that maybe masks could be distributed with take-out orders. He said that he would reach out separately. Mayor Cerino stated that Main Street Chestertown may be helpful in where to distribute masks as well. Information could also be posted on the Covid Website.
Chief Dolgos presented the police report for March 2020. He said that 2 officers had to be in quarantine for a 2-day period. Chief Dolgos urged residents to follow Governor Hogan’s order to wear a mask or facial covering to avoid fines or possible jail time.
Rev. Tolliver asked how morale was at the Department. Chief Dolgos stated that things have been moving along and a lot has changed due to the Covid outbreak and morale was low. Mayor Cerino asked if there was a reduction in crime due to the Covid. Chief Dolgos stated that it was quieter, but the calls for service were different than usual. He said that there were some complaints of people gathering, the most being at the Gateway Park. He said that he has PPE from Kent County Emergency Management. Mr. Herz asked how groups of kids wandering is handled during the day. Chief Dolgos stated that if the police are answering complaints but for the most part are keeping a low profile to avoid exposure.
Chief Dolgos stated that people are allowed out to exercise and there are from time to time several children running around together. He said that the one problem he sees is the basketball court at Gateway Park because of the number of people there and the fact that when playing it is not easy to keep a safe distance.
Ms. Shipp asked if she could give masks to the police department to distribute if they saw people walking without them. Chief Dolgos stated that would be terrific if they had extra masks.
Mayor Cerino asked for the Town Manager’s report. Mr. Ingersoll stated that Town was managing well and said that Ms. Miller has done a terrific job pulling together numbers for the budget, which is nearly impossible. He said that the Town did well for three quarters of the year. He said that he had a conference call this week regarding the Cares Act, which could help with some costs and he was looking for eligibility. Mayor Cerino stated that this was going to be a difficult budget year due to the Covid outbreak, unless there was relief from other agencies.
Rev. Tolliver asked if it was possible to look to a forbearance on the debt service on the Marina using the money for infrastructure and some other costs. Mayor Cerino stated that an overture was made about this and it was not received well, but if recreational boating is not allowed they were making it difficult for the Town to make that payment as the revenue from the Marina was required.
Mayor Cerino stated that he would like to appoint Owen Bailey to the Planning Commission to fill the vacancy left by Paul Showalter. Mr. Herz moved to appoint Owen Bailey to the Planning Commission, was seconded by Ms. Efland and carried unanimously.
Mayor Cerino stated that members of Governor Hogan’s team came to Chestertown as there is an outbreak at Autumn Lake Nursing Home on Morgnec Road. There are currently 12 residents and 3 staff positive for Covid-19. There has been 1 fatality from Autumn Lake and 1 person has been hospitalized. Mayor Cerino stated that approximately 60 tests were given that day by members of the National Guard. Mayor Cerino stated that he waited to provide this news until the Health Department divulged the information. He asked that everyone keep these residents in their prayers. Kent County was at a total of 28 positive cases to date, but he expected the numbers to rise.
Mr. Foster asked if this could have been avoided if testing was more readily available. Mayor Cerino stated that he did not know the answer to that question, but the State was sending the tests where they needed to go and he felt fortunate that Governor Hogan’s task force was able to come in and provide so many tests for the residents at Autumn Lake.
Mr. Herz stated that there is talk of tests being given but the test results are not made public. Mayor Cerino stated that information similar to this was on the Health Department’s website. Mayor Cerino stated that he was not coordinating the tests so it was difficult for him to answer the question. He said that different labs take different times to get results and the numbers were not as streamlined.
Mayor Cerino stated that Mr. Webb was trying to get tests and he said that he thought that higher level advocates might be able to help get additional testings. Mr. Foster stated that per capita, Chestertown has one of the higher rates of the virus.
Mayor Cerino asked for Ward reports.
Mr. Foster stated that Heron Point is doing well but they were not allowing visitors in or out. He said that the rest of the ward was exercising.
Mr. Herz stated that Main Street Chestertown is working to look for loans for small businesses and he said that Chestertown needs helps and ideas.
Mr. Herz stated that provisional authority was given to Julie King for the Farmers Market and he said that he would like to review some information that Ms. King has to relaunch the market when the time comes.
Ms. Efland stated that she wanted to send thoughts and prayers to the residents of Autumn Lake and their families.
Ms. Efland stated that Kent County fire, rescue and police all circled the hospital for a shift change to celebrate the first responders at the Hospital.
Rev. Tolliver stated that all was well in the Third Ward and people were staying in for the most part trying to adhere to the rules and regulations. He urged people to get face masks and wear them.
Rev. Tolliver stated that Kent Attainable was able to get the mortgage approved for their first home to be built on Calvert Street.
Ms. Arlene Lee was present on behalf of the Social Action Committee for Racial Justice. She said that they have been handing out food for 5 weeks in partnership with the Kent County Public School System. She said that over 9,000 meals to children have been serviced and they are making porch deliveries twice a week to 190 senior citizens. She said that now the restaurants are working to provide prepared meals thanks to a large donation from Sisco Systems. She said that there were 150 volunteers who put in over 2800 hours of work and raised over $34,000.00.
Ms. Lee stated that several people have asked about the homeless population and said that the shelters are closed. Ms. Lee stated that they would like to set up a table at lunch time from Monday through Friday with volunteers to provide meals to the homeless. She said that all of their volunteers are masked and gloved when they are working and this would be helpful to those who do not have a home. Ms. Lee stated that she thought they would be serving approximately 8 people per day. Mayor Cerino stated that he thought this was a terrific idea. Ms. Lee stated that she received approval from the health department to move forward and this would be a single table only with bagged lunches.
Mr. Foster moved to support the SACRJ in providing food to the homeless behind Sumner Hall, was seconded by Rev. Tolliver and carried unanimously.
Rev. Tolliver asked if there was any work on the front of those who were incarcerated due to the Covid virus. Ms. Lee stated that the Governor signed an executive order accelerating those who were up for parole and getting those out who are not considered a safety risk in order to avoid the spread.
There being no further business and no other questions or comments from the audience, Mr. Herz moved to adjourn the meeting at 8:36 p.m., was seconded by Ms. Efland and carried unanimously.
Submitted by: Approved by:
Jennifer Mulligan Chris Cerino
Town Clerk Mayor