Environmental Committee, Town Agendas & Minutes|

Chestertown Environmental Committee
 Minutes
In Person and Virtual
October 12, 2023 

In Attendance:  Jenny Freebery, Secethia Davis, Thomas Dietz, Brad Hollomon, David Sobers, Ford Schumann, Zoe Brookbank, Sarah Starman, Lucas Bolno, Meghan Efland, Mark Carper

 

Minutes approved

Budget- Dave Sobers suggest using a water bottle refill

            Nina Fleegle has something in budget for Main Street for water bottle refill- also on agenda for Parks and Rec

 

Kevin Clark Urban Grid- project is going well- Lane Engineering from Centreville is doing the plan for topo. They are showing both with and without a berm- hopes to try to put something without a berm because easier to plant trees. Plans to have it nailed down by December.

How can the Town of Chestertown benefit from project- Delmarva Power has a contract to get their power, so no options for directly have Urban Grid give power to town. Kevin has been working to connect us with Delmarva Power to help get us some favorable deals.

Request to project for community program to help- CEC suggested putting solar panels on firehouse. Kevin says that project often has to be onsight- they have not done anything on other sites yet. Debate on the berm- berms often required for screening purposes- goal of Urban Grid to do it without berms. Important to have good visuals because it is by a scenic byway and a gateway to Chestertown.

 

Meghan Efland- Plastic Bag Ban- was started in 2011. Chestertown has lapsed in ours- interest in getting it back. Centreville is doing one starting January 1st. Consider restarting ours on Earth Day. Considerations- sometimes harder on smaller businesses. Both DCA and Farmers market in support of it. Need a grace period before enforce it. Proposed $100 fine for businesses that don’t comply. Was lifted due to COVID, but something to bring back now that supply chains have been reduced. Some movement at the state for bag ban and styrofoam ban. Sarah used to work on campaign for styrofoam ban in PA- having local bans helps to support state bans. National site with info about all the bans- can borrow from the language used in those. Challenges with enforcement- consider having a company who will do the enforcement so doesn’t make ill will between businesses and staff. On the agenda for the second meeting in November. So far just our committee looking at it- we will make suggestions and Meghan will come back on next CEC meeting. Ward4@chestertown.com

 

Recycling- Dave Sobers and Ford Schuman- recycling dilemma- we had a great recycling system, and it served over 60% of households in town. Started with 4 streams and reduced to 2 streams (contains and fibers). Ford developed a good recycling center. When service stopped there were some attempts by town to get it back, but it did not bring in the options that would work well. Now we have 2 drop off centers, but drop off centers are only 15-20% effective at diverting waste, whereas curbside can be up to 80%. We have not done a waste survey in Chestertown, but Dave’s observation is that close to half of waste stream is recyclable. When infinity stopped there was an increase at collection stations to the point where MES had to add more bins. Tom suggested getting data from town on additional costs of tipping and collection. Dave proposes 4 options

  1. MES- Maryland Environmental Service runs lots of environmental services- recycling is one of them- They do a lot of subcontracting to different groups- would need supervision from town
  2. Current solid waste collect Wallace Henry- currently collects 2x per week- consider going to 1x per week trash collection and 1x per week recycling- Town wants to maintain Wallace Henry because only minority contractor and they do a good job for many years- spoke to Rev Tolliver about mentoring Wallace Henry to collect recyclables- Ford says mixed recyclables can go places to get sorted at centers- ex Republic at Sandtown and pay a tipping fee- also a facility in Delaware near Odessa- Ford will get in touch with Wallace Henry to see about his interest
  3. Town Staff- town already collects yard waste 2x per week- might need a change of equipment- might reduce to 1x per week and collect recycling on other days
  4. Rebidding- new Town Manager- need to better RFB that is well developed and puts options in it- advertise it widely- get list from MES, county lists, etc.

Possibility to get a survey from the community to see what they want from recycling, trash, and composting

Need to find the waste addition from town after the recycling stopped

Dave, Ford, and Jenny to meet with town council and town manager

 

Tom- Energy- Energy survey largely done- can replace lightbulbs for $500 and will save thousands each year- Tom on the agenda this coming Monday. Surveyed the HVAC systems- town hall very old and inefficient- better to replace system with high efficiency heat pump- eligible under 2022 inflation reduction act to get a tax credit up to $36,000- Delmarva will also pay up to $4,500 for energy upgrade- Tom gave Larry specs- minisplits on third floor- zone offices, meeting room, and downstairs on separate- pay back in around 5 years- working on getting solar panels fixed- lots of grants for energy efficiency for businesses and government. Discussions with council about adding solar to waste water treatment – reserved 5-10 ac for solar projects that we can put it- cost $3-3.5 million- could cover twice towns energy needs- could have partners of other towns or 501c3 that could help to build capacity- payback in 5 years. Resolution to the town that says any major investment in HVAC or light duty vehicles need to consider lifecycle costs- help to encourage electric vehicles and energy efficiency systems

 

Secethia- Parks- survey for parks will be tweaked and left longer

            Garden club got a grant to support irrigation. Also got a scholarship to send 2 kids to nature camps next summer.

 

Jenny- farmers market booth switching to once a month in colder months

            Interest in a sandwich board style sign at the booth- concerns with weight and bulk

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