MAYOR AND COUNCIL
JUNE 3, 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 May 20, 2019 or the bid opening of May 24, 2019. Mr. Stetson moved to approve the minutes of the Mayor and Council meeting of May 20, 2019 and the bid opening of May 24, 2019 as submitted, was seconded by Rev. Tolliver and carried unanimously.
Mayor Cerino stated that total operating funds on hand for unrestricted use was $618,495.16. Restricted funds for the Marina were set aside in the amount of $18,804.42.
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.
Mr. Jim Bogden of the Recreation Commission was present and stated that they would like the Council’s approval, in principle, to build a children’s play area in Wilmer Park. The Recreation Commission would like to submit a grant application to Community Parks and Playgrounds for funding. He said that the playground would be built on high land across form the parking lot and away from the road on the opposite side of the sculpture. He said that the Recreation Commission is in the beginning stages of planning, but the design would be in harmony with the surrounding area using muted tones in green and browns. Ideas were for a boat structure or a nature park and they are collaborating with Shore Rivers so the play space would complement the pocket park planned for the Marina. The grant application was due by August 21st but there is no guarantee that funds would be awarded. The application does not require a finished design but it does require a design and installation timeline. He said that the Commission would like to research design options and review design principles.
Mayor Cerino stated that he always through there should be more amenities at the Wilmer Park and there was plenty of room for a playscape by the large Willow Oak and raingarden. Appropriate scale and appearance would be important. Mr. Foster stated that he was pleased there would be a play area for children as he thought it was needed and overdue, adding that residents abutting Wilmer Park may not be thrilled with it. Rev. Tolliver stated that he thought this was a good idea in concept, but he would like to hear more about it before it was approved.
Ms. Kuiper stated that she was opposed to this as many years ago the Recreation Commission was told that Wilmer Park should remain an open space and she did not think that the residents of the Townhouses would appreciate another play area in addition to the sculpture. She said that the Tea Party uses the park and so does the bocce league, along with many other festivals. She also thought that this may be encroach into areas that should be preserved. Ms. Kuiper stated that there were other parks where playground equipment could be installed in Town.
Mr. Stetson stated that he was not sure that the playground would serve the immediate residents, but it would serve those visiting the Marina, visiting Town, and residents with children. He said that a reasonably scaled playscape would be a nice addition to the park.
Mayor Cerino stated that the residents surrounding the park feel as though that Wilmer Park belonged to them, but it was a public park and an amenity for young families with plenty of room for a playground on the park.
Mr. Charles Lerner stated that he was happy to see the playscape equipment in place now as it was well used. He said that Wilmer Park was already a playground; it just doesn’t have playground equipment. He said that Ajax Park is visible from the Wilmer Park and is used by children of many ages. He said that all sorts of people use Wilmer Park for games, bike riding, skateboarding, football, etc. He said that playground equipment will draw children, but it will also take away from the overall look of the park. He said that if there is playground equipment there, other necessities such as areas for different aged children and fencing, including handicap access, would be required. He said that it would take too much space and dominate the park rather than enhance it. Mr. Lerner suggested adding to the Ajax Park and/or survey the other people who use Wilmer Park before taking additional steps.
Mr. Foster asked if there was an estimation of the size of the play area. Mr. Bogden stated that he did not think the play area would be more than 100’ ft in diameter. He said that if they move forward they would keep the Council informed of their progress. Mayor Cerino stated that the playscape should not overwhelm the park.
Ms. Amy Meeks, Chair of the Recreation Commission, stated that there was play equipment at Bailey Park but there was no parking. She said that in order to make a larger playground work at Bailey Park, the parking would have to be increased off Rolling Road. She said that they were looking at the idea of a naturescape more than traditional playground equipment, such as hills, rocks, and stumps planned by a company who designs for that purpose at Wilmer Park.
Ms. Meeks stated that surveys presented to the Mayor and Council a few years ago indicated that there were many residents who wanted a playground at Wilmer Park.
Mr. Brandt Troup, Recreation Commission member, stated that the Commission was asking for a consensus of a percentage of the park to work with in order to move forward with the plans. Mayor Cerino stated that Department of Natural Resources, Community Parks and Playgrounds was always supportive of Chestertown, but they typically want previous grants to be spent before they will issue another grant to the Town.
Ms. MacIntosh stated that she would love to see a playground in Wilmer Park. She added that the community must build for the population that Chestertown wants to have in the future.
Mr. Foster stated that the elder population was growing, and Chestertown is losing their ability to attract and maintain young families. Ms. Tilghman stated that she thought that the idea of a playground at Wilmer Park was necessary and the youth need to be engaged by the older population if they are to become active members of the community in the future.
Mr. Stetson moved that the Recreation Commission be allowed to pursue a schematic design for a playscape for Wilmer Park, was seconded by Mr. Foster and carried unanimously.
Mr. Jimmy Reynolds, local artist and teacher at Radcliffe School, was present and stated that he would like to work with local school children to paint a mural on the East Coast Storage building located at the corner of Rt. 291 and Rt. 20. He said that the owners, Bob and Inky Greenwald, are in favor of the mural on their building and were looking forward to its installation.
Mr. Reynolds stated that the proposed mural would be 8’ high by 140’ long showing a panoramic view of the Chester River waterfront from Devil’s Reach to the Chester River Bridge, including the Sultana and other boats as part of the painting, and showcasing Chestertown from the 1880s forward. All the students in the community will be involved to some extent as part of an afterschool project. Mr. Reynolds stated that he would see that the painting was maintained in the future.
Mr. Reynolds stated that he thought the project would cost approximately $1,500.00 and he would mostly use recycled paint. He said that he would like to have to have most of the mural finished by November 1st and if there was extra work to be done it would take place in the spring when it was warm.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that this was private property and did not necessarily need a permit or approval from the Council but said it was a wonderful project for the community and commended him for the idea. Mr. Reynold’s stated that he would appreciate the Council’s approval as it gave him credit when he asked for donations, adding that he would see the original mock-up for the mural and digital prints to raise money.
Rev. Tolliver moved to approve Mr. Reynolds project for a mural at East Coast Storage, was seconded by Ms. Kuiper and carried unanimously.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that a bid opening was held for paving of North Queen Street between Maple Avenue and High Street and read them into the record as follows:
- ECM Corporation, Jessup MD $ 29,903.50
- Coppage Paving, Church Hill MD $ 29,250.00 (no bid bond/check)
- David A. Bramble, Inc., Chestertown MD $ 31,500.00
Mr. Ingersoll stated that the apparent low bidder was Coppage Paving but he did not submit a bid bond or certified check, so he was checking the references of the second lowest bidder, ECM Corporation, who submitted all the requested documentation. He said that if he could verify their references and that the amount of asphalt specified was correct, he would like to award the bid to that firm.
Mr. Foster moved to proceed with ECM Corporation for the North Queen Street paving project once the references and other information required in the bid were verified, was seconded by Mr. Stetson and carried unanimously.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that an application has been made for a Class B, Beer, Wine, and Liquor License by Carolyn Kalbfus at 108 S. Cross Street. The hearing will be at the Kent County Commissioners Hearing Room, 400 High Street on June 11, 2019 at 6:00 p.m.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that Ordinance 02-2019 Budget for Fiscal Year 2020 was the subject of a public hearing before this meeting and he said that the HRA set aside funds had never exceeded 80% of the total amount budgeted and he felt as though $16,000.00 could be moved from that fund to the recycling line item without too much risk. Mayor Cerino stated that if the Town could do that and Mr. Schumann could keep to his billing alternative, he would be in favor of the modification.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that the Council should then approve the taxing rate and budget at $.43 per $100 of assessed value. He said that he will make the alterations to line items, but he wanted to speak with Infinity and make it clear that recycling is for residential curbside recycling only. He said that all other entities should be paying their own recycling fees. He said that he could not believe that the County Commissioners building was on the customer list Infinity gave to the Town. There were 1,449 customers on the Chestertown list but there were only about 1,200 residential users that should be on the bill.
Ms. Kuiper stated that she did not want to borrow money to make payroll between now and September. She said that she would like to clean up the recycling list before accepting Mr. Schumann’s offer because it may be more than the $6,000.00 difference he suggested by removing the commercial and non-profit entities erroneously on the list. Mr. Ingersoll stated that if money had to be borrowed to make payroll it would absolutely be done, and that paying staff does not have a thing to do with curbside recycling. Mr. Ingersoll stated that the Town had no contract with Infinity and could proceed on a month to month basis.
Mr. Foster moved to approve Ordinance 02-2013 Ordinance for Fiscal Year 2020 based on a $.43 tax rate with curbside recycling back in the budget and the understanding that the recycling list will be tightened up to include residential homes only, balancing the budget by modifying the HRA account, was seconded by Rev. Tolliver and carried unanimously.
Mr. Foster stated that he would like quarterly reports of the budget moving forward so they can see how accurate the projections are throughout the year. Mayor Cerino stated that it would be nice if Ms. Miller would come before the Council at those intervals to explain the numbers because she understood them best.
Mayor Cerino stated that Bob Fordi resigned from the Planning Commission and read his letter of resignation into the record.
Mayor Cerino stated that Ted Gallo resigned from the Historic District Commission and read his letter of resignation into the record.
Mayor Cerino stated that he was be accepting applications to fill the vacancies on the Planning Commission and Historic District Commission.
Mr. Foster stated that all is well in the First Ward and he is pleased that recycling will continue in Chestertown. He was also happy that the paving work would soon begin on Queen Street.
Ms. Kuiper stated that the Tea Party was a huge success with perfect weather. She said that some of the artisans even sold out on Saturday. Ms. Kuiper thanked the Chestertown Police Department for keeping order. Mayor Cerino stated that the Tea Party Committee did an incredible job this year and it was a great day in Chestertown.
Ms. Kuiper stated that she had a phone call from a member of Janes Church who was under the impression that the church was supposed to receive money from the Town and the Town was not paying it. Ms. Kuiper stated that was not at all true and the money was grant funding for the roof that is coming from another agency and/or has not been received to date because the work is not finished.
Ms. Kuiper stated that the Historical Society is having their First Friday lecture on June 7th at 5:00 p.m. at the Bordley Building. The topic for June was the Mason-Dixon Line.
Ms. Kuiper stated that there was a house fire last night in the 2nd Ward, on Mount Vernon Avenue, and it was a total loss. She said that very precious belongings were lost but thankfully nobody was harmed.
Ms. Kuiper stated that because of the tight budget she did not think Councilmembers should ask for reimbursements for expenses. She added that if the police department is asked to work an event than the committee for that event should be charged for the services.
Ms. Kuiper stated that employees who have not worked a full 40 hours in a week should not receive overtime. She said that the Town should abide by the federal labor laws where an employee must physically work 40 hours before overtime is granted.
Rev. Tolliver stated that he was an advocate of the solid waste fund as described earlier when the recycling issue was being discussed as it was a resource for revenue and would allow the Town to tap in to organizations that the Town would not normally receive revenue from, such as the College and the Hospital.
Rev. Tolliver thanked Radcliffe School for allowing him to see what the wood duck box looks like and said he was looking forward to seeing it in place.
Rev. Tolliver stated that the National Music Festival opened this week at the Bethel Church, and he was looking forward to the other events taking place over the next couple weeks while the festival is in Town.
Mr. Stetson stated that all is well in the 4th ward. He said that a gentleman who regularly brings his dog to the Dog Park mulched the trees at the park at his own expense.
There being no further business and no other questions or comments from the audience, Rev. Tolliver moved to adjourn the meeting at 9:26 p.m., was seconded by Ms. Kuiper and carried unanimously.
Submitted by: Approved by:
Jennifer Mulligan Chris Cerino
Town Clerk Mayor