Agendas, 2024, Mayor and Council, Town Agendas & Minutes|

CHESTERTOWN MAYOR AND COUNCIL MEETING

JANUARY 2, 2024

 

Mayor Foster called the meeting to order at 6:16 p.m.  In attendance were Councilmembers Tim O’Brien, Tom Herz, Jose Medrano (by Zoom) and Meghan Efland. Also in attendance were Larry DiRe (Town Manager), Lynda Thomas (Town Clerk) and guests.

Mayor Foster officially swore in reelected Councilman Thomas Herz for Ward 2.

“I, Thomas Herz, do swear, that I will support the Constitution of the United States; and that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to the State of Maryland, and support the Constitution and laws thereof; and that I will support and comply with the charter, laws, and ordinances of the Town of Chestertown; and that I will, to the best of my skill and judgement diligently and faithfully, without partiality or prejudice, execute the office of Councilman, according to the Constitution of the United Stated of America and the laws of the State of Maryland.”

Mayor Foster officially swore in reelected Councilwoman Megan Efland for Ward 4.

“I, Megan Efland, do swear, that I will support the Constitution of the United States; and that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to the State of Maryland, and support the Constitution and laws thereof; and that I will support and comply with the charter, laws, and ordinances of the Town of Chestertown; and that I will, to the best of my skill and judgement diligently and faithfully, without partiality or prejudice, execute the office of Councilwoman, according to the Constitution of the United Stated of America and the laws of the State of Maryland.”

Mayor Foster asked if there were any additions or corrections to the Mayor and Council minutes of December 18, 2023.  Councilwoman Efland moved to approve the minutes of the Mayor and Council meeting of December 18, 2023. The motion was seconded by Councilman O’Brien and carried unanimously.

Mayor Foster reported that the cash on hand was $2,889,635.39. Councilman Herz made a motion to pay the bills. The motion was seconded by Councilwoman Efland and passed unanimously.

Consent Calendar

Councilman O’Brien made a motion to appoint Inez Gwen Santori to the Recreation Committee . The motion was seconded by Councilwoman Efland and passed unanimously.

Town Manager’s Report

Mr. DiRe gave an update on the Boards/Commissions/Committees activity report, Tree City USA annual renewal, and Demolition permit for 800 High Street.

Mr. O’Brien asked how the Mayor and Council should answer when asked about their opinion/position on the controversial issues before the Historic District and Planning Commissions. Mr. DiRe stated that they are not obligated to respond. He noted that an elected or appointed official that comments on a private social media page about a public matter, that site then becomes part of the public domain.

Mr. O’Brien made a statement to the public that their silence on pending controversial issues is managed by different rules.  It’s not that they are in favor of or against, but they are trying to remain neutral.    

Mayors Report

Mr. Foster reported that he had informed Shelley Heller, County Administrator, that the Mayor and Council would like to get on County Commissioner’s schedule to give a tax differential presentation.

There was a discussion on how to prepare and move forward with this presentation and the types of ‘asks’ and ‘projects’ to include in the presentation.

Old Business

Mr. Foster recused himself from the following presentation and asked Mr. O’Brien to act in his stead.

Mr. O’Brien reviewed the background and deed transfer of Heron Point Internal Roads.

Mr. DiRe noted that Christopher Drummond, Esquire, Town Attorney, reviewed the deed of transfer and recommended that the Mayor and Council approve it. 

Councilman O’Brien made a motion to approve the execution of the transfer letter prepared by the lawyer for the Internal Roads at Heron Point. The motion was seconded by Councilwoman Efland and passed with four (4) votes. Mr. Foster recused.

New Business

Dr. Pat Nugent, Director of Civic Engagement for Washington College, presented the Student Engagement Project. He proposed to work with ten (10) highly engaged political science majors on a research project to catalog, for the Town, the most successful tools rural towns are using to revive and strengthen democratic participation. He reviewed the following questions the students would review:

  • How are towns increasing voter engagement in local elections?
  • How are towns growing electoral competition and encouraging citizens to run and serve?
  • How are towns diversifying participation in civic planning conversations and decision making?
  • How are towns mobilizing young generations to serve and participate?

Dr. Nugent asked the Mayor and Council for a charge to the students requesting that they research these questions. Mayor and Council noted they will think of an appropriate charge and present it at the next meeting.

Mr. DiRe reviewed the upcoming Budget Workshop Calendar for fiscal year 2024-2025 for the operating and capital budgets.

Mr. DiRe reviewed the trash collection rates. He noted that the contract hauler expressed concerns over the ability to maintain his truck fleet’s operational condition due to increased costs balanced against the flat monthly revenue received for town service.

Ward Reports

Winners of the 2023 Christmas Decoration Contest as follows:

1st Ward:         1st Place:         $50.00             201 Cedar Street

2nd Place:        $25.00             203 Philosophers Terrace

2nd Ward:        1st Place:         $50.00             210 South Water Street

2nd Place:        $25.00             113 South College Avenue

3rd Ward:         1st Place:          $50.00             227 Devon Drive

2nd Place:        $25.00             118 Harlan Loop

4th Ward:         1st Place:         $50.00             115 Elm Street

2nd Place:        $25.00             114 Malone Ave

Commercial Winners:

1st Place:          $100.00           Mainstreet, Fountain Park

2nd Place:         $50.00             White Swan, 231 High Street

Ms. Efland reported:

  • The Chestertown Farmer’s Table is officially open at Beverly’s old location.
  • Middle school project funding update.

Mr. Medrano reported:

  • Wished everyone a Happy New Year.

Mr. Herz reported:

  • COG will be hosting the January meeting in Annapolis at Delegate Jacobs office with a tour of capital, dinner, and a MML cocktail reception.
  • The Maryland General Assembly begins January 7.
  • COG is working on a bond initiative for the Heritage Trail.

Mr. O’Brien reported:

  • Wished everyone Happy New Year.
  • The Budget process will begin in March.

Public Comments

Ms. Carol Tripp, Environmental Committee, represented Tom Dietz (not able to attend meeting) regarding the Climate Pollution Reduction Grants (CPRG). The University of Maryland team is working with Maryland to provide technical assistant to local governments for these grants. Counties and municipalities are identifying high priority greenhouse gas emission reduction projects with matching projects with potential funding opportunities. To participate in the program, a survey has to be filled out in the next 10-days. It was noted that by filling out the survey, the Town is not obligated to commit to any of the projects. The survey would allow the process to begin to determine if there are any programs viable for the Town to participate in.

Ms. Tripp noted that motion would be needed to authorize Tom Dietz to proceed with the survey to participate in the University of Maryland technical assistance program.

Councilwoman Efland made a motion to designated Tom Dietz as the Town’s representative for the University of Maryland technical assistance program to research greenhouse gas reduction projects and funding opportunities for those projects. The motion was seconded by Councilman O’Brien and passed unanimously.

There being no further business, Councilman Herz moved to adjourn the meeting at 7:35 pm. The motion was seconded by Councilwoman Efland and carried unanimously.

Submitted by:                                                             Approved by:

Lynda Thomas, Town Clerk                                       David Foster, Mayor

 

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CHESTERTOWN MAYOR AND COUNCIL MEETING

AGENDA

JANUARY 2, 2024

 

The Mayor and Council meetings are held in Town Hall, 118 N. Cross Street.  A livestream feed is available at www.townofchestertown.com.

If you would like to make a presentation to the Mayor and Council, contact the Town Clerk, office@chestertown.com, no later than noon the Wednesday prior to a scheduled meeting. Regularly scheduled meetings are held the first and third Mondays of the month, unless Monday is a holiday, then the meeting will be held the following Tuesday, unless otherwise announced.

 

6:00 p.m.

UTILITIES COMMISSION MEETING

  1. Call Meeting to Order
  2. Minutes of December 4, 2023, Utilities Commission Meetings
  3. Operating Funds on Hand
  4. Payment of Bills
  5. Mr. Sipes Report
  6. Questions or Comments
  7. Adjourn

 

MAYOR AND COUNCIL MEETING

  1. Call Meeting to Order
  2. Approval of December 18, 2023, Mayor and Council Meeting Minutes
  3. Operating Funds on Hand
  4. Payment of Bills
  5. Consent Calendar
    1. Inez Gwen Santori to the Recreation Committee
  6. Town Manager’s Report
    1. Town Boards, Commissions, Committees’ Activity Report
    2. Tree City USA
    3. Received Demo Permit 800 High Street
  7. Mayor’s Report
  8. Old Business
    1. Transfer of Heron Point Internal Roads Vote
  9. New Business
    1. Pat Nugent – Student Engagement Project
    2. Budget Workshop Calendar
    3. Trash Collection Rates
  10. Ward Reports
  11. Requests from the public to be on the agenda:
  12. Questions or comments
  13. Adjourn
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