CHESTERTOWN MAYOR AND COUNCIL MEETING
JULY 17, 2023
Mayor Foster called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. In attendance were Councilmembers Tim O’Brien, Tom Herz, and Meghan Efland, Larry DiRe (Town Manager), Lynda Thomas (Town Clerk) and guests.
Mayor Foster asked if there were any additions or corrections to the Mayor and Council minutes of July 3, 2023. Councilwoman Efland moved to approve the minutes of the Mayor and Council meeting of July 3, 2023. The motion was seconded by Councilman Herz and carried unanimously.
Mayor Foster noted that Jose Medrano for Ward 3 was out of town this week.
Mayor Foster reported that the cash on hand was $1,697,751.28.
Councilman Herz made a motion to pay the bills. The motion was seconded by Councilman O’Brien and passed unanimously.
State Highway Administration Update
Ken Fender and Rich Baker from the State Highway Administration gave an update on certain State Highway locations in Chestertown. They noted that several studies had been performed such as speed studies, pedestrian movements studies, accident data studies, etc., that allow staff to make educated decisions on what can and cannot be done to improve the roads. It was noted that when these studies are performed, all the data must be presented to the Office of Traffic and Safety where they determine what can and cannot be done.
Mr. Fender reported that they were in the process of looking at several different locations to make upgrades. He noted that typically they look at what’s called vulnerable user which is everything from a pedestrian to a bicyclist to cars. The goal is to make upgrades that will ultimately protect vulnerable users.
Mr. Baker reported that after the 2022 CTP tour they contacted David and Michael McDowell to start a corridor safety study through a consultant firm. It was determined that the 213 intersection, at Cross Street and Philosophers Terrace, experiences congestion where both side roads enter 213 at the same time and creates a bit of gridlock. He noted that he drew up a design request, attached the study, and sent it off to the Office of Traffic and Safety for review. The request has been approved all the way up to the director. Once funding is secured, the improvements will be scheduled.
Mr. Baker noted that they looked at Kent Street and Queen Street to see if it warranted putting up a pedestrian signal. The study came back that neither warranted a pedestrian signal. The study was done in the winter. Citizens attending the meeting asked that the study be done again in the summer during peak pedestrian traffic months. Mr. Baker reported that there’s a newly approved traffic control device called a rectangular rapid flashing beacon that could possibly be placed at those locations.
Mr. Baker reviewed another project at 213 or 291 that is being studied to improve pedestrian and bikers’ safety.
Ms. Efland requested that a traffic study be done at Morgnec Road crossing close to Haacke Drive (YMCA). She noted that updating the crossing of 213/Washington Ave and Morgnec would be a big help, but still had concerns about the YMCA area. Mr. Herz requested that they look at changes planned for the entrance of the Chestertown Christian Academy. Mr. Fender agreed to add these as upcoming studies.
Various comments and questions were given by the citizens that attended the meeting.
Elder Abuse Month
Catheryn McAllister, Supervisor of Adult Services and Marty Ladley, Primary Adult Health Services for the department of Social Services, reported that June was Elder Abuse Awareness Month and June 15th was Elder Abuse Awareness Day. Ms. McAllister reviewed the services that are available to older adults facing financial abuse and scams, abuse from families and caregivers.
Ms. McAllister noted that they have an adult multidisciplinary team made up of local law enforcement, upper shore aging, the health department, the Scott team from hospital services and many other agencies. The team reviews cases monthly of individuals who may not be vulnerable but may have needs the team can assist with. She noted that there are a lot of adults in the community who have needs that are unmet. She reviewed that just last year there were thirty (30) active adult Protective Services investigations. A greater number were screened out meaning they did not meet the criteria for protective services but could be helped by Adult Services in another capacity by connecting them or their families to resources to meet their needs.
Ms. McAllister reported that most of the time it is family members exploiting them financially, mistreating them physically and/or not able to care for them appropriately which end up in their department where they can advocate for them and hopefully get the services that they need.
Ms. McAllister noted that anyone 18 and older in need of support can contact them at 410-810-7600.
Legacy Day Event Presentation
Nivek Johnson presented the upcoming Legacy Day Event in August. He reported that this year they will be celebrating ten (10) years and honoring every committee member who served from the first legacy day all the way up to now along with honoring Airlee Ringgold Johnson who was a community historian and scholar of African American Heritage and Culture.
Chief Dixon reported the Police Report for June. He reported that there was one (1) death investigation, and a drop in calls for service in the month of June. He noted that the CPD is operating at a 25% deficit, but the men and women of the department are giving their all and recognized them for their hard work. There were 38 hours of overtime for shift coverage, that doesn’t include what Chief Dixon, Lieutenant Linz, and Detective Schwink do to help make sure there is always 24-hour coverage.
Chief Dixon reported that there were about 202 vehicle traffic warnings issued, 77 traffic citations, 13 equipment safety repair orders and 25 crashes during the month of June.
Chief Dixon gave an overview of CPD’s work and findings regarding the speed recording signs, crosswalks, and speed cameras in school zones.
Chief Dixon reviewed the complaints and the limitation CPD has in dealing with the after-hours activities at Wilmer Park and issues with transients in the area.
Chief reviewed various functions he had attended over the past month:
Back Yard Bash on Sheeler Road
Youth Traffic Safety Meeting with the Queen Anne’s County Sheriff’s Office
4th of July Fireworks
Kent Local Drug and Alcohol Abuse Council meeting
Met with Assistant Director of Washington College Public Safety and Sheriff Hickman to discuss matters of mutual concern.
Kent County Department of Social Services Child Advocacy Center meeting
Garnet’s week 2 summer program
Sexual Assault Response Team meeting
Chief Dixon recognized Lieutenant Linz for his heroic actions that saved the life of an overdose victim.
Town Manager’s Report
Mr. DiRe reviewed upcoming event permits.
Councilman Herz made a motion to approve the Crazy Days permit for July 27, 28, 29 from 10 am to 7 pm and waive the open container law. The motion was seconded by Councilwoman Efland and passed unanimously.
Councilman Herz made a motion to approve the United Way of Kent County Campaign September Kickoff for Friday, September 1 (rain date Friday, September 8) from 4 until 7 pm. The motion was seconded by Councilman O’Brien and passed unanimously.
Mr. DiRe reported that the Park Row sidewalk project would begin August 1.
Mr. Foster asked to have Mr. DiRe, Tom Herz and Tom Sappington work together to find an appropriate location for the Lions Club eyeglass receptacle.
Mr. Foster reviewed two (2) support letter requests:
- Chesapeake National Recreation Area for Riverside Trail
- Kent County Public Library’s application for the African American Heritage Preservation Program to restore and preserve the Hearse/Yellow House
Mr. Foster reviewed several (re)appointments to the various committees/commissions.
Councilman Herz made a motion to appoint Yuh Okano to the Public Arts Committee. The motion was seconded by Councilwoman Efland and passed unanimously.
Councilwoman O’Brien made a motion to reappoint Johnnie Jones to the Ethics Commission. The motion was seconded by Councilwoman Efland and passed unanimously.
Councilman Herz made a motion to appoint Paul Heckles, Richard Swanson, Nina Fleegle and Kate Van Name to the IT Study Group. The motion was seconded by Councilwoman Efland and passed unanimously.
There was a brief discussion about the Wilmer Park musical instruments at the playground. Jim Bogden, Recreation Commission, made note that he would make a post on Facebook to gather comments.
Mr. Thomas Dietz requested access to the town’s electric bills and town properties for the purpose of conducting a free energy audit.
Councilman O’Brien made a motion to allow the Environmental Committee to request town electric bills and access to town properties for the purpose of a free energy audit. The motion was seconded by Councilwoman Efland and passed unanimously.
Mr. O’Brien reviewed that he is working on an auxiliary dwelling unit ordinance.
Mr. O’Brien reviewed that he attended the Heron Point Community meeting that presented the possible privatization of the streets.
Mr. O’Brien reviewed reports that there was pesticide sprayed at the dog park. There was a hornet’s nest that pest management was called in to take care of. He noted that they were told to contact the Town Office before spraying chemicals on town property in the future.
Mr. O’Brien reported that he received a lot of great reports for the 4th of July Fireworks show except there were not enough restroom facilities available.
Mr. Herz reviewed the status of the tax set-off.
Mr. Herz reviewed the status of the meeting regarding 98 Cannon.
Mr. Herz reported that in two and a half years, Chestertown will be celebrating the 250-year anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. Plans are already in the works for the celebration. The director of Maryland 250 will be visiting Chestertown to get a tour and see what the town is doing and share resources.
Mr. Herz reviewed that Sarah E. Merrell, Galena Town Council, sent Chestertown Town Council a challenge to raise money for the 4-H Festival. Galena donated $200 toward the Youth Awards Fund of Kent County Agricultural Fair. He noted that Rock Hall has donated $600.
Councilwoman Efland made a motion to donate $500 to the Youth Awards Fund of Kent County Agricultural Fair. The motion was seconded by Councilman O’Brien and passed unanimously.
Ms. Efland noted that China House had closed and asked if something could be done with the long-term vacancies around town.
Ms. Efland reviewed the Board of Education’s options for the new middle school project.
Ms. Efland reviewed the short-term rental issue and Jamie Williams, Kent County Economic and Tourism Development, gave a review of the issue and how her department handles short-term rentals.
At 9:37 p.m., Pursuant to General Provisions Article §3-305(b)(1) to discuss a personnel matter; Councilman Herz made a motion to go into an Executive session to discuss a personnel matter. The motion was seconded by Councilwoman Efland and passed unanimously.
Mayor and Council met to discuss compensation to ARPA Admin.
Mayor and Council adjourned from Closed Session at 10:32 pm.
Councilman Herz made a motion to award our ARPA Admin, $1000 net per month until December 31, 2026. The motion was seconded by Councilwoman Efland and passed unanimously.
There being no further business, Councilwoman Efland moved to adjourn the meeting at 10:33 pm. The motion was seconded by Councilman Herz and carried unanimously.
Submitted by: Approved by:
Lynda Thomas, Town Clerk David Foster, Mayor
MAYOR AND COUNCIL MEETING
JULY 17, 2023
MAYOR AND COUNCIL MEETING
- Call Meeting to Order
- Minutes of Previous Mayor and Council meetings
- Operating Funds on Hand
- Payment of Bills
- Ken Fender and Rich Baker, State Highway Administration Update
- Catheryn McAllister, Elder Abuse Month
- Legacy Day Event Presentation
- Chief Ron Dixon Police Report
- Town Manager’s Report
- Event Permits
- Crazy Days (waive open container law)
- United Way of Kent County Campaign September Kickoff
- Event Permits
- Mayor’s Report
- Old Business
- Yuk Okano appointment to the Public Arts Committee
- Johnnie Jones reappointment to the Ethics Commission
- Paul Heckles, Nina Fleegle and Kate Van Name appointments to the IT Study Group
- Wilmer Park and Trail Public Safety Update
- Lions Club Eyeglass Receptacle
- New Business
- Thomas Dietz, Request for access to town Electric Bills and Town Properties for the purposes of a Free Energy Audit
- Ward Reports
- Requests from the Public to be on the Agenda
- Questions or Comments
- Executive Session – General Provisions Article, §3-305(b)(1) – To discuss a personnel matter