CHESTERTOWN MAYOR AND COUNCIL MEETING
NOVEMBER 20, 2023
Mayor Foster called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. In attendance were Councilmembers Tim O’Brien, Tom Herz, Jose Medrano and Meghan Efland. Also in attendance were 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 November 6, 2023. Councilwoman Efland moved to approve the minutes of the Mayor and Council meeting of November 6, 2023, as amended. The motion was seconded by Councilman Medrano and carried unanimously.
Mayor Foster reported that the cash on hand was $3,109,863.23. Councilman O’Brien made a motion to pay the bills. The motion was seconded by Councilwoman Efland and passed unanimously.
2024 Marina Rates
Mr. Paul Coleman, Marina Manager, presented the proposed 2024 marina rates and capital projects that were needed.
Mr. Coleman reviewed that since the marina reopened in 2019, COVID was a boost for the boating industry which increase the interest in rentals and in 2022 a fire destroyed the 98 Cannon restaurant. During the summer of 2022, a food truck was located at the restaurant parking lot to provide service to the marina clients. Mr. Coleman noted that rates have remained the same since 2019 and although a lot has happened in the past few years, the Marina had not lost customers.
Mr. Coleman reported there are typically 650 stays at the marina per year and noted that there were 75 names on the waiting list for people who would like to rent a slip at the marina. Mr. Foster suggested a 20% fee increase given the 75 names on the wait list.
Mr. Coleman noted that winter rates begin November 15th, and the rates are 50% off of the summer rates. He stated during the winter months the boats are typically removed and prepared for winter storage. He noted that the marina does not allow boats to remain unless properly winterized since there are no winter services available at the marina.
Mr. Coleman addressed the capital improvements that were need:
- C dock – the fixed dock used for the Sultana – the first 100 feet was not replaced in 2019 with the rest of the dock and needs to be replaced soon.
- A small 12–13-foot work boat was needed.
- An oil boom was needed in case a boat had an oil leak. The Maryland Clean Marina Program had also recommended there be one at the Marina.
- Trash/sup pump was needed to assist boats taking on water.
- There was a need to replace the old, faded or bent signage.
Councilman Herz moved to enact Mr. Coleman’s rate increase recommendations with the exception to increase the current slip rates an additional 20% to what Mr. Coleman recommended. The motion was seconded by Councilman O’Brien and carried unanimously.
Town Manager’s Report
Mr. DiRe presented the reports on the Town Boards, Commissions, Committees activity, sleeping shelter, and Native Vegetative Growth.
Mr. O’Brien asked about the FOIA requests that staff were receiving. He asked if they were each different requests or were the requests a form of harassment asking for the same documentation. Mr. DiRe reviewed the status of the requests.
Mr. Marcus Goldman reviewed his Native Vegetative Growth garden and noted that it is beneficial to pollinators, birds, insects, and the environment. He reviewed the care and benefits of his lawn and the garden and asked for an exemption and suggested the Town do a monthly inspection. He suggested a certification program or rewording of the ordinance to allow for a meadow lawn.
Ms. Efland stated that she and the Environmental Committee were in support of Native Vegetative Growth and noted that other towns had adopted additional language to allow for Native Vegetative Growth in their codes.
Ms. Hope Clark reviewed proposed locations for the homeless sleeping cart and gave an update on the individual that was to use it.
Mr. Herz reviewed the proposed cold weather emergency policy that was introduced last year.
Mr. DiRe reviewed the safety and occupancy issues with the homeless cart. Ms. Clark noted that a lock was purchased and would be given to the person approved to be housed in the cart.
Councilwoman Efland made a motion to approve $2500 for the police to use toward the cold weather funds for kit and lodging at their discretion. The motion was seconded by Councilman Herz and passed unanimously.
Mr. DiRe noted he would continue the conversation with the group to find an appropriate location for the shelter.
Mr. Foster read a Proclamation to honor Barrie and Elizabeth Montague for 60 years of Marital Bliss.
Mr. Foster thanked Mr. DiRe and Ms. Miller for seeking out higher return rates for the ARPA funds.
Mr. Foster reported that he, along with Rock Hall Mayor James Cook; Brian Matthews, Kent Forward; Michael Harvey, Washington College; and Katy Wright, Kent County Economic Development had visited Chesapeake College to explore the possibility of a satellite campus in Kent County.
Mr. Foster reported that he visited Salisbury and viewed the tiny house homeless shelter and the maker space.
Mr. Foster noted that he attended the ethics training hosted by Johnnie Jones, Ethics Commission Chair.
Mr. Foster reported that he met with Ben Seigel, Deputy Comptroller for Policy, to discuss the tax differential.
Mr. DiRe presented the ShoreRivers Lease renewal for review and discussion.
Mr. Foster expressed concerns that the ShoreRivers would be charged below fair market rate.
Mr. O’Brien noted that the building was not ideal and had no restroom and felt they were lucky to have someone willing to occupy the building and pay the rate of $14,808 a year.
Councilman O’Brien made a motion to give staff the authority to maintain existing ShoreRivers lease, month-to-month, until at which time the information the Mayor’s satisfaction.
Ms. Efland stated that there should be a cap so that ShoreRivers is aware of the length of time they will be charged month-to-month while lease is being discussed.
The motion was amended to state – to give staff the authority to maintain existing ShoreRivers lease, month-to-month for 3 months, until at which time the information the Mayor’s satisfaction. The motion was seconded by Councilman Medrano and passed unanimously.
Mr. DiRe presented the Upper Shore Community Development Partners (USCDP) Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for review and discussion.
Mr. Herz addressed the scope of work listed and possibly having an end date to segments of work.
Councilman Medrano made a motion to approve the USCDP MOU under the guidance that was given by the Town Attorney.
Mr. O’Brien agreed with Mr. Herz to focus on prioritizing the scope of work. He noted he would like to see the primary focus to be on the first two (2) components before moving onto the next.
Mr. Herz noted that the needs assessment was a priority.
The motion was amended to include – focus on the needs assessment and establishment of housing and entrepreneurship resource program. The motion was seconded by Councilwoman Efland and passed unanimously.
Mr. DiRe presented the North Church (Aly) Street Text Amendment, 160-13.1a4 for review and discussion. It was a consensus to include North Church Aly to the text amendment update.
Ms. Efland noted the following topics:
- Thanked the 15 voters that came out for the election.
- She and Mr. Herz spoke at the Community Interfaith Thanksgiving service, organized by Chester Valley Ministry.
- She received feedback from the Environmental Committee and will send out the information to the Mayor and Council, DCA, Chamber of Commerce and Mainstreet for review.
- YMCA Turkey Trot 5K.
- KCPS Giving Tuesday – The Kent County Public Schools Education Foundation Fund, which supports KCPS students and teachers, through Mid-Shore Community Foundation, Mid-Shore Gives.
Mr. Medrano noted the following topics:
- The Farmers Market would be held the Wednesday prior to Thanksgiving.
- The yard waste that was dumped across from 220 Devon Drive, still had not been cleared.
- A street light on Flatland Road was out.
Mr. Herz noted the following topics:
- Brielle Matus, Mayor for the Day winner, will be a judge at the Christmas parade.
- He would like to add a discussion for the next meeting, on how citizens can be added to the agenda.
- He would like to discuss a possible change to the election ordinance when all candidates run unopposed.
Mr. O’Brien noted the following topics:
- He forwarded a letter to the Mayor regarding negotiating with the hospital for the Bailey Park property.
- He received comments of support for the nature area at the water treatment plant.
- Gave an update on the Tree ordinance and asked the Tree Committee to come in.
- He wished everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.
There being no further business, Councilman Herz moved to adjourn the meeting at 8:34 pm. The motion was seconded by Councilwoman Efland and carried unanimously.
Submitted by: Approved by:
Lynda Thomas, Town Clerk David Foster, Mayor
NOVEMBER 20, 2023
The Mayor and Council meeting will resume in person meetings at Town Hall. A livestream feed is available at www.townofchestertown.com.
MAYOR AND COUNCIL MEETING
- Call meeting to order
- Minutes of November 6, 2023, Mayor and Council meetings
- Operating funds on hand
- Payment of bills
- Consent Calendar
- Chief Ron Dixon police report
- Paul Coleman – 2024 Marina Rates
- Town Manager’s report
- Boards/Commissions/Committees Update
- Sleeping Shelter
- Native Vegetation Growth
- Mayor’s Report
- Old Business
- New Business
- North Church (Aly) Street Text Amendment 160-13.1a.4 – Review
- Ward Reports
- Requests from the public to be on the agenda:
- Questions or comments