MAYOR AND COUNCIL
AUGUST 16, 2021
Mayor Foster called the meeting to order at 6:30 p.m. In attendance were Councilmembers Samuel Shoge, Tom Herz, Ellsworth Tolliver and Meghan Efland, W. S. Ingersoll (Town Manager), Jennifer Mulligan (Town Clerk) and guests.
Mayor Foster asked if there were any additions or corrections to the minutes of the Mayor and Council Meeting of August 2, 2021. Mr. Herz moved to approve the minutes of the meetings of August 2, 2021, as presented, was seconded by Rev. Tolliver and carried unanimously.
Mayor Foster stated that the operating funds on hand amount was $1,468,418.06.
Mayor Foster asked for a motion to approve the payment of the bills. Ms. Efland moved to pay the bills as presented, was seconded by Mr. Herz and carried unanimously.
Acting Chief Dolgos gave the Police Report for July 2021. Acting Chief Dolgos stated that there were two (2) deaths in Chestertown from overdoses during July. He said that one officer completed the CIT (Crisis Intervention Team) Training in July and there was another class in November that he hoped to be able to have an officer attend.
Mayor Foster stated that the policy on take home cars would be discussed at this meeting. Acting Chief Dolgos stated that this policy would allow any officer who lived within a 35 mile radius to have a take home car and use the car while off-duty. He said that for this to take place, one car that was going to be turned in for new would be kept instead. Mr. Ingersoll stated that Chief Dolgos’ costs estimates were based on officers taking the cars home only. He said that he had asked the Chief if personal use off duty was part of his financial projections and he said it was not.
Mr. Shoge asked if additional maintenance caused by the extra mileage was factored into the equation. Acting Chief Dolgos stated that he projected costs for gas and mileage used a rate per mile that included the costs of regular maintenance.
Ms. Efland stated that there was no mention of performing mileage checks in the policy and suggested that be done at least monthly. Mr. Herz stated that this could be a test policy for 6-months.
Mr. Shoge stated that he was concerned about additional liabilities incurred by having passengers in a car being driven by an off-duty officer. Acting Chief Dolgos stated that any officer riding in the police car had to be ready to act if an issue came up, but that was the norm for any police officer. Chief Dolgos stated that if an officer did not want to answer a call while off-duty they should not use the vehicle.
Mr. Herz stated that he was supportive of taking the cars home as a trial and to see how it works out. Mayor Foster stated that this was meant to be a plus for the officers. Acting Chief Dolgos stated that if an officer abused the privilege they would lose it. Ms. Efland asked how he would decide how officers were assigned a particular vehicle as she did not want any officer to feel slighted. Mr. Shoge stated that it should be an equitable decision among the officers.
Mr. Herz moved to approve the allowance of patrol cars for an experimental 6-month period if that officer lived within a 35-mile radius of Town limits, was seconded by Rev. Tolliver and carried unanimously.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that Resolution 03-2021 was before the Council for passage. The Resolution began the process of approving a conduit revenue bond issue that would refinance a previous bond issue approved by the Town for Washington College. It also approved the Mayor to act on behalf of the Town and to hold the required TEFRA hearing for the revenue bonds to be issued for Washington College. He said that this was a help to the College, did not affect the credit of the Town in any way, and all costs, including a separate bond Counsel for the Town, were paid by the College in the process. Mr. Ingersoll stated that there would be a hearing in September. Ms. Efland moved to pass Resolution 03-2021 as submitted, was seconded by Rev. Tolliver and carried unanimously.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that John Schratwieser was present to discuss the MOU between the Town and Kent Cultural Alliance. Mr. Schratwieser stated that a signed MOU had to be presented to the State each year so he would return to the Council on an annual basis. Ms. Efland moved for the MOU authorization to be signed by the Mayor once the change to an “annual” agreement was made, was seconded by Rev. Tolliver and carried unanimously
Mr. Ingersoll stated that the next item on his agenda was the proposed Public Art Agreement. Mr. Ben Tilghman was present to discuss the agreement. Mr. Ingersoll stated that he discussed the Agreement with the former Town Attorney and the interim Town Attorney. Their main concerns were the intellectual property issues. He said that he would also like more specifics on how donations will be handled
Mayor Foster stated that several of his questions had been answered by the Town Attorneys when it came to the intellectual property issues. Mr. Tilghman stated that his committee was looking into best practices when it came to identifying who owned the copyright to the art and looking into signage to be placed near the artwork naming the artist. Mr. Ingersoll suggested a permanent placard be placed at the base of each piece of art that also addressed the use of the artwork.
Mr. Shoge stated that he was a member of the committee and wanted to divulge that before he voted on any motion concerning the public art.
Ms. Efland moved to accept the promised gift of the entire collection of 24 works of art, subject to final revisions of the Donation Agreement, was seconded by Rev. Tolliver and carried unanimously.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that Monday, September 6th was the Labor Day Holiday so the next meeting of the Mayor and Council will take place on Tuesday, September 7th.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that he thought the Council should return to meeting over Zoom as health concerns were raised by the Kent County Health Department and Kent County was now in a high risk category. Mr. Shoge stated that he would prefer to wear masks to meetings instead of returning to Zoom meetings.
Rev. Tolliver moved to return to Zoom meetings based on Bill Webb’s recommendations in that we are at a high risk category and the motion was seconded by Mr. Herz. The motion failed with Mayor Foster, Mr. Shoge and Ms. Efland opposing it. Mayor Foster stated that masks will be worn at each meeting after this meeting.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that Work in Progress Ministry had a permit request for an outdoor revival to be held on September 18th. He said that they asked that the Town block the upper half of Calvert Street from Graves Alley to Lynchburg Street for the event. Mr. Herz moved to authorize the permit as submitted, was seconded by Rev. Tolliver and carried unanimously.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that the Legacy Day committee sent in a permit request to block the first part of the 300 block of Cannon Street from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday, August 20th. They also asked to waive the open container requirement for that duration of the event. Rev. Tolliver moved to approve the permit request as submitted, was seconded by Mr. Herz and carried unanimously.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that the Jazz Festival submitted a permit request for Friday September 10th and Saturday, September 11th (noon to 6 p.m.) with use of the stage. Rev. Tolliver stated that this year the headliner was a world-class jazz bassist and there would be many people coming into Town. Mr. Shoge moved to approve the Jazz Festival’s permit request as submitted, was seconded by Rev. Tolliver and carried unanimously.
Mayor Foster read a proclamation into the record declaring August 21st as Legacy Day in Chestertown.
Mayor Foster stated that there were currently two (2) vacancies on the Historic District Commission. He said that Rob Busler, a former commissioner, offered to be reappointed to the Historic District Commission and he asked for a motion to approve. Mr. Shoge moved to appoint Mr. Busler to the Historic District Commission, was seconded by Mr. Herz and carried unanimously
Ms. Efland moved to reappoint Morgan Ellis to the Planning Commission, was seconded by Mr. Shoge and carried unanimously.
Mr. Shoge stated that he has a request from a resident on Kent Street for a speed limit sign. He said that the radar is on Kent Street currently and asked if speed limit signs could be installed. Mr. Shoge stated that he would discuss with Mr. Ingersoll where the sign should be located. Ms. Efland stated that it might be a good idea to post the sign on the corner of Kent Street by the Town water plant.
Mr. Herz stated that he was excited for Legacy Day but would not be able to attend this year as he would be on vacation.
Rev. Tolliver stated that Washington Park Day was going to be held on September 4th beginning at 2 p.m. The Coventry Farms block party was scheduled for September 18th.
Rev. Tolliver stated that the opioid epidemic was still in existence and said that people must be mindful to curb any use of illegal drugs.
Rev. Tolliver stated that anyone who has not been vaccinated should get the vaccination and said that if that if they didn’t want to “do it for themselves, they should do it for the rest of us.”
Ms. Efland stated that she would like to enhance the crosswalk on Rt. 291 by the Tractor Supply, adding that there could be a $5,000.00 fee required to begin the engineering process to create plans for the SHA to approve. Mr. Ingersoll stated that they originally discussed beginning the crosswalk at Haacke Drive (noting that there is an increase in daily truck usage of the street since KRM had begun to build out the new industrial park and issues have been raised by the residents). Mr. Ingersoll stated that the Town would have to sit down with State Highway to get approvals and he hoped to design in a bike lane on Haacke Drive and other amenities to allow bikers and pedestrians to go to the new YMCA in a safe fashion. An additional crossing on Scheeler Road would be helpful in providing safe passage to the YMCA for pedestrian traffic.
Ms. Efland stated that move in day for Washington College was Monday, August 23rd. Mr. Michael Harvey stated that the new president of the college would be on campus to welcome the new students.
Mr. Jim Bogden of the Recreation Commission stated that the proposals for the Wilmer Park playground were being assessed and they have narrowed the project down to five (5) designs. Those designs will be further narrowed down to two (2) by the Recreation Committee and then shown to the public for their opinion. He said that they would submit to the Mayor and Council the September 20th meeting.
Mr. Bogden stated that Mr. Rhodes and others involved with basketball in the area have revised the Ajax Park design and they would have a meeting on August 30th to discuss the new plans.
Mr. Schratwieser stated that Saturday, September 11th is the Fall Artwork and that 30 to 40 artists would be represented on High Street and throughout Chestertown. Artists from surrounding A&E Districts would be joining them for the event.
Mr. Schratwieser stated that there was a posting for the A&E Manager with a deadline of September 5th. He said that he was meeting with the State to go over the proposed expansion of the A&E District.
There being no further business and no other questions or comments from the audience, Mr. Herz moved to adjourn the meeting at 8:10 p.m. was seconded by Ms. Efland and carried unanimously.
Submitted by: Approved by:
Jennifer Mulligan David Foster
Town Clerk Mayor