MAYOR AND COUNCIL
AUGUST 17, 2015
Mayor Cerino called the meeting to order at 8:00 p.m. In attendance were Council members Liz Gross, Linda Kuiper, Samuel T. Shoge and Mauritz Stetson, 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 August 3, 2015. Mr. Stetson moved to adopt the minutes as presented, was seconded by Ms. Gross and carried unanimously.
Mayor Cerino stated that operating funds on hand for unrestricted use was $1,344,565.30 and the assigned donation of Washington College of $192,740.00 for total funds of $1,537,304.30.
Mayor Cerino asked for a motion to pay bills. Mr. Stetson moved to pay the bills as presented, was seconded by Mr. Shoge and carried unanimously.
Ms. Amanda Sommerfield of Washington College was present and explained a partnership with the Bayside HOYAS, Kent County Middle School and SunTrust Bank for a tutoring and college prep intervention program geared towards 6th and 7th grade students at Kent County Middle School which was being funded through a grant by the Maryland Higher Education Commission. This would be a 10 month college preparatory program involving school year programming and a 2 week summer camp. Transportation would be provided for students to and from each program activity.
The objectives of the program were academic preparation, college and career readiness, leadership skills and caregiver development. The program would be offered to 60 eligible Kent County Middle School students, noting that the priority would be given to “Free and Reduced Meal Eligible” students. There were still 30 openings available.
Mayor Cerino asked how the HOYAS played a role in this program. Ms. Sommerfield stated that the HOYAS shared the vision for this program and their mentorship was a huge part of this program. Ms. Sommerfield stated that SunTrust would help with financial literacy for those participating in the program and would continue to be part of this venture even though they were closing the Chestertown branch.
Mr. Shoge asked if the $150,000.00 grant was for one year only. Ms. Sommerfield stated that was the case, noting that she had to have pilot data before requesting a multi-year grant. She said that the program will be year to year for the first few years and once the data was in place to backup how well the program was working they would seek multi-year funding.
Ms. Jodi Bortz was present to discuss a permit application for RiverFest, which was scheduled for September 26th from noon to 9 p.m. at the Wilmer Park, High Street landing, Water Street and along the River Walk. She said that this was a group effort through Chester River Arts, Sandbox and the Washington College Center for Environment and Society. The festival would mainly take place in Wilmer Park with kayak and canoe races, artists, family activities, non-profit and environmental exhibitors. The highlight of the day would be at the foot of High Street where a 25’ solar-powered floating sculpture by Vicco Von Voss will be unveiled. Ms. Bortz stated that the annual Waterfront Festival was perceived as “college only” so they wanted to change the festival to RiverFest and welcome the entire community. Ms. Bortz stated that the sculpture would be moved to area at Stepne reserved for Sandbox. The hope was to bring in a different national artist each year.
Mayor Cerino read the entire permit application into the record. Ms. Gross asked for clarification on the open container request. Ms. Bortz stated that the only time people would be travelling with an open container was when the festivities moved from the Wilmer Park to the Foot of High Street, which would begin at 6:00 p.m. There would be alcohol sales at Wilmer Park beginning at noon and at 5:00 p.m. at the Foot of High Street. The lighting of the sculpture would take place at 7:30 p.m.
Ms. Kuiper moved to approve the permit application for RiverFest on Saturday, September 26, 2015 from noon to 9:00 p.m. as presented, was seconded by Ms. Gross and carried unanimously.
Chief Baker was present and gave the Police Report for July 2015. Chief Baker stated that an Officer Perper left the agency for Chevy Chase, Maryland and a $10,000.00 raise.
Chief Baker asked all residents to be mindful of the property, keeping windows and doors locked and to call the police if any suspicious activity was noticed.
Ms. Gross asked about the speed board on Haacke Drive. Chief Baker stated that the board was placed on the wrong street and was now in place gathering stats.
Ms. Kuiper thanked Chief and the other police officers for their help during the fire at Washington College on Saturday night.
Ms. Kuiper stated that she knows the speed camera was down for a couple weeks and said she thought she saw a Kent County officer sitting at Todd’s Body Shop. She said that it would seem unfair to get a Town speed camera ticket and a County ticket at the same time.
Ms. Kuiper also thanked Chief Baker for directing the tour bus this past Saturday.
Mr. Tom Ayd of Green Street Housing was present and said that the company operated out of Salisbury, Maryland and focused on affordable rural housing. He said that they were under contract to purchase Chestertown Cove on Morgnec Road and were looking to renovate the four (4) existing buildings which were originally built in the 1980s. Mr. Ayd stated that tax credits were utilized in the early 1990s to facilitate the acquisition of the project and a mild rehabilitation and Green Street Housing was applying for tax credits for a major renovation.
Mr. Ayd stated that Green Street was planning a gut rehab of Chestertown Cove where the interiors would be taken down to the studs and the rooms reconfigured, energy star appliances and energy efficient windows would be installed. Green Street planned to meet the standards of the “Enterprise Green” building certification program.
Mr. Ayd stated that rental subsidies were in place, and would remain in place, at this complex under the USDA standards in place, and said that all tenants in good standing will be invited to stay. During the course of renovation (approximately 3 months per building), Green Street will facilitate the relocation plan and pay the costs of the tenants move. Tenants will be moved one building at a time either on or off site in a nearby location in Chestertown. A central laundry area would be built in the community building.
Mr. Ayd stated that tenants in a subsidized living environment are not impacted by rent increases as the rent is set at 30% of income, so they won’t be expected to pay additional rent due to the renovation.
Mr. Ayd stated that he spoke with Mr. Ingersoll, who suggested that a request be made to the Council supporting the project in for Green Street to obtain the tax credits available. He said that he expected the State to have approximately 25 applications, but only 11 to 13 projects will be financed. He said that dollar signs help as does affirmed commitment from the locality.
Mr. Ayd stated that there was as estimated Town requirement of approximately $59,000.00 in fees, building, inspection, water and sewer hookups, and sprinkler fees. He was requesting a waiver of any and/or all of those fees. He said that a waiver of fees would push them that much closer to being awarded the credits.
Mr. Stetson stated that it would be nice to waive fees for projects of this nature, but that was what paid for police services, town roads, and water/sewer. He said that he did not think it was fair to the tax paying residents to waive all of the fees for Chestertown Cove.
Mr. Shoge asked if there were other ways to help strengthen Green Street’s application. Mr. Ayd stated that other communities have created bus stops or had routes along a bus stop changed to better accommodate residents of the complexes. He said that Green Street was fortunate as this project was in the right spot for revitalization and said that with the Town’s support he thought they would be awarded the funds.
Mr. Stetson stated that he would like to discuss how to proceed with Mr. Ingersoll. The Council agreed. Mayor Cerino stated that he would be happy to send a letter of support on behalf of this project, but thought that any fee waivers would have to wait for advice from Mr. Ingersoll, noting that if any fees were waived he thought they would be only building permit fees. He suggested working out a decision via email before Green Street’s September deadline. Mayor Cerino stated that Chestertown was a unique community in that almost half of the Town was in the non-profit sector, making the budget difficult and waiving fees sets a challenging precedent.
Mayor Cerino stated that there was a permit request from Body by Mike for a Health and Fitness (Grooversize) Event in the Fountain Park on Saturday, August 29, 2015. The discussion turned to the fact that “for profit” businesses were not permitted use the park for events and fitness was Mr. Hubbard’s business. The Council thought it more appropriate to hold this event in the Wilmer Park, if Mr. Hubbard would like to do so, as jazzercise and other types of exercise classes took place under the small pavilion from time to time. Ms. Kuiper stated that if Mr. Hubbard would like, he could come before the Council to discuss another date and explain how the event would be run.
Mayor Cerino stated that the Kent County Medical Adult Day Care was hosting an Open House to celebrate National Adult Daycare Month on Friday, September 25th from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Kent County Health Department, 125 South Lynchburg Street, 1st Floor in Chestertown.
Mayor Cerino stated that the Walk to End Alzheimer’s was scheduled for Saturday, October 10th with registration beginning at 9 a.m. in the Wilmer Park. The walk begins at 10 a.m. For information or to register beforehand, please call 1-800-272-3900.
Mayor Cerino stated that the Committee has pared down applicants to three (3) finalists for the Arts and Entertainment District Manager (Marketing and Economic Development Officer) and said that the Council had to schedule an executive session to interview the finalists. The Council decided to meet on Monday, August 31st beginning at 7 p.m. with 20 to 30 minutes for each finalist.
Mayor Cerino stated that he thought it would be best to send the County Commissioners 2 or 3 suggested dates to meet in order to discuss the MOU for the sanitary district. The Council agreed.
Ms. Kuiper stated that a new bench was dedicated in the Wilmer Park by Dr. and Mrs. Robert Jones in memory of their son “Mikey” and it was unveiled on August 8th. She thanked Mr. Ingersoll for helping to coordinate the bench and plaque.
Ms. Kuiper stated that there was a 45 person bus trip from the Maryland National Park Commission visiting Chestertown and they had a wonderful time at the Farmers Market, on the River Packet, and toured a couple historic houses. The group stayed for some of the Legacy Day festivities as well.
Ms. Kuiper stated that Legacy Day, held on Saturday, August 15th, packed the Town with people and was a nice event with good music and food.
Mr. Shoge stated that Washington Park was holding their first annual “Community Day” on Saturday, September 5th and requested that Mayor Cerino attend the event.
Mr. Shoge stated that the State Highway Administration weeded the round-a-bout earlier in the day and it looked much better.
Mr. Shoge stated that the first Chestertown Marketing Committee meeting was held last Thursday and said that they were looking for ways to get people to visit and spend money in Chestertown. He said that the committee was looking forward to working with the new A&E District Manager. He said that there was discussion of an internship with a Washington College student.
Mr. Stetson stated that the fire at Washington College was terrible loss but he was glad to hear that all of the information from that department was able to be recovered.
Mr. Stetson stated that the benches in the Dog Park and along the walking trail at Bailey Park have been installed. He said that there was a bench every tenth of a mile.
Mr. Stetson stated that he would announce whether or not he was running for reelection at the next meeting on September 8th.
There being no further business, Mr. Stetson moved to adjourn the meeting at 9:15 p.m., was seconded by Ms. Gross and carried unanimously.
Submitted by: Approved by:
Jennifer Mulligan Chris Cerino
Town Clerk Mayor