Mayor Cerino called the meeting to order at 7:35 p.m. In attendance were Council members Liz Gross, Linda Kuiper, Samuel T. Shoge and Mauritz Stetson, W. S. Ingersoll, Town Manager, 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 June 15, 2015 or the executive session of the same date. Mr. Stetson moved to approve the Mayor and Council meetings as presented, was seconded by Mr. Shoge and carried unanimously.
Mayor Cerino asked for a motion to pay bills. Mr. Stetson moved to pay the bills as presented, was seconded by Ms. Gross and carried unanimously.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that he had not been able to complete a Community Legacy grant application for the Wi-Fi to extend to the waterfront, including the Marina and Wilmer Park. The Sailor Network, granted to the Town by the public library service, is the entity that provides Wi-Fi bandwidth to the downtown parks. He asked if he could have a motion to submit it with Mayor Cerino signing the documents, noting that he would try to beat the deadline. Mr. Stetson moved to grant permission to Mr. Ingersoll to submit a grant for $25,000.00 to extend the Wi-Fi to the waterfront and authority for the Mayor to sign the documents, was seconded by Ms. Kuiper and carried unanimously.
Mr. Ingersoll introduced Ordinance 02-2015, An Ordinance Declaring 333 South Cross Street in Chestertown to be Surplus and Authorizing the Sale Thereof and read the Ordinance into the record. Mr. Ingersoll stated that most of the other surplus properties the Council wanted to sell had already been declared excess. Ms. Gross moved to introduce Ordinance 02-2015, An Ordinance Declaring 333 South Cross Street in Chestertown to be Surplus and Authorizing the Sale Thereof, was seconded by Ms. Kuiper and carried unanimously.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that the solar array at the Wastewater Treatment Plant was nearing completion.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that Ms. Bonnie Brady was present on behalf of Kent Center, Inc. with a Resolution to approve the use of tax credits through the Community Investment Tax Credit Program. Ms. Brady told the Council that the Town of Chestertown has been a great supporter of the Kent Center since they opened. She spoke of the programs that were offered to adults with developmental disabilities and all of the volunteers who see to it that there are things for their clients to do in the community. She said that those who donate to the Kent Center can claim their total deduction on their taxes. Mayor Cerino read the Resolution into the record. Ms. Gross moved to approve a Resolution to approve the use of tax credits through the Community Tax Credit program, was seconded by Mr. Stetson and carried with four (4) in favor, Ms. Kuiper recused (Ms. Kuiper is an employee of Psychotherapeutic Services).
Mr. Ingersoll read a permit request for Legacy Day on Saturday, August 15th from 5:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. One of the requests was to close High Street from Cross Street to Spring Street. Mr. Shoge stated that he thought the location should be in front of the Garfield Center as it was last year. Ms. Kuiper stated that street closure times should be clearly marked. Mr. Ingersoll stated that it looked as though the festival was intended to take place mainly in the Fountain Park. Ms. Kuiper stated that the Bordley Building may be finished by then and perhaps they wanted to be closer to it. Chief Baker stated that he would work out the street closures with the director of the Historical Society.
Mayor Cerino stated that for the last several months the Town has been waiting for responses from the Hospital and MDE about their plans to close out the oil spill. Mayor Cerino stated that the Town’s counsel on this matter asked MDE for a meeting to get an update on their thoughts about moving the permit further. As a result of that request, Mr. Chris Ralston, Administrator of the Oil Control Program at MDE, emailed him and asked for a meeting on June 30th. He said that he included Mr. Bob Sipes and Mr. Ingersoll in the meeting, but Mr. Sipes had already planned to be on vacation. Mayor Cerino stated that Mr. Sipes did not have any opposition to the meeting taking place in his absence as he and Mr. Ingersoll were well aware of his concerns and trusted they would be reiterated to MDE at this meeting.
Mayor Cerino stated that MDE has the authority to give the permit to the Hospital without any public meetings. He said that he took the fact that MDE was willing to come to Chestertown and meet as a good sign. The three main goals of the meeting were as follows:
1) Find out where MDE was in the approval process and what they thought of the pilot test;
2) Use the meeting as an opportunity to reiterate concerns with the IveySol© surfactant method; and
3) Ask for a joint public meeting including the citizens, MDE and the Hospital where the plan would be presented.
Mayor Cerino stated that Mr. Ingersoll sent minutes of the meeting to all Council members. MDE felt as though the use of IveySol© to clean the spill showed promise in the pilot test and they were developing a plan to allow the Hospital to continue using IveySol© to get what remains in the ground in a state that could be pumped out using the Hospital’s pump and treat system.
Mayor Cerino stated that the Town’s concerns were as follows:
1) An apparent lack of a comprehensive site characterization;
2) If IveySol© is injected in the wells there is hydrological control at all times by the pump system remaining on at all times;
3) Assurances in place that MDE or the Hospital will pay for new Town wells to be dug if contaminants are found in the wells at any time in the future;
4) Continuous monitoring of the site for several years after the site is closed out by MDE.
Mayor Cerino stated that he asked the Deputy Secretary of MDE, Horatio Tablado, if MDE was required by law to have a public hearing about this permit and the answer was no. He then asked if Mr. Tablado would be willing to come to a Town meeting to present the plan so that the Council and members of the community had a chance to hear it directly from them and ask questions. Mr. Tablado stated that he would attend a public meeting and gave the date of Tuesday, July 14th at 6:00 p.m.
Mayor Cerino stated that he understood that everyone would have preferred if the meeting was planned for a date farther out on the calendar but MDE was “driving this bus” and he felt as though it was his job to get a “seat on the bus”. He asked the press and those present at the meeting to help spread the word about the meeting time.
Mayor Cerino stated that he was advised that he would receive a copy of the proposed remediation plan that MDE was considering before the meeting and said he would share it when it was received. Mr. Sipes stated that there was a proposal attached to the pilot study response, but he said that he did not know any changes that have been made to the proposal since that time.
Mayor Cerino stated that this oil spill has cost the Town thousands of dollars in taxpayer money, in addition to the most productive shallow water well (Well #8) having to be closed due to the contamination. Mr. Ingersoll stated that the costs were about $30,000.00 in legal and consulting fees alone.
Mayor Cerino stated that MDE’s opinion was that the pump and treat system in place has run its course and was pulling groundwater with very little contamination in it and the majority of what was left was not in a recoverable state. He said that MDE told him that there was never going to be 100% of oil removed from the site and it could be closed out knowing that there were contaminants in the ground, if MDE was confident it did not pose a threat to human health.
Ms. Gross stated that she would be more confident about the entire issue if there were financial assurances in place to protect the Town. Mr. Ingersoll said he asked if there could be a Consent Order or bonding (up to $10,000,000.00) if the Town was harmed and was told that MDE did not include anything like that in their closeouts. Mr. Ingersoll stated that the Town would want to insure vigilance in testing for years to come about possible moving product underground.
Mr. Stetson stated that the Hospital should pay the Town for their out of pocket costs due to this spill. Ms. Gross stated that the Town never even received compensation for the well that was closed down. Mr. Sipes stated that he thought the Town was in the same position as a couple years ago where there was a proposal in front of them that they did not agree was 100% safe and all options should be examined in order to keep the groundwater safe the residents of Chestertown.
Mr. Shoge asked if contamination were in the wells, would they be easily picked up in water quality tests. Mr. Sipes stated that he thought the Town should increase the frequency of analysis for VOCs in the wells. He said that the largest detects of individual contaminants on site after the IveySol© injections were gasoline range organics and that was what the Hospital wanted to stop testing. Mr. Sipes stated that if MDE found one of those contaminants in a Town well, the well would immediately be shut down.
Mr. David Foster was in the audience and said that Mr. Tablada was correct in that MDE was not required to hold a public meeting but MDE was required to do many things that have not been done. MDE was required to inform the Town and the public if there was a change in the plans and testing of the wells, which has not been done and said he thought that MDE is in violation of Federal law. Mr. Foster stated that Mr. Tablada was in charge at the time of the original spill and did not inform Mayor Horsey of the spill then.
Mr. Foster stated that he did not agree that the pump and treat system has run its course. He said that the system previously had an important role in recovering oil that they could burn, but it continues to have an important role in preventing the spill from moving offsite. Mayor Cerino stated that he agreed that the pumps were containing the spill onsite.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that Mr. Sipes told him it was possible that the pumping rates were reduced, which would change the recovery results. Mr. Sipes stated that the Hospital was pumping 120 gallons per minute out of the ground when there was an accidental release a few years back. However, when the IveySol© pilot study was taking place he was told that they were only drawing at 1.2 to 2 gallons per minute instead of the usual 9 gallons per minute.
Mayor Cerino stated that he met with Mr. Ken Kozell of University of Maryland Shore Regional Health to discuss rumors that the Hospital was going to close in the near future. Mr. Kozell told him that no decisions have been made and the UMMS was in a 9 month process of analyzing which services worked at each of the hospitals on the shore. Mayor Cerino stated that Mr. Kozell was going to attend the meeting of July 20th to explain the process that the Hospital was going through.
Mayor Cerino stated that the Town has been working nonstop to raise money and get permits so that work could begin on the Marina project this winter. He explained the marina property, noting the Fish Whistle property that sat in the middle of the property and the Scott’s Point Condominiums. He said that the Charrettes held last year outlined the issues that had to be addressed and a plan was drafted, presented, and agreed upon by all in attendance as a good plan for the site.
Mayor Cerino stated that the engineer for the Marina misrepresented where the footpath was supposed to be located on the waterside of Scott’s Point Condominiums, noting that it should have been 20’ further out. There was an easement that was to be recorded by the developer in 2005 as part of final site plan approval with the Planning Commission allowing a walkway to connect from Cannon Street to Wilmer Park.
Mayor Cerino stated that ideally the entire area by Cannon Street would be raised by 2’ at least to the height of the existing Cannon Street pier. He said that the basin required dredging. MDE told the Town to put in one (1) permit requesting all of the work at the Marina, which the Town did. Mayor Cerino stated that anyone with an objection to the Marina plan could call a public hearing to voice their concerns and that was exactly what happened. He said that the residents on both sides of the property had concerns.
Mayor Cerino stated that Scott’s Point Condominiums objected to the following:
1) the walkway in front of the units and the owners are unanimous in that they do not want a walkway in front of their properties;
2) the effect of that dredging the Town basin would have on their basin, and;
3) the alignment of the pier closest to their property line;
4) the docking of boats on the downriver side of the pier next to them; boats may cross the property line, and;
5) the kayak launch area.
Mayor Cerino stated that when Scott’s Point was approved by the Planning Commission the easement that was supposed to be recorded was not. The boardwalk was not to be constructed at that time but become a part of the recorded plat and constructed at the time the adjoining neighbors could connect at the owner’s expense. He said in hindsight, the walkway should have been built before there was ever an owner of one of the condominiums.
Ms. Gross asked if the easement was recorded as part of the owners’ deed. Mr. Ingersoll stated that the easement is shown on the plans approved by the Planning Commission and engineered plans but the recordation was not done by the developer. He did not know if the easement was in the individual condominium deeds and documents or not. Mayor Cerino stated that he believed the owners of the Scott’s Point Condominiums were unaware that an easement existed.
Mayor Cerino suggested removing the walkway from the Marina plan. He said that he thought permits would be tied up indefinitely if the issue was not resolved and said that foot traffic can be rerouted because there were more pressing infrastructure needs that had to be addressed. Mayor Cerino stated that if the walkway was removed from the plat, he thought the residents of Scott’s Point would be happy to work with the Town to resolve the other issues that they had with the plan.
Mayor Cerino stated that the boat docking on the side closest to Scott’s Point could possibly be used only for overflow at a few large events such as Tea Party and Downrigging.
Mayor Cerino stated that he thought the bulkheads had to be raised to meet the level of the Cannon Street pier, but if it was raised and the Fish Whistle owners do not raise the grade of their parking lot, the Town will essentially be building a dam around the restaurant.
Mayor Cerino stated that he met with the owners of the Fish Whistle to discuss the options as follows:
1) Raise the grade of everything at once. He said that he informed the Fish Whistle owners that he cannot use taxpayer money to raise the grade of a private parking lot and restaurant so if this scenario was carried out, the owners would have to pay for the improvements to their property.
2) Raise the grade of the bulkheads but not the land and create a walkway that is the same height and use an engineered solution where flood waters would drain one-way under and through the bulkheads (if the Fish Whistle is not raised).
3) Replace the bulkheads at the exact same height and build a raised boardwalk where boaters could get to high ground without walking through water.
Mayor Cerino stated that the Town was ready to begin work this winter. There was a $200,000.00 grant and $192,000.00 from the Washington College Armory purchase that could be used to fix the bulkhead, run a dock, or put in the new boat ramp. He said whichever set of neighbors agreed to a solution first was likely where the money would be allocated. Mayor Cerino stated that dredging was going to happen and Mr. Ingersoll had a spoil site ready. There was $500,000.00 set aside for dredging.
Mayor Cerino stated that the Town would apply for future grants through the Maryland Capital Budget, Waterway Improvement fund (for $200,000.00 per year; the Town received a letter today that they received another $200,000.00 but it requires a match), Maryland Heritage Areas Authority, Sustainable Communities Grants through DHCD, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network. Mayor Cerino stated that USDA funds could be used as a match for any of the State grants.
Mayor Cerino stated that he received a letter from MDE based on the hearing requested by neighbors dated July 1, 2015 and asking for revisions to the proposed plans.
Ms. Kuiper asked if there were changes to the floodplain. Mr. Ingersoll stated that it may flood more often but the location of the floodplain has not changed.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that the Council might want to discuss removing the walkway and the boat slips on the Scott’s Point side to ease concerns from the residents and to move the permitting process along.
Ms. Gross stated that she did not like removing the walkway from the plan as it was something many residents were looking forward to having in Town. Mr. Shoge stated that in order to get the permits moving it would be easier to reroute traffic. Mayor Cerino stated that he agreed with both Ms. Gross and Mr. Shoge. Mr. Ingersoll stated that Scott’s Point was not required to build the walkway until there were connections available to a walkway through the marina.
Ms. Kuiper moved to remove the walkway running along Scott’s Point from the permitting plans, was seconded by Mr. Shoge and carried with four (4) in favor, Mr. Stetson opposed.
Mayor Cerino stated that an advertisement for the Marking and Economic Development Officer position to oversee the A&E District, help the Town market events, and oversee how tax credits can be used in the District was currently running in the papers. Resumes would be collected through August 1st with a hope to hire by September 1st or 15th.
Mayor Cerino stated that he met with a representative from USA Fulfillment who asked for a letter of support to reform the nexus tax, as it was “double dipping” on potential out-of-state customers, noting that Maryland businesses were losing business to Delaware. Mayor Cerino stated that he had written a letter of support for USA Fulfillment asking Governor Hogan to reexamine the nexus tax.
Mayor Cerino stated that the Kent County Commissioners sent a letter requesting a meeting to discuss the MOU for out-of-town hook-up fees. Mr. Ingersoll stated that he delivered the MOU to the County on June 2nd (the morning after it was executed by the Council) and said that he was attending the Commissioners meeting on June 16th where he found out that he was on the agenda. He was then told by the Commissioners that this was the first time they had seen the MOU and they could not vote on it. Mr. Ingersoll stated that there was a comment made at that meeting that if the County paid hook-up fees to Chestertown then the other Towns in the County would want hook-up fees paid to them as well.
Ms. Kuiper suggested holding a meeting with the County Commissioners and the other incorporated Towns in Kent County. Mayor Cerino stated that he did not think that was a good idea.
The Council decided to invite the Kent County Commissioners to the August 3rd meeting to discuss out-of-town hookup fees.
Mayor Cerino asked for a motion to reappoint Ms. Sylvia Maloney to the Ethics Commission. Mr. Stetson moved to reappoint Ms. Sylvia Maloney to the Ethics Commission, was seconded by Mr. Shoge and carried unanimously.
Mayor Cerino asked for a motion to reappoint Ms. Patsy Hornaday to the Ethics Commission. Mr. Shoge moved to reappoint Ms. Patsy Hornaday to the Ethics Commission, was seconded by Mr. Stetson and carried unanimously.
Mayor Cerino asked for a motion to reappoint Mr. Steve Atkinson to the Zoning Board of Appeals. Ms. Gross moved to reappoint Mr. Steve Atkinson to the Zoning Board of Appeals, was seconded by Ms. Kuiper and carried unanimously.
Mayor Cerino asked for a motion to reappoint Mr. Jeffrey Grotsky to the Planning Commission. Ms. Gross moved to reappoint Mr. Jeffrey Grotsky to the Planning Commission, was seconded by Mr. Shoge and carried unanimously.
Mayor Cerino asked for a motion to nominate and appoint Ms. Veronica Golden to the Historic District Commission. Mr. Stetson moved to nominate and appoint Ms. Veronica Golden to the Historic District Commission, was seconded by Ms. Gross and carried unanimously.
Ms. Gross stated that the Town was notified that the grant for the playground was received for the Kent County Middle School and asked where the project currently stood. Mayor Cerino stated that Mr. de Mooy and Mr. Ingersoll have been speaking with sub-contractors in reference to costs but they hesitated to bid anything out until the funds get through the State clearinghouse process and Board of Public Works, which should be in mid-July.
Ms. Gross stated that there was a large amount of garden waste that has not been picked up in Town. Ms. Mulligan stated that there were several people out on the Street Crew and said that they would be picking it up as soon as they were back to full staff.
Ms. Kuiper stated that the 4th of July fireworks just gets better each year. She said that Mr. Proctor and Mr. Nasatka did a wonderful job. She thanked the police officers who directed traffic after the event.
Ms. Kuiper stated that any event requiring street closures in downtown Chestertown should come before the Mayor and Council in person at a Town meeting a minimum of 30 days before the event, with the street closures written on the permit. She said a recent festival went to businesses, before they had permission from the Town, indicating that streets would be closed. The Council agreed.
Ms. Kuiper stated that there was another issue with parking at the Farmers Market and asked Chief Baker to begin fining people for parking. Chief Baker agreed.
Mr. Shoge stated that he was working with Ms. Mulligan to send out a notice to his residents on Flatland Road about the next SHA Task Force meeting. He said that he was trying to rally the base because so many of the residents in the neighborhoods of Flatland Road have expressed interest and enthusiasm about the sidewalks. He said that he would like them to show up to the next meeting and voice their concerns to SHA.
Mr. Shoge stated that he was working on a project for a “Kids Fair”. He said he has a number of children in his ward and residents have expressed that there was little for the children to do in Chestertown. He said that Ms. Sullivan put together a list of the different opportunities available for kids to participate with links and phone numbers under the “Residents” tab on the Town website. He said that he would like to get all those groups in one room, similar to a job fair, where families could meet with the representatives of the organizations.
Mr. Shoge asked if there was any progress on the Gateway Park. Mr. Ingersoll stated that the contract was signed with David A. Bramble, Inc. two (2) weeks ago and thought the project should be underway in the near future.
Mr. Stetson stated that the pavilion was installed at the dog park, paid for by donations to the Friends of the Chestertown Dog Park.
Mr. Stetson stated that there was a problem with foxes in College Heights. He said that he called the Humane Society and was upset that they told him that they only tended to cats and dogs. He was told that the Town should hire a trapper if they needed to do so. Mr. Stetson stated that the Town residents pay taxes and are entitled to all county services.
Mr. Stetson stated that he would be out of Town for the groundbreaking of the new Sultana location, the next Mayor and Council meeting as well as the meeting with the Hospital and MDE. He said that he was most concerned about missing the meeting with MDE but knew that the Council had the same concerns that he did.
Mr. Stetson stated that he attended the MML Convention in Ocean City and gave an overview of the seminars he attended.
Mayor Cerino asked if there were any questions or comments from the audience. Mr. Foster stated that he wanted to thank Mayor Cerino for arranging a public meeting with MDE and said that he hoped that the word would get out in time that residents could attend.
There being no further business, Ms. Gross moved to adjourn the meeting at 9:20 p.m., was seconded by Mr. Stetson and carried unanimously.
Submitted by: Approved by:
Jennifer Mulligan Chris Cerino
Town Clerk Mayor