MAYOR AND COUNCIL
APRIL 15, 2019
Mayor Chris Cerino called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. In attendance were Councilmembers David Foster, Linda C. Kuiper, Ellsworth Tolliver 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 April 1, 2019. Mr. Stetson moved to approve the minutes of the Mayor and Council meeting of April 1, 2019 as submitted, was seconded by Rev. Tolliver and carried unanimously.
Mayor Cerino stated that total operating funds on hand for unrestricted use was $964,070.04. Restricted funds for the Marina were set aside in the amount of $5,054.42.
Mayor Cerino asked for a motion to approve the payment of the bills. Mr. Stetson moved to approve payment of the bills as submitted, was seconded by Rev. Tolliver and carried unanimously.
Mayor Cerino called forward Cub Scout Pack #253. Mr. Joe Foley, Cubmaster, was present along with two (2) of his scouts. He said that their pack is currently eighteen (18) members strong, ranging in age from 5 to 10, and they were looking to adopt a leg of the Rail-Trail for clean-up, like the “Adopt-A-Highway” program. He said that they were looking to adopt the portion of the trail from High Street to Rt. 291. He said that they have collected trash along the trail before and he took the trash to his house for disposal. He asked if the Town could assist in removing the trash bags after the collection. Mr. Ingersoll stated that the Town could give the Cub Scouts trash bags and would let them know where to put the trash for pick up. Mr. Foley stated that the Cub Scouts were looking to have their first clean-up on Saturday, May 18th (weekend before Tea Party) and every 3 months thereafter. Mr. Ingersoll stated that Mr. Foley could email him before the cleanup, and they would work out the details. The Council thanked Cub Scout Pack #253 for their assistance in beautifying Chestertown.
Mayor Cerino called forward the Chestertown Environmental Committee for their report. Mr. David Sobers stated that several members of the Committee would give an overview of what has been accomplished since the Commission last met with the Mayor and Council.
Mr. Tim Trumbauer stated that he was working on Carpenter Park drainage issues at Washington Park. He said a challenge was that a contract was already awarded, but David A. Bramble will be meeting with Rev. Tolliver at the park to try to find ways to address the drainage issues within the scope of their contract.
Mr. Trumbauer stated that as a member of the Committee he was tasked with finding representation from the Third Ward with the help of Rev. Tolliver. Mr. Trumbauer stated that the Environmental Committee adopted formal membership rules and one of the goals of the Committee was to have representation from each Ward.
Mr. Dan Small stated that he was part of the “Habitat and Water” team for the Committee and said that he was tasked to work on the conditions of the ground at Fountain Park. He said that he had conversations with Ms. Harvey and advised her that the Environmental Committee was ready to assist where possible with suggestions, research or grant writing in support of any projects for the grounds Fountain Park.
Mr. Carl Gallegos stated that he was working with the “Tree Group” of the Committee. He said that he made previous reports to the Town Council and said that he did an Urban Forest Management Plan, which included an inventory of the street trees and Town canopy in 2009 and gave an update to the Council in 2017. He said that the Tree Group would like to work with Washington College’s GIS Department for a current image of Chestertown’s canopy and an estimate of the tree cover in Town and determine where plantings should occur in hopes of reaching a 40% tree canopy coverage.
Ms. Darran Tilghman stated that she was presenting first on behalf of Greg Farley, who was tasked with the River Trail that would potentially extend from Wilmer Park around the new College buildings. She said that Mr. Farley met with Mr. Mark Hampton, Executive Vice-President of Strategy and Operations at Washington College, and received verbal agreements to work with the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy for a River Trail. She said that this was important issue to the Environmental Committee as it was an access issue for people who want to enjoy the river and was an economic development issue for the Town.
Ms. Tilghman stated that she was working toward new parks and playgrounds in Chestertown. She said that Mr. Ingersoll met with her in a teleconference meeting about Garnet that could potentially grow into other playgrounds. She said that she formed a group of citizens, teachers and the Recreation Commission and they were moving forward for a playground and have submitted for a grant. She said that the group plans to move forward whether the grant was awarded or not.
Ms. Tilghman stated that she spoke to the Recreation Commission and they seemed excited that the Environmental Committee would be the connector to bring in experts and reach out to the other Commissions and Committees to move projects forward.
Ms. Tilghman stated that Chestertown is becoming a “Keep Maryland Beautiful” affiliate Town and it would be helpful to track how much trash was picked up on the Rail Trail cleanups to keep their certification when it was received. She said that the certification will help with other future projects.
Ms. Tilghman stated that the Earth Day Festival was this Saturday, April 20th and the Environmental Committee would be handing out Sustainability Tip Sheets for anyone attending the Festival.
Ms. Tilghman stated that the Committee tried to respond to all suggestions made by the Council when they last met and asked if there were any questions and/or other ideas that they would like the Committee to research.
Mayor Cerino asked if the Committee knew how much the College was willing to commit to the Riverfront Trail. Ms. Tilghman stated that Mr. Farley was asking those questions and was hoping to have information to share soon. Mr. Ingersoll stated that an extant work group by the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy including representatives from Washington College (Ms. Valerie RiChard before Mr. Hampton returned to the College) had been working on an easement for the Board of Visitors and Governors. Mr. Ingersoll stated that he gave them the easement language that was used for the waterside trail in front of the Custom House.
Mr. Stetson asked if there was a problem putting the trail in the wetland areas past the Armory to the bridge. Mr. Ingersoll stated that the work group he met with including the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy did not want to trek across the wetlands; rather the trail would return to MD289 through the old sewer plant. He said that permits and expenses became a large issue in wetlands. Mayor Cerino stated that the fate of the Armory makes the easements even more urgent to have in place so that the trail is to be built along all the riverfront properties regardless of whom owns the property.
Mr. Ingersoll asked Mr. Trumbauer if he had located the supposed underground storm drain system at Washington Park was no longer functioning. Mr. Trumbauer stated that he was uncertain as to whether it was functioning or not. He said that there was a scope of services in place and Bramble was looking to fix the drainage issues as part of the contract. He said that the raingarden is no longer functioning and is part of Bramble’s scope of work. There was a culvert running under the roadway to the park that was emptying into the defunct rain garden.
Rev. Tolliver asked for an update on the Good Seeds Project at Garnet Elementary School. Ms. Tilghman stated that the project was close to full funding and there would be a community launch event in May. She said that the outpouring from community businesses had been amazing. Johnson’s Concrete, Hoyle Stone, Unity Nursery, South Fork Studios and others have stepped forward to see what they can do to help. She said that input on the project was welcome and there they had reached out to Garnet Alumni Association especially for input. Hoyle Stone Products of Millington was to donate the compass rose at no charge which was a large part of the project at the entrance. The company was also interested in adding other elements in the landscaping. Ms. Tilghman stated that Garnet Elementary was ready to proceed with the project once the academic year is over.
Ms. Kuiper stated that certain funding had to be spent in order to remain a Tree City and asked if those funds could be used for tree canopy work. Mr. Gallegos stated that this effort was separate from the Arbor Day Society. He said that the Tree Committee works with the Arbor Day Society and the Environmental Committee was looking to collaborate with the Tree Committee and the College to find areas that need to be reforested and find funding to pay for seedlings that could be planted in those areas. He said that the recommendation would be for 2” root diameter trees planted in late fall or early winter. Ms. MacIntosh stated that on Tuesday, April 23rd Washington College was hosting Jill Jones, author of Urban Forest, who will be giving a talk on tree coverage in cities and towns.
Ms. Tilghman stated that the Environmental Committee wanted to be a resource for any Town project and asked that the Council reach out for help whenever it was needed.
Chief Baker presented the Police Report for March 2019. Chief Baker stated that Washington College had several large events on Saturday, April 13th where the police helped and all went well except for the College losing the lacrosse game. He said that the students were cooperative and it appeared as though everyone had a fun day.
Mr. Ingersoll handed out a draft of the Budget Enactment Schedule and said that he would like to begin with a preliminary meeting on Tuesday, April 23rd beginning at 7 p.m. The budget will be introduced on May 20th.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that a permit for a liquor license request for a Class B, Beer, Wine & Liquor License with Caterer’s Privileges (CP) at 98 Cannon Street Riverside Grille has been filed. There will be a hearing at the Kent County Commissioners Office on Tuesday, May 7th at 6:00 p.m. Mr. Ingersoll asked if there was any opposition to the license. The Council had no issues with the license.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that the MVA Bus is at East Coast Storage for their April visit to Town (April 15th and 16th) and said that he wanted to thank Bob and Inky Greenwald for their assistance. Mr. Ingersoll said that the Verizon techs will install the new system on the tower at Dixon Valve and hopefully the bus will then return to the downtown area.
Mayor Cerino read a Proclamation declaring Friday, April 26th as Arbor Day in Chestertown.
Mayor Cerino read a Proclamation declaring May 2019 as Mental Illness Awareness Month in Chestertown.
Mayor Cerino stated that the subject of renaming of the Marina was tabled at the last meeting for discussion when the entire Council present. Mr. Foster stated that he liked the idea of “Port of Chestertown” as Mr. Stetson suggested but had no objection to adding “marina” into the name, which was important to Mayor Cerino. Mr. Stetson stated that he thought a change in name would remove the stigma of the dilapidated state for which the marina was known. Ms. Kuiper stated that word of mouth will have people visit the Marina regardless of the name. Rev. Tolliver stated that he liked “Port of Chestertown” as well and suggested “The Port of Chestertown Marina and Dock”. Mr. Foster moved to rename the “Chestertown Marina” to “The Port of Chestertown Marina” was seconded by Mr. Stetson and passed with three (3) in favor, Mayor Cerino and Ms. Kuiper opposed.
Mayor Cerino asked for Ward reports.
Mr. Foster stated that last week he and Mr. Stetson attended the legislative meetings in Annapolis for the Hospital. He said that there will be an audit of the Hospital, the lack of which has been a sore spot for residents. He said that the Pilot Program for the Hospital did not pass but he was pleased with the number of people who were present for the vote. Mr. Stetson stated that there was another year to try to get the legislation through and that he thought the House was looking for a reason not to pass the Bill, using the excuse that it was not filed in time to be heard.
Mr. Foster stated that the Board of Education presented the budget for next year to the Kent County Commissioners last Tuesday. He said that he was impressed with the budget and education was an important issue even for Town wards were there were few schoolchildren.
Mr. Foster stated that he was receiving comments about potholes from residents and said that the Council made a commitment to pave last year and asked when it would begin. He said that one of the residents he spoke with hit a pothole and it drove a strut through the hood of his car. Mr. Ingersoll stated that some paving is in this year’s budget and they would do as much as they could before the end of the present fiscal year. He said that he has written the specs for one street already. Mr. Ingersoll stated that he would like people to report the potholes to Town Hall. Mr. Ingersoll stated that in this time of year the potholes can be fixed with hot mix as soon as they are reported.
Mr. Foster stated that there would be a legislative update hosted by the Chamber of Commerce at Heron Point tomorrow morning.
Ms. Kuiper stated that volunteers were still needed for the Tea Party Festival.
Ms. Kuiper stated that the Kent County Humane Society’s fundraiser on the previous Saturday at the Kent County Recreation Center had a wonderful turn-out with over 300 tickets sold.
Ms. Kuiper stated that Mary Simmons requested that the Mayor and Council judge the Tea Party Parade at 10 am on Saturday, May 25th. Mr. Foster stated that he was unavailable to judge the parade. Mayor Cerino and the other members of the Council agreed to participate as judges.
Ms. Kuiper stated that the Town of Chestertown was now accepting credit and debit cards and payments could be made online.
Rev. Tolliver stated that he was meeting with Mr. Bobby Bramble and Mr. de Mooy to look over the work proposed for Carpenter Park.
Rev. Tolliver stated that several months ago the Council wrote a letter in support of a grant application for an electric Ride Share program proposed by Ms. Lauren Frick, a student at Washington College. He said that he recently met with Ms. Frick and she had the grant written and was prepared to give a presentation to the panel of corporate CEOs who will award the grant funding for the project. Rev. Tolliver stated that he would be grateful to have a Ride Share program in the Third Ward.
Rev. Tolliver stated that he was happy to hear that the MVA bus was using a business in the Third Ward until issues were fixed, but he hoped the bus would stay in the Third Ward permanently.
Mr. Stetson stated that there was a parking problem on Hadaway Drive which was solved with signage and the police writing tickets. He said that someone was parking in the roadway on a curve which was blocking a drainage ditch.
Mr. Stetson stated that he traveled with Mr. Foster on April 3rd to Annapolis and he said that it was obvious to the Legislators that Chestertown was there in support of the Hospital.
Mr. Stetson stated that today was the Marina Manager’s first day on the job, and he stopped to wish her luck, noting that she seemed enthusiastic to be working in Chestertown.
Mr. Stetson stated that resurfacing work for the walking trail at the Dog Park was under way. The Town Street Crew is performing the work and the Friends of the Dog Park have paid for the materials. He said that the Town is lucky to have residents who are so willing to donate, noting that the Bocce League was donating $4,000.00 of their funds to the Wilmer Park for the playing fields.
Mr. Stetson thanked Ms. MacIntosh and Heron Point for all the effort put into transportation and lunches for those who attended the Legislative Session.
Mayor Cerino stated that in addition to Earth Day this Saturday, April 20th the “Dirty Grass Players” bluegrass band will be playing from noon to 3 p.m. on High Street. Ms. MacIntosh stated that the Hebe Fountain will be turned on for the season at 11 am.
Mayor Cerino stated that Town Hall was closed for Good Friday.
Ms. Irelle Luna, a first-year student at Washington College, stated that she is the Secretary of Service and Community Relations for the SGA next year. She said that she looked forward to working with the Mayor and Council and planned to attend the Mayor and Council meetings once the new school years begins. She was looking for service day projects in the community for incoming freshman. She said that most projects are to beautify Chestertown. Mayor Cerino stated that it was hard to miss the students all over Town last year and said it was a great idea. Ms. Luna stated that if there were any suggestions for a project for the incoming freshman in August to please contact her at her email address.
There being no further business and no other questions or comments from the audience, Rev. Tolliver moved to adjourn the meeting at 8:34 p.m., was seconded by Mr. Foster and carried unanimously.
Submitted by: Approved by:
Jennifer Mulligan Chris Cerino
Town Clerk Mayor