MAYOR AND COUNCIL
DECEMBER 2, 2019
Mayor Cerino called the meeting to order at 7:35 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 November 18, 2019. Mr. Stetson moved to approve the minutes of the Mayor and Council meeting of November 18, 2019 as submitted, was seconded by Rev. Tolliver and carried unanimously.
Mayor Cerino stated that total operating funds on hand for unrestricted use was $1,692,041.69. Restricted funds for the Marina were set aside in the amount of $20,314.42.
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.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that at the previous meeting, Mr. Stetson discussed drafting an ordinance about rules for dogs in the Dog Park and said that he thought it would be better to expand on that idea and draft an Ordinance that includes the use of all Town parks. Mr. Ingersoll stated that he spoke with Animal Control and he and Ms. Mulligan researched other Ordinances regarding parks and distributed a draft Ordinance for review. He said that he planned to add some park verbiage but asked the Council to review what was written so far and let him know if they had any changes or additions. He planned to formally introduce the Ordinance at the December 16th meeting.
Mr. Foster moved to name the Dog Park the “Stetson Dog Park” commending Mr. Stetson on his efforts with the Dog Park, was seconded by Rev. Tolliver and carried with four in favor, Mr. Stetson recused. Mayor Cerino thanked Mr. Stetson for his time and dedication to the Dog Park.
Mayor Cerino stated that he attended several events in Town over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend and said that they were all well-attended and enjoyable. He said that the Dickens Festival would be the upcoming weekend and it looked as though the weather was going to cooperate for another fun event in Town.
Mayor Cerino asked for Ward Reports.
Mr. Foster stated that he was asked to attend a meeting on December 13th hosted by Ocean City on the issue of State mandated tax differentials for all Maryland Counties. He said that he has a tentative date with Mr. Fithian set for Tuesday to discuss the local matter as well.
Mayor Cerino stated that Ocean City received an annual check each year from their Worcester County but felt as though they don’t receive enough for all the services that they provide that Worcester County does not have to provide. Mr. Foster stated that he thought there were more statewide allies for a differential and/or rebate than he originally thought when this discussion began.
Ms. Kuiper stated that a plaque was being ordered for Owen McCoy to go into the Fountain Park for his work as the Market Manager.
Ms. Kuiper stated that she read in the Kent County News about Kent Attainable building a new house in the Historic District and said that Rural Development was offering a $40,000.00 grant for low-income housing. She said that Rebuilding Together Kent County might also be able to use those funds for the work that they do in and around Kent County. Ms. Kuiper stated that in the Historic District, a house was either contributing or non-contributing. If your house was non-contributing there were not as many hurdles to cross for building or remodeling a house and there are some low-income residents who may be able to use these funds but are not aware they exist. Ms. Kuiper stated that it was also important for people to make sure that they were receiving all the tax benefits or relief they were eligible for as homeowners, like the Maryland Homestead Act.
Ms. MacIntosh stated that the Dickens Festival was this weekend and the fire dancers will be putting on a show on Saturday at the Foot of High Street at 5:30 p.m. There would be an ice carver in Town on Friday night.
Rev. Tolliver stated that the Third Ward was quiet over the holidays. He stated that he wanted to commend the Police Department on how they handed the racial issue that took place at Washington College.
Mr. Stetson stated that he went to the LaMotte anniversary party and said that it was quite a building and that LaMotte has grown tremendously over the years.
Mr. Stetson stated that he attended the November COG meeting and said that it was nice that the Towns get together to discuss issues. He said that he would miss the COG meetings and hoped Councilmembers would continue to attend them.
Mr. Stetson stated that he represented the Townies Bocce Team in the Christmas Parade on Saturday, November 30th.
Mr. Stetson stated the Christmas Decorating Contest was coming up and the Council had to pick a first and second place winner in each ward. Ms. Mulligan asked that addresses be submitted to her by December 20, 2019.
Mayor Cerino asked if there were any questions or comments from the audience.
Ms. Emily Moseman, resident of High Street, stated that she spoke with employees from Talkie (a company installing fiber optics underground) and was told that they are receiving “pushback” from the Town and that was why the residents can’t use the fiber yet. Mr. Ingersoll asked what was meant by “pushback”. Ms. Moseman said that she spoke with Talkie employees who basically told her the Town won’t let them do their work. Mr. Ingersoll stated that he was working with two different fiber-installing companies and there were issues with the placement of large hand-hold boxes and incidents where the required depth of fiber was ignored, destroying water and sewer lines. Mr. Ingersoll stated that one of the companies ran their fiber through Coventry Farms at only 3’ deep (a minimum of 5’ depth was required in their approval) and ran through water and sewer lines. Mr. Ingersoll stated that he required plans from the companies, adding that with multiple companies going through Town, he was going to limit the number of handholds. Mr. Ingersoll also stated that the fiber companies are not bonded, leaving the Town with little protection when roads or infrastructure is damaged. He said that he was working in the Town’s interest to see that the fiber was installed properly with no damage to the Town’s existing infrastructure.
Ms. Moseman stated that some company’s overhead rewiring was placed on telephone poles and the boxes were left open and exposed wires hanging down. She said it looks messy. Mr. Ingersoll stated that it was far easier to have this reported when it happened so the culprits can be identified and compelled to clean up their work. Ms. Moseman stated that she would send pictures of the work.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that a fiber company wants to partner with Delmarva Power who is installing an aerial line on the existing poles on High Street. Delmarva apparently wanted to wire the Downtown during the Christmas season but he told them he could not make that decision. He said that Delmarva then told him that they would do the work at night. Mr. Ingersoll told them that night work could be just as bad and would require the approval of the Mayor and Council. He said that he asked them how the fiber lines were going to enter the buildings because there are currently few wires running overhead from the street to buildings in the downtown (since it is electrified from Cannon Street).
Mr. Ingersoll stated that he would prefer an ordinance be created for any company or entity boring into the rights-of-way on Town streets. Mr. Ingersoll stated that there should also be a set limit on the number of utility companies allowed to run fiber underground because of the potential congestion and confusion underground.
There being no further business and no other questions or comments from the audience, Mr. Stetson moved to adjourn the meeting at 8:16 p.m., was seconded by Mr. Foster and carried unanimously.
Submitted by: Approved by:
Jennifer Mulligan Chris Cerino
Town Clerk Mayor