MAYOR AND COUNCIL
DECEMBER 21, 2020
Mayor Cerino called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. In attendance were Councilmembers David Foster, Thomas Herz, Ellsworth Tolliver and Meghan Efland, W. S. Ingersoll (Town Manager), Kees de Mooy (Zoning Administrator), 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 December 7, 2020. Rev. Tolliver moved to approve the minutes of the December 7, 2020 Mayor and Council Meeting, was seconded by Mr. Herz and carried unanimously.
Mayor Cerino stated that operating funds on hand was $2,319,494.88.
Mayor Cerino asked for a motion to approve the payment of the bills. Ms. Efland moved to approve payment of the bills as submitted, was seconded by Rev. Tolliver
Chief Dolgos presented the police report for November 2020. Chief Dolgos stated that some of the overtime hours were due to an officer testing positive for COVID-19, and as a result, two others had to quarantine as they had been in close contact with the officer.
Chief Dolgos stated that there were three (3) homeless people for whom placements were found. He said that there were two (2) others that they know about and they are trying to find placement for them.
Chief Dolgos stated that two (2) officers were scheduled for CIT (Crisis Intervention Training) in January and two (2) officers will go in February.
Chief Dolgos stated that Officer McLaughlin arranged for a toy and food drive and baskets would be distributed before Christmas. Food items not used in the baskets will be donated to the Samaritan Group.
Chief Dolgos stated that the Restorative Justice program has been approved by the State’s Attorney Office and will be implemented shortly. He said that juveniles and individuals under the age of 25 who commit a crime will be offered either mediation between the victim and the offender, a form of community service, or an opportunity to join a mentoring program before being charged. If the requirements of the offered program(s) are not met by the offender within 60 days, then charges will be pressed. Matters are decided on a case-by-case basis.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that the Christmas Eve Eve Farmers Market will be held on Wednesday morning from 8 am to noon.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that the public access cable TV channel (on Atlantic Broadband) has become a casualty of the Zoom form of meeting, websites and YouTube postings of our meetings. All the content on the channel seems to be from months or years back. He said that he would like to turn it off. Mr. Ingersoll stated that historically the channel was useful in getting public information out to the public, but with all the changes in technology (with YouTube viewership on personal computers) and the fact that not all residents had cable TV it may be time for a change. He said that the equipment was aging, and new equipment would need to be purchased if it was to be fully used in the future. He asked the Council members to look at the channel and see if it appeared to be an asset anymore.
Mayor Cerino stated that Tim Trumbauer (the present Chester Riverkeeper) was leaving Chestertown for another job in Maine and read a Proclamation into the record thanking him for his service to Chestertown and proclaiming December 21, 2020 as Tim Trumbauer Day in Chestertown. Mr. Trumbauer discussed his new position in Maine and thanked the Council for recognizing him and his work in Chestertown.
Mayor Cerino stated that there was a request from Councilman Ellsworth that the Chairs of each Commission and Committee attend a Mayor and Council meeting annually to give year end reports. He said that if they were going to be asked to come into a meeting, they should give them plenty of time to prepare their presentation.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that the Historic District Commission and Planning Commission provide reports at the end of each year and minutes each month. He said that it might be better if the Council attended occasional meetings to see the work that they are doing, adding that Zoom makes it easy to attend a meeting. He recommended that they ask the Chairs of each Commission if they wanted to attend a meeting.
Rev. Tolliver stated that he thought it was important to for the Chairs to come before the Council, especially the Planning Commission and Historic District Commission. He said that the average person is unaware of all the work that they are doing and asked that they make an appearance at least once a year.
Mr. Ingersoll stated that the Environmental Committee needs to be formalized since it was not created by the Mayor and Council and their members were generally not appointed by the Council.
Mayor Cerino stated that he would ask the Chairs of the Planning Commission, Historic District, Recreation Commission, Public Arts Committee, Equity Advisory Committee, Redistricting Committee and Recreation Commission to provide reports. He said that he will ask for the Planning Commission, Historic District Commission, and Recreation Commission to come in on January 4th and the Public Arts Committee, Equity Advisory Committee, Redistricting Committee and Environmental Committee to come in on January 18th.
Mayor Cerino stated that there was a vacancy on the Historic District Commission. He said that Commissions are not easily filled but he would like to add some diversity to all Commissions. He said that the Town may also need to be more public in soliciting vacancies. Mr. Foster stated that he would like to put a few people up for a nomination and decide who the best person was for the position.
Mayor Cerino stated that the Mayor makes nominations for Commissions, as outlined in the Charter. Mr. Ingersoll stated that even though the Mayor is the one who places names into recommended nominations, the Council could continually submit nominations to the Mayor if they knew of individuals who wanted to serve. He pointed out that the Town sometimes publishes comprehensive outreach information on vacancies and serving on various Town on Commissions and Committee. Mayor Cerino stated that if anyone on the Council would like to nominate someone for the Historic District Commission vacancy they should contact him with the name and have that individual submit something in writing and he will make the nomination.
Mayor Cerino stated that the Equity Advisory Committee met twice, first to introduce themselves to one another, and a second one where the Mayor tried to explain to the Committee that there needed to be public notice of the meeting and an open forum. He said that many of the people on this Committee had never served in a situation where these requirements were necessary and said that there is a learning curve, especially during COVID times. Moving forward the Equity Advisory Committee will meet on the second Tuesday of each month and there will be information on the website on how to attend the meetings and minutes will be posted. He said that there was no intent to be meeting secretly, they were more to organize initially.
Mayor Cerino stated that on behalf of the Equity Advisory Committee, he was meeting with Heather Mizeur, who offer equity training courses. He said that he is trying to set up half-day courses on diversity training that could perhaps be viewed online. Mayor Cerino stated that the Equity Advisory Committee was made in the middle of a budget year, but there may be funding needed for different activities that are going to come up as the committee performs their work. Ms. Efland stated that there was discussion in June to revisit the budget halfway through the fiscal year and said that she would like to do that and discuss funding these endeavors. Mayor Cerino agreed.
Mayor Cerino stated that Ms. Mulligan needs the Council to report their winners of the Christmas Decorating Contest by December 29th.
Mayor Cerino stated that there has been a major spike in local COVID-19 numbers. He said that he thought there would be another spike after the holidays and asked that all residents heed the advice of Governor Hogan and the recommendations of the CDC while making their holiday plans.
Mayor Cerino stated the Hospital employees and nursing homes will receive the vaccine first, but the general population may not receive their vaccines until March or April. Mayor Cerino stated that the Maryland Health Department is giving the vaccines to the Counties and the Town’s role in the vaccination process is very small. He said he would ask the Health Department how to get information to the people who are entitled to the vaccine first and help in any way to see that they are able to get it. Once the vaccine is available to the public, vaccinations will be given out at the Kent County Health Department and people will be contacted to receive the vaccine when it is their turn.
Mayor Cerino asked for ward reports.
Mr. Foster thanked Mr. Tim Trumbauer for his work and Mayor Cerino for recognizing him.
Mr. Foster stated that there were several people in his ward working on outreach and volunteers to ensure that people are alerted when it is their turn to receive the COVID-19 vaccination.
Mr. Herz stated tonight was the last chance to guess the answer to his Zoom Background Contest and to contact him with their guesses. He said he would announce the winner after the New Year. (Jen, didn’t he tell everyone what they were—beauty in his ward?)
Mr. Herz wished everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
Rev. Tolliver stated that he was enjoying riding around and looking at all the decorations in his ward.
Rev. Tolliver stated that he appreciated public health facilitating how to go about receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. He said that after learning more about the process, he met with a group who discussed the concerns by African Americans on receiving the vaccination (given the history of the Tuskegee Project). Rev. Tolliver stated that after hearing the dialogue, he was encouraged and decided to take the vaccine and said that it would be a nice display if the Town Council all received the vaccination together. He said this could be a model to all that the vaccine was safe for all and said that it was important that people have information available to make an informed decision on the safety of the vaccination.
Rev. Tolliver thanked Tim Trumbauer for his work at the Carpenter Park, adding that he made sure that the landscaping was implemented properly on that project. (This was where Ells thanked Miles Ocasio instead of Miles Barnard for the help. Miles Ocasio lives up the road from the park on Lincoln and worked for DP&L)
Ms. Efland stated that she was enjoying the holiday decorations and said that in such a strange year it was nice to see people decorating and finding normalcy.
Ms. Efland stated that Luisa’s celebrated their 20th anniversary in November and congratulated them for their success.
Rev. Tolliver stated that there has been a spike in overdoses in Chestertown recently that have been overshadowed by COVID-19. He said that it was important for people to realize that this was also a pandemic, and the holiday season is a bad time for some people.
Mr. de Mooy stated that the Town applied for and received a grant in an amount over $165,000.00 to finish Phase IV of the Rail-Trail. He showed an area map that displayed the award section of the Trail from Morgnec Road to Foxley Manor near the water tower. He said that this was an exciting project, and he was looking forward to the completion.
There being no further business and no other questions or comments from the audience, Mr. Herz moved to adjourn the meeting at 8:53 p.m., was seconded by Rev. Tolliver and carried unanimously.
Submitted by: Approved by:
Jennifer Mulligan Chris Cerino
Town Clerk Mayor