CHESTERTOWN MAYOR AND COUNCIL MEETING
MARCH 6, 2023
Mayor Foster called the meeting to order at 6:17 p.m. In attendance were Councilmembers Tim O’Brien, Tom Herz, Jose Medrano and Meghan Efland, W. S. Ingersoll (Town Manager), Lynda Thomas (Town Clerk) and guests.
Mayor Foster asked if there were any additions or corrections to the Mayor and Council minutes of February 6, 2023, February 21, 2023, and February 23, 2023. Councilwoman Efland moved to approve the minutes of the Mayor and Council meeting of February 6, 2023, February 21, 2023, and February 23, 2023. The motion was seconded by Councilman Medrano and carried unanimously.
Mayor Foster reported that the cash on hand was $2,572,403.65.
Mayor Foster asked for a motion to pay the bills. Councilwoman Efland made a motion to pay the bills. The motion was seconded by Councilman O’Brien and passed unanimously.
Sustainable Maryland Recertification
Jenny Lee Freebery (chair), Carole Trippe (treasurer), Secethia Boardley Davis and Joe Maisano were present representing the Chestertown Environmental Committee. Ms. Freebery gave an overview of the Environmental Committees efforts and introduced their officers. Ms. Trippe discussed the Sustainable Maryland Recertification (the current Recertification for Chestertown would expire this year) and asked for support of town staff in the reapplication efforts. She stated that the current Recertification would expire on June 30, 2023. Potential items of concern under the ten (10) categories in the Recertification process would be community-based food system, energy, greenhouse gas, local economies, natural resources, transportation).
Councilman O’Brien made a motion to approve the Environmental Committee taking ownership of the Sustainable Maryland Recertification for Chestertown in collaboration with town staff. The motion was seconded by Councilwoman Efland and passed unanimously.
Ms. Davis reviewed some of the goals of the Town Strategic Plan which include the River Trail, other recreation/bike trails, tree canopy, implementing a stormwater management plan, creating a Town sustainability plan, and planning for coastal resilience and then asked the Mayor and Council how the Environmental Committee can help to achieve those goals.
Ms. Freebery reported on the continued support alternative to mosquito spraying and last year’s successful Dunks giveaway campaign. She expressed the Environmental Committee’s willingness to help the Town purchase Dunks (that target mosquito populations without harming beneficial insects). Ms. Freebery asked the Mayor and Council if they would match the funds to provide Dunks for the community.
Ms. Freebery reviewed that the Environmental Committee would like to partner with other Town committees and commissions to give more consideration of environmental issues. They would like to offer support to help other groups navigate the environmental impacts of their decisions.
Mr. Ingersoll noted that the sodium streetlights are slowly being changed to LED lights by Delmarva Power (in a voluntary process) with a goal of about twenty (20) percent of the lights a year. He mentioned that to his knowledge the goal had not been met since the project was more than five (5) years old and 100% changeover had not yet occurred.
Mr. Ingersoll asked if the Chestertown Environmental Committee would help with getting residents signed up for residential curbside recycling service. Ms. Freebery said they would have a meeting to discuss how they can help. Several of the committee members gave ideas to help get the word out. Mr. Ingersoll stated that the Town needs to know how many residents are willing to commit to a curbside single stream recycling service (that would collect every two (2) weeks).
Mr. Maisano reported that Chestertown has a good number of EV chargers, but they are invisible. He asked the Mayor and Council to consider how to make the chargers more visible and to possibly adopt an ordinance to foster adaptation of this technology and establish charging station zoning.
Town Manager’s Report
Mr. Drew Sultana presented that the Downrigging weekend event, to be held October 27 – 29. He stated that he would like to work with the Town Council and the Police Department to close off additional area to help with the overall traffic during and following the event.
Mr. Thomas Hayman and Ms. Nina Fleegle asked for support from the Town to have Wi-Fi during the Tea Party so that the vendors can make sales. They presented the mobile Wi-Fi hotspots option that is a popup Wi-Fi that look like travel suitcase that can be put in strategic locations. Rental of the ten (10) devises would cost about $16,000.00. They asked the Town to fund $5000.00 to support the Wi-Fi at the event and will be asking the County to do the same.
Councilman Herz made a motion to conditionally approve $5000.00 for tea party Wi-Fi hotspots contingent on the County also giving their support. The motion was seconded by Councilman O’Brien and passed unanimously. Councilwoman recused herself.
Councilman Herz made a motion to approve the Kent County High School to utilize the Mainstreet stage for their graduation on June 2, 2023. The motion was seconded by Councilwoman Efland and passed unanimously.
Councilman Herz made a motion to approve Kent County Chamber of Commerce Brew Fest permit for April 15 from 11 am to 5 pm. The motion was seconded by Councilman O’Brien and passed unanimously.
Councilman Herz made a motion to approve two Special Olympics Maryland Kayaking Events on August 12 & 20 (20 later changed to 19), the Chestertown Jazz Festival on September 9, and Chestertown Lion’s Club Halloween Parade on October 28. The motion was seconded by Councilman O’Brien and passed unanimously.
Mr. Foster reviewed the ShoreRivers Tree Initiative support letter and called for a vote to sign it. Councilman O’Brien made a motion to have the Mayor and Council sign the letter of support for ShoreRivers Tree Initiative for their grant application. The motion was seconded by Councilwoman Efland and passed unanimously. The Mayor recused himself from the vote as he had once served as the Chester River Keeper.
Mr. Foster thanked everyone who participated in the tax differential meeting and reviewed the impact a tax differential (or lack thereof) has for the Town. Mr. Foster stated that he will be doing an interview for the Chestertown Spy on the tax differential issue. Mr. Herz noted that the County recently reported a $4 million surplus from the piggyback tax. The Mayor and Council discussed the differential amount or setoff they should ask for when they meet with the County Commissioners. Councilman Herz made a motion that the Mayor and Council, endorse a ten (10) cent tax differential request of the Kent County Commissioners at the March 14 work session. The motion was seconded by Councilwoman Efland and passed unanimously.
Mr. Foster reviewed that he and the Washington College President have been meeting on the first Monday of the month to brainstorm issues of mutual interest such as how to get students interested in Mainstreet. Several suggests were to put a college bookstore downtown, have ice cream socials, and put-up banners to welcome the students for the fall semester.
Mr. O’Brien noted that he and Ms. Efland are ready to start the preliminary review of the applicants for town manager. Mr. Ingersoll reported that 43 applicants had been received so far and the end date is March 17. Ms. Efland reviewed the process that she and Mr. O’Brien will use when reviewing the applicants. Mr. Foster noted that he wanted Mr. Ingersoll’s advice on the applicants.
Mr. Herz noted that a special meeting will be held, March 15 at 6 pm, to review the ARPA Taskforce recommendations. He gave an overview of the review process of the fourteen (14) applications. He noted that an identifying number will be assigned to protect the applicant during the review. He stated that he will also prepare an executive summary of each applicant. The documents will be on display in Town Hall for three (3) days.
Ms. Efland reported the Whitsitt Center’s lease expires in 2027 and is set to close. She asked citizens to call their state Senator and Delegates to advocate to keep the center open.
Ms. Efland reported that the new owners of the Washington Square Shopping Center are looking to rebuild, adding apartments above and behind the plaza. This will place more affordable housing in the area, especially for people who might work nearby.
There being no further business, Councilman Herz moved to adjourn the meeting at 8:15 pm. The motion was seconded by Councilwoman Efland and carried unanimously.
Submitted by: Approved by:
Lynda Thomas, Town Clerk David Foster, Mayor
MARCH 6, 2023
The Mayor and Council meeting will resume in person meetings at Town Hall. A livestream feed is available at www.townofchestertown.com.
UTILITIES COMMISSION MEETING
- Call meeting to order
- Minutes of the February 6, 2023 Utilities Commission Meeting
- Operating funds on hand
- Payment of bills
- Sipes report
- Questions or comments
MAYOR AND COUNCIL MEETING
- Call Meeting to Order
- Minutes of the Mayor and Council Meetings
- February 6, 2023
- February 21, 2023
- February 23, 2023
- Operating funds on hand
- Payment of bills
- Jenny Lee Freebery, Chestertown Environmental Committee Chair – Sustainable Maryland Recertification
- Town Manager’s report
- Drew McMullen – Downrigging Weekend 2023
- Permit requests
- Kent County Chamber of Commerce – Brew Fest – April 15 (Road closure April 14)
- Baby Shower at Wilmer Park Pavilion – April 29
- Special Olympics Maryland – Kayaking Event – August 12 & 20 (rain dates 13 & 21)
- Chestertown Jazz Festival – September 9
- Chestertown Lion’s Club Halloween Parade – October 28
- Kent Cultural Alliance request to close parts of Spring Avenue – March 25
- Kent Cultural Alliance Ribbon Cutting Ceremony – March 25
- Thomas Hayman Tea Party wifi support request
- Mayor’s Report
- ShoreRivers Support Letter
- Old Business
- New Business
- Ward Reports
- Tom Herz ARPA process overview
- Requests from the public to be on the agenda