CHESTERTOWN MAYOR AND COUNCIL MEETING
FEBRUARY 6, 2023
Mayor Foster called the meeting to order at 6:27 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 January 17, 2023. Councilman O’Brien moved to approve the minutes of the Mayor and Council meeting of January 17, 2023. The motion was seconded by Councilman Herz and carried unanimously.
Mayor Foster reported that the cash on hand was $2,713,717.59.
Councilwoman Efland made a motion to pay the bills. The motion was seconded by Councilman Herz and passed unanimously.
Ten-Year Parks & Recreation Plan
Ms. Rosie Granillo, Recreation Commission and Ms. Kat Stork Blaher, Consultant from Shore Strategies LLC. Discussed a proposed Town of Chestertown Ten-Year Parks & Recreation Plan. Ms. Blaher stated that she had assisted with the development of a five-year Parks & Recreation plans for Caroline, Talbot, and Kent Counties.
Ms. Granillo reported that at the previous monthly meeting of the Chestertown Recreation Commission they had endorsed a timely proposal to develop the Town’s first Ten-Year Parks & Recreation Plan. They envisioned an extensive and thorough grassroots community engagement process over a six-month period.
Ms. Granillo noted that Chestertown had already implemented a few elements of the plan, along with other ad hoc improvements. She stated that in the Charter, the role of her commission was to assist with implementing park improvements. The new strategic plan calls for a comprehensive park and recreation plan and the Recreation Commission has already submitted a request to the ARPA Taskforce for $193,000, in anticipation of a plan.
Ms. Granillo noted the step is for the Council could be to approve a consulting contract with Ms. Blaher and also approve $1000.00 in additional funds for community meeting expenses.
Ms. Blaher reviewed how she originally got involved in the process and proposed a comprehensive concept plan based on measuring user demand (surveys and focus groups), community engagement process, the proximity of service analysis (looking at where the parks are located and the proximity they are to neighborhoods), an equity level of service analysis (how are the parks meeting the needs of the different populations), and a consideration of the municipal capacity of capital development to maintain the parks.
Ms. Julie King-Medrano presented the job duties of the Market Manager and stated that there was a need to increase her salary. She noted that the mushroom business that she helped maintain during the Market each week was her brothers and the profits collected there each week go solely to her brother. She reviewed the growth of the market and the need for her to spend more time at the market as the Manager. As the Manager, Ms. King-Medrano said she dealt with a variety of details such as vendor applications, communications with new vendors, vendor site complaints, cooperation with groups on different community events like parades, interaction with the Kent County Public Health Department to make sure the market is meeting code and regulations, non-profits, keeping the website and social media up to date.
Ms. King-Medrano reported that the rate for a stand/space is $10.00 a week and that rates have not increased in years. She stated that with an average of 30-35 vendors, she collects between $1,200.00 – $1,400.00 a month.
Mr. Ingersoll noted that the Town started the market over 30 years before and that the town may have started charging $5.00 for the first 10 to 20 years before increasing it to $10.00.
Mr. Foster noted that $20,000.00 a year is needed to pay for the street crews, policing and market manager. With the current expenses and an increase in the Market Managers pay, the Market is no longer self-supporting. Ms. King-Medrano noted that based on other markets, increasing the stand/space rate to $20.00-$30.00 a week would be reasonable. Mr. O’Brien asked that Ms. King-Medrano ask the vendors what they feel would be a reasonable increase that could help increase her salary.
Mr. Herz asked if the Town should be in the Farmers Market business. Ms. King-Medrano stated that some farmers markets are run by towns and others are run by non-profits. Mr. Foster stated that the town still needs to be involved in the running of the market, policing, maintenance, and cleanup.
Town Manager’s Report
Mr. Ingersoll read a note from Joan Horsey thanking the Council for the wreath in remembrance of her husband, Mayor Elmer E. Horsey.
Mr. Ingersoll reported that the outreach the Town Manager position had been posted. He stated they have already received applications from Chestertown to California. He and Kim Lawson, (Town Human Resources) put together the job description for advertising. Mr. O’Brien handed out a version of the job description that he suggested should be used to catch the eye of more people and noted that a paid job posting services should be used. Mr. Ingersoll stated he would edit the current job description and get it back to them for review.
Ms. Efland asked about the application review process. Mr. Ingersoll stated he and Mrs. Lawson would review the resumes and select the five (5) most qualified for the Councilmembers to review. Mr. O’Brien asked the Mayor if he would prefer a selection committee to review, interview and advise the Council. Mr. Foster noted that he was warry of establishing a committee to advise. Ms. Efland suggested that a couple councilmembers could review the resumes and put together all the qualifications in a one to five rating to pick the finalist. Mr. Foster asked Ms. Efland if she would chair the review and selected Mr. O’Brien as the second.
Mr. Ingersoll reviewed the half year financial outline and reported that the Town is doing very well. Mr. Foster asked if there was going to be a surplus. Mr. Ingersoll noted that the Town is carrying a surplus due to increased revenue from growth of the tax base primarily.
Mr. Ingersoll stated went over the bid opening on January 19 for residential curbside recycling. The bid was based on a maximum of 1500 units. The bid of BFI Waste Services, LLC was $216,000.00 ($12.00 a unit). He noted that he checked the bid for accuracy and that actual billing for service would be based on the exact number of pickups times the unit price per month. BFI would supply their own 65-gallon rollaway containers. Their recycling process would be single-stream and taken to the Delaware Recycling Center in New Castle, Delaware. Mr. Ingersoll mentioned that small commercial entities that wished to sign on with BFI for the same size service could pay the same monthly bid fee. Mr. Ingersoll suggested re-enrolling Town residents and small businesses for recycling to get an accurate number of those that would use the service.
Mr. Ingersoll reported that the Town was given an opportunity to purchase a trailer toilet that can be useful during the Farmers Market and other events. It would be stored in the Town yard, towed to a location with nearby electricity the night before, then towed a back to the yard to be emptied, serviced, refilled with fresh water and stored until the next event. Mr. Foster asked what funds to use to purchase the trailer toilet. Mr. O’Brien suggested that it should come out of unappropriated funds.
Councilman O’Brien made a motion to commit to buying, with unappropriated funds, from the Winery, the Utility Bathroom. The motion was seconded by Councilwoman Efland and passed unanimously.
Mr. Foster reported that there have been several meetings with SHA to get approval to purchase speed feedback cameras that were estimated to cost $4000 – $5000 per unit. He noted that, these cameras do not issue tickets, but they could deter speeding vehicles. Speed feedback cameras can also track data such as speed, time of day and traffic volume. He reported that SHA prefers movable units, such as speed cameras on trailers or cameras that can be mounted on a poles, that can be relocated to different areas around town.
Mr. Foster stated that he would like to begin the application process to get approval from SHA to purchase the cameras. Councilman O’Brien made a motion to purchase one (1) speed feedback camera for use as a deterrent in Chestertown. The motion was seconded by Councilman Medrano and passed unanimously.
Councilman O’Brien made a motion to amend the motion to approve up to $5000 expenditure for a single speed monitoring camera for use in Chestertown as a deterrent. The motion was seconded by Councilman Herz and passed unanimously.
Mr. Foster reported that he met with Minary’s Dream, Paul Tue and Doncella Wilson, to talk about reestablishing the Equity Advisory Committee and asked them to advise the Mayor and Council on how best to reconstruct that committee. Mr. Foster asked if an Ordinance had been created for this committee. Mr. Ingersoll stated that he thought it was originally an Resolution and that an Ordinance should be created to make it more permanent.
Mr. Foster reported that Mr. Herz had drafted a letter for the Mayor and Council to sign to Dr. Patrick Nugent, Ph.D., director of student engagement, to congratulate him on his recent appointment as the Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. Director of Civic Engagement at Washington College.
Mr. Ingersoll reviewed the email he sent to William Mackey for Chestertown’s additions to the Kent County 2023 Transportation Priority Letter.
The items that were in last year’s Kent County 2022 Transportation Priority Letter were very important to Chestertown:
- Chester River Bridge Crossing
- US 301 Toll Diversion Coordination Actions and stepped-up enforcement of truck weight limits on MD213
- Sidewalks and pedestrian walkways along MD 514 (Flatland Road) from MD 20 to the second northern entrance to Coventry Farms.
This year the Town would like to add:
- The safety and speed recommendations of the 2015 Chestertown Community Task Force Report: Issues and Recommendations Regarding State Roads (completed under the assistance of the SHA District 2 office)
- Speed awareness and recording devices (permanent) on MD 213
- Pedestrian sidewalk connections on Washington Avenue (MD 213) and Morgnec Road (Maryland 291)
- Safe pedestrian crosswalk connection on MD 291 at Haacke Drive for pedestrians and bikers going to and from the Chestertown YMCA and the nearby shopping centers.
Mr. O’Brien reported he and Mr. Herz attended the College library grand reopening and viewed the new capabilities they offer.
Mr. O’Brien reported that there have been reports of porch pirates in his ward.
Mr. O’Brien thanked the maintenance crews for putting up the Kent/Philosophers Terrace street-signs that had been missing and the work they are doing at the Bailey Park entrance.
Mr. Herz reported Delegate Jay Jacobs attended the recent COG meeting and gave a presentation on the process for legislation. Delegate Jacobs said that he was eager to hear from local government. The COG was interested in working together to create a list of issues (by May) to be submitted in September.
Mr. Herz reported that he attended a meeting with Senator Ben Cardin and he also stressed that he is eager to hear from local government.
Mr. Medrano thanked Mr. Ingersoll and Mr. Sappington for the new Washington Park and Carpenter Park sign installed at the entrance of Bailey Park.
Mr. Medrano reported the increase in litter on Flatland Road and surrounding areas and asked what the best way would be to get this cleaned up. Mr. Ingersoll noted that Flatland Road is a state road and that he would contact SHA immediately to ask about getting the area cleaned up.
Ms. Efland reported that all the UMMS health offices along Philosophers Terrace have moved into the Hospital. She pointed out that Chestertown has new health care options now at Philosophers Terrace with Choptank Health and also a new emergency care center in Kingstown.
There being no further business, Councilwoman Efland moved to adjourn the meeting at 9:00 p.m. was seconded by Councilman Medrano and carried unanimously.
Submitted by: Approved by:
Lynda Thomas, Town Clerk David Foster, Mayor
FEBRUARY 6, 2023
The Mayor and Council meeting will resume in person meetings at Town Hall. A livestream feed is available at www.townofchestertown.com.
- Call meeting to order
- Minutes of the January 3, 2023, Utilities Commission Meeting
- Operating funds on hand
- Payment of the bills
- Mr. Sipes report
- Questions or comments
MAYOR AND COUNCIL MEETING
- Call meeting to order
- Minutes of the January 17, 2023 Mayor and Council meeting
- Operating Funds On Hand
- Payment of the bills
- Jim Bogden and Kat Stork Blaher report on the Ten-Year Parks & Recreation Plan
- Town Manager’s Report
- Thank-you note to the Council for wreath remembering Mayor Horsey
- Posting of Town Manager position
- Half year financial outline
- Bid opening for curbside recycling
- Mayor’s Report
- Old Business
- Email to William Mackey for Chestertown additions to Kent County 2023 Transportation Priority Letter
- New Business
- Ward Reports
- Requests from the public to be on the agenda
- Questions or Comments