CHESTERTOWN MAYOR AND COUNCIL MEETING
JANUARY 17, 2023
Mayor Foster called the meeting to order at 6:00 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 meeting of December 5, 2022. Councilwoman Efland moved to approve the minutes of the Mayor and Council meeting of December 5, 2022. The motion was seconded by Councilman Herz and carried unanimously.
Mayor Foster asked if there were any additions or corrections to the Mayor and Council meeting of December 19, 2022. Councilman O’Brien moved to approve the minutes of the Mayor and Council meeting of December 19, 2022. The motion was seconded by Councilman Medrano and carried unanimously.
Mayor Foster asked if there were any additions or corrections to the Mayor and Council meeting of January 3, 2023. Councilman O’Brien moved to approve the minutes of the Mayor and Council meeting of January 3, 2023. The motion was seconded by Councilwoman Efland and carried unanimously.
Mayor David Foster reported that the cash on hand was $2,692,591.31.
Councilwoman Efland made a motion to pay the bills. The motion was seconded by Councilman O’Brien and passed unanimously.
Ms. Nina Fleegle presented the Streetscape Priorities, Grants and Funding. She reviewed a plan to provide Streetscape Design and Development, Façade Light Program, and Town Security Enhancements to the downtown district to improve on the visitor experience.
Ms. Fleegle stated that they recently were granted $50,000 from the Housing and Community Development to go towards the Façade Improvement Grant Program to be used for commercial properties in the Historic District.
Ms. Fleegle reported that the Façade Lighting Program, that just started this year, offers matching grants for façade improvements for commercial buildings and storefronts in the downtown historic district. The program was created to encourage building renovation, historic preservation and improved economic vitality because quality aesthetics increase property values and sales revenues and improve the marketability of space within the buildings. The business will have to go through the Historic District Commission (HDC) process before being considered for funding.
Ms. Fleegle reported that the Town Security Enhancement program will be expanding, to keep all visitors safe and secure. Main Street is adding additional exterior security cameras and upgrading police station monitoring systems. This equipment will assist the police in keeping more remote areas of town (Rails to Trails, Wilmer Park, etc.) safe for everyone to use. She noted that she is working with Mr. Ingersoll and Chief Dixon to find the best areas for placement of these cameras. There are currently twenty (20) cameras installed around town.
Ms. Fleegle reported that Main Street has been partnering with several entities to improve the appearance and landscaping of the town. To get visitors to come and stay, they need to feel welcomed, and the appearance of the town plays a large role in that. It also helps to improve property values, health, and attract homeowners. Business owners can apply for streetscape funding for various improvements such as landscaping of common areas such as tree wells, town owned grass areas, planter beds, trash and recycling receptacles, benches, tables, and seating, movable planters for events, outdoor dining, “pocket” parks, signage, etc.
Ms. Fleegle noted that the umbrella budget for the next four (4) years is about $800,000. Just under $300,000 has been secured for this year. They have applied to the ARPA Taskforce for some of these funds and will apply to other outside funding sources. They will also ask for funding or other types of support from the Town.
Police Department December Report
Chief Dixon presented the police report for December 2022. He stated that there was a slight increase in calls for service compared to November but less criminal reports than normal. He gave an overview of the statistics for the month. He noted that morale is trending in the right direction and that personnel is happy to come to work. Chief gave an overview of the meetings and other community activities that he and the officers took part in during the month of December.
Chief Dixon stated that the department currently has 9 officers. He reported that PFC Howard Eveland has resigned from the force and that Chris Schwink has joined the force as a detective with eighteen (18) years of experience. Schwink was a detective with Queen Anne’s County Sheriff’s Office and has experience with body cams and the property room.
Chief Dixon gave an overview of the body cams, what they look like and how they are worn and used. He stated that, January 18, all officers will be using body cameras. He noted that the only areas cameras will not be recording are in hospital settings, once the patient has been released to hospital staff, and school settings.
Chief Dixon reviewed the details of High Street crash and noted that the crash was most likely due to a medical emergency and that both patients were flown to shock trauma. He thanked everyone that assisted in closing the area and directing traffic.
Town Manager’s Report
Mr. Ingersoll reviewed the additional information and approvals that will be needed with the new event permits before the Town Council will approve.
Councilman Herz made a motion to approve the Maryland Maritime Heritage Festival on June 3, 2023, from 8 to 5, along with the preferential rate at the marina from last year. The motion was seconded by Councilwoman Efland and passed unanimously.
Councilman Herz made a motion to approve the National Vietnam War Veterans Day event on March 7 at Memorial Plaza from 12 to 7, to include trash barrels and pickup by town crew. The motion was seconded by Councilman O’Brien and passed unanimously.
Councilman Herz made a motion to approve the Shore Shakespeare Company permit for Friday, September 15 at 7 pm, Saturday, September 16 at 6 pm and Sunday, September 17 at 3 pm in Wilmer Park, contingent on them suppling various details including trash pickup, and the need for police. The motion was seconded by Councilwoman Efland and passed unanimously.
Mayor Foster reported that he attended the MLK celebration at Washington College.
Mayor Foster asked to schedule regular meetings with each of the committees to give an update on what they are doing, what they hope to do, what are some of the challenges they have and what their needs are.
Mayor Foster reported the status of the Armory. He stated that Washington College will be resubmitting a permit to the Historic District Committee which he feels would be an asset for the Town to move forward with. The college would retain ownership of the land and will develop a hospitality program at the college. The building is to be used for the benefit for the town and/or college and will be used to entertain college and town events. He noted that the Historic District Committee’s job to decide the historic value and if it is salvageable but does not decide how the Armory is to be used in the future.
Mr. O’Brien asked if the veterans memorial at the site, should it be moved to memorials row? Mr. Ingersoll noted that it is a protected monument and must remain at the site.
Councilman O’Brien made a motion to nominate Xavier Jones to replace the Ward 1 candidate on the ARPA Advisory Task Force and to dispense the two (2) meeting process. The motion was seconded by Herz and passed unanimously.
Ms. Elizabeth Watson presented the Strategic Plan Discussion and Schedule Announcement. She read a summary a statement of what has come out of the Strategic Plan discussion and noted that it is ready to be put on the website to receive public comment. Mr. Herz suggested that an email address could be created under the ARPA app, to collect the emails and be routed out to the members for review. Councilman O’Brien made a motion to approve the current Town of Chestertown draft 2023 – 2026 Strategic Agenda including the Chestertown draft statement to be released for public comment. The motion was seconded by Councilman Herz and passed unanimously.
Mayor Foster mentioned the requested increase in salary for Julie King, Farmer’s Market Manager. The Council agreed that they would like to look at figures to determine if the increase is feasible. Ms. Efland suggested to make a small increase now, from $1000 to $2000. The Council agreed to have Ms. King come in and present an update on the Farmer’s Market. Councilwoman Efland made a motion to approve to raise Julie’s salary to $2000 a year and have her come and speak before the next budget cycle to discuss any other increases. The motion was seconded by Councilman O’Brien and passed unanimously.
Mr. O’Brien noted that the MOU with the Board of Education for the playground equipment was ready to be signed. Councilman O’Brien made a motion to authorize to sign and return the MOU to the Board of Education, regarding the playground equipment. The motion was seconded by Councilman Herz and passed unanimously.
Mayor Foster asked the council to think about who could be appointed to reestablish the Equity Advisory Committee. Mr. Herz suggested to have a consultant to give strategic direction for the committee.
Mayor Foster noted that he would like the County to begin looking into the Tax Differential and what specific steps that need to be taken to move forward. He would like to schedule to have a former Queen Anne’s County Commissioner talk to the Council and the Kent County Commissioners about how they finally adopted the Tax Differential.
Mayor Foster mentioned that the Upper Shore Community Development Partners (USCDP) submitted a fund request to the ARPA Taskforce for operational costs. Ms. Efland stated that she would like the USCDP to provide a clearer and transparent plan of what kind of services are they going to provide the town and what effort in fundraising and grant writing they are making to support their program.
Mr. Herz reviewed the ARPA Taskforce application process. The applications went out and were due back January 8. The Taskforce met on January 10 to accept the applications and nominated two (2) new co-chairs to manage the process. The next step is for the Taskforce to meet again to review the applications and put a report together. They will then vote it out of the Taskforce onto the Council sometime in March.
Mr. Ingersoll discussed the need to submit items for the SHA 2023 Transportation Priority Letter. It was noted that Morgnec Road crosswalk and Rail-to-trail crosswalk needs caution lights, street lighting and/or a connecting sidewalk. The Council would like SHA to reconsider the need for speed feed-back cameras in school zones on Maple Avenue and Washington Avenue.
Councilwoman Efland reported there is progress on the entrance drainage issues at Bailey Park.
Councilman Medrano reported the clean-out of the towers on the rail-trail have been cleaned up.
Councilman Medrano reported that the renovations at Brook Meadows 1 and 2 are complete and apartment lease signs are up.
Councilman Herz reported that he has drafted a congratulate letter to Pat Nugent for his promotion to the John Miller Director of Civic Engagement to engage with the community and asked the council to sign it.
Councilman Herz reported noted that Charles Taylor had passed. He served on the Redistricting Committee, was the chair of the National Music Festival and was a Chestertown supporter for many years.
Councilman O’Brien reported on the quick response by the Town in responding to tree and debris cleanup around town.
There being no further business, Councilman O’Brien moved to adjourn the meeting at 9:03 p. m. was seconded by Councilwoman Efland and carried unanimously.
Submitted by: Approved by:
Lynda Thomas, Town Clerk David Foster, Mayor
JANUARY 17, 2023
The Mayor and Council meeting will resume in person meetings at Town Hall. A livestream feed is available at www.townofchestertown.com.
MAYOR AND COUNCIL MEETING
- Call meeting to order
- Minutes of the Mayor and Council
- December 5, 2022
- December 19, 2022
- January 3, 2023
- Operating funds on hand
- Payment of bills
- Ms. Nina Fleegle – Streetscape Priorities
- Town Manager’s report
- Permit Request – Shore Shakespeare Company
- Permit Request – Maryland Maritime Heritage Festival
- Permit Request – National Vietnam War Veterans Day
- Mayor’s Report
- Nomination to the ARPA Advisory Task Force
- Old Business
- Strategic Plan discussion and schedule announcement
- New Business
- Discussion of Kent County 2023 Transportation Priority Letter
- Ward Reports
- Requests from the public to be on the agenda:
- Questions or comments