CHESTERTOWN MAYOR AND COUNCIL MEETING
MARCH 20, 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 minutes of February 6, 2023. Councilman Herz moved to approve the minutes of the Mayor and Council meeting of February 6, 2023. The motion was seconded by Councilman O’Brien and carried unanimously.
Mayor Foster reported that the cash on hand was $2,450,098.36.
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 Medrano and passed unanimously.
Whitsitt Center Overview of Services
Ms. Carla Thorpe, AF Whitsitt Center Director and Ms. Brenna Fox, Kent County Local Additions Authority Director, gave an overview of services and programs. The Whitsitt Center provides prevention, inpatient residential treatment, withdrawal management, state opioid response (SOR), crisis stabilization beds and outpatient mental health services and programs. Each jurisdiction in Maryland has a local addiction authority that is responsible for managing and monitoring public funds in relation to substance abuse disorder. Ms. Thorpe reported that last year, about twenty (20) percent of Whitsitt patients were Kent County residents, of which about half came from the 21620-zip code.
Mr. Herz asked where the funding for the Whitsitt Center comes from. Ms. Thorpe noted that they get direction from the legislators and the Maryland Department of Health, and the Kent County Health Department assists when obtaining Bond funding.
United Way of Kent County
Ms. Hope Clark, Executive Director, United Way of Kent County gave an overview of the programs they support and the services they provide.
Ms. Clark stated that they are certified through the United Way Worldwide which gives them support and information to raise money and how to be more effective. The United Way of Kent County was recently allocated $9300.00 through the national federal government program.
Ms. Clark stated that received an application for a community grant for a from Congressman Andy Harris. The grant would provide a million dollars and support a shelter and resources for twelve (12) months. She asked the Mayor and Council for a letter of support to submit with this grant.
Councilman Herz made a motion to endorse the United Way’s grant for a million dollars for a twelve (12) month shelter and write a letter of support saying the same and signed by the Mayor. The motion was seconded by Councilwoman Efland and passed unanimously.
Ms. Clark noted that there is a Get Involved page on the United Way of Kent County website to connect volunteers with the projects they want to support.
Chief Ron Dixon presented the Chestertown Police report for February. He stated that there were less calls for service than in January, but the department handled one additional criminal complaint and had several more arrests in both the adult and juvenile category.
Chief Dixon reported that the bulk of overtime was to cover for officer training. He reported that all sworn officers have taken the crisis intervention team training and that Officer Henderson is the first to go through the basic instructor training which gives him the ability to provide in-service training.
Chief Dixon noted that he attended the following events:
- Reading night at the elementary school;
- as a role player during the crisis intervention team playing at Minary’s Dream Alliance;
- Department of Social Services multi-disciplinary meeting for child protective services;
- Sexual assault response team;
- local drug and alcohol abuse council meeting;
- Staff meeting with CPD and the State’s Attorney’s Office to review changing laws; and
- The Chestertown Fire Company’s breakfast.
Chief Dixon stated he was not able to get additional grant funds from the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention white paper extension for the police accountability grant that was used to cover the body cameras. He stated that he will reapply for the grant funds during the next fiscal year.
Chief Dixon reported that the department will be utilizing the state vest grant to get five (5) new bullet proof vests at fifty (50) percent of the cost of $880.00 per vest. He noted there will be another grant opening in April through the Department of Justice that should fund the other fifty (50) percent. He noted that this will replace the expired vest and provide vest for the new recruits coming into the department.
Chief Dixon stated that he would be submitting another grant to the Mid-Shore Community Foundation to get twelve (12) new automatic external defibrillators to not only replace old units but to make sure all police cars have access to this vital lifesaving tool.
Town Manager’s Report
Mr. Ingersoll review the letter of support for the Kent County Seasonal Shuttle that provides public transit options in Kent County. Councilwoman Efland made a motion for the Mayor to sign the letter of support for the Seasonal Shuttle. The motion was seconded by Councilman O’Brien and passed unanimously.
Ms. Liddy Campbell Vandemark reviewed the 210 South Cross Street food truck plan that would invite fully licensed food trucks to park and serve the Chestertown area during the lunch and dinner shifts. She stated that the seasonal opening would begin April 7 and operate into December. Ms. Vandemark reported that all brick-and-mortar restaurants she has spoken with have been positive to having the food trucks at the 210 South Cross Street location.
Ms. Vandemark stated that the 2016 Food Truck Ordinance has proven to be restrictive and noted the following areas of the ordinance:
- 130-3(A)(9) Licensing requirements specific to food trucks:
(e) That the Food Truck operators provide evidence of liability insurance in an amount of at least $1,000,000 and that the Town be specifically named on the policy as an additional insured;
(g) That a monthly fee and/or annual fee, as set by the Mayor and Council, be paid in advance before commencing any operations;
(i) That no other fixed restaurants be located within 250 feet of the food truck operations
that no other food trucks cannot park within 250 feet from a brick-and-mortar restaurant, that food trucks may not operate inside town limits after 7 pm, and licensing fees and background checks for a food truck operator are granted monthly.
(B) The time of solicitation, peddling, hawking, vending, and canvassing shall be between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.
- 130-4(A) Upon receipt of the application, the Police Chief shall conduct a background investigation of the individual or business entity.
Ms. Vandemark stated that she would carry the liability insurance and asked to waive this requirement for that the food trucks parked in her lot.
Ms. Vandemark noted that brick and mortar businesses in Chestertown do not pay the Town a monthly business license fee. She asked that her business venture be treated the same.
Ms. Vandemark stated that she doesn’t mind if the Police Chief wanted to do a background check on her but asked to waive the requirement for the food trucks parked in her lot.
Ms. Vandemark noted that area restaurants do not have a cut off time to stop serving and stated that quite hours begin at 10 pm and asked to extend the 7 p.m. limit to 9 p.m. which would be the latest the food trucks would operate on the property.
Mr. Ingersoll noted that they can propose a trial period then make changes to the ordinance at the end of the trial period to recognize food trucks on private property but should not change the ordinance for food trucks parking on town property.
Councilman Herz made a motion to grant a 120-day waiver of the provisions in the food truck ordinance specifically changing the time from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., removing the distance restriction, waive the background investigation, drop the monthly business re-registration requirement on businesses hosting food trucks operating on private property starting April 7. The motion was seconded by Councilwoman Efland and passed unanimously.
Mr. Ingersoll reviewed the 13th Annual Earth Day Festival for Saturday for April 22.
Councilman Herz made a motion to approve the permit for the Earth Day Festival on April 22 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The motion was seconded by Councilwoman Efland and passed unanimously.
Mr. Ingersoll reviewed the Rail Trail Race sponsored by the Washington College scheduled for April 15 from 7 to 9 a.m.
Councilman Herz made a motion to approve the Rail Trail Race sponsored by Washington College on April 15 at 10 a.m. The motion was seconded by Councilwoman Efland and passed unanimously.
Ms. Shannan Hannawald presented the complexity and hardships of Endometriosis and read a proclamation declaring March as Endometriosis Month. Mr. Foster signed the proclamation and thanked Ms. Hannawald for her presentation.
Mr. Foster recapped the Tax Differential/tax set-off meeting with Kent County Commissioners. He noted that the County Commissioners agreed to do a study. Mr. Herz thanked the other municipalities for attending the County Commissioner’s meeting.
Mr. Herz reviewed the ARPA Workshop held Wednesday, March 15. He noted that there were several funding changes discussed during the meeting. Mr. O’Brien stated that he suggested several of those changes to further support the restrooms. Mr. Herz noted that after further discussion, it appeared that the Task Force recommended funding will remain the same.
Councilman Herz made a motion to approve the ARPA Taskforce recommendations for awards 1-13. The motion failed for a lack of a seconded.
Ms. Efland asked if there were further stipulations on how the money is spent. Mr. Herz stated that would be the next step in the process. Mr. Foster stated that some of this money was earmarked and not awarded. Mr. Herz stated that Mr. Ingersoll, staff and the town attorney would need to review the request in detail and come up with a process to disperse the funds to the organizations.
There was discussion regarding the funding for applications 3, 8, and 12.
Councilman Herz made a motion to approve applications 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, and 13 with the Taskforce recommended amounts. The motion was seconded by Councilman O’Brien and passed unanimously.
Councilman Herz made a motion to approve the $88,000 for the Tea Party Festival as recommended by the Taskforce. The motion was not seconded. Councilwoman Efland noted that she recused herself from this vote.
Councilman O’Brien made a motion to fund applicant 3 at half, at $44,000, at 2 years instead of a 4 year and move the other half back to the ARPA account. The motion was seconded by Councilman Jose and passed. Councilwoman Efland recused herself.
Councilman Herz made a motion to accept the Taskforce recommended amount of $150,000 for the public facilities application by Main Street. The motion was seconded by Councilwoman Efland and passed unanimously.
Councilman Herz made a motion to approve the Taskforce recommended amount of $40,000 for improvements to the Lelia Hynson Pavilion by Washington College. The motion was seconded by Councilwoman Efland and passed unanimously.
Ms. Rebecca Murphy, Lead Consultant, Upper Shore Community Development Corporation reviewed the proposal for $87,500 from the Town of Chestertown in operating support for programming and hire staff. This request was not for funding from the ARPA Funds.
Mr. Medrano asked about the organizations 501(c)(3) status. Ms. Murphy stated that they have applied, and the IRS had asked for additional information and clarification. She anticipated having 501(c)(3) status in the next 3 months.
Mr. O’Brien asked if they had selected or identified a building administrator. Ms. Murphy stated that this would not happen until they had the funding to pay that person.
Ms. Efland asked if one of those hired would support the town in ARPA management. Ms. Murphy stated that they always planned to hire someone to do the fundraising and compliance and it would be their hope that part of the work they would do with the Town, under whatever MOU they arrive at, would be to assist the Taskforce with the reporting and compliance requirements. Mr. Herz stated that administrative funds had been set aside for this project.
Mr. O’Brien asked if the amount they would need could be reduced since the ARPA fund request was approved. Ms. Murphy stated that the ARPA award was for program funding and not operating support. A small portion of that grant was to be put toward administrative overhead, as customary with each grant and didn’t feel that it was enough to offset but that could change after they work through the MOU.
Mr. Foster asked if they had submitted a request for ARPA funding. Ms. Murphy stated that they had, to fund the META training program but not for the operating support.
Mr. Herz asked, if the Mayor and Council vote not to fund the operating support, could the META training program still go forward. Ms. Murphy stated that it would go forward because the programs operations is being executed in partnership with Rivers and Roads Consulting. They would be taking the responsibility for the majority of the effects of the program, and they would need to find additional funding to support the administrative functions.
Mr. Herz noted that the ARPA funding is already a negative $294,000. He noted that funds had been committed to a building on Richard Drive and the ARPA Taskforce had committed $250,000 for a project that had to go out for bid.
Councilman Medrano made a motion to approve the funding of $87,500 for Upper Shore Community Development Partners. The motion was seconded by Councilwoman Efland. Motion failed due to further discussions and another motion was made to table to consider the request further.
Mr. Foster asked for a breakdown of what the $87,500 would be spent on. Ms. Murphy stated that $20,000 was to hire a part-time compliance person. She stated that they proposed to manage the funds and compliance reporting for the ARPA grantees.
Councilman Herz made a motion to table for one meeting cycle to verify financials and get a report from staff. The motion was seconded by Mayor Foster and passed unanimously.
Ms. Elizabeth Watson gave a brief overview of the public comments received regarding the Draft Strategic Plan. She noted there was feedback on supporting the Art and Entertainment District through Zoning, property tax abatements, and other technical things and will make room in the Strategic Plan for it.
Mr. Foster noted that he and the college president will be meeting to discuss how to best to attract and support college students.
Mr. Foster stated that he attended Makerspace in Baltimore with a group from Washington College for the adaptive reuse of the Dixon property.
Mr. O’Brien gave an update on the search a new town manager.
Mr. Herz thanked Mr. Bob Sipes for working on the pothole on High Street.
Mr. Medrano reported that the reclining chair is back on Flatland Road. Bill noted that he had called SHA to pick it up. Mr. Medrano stated that is went away but has come back.
Ms. Efland reported several events happening around town.
There being no further business, Councilman Herz moved to adjourn the meeting at 8:51 pm. The motion was seconded by Councilwoman Efland and carried unanimously.
Submitted by: Approved by:
Lynda Thomas, Town Clerk David Foster, Mayor
MARCH 20, 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
- Approve minutes of the Mayor and Council meeting of March 6, 2023
- Operating funds on hand
- Payment of bills
- Carla Thorpe, AF Whitsitt Center Director and Brenna Fox, Kent County Local Addictions Authority Director – Overview of Services
- Hope Clark, Executive Director, United Way of Kent County
- Chief Ron Dixon police report
- Town Manager’s report
- Permit request Earth Day Festival – Sat, April 22
- 210 South Cross Street food truck plan
- Mayor’s Report
- Shannon Hannawald – Endometriosis Awareness Month (Proclamation)
- Old Business
- ARPA Workshop Decisions
- New Business
- Ward Reports
- Requests from the public to be on the agenda:
- Rebecca Murphy – Upper Shore Community Development Corporation
- Letter of support for the Seasonal Shuttle
- Questions or comments