CHESTERTOWN MAYOR AND COUNCIL MEETING
MAY 1, 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 April 24, 2023. Councilman Herz moved to approve the minutes of the Mayor and Council meeting of April 24, 2023. The motion was seconded by Councilman O’Brien and carried unanimously.
Mayor Foster reported that the cash on hand was $2,407,167.27.
Councilwoman Efland made a motion to pay the bills. The motion was seconded by Councilman Herz and passed unanimously.
Dr. Patrick Nugent, Ph.D., appointment
Dr. Patrick Nugent, Ph.D., recently appointed as the Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. Director of Civic Engagement at Washington College, introduced himself to the Mayor and Council. He stated that his priority was to support students, staff, and facility to build collaborations with community partners to make Chestertown a better place to live. He noted that Chestertown is a great place for students to engage with their town council and join non-profits and other service partnerships within the community.
Mr. Herz asked if there was a push to get the facility engaged in the service partnerships. Dr. Nugent stated that facility is engaged in various ways such as African American history, housing needs, and an open music studio program.
Mr. Nugent reported that students reported recently performed a meaningful community outreach by holding a used clothing sale with proceeds donated to a women’s shelter.
Town Manager’s Report
Mr. Ingersoll reviewed the progress at Conley Arms with the paving of the new Metcalfe Road. The second half of this townhouse community had been dormant since 1975 and is now recharged by the infrastructure construction. The project will allow for 15 new townhouse units on the north side of Metcalfe Road.
Mr. Ingersoll noted that Henry Gruber, former Ward 1 Councilman, passed away April 3. He also served the Town on numerous committees, commissions, and task forces. Mr. Gruber spent decades on the Chestertown Zoning Board of Appeals, played a large role in the blue-ribbon town committee chosen to decide water and sewer rates, ward reapportionment, and a crucial pension study early in the 2000’s.
Mr. Ingersoll reviewed upcoming budget schedule and the status of the town manager hiring process.
Mr. Foster reviewed the vacancies on the Planning Commission and the Historic District Commission (HDC). He nominated Monica Sella for the HDC.
Mr. Foster presented Ms. Louise Miller a Proclamation for Moms Demand Action for Gunsense in America.
Councilman Herz made a motion to increase the Farmer’s Market rate from $10 to $20 effective at the beginning of the 2023 Farmer’s Market season and raise Julie Medrano’s salary to $6000. The motion was seconded by Councilwoman Efland and passed. Councilman Medrano recused himself.
Mr. Herz proposed to form an IT/Wi-Fi Study Group, with five (5) members, to develop a needs assessment and review ways to improve Wi-Fi for the Downtown area. The Farmer’s Market vendors need reliable Wi-fi so they can complete transaction. Mr. Herz noted that there is still unallocated fund of $250,000 in the ARPA funds that can be used for this project.
Mr. Herz introduced Kate Van Name, former chair for the ARPA Taskforce, Mary Alice Ball, Dean of Library and Academic Technology at Washington College, and Scott Granol, and Brook Harwood. All have expressed an interest in being a part of the IT/Wi-Fi study group.
Mr. O’Brien asked if that would include getting an MOU with the County and being a part of this group. Mr. Herz stated that the County would be included but may not include an MOU since this group would generate a needs assessment and ideas. They would also talk with the downtown area businesses and homeowners, and organizations that run large festivals that are losing vendors that are not able to process payments due to the lack of Wi-fi.
Councilman Herz made a motion to create an IT/Wi-Fi study group for Downtown Chestertown to consist of five (5) members with the task of generating a needs assessment report. The motion was seconded by Councilwoman Efland and passed unanimously.
Mr. Herz reported that the ARPA Taskforce had completed their part of the process and has handed it over to the Town. He stated that it was time to disband the taskforce. He thanked Kate Van Name, ARPA Taskforce Chair and the other member for their service.
Ms. Efland suggested that the Council should have the ARPA Taskforce members come in and publicly recognize them.
Councilman Herz made a motion to disband the ARPA Taskforce. The motion was seconded by Councilwoman Efland and passed unanimously.
Mr. O’Brien asked about the Bailey Park path. Mr. Ingersoll reported that the street superintendent received an estimate of $15,000 for grading and paving the entire trail.
Mr. O’Brien inquired about who was responsible for trimming the tree hedges on Philosopher’s Terrace near the trailer park because there have been complaints that the trash in the hedges is now visible. Mr. Ingersoll stated that the trees and hedges are owned by the trailer park and will have the street superintendent talk to them about trimming back their trees.
Mr. Herz reported that he also met with Dr. Sosulski to talk about the Chester River trail.
Mr. Herz reported that he connected with Madison Brice, Head of Legislative Affairs for Governor Wes Moore. Ms. Brice would be coming to Chestertown to tour the downtown area, the waterfront trail, the parks and trails, and Washington College. He invited the Mayor and Council to join the tour.
Mr. Medrano reported that a resident of Coventry Farms had asked him if the water in the storm water reservoir could be tested for contaminates. Mr. Ingersoll stated that they could get it tested but added that the reservoir was put there to capture contaminates from the roads before they reach estuaries.
Ms. Efland reported that she received a complaint about a trailer on Rolling Road. Mr. Ingersoll noted that Kees de’Mooy is working on that. Mr. O’Brien stated that some of the trash there is creeping onto the town property.
Ms. Efland noted that May is “Stop the Bleed Month” and that the Kent County Health Department is taking applications from non-profit or community organizations serving the County for “Stop the Bleed” kits. These kits have lifesaving information that can benefit all county residents.
Ms. Efland reported that Michael Harvey asked for a letter of support for the Washington College grant application for Maker Space at the former Dixon Valve factory at 800 High Street.
Mr. Foster gave an update on the tax differential and noted that Galena and Millington have also joined in with their financial support of the proposed study. The total cost of the study would be approximately $9600, which would be shared by the participating towns, on a prorated basis.
There being no further business, Councilman Herz moved to adjourn the meeting at 8:03 pm. The motion was seconded by Councilwoman Efland and carried unanimously.
Submitted by: Approved by:
Lynda Thomas, Town Clerk David Foster, Mayor